The JVP Boston Coordinating Committee (CC) is responsible for overall policy and direction of JVP Boston. The CC delegates responsibility for day-to-day operations to the Steering Committee, within the direction it sets. Each member of the Coordinating Committee has a specific area of responsibility.
Elsa Auerbach is Professor Emerita of English from the University of Massachusetts Boston. The daughter of Jewish refugees from Germany, she has been a lifelong activist involved in issues related to South Africa, workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and language education. Since retiring, she has co-chaired JVP Boston and been a member of its Steering Committee, with a focus on fundraising, We Divest work, and organizational planning.
Asher Bruskin holds a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College and works as a HIV social worker in a hospital setting. He has many years of experience as a community organizer, a few of which with a LGBTQ Jewish non-profit in the Boston area. Asher helped develop Boston’s Young Jewish Voice for Peace working group before joining the Steering Committee.
A psychiatric nurse for 30 years, Marc Gurvitch is now a clinical instructor at Simmons College School of Nursing. He was active in the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights struggles of the 1960’s and 70’s and has been a labor organizer and union activist. From 2010 to 2012, he participated in the Health and Human Rights delegations, sharing his nursing skills and knowledge in West Bank Palestinian clinics while witnessing the impact of the occupation. He coordinated the education committee and now serves on the steering committee
Tali Ruskin is a recent graduate of a dual master’s program in public health and social work at Boston University. She has many years of experience working in organizational development and strategic planning, as well as a whole lot of energy and passion for justice. Tali has worked with YJVP for several years and served as the Education Working Group Coordinator.
Noor joined JVP-Boston in 2013, having graduated with a bachelors in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College and a desire to continue the BDS work she was involved in as an undergraduate. Noor has been active in Palestine solidarity work since college but has been against military intervention in the Middle East for as long as she can remember because of her Syrian identity and background. Noor co-facilitated two sessions of the JVP-Boston Palestine/Israel class and is excited to talk to everyone about how critical Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is all of the time.
Laila holds dual master’s degrees in Public Policy and Social Work from the University of Michigan and works in the field of housing and homelessness. When Laila was 10 years old, her family hosted a Palestinian high school student from East Jerusalem and he became part of their extended family. In June 2013, Laila traveled with the Health and Human Rights Project delegation to I/P and spent the following year reporting back on what she witnessed to several audiences, including various faith communities. More recently, she joined a group of JVP-ers at the Presbyterian Church of USA’s 2014 General Assembly to support the church’s historic decision to divest from three companies that profit off Israel’s military occupation. Laila is JVP Boston’s coordinator for the Church Support Committee.
Susan joined JVP following an Olive Harvest Interfaith Peace Builders trip to Palestine in 2013. She was active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, served as a VISTA volunteer and worked as a community organizer in rural North Carolina and inner city Baltimore. She is retired from a 35 years as a child-welfare (abuse and neglect) social worker/supervisor for the Commonwealth of Mass. She has been active with several JVP working groups and is now the JVP Events Coordinator.
Eli does social media consulting for social justice orgs and runs a landscaping business on his bicycle. As part of the growing climate movement, he co-led the state divestment from fossil fuels campaign in Massachusetts from 2013-2014. Eli left school at age 15 to “unschool” (direct his own education), write, put on conferences, speak, travel, and lead Worldschool Travel Tours for teens. He has traveled in 20 countries and his favorites are Mexico and South Korea. He is the Social Media Coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace Boston.
Allie became involved with Israel/Palestine activism after taking a course in which she learned more about the topic. She then joined Students for Justice in Palestine and upon moving to Boston, became involved in JVP-Boston. She co-coordinates JVP-Boston’s Education Committee.
Mark is a masters level social worker with a full time private psychotherapy practice. He has been involved in various issues over the years supporting the cause of social justice. In 2013 he traveled to Israel and the West Bank with the intent of creating a documentary exploring Israeli and Palestinian experiences. This documentary has been shown at various local venues. He joined JVP soon after his visit as a way to effectively support Palestinians and to influence Israeli policy. Mark is now working as Advocacy Coordinator.
Lauren Jappe has a degree in Islamic & Middle East Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies from Brandies University, and was an active member of her school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. She lived in Jordan for four months studying Arabic, and has traveled extensively throughout Palestine, most recently on an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation in 2015. Following the trip she published writing detailing the effects of imprisonment and trauma on West Bank families. Lauren coordinates JVP’s sister relationship with Laylac, a women’s and youth empowerment group in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp.
David was a teenage activist in the 1960’s. He became involved in anti-war work and was eventually thrown out of the University of Chicago for one sit-in too many. He was one of the founders of the solidarity organization Non Intervention in Chile and has done trade union and Central American solidarity work. After 911, he deepened his anti-war work. David is active in Brookline politics and works with MassOccupy/Brookline. He coordinates the JVP Fundraising Working Group.
A native of Chicago’s South Side, Lina has been active in Palestinian solidarity work since after she took a liberal birthright tour to Israel/Palestine in 1998, first in MIT with Palestine@MIT then in NYC with Adalah-NY and other groups. She has worked in AIDS prevention and education and done activism around transgender rights, resisting gentrification, and immigration rights. She works on the Interfaith/Church support group and the BDS working group and serves as the Young Jewish Voice for Peace (YJVP) coordinator on the JVP Boston Coordinating Committee.
Pam Rogers is a lifelong activist who worked for United for a Fair Economy and for the Haymarket People’s Fund, where she co-authored Robin Hood was Right: A Guide to Giving Your Money to Social Change. She also worked as a community organizer in Mission Hill and as a transportation advocate/organizer for people with disabilities. Her outrage at the bloated U.S. military budget, much of it directed uncritically to Israel, was her pathway to JVP. Pam is the Communications Coordinator for JVP Boston and works on the JVP Film Series.
Alice Rothchild is a Boston based physician, writer, filmmaker, and activist. She wrote Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience and On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion and directed a documentary film, Voices Across the Divide. Through her affiliation with American Jews for a Just Peace, she co-organizes the Health and Human Rights Project (HaHRP) which sends delegations to Israel/Palestine. She travels and speaks extensively and is working on another book about the realities and consequences of occupation and Jewish privilege and a children’s book about a Palestinian American boy. For further information, essays, and upcoming events: see www.alicerothchild.com
Barbara focused much of her career in human resources and is experienced with change management, strategic planning and leadership development. Like many who have worked in corporate America, it became crystal clear to her that she no longer wanted to spend time in that environment. Barbara began volunteering her time and talent in support of various human rights and social justice efforts. In 2011, she was recognized by ICNA Relief USA for her outstanding dedication and service to the local community. In 2012, she began actively participating in various JVP Boston groups. Barbara is a co-coordinator for JVP Boston’s Anti-Islamophobia Working Group.
Liza Behrendt is JVP Boston’s organizer. She has been a JVP activist since 2010, when her campus JVP chapter fought for inclusion of Palestine solidarity organizing in Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Life on Campus. After graduation, she organized with Gay Men’s Health Crisis as an Avodah (Jewish Service Corps) member. She is a member of the Make Shift Boston co-working co-operative. Contact Liza at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved!
We want to leave space to thank these two incredible leaders who both served as chairs of the Coordinating Committee, and played an integral role in building the chapter to be what it is today. Joseph and Jean have both left Boston, but we are so grateful for their contributions!