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Audrey Lichter - Executive Director -

Audrey is the founding Executive Director of Chai Mitzvah, which was launched in 2009. She has been a professional Jewish educator for more than 30 years. Audrey is also the founding principle of Yachad, the award-winning community High School of Greater Hartford. As a lay leader, Audrey has been the recipient of many community awards and has been very involved locally and nationally in the Day School movement.

Nina Woldin - Director of Special Projects, Teen & Family Education -

Nina has been working in Jewish education for more than three decades, creating student materials and programs in print, online and video. She has designed and implemented educational programs for students of all ages. Her work has been published by the major Jewish publishers. Nina worked in the Israel Advocacy and Education Department of Jewish National Fund, and her online Jewish education resource center,, became part of JNF’s website in 2003. Nina currently runs the Chai Mitzvah Teen program and the Women of Reform Judaism initiative.

Yosefa Drescher - Director of Masa Chai, Israel -

Yosefa was born in Israel and grew up in a religious Kibbutz. After her Israeli army service she studied photography at the Hadassah College in Jerusalem and worked as a staff photographer for a local Jerusalem weekly magazine. Yosefa also studied Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1994, she moved to West Hartford, CT, and worked as a photographer for various magazines and nonprofit organizations. She won awards for her work,  including the Simon Rockower Award  for Excellence in Jewish Journalism.  While living in West Hartford, Yosefa graduated from the University of Hartford and was involved as a volunteer in establishing Chai Mitzvah in 2009; she moved back to Israel in 2010, where she is now the director of the Israeli Chai Mitzvah program - Masa Chai. Masa Chai, is now a legal Amuta – a non-profit organization in Israel. Yosefa earned an MBA from Haifa University. She also participated in the prestigious Gvanim program - a leadership program run by the Jewish Federation of San Francisco. Yosefa received a Beit Midrash facilitator diploma after completing "Ptichta" – a Bina run program in Tel Aviv.


Susan Fried - Ignite Hartford Coordinator -

Susan has been working in Jewish education for over 20 years. She has a BA in Speech Pathology, and a Masters in Industrial Organization Psychology. Susan has worked for a number of Jewish nonprofit agencies concurrently, including the Federation Library and the Jewish Association for Community Living. Susan is the Ignite Hartford Coordinator, which involves putting together Chai Mitzvah groups in the Hartford community. In her down time, one can often find Susan visiting flea markets and local libraries.


Michalee Merritt - Administrative -

Michalee has been involved with the Jewish community for many years. Michalee is currently on the board of the Mandell JCC, The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford and the religious school board for The Emanuel Synagogue. When not working or volunteering you can find Michalee attending one of her three kids soccer, basketball or baseball games. Michalee handles administrative work for Chai Mitzvah.


Simon Lichter - Communications & Marketing -

Simon views the glass as twice as big as it needs to be; this attitude has served him well in nonprofit environments. In 2011, Simon earned his Bachelor's in Advertising & Marketing Communications and in 2016 received his MBA in General Business. After college, Simon lived in Israel for six months to attend a MASA Israel program, where he studied photography and film. Simon has over four years of experience working with nonprofits and specializes in online marketing; he also worked with the Jewish Federation in Rhode Island, known as the Jewish Alliance.  Simon is the founder of, a marketing agency that focuses on small businesses. Off-hours, you can find Simon exploring new trails with his K9 roommate, Sugi. At Chai Mitzvah, Simon oversees their online marketing efforts.


Lev Nathaniel Kropsky - Director of Synagogue Outreach -

Lev brings a unique mix of knowledge into Chai Mitzvah. Lev was a critical part of the team handling logistics for New York City's Salute to Israel Parade. Also, Lev was a strong voice for community outreach for elected officials. As the Director of Synagogue Outreach for Chai Mitzvah, Lev is the driving force behind engaging synagogue participation throughout North America. When not working, you will find Lev playing with his three young daughters and exploring all that New England has to offer.


Reb Deb - Outreach and Virtual Community Coordinator -

Rabbi Debra Smith (Reb Deb) received smicha through the ALEPH Ordination Program in 2016 and is the founding rabbi of Congregation Or Ha Lev in New Jersey. Reb Deb is a very enthusiastic student and practitioner of Mussar; she has taught Mussar in various venues. She is a clinical social worker and family therapist. Reb Deb received her Master’s in Jewish Studies from Gratz College in Philadelphia. She serves as Rabbi in Residence at Drew University Methodist Theological School in New Jersey and co-chairs a chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom. She is a faculty member of ALEPH Tikshoret Connections, which is one of the places she teaches Mussar to a virtual community of learners from all over the United States. Reb Deb is the Outreach and Virtual Community Coordinator at Chai Mitzvah.

Sun, October 21 2018 12 Cheshvan 5779