2022 Women's Empowerment Award Honorees

Meet this year's honorees!

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman

Marla Feldman

Rabbi Marla Feldman is marking 10 years as the Executive Director of WRJ and 20 years as a leader in the Reform Movement. She has been with WRJ since 2012, having previously served as the Director of Development for the URJ and Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. Feldman is a Reform rabbi (HUC-JIR, New York) and lawyer (JD, Univ. of Fla). Previously, Rabbi Feldman worked in the Jewish community relations field in Detroit and Delaware and served Reform congregations in Sarasota and Orlando, Florida. Rabbi Feldman has authored Reform Movement action manuals and published modern midrash, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications and newspapers.

Dana Bash

Dana Bash headshot

Dana Bash is CNN's chief political correspondent and co-anchor of State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, the network's Sunday morning newsmaker show. Bash is based in Washington, D.C., where she covers both campaigns and Congress and regularly serves as a moderator for CNN's political town hall specials. 

Dana currently lives in the D.C. area, attends Temple Micah, a Reform synagogue, and her son attends one of URJ’s many summer camps. Dana was born and raised as part of the Reform Jewish community and her Jewish roots run deep. Her mother is an educator and author on Jewish issues and received her master's degree at Hebrew Union College. Her grandparents escaped Nazi-occupied Europe and made their way to America in 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor.

Ellen Cohen

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Ellen Cohen (she/her) is a member of Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, TX, a part of WRJ’s Southwest District. Ellen’s entire adult life and career choices have been made around improving the lives of others and building community. From starting a self-help, post-mastectomy group, Reach to Recovery of Canada (the first of its kind in Canada) to expanding the services at the Houston Area Women’s Center, to helping pass major legislation in the Texas State House, and later as a Houston City Council Member, Ellen’s work has been driven by her Jewish values around human dignity and tikkun olam.

Isabel "Liz" Dunst

Liz Dunst at Podium


Isabel "Liz" Dunst (she/her) is a member of Temple Sinai Women of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C. She is an honored recipient of their Women of the Year award. Isabel is a champion of social justice, encouraging action through her sisterhood and her work on URJ’s North American Board, the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, and more. She uplifts the efforts of others and inspires the next generation to step up with her while actively supporting the initiatives that mean the most to her, particularly through her work with the Religious Action Center.

Marra B. Gad

Marra Gad current headshot


Marra B. Gad (she/her) is an award-winning author, speaker, and independent writer/ producer committed to social justice and advocacy work to improve the world around her. She speaks internationally about her transracial adoption in 1970 and her experiences being biracial and Jewish through the lens of her debut memoir, The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl, winner of the 2020 Midwest Book Award for Autobiography/ Memoir. Her dedication to exploring belonging and encouraging others to embrace their personal histories has an expansive reach, including children and young adults, especially young girls, to ensure a more empowered and inclusive Jewish community.

Becky Markowitz

2022 Becky Markowitz headshot


Becky Markowitz (she/her) is a former sisterhood president at Women of Shir Ami, Newtown, PA, Atlantic District president, and a former president of her congregation. She is also a past WRJ North American Board member and now serves as Co-Chair of WRJ’s Chai Society. Becky is an enthusiastic and committed leader who is always willing to lead the charge. Across WRJ’s Atlantic District, she consistently takes on leadership roles and lifts others up with her. She recently served two extra years as District Immediate Past President and has encouraged numerous women to become involved and take on leadership roles.

Tani Prell

Tani Prell Headshot


Taneisha (Tani) Prell (she/her) is a member of Congregation Etz Chaim in Chicago, IL. Currently, she is the Chicago Director at 18 Doors, an organization that empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life. Tani has been a long-time leader in the Reform Movement: 2018 JewV’Nation fellow in the JOC Cohort; North American Board of the Union for Reform Judaism; member of the Task Force on Governance and The DEILS Implementation Workgroup, to name a few. Additionally, she sat on the associate board of Urban Gateways, which helps provide arts education resources and programming to schools in need, an issue on which she is passionate.

Eliana Rubin

Eliana Rubin headshot


Eliana Rubin (they/she) has been involved in the Reform Movement since 2018 as a Theatre Arts Mentor at URJ’s 6 Points Creative Arts Academy and a member of the JewV’Nation LGBTQ+ Fellowship Cohort. She also participated in the Klal Yisrael Fellowship, worked with Moving Traditions, and is now obtaining their master’s degree in educational leadership at HUC. Eliana is an openly trans-advocate and ally in a variety of Jewish and LGBTQ+ spaces, and their presence both affirms other trans individuals and helps Reform communities be places of belonging for Jews from a wide range of marginalized and often underrepresented backgrounds.

Rachel Schulties

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Rachel Schulties is a member of Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, NJ. As the Chief Operating Officer at Marketsmith Inc., a woman-owned and led marketing agency, she has been committed to lifting the next generation of talent and ensuring that all voices are heard and have an equal opportunity for advancement. Rachel has tapped into her professional skills to educate within her local community and support the reform movement globally. In addition to her commitment to Judaism, she is particularly passionate about advocating for racial justice and has taken the opportunity to speak locally about her family's challenges as both an interfaith and mixed-race household.

Rabbi Susan Shankman

Susan Shankman


Rabbi Susan Shankman (she/her) has been a rabbi and community leader at Washington Hebrew Congregation for over 20 years. Rabbi Shankman has positively affected the Reform movement from serving as a leader in her congregation and spearheading support groups to uplifting the wider community, working with CCAR, JWI, HUC-JIR, URJ-Harlam, and more. Beyond that, Rabbi Shankman has advocated for civil rights, starting a SEA Change coalition (Study, Engage, Act), worked with Every Voice to get out the vote, and co-hosts “Sister Act Podcast,” a weekly interfaith conversation between a Jewish, Muslim, and Christian woman.

Julia Weinstein

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Julia Weinstein (she/her) is a member of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Sisterhood in Los Angeles, CA. With over 20 years of leadership experience in her sisterhood and over a decade of service to WRJ on the Pacific District and national levels, Julia continuously jumps at the chance to help others and brings out the leadership qualities in everyone around her. Julia acts as a mentor to those new to WRJ to make sure everyone feels like WRJ is their home. From work in advocacy, education, and more, Julia’s devotion to WRJ is evident.

Ronnie Cook Zuhlke

Ronnie Cook Zuhlke headshot


Ronnie Cook Zuhlke (she/her) is a member of Women of Temple Sinai in Pittsburgh, PA. After a career of working in the mine and steel industry, Ronnie has been dedicated to pursuing her social justice interests. Beyond regularly attending her sisterhood’s Tikkun Olam Center, she has been involved with PIIN (Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network) for more than ten years and has been a local leader in J Street, an organization advocating for a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Additionally, Ronnie is involved in get-out-the-vote efforts, promoting racial equality, and standing against gun violence.