Virtual WRJ Fried Women's Conference 2021

Featured Guests

We are excited to have these wonderful speakers at our conference, and there are more to come! Be on the lookout for more announcements.

Featured Speakers | Pandemic Panel | Race Panel | Fundraising Event 

Featured Speakers

From 2009 to 2017, Sarah Hurwitz served as a White House speechwriter, first as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then as the head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Prior to serving in the Obama Administration, Sarah was the chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign. Sarah is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law school. She is the author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).


Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman is a member of Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento and Chair of the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) North American Board of Trustees. She has served on the URJ Board since 2003 in a variety of roles across all of the organization’s efforts, including as Chair of the Commission on Social Action and Chair of the Resolutions Committee. Jennifer helped develop the URJ Ethics Code, served on the URJ Ethics Council, and is a member of the CCAR’s Task Force on Women in the Rabbinate. She helped create the Israel and Reform Zionism Committee, partnered with URJ Vice President Amy Asin in the work of strengthening congregations, and served on the leadership team of RAC-California, the campaign of California Reform congregations on issues of statewide importance.


Elana Arian is one of the leading voices in contemporary Jewish music. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, prayer leader, and recording artist, Elana inspires communities across the country with her soulful songwriting and spirit. Elana’s work has been included in many Transcontinental Music publications, including the popular Ruach and Shabbat Anthology series, and her compositions are sung in synagogues, summer camps, and spiritual communities from London to Cape Town, from Australia to New Orleans, and everywhere in between. Elana has released three albums of original music and is thrilled to be working on her fourth. Elana has served on the faculty of both Shirei Chagiga in London and the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, working as a teaching artist in the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and perhaps most memorably, five separate appearances at the (Obama) White House.


Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner serves as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He has led the Religious Action Center since 2015. Rabbi Pesner also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position he was appointed in 2011. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, he is an inspirational leader and tireless advocate for social justice. Rabbi Pesner’s work has focused on encouraging Jewish communities to reach across lines of race, class, and faith in campaigns for social justice. In 2006, he founded Just Congregations (now incorporated into the Religious Action Center), which engaged clergy, professional, and volunteer leaders in interfaith efforts in pursuit of social justice. For his complete bio, click here.

Pandemic Panel

Dr. Marni Chanoff is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Mclean Hospital and practices and teaches Integrative Psychiatry. She is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Medicine, where she was named the most distinguished graduate in psychiatry. She completed her residency at the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Training Program, receiving the Mel Kayce Award for Excellence in Psychotherapy. She completed fellowships at The MGH Center for Psychoanalytic Studies and Harvard University Health Services. She is on the teaching faculty of Harvard Medical School and practices and teaches Integrative Psychiatry with her certifications in Ayurvedic Health Counseling from Kripalu School of Ayurveda and Culinary Coaching from Harvard’s Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Chanoff has a private practice in Cambridge where she practices psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, culinary and lifestyle medicine, and provides Ayurvedic consultations.


Alissa Greenberg is a staff writer at NOVA on PBS, a contributing editor at Bay Nature magazine, and an occasional freelance journalist, reporting stories at the intersection of community, culture, science, and business. Her work has appeared in print and online at The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, TIME, Smithsonian, and elsewhere.



Maya Raghu is the Director of Workplace Equality and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. She leads the development of and advocacy on federal legislative and regulatory initiatives, public education and stakeholder engagement, and impact litigation on a range of issues addressing women’s economic security and equality, including equal pay, harassment, and civil rights enforcement. Before joining NWLC, she was a senior attorney at Futures Without Violence and Legal Momentum, a law firm associate, and a law clerk to a federal judge. Maya is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. She has appeared in numerous media outlets, including PBS Newshour, NPR, CNN, and The New York Times.


Dr. Sigal Yawetz earned her BSc and MD from the Sackler School of Medicine of Tel Aviv. She completed an internal medicine residency at the West LA VAMC/UCLA and infectious diseases and HIV fellowships at the Mass General Brigham (MGB) combined Program. She has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) since 1999. Her areas of expertise include women and maternal infectious health and infection prevention. Dr. Yawetz is the co-chair of the BWH Infectious Diseases’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and sits on the hospital’s Quality Assurance and Risk Management Committee. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Yawetz has been involved in inpatient and outpatient care for COVID patients. She’s a member of the hospital’s COVID-19 treatment guideline committee and has developed policies addressing COVID-19 in pregnancy and at the Center for Women and Newborns.

Race Panel

Marcella White Campbell is the Executive Director of Be’chol Lashon. Previously, she served as the organization’s Director of Marketing and Communications for the last six years and has been a Camp Be’chol Lashon parent for over a decade. Before joining Be’chol Lashon, Marcella worked in social marketing, brand development, and storytelling with innovative, early-stage Silicon Valley startups, both as an employee and as a consultant. Marcella graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English. She holds an MA in Literature from San Francisco State University, focusing on the memoirs of early 20th-century Jewish American women writers, and is a Board member of Or Shalom Jewish Community.


Dr. Deitra Reiser is a school psychologist and educator with more than 20 years of professional experience. Deitra is the owner of Transform for Equity, an antiracist repair group that supports organizations and leaders in building the capacity for diversity, racial equity, and belonging. She is skilled at creating space for the exploration of race and racism. Using the lens of intersectionality, Deitra fosters greater understanding among individuals and within institutions and supports their continued growth through antiracist thoughts and actions. Her focus is on driving the internal work necessary to achieve transformational and lasting change.

As an educator and facilitator, Dr. Reiser has been engaged by numerous national organizations as a speaker on antiracism, race in the United States, and belonging in the Jewish community. Previous clients include the Union for Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center, and Nick Cannon’s Class. Dr. Reiser is the author of a curriculum, Building Racial Stamina in the Jewish Community, that has been used to further the underlying principles of diversity, equity, and belonging in Jewish spaces.


Yolanda Savage-Narva has 20 years of experience working with public agencies and non-profit organizations to promote equitable access to public health, eldercare, and pedestrian safety. She is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-trained public health specialist who has led community-based efforts in community health assessments for Indian Health Service, public education for the Alzheimer’s Association, pedestrian safety and advocacy for America Walks, and health equity for the National Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. In Yolanda’s current role, she leads the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) work for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). She is also a member of the JewVNation cohort, a fellowship sponsored by the URJ, a 2019 Schusterman Fellow, a vice-chair of the Religious Action Center’s (RAC) Commission on Social Action, a co-chair of the Racial Justice equity committee for the RAC, a Fellow of the Federation of Greater Washington, a member of Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; an international Black sorority dedicated to community service and education.


Tema Smith is a diversity advocate, writer, and Jewish community builder. She is currently the Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly InterfaithFamily), an organization that empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them. This comes after seven years as a synagogue professional, most recently as the Director of Community Engagement at Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s oldest synagogue. 

Tema is also a contributing columnist at The Forward. Her writing has been published in MyJewishLearning, the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Jewish News. Tema is dedicated to building a meaningful and inclusive Jewish community through research, training, writing, and relational engagement work.

She has worked with organizations like Be’chol Lashon, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Miles Nadal JCCCJPAC, and speaks and frequently trains on racial equity and diversity for synagogues and Jewish organizations across North America.  

Fundraiser Speakers

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the most powerful force in North American Jewish life. A longtime and devoted creative change agent, Rabbi Jacobs spent 20 years as a visionary spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple (WRT) in Scarsdale, New York. Before that, during his tenure as the rabbi of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, he created the first homeless shelter in a New York City synagogue. He’s a tireless advocate for an Israel that is secure, Jewish, democratic, and pluralistic, with a vibrant Reform Jewish community. Rabbi Jacobs has studied for two decades at Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute, where he is a senior rabbinic fellow. Rabbi Jacobs is regularly featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, Ha’aretz, The Forward, NPR, and CNN, among others.


Gary Rosenthal has been sculpting in welded metals since the early 1970s. Together with a team of talented craftspeople, he creates one of the most popular and unique lines of Judaic art in the country. Combining copper, brass, and steel with brilliant fused glass, the Gary Rosenthal Collection has a contemporary style rooted in tradition. His inspiration comes from the rich history of the Jewish people, which tells us it’s a blessing – a mitzvah – to make beautiful, functional art.

Work from the collection has been presented to Presidents from Carter to Clinton, to Obama, and celebrities as varied as Bette Midler, John Travolta, and Ben Stein. It has been seen worldwide in many fine galleries, private collections, and museum shops, including Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Corning Museum of Glass, American Craft Museum, B’nai B’rith Museum, The Jewish Museum, Skirball Museum of Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.