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Meet the Reform California Staff

Lee Winkelman, Southern California Organizer

Lee leads the efforts of Reform CA, the statewide partnership between Just Congregations, the Religious Action Center and the CCAR, and strengthens the local community organizing efforts of Reform congregations in Southern California. Lee grew up in the Reform Movement:  his family members were leading forces in Temple Beth Jacob in Pontiac, Michigan; he learned leadership in NFTY; he met his wife at OSRUI. He was a community organizer for 14 years in the greater Boston area working mostly on issues of affordable housing and community control of development. He has been a funder of community organizing with Jewish Fund for Justice (where he partnered with Julie in the early 2000s to develop the field of synagogue community organizing) and the UU Veatch Program. Lee also worked in El Salvador for two years helping popular movement groups prepare for the country’s first post-civil war election. As a lay leader, he spearheaded efforts of two synagogues to join congregation-based community organizing groups: Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn and IKAR in Los Angeles. He earned a BA from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. Lee lives in Los Angeles with his wife Wendey and eleven year old son Henry, where Lee has consulted with foundations and community organizing groups for the last eight years.  

Rabbi Jessica Oleon Kirschner, Bay Area Organizer
Rabbi Kirschner works to strengthen the local community organizing efforts of Reform congregations in the Bay Area and anchor their participation in Reform CA. Jessica was ordained as a rabbi in 2007 from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles and served as Associate Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC until 2014, where she led the congregation’s efforts to join and participate in community organizing as a member institution of Washington Interfaith Network (WIN). During rabbinical school she worked for many Reform Movement and social justice institutions including URJ Camp Newman and the Religious Action Center. She is also an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Committee on Peace, Justice, and Civil Liberties. A native of Oakland, Jessica earned her BA from University of California, Berkeley and recently married and returned to home to live in the Bay Area.