FULL TIME Staff
Rena Convissor has been a member of the AJSS family for over three decades, and took the helm of the organization as Executive Director in 2007. Rena was an AJSS volunteer in Jeanerette, LA in 1980, and served as a counselor in Dahlonega, GA in 1984. Rena attended Dickinson College and received a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan, and credits her AJSS experiences with helping to guide both her education and her 25+ year career in the non-profit sector. She lives in Maryland with her husband and her three children. In summer 2014, her oldest son participated in Alternative Beach Week and Rena was finally be able to complete the AJSS volunteer-staff-parent trifecta!
Director of Programs
Rafi Glazer joined AJSS in 2009 following a fellow ship at PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values. Rafi graduated from the University of Rochester with dual degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern studies. In 2010, Rafi was named one of 20 emerging Jewish educators in the D.C. Jewish Community, and was recently awarded a PresenTense fellowship to create a service-learning gap year program. A master programmer, Rafi’s knowledge of Jewish experiential programs comes from Jewish day school, USY, Camp Ramah and his position as an AJSS staff member (Louisville '12). Rafi works hard to ensure that each AJSS volunteer has — what many participants describe to be — the best summer of their lives.
Director of Service-Learning Education
Laura Menyuk has been leading service-learning and experiential education programs for close to a decade. She holds a B.A. from the UMD, College Park where she studied French, child language development and social-anthropology. After graduation, Laura worked for the office of service-learning at UMD, developing their trip leader training, followed by completing Avodah, the Jewish Service Corps. Laura remained in D.C. where she taught literacy for 3 years before she moved outdoors and into the experiential education “classroom.” Laura trained in ropes course-team building facilitation and environmental education leadership at the Echo Hill Outdoor School on Maryland's Easter Shore where she served as a lead educator, teaching children from all social and geographic backgrounds. Laura additionally led Jewish teens and college students on immersive service learning programs throughout the U.S. with Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc). Laura came to her now-home in Baltimore, MD via Public Allies where she studied non-profit leadership and asset-based community development, and served as The Pearlstone Center's volunteer, outdoor and Jewish farm-based education programs coordinator for 3 years. The Pearlstone Center for Living Judaism served as Laura's classroom, playground, design-scape, and inspiration as she gained a foundation in the most innovative experiential Jewish education practices being developed by organizations in the JOFEE movement. There she developed and facilitated programs for participants of all ages, and trained and mentored interns, apprentices, and new educators. Laura's journey with AJSS began in 2009, when she served as the project director in Amarillo, TX. When not teaching ecology, history, Jewish farm-based education, or leading adventure education around the Chesapeake Bay region, Laura has specialized in AJSS Responds disaster recovery programs around the US. Raised bilingual (French and English), with dual citizenship, and Jewish, in one of the most diverse regions of our nation, Laura has always seen that there are multiple perspectives through which we see the world and express our place in it, and has sought to find ways to best uplift the rich diversity which necessarily makes up the fabric of a resilient and just global society.Through her work and life, Laura looks forward to widening our ideas of what it means to ‘rebuild’ in both our physical and social design worlds.
Dani Greenwald joined the AJSS team in September 2015, returning to her hometown of Bethesda, MD after 5 years in Burlington, VT. Dani graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Sociology. Dani was involved with Hillel and the Alternative Spring Break program throughout her time at UVM. After graduating, she worked in a residential program that supports homeless and at-risk youth in transitioning into independent living. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, Dani staffed programs for the Union of Reform Judaism's Mitzvah Corps. Dani is thrilled to extend her passions for social justice and service-learning as a Program Associate for AJSS.
Rachel joined AJSS in October 2015. After graduating with a B.A. in Health and Human Services from SUNY Buffalo in 2014, Rachel spent a year as a corps member for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in Washington, D.C. Through AVODAH, Rachel worked as an Academics Associate at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter high school in Anacostia that serves primarily low-income youth. Prior to AVODAH, Rachel developed a strong passion for Jewish social justice through her involvement in USY, Hillel, and service learning programming. Rachel is extremely excited to combine her love of Judaism with her passion for social justice through her work at AJSS.