Who We Are

The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action is a member-based organization, inspired by Jewish teachings and values, dedicated to being a strong, progressive, inter-generational voice for social and economic justice, civil rights, and constitutional liberties. Established in 2001 by forty former board members of the American Jewish Congress- New England, the organization has the benefit of rich experience in social action with deep inter-community roots, while also having the innovation and dynamism of a new-forward thinking organization.

JALSA asks our members, both affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, and those outside the Jewish community to take personal responsibility for improving our society by advocating with public officials on legislative proposals, using the tools of grassroots community organizing to act on issues, and filing amicus briefs in court cases.


Sheila DecterSheila Decter
Executive Director

Sheila R. Decter is the Founding Executive Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), a position she has held for over 16 years.  Prior to founding JALSA, she served as Executive Director of the New England Region of the American Jewish Congress for 23 years, Assistant Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Boston, and Chairman of the Faculty of Lasell College.

Sheila is one of Boston’s outstanding professionals in the Community Relations field.  She has initiated and staffed broad interfaith and interracial coalitions for almost four decades in support of civil rights, public education, affordable housing, reproductive rights, protection of immigrants, and advocacy for provision of services to persons with AIDS and human services.

Cindy Rowe
Deputy Director for Development and Outreach
Cindy Rowe is the Deputy Director for Development and Outreach for JALSA, and in that role, has worked to advance JALSA’s work in community organizing, advocacy, coalition building, and legal approaches to advancing progressive public policy solutions with broad impact. She is proud of her involvement in engaging people in many recent JALSA campaigns, including JALSA’s work on guaranteeing earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers and serving on the Strategy Committee guiding the passage of the state’s most recent gun violence prevention law. Cindy also oversees all of JALSA’s development initiatives, which provide the necessary financial support for our work, through the JALSA Justice Society, Tzedek Annual Fund, Membership Drive, Annual Meeting, and other donation vehicles.

Cindy chairs Social Justice at Temple Israel/Boston, which pioneered the concept of using community organizing in a synagogue setting over 10 years ago, leading to the adoption of this technique in hundreds of synagogues across the country. She also has many years of advocacy experience, having worked in the Massachusetts State House for both the Administration and Legislature.

Hannah Klein
Community Organizer and Program Manager
Hannah Klein joined JALSA in September 2016 as the Community Organizer and Program Manager. Hannah has previously worked at the Haverford College Women*s Center where she was able to develop and grow her passion for working with communities around gender-related issues and sexual assault support and prevention work. She is a graduate of the J.O.I.N for Justice Organizing Fellowship and has a B.A in Anthropology and Gender and Sexuality Studies from Haverford College.

Rachael Dubinsky
Communications Associate
Rachael Dubinsky is the communications associate for JALSA and works to provide strategic communications guidance. Prior to her role with JALSA, Rachael was a field organizer for the New Hampshire Democratic Party during the 2016 election cycle.

Rachael has a strong passion for social justice and empowering women. She previously served as a senior digital strategies associate for The Hatcher Group in Bethesda, Md. and deputy press secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. She holds an M.A. in strategic public relations from George Washington University and a B.S. and B.A. in agriculture and communications from University of Delaware.


Officers & Board

Larry Bailis

Vice President
Mary Ellen Grossman

Vice President
Mike Gildesgame

Vice President
Felice Mendell

Paul Holtzman

Assistant Secretary
Daniel Fishman

Zippy Ostroy

Assistant Treasurer
Noah Hodgetts

Additional Members of the Executive Committee include:
Amy Pitter- Nominating and Board Development Committee Chair
Jonathan Sclarsic- Commission on Law & Social Action Chair

Board Members

Paul Adler
Bryan Barash
Amy Benjamin
Barbara Cullen
Susie Davidson
Joel Eigerman
Ellen Feingold
Andrew Fischer
Janet Goldenberg
David Guberman


Rosie Hunter
Jonathan Klein
Bonnie Orlin
Will Rasky
Neil Silverston
Hon. Frank Smizik
Rabbi Matt Soffer
David Wittenberg
Lizzi Weyant

Advisory Committee

Karen Ames
Robert Asher
Rep. Ruth Balser
Edward Barshak
Brendan Berger
Noah Berger
Barry Bluestone
Ruth Budd
Sen. Harriette Chandler
Hon. David Cohen
Nadine Cohen
Chuck Colbert
Sen. Cynthia Creem
Susan Davidoff
Rep. Lorie Ehrlich
Ellen Fisher
Prof. Franklin Fisher
Jamie Fleckner
David Friedman
Harvey Frishtat
Barbara Gaffin
Nicole Gann
David Gasson
Bonny Gilbert
Fran Godine
Treasurer Deborah
Hon. Joanne Goldstein
Rep. Kenneth Gordon
David Harris
Rep. Jonathan Hecht
Jerry Jacobs
Linda Jason
Julie Johnson
Rep. Louis Kafka
Hon. Ruth Kaplan
Hon. Rudolph Kass
Rep. Jay Kaufman
Adam Kessel
Rep. Kay Khan
Jonathan Klein
Sen. Eric Lesser
Richard Levine
Sen. Jason Lewis
Rep. David Linsky
Hon. Stephen Linsky
Hon. Brooke Lipsitt
Dr. Alan Lobovits
Rep. Liz Malia
Ronald Marlow
Maryssa Schneider McLean
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman
Mark Michelson
Rep. Aaron Michlewitz
Abigail Moncrieff
Alexandra Moses
Andy Oram
Sandy Ostroy
Shirley Partoll
Rabbi Barbara Penzner
Rabbi Jill Perlman
Sam Petuchowski
Charles Radin
Rick Reibstein
Nicole Roos
Sen. Stan Rosenberg
Hon. Michael Ross
Rep. Byron Rushing
Jeff Sacks
Steve Samuel
Illisa Schild
Marilyn Segal
Celia Segel
Phil Sego
Darryl Settles
Norma Shapiro
Dina Siegal
Emily Shield
Nancy Shilepsky
Dina Siegal
Marc Slotnick
Senator Karen Spilka
Jeff Stone
Sharon Stout
Joel Suttenberg
Hon. Ronny Sydney
Eve Tapper
Janet Taylor
Cantor Rosalie Toubas
Rabbi Andrew Vogel
Albert Wallis
Bernard Wax
Hon. Alice Wolf
Sen Daniel Wolf
City Council President Michelle Wu
Terry Yoffie
Councillor Josh Zakim
Alexandra Zaltman