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D.C. Board members:

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Rachel Apfelbaum

Rachel Apfelbaum is a project coordinator with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), where she plans training events nationwide centered around enhancing law enforcement response to sexual assault crimes. Prior to this position, she worked with the IACP to arrange training events focused on strengthening the response to domestic violence, stalking, and human trafficking. She also has a background in direct victim services with experience as a court advocate and shelter supervisor working with the victims of domestic violence. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from James Madison University and her master’s degree in global women’s studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). At NUIG she was a committee member for the Feminist Society.


Jena L. Belinkie

Jena L. Belinkie is a vice president with CBRE, specializing as part of the landlord and tenant representation team in the Washington D.C. offices. Jena provides comprehensive strategic planning and implementation of brokerage services to her clients. Prior to joining CBRE, Jena was a manager of four departments at Macy’s department store in Washington, D.C. She brings over six years of sales and service experience, having worked for Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store and Tom James Custom Clothiers.

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Valerie Bluestein

Valerie Hillman Bluestein, a Washington, D.C. native, knows the area inside and out. She was born in Georgetown, grew up in Bethesda, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, and currently resides in Dupont Circle. Valerie spent a decade marketing and event planning for communities in the metropolitan area, before translating those skills into real estate. Valerie is a people person, known for her patience and commitment to excellence. She makes the process as smooth as possible through her attention to detail, perseverance and ability to communicate efficiently. Valerie's expertise doesn't end at closing. She has a passion and eye for design, which helps her clients envision the greatest aesthetic potential for their homes.

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Andrea Deck

Andrea Deck is the D.C. director of community engagement with Honeymoon Israel. Andrea joined the Honeymoon Israel team after kicking off her career in the Jewish community with Federations across the world, most recently as the senior associate in community planning and impact with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. She holds a M.S.W. from Columbia University, a M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College. Andrea loves dancing, knitting, and trying new things!

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Ashley Emery

Ashley Emery is thrilled to serve as president of JWI's Young Women's Leadership Network in D.C., and brings her experience in advocacy and coalition-building to the Network. She works in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's political department as manager of the outreach program. Ashley is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she received a B.A. in both international studies and Spanish, and minored in history.

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Sydney Rachael Levin-Epstein

From Massachusetts, Sydney Rachael Levin-Epstein moved to D.C. to pursue a degree in political science at George Washington University. She now serves Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) where she focuses on Middle East foreign policy. Sydney's work in politics began with Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) and later in the offices of President Shimon Peres, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Rational360, and the National Conference for Community and Justice. Sydney is currently on the hunt for the best grilled cheese in Washington, please slide all recommendations into her DM.

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Abby Shuster

Abby has been an active member of JWI for the last 4 years, and is thrilled to be a member of the board this year! She grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, where she was an enjoyed being involved in her temple, eventually serving as the youth group president her senior year. She made her way down south to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt University, where she studied organizational development, business and Spanish. After graduation, she moved to DC and began her career at The Advisory Board. Recently, she has made an exciting job change and is currently a Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring restaurants and activities in DC, traveling, hiking and reading.


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  • Each board member will serve from February to March of the following year (a full year with one month for transitions) and then have the option to reapply. Board members will be selected by JWI staff.

  • Each board member will be responsible for chairing at least two events per year.

  • Each board member will be responsible for outreach and should bring at least two people to each event.

  • We frequently email to brainstorm, discuss events, organize, and discuss outreach, etc. Each board member must be comfortable with maintaining input on these chains as they are the main form of communication.

  • Board members are to attend at least 75% of all board events throughout the year.

  • We will have a board meeting once every month - each board member is expected to attend unless there is an extenuating circumstance.

  • Each board member will pay a $180 fee in order to be on the YWLN board.

  • Each board member must be a member of JWI's YWLN and in good standing for the entirety of her term.

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