Meet Our Board of Directors and Staff
Miryam Kabakov, MSW
Miryam Kabakov has been involved with organizing LGBT Orthodox communities for two decades. A graduate of the Ramaz Upper School, she attended Stern College for Women as an undergraduate and received her Master’s Degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She founded Orthodykes NY, a social and support group for Orthodox and previously Orthodox, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women and was one of the founding members of GLYDSA (The Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association). Miryam is the editor of Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires (North Atlantic Books, May 2010) a collection of writings about the challenges and joys of LGBT Orthodox Jews. Previously, she was National Program Director of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and Coordinator of LGBT programming at the Manhattan JCC. Miryam is one of the founding Executive Directors of Eshel and brings with her a background in organizational development, social research, program evaluation, and a passion for community building. Contact Miryam at Miryam@eshelonline.org
Rabbi Steven Greenberg
Rabbi Steven Greenberg is a Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Steve has worked with communities around the world to make Orthodox Judaism more inclusive of gays and lesbians. Steve is the author of the groundbreaking book Wrestling with God & Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), which won the Koret Book Award for Philosophy and Thought. Steve is one of the founding Co-Directors of Eshel. Contact Steve at Steve@eshelonline.org
Members of the Board
Dana Friedman comes to the Eshel board with a great deal of not-for-profit volunteer experience. Dana has been a leader in Business Network International, was Vice President of New York CyberQueers—a business networking group for New York area LGBT technology professionals— and was Vice President of the New York City chapter of the ICCA—Independent Computer Consultants Association. She served as a chapter advisor in Junior and Senior NCSY (Etz Chaim/NJ Region), as well as in Heritage of Pride—organizers of New York City’s Gay Pride March. With 20-plus years of technology consulting and web implementation experience, Dana assists Eshel by addressing a wide variety of technology, web, and social media challenges. Contact Dana at Dana@eshelonline.org
Elaine Chapnik has been involved with organizing LGBT Orthodox communities since 1995 as a founding member of the New York City Orthodykes support group for Orthodox and previously Orthodox, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women. Elaine sat on the LGBT Committee of the Jewish National Fund. Recently, she was on a national book tour with Miryam Kabakov as the author of the chapter on Jewish law and lesbianism in Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she received a B.A. in Philosophy and a Juris Doctorate. A member of the New York State Bar, she began her association with Eshel as a pro-bono lawyer giving advice on various legal issues before becoming a Board member. For the last two decades, she has worked in public health, and is currently working for New York City’s municipal hospital system, providing legal expertise on procurement and information technology contracts and managed care reimbursement.
Shlomo Ashkinazy, LCSW has been recognized as a leader in the LGBT rights movement for more than 40 years. He was a founding member of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force and a founding Board Member of the LGBT Community Center in NYC. The first openly gay MSW student in the country, he became a founder of The Hetrick Martin Institute, providing services for LGBTQ youth and their families. As its first Clinical Director he created the Harvey Milk School, a high school serving LGBT youth and served as its first Principal. He currently sits on the LGBT Advisory Panel to NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Since becoming a Ba’al Tshuva (a returnee to Judaism) in 1979, he has worked to help Orthodox LGBT people reconcile their religious identities with their sexual orientation, and has also been active in educating the Orthodox community about this issue. He has been running a monthly discussion group for Orthodox Gay men since 1983.
Steve Kay Kupietzky
Steve Kay Kupietzky received his law degree from Boston University, and now is president of an international tourism consulting business. Steve worked with his family’s kosher catering business, Kay Caterers, for 30 years. Steve is one of the original members of GLYDSA, attended Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, Yeshiva University’s High School in Manhattan (MTA), and studied at Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem. Steve has been involved with Limmud NY since its inception and has sat on the Board of Directors for several years. Steve brings with him a talent for organization building as well as legal expertise in the non-profit world. Steve was also the first professional rollerblader to appear in a Broadway Show.
Yitz Pries is director of GLYDSA, The Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association. GLYDSA’s purpose is to provide a safe space for people of all ages to integrate their Jewish and gay identities, in a self-affirming, positive manner, through discussion, socializing, and other activities. Yitz has been involved with organizing for the LGBT Orthodox community for almost twenty years. Contact Yitz at Yitz@eshelonline.org