We are thrilled to introduce and celebrate two exceptional individuals who have joined our dedicated team serving on Eshel’s board. Peninah and Yaakov bring with them a wealth of experience, passion, and a shared commitment to advancing our mission of creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ individuals within the Orthodox community.
Peninah Gershman’s journey to becoming an advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in the Orthodox world is both inspiring and deeply personal. With a background as a speech-language pathologist and a former Medicare policy maker, Peninah brings a unique blend of expertise to our board. Her involvement with Eshel was sparked by her own family’s experience when her teenage son came out. For over five years, Peninah has been an integral part of the planning team for our annual Parent Retreat – a testament to her dedication to Eshel, organizational prowess, and passion for providing parents with a safe space to connect and learn.
Peninah’s mentorship of other Orthodox Parents of LGBTQ individuals has been nothing short of transformative. Her willingness to share her experiences and learn from others has created a network of support that empowers parents to navigate the challenges and celebrations that come with their children’s journeys.
Yaakov is bringing his unique financial acumen to the board. With a background in fundraising, grants, budgeting, and bookkeeping, he is an invaluable asset to Eshel as we continue to grow our operations. Yaakov attended Eshel’s National Retreat for the first time in 2023, and his transformative experience of belonging and community motivated him to get more involved.
Hailing from a more insular religious community in Brooklyn, Yaakov is deeply committed to and inspired by our mission to create authentic Orthodox LGBTQ+ community. His presence on our board also represents our expansion into broader parts of the Orthodox world.
As we welcome Peninah and Yaakov to our board, we are not just expanding our leadership team – we are building our capacity to impact the Jewish world. Their unique experiences, unwavering dedication, and heartfelt passion will help us shape a more inclusive future LGBTQ+ individuals and families within the Orthodox community.