What do the Peer Connectors do?
This Network is made up of incredible engagement professionals from seven different Jewish organizations in San Francisco, the South Bay, and the East Bay. They’re here to serve young adult Jewish folks all across the Bay Area, to find meaning and connection in Jewish life and community.
From their organizational home bases—ranging from an urban farm to a JCC to a synagogue without walls—Peer Connectors:
Who is this for?
Whether you’re new to Jewish life, just curious about Jewish community, or have been connected to Jewish tradition for most of your life, the Peer Connectors are here to support you on your journey.
If you’re curious about one of their organizations, or just want to chat, reach out to them at their emails below to start the conversation—they would love to take you to coffee.
Piloted in 2019 and now in its fifth year, the Peer Connector Network is a collaboration between the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Gather, Inc., who assumed full ownership over convening and training Connectors in fall 2023. Want to learn more about this innovative initiative? Reach out to Blair Lineham, Networks Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carey Averbook grew up in North Carolina, lived in Washington, DC and Bolivia, and moved to the Bay Area in 2019. They have a background in anthropology and international development, photography and video production, storytelling, human centered design, and emotional hygiene and spiritual resiliency coaching.
All their work has come back to questions about what’s a good life and what is it to be ‘well’ as human beings given climate collapse and systems of violence and domination.
Emma grew up in the Bay Area attending Jewish day schools, and graduated from Kehillah Jewish High School, just across from the Oshman Family JCC. Emma is excited to co-create fun and meaningful Jewish experiences with ENGAJ in hopes of sparking lasting friendships and fostering an inclusive environment.
Before joining the JCC, Emma founded a Jewish young adult group in Bakersfield, California that served to bring local Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s to engage in Jewish social and cultural events and volunteer opportunities. She was also a Serve the Moment Corps Member with Repair the World Bay Area in the 2021 summer cohort engaging in Jewish social justice causes.
Emma loves testing out new recipes in the kitchen and sharing her best ones with friends and family. She’s also always up for a hike, grabbing a coffee and meeting new people.
Noam moved to Oakland two years ago after graduating from college in New York City. They’ve since fallen for the plants and people that have welcomed them into the East Bay/Huchiun, Urban Adamah included.
Noam was raised by a tightly knit, pluralistic Jewish community that laid the foundations for their love of Torah learning, mutual aid, food-focused celebrations, and Shabbos rest. The things that really light Noam’s fire these days include: discussing East Bay bike routes, combatting adultism, the magic and metaphor of fermentation, fostering affirming spaces for trans people, and sci-fi/fantasy.
Emily grew up in San Jose, moved to Fresno and then Dallas for school before moving back to the Bay Area five years ago. She jumped right into Bay Area Jewish young life, completing the ENGAJ fellowship and living in Moishe House Silicon Valley.
She’s been a member at Beth Am for 5 years and is thrilled to be their newest Peer Connector. Aside from the Orchard, Emily also works in healthcare, is a member of the Junior League San Jose, and enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and traveling in her spare time. She is very excited to cultivate meaningful connections and contribute to the thriving Bay Area Jewish community.
They have a passion for fostering spiritual depth, communal care, and Jewish solidarity in liberation movements. They worked most recently as a public benefits paralegal and have experience as a collaborative leader at the Lake Merritt Moishe House, Romemu Synagogue in New York City, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and The Bayit, the student-run Jewish Cooperative at Columbia University.
Kayla is originally from outside of Los Angeles on Chumash land. They studied Human Rights and Jewish Ethics at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. They love the ocean, good conversations, and chocolate peanut butter cups.
Celena Ritchey is a Midwesterner at heart and excited to continue her west coast adventures while joining Repair the World in the Bay Area. In 2018 she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Policy from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). Her experiences at Ohio State prompted her to do a summer of service with AmeriCorps VISTA following graduation, which then inspired her to serve with Repair the World in their Detroit community as a Fellow in 2018-19.
Since completing the Fellowship program, she has worked in the non-profit field in both Program Management and Volunteer Coordination roles. Celena enjoys volunteering in local community gardens and if you ever need to find her, she recommends you check the thrift stores down Haight Ashbury or hop over to her SF house Instagram page to see where she’s walking.
Cora’s upbringing took her across Brazil, the US, and France, giving her a diverse cultural background, which she continues to intentionally expand on. In college, she studied Geography, particularly intrigued by psycho-geography, delving into how our surroundings shape our thoughts and actions.
Curiosity drew her into the tech world, where she gained experience in GIS. For the past couple of years, she’s been dedicated to dance therapies and Somatic Psychology. She’s been pouring her time and energy into studying these fields, passionate about helping people thrive through embodiment, intentional communication, and building a sense of community and belonging. Being a perpetual learner, Cora values curiosity and exploration, and her insights encompass the realms of human flourishing and human-centered design.