Staff

SIJCC’s leadership team is made of up a group of talented and delightful folks who are committed to building community on LA’s east side.

Summre Garber Operations Manager

Hailing from Northern California’s Bay Area, Summre has an M.A. in Film Theory from San Francisco State University. Before landing at SIJCC, Summre was Director of Operations for the Slamdance Film Festival and has done festival-related programming and event work for nearly a decade. She has been a member of the eastside Jewish community since 2012 and is excited to help grow SIJCC as a staff member. Summre lives in Mt. Washington with her two kids, Miles and Lilou. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Los Angeles and watching a lot of movies, particularly documentaries.

Manda Graizel Director of Jewish Innovation

Manda Graizel is an East-Coast transplant who was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey. She received her BA in Sociology, Holocaust and Comparative Genocide Studies from Clark University in 2006 and has been working in the Jewish world ever since. During her decade in Jewish education, she has worked for Hillel, BBYO, numerous religious schools on both the east and west coasts, and most recently was the coordinator for the Diller Teen Fellows Program at Westside JCC. She received her Masters in Education at The American Jewish University in 2011. When Manda is not working to create meaningful Jewish experiences you can find her traveling, practicing yoga, playing Mah-Jong or hunting down the best cup of coffee in LA.

Shannon Rubenstone Development Director

Shannon grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon. She received her B.S. in Communication and Media Studies from Portland State University and quickly left the rain to come to sunny LA. Initially working in marketing and PR, Shannon was an events coordinator for an entertainment agency and a publicist for Center Theatre Group. She honed her fundraising skills while working in fund development and alumni relations at Sinai Akiba Academy. As the SIJCC’s Development Director, she is thrilled to be working for an organization that she’s passionate about, right here in her own neighborhood! In her free time, Shannon enjoys exploring new spots on the east side, playing with her puppy, and singing in a duo with her husband, Michael.

Liz Schwandt Director of Early Childhood Education

Liz has worked in early childhood education for almost 20 years.  She is dedicated to promoting the importance of a true developmental, play-based program here at the SIJCC Preschool, and believes fully that early childhood is the critical period of human development.

Liz has been at the helm of several organizations that serve young children (with a wide variety of needs and profiles) and is currently completing her doctorate in Child Clinical Psychology. Her research examines the role of attachment in developmental neurobiology between the ages of 2 and 6. Most importantly, Liz considers the position of Director of Early Childhood Education to be the perfect culmination of her life’s work and passions—she is committed to offering children opportunities to engage joyfully with each other and adults, to explore with wonder and security, and to tolerate the word “no” without the world ending.

Liz lives in NELA with her husband James and their daughter Rae (along with two excitable dogs and a grumpy tortoise). You can most likely find her, at home or at work, explaining—with a lot of love and patiencewhy it’s a terrible idea to eat that thing from the floor.

Joel Serot Events Manager

Joel Serot was born and raised in Anaheim, California. He received his B.A. from California State University Fullerton. While in school Joel worked for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as staff writer for the team publication Angels Magazine. In 2012 he moved to Los Angeles, dedicated to making an impact within the Jewish community here.

Prior to working at SIJCC, Joel worked as an events producer for the Jewish Federation Campaign department. Joel remains an active member of the Silverlake community and the Neighborhood Council Green Committee. Food and nature conservation are just a few of many subjects that he has great passion for. He also considers himself an experienced backpacker, who loves to be out on the trail and camping.

Lihi Shadmi Associate Director of Early Childhood Education

Lihi Shadmi was born in Tel Aviv and moved to Los Angeles at age 4. After traveling the world in her early-adult years she was inspired to make art and study early childhood education. Lihi graduated from Cal State Long Beach where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics.

Since 1998, Lihi has worked at SIJCC in various capacities. She taught in the Preschool for 6 years, and was instrumental in creating and implementing the Jewish curriculum. As Associate Director of ECE Lihi gets to work closely with teachers and children, while also leading the music program; playing guitar and singing songs throughout the week. Lihi strives to create a joyful and meaningful space for children and their families and is honored to be an instrumental part of a community to which she has long been connected. Her two boys, Aviv and Lev, are proud alumni of the SIJCC Preschool and lifetime lovers of graham crackers.

You can find Lihi on Friday mornings leading the preschool community in our weekly Shabbat sing-a-long.

Genna Projansky Programs Associate

Born and raised in Chicago, Genna moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue a degree in Popular Music from USC. Prior to joining the team at SIJCC, she worked as a music instructor at a school that focuses on rock instruments such as guitar, drums, and bass, her primary instrument. She is thrilled to be in a role that supports both ECE and JLC, and loves seeing the positive impact that these programs have in the lives of the students. Genna spends her spare time playing bass for various bands and artists across Los Angeles, including her own pop/punk band called Sorry Kyle.

Chloe Lew Communications Associate

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chloe recently moved back to her hometown after spending six years in Tel Aviv, Israel. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Kenyon College and a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University. Alongside her role at the SIJCC, Chloe also works as a freelance writer and editor. Previously, she worked as a reporter and in the non-profit sector, with a focus on improving Arab-Jewish relations and empowering African asylum seekers in Israel. In her free time, Chloe likes to do a lot of things that also start with the letter C: cooking, coffee, crosswords, and camping are among her favorites.