Meet the dedicated team members of JADE who are committed to guiding you with compassion through the wisdom of Jewish traditions.


Co-Founder, Chair of the Board

David Zinner is the founder and recently retired Executive Director of Kavod v’Nichum, (Honor and Comfort), which has worked to restore to Jewish death and bereavement practice, the traditions and values of kavod hamet (honoring the dead) and nichum avelim (comforting the bereaved) since 2000. He is also the co-founder of the Gamliel Institute, a center for leadership training and advocacy of traditional Jewish practice in the continuum of care at the end of life since 2010.

His 20 years of work for Kavod v’Nichum included traveling around the country conducting chevrah kadisha trainings for local chevrot, coordinating the Chevrah Kadisha Conference, a conference dedicated to sharing knowledge about Jewish end of life practices, and managing the website, a website which includes hundreds of pages of resources on Jewish end of life practices.

David’s newest project – PRINCE – Preservation and Restoration Initiative for Neglected Cemetery Entities matches cemeteries that need labor with prisoners eligible for work release.

As co-Vice-President of the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington, David participates in developing citywide contracts with funeral homes. He is a consumer representative on the State of Maryland’s Advisory Council on Cemetery Operations. He was the Executive Director of Tifereth Israel Congregation, a conservative synagogue in Washington, DC for 10 years.

David is a past president, choir member, succah building coordinator and Chevra Kadisha Chair at the Columbia Jewish Congregation and a bike leader for Cycle to Health, a Howard County sponsored senior cycling group, and a chief election judge in Howard County Maryland.

David received his Bachelor’s Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, MO with a major in non-profit management.



Susan Kramer, CEO and founder of Kramer Consulting, partners with nonprofit organizations and empowers them to emerge into new eras of prosperity fueled by relationship-based giving.

Susan’s radical approach to development has transformed the giving landscape at every organization she has crossed paths with and earned her a reputation as a thought leader and disruptor in the non-profit industry. In her 20 years of senior leadership, she has driven millions in donations, developed a new generation of leaders, and connected countless individuals to the heart of what inspires them to give of their time, talent, and treasure.

Susan Kramer holds a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Regis University, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and is a certified Competent Toastmaster. She also has a tambourine and a pair of gossamer fairy wings hanging on her living room wall. She is a true believer that every hard journey will have a celebratory end and that the “magic” we need to catalyze change is always within us if only we have the courage and heart to look deeply enough.



Curriculum Designer

Rick Light has been teaching about Jewish death practices for more than two decades, showing how respect is woven throughout Jewish end-of-life rituals, enriching how we live. He started a Chevrah Kadisha in 1996 and led it for 18 years. Along the way he became an instructor for the Gamliel Institute and has published seven books, including a highly praised Passover Haggadah, and four books on Jewish death practices, one of which won a Nautilus Book Award. His taharah manual is widely respected and includes traditional as well as modern liturgies with chants by Rabbi Shefa Gold. See


Curriculum Designer

HollyBlue is a Natural Deathcare advocate, educator, community organizer, cemeterian, author and poet. In 2022 she co-created and launched two twelve-module courses on the subject of Natural Burial: in partnership with Lee Webster The Green Burial Master Class; and with David Zinner Jewish And Green: Cemetery Management For The 21. As Gamliel Institute graduate and faculty, Final Passages graduate, member of the Conservation Burial Alliance, Rosha Chevra Kadisha (Head of Jewish Burial Society), past member of the Board of Trustees of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of California and independent consultant; with over 40 years of experience in end-of-life subjects, Holly Blue provides education and training to both Jewish and secular audiences. She has visited countless natural burial sites from England to Hawai’i, presented at international conferences, trained home funeral guides, consulted with cemetery management and mortuary personnel, taught community college extension courses and is a passionate advocate for environmentally sustainable and culturally-sensitive burial practices.


Jewish Death Educator (Boulder, CO)

Evie’s involvement in the field of death and dying began in 1993 when her parents became hospice care parents. She moved to Florida to help care for them and later her aunt also, spending three years overseeing their care.

In order to deal with the anticipatory grief she read many books on the topics, joined a support group and realized that she experienced a transformation. That is, focusing on what is important and hoping (and believing) that it is true there is an afterlife. After their deaths, she moved to Tucson and was on staff at a hospice as the Volunteer Coordinator & Community Liaison.  While she already had earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling, she took a graduate level course in Death and Dying to continue understanding this life process.

Hospice work continued to call to her when she moved to Colorado so she became a volunteer with a hospice and continues volunteering. 

She has been on the leadership team of the Boulder, CO Chevra Kadisha for over 15 years and coordinates the shmira and tahara for the funeral homes in the area for all Jewish deaths, whether they are affiliated with a synagogue or not. It seems to be a calling for her to help others with end of life traditions and issues.

Evie is originally from Chevy Chase, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  She raised her three children in Rhode Island and lived in Memphis, Florida and Tucson before moving to Colorado. Her children have blessed her with 4 grandchildren. She has been a Realtor since 2006.  She loves the outdoors and enjoys skiing, hiking and sailing and walks (and cuddling) with her small dog, Lili — and enjoying her grandchild. 


Jewish Death Educator (Portland, OR)

Rachel has a deep-seated passion & soul-calling to death work. In response to this calling she has trained as a death doula and spends her free time volunteering as a bedside companion to the dying and their families. She is honored to support people and their loved ones with navigating the complexities of end of life. Rachel has a knack for engaging people with end of life education – she is able to balance passionate discussion with the ability to hold space and honor the grief, anxiety and confusion that can come up around the topics of death and dying. She is also an active member of her community Chevra Kadisha.

She lives and works in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children and is spiritually sustained by the supportive Jewish community there. When she’s not doing deathwork you can find her at torah study, volunteering in the preschool classroom, baking and doing embroidery.


Jewish Death Educator (Princeton, NJ)

Lori Simon is a Jewish community leader, death educator, and pediatric occupational therapist. Weaving a unique blend of life coaching, anti-racism work, therapeutic modalities, and Jewish education, her work guides people through physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation — from infants and their families, to children, and to elders.  Lori has led programs and practices for Jewish congregations, service organizations, domestic violence prevention nonprofits, and more.

Lori carries a passion for guiding individuals through difficult conversations surrounding death, loss, and love. Through her work supporting young children and their families, she fosters growth and healing in diverse communities across New Jersey. Lori’s deep commitment to social justice and spiritual growth drives her towards meaningful connections with all living beings, empowering people on their journey towards wholeness.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Lori is an avid wildlife and national parks enthusiast, finding solace and inspiration in the beauty of nature. She is a mother of two sons who are her greatest teachers.


Jewish Death Educator (Denver, CO)

Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav is a native of Chicago, Ill, and a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1992).  He is also a founding member of Ohalah: The Alliance of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.

Rabbi Steve was first profoundly called into Jewish end-of-life work when a couple years out of rabbinical school, his friend and colleague R. Michael Tayvah (z’l)  called and asked if he would drive down with him to the DC area to participate in the Chevre Kaddisha as it prepared his brother’s body for burial.  Though not usual for a family member to do this (not forbidden either), Michael said “I washed and took care of my brother for months, I want to do this too.  But I will know when it is time for me to step out and let the community take over.  When that time comes, I want you to be my support and step out with me.”  

Needless to say it was a transformative experience.  As a rabbi, Steve was familiar with being in the presence of “klei Kodesh” (Holy Vessels/objects), but being in the presence of a “met,” a dead body, being treated with such profound love and respect, continues to be the most powerful experience in his life and rabbinate. 

Sadly about 20 yrs. Later R. Steve made several trips to Philadelphia to visit with R. Michael as he was dealing with pancreatic cancer.  At Michael’s request he facilitated a little known Sephardic ritual called “Rodeomentos” at Michael’s funeral.

Steve was mentored by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi at RRC and beyond, both as a rabbi and as a student of “spiritual eldering.”  He moved to Colorado in 1998 in part to be near his teacher in his final decades.

Steve had the great gift of being a congregational rabbi for 14yrs, facilitating hundreds of life-cycle events.  He feels blessed to still be called to do weddings and funerals often today.

Steve has worked for over a decade as a chaplain at Kavod Senior Life, which he likes to call a “Jewish hosted multifaith affordable housing community for seniors” in Denver.  He is honored and enriched to work in such a blessed and wonderful community.  He also directs The Multifaith Leadership Forum of Metro Denver. 

Steve is a trained “Jewish Wilderness Spirituality” guide, and also a trained Jewish Mindfulness teacher.  At a week long gathering for rabbi’s and Navajo spiritual leaders in Canyon DeChelley (on the Navajo reservation in Az) in 1994, R. Steve realized he most loves “being outdoors and physical and “doing Jewish.””  And he later realized that he learned this important lesson about himself while being hosted by another earth-based culture….. thus his love for “multifaith engagement.” 

He is thrilled to be part of the JADE project today, which he sees as offering a great blessing to the American Jewish world.


Meet the JADE Board of Directors

Jill Schwartz-Chevlin

Board Member

Jill Schwartz-Chevlin is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in start-up healthcare environments caring for complex medical patients. She is skilled in palliative care, home-based primary care, managed care, population health, post-acute care, disease management, pay-for-performance, and healthcare innovations. She has led national teams and programs as Regional

Chief Medical
Officer for WellBe Senior Medical, overseeing clinical quality and care in five states. Previously Senior Medical Officer for private equity healthcare group valued up to $3.5 billion and was the founder of a home-based primary and palliative care practice which was profitable for more than ten years and founding Hospice Medical Director of a startup hospice that card for approximately one thousand patients over ten years.

As Chief Medical Officer for several states at WellBe, Jill is responsible for the clinical model optimization and standardization for an in- home physician run practice caring for the highest risk patients. As Senior Medical Officer at Landmark Health/Optum, National Palliative Care Lead, Jill was responsible for the strategy, development, and implementation of the national clinical palliative care program including workforce training, operational process, outcome metrics, and overall accountability for palliative care performance for over 65,000 engaged patients. During her time here, she helped create a palliative care workforce through training, coaching, and interdisciplinary collaboration improving advance care planning and improving cost of care by over twenty percent. As Medical Director and Director of Palliative Care for DaVita Medical Group/ Tandigm (acquired), a home-based medical practice, Jill developed and implemented a palliative care program as a member benefit for a health plan where she developed a workforce providing palliative care within a home based practice specializing in care for the highest risk most complex patients for more than one hundred and fifty physician-led practices reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and skilled nursing facility admissions by up to twenty percent.

Previously, Jill was an Assistant Clinical Professor at RWJ Rutgers Medical School for 26 years where she taught physical diagnosis, a patient-centered medicine preceptor, and developed the palliative care education curriculum. Jill was part of the Editorial staff for AAHCM Frontiers, the Chair of Wellness, Well-being, and Burnout special interest group AAHPM (fix grammar). She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Board Member of the Goals of Care Coalition for NJ, a Palliative Task Force Member of GOCCNJ, and a featured presenter for AAHCM, Hospice News, and Elevate webinars. Jill is a passionate community advocate for palliative care services, has participated in numerous community presentations and health fairs, developed content, and moderated national palliative care programs for National Hadassah Conventions in NYC and Atlanta. She is a Board member, at Abrams Hebrew Academy, Past Chair of, National Physicians Council, Hadassah. Jill completed her internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical Honor Society. Jill holds an MBA from George Washington University, Beta Gamma Sigma, Business School Honor Society.


Board Member

Yael Biederman Galinson is the rosha of the Chevra Kadisha at her reform synagogue, Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, California. She is an End of Life Doula, a volunteer with hospice and with Jewish Family and Children’s palliative care program, a board member of Sinai Memorial Chapel, and a student of Gamliel and the Ben Zakkai Institute. Yael is committed to providing emotional, spiritual, and practical support to families around illness, end of life, death, and bereavement.


Board Member

Elissa is the Coordinator of Core’s Communities of Practice (CoP). In this role she facilitates connections, conversations and development of all the Core communities, provides essential support to CoP leaders and oversees the seamless execution of events. She plays a key role in enhancing the professional growth and community building efforts within each community. ( 

In addition, Elissa is the Founding Director of Core Connects RI, a non-profit organization that aims to deepen women’s connections to one another, to Jewish wisdom and Jewish values, to empower each other to find greater meaning, purpose and possibility in life and to cultivate unity without uniformity. 

Elissa was born in London, England and in 1985 married her American husband and they started their married life in Washington, DC. After the death of her first child, Elissa started to explore Judaism in much greater depth. In her quest to understand the loss of her baby she explored Jewish sources in general and more specifically regarding death and the afterlife. She is very active on her local chevra kadisha and she speaks widely on this topic. 

Elissa started and actively manages Core’s community of practice for women engaged with traditional Chevra Kadisha. To date it is truly an international community of hundreds of women from all over the US and Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, Holland, France, Italy, Israel, Chile, Panama, Mexico, South Africa and even Australia. The mission of the community is to share experiences, give encouragement, network and help to develop and support each other. 

Elissa is responsible for providing on-going professional development for the community. The knowledge she has acquired motivated her to write a book which is a personal memoir of loss and grief with the Jewish teachings about life, death and the afterlife woven into the story. The book, “From One Life to the Next Life; The Sacred Passage After Death,” is due to be released at the beginning of the summer with Mosaica Press. 

Through all of these experiences Elissa mentors and encourages others on their journeys.


Board Member

Robert G. (Bob) Evans is a semi-retired IT (Information Technology) Consultant living on the Northern California Mendocino Coast. For +25 years he has been a member of the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community (MCJC) Chevrah Kadisha performing Taharah and sitting Shmirah. Beginning in 2017, he has been involved in Kavod v’Nichum, taking the Core Courses as many times as possible and attending, volunteering at and presenting at annual conferences. He is a member of the Community and Chevrah Education Collaborative (C&CEC) Executive Commitee and served on the MCJC Board for 5 years.

Bob grew up in Riverside, CA. His academic background is in the life sciences (Genetics and Evolutionary Biology) at UCD, but he went astray and ended up in the corporate world. He was a VP at a multinational financial institution based in San Francisco for 23 years, and ended up working at many locations during merger madness. In IT, he was a coder, tech support analyst, system architect performance manager, QA manager, project manager, operations manager, financial/budget and costing analyst, web designer, risk analyst and contingency planner and executive management consultant (tech explainer/advisor, organization improvement, communication improvement). (One might deduce he could not hold a job). He has also been a locker room attendant and a lab flunky. After a steady job, he did contract IT consulting and business analysis work in the SF Bay Area on retail supply chains and for a wholesale bakery. These days he does whatever comes his way for small businesses, non-profits and individuals; recently, mostly new systems, networking and Cybersecurity.

Bob’s primary volunteer interests in semi-retirement are reducing unnecessary suffering at end of life, through the restoration of Jewish traditions, and cat rescue. Bob has innumerable interests; some of them are cats, Jewish learning, participation in the local Jewish congregation, friends, ocean kayaking, literature, architecture, hiking, grave markers, ceramics, plant propagation, political activism, virology, travel, music, maker electronics, forestry, soil science, psychology, neurodiversity, political activism, economics, gender studies, technology, hiking, mental health activism, cooking/eating, disability rights, tutoring, suicide prevention, ethical wills, film, podcasts, cemeteries, sustainability, economic and social justice science in general, philosophy, process improvement and constant learning.


Board Member

Philippa Gamse is a digital marketing strategy and analytics expert with over 25 years’ experience of running her own consulting practice.  She has consulted with nearly 500 clients in N. America, Europe and the Midde East, and worked with websites that have cumulatively generated hundreds of millions of dollars.  The author of “42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins”, endorsed by Vinton Cerf (the “Father of the Internet”) and Guy Kawasaki among others, she has taught at three international business schools.  Originally from the UK, she now lives in Santa Cruz, CA. 

Philippa is dedicated to inspiring business owners and marketing executives to find actionable insights in their digital analytics that will grow their business and cut wasted spending, because so many are missing those “hidden gems”.  While reviewing more than 5,000 websites over the course of her career, she has found that almost all of them were leaving money on the table, either in missed opportunities for revenue growth, or by wasting money on ineffective marketing.