MEET THE TEAM
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 jewish-funerals.org 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.
Isabel is a human-centered designer in the deathcare space. She is also the President of the National Home Funeral Alliance and a board member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Pennsylvania. She has previously served on the steering committee for the Chevrah Kadisha conference hosted by Kavod v’Nichum, a conference dedicated to sharing knowledge about Jewish end of life practices.
In her work as a human-centered designer, she helps doulas and death-positive businesses and nonprofits develop their organizational priorities by hosting visioning sessions where participants align on high-level goals and initiatives. She also creates online courses and offers freelance graphic design work. Her primary goal is to make death a more equitable experience for all, and one day hopes to open a real-life “death cafe” and death education space in Philadelphia! You can find her on Instagram at @thedeathdesigner.
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 richardalight.com.
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.