Board of Directors
Susan Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, to non-Deaf parents who raised her and her younger siblings in a traditional Conservative Jewish household where the family celebrated the holidays and kept kosher. Not having the Hebrew education that her siblings had, her desire to learn about her Jewish heritage, Hebrew and Jewish spirituality led her to completing her synagogue’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah program. In addition to leading its Deaf Access Committee, she participated on its Search Committee for the synagogue's first Program Director and on her daughters' Confirmation Committee. After their children completed their religious school education at Temple Beth Ami, she and her husband left behind 18 wonderful years of synagogue membership to give greater attention to Washington Society of Jewish Deaf. She served on the WSJD Board of Directors as its secretary for two terms from 2011-2017. In retrospect, she says, “I enjoy being an active part of the WSJD team, building ruach (spirit), and bringing together the community for shared learning opportunities." Susan is the Project Coordinator of the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library and Head of Adult Services/Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community for the Montgomery County Public Libraries. She and her husband, Jeff Cohen are proud of their two grown non-deaf daughters, son-in-law, and sweet fur granddog who they enjoy spoiling. She and her husband, Jeff enjoy traveling and discovering new ventures together.
Mike, who hails from Des Moines, Iowa, settled his roots in Silver Spring and is a proud father of Katelyn. Katelyn has been raised in an interfaith household. Judaism has been a strong part of his family growing up. His father was a temple administrator and a grants writer. Mike is currently involved in the public sector along with some consulting. He received his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice/political science from RIT and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore.
David was born and raised in Chicago, IL. and is a national Marketing and Sales Executive with sComm, a New York Life insurance agent, and a member of the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library Advisory Board. David worked with Sprint for 12 years as a member of the Sprint Relay team wearing several hats; Government Account Executive, Sales Executive, and an inaugural member of the Sprint Relay Store and CapTel Marketing teams. Prior to his employment with Sprint, he worked 15 years at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as a Career Opportunities Advisor, Employee Relations Administrator/Affirmative Action Coordinator, and Director of NTID Alumni Relations. David has a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Career and Human Resource Development from Rochester Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife and two sons in Monrovia, MD.
Brendan Stern grew up in California where he refused to attend Hebrew school to watch NFL games instead, which has sparked a life of guilt and insufficiency - and of Jewishness. Brendan received his BA degree with summa cum laude honors from Gallaudet University in 2006, two MA degrees from American University and Catholic University of America (CUA), and is currently working on his PhD in American politics at CUA. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Government and Public Affairs at Gallaudet. He is a proud husband to Dana Sipek and an even prouder father to two young Jewish children, both of whom he is optimistic will receive their bar and bat mitzvahs because they don't seem to like football yet. For the 2016-2019 term, he is the WSJD director for fundraising. He sees the Society as serving an essential function in our fragmented culture by providing comfortable spaces for deaf Jews from diverse backgrounds in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to meet, foster social networks of friends, and uphold Jewish values of justice, intellectual curiosity, and Tikkun Olam. His immediate goals as fundraising director include goal setting, information collecting, planning, donor development, and marketing. In his free time, he enjoys reading, chess, basketball, and making his kids feel as if they could always do better, to their enduring frustration. Brendan lives in Maryland with his family.
Jeffrey Dunefsky, a New York native, received his Jewish education at PS 47. He later transferred to Lexington School for the Deaf. At this school, he attended a class once a week to study Judaism and had a bar mitzvah. As a member of WSJD for over 25 years, he has held different positions on the Board of Directors. He served as its treasurer from 1986-1988, vice president from 1988-1992, and member at large from 1996-1997. He took on active roles in WSJD over the years by assisting in the development of its programs, such as high holy day services. For the 2016-2019 term, he currently is one of the three Directors on the WSJD Board of Directors with a focus on Outreach. He also is member at large for the Jewish Deaf Congress (JDC) and is assisting its Board of Directors in the planning of the 2017 conference. He earned his associate of applied science degree in medical lab technology from NTID and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Gallaudet University. He lives with his wife, son and daughter.
Sarah Rosen Strom
Director: ADA Accommodations
Sarah Rosen is a proud New York City native who hails from Brooklyn. Sarah recently moved with her family to Maryland to reconnect with the deaf Jewish community on the Eastern starboard. She is an active advocate for members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing communities. Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design and a Master of Social Work degree from Gallaudet University She lives in Monrovia, MD with her husband and two sons.
Jeff and his wife, Susan, are the proud parents of two adult daughters. When their daughters were of Hebrew School age, they joined Temple Beth Ami, a Reform Jewish congregation in Rockville, Maryland. They worked closely with the Temple’s clergy, the religious school, and the community to ensure that their needs and that of its Jewish deaf members of Temple Beth Ami are met. Jeff served on the Temple’s Board of Directors for five years, on the Rabbinical Search Committee, and as the Temple’s financial secretary, as well as with the Deaf Access Committee. Jeff served two terms as president of WSJD from 2011-2017. Jeff currently works as an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University. He received his B.S. degree in Social Work from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Master in Information Systems from University of Maryland, University College.
Helping Our Community
Terry Bittker, Judy Jonas, Tracy Rattner and Marcia Zisman.
to Hillel at Gallaudet