Staff come to JAA for many different reasons, and bring with them a wealth of experience, interests, passions and ideas.  JAA is committed to being a great place to work where employees feel that they are valued, treated fairly and given recognition for their contribution to the organisation’s success. JAA aims to provide an environment that fosters good working relationships at all levels and offers flexible and supportive work practices. We believe that investing in our staff is the key to ongoing learning, and offer a wide range of professional development choices for staff to undertake.

Organisational Development 

Gary Samowitz (CEO) was appointed JAA’s first CEO in 2009. Under Gary’s leadership the organisation has swiftly expanded its programs and volunteer base. Gary holds degrees in History and International Relations and is a dynamic public speaker and community leader. In 2012 he was the recipient of an Australian Leadership Award. 

Lillian Kline (Development Director) began her career as a corporate lawyer. Since then she has held roles in government, universities and the private sector and has gained extensive experience in the not-for-profit world. Lillian recently completed her Masters of Law in Human Rights.

Ravit Tidhar (Administration Coordinator) has been an Architect since 1998. Ravit has been volunteering with JAA since early 2011 in a number of Refugee Support Programs.


Sheryl Cardozo (Education Director) is a native New Yorker who has made Melbourne her home. She brings to JAA a career in the not-for-profit sector and experience in informal Jewish education. Her own education includes a Master of Education from Harvard and a Master of Public Health from The University of Melbourne. 

Elise Teperman (Isaiah Fellowship Coordinator) holds a double degree in Sustainability and Psychology, and has volunteered overseas in the past teaching English in developing countries.

Janet Granek (Sydney Education Coordinator) holds a BA in Social Inquiry. She has worked with the Jewish community in Sydney since 2004. Most of this time she developed and delivered youth, young adult and family programs at North Shore Temple Emanuel.

Arielle Rutman (Youth and Schools Coordinator) is an Law/Arts student who was previously a madricha at Habonim Dror. She is passionate about pursuing social justice through informal education and collective responsibility.

Refugee Support 

Lisa Buchner (Refugee Support Director) has been at JAA since 2004. She is a Special Education Teacher, has taught in both the mainstream and disability fields and has worked in the community sector with those experiencing homelessness.

Kerry Saloner (Sydney Refugee Support Coordinator) holds a Masters degree in Social Work. Her work is strongly guided by the pursuit of social justice for, and in partnership with, minority or disadvantaged communities.

Robbie Goldman (Youth Programs Coordinator) has a bachelor of commerce and is completing his Masters in Supply Chain and Logistics Management at RMIT. He coordinates the Youth Club, iCan Scholarship and school holiday programs.

Dimple Gupta (Womens Group Coordinator) has studied Bachelors in Arts and Diploma in Community Welfare. She has been working  as a Welfare worker for over 5 years. Dimple is  passionate about working with and for culturally and linguistically diverse women.

Indigenous Partnerships 

Kez Gaddin (Director of Indigenous Partnerships ) is a qualified Paediatric Nurse and community welfare worker. She is passionate about community development and has worked in these fields in both Australia and Africa.

Jade Solomon (Programs Support) is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts/Law. She has a particular interest in pursuing social justice and offers support to JAA’s programs in a range of capacities.


Dean Levitan (Campaigns Coordinator) is an Arts/Law student who has not-for-profit experience in areas of advocacy and fundraising.