After six years as our executive director and two years previously as our assistant director, we are reluctantly saying farewell to Ron Skolnik as a member of our staff. Our organization — currently and under our former name of Meretz USA — has benefitted from the efforts of some outstanding individuals, of whom Ron is definitely one. He will be sorely missed for his knowledge of Israel (where he lived for most of his adult life), his analytic ability, his communication skills, and his civility and warmth. We thought it worthwhile to fill you in on the current activities of a number of the others.
First of all, our previous executive director, Charney Bromberg, retired at the end of January 2008 and became a member of our board. Born to a family of trade unionists and Yiddishists instrumental in the establishment of the Yiddish Daily Forverts (The Forward newspaper) and the Jewish Labor Committee, Charney has had a distinguished career in community organizing, going back to his days in the early 1960s as a young volunteer for civil rights in Mississippi (when this was a truly dangerous activity) to his many years in Jewish communal service. Aside from enjoying his expanding brood of grandchildren, he currently takes delight in teaching the history of the civil rights movement at the Westchester Community College Consortium for Learning and the Rockland County Extension program of Long Island University.
Of our many young assistants over the years, several come to mind for their interesting career developments since. One is Miriam Felton-Dansky, who played an important role in initiating this weblog, which went operational early in 2006. She also worked closely with her predecessor, Mairav Zonszein, when the latter became the director of the Union of Progressive Zionists, a national student organization that was jointly created by Meretz USA, Ameinu, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim-Dror, and is now J Street U.
Miriam left Meretz USA to earn a Master’s degree in
theater criticism at Yale University, where she later garnered a doctorate in dramaturgy, and recently has been appointed to a tenure-track assistant professorship at Bard College. She is also a theater critic for The Village Voice.
Mairav has moved back to Israel, where she is a human rights activist and an editor and freelance journalist of note for Israeli and American publications. She is a contributing writer for the feisty left-wing webzine, +972 Magazine.
Gal Beckerman went on from Meretz USA to earn a Master’s degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism, and has gone from being a reporter to currently serving as opinion editor for The Forward. He also wrote a well-received book on the movement for the rights of Soviet Jewry, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).
Mimi Micner (right) was hired for only a couple of months, before returning to college, but her exemplary qualities were obvious. She’s become an experienced organizer, having worked for the labor movement (for the American Federation of Teachers) and for the Jewish community. She is currently the New England campus organizer for J Street U.