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Orange County

Moving Forward

Merage JCC adds a new executive to leadership team. By Julie Holdaway

The Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine is excited to announce that Samantha Cohen (“Sam”) has been promoted to Assistant Executive Director/Vice President of Program Services. Sam first joined the Merage JCC from 2006-07 as the Assistant Director of the JCC Maccabi Games. Those Games turned out to be the second largest Maccabi Games in JCC history, and an overall success. In 2011, Sam returned to the Merage JCC as the Director of the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest and quickly moved to the position of Program Director, overseeing a number of programs and departments. In her new role she will serve as Assistant Executive Director/ Vice President of Program Services, overseeing growth in Cultural Arts, Adults, JCC 10

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Cares, Israel and Jewish Engagement, Maccabi and Leadership Development programming, as well as launching the new BJE @ the JCC, Jewish and Israel education program. Born and raised in London, England, Sam holds a Bsoc.sci in Politics and International Relations from Manchester University and Msc. in Human Rights from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Sam has been involved in Jewish Community life since her early teens. She started as a Jewish athlete in Maccabi and in Hanoar Hatzioni, a Zionist youth movement, as a camper, Israel tour participant and leader. As a Jewish student, she became a political leader representing Jewish student interests and the case for Israel at a local and national level. She went on to work professionally for the UK Jewish Community in political affairs and played a leading role in the International Jewish Community coalition’s campaign in response to the 2009 Durban 2 conference at the United Nations in

Geneva. Additionally she represented UK Jewish interests to government and NGO’s, developed and delivered political as well as community development strategies and spearheaded the event logistics and mobilization of 50,000 attendees for a Pro-Israel rally in Central London during the 2009 Gaza conflict. In addition, Sam participated in 25 Maccabi/JCC Maccabi Games. She first represented Team Great Britain as a junior tennis player in 1999. Through Maccabi she has been all over the world as an athlete, coach, manager, Delegation Head and Games Director. She loves movies, to travel, playing sport and supporting Arsenal Football Club. “We are lucky to have such a highly qualified person as part of our executive team,” said Dan Bernstein, president and CEO of Merage JCC. “I am confident under Samantha’s consummate guidance, we’ll take our programming — and the J overall – to the next level, building an even stronger and more vibrant Jewish community in Orange County.” 

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May 2016  

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