Established in 2004, JQ is the premiere LGBTQ+ Jewish organization in Los Angeles. JQ celebrates the lives of LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies by transforming Jewish communities and ensuring inclusion through education, support, and identity-enrichment. From Shabbat dinners to holiday gatherings to educational panels to inclusion training for institutions, JQ’s community engagement and identity-enriching programs and support services promote the healthy integration of LGBTQ+ and Jewish identities. JQ envisions a world where all LGBTQ+ Jews feel a strong sense of self, pride, and community – a place where LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies are supported by communities that embrace their needs and celebrate their unique gifts.

Meet team JQ

Asher Gellis

Chief Executive Officer and Founder
+1.323.417.2627 x2

Asher's Bio

Asher Gellis, MBA, founder and CEO of JQ International earned a BA in Political Theory from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Prior to launching JQ International in 2004, Asher served as the Regional Director for Hadassah’s Young Judaea in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He created curriculum for the Bureau of Jewish Education in Los Angeles, and guided teen scholastic Israel tours. As JQ’s first and only ED, over the years, Asher has launched dozens of groundbreaking LGBTQ Jewish programs and services in Los Angeles affecting thousands of lives and steering the Jewish Community towards LGBTQ inclusion for generations to come. In recent years Asher was an inaugural member for the PresenTenseLA Fellowship, American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellowship, and Eighteen:22; the global think tank of LGBTQ and ally Jewish visionaries. Currently, Asher serves on the Community Advisory Board of Southern California Media Group (PBS SoCal).

Shana Gee-Cohen

Chief Development Officer
+1.323.417.2627 x700

Shana's Bio

Shana Gee-Cohen serves as JQ's first-ever Chief Development Officer. Before JQ, Shana was Bend the Arc: Jewish Action’s Major Gift Officer and has worked in the nonprofit Jewish community since 2011. Shana’s experience in fundraising is grounded in the belief that communities with wealth and privilege are accountable to transform their resources and power for systemic change. Shana believes in shifting the root causes of inequality through racial and economic justice and queer liberation. 

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Shana earned her Master’s in Social Policy and Practice and her BSW from Temple University, focusing on healthcare access for LGBTQ+ individuals. She lives in Thousand Oaks with her spouse, Beck, two fur babies, and never enough plants! She is a triple earth sign, a queer zoftig Jewitch, with an unwavering commitment to intersectional feminism and intentional community building.

Anna Goodman

Director of Communications & Events
+1.323.417.2627 x5

Anna's Bio

Anna Goodman graduated with a bachelor's degree in media and communications from Ohio University in 2011, and has since worked in a variety of fields ranging from event production and development, media and graphic design, to sales and customer care. With a passion for activism and the LGBTQ+ community, Anna has taken her Jewish identity, queer identity, and career experience to JQ to bring awareness and safe, affirming spaces to all LGBTQ+ Jews. You can also find her performing on stage as her alter ego /Drag King identity, Dandy Frank, as well as hosting various lesbian and queer events for young adults throughout Los Angeles. 

Sasha Dominguez

Director of Education & Inclusion
+1.323.417.2627 x3

Sasha's Bio

Sasha Dominguez brings innovative ideas and practices and a deep love for building relationships and learning through a Jewish lens. She grew up in Tampa, FL and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University. Her passion for Jewish community and education led her to Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) where she gained two master’s degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management. Sasha has had experiences across Jewish denominations, within varying organization types and hopes to continue creating inclusive Jewish community that makes our tradition relevant and relatable.She is thrilled to be joining the JQ team and community.

Amy Osiason

Director of Finance
+1.323.417.2627 x6

Amy's Bio
Sidney Harrison

JQ Executive Assistant
+1.323.417.2627 x4

Sidney's Bio

Sidney Anne Harrison (She/Her) is a mixed-race nerd and ally who was born and raised in Los Angeles. After graduating from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Studies, Sidney spent her early twenties traveling and working several jobs in administration and education, including teaching abroad in South Korea. Now that she's a little older and a little more settled, Sidney is excited to start working with JQ and supporting the valuable work of the organization's mission because she is passionate about community program creation and support services, for underserved populations.


Sidney's hobbies usually fall under two categories: nerdy or outdoorsy. She enjoys playing video games and board games, watching horror movies, hiking, spending quiet time at the beach or in a forest, and, of course, reading every book she can get her hands on. She's also a newly dedicated yogi and hopes to continue writing creative fiction and nonfiction in her spare time. She is thrilled to become a part of the JQ International team and to start working with them to provide resources and create equitable, affirming spaces for the Jewish LGBTQ+ community!

Marlee Goldshine

Tzelem for LGBTQ+ Jewish Teens Program Leader

Marlee's Bio

Marlee Goldshine (She/Her/Hers) is a Jewish Communal Professional and recent graduate of the HUC-JIR Zelikow School for Jewish Nonprofit Management with a background in programming, relationship building, and direct community service. Her current full-time role is with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles as the Program Manager, Wellness Initiatives and she's thrilled to continue working with JQ International. She is passionate about working with LGBTQ+ Jewish teens through the monthly Moving Traditions program because she believes queer representation is of the utmost importance for teens. In her free time, she enjoys perfecting a challah recipe, craft projects, and hosting Shabbat dinner. 

Yosef Nemanpour

HUC Intern

Yosef's Bio

Yosef Nemanpour is a proud member of the Persian Jewish community in Los Angeles. He received his BA in Jewish Studies from UCLA and is currently studying at the Zelikow School of Hebrew Union College getting his Master's in Jewish Nonprofit Management ('21). Yosef is also a Nachshon Project Graduate Fellow of The Legacy Heritage Foundation. Currently, at JQ International, Yosef is the Graduate Development Intern working closely with Shana Gee-Cohen on Development and Fundraising, and he is very excited to expand the reach and impact of JQ International's crucial and life-saving work. 

Mastaneh Moghadam, M.S.W., LCSW

Helpline & Support Group Clinical Supervisor
License No. LCSW 23095

Amy's Bio

Todd Shotz, a long-time member of JQ and JQ’s current Board Chair. He is a film producer and the creator of Hebrew Helpers a national B’nai Mitzvah education service. Todd has served on many start-up and second tier non profit boards.

Michael Levine

Transgender and Nonbinary Support Group Facilitator

Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
AMFT 124078
Employed by JQ International

Supervised by Mastaneh Moghadam,
License No. LCSW 23095

Michael's Bio

Todd Shotz, a long-time member of JQ and JQ’s current Board Chair. He is a film producer and the creator of Hebrew Helpers a national B’nai Mitzvah education service. Todd has served on many start-up and second tier non profit boards.

JQ Board of directors

Todd Shotz

Board Co-Chair

Todd's Bio

Todd Shotz, a long-time member of JQ and JQ’s current Board Chair. He is a film producer and the creator of Hebrew Helpers a national B’nai Mitzvah education service. Todd has served on many start-up and second tier non profit boards.

Neil Spears

Board Co-Chair

Neil's Bio

Neil Spears serves as Executive Director of the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center after eight years as Regional and Executive Director at Power MyLearning. Neil has a BA from University of California San Diego and a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Amy Alterman-Paradiso

Board Member

Amy's Bio

Amy Elizabeth Alterman (MPH) is a PhD candidate in Culture and Performance. Working at the nexus of performance studies, gender studies, anthropology, and public health, she applies feminist and performance theory to current sexual and reproductive health problems. Based on two years of ethnographic research, her dissertation analyzes the obstacles, resiliencies, and support networks associated with independent abortion clinics in the United States—spotlighting the Abortion Access Front comedy show as an arts-based public health intervention. Her work has been published in ContraceptionThe Journal of Adolescent Health, and other publications.

Deb Engel-Kollin

Board Member

Deb's Bio

Deborah Engel Kollin is an educator and parent of a queer teen (now college student) in JQ’s Teen JQSA program. Her passion for JQ lies in her desire to make the most inclusive Jewish community possible to ensure her child is embraced as an LGBTQ+ Jew.  Deb was the Admissions and Outreach Coordinator at Westside Waldorf School and was the Director of Operations of the Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am for 12 years.

Jonathan Epstein

Board Member

Jonathan's Bio

Jonathan Epstein is an entertainment publicist with a focus on film theatrical, series launch and awards strategy campaigns. He began his career in the NY office of Strategy PR/Consulting, working on Oscar winning films such as David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Ben Affleck’s ARGO, and Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD.  

After a stint in the publicity departments of The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate’s NY offices, Jonathan made his way to LA and back to Strategy PR/Consulting, where he currently helps spearhead campaigns on behalf of all of the agency’s clients.  His latest campaigns include films such as Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER, Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD and Paul Thomas Anderson’s PHANTOM THREAD, in addition to streaming series such as Disney +’s WANDAVISION, Hulu’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE and Apple TV+’s TED LASSO. 

Jordan Held

Board Member

Jordan's Bio

Jordan Held MSW, MS (he/him/his) is a Clinical Social Worker at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in the Center for Trans Youth Health and Development. As a queer identified, transgender man, Jordan brings a dual perspective to the needs and realities of the trans community. 

Max Landwirth

Board Member

Max's Bio

Max Landwirth is an independent film producer based in Los Angeles. He is the founder of Landwirth Legacy Productions. Max hopes to continue his grandfather’s philanthropic legacy infusing service and social-awareness in everything he does, both personally and professionally. 

Murray Levin

Board Member

Murray's Bio

Murray Levin is a CPA and CFO in the nonprofit sector. Murray is a longtime member of the JQ community and has over 35 years of experience in financial planning and accounting.

Lindsay Kauffman

Board Member

Lindsay's Bio

Lindsay Kauffman is the Founder and Executive Director of Bay Area Girls unite. She is committed to helping young athletes fall in love with the game of soccer, encouraging them to be strong, healthy, and confident. Lindsay was the assistant coach for the Gold Medal winning of the 2013 USA Maccabi Women’s Team and was awarded the San Francisco Unified School District Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2014. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Shalom Kimble, and dog Percee.

Meir Kojman

Board Member

Meir's Bio

Meir Kojman is a Building Performance Engineer, working for a multi-national, multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy firm. Meir gained a Master of Engineering degree in Architectural Engineering from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lived for five years. On making Los Angeles his home in early 2018, Meir began attending JQ events, and is passionately involved in the organization. 

Nate Looney

Board Member

Nate's Bio

Nate Looney is Avodah’s Manager of Racial Justice Initiatives, leading diversity strategies at Avodah, focusing on Jews of Color. He previously served as Avodah’s JOC Recruiter. Nate is also the CEO and Owner of Westside Urban Gardens, an urban agricultural company based in Los Angeles, CA. Nate is an AJU alum, entrepreneur, strategist, US Army Veteran, and Urban Farmer. Nate joined the US Army National Guard in 2003. After Bootcamp, Nate relocated to New Orleans, where he was both a military police soldier and a full-time college transfer student at Dillard University, an HBCU. Nate was part of rescue efforts during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and deployed to Iraq in 2008. Nate decided to leave the Army to finish his college education and begin his gender transition. In 2015, Nate graduated with his B.A. in Business from American Jewish University. 

Alisha Pedowitz

Board Member

Alisha's Bio

Alisha Pedowitz is the California Director of Moving Traditions. She has made her career working with teens, using the richness of the Jewish community, ritual, tradition, and wisdom to help them thrive. Alisha has worked as an educator and communal professional at Jewish camps, schools, and agencies throughout California, and she is a third-year Rosh Hodesh community group leader. Alisha holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management, an MAEd with a Concentration in Experiential Education Bachelor’s degree in Hebrew Letters from American Jewish Universityanandelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University

Henry Platt

Board Member

Henry's Bio

Henry Platt oversees emerging talent at Warner Music Group’s Theatrical Division. He is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in English and minored in Jazz and Popular Music. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, Henry served as the music director for Counterparts A Cappella, a pop/jazz group at UPenn, and served as a representative on the inaugural Student Wellness Advisory Group at Upenn. Along with being a singer and musician, Henry is a proud member of the LGBTQ and Jewish communities and dedicates time to advocacy and awareness for mental wellness. Henry lives in NYC


JQ International was founded in 2004 to provide safe-space and identity-building programs for the LGBTQ+ Jewish and ally community. Whether through peer relationships, in the home, or with respect to Jewish institutions, LGBTQ+ Jews often feel forced to choose between being queer and Jewish. As the community grew and the programming became more popular, JQ recognized a common thread emerging from the personal stories of community members: LGBTQ+ Jews felt split at the root, divided between their cultural, religious, and spiritual identities.

JQ is now the premiere LGBTQ+ Jewish organization in the greater Los Angeles area. Through transformative, dynamic, and engaging programs, JQ has established an impressive track record of innovative initiatives, services, and partnerships fostering leadership and inclusion throughout the region. JQ’s programs have impacted more than 13,000 lives in the LGBTQ+ and ally Jewish community in the past year alone.


JQ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate the lives of LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies by transforming Jewish communities, and ensuring inclusion through education, support, and identity-enrichment.


JQ's work is made possible by our generous supporters

© 2018 JQ International. All Rights Reserved.