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
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Director of Communications & Events
+1. 323.417.2627 x5
Sidney Anne Harrison
JQ Executive Assistant
Tzelem for LGBTQ+ Jewish Teens Program Leader
JQ Board of directors
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 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 Elizabeth Alterman-Paradiso is a Ph.D. Candidate and Teaching Associate in Culture and Performance at UCLA. With a Masters in Public Health, she explores arts-based approaches for sexual and reproductive health education, advocacy, and activism. Specifically, her work focuses on the role of humor in destigmatizing taboo health topics such as abortion, contraceptive use, sex education, and LGBTQ sexual health. Currently, she has three main streams of research: abortion, contraception, and sex education.
Her dissertation research is an ethnographic study of the Abortion Access Front traveling comedy show. Through participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaire dissemination, she examines their Abortion AF Tour as a key Public Health intervention for abortion access in the United States. Additionally, she visits independent abortion clinics throughout the country and interviews abortion providers about barriers to provision, provider stigma, community support, and the role of comedy in the abortion movement.
Methodologically, she positions herself as a feminist ethnographer engaged in critical interdisciplinary research. She applies a feminist ethnographic approach that prioritizes interpersonal and community-level cultural performances, as well as discourse analysis. She frames her research in the context of practical implications and outcomes for sexual and reproductive health policy and public health practice. As an interdisciplinary scholar of sexual and reproductive health, she explicitly seeks to summon the literature and methods of gender studies, performance studies, (medical) anthropology, and public health to demonstrate and argue for critical feminist analyses and solutions to public health problems.
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 is an LA-based entertainment publicist with a focus on theatrical publicity and awards campaigns. He began his career in film publicity at Strategy PR/Consulting working on such films as Bennett Miller’s MONEYBALL, David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Stephen Daldry’s EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, Ben Affleck’s ARGO, Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, Paul Greengrass’ CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, Joel and Ethan Coen’s INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Gore Verbinski’s RANGO, Paolo Sorrentino’s THE GREAT BEAUTY, and David O. Russell’s AMERICAN HUSTLE. While at Strategy, Epstein also handled theatrical publicity campaigns Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, Ryan White and Ben Cotner’s THE CASE AGAINST 8, Dawn Porter’s GIDEON’S ARMY, James Gray’s THE IMMIGRANT, Kelly Reichardt’s NIGHT MOVES, and Noah Baumbach’s FRANCES HA, among many others.
After a stint in the publicity department of The Weinstein Company working on Morten Tyldum’s THE IMITATION GAME, Tim Burton’s BIG EYES, Simon Curtis’ WOMAN IN GOLD and Antoine Fuqua’s SOUTHPAW, Epstein left to become the Director of Theatrical Publicity in Lionsgate’s NY office. While there, he helped run national publicity and awards campaigns for Aardman’s SHAUN THE SHEEP, Denis Villeneuve’s SICARIO, Francis Lawrence’s THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY- PART 2.
Jonathan then moved to Los Angeles and returned to Strategy PR/Consulting, where has helped spearhead both theatrical publicity and awards campaigns for such films as Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, David Mackenzie’s HELL OR HIGH WATER, Mel Gibson’s HACKSAW RIDGE, Denzel Washington’s FENCES, Bong Joon-ho’s OKJA, Greta Gerwig’s LADY BIRD and LITTLE WOMEN, Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR, Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER, Spike Lee’s BLACKKKLANSMAN, Adam McKay’s VICE, Julian Schnabel’s AT ETERNITY’S GATE, Bing Liu’s MINDING THE GAP, Lulu Wang’s THE FAREWELL, Rupert Goold’s JUDY, Joe Talbot’s THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO, Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER, Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Claire Denis’ HIGH LIFE, Robert Eggers’ THE LIGHTHOUSE, Shaka King’s JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, Lee Isaac Chung’s MINARI, Darius Marder’s SOUND OF METAL, and Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN.
Jonathan attended New York University as a History/Jewish Civilization major and currently resides in Los Angeles with his dog Milo.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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