JTS Board of Trustees Elects Three New Members

June 6, 2024

NEW YORK, NY – The Board of Trustees of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has elected three new members: Rachel Gildiner, Jan Popkin, and Liz Sembler.

“We are delighted to welcome three new members who have deep, personal connections to JTS,” said Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz. “Rachel, Jan, and Liz bring rich and varied experiences from their work in the Jewish community, in education, and in enterprise architecture. I eagerly look forward to working with them in this new capacity.”

Rachel Gildiner, an alumna of List College, was recently appointed as executive director of SRE (Safety, Respect, Equity) Network, which promotes Jewish workplaces and communal spaces in becoming safe, respectful, and equitable through network building, resource sharing, and community investments. In addition to her extensive leadership experience, Ms. Gildiner brings an enthusiastic commitment to solving multidimensional problems to catalyze meaningful change and foster healthy Jewish workplaces. In her previous roles as chief engagement officer at Hillel International, executive director of GatherDC, and founder and CEO of Gather Inc., Ms. Gildiner crafted innovative ways to engage college students and young professionals in Jewish life.

Ms. Gildiner holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Columbia University and in modern Jewish studies from List College. She earned her master’s degree in higher education administration from The George Washington University, and a certificate in experiential Jewish education from Yeshiva University. Ms. Gildiner is also a certified Ayeka Soulful Jewish Educator, a Schusterman Senior Fellow, and the founder and creator of the Year of the Jewish Woman (and Allies) Facebook group.

Jan Popkin is a leading expert on enterprise architecture as a means for organizations to understand how to align their technology to their business processes and goals. He was formerly the CEO and founder of Popkin Software and Systems, Inc, the leading enterprise architecture and business process modeling tool vendor worldwide. In 2005 the company was acquired. His educational background is in computer science and mathematics. Throughout his career, Mr. Popkin has worked extensively with organizations to help them understand the relationships between their processes, data, and systems. He was a board member of the Business Process Management Initiative, a leading trade association for business process modeling standards, and the New York Software Industry Association (NYSIA), a leading trade association for software, information technology, and web development companies in New York State.

Mr. Popkin is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, the largest Conservative synagogue in southeast Florida. He recently became a board member for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Previously, he served as president and board member of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County. His wife, Joan, participated in JTS’s artist-in-residence program and is a current student in JTS’s certificate in Biblical Hebrew program.

Elizabeth Sembler is a retired educator, school administrator, and Jewish communal professional. She serves as Chair of the JTS William Davidson School Advisory Board and has been involved on the board since 2004. She previously held the roles of director of engagement at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Florida and director of Jewish Studies at the Pinellas County Jewish Day School in Clearwater, Florida. She has served on the board of Tampa-based public television station WEDU-TV since 1993 and was the chair of its board from 2001–2003. She was recently reappointed to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by President Joseph Biden and confirmed by the Senate in February 2022. She has also been on the foundation board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism and political science from Syracuse University and later earned a master’s degree in English from the University of South Florida. Ms. Sembler lives in Seminole, Florida, with her husband, Greg. They are the parents of four adult children and one grandson. Ms. Sembler and her husband received the JTS Shin Award in 2005.

Ariel Glasner, Emily Scharfman, Yoni Saposh, and Didi Wallerstein are stepping down from the board after devoted and generous service. Ariel Glasner served on the board from 2021–2024, Emily Scharfman and Yoni Saposh served from 2018–2024, and Didi Wallerstein served for twelve years from 2012–2024.


About The Jewish Theological Seminary | JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.