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Executive Director

Pronouns: she/her/hers


Alma mater(s): University of Pennsylvania, '03 (MSW), University of Delaware, '01 (BA Sociology, Concentration in Social Welfare)


Favorite Shabbat Activity: the moments of silence after lighting the candles.

Superpower: creating space for others.


Contact Rachel about: travel guidance for your Jewish journey, social justice, volunteerism, universal inclusion, Israel, and leadership development.

Reach out to Rachel by emailing her at 

Rachel joined the HOW team in 2014.  Prior to her time in the Hillel family, Rachel served as a Reform synagogue director in New Jersey, youth group advisor, and teacher.  She began her social work career in 2003 as a direct-practice social worker in mental health and substance abuse.  Her journey from clinical social work to Hillel professional brought her to serve as an Assistant Child Advocate with the State of New Jersey for nearly a decade, where she focused on anti-bullying efforts, childhood lead poisoning, legislative oversight and individual advocacy.  She is an award winning hobby winemaker and currently lives in Stamford, Connecticut with her husband, Brian, rescue dogs, Betty White and Bear, and (master of the house and Manhattanville alumni) cat, Ollie.  


 Jonathan Horowitz

Director of Community Engagement

Pronouns: he/him/his


Alma mater(s): Binghamton University ('16) - Double Major in Jewish Studies and English (focus in Creative Writing)


Favorite Shabbat Activity: Singing zemirot (Shabbat songs)


Superpower: Making puns for every occasion


Contact Jonathan about: connecting with other Jewish orgs in Westchester, how HOW can best serve you on your Jewish journey


Reach out to Jonathan by emailing him at 


Jonathan Horowitz (who you can also call Jon or Joho) is thrilled to be joining the Hillels of Westchester family. Since a young age, Jon has found creative and meaningful ways to share his love of being Jewish with others. Jon grew up in Sharon, MA and participated in and held leadership roles in USY, attended the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel and most recently worked as a Jewish Studies and Tefilah (prayer) teacher at Schechter School of Long Island. Before that, Jon was a counselor and Rosh Edah (unit head) at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack and taught at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, IL. When he's not helping others find their personal Jewish spark, Jon loves to cook, listen to and talk about music, cheering on his New England Patriots and his fantasy football teams, and spending time with his lovely wife Sarah and toddler Aviva.


Madison Leifer

Social Justice Springboard Fellow

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Alma mater: Brandeis University '22 (BA Public Health, Education Studies, and Psychology)

Favorite Shabbat Activity: Puzzles


Superpower: Turning passion into action

Contact Madison about: Why your voice matters and how to effectively put it to use, fat liberation, menstrual justice, anything social justice related, medical dramas, to swap recipes.

Reach out to Madison by emailing her at

Madison joined HOW in the summer of 2022 after finishing her undergraduate career at Brandeis University, where she triple majored in public health, education studies, and psychology. During her time at Brandeis, Madison was heavily involved with Period Activists at 'Deis (PAD), the university's menstrual equity club, serving as a founding member and moving through the board positions of secretary, service chair, and president. She is also extremely invested in fat liberation and dismantling the systemic discrimination effecting fat people.

Madison focuses on approaching social justice work with an intersectional lens, focus on privilege, and encourages others to recognize how to use their positionally to promote causes their care about. In her free time, she can be found with friends, cooking, and catching up on medical dramas.

You can follow her work with HOW on Instagram @maddi_in_westchester!

Spencer Szwalbenest


Rabbinic Intern

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Spencer grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania. He currently is studying to be a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in New York and is studying Jewish Nonprofit Management at HUC’s Zelikow School.


Spencer loves listening to music (especially full-length albums), so if you see him on campus, please make sure to give him your recommendations. In his spare time, Spencer enjoys reading nonfiction, writing poetry, running, volunteering, and spending time in nature.

Plants on the Window



Celebrating her 15 year anniversary with HOW in 2024, Linda is the longest serving staff member.  She is the proud Jewish mom of Ben and Sam, alumni of SUNY Binghamton University.

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