Staff

Lani Santo, Executive Director

Lani has dedicated her career to social justice, human rights, building inclusive and accepting communities, and supporting individuals through transformative experiences within the Jewish community and beyond. Prior to joining Footsteps, she served as a Senior Program Officer at American Jewish World Service (AJWS), where she focused on immersive international service-learning experiences for young adults. Before her work at AJWS, Lani served as an AVODAH Corps Member in Washington, DC, where she was case manager for homeless women. She also served on the AVODAH Board of Directors from 2004-2013. Lani is a graduate of Barnard College and holds a Master’s Degree of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management from New York University’s Wagner School for Public Service. Lani joined Footsteps in August 2010 with a background in organizational development, fundraising, staff management, program management, and evaluation.

Lani Santo

Email: Lani@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0891

Rachel Berger, Director of Community Engagement

Rachel has background in non-profit management, philanthropy, and Jewish communal work, as well as a Master’s of Social Work from Columbia University. Prior to joining Footsteps, Rachel worked at Bend the Arc, a Jewish foundation dedicated to social justice where she managed a number of grantmaking collaboratives. Rachel was a 2011-12 Dorot Fellow and spent a year in Israel working with the African asylum seeking population. Rachel joined Footsteps in 2012 and in her capacity as Director of Community Engagement she manages Footsteps’ large-scale community building events, leadership development programs and public education programs.

Email: Rachel@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0893

Bekah Dickstein, Director of Individual Giving

Bekah comes to Footsteps from American Jewish World Service (AJWS), where she most recently served as a Senior Development Officer working with AJWS’s top supporters across the country. AJWS’s work promoting global justice and empowering marginalized communities in the developing world ignited Bekah’s passion for a universal application of Jewish values of fairness, justice, and compassion. Prior to joining AJWS on a full-time basis, she served as an active fundraising volunteer for AJWS and Met Council, where she also volunteered in Borough Park tutoring young women from religious communities. A lifelong bibliophile, Bekah had previously spent almost a decade in the rare book world with stints in New York, New Haven and London. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2004. In her capacity as Director of Individual Giving, Bekah is responsible for the overall strategic direction, leadership, and management of fundraising activities focused on engaging individual donors, with a focus on major gifts.

Email: Bekah@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 15

Betsy Fabricant, Director of Support Services

Betsy has been committed ensuring that populations otherwise marginalized secure pathways to independence and self-sufficiency throughout her career. Prior to joining Footsteps, she was an administrator in the field of social service administration and programming for people with physical disabilities for over twenty five years. As Senior Administrator at VISIONS/Services for the Blind, Betsy designed and managed an array of programs for people of all ages with vision loss. In 1981, she helped found the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless (ECHH) and has been an active board member throughout its history. Prior to her work in social services, Betsy worked as an elementary school teacher, free-lance photographer, filmmaking/photography teacher and public relations consultant. Betsy was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Education by the University of Pittsburgh and received her Masters of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from New York University. Betsy joined Footsteps in January 2014 and in her capacity as Director of Support Services she oversees social service support to Footsteps members, especially those in the early stages of their transitions.

Email: Betsy@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 8

Tsivia Finman, Director of Operations and Planning

Tsivia has a background in public policy, organizational management and assessment. Prior to joining Footsteps, Tsivia worked at The Jewish Theological Seminary where she managed processes that contributed to the everyday functionality of its academic programs, from accreditation to budgeting to course scheduling and beyond. Prior to her six years at JTS, Tsivia was active in her hometown, Detroit, where she researched public health and economic development strategies for a local think tank, wrote copy for her local public radio station, and contributed to her US Senator’s committee and home offices. She also served various populations in Jewish communal settings. Tsivia was awarded a Master’s in Public Administration from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, in 2008 where she previously received bachelors’ degrees in Public Affairs and Political Science in 2006. She grew up within the Chabad community in Detroit. Tsivia joins Footsteps in 2015 and will help build an operations department, overseeing key administration functions and developing systems and processes to help Footsteps grow and strengthen into its second decade.

Email: Tsivia@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 4

Jesse Pietroniro, LCSW, Senior Social Worker

Jesse earned his Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work in 2012 and his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 2000. His foray into the social work profession was preceded by various positions held in human services, ranging from mental health counseling with dually diagnosed individuals, instructional assistance for high school students on the autism spectrum, and supporting an alternative learning community for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. After earning his MSW, Jesse practiced with families and individuals at Bleuler Psychotherapy Center, an outpatient mental health clinic in Queens. He also completed a 4-year Clinical Fellowship Program at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy in 2017. Jesse first joined the Footsteps team as a Social Work Intern in 2011, discovering a deep resonance with its mission to serve a growing community of unique, brave, pioneering individuals towards the freedom of self-determination. Jesse rejoined as Footsteps’ Social Worker in 2014, and in this capacity he provides supportive counseling, crisis management, mental health referrals, group facilitation, and program development.

Email: Jesse@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0892

Yaeli Bronstein, Development Coordinator & Executive Assistant

Yaeli comes to Footsteps with a background in program management, nonprofit database management and program evaluation. She holds a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. After serving as a corps member for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps during the program’s inaugural year in New Orleans, Yaeli worked with various nonprofit organizations committed to homeless advocacy, juvenile justice work and streamlining accessible legal services for low income communities.

Email: Yaeli@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 9

Chani Getter, Program Manager, Support Services & Rockland

Chani is a leader in the fields of personal growth and spiritual development. She has reached individuals and professionals in North America and Europe through a series of workshops, panel discussions, teachings and motivational speaking. Over the years she has led informational and support groups, on a variety of topics. She coaches individuals and professionals in defining and achieving their goals. Chani is committed to being a part of Footsteps as she knows first-hand the complexity of leaving the black and white world behind. Chani joined Footsteps in 2013 and in her current capacity as Program Manager, she serves members in Rockland and Orange Counties and coordinates the Footsteps Family Supports Program, which includes working with members going through difficult legal family issues. As part of her role at Footsteps she trains staff in various partner organizations that provide resources for Footsteps members, such as attorneys, social workers, and guidance counselors in colleges.

Chani Getter

Email: Chani@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 845.637.3113

Sarah Goldstein, Development Operations Associate

A Footsteps member since 2013, Sarah is now also a proud employee. In her role, Sarah supports all operations and development efforts, including helping to oversee donation processing and internal data management. When she is not at Footsteps, Sarah can be found at Purchase College, where she is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Upon graduating in 2017, Sarah plans to continue to work in data and research while she pursues her master’s and doctorate degrees in social psychology.

Email: Sarah@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 646.668.4607

Julia Jerusalmi-Henig, LMSW, New Member Services Coordinator

Julia earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work in 2015. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s and Gender studies from Brandeis University. Julia has worked in a school setting and an adult mental health clinic, and her areas of expertise are individual counseling, group work, and community building. Julia brings her experience and passion towards fostering warm, open and affirming spaces for individuals and communities. Julia joined Footsteps in 2015 and in her capacity as New Member Services Coordinator, she conducts initial meetings, coordinates volunteer matches, and provides supportive counseling.

Email: Julia@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 7

Sam Langstein, Program & Operations Associate

Sam came to Footsteps as a member of the 2015-2016 cohort of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. Sam recently received his BA in psychology from Hunter College, where he served as Hillel’s social outreach chair and graphic designer. Sam also worked as a psychology intern and web designer at Yale University’s Haskins Laboratories and volunteered at Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families, a social service organization for at-risk families. While serving as an AVODAH Corps member, Sam supported career and education programs and other programmatic endeavors. Now, he works on our community engagement team and as a supporter to our operations team with a specific focus on our programs and data management.

Email: Sam@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 646.668.4612

Miriam Olenick, Social Work Intern

Miriam is in her second year at NYU School of Social Work. Last year she interned at the TEAK Fellowship, an educational nonprofit, where she provided one on one counseling and conducted group discussions with middle school students. She has previously worked with home-bound senior citizens at Renewal Care and volunteered for the Carter Burden Center for the Aging. Miriam graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2013. At Footsteps, she will be conducting new member meetings and providing support for families, as well as co-leading groups for parents.

Email: Miriam@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 106

Aaron Portman, Program Associate

Aaron comes to Footsteps as a member of the 2016-2017 cohort of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. Aaron recently graduated from Yeshiva University with a BA in English Literature and History. Aaron also spent a semester studying abroad at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he acted as an environmental representative. At YU, Aaron served as a Student Ambassador, facilitator of off-campus social activities, and as a LGBTQ Safe Space ally and advocate. Last summer, Aaron worked at Camp Stone in the role of Rosh Moshava (Head of Camp), where he managed over 200 staff members and 400 campers. At Footsteps, Aaron will support our career and education programs and programmatic endeavors.

Email: Aaron@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 646.668.4614

Amy Seslowsky, Social Work Intern

Amy is a second year graduate student at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Previously, Amy worked as an intern at the constituent services office of a New York State Assembly Member, where she provided services including case management, constituent advocacy, and home visits, and served as a resource for constituents with questions and concerns regarding housing rights, unemployment and disability benefits, and government support for senior citizens. Prior to her enrollment at NYU, she studied English Literature at Vassar College, where she also had the opportunity to learn about social justice, critical race theory, and cognitive science. Alongside her social work program, Amy works for the NYU Stern School of Business in their Department of Accounting. As a Social Work Intern at Footsteps, Amy will be providing direct support to Footsteps members through supportive individual counseling and group facilitation.

Email: Amy@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 106

Chavie Weisberger, Community Engagement Associate

Chavie is a Footsteps member since 2012, and a long-time supporter of the OTD community. In her capacity as Community Engagement Associate, Chavie will play a key role in building a network of those who have already made the transition out of ultra-Orthodoxy and are looking to be connected with Footsteps. She will be working closely with peer mentors, nurturing Footsteps’ online presence, and assisting in implementing leadership development programs.

Email: Chavie@footstepsorg.org
Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 12