Lani Santo, Executive Director

Lani is the Executive Director of Footsteps, which supports and affirms individuals and families who chose to leave ultra-Orthodox communities in their quest to lead self-determined lives. The successor to Footsteps’ founder, Lani has driven the organization’s growth from a 3-person start-up with a $400,000 budget in 2010 to an established 501c3 with 15 staff, a program center in Manhattan with satellite programs in Rockland and Brooklyn, and a $2.3 million annual operating budget.

Under her leadership, Footsteps’ profile has expanded to reach the pages of The New York Times and the screen of Netflix, which debuted One of Us, an award-winning documentary about three courageous Footsteps members. Along the way, Lani has espoused a leadership philosophy that centers members, including representatives at all levels of governance and decision-making. During her tenure at Footsteps, Lani has also focused on collaborations, including the development of three flagship partnerships with peer organizations: New York Legal Assistance Group, Madison Strategies Group, and Moishe House.

Prior to Footsteps, Lani served as a Senior Program Officer at American Jewish World Service, where she focused on immersive international service-learning experiences for young adults. Lani is an alumna of Avodah’s Jewish Service Corps and served on the Avodah board from 2004-2013. She currently sits on the UpStart Advisory Council and was named to the Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” list in 2015. Lani graduated from Barnard College and holds an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management from NYU’s Wagner School. Lani lives in Brooklyn with her husband and young son.

Lani Santo

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.

Phone: 212.253.0893

Jessica Bloom, Director of Development

Jessica has spent the past nine years working with NGOs, nonprofits and individuals in the US and abroad to raise revenue and awareness for their causes. From on the ground support of women human rights defenders on the Thai-Burma border to creating networks of grassroots giving circles in New York, Jessica has a wide range of experience working with marginalized groups around the globe. She most recently served as the Director of Development at Maloto, an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and empowering the next generation in Mzuzu, Malawi. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Smith College.

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.

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.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 4

Yaeli Bronstein, Communications and Development Manager

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.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 9

Shaul Elson, Program Associate

Shaul comes to Footsteps as a member of the 2017-2018 cohort of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, and is a recent graduate of Yeshiva University, where he studied English and creative writing. He also spent three years working for the Wilf Campus Writing Center at Yeshiva University, as a one-on-one writing tutor and writing-education program developer. As Program Associate, Shaul is an integral part of Footsteps’ Economic Empowerment initiatives and works to support our members as they strive to reach their educational and career goals.

Phone: 646.668.4614

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

Phone: 845.637.3113

Katy Hansz, Social Work Intern

Katy comes to Footsteps with an extensive background in utilizing mindfulness training and compassion practices for the purposes of accessing somatic awareness, emotional regulation, and transformation into authentic living. With a deep interest in community building, Katy’s clinical focus is on relational/developmental trauma, behavioral addiction, and healing from religious and spiritual bypassing. She spent many years working at Brooklyn Zen Center as an assistant to the guiding teacher and has served as a counselor and meditation instructor in many diverse communities. In 2011-2013, she assisted with crisis intervention and individual counseling for at-risk youth through the Awake Youth Project and in 2015, Katy initiated and created an industry-wide empowerment program for young fashion models after having worked as a professional model for over 20 years with Ford Models Inc. In 2016, she completed training for Level 1 of the Internal Family Systems model of therapy, created by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D and is currently an MSW candidate at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. She is overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to both learn from and work with the Footsteps community in their efforts to move towards freedom, joy and self-empowerment.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 6

Julia Jerusalmi-Henig, LMSW, New Member Services & Volunteer 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.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 7

Emma Kraft, Executive Assistant

Emma comes to Footsteps from her year of service through Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps where she served as an Advocate at STEPS to End Family Violence. At STEPS to End Family Violence, Emma supported low-income survivors of intimate partner violence in their paths to healing as they navigated the complexities of the criminal legal system, public benefits, and more. Emma holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Brandeis University. Emma is passionate about inclusive Jewish communities and has a long history working at her Jewish overnight camp, Camp Alonim, where she held many leadership roles.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 16

Sam Langstein, Program & Operations Coordinator

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.

Phone: 646.668.4612

Lane Silberstein, Development Operations Associate

Prior to joining Footsteps, Lane worked in development at the National Council of Jewish Women New York Section, and at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene where, in addition to office work, he would occasionally appear on stage. Born and raised in Florida by transplants from New York, he returned here to study Yiddish Literature at the graduate level at Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and then did stints as a paralegal and also worked at the Jewish Daily Forward. In his spare time, Lane enjoys reading bad science fiction alongside classic Jewish literature, as well as dog watching.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext. 17

Chavie Weisberger, Community Engagement Coordinator

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.

Phone: 212.253.0890, ext 12