Our Team / Meet the FED Team
Founder & Executive Director
Deborah Fishman builds local and international community through her passions for Judaism, culture, and human empathy. She serves as North American Director for Hakhel: The Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator, a program of Adamah (formerly Hazon) to support grassroots Jewish communities like FED around the world. As the leader of Hakhel's Arts & Culture Subnetwork, Deborah led volunteer service trips and retreats for international community leaders in Budapest, Johannesburg, and Israel. Previously, Deborah worked as Director of Communications for The AVI CHAI Foundation; and as Network Animator for PresenTense and Editor & Publisher of PresenTense Magazine. Deborah has been a member of the ROI Community for global Jewish innovators since 2009, and volunteered as ROI NYC Igniter for two years. She holds an M.A. from Spertus Institute and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures with a certificate in Judaic Studies from Princeton University. She has been a member of the 248 Network of JAFI, a JewV’Nation Fellow with the URJ, an iFellow with the iCenter, and was named one of the Jewish Week’s “36 under 36.” An entrepreneur and a network-weaver, Deborah works at the intersection of people, food and ideas, weaving together relationships that spark unexpected dialogue, synergy, and connection. Deborah views her mission in life as making sure everyone is fed — physically, intellectually, spiritually and on a basic human level.
Introducing / FED Board
ASHER BAR LEV
Chief Financial Officer
Asher has been involved in many endeavors, political, artistic and business. He is addicted to exercise and eats no meat.
Shelly Freeman holds a degree in Law and Economics from Monash University in Melbourne Australia and is the Chief of Staff at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Prior to joining YIVO, Shelly worked as a lawyer and later in politics after which she set up her own consulting business which she ran in Australia for 11 years. Her consultancy focused on communications, project management and stakeholder relations. At YIVO, Shelly works closely with the CEO on a number of special projects including YIVO’s online museum, developing relationships with other aligned organizations around the world and communications and media. Shelly moved to New York for the role and has a deep love for Judaism. In her spare time is busy enjoying all that Manhattan has to offer including all the wonderful Jewish cultural activities.
Adam Jacobson was born and raised in NYC without interruption until the age of fifteen. Professionally he is a psychoanalyst. When not working you will find him practicing hot yoga or talking about how eager he is to get to his next hot yoga class.
Kim’s involvement in Jewish life and community commenced at a young age. Experiences spanned from active engagement and leadership in NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth), to teen programs in Israel/Eastern Europe, to camper/counselor at the Camp Kutz Leadership Academy. While in college, Kim attended Haifa University and lived on Kibbutz Ein Hashofet. School and career-wise, Kim studied her passions - anthropology and sustainability. Early in her career, she worked in the non-profit and land conservation moment. She has held positions at New York University since 2012, currently serving as Assistant Director for Faculty Information Systems Operations in the Provost’s Division. Previously Kim collaborated with the NYU Office of Sustainability to spearhead NYU's IT Sustainability Initiative, and remains passionate about the University's ongoing efforts and strong commitment to sustainability.
Hannah Simpson is a nationally-known writer and speaker based in Harlem, NYC who believes not hiding her past will help others to stop hiding their futures. She has been featured by Refinery29, the Guardian, MSNBC, Fox 5, and on a segment of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Hannah was the rally speaker before the 2019 Women’s March on New York City. In pandemic times, Hannah became a nurse’s aide in a COVID ICU, a morgue tech, and contact tracer. She is deeply committed to fostering Jewish life in her community and supporting the State of Israel, to which she has led four Birthright delegations. Find her also volunteering after hurricanes with the American Red Cross and running a small business selling pins and queer Judaica—the kind of items that never existed to empower her when she was growing up. Hannah’s pronouns are “she” in English and “היא” in Hebrew.
Starring / Program Consultant
Kevin Joest is a Philadelphia-based composer and percussionist. He works in a woodshop by day, and seeks to explore fundamental truths of human nature via metaphor from the natural, astronomical, and mathematical worlds through his music. A “doer of Jewish,” his values and worldview align with the FED mission of cultivating open creativity, thought-provoking discussion, & diverse community, as well as fostering spaces where those elements exist naturally and organically. Kevin also loves food and the culinary arts, and has a passion for exploring the ways in which art for all the senses can combine as a platform on which to build common ground. More information on Kevin’s musical life can be found at www.kevinjoestmusic.com.
Starring / Artist-in-Residence
Chanan Ben Simon
Chanan Ben Simon is a vocalist, composer and a multimedia artist, born in Jerusalem, currently Brooklyn based. Chanan’s work combines voice, sound, visuals, installation art and new media.
Chanan creates Interactive multimedia performances Such us (1) 'Telepresence', In collab with with Yifeat Ziv, created for Israel Festival, Jerusalem, 2020, (2) The Dino Show, in collab with Inkyoung Bae, presented in Vanderbilt gallery NYC 2018, EMAF festival in Korea 2019 and Museum for Digital Art, Hulun Israel, 2021 (3) The Weather Channel, in collab with Inkyoung Bae, presented online for audiences in Korea, Israel and the US in 2020 and presented like in the OilTank gallery, Seoul, 2021, and (4) 'Fire Heart' in collab with Inkyoung Bae, 2021, presented in Lift Off festival, NYC and NEMAF, Seoul.
His discography includes 'Toy Store' (2016) produced by ANOVA record label, 'Bedroom POP' (2019) and Party Tears, (2021-2022), released under the stage name 'Ben Simone', accompanied by flamboyant video work, and often played on Israeli radio and TV.
Chanan has also worked with many different contemporary composers, performed with various orchestras (for example - Castle in time orchestra) and other chamber ensembles, writes music for stage and film, and is a member of the voice-movement ensemble 'Constellation Chor'. Chanan is a true collaborator and works with artists such as - Inkyoung Bae, Maya Baran, Yifeat Ziv, Shimon Tal and more.
Alongside his own artistic work, Chanan currently works as an assistant director at School for Creative Judaism, an Educator at Flatbush Jewish Center, a guest cantor at the New Shul and Curates the artistic program of FEDtables where he also serves as an artist in residence.
He holds a B.mus in composition from the music academy in Jerusalem and an MFA in performance and interactive media from Brooklyn College.