Chief Executive Officer
Since 2018, Halie has led the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) as its first employee and Executive Director, and has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 2020. Prior to joining JDCA, Halie served for nearly two decades as a national security advisor to four members of Congress, as a senior policy advisor in the Obama administration, and as a foreign policy expert and civil servant. Most recently, Halie was National Security Advisor to then-Senator Kamala Harris (CA), and – prior to that – foreign policy advisor for Sens. Chris Coons and Ted Kaufman (both DE), and Rep. Robert Wexler (FL). Halie also served for more than two years in the Obama administration as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Additionally, she served in the Bush Administration as a civil servant in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. During President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Halie was the campaign’s Florida Jewish Vote Director. Halie received her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Middle East Studies, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan Honors College. She now lives in Maryland and is a native of East Lansing, Michigan.
Samuel J. Crystal, Chief of Staff and Communications Director
High Achieving Millennial' by the SparkVision Millennial Research Project. Samuel joined the JDCA team shortly after the organization was founded in 2017 and he has served in multiple roles. As JDCA's Communications and Spokesperson, he develops, executes and oversees JDCA's external messaging across all digital platforms, and expands JDCA's public profile. From 2015-2017, Samuel was the Director of Political Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel to New England, where he helped develop and implement diplomatic strategy between Israel and local and state governments in New England.
From 2015-2016, Samuel lived in Jerusalem working as an Israel Government Fellow, where he attended over 100 seminars, lectures, and field missions studying Israeli politics, security, and paths toward peace with the Palestinians. As the Congressional Affairs Fellow at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he provided briefings for Israeli diplomats and Foreign Ministry officials. Samuel received his B.A. from the University of Mary Washington in 2014, and his Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Maryland in 2019. He previously served on the Advisory Council for Repair the World: Baltimore, and is passionate about criminal justice reform, combating climate change, and support for Israel and the two-state solution.Get in touch with Sam and our Communications team.
Ben Kanter, Deputy Chief of Staff
Michael Berkowitz, Senior Political and Policy Director and Director of JDCA PAC
Mil Dranoff, Development Director
Get in touch with Mil and our Development team.
Robert J. (Bobby) Saferstein, Senior Director of Programming and Public Engagement
Bobby is an interdisciplinary creative and entrepreneur. He harnesses media, design, and ritual, to craft experiences that impact and strengthen community, and develop multi-platform solutions that drive social good. Bobby currently serves as Director of Programming and Strategy at the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), after first joining as a member of JDCA’s Next Generation Leadership Council and Ohio Chapter Lead. Beginning with the 2020 general election to the Georgia runoffs to now, Bobby has developed and produced over 400 virtual and in-person programs to meet the strategic, political, policy, development, outreach, and volunteer engagement objectives of JDCA. Bobby previously led efforts as Market Development Director of Sh’ma Journal — a platform to engage with matters critical to contemporary Judaism — to augment its content and digital presence, reimagine its visual identity, and cultivate partnerships to deepen the journal’s impact and broaden its reach. The culmination of these efforts saw the journal’s strategic transformation into Sh’ma Now hosted by the Forward. Named to The New York Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36,” Bobby is a multiple Natan Grant recipient for his series of experiential Shabbat dinners for Jewish LGBTIQ+ professionals, Friday Night Lights Events. In 2015, Bobby founded Eighteen:22 — a global network of Jewish LGBTIQ+ and ally changemakers — as a Schusterman Connection Point in Salzburg, Austria, and partnered with JDC Entwine in 2017 to develop and launch their first in a series of international experiences designed for LGBTIQ+ participants. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, an ROI Community member, and an Hadar Institute Jewish Wisdom Fellow, Bobby is also an accomplished artist in the worlds of photography, film, music, and theatre. Get in touch with Bobby and our Programming team.
Matthew Craig, Director of Operations and Scheduling
Get in touch with Matthew and our Operations team.
Beverly Schreiber, Director of Outreach and Partnerships
Beverly has spent almost 15 years working in the political sphere, primarily as an issue and electoral organizer, where she has focused her efforts on getting young people engaged in the political process. She started her career as a campus organizer for Fandom Forward (previously The Harry Potter Alliance), a nonprofit that uses the power of pop culture and fandom to engage young people in social justice issues. During her time there, Beverly created the Granger Leadership Academy, an annual conference focused on training chapter members in advocacy tactics and leadership development through a fan activism lens, to help build positive social change in local communities. For the last six years, Beverly worked in her home state of Nevada, holding positions such as the Nevada State Youth Director for NextGen America, the largest youth vote organization in the country, and the Field Director for the Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus, where in 2020, she helped elect nine candidates to the Nevada State Assembly. Beverly holds a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management & Policy, with a focus on International Policy and Management from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She currently resides in Las Vegas and in her spare time serves as an advisor for the same BBYO chapter she was part of in high school (shout-out to Helene Gorbena #1938, Mountain Region #47) and tries to get cuddles from her super fat, super cuddly orange tabby cat Muffin.Get in touch with Beverly.
Brett Bauer, Development Manager
Brett is an Illinois native with a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, where he was deeply involved with the local Chabad chapter. He has previously worked with Democratic fundraising and campaigns and has additional political experience through a Capitol Hill internship with a Democratic member of Congress. He is an Honorary Board Member for the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss. He studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and served as Rush Chairman and Scribe of Boulder's chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi. Brett now lives in DC with his partner and Service Dog, Harlow. Get in touch with Brett and our Development team.
Jacob Spiegel, Communications Manager
Jacob is a proud Ohio native who has spent the last few years managing local and statewide races in his home state. Most recently, in the 2022 cycle, Jacob served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Jeff Crossman’s campaign for Ohio Attorney General where he oversaw the political operations, earned and paid communications strategies, and day-to-day functions of the campaign. Prior to that role, Jacob served as the Campaign Manager for a successful Cincinnati City Council campaign, where he won as a first time campaign manager with a first time candidate in a crowded field. Jacob graduated from The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Management, Leadership, and Policy, a degree in Strategic Communications, and a minor in Campaign Media & Communications. Jacob first became involved in political action and advocacy in 2016, when he was inspired by his late grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, who warned him that the rhetoric she was hearing in American politics surrounding immigrants and Muslims was eerily similar to the rhetoric she heard about the Jewish people when growing up in Nuremberg. Jacob then joined Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign as a fellow, and has been involved with a campaign every year since 2016, from City Council and State Representatives, to Presidential primaries. Jacob now lives in Washington D.C., where he enjoys rock climbing, traveling, and getting bit by his and his girlfriend’s cat, Georgia. Get in touch with Jacob.