Pardes Institute for Jewish Learning Announces Key Staff Promotions and Additions

January 25, 2024

Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies Announces Key Staff Promotions and Additions
Simone Katz Joins as Chief Marketing Officer; Additional Promotions and Changes Reflect Investment in Organizational Growth

(Jerusalem) – The Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, an open, inclusive, diverse, and intellectually challenging Jewish learning community based in Jerusalem with programs worldwide, today announced key new staff members as well as promotions to bolster Pardes’s goal to inspire engagement in Jewish life.

“We are extremely proud of the team we have built – both through our new staff members, as well as the internal promotions we’ve made,” said Rabbi Leon Morris, president of the Pardes Institute. “The Pardes model has inspired five decades of Jewish leadership marked by openness, passion, Jewish literacy, knowledge, and inclusivity, and continues to inspire new possibilities for Jewish communities worldwide. Our staff and leadership will continue their work to inspire the Jewish learning community as communal and spiritual leaders, educators, and active lay leaders.”

Since October 7th, Pardes has proudly remained open, engaged in volunteer work, held community programs, and taken in new learners under its “Still Here, Still Learning, Still Together” mantra.

New Staff:

Simone Katz – Chief Marketing Officer
Simone Katz is an accomplished marketing executive and strategic leader and will serve as the Chief Marketing Officer at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. Simone previously worked at OpenDor Media and spent 14 years in the advertising industry across multiple sectors including finance, consumer electronics, infant and aircraft.

The following promotions and changes in title reflect Pardes’s evolving organizational structure and desire to invest in growth within the organization:

Debra Weiner Solomont – Director of Community Education
Debra Weiner Solomont has been promoted to Director of Community Education.  Debra has served in a variety of capacities at Pardes for more than two decades.  She has coordinated Community Education, a vital part of Pardes’s offerings to the larger Jerusalem public, for many years, and for more than a year, has been doing so single handedly. 

Stephanie Baum – Senior Director of Finance in North America
Stephanie Baum has been promoted to Senior Director of Finance.  She will oversee all the financial and regulatory aspects of Pardes in North America and as such will be the final authority with regards to potential payments, suppliers, hires, stipends, and reimbursements paid in the US. Stephanie has been with Pardes for almost two decades, working “behind the scenes” in managing the finances on the North American side. 

Simon Dick – Senior Director of Operations
Simon Dick has been promoted to Senior Director of Operations where he will assume greater financial responsibilities, oversee the implementation of Salesforce, and take on additional responsibilities over time.

Additionally, Pardes has also expanded their senior leadership team structure to address organizational needs and build organizational capacity.  These changes reflect expanded portfolios and new titles for:

Meesh Hammer-Kossoy – Rosh Beit Midrash for Year-Long Programs
Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, who has served for two years as Director of the Year Program, has taken on additional responsibilities since that time in the areas of professional development for faculty and leading key partnerships with gap year programs, the Nachshon Fellowship and aligned Israeli batei midrash.   

Aviva Lauer – Gottesman Family Director of PCJE and Chief of Education and Educational Training
Aviva Lauer is now overseeing all of the Pardes community engagement programs, summer programs, as well as visiting groups.  In addition, PCJE has benefited from a major endowment gift from Paula Gottesman.

Pardes is pleased to announce the promotions of Rachel Friedrichs as Associate Director of PCJE, Israel and Reuven Margrett as Associate Director of PCJE, North America.

About Pardes

The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies ( is an open, inclusive, diverse and intellectually challenging Jewish learning community based in Jerusalem with programs worldwide. Pardes cultivates a life-long love of Jewish learning, the Jewish people and Israel. Pardes inspires engagement in Jewish life — as communal and spiritual leaders, educators and active participants.

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