Andy Cheng grew up in the Bay Area but spent twenty years on the East Coast/Midwest. Shortly after joining Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Andy converted to Judaism, became a Bar Mitzvah, and now serves on the Board of Directors. Professionally, Andy has spent nearly twenty years in marketing, sales, and general management roles within small businesses as well as subsidiaries of global organizations. He is currently part of Apple Inc.’s Worldwide Developer Relations team. Andy has also co-authored business case studies and been a business school guest lecturer. He has a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.
Denise Davis, MD is a University of California San Francisco Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Associate Director for Faculty Development at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Center for Excellence in Primary Care and a Fellow of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. Dr. Davis is an educator, mentor, speaker and consultant, coaching medical professionals to improve communication in healthcare. Denise received a 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award from the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators.
Denise is an involved member of her Conservative synagogue and has served Camp Bechol Lashon both as a co-director and as a Torah reader. Denise has extensive experience on the boards of Jewish nonprofit organizations. She lives in the Bay Area with her daughter, Aviva Ruth.
Steve Edwards is a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in the Orange County office. He is a retired Partner of O’Melveny & Myers, where he was co-chair of the Project Development and Real Estate practice group. Steve has been active in virtually all aspects of the acquisition, sale, exchange, financing, ground leasing, leasing and development of improved and unimproved real estate for both individual and institutional clients.
He graduated from Lehigh University, New York University School of Law, and was a Root-Tilden Scholar.
Steve has been active on the Board of Directors of Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach, and is a past president. He has served on the boards of a variety of charitable organizations, including the Orange County Jewish Federation and The Rose Council. Steve and his wife Jill live in Laguna Beach. They have three adult children and three grandsons.
Jill Edwards is a retired registered physical therapist. During her 20+ years of practice, she developed and created multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic pain.
Jill has been involved in non-profit organizations all of her adult life. She has served as Board Chair for The Friendship Shelter, The Wellness Community, and Women of Temple Bat Yahm, as well as serving on the boards of several other non-profit organizations. She has volunteered for Be’chol Lashon in fundraising efforts for the organization, with emphasis on the Abayudaya community of Uganda.
Jill and her husband Steve live in Laguna Beach. They have three adult children and three grandsons.
Natasha comes from a family of Bene Israel Jews. Growing up in Toronto, she had an Ashkenazi Jewish day school and synagogue experience, along with a unique Indian Jewish home and festival experience. She credits her parents and grandparents for instilling great pride in her heritage by sharing their personal stories and the remarkable history of the Bene Israel community. Still, finding her place in the broader Jewish community was a journey. She and her husband were fortunate to find a warm and welcoming community in New Jersey, where she became active in synagogue life and a member of the Board of Trustees at her temple. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her family were captivated by the wonderful clergy and warm community at Peninsula Temple Beth El, where she recently joined the Board of Trustees.
Natasha has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Human Resources. She brings global HR, Talent, and Organization Effectiveness experience in both established and entrepreneurial companies and is the Founder of ZEST People and Talent Advisors. She helps her clients connect strategy and people to scale organizations, enable teams, and grow leaders.
Natasha’s exploration of the evolving Jewish community continues as she blends her professional expertise and personal experiences to explore multiple facets that make up identity and the path to inclusion.
Nzinga Koné-Miller is a Senior Vice President at M+R, a strategic consulting firm that helps nonprofits build movements, raise money, and create political change. A team and account lead, project manager, and strategist, Nzinga has over a decade of experience helping nonprofits use digital technology to mobilize their supporters. Formerly a member of the trailblazing nonprofit consulting and technology firm Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group (CTSG), Nzinga has managed digital implementation and devised fundraising and advocacy strategy for a variety of organizations including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, California Academy of Sciences, The Nation magazine, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Studio Art from Williams College.
Nzinga has been active with Be’chol Lashon for over 14 years. She is a member of Congregation Beth Sholom, in San Francisco. Nzinga and her husband Michael have two children.
Danielle Helene Meshorer is Manager of Venture Philanthropy and Giving Circles at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund in San Francisco (JCF). Danielle directs established and new venture philanthropy opportunities including the Jewish Women’s Fund, LGBTQ Jewish Pride Fund, Next Generation Giving Circle, impacting investing forum, as well as other collaborative giving opportunities. Prior to working for JCF, Danielle was the Be’chol Lashon International Director and director of the Abayudaya development project. Danielle started her long relationship with the Institute in June 2003 and is delighted that she has transitioned into an advisory role in order to continue to help Be’chol Lashon realize its goals and increase impact.
Danielle graduated summa cum laude in anthropology and psychology from the University of Vermont and received an M.A. in international and inter-cultural management from the School for International Training with a concentration on conflict transformation across cultures and sustainable development. During her graduate work, Danielle was working and living in Israel during the start of the Second Intifada, first working with the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies in Tel Aviv and then shifting to work full time at the Palestine-Israel Journal in Jerusalem. She also lived and worked in Cameroon teaching and working on economic development projects.
Danielle married Gregg Dessen in June 2007, and they are the proud parents of Zoe and Maya.
Nancy Sheftel-Gomes was raised in a traditional Jewish community with a large extended family in Worcester, MA. Inspired by her rabbi growing up, Rabbi Alexander Schindler, to live Judaism through Tikkun Olam, Nancy is a lifelong student of Torah, and was the Education Director at Congregation Sherith Israel for 20 years until her retirement in June 2018. Nancy, a mother, stepmother and grandmother, is married to August Gomes, a Cape Verdean American, and together they raised Nasoan and Aumijo.
Nancy is currently enrolled in the Graduate School of Education at University of San Francisco (USF), Masters of Human Rights Education program. She also holds a BS in Economics from USF (’86) and also studied Sociology at Clark University (’63-’67) and Journalism at Boston University (’67-’68). A lifelong volunteer who gives back to her community, especially focusing on Food Insecurity, leads a soup kitchen, Hamotzi, that has feed 100 people every Sunday for the past 25 years.
Founder / Executive Director Emeritus, Be'chol Lashon
Diane Kaufmann Tobin is the founder and executive director emeritus of Be’chol Lashon, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about the ethnic and racial cultural diversity of the Jewish people through educational resources, diversity training and media. Be’chol Lashon is an initiative of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, a non-profit think tank where she was the Associate Director (1998-2009) and President (2009-present). The founding of Be’chol Lashon was the result of research, “The Study of the Ethnic and Racial Diversity of the American Jewish Community” (1999), conducted by Diane and her late husband Dr. Gary Tobin z’l, inspired by the adoption of their African American son, Jonah, in 1997. She is the mother of six children.
Prior to joining the Institute, Diane was the director of Kaufmann Design, which specialized in publishing, corporate/non-profit identity, and marketing (1980-1998). She was a consultant for the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University and published their research from 1990-1998. She has also served as a community leader, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (1980-1986) and as the President from 1986-1989.
Diane is the product of two generations of intermarriage. Her mother’s family were Baptist missionaries from England who lived in Jamaica. Her father’s family were German Jews who came to America in the mid 1800s, progressing from peddlers to building a department store. Their success was evidenced by engaging Frank Lloyd Wright to build their country home, the iconic “Fallingwater.” But what was not evident in their assimilation to America was their loss of values, motivating Diane to embark on a life-long journey to discover her Jewish identity and community. She went to the mikvah with a Conservative beit din in 1982 and identifies as a Jew-by-choice. She enjoys engaging with others on similar journeys.
Diane is an author of In Every Tongue: The Racial & Ethnic Diversity of the Jewish People (2005), and “Racial Diversity and the American Jewish Community,” Journal of Jewish Communal Service (2014), as well as articles published in Huffington Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Forward, J. The Jewish News of Northern California, eJewishPhilanthropy, Sh’ma, and My Jewish Learning, among others.
• Journal Article: “Racial Diversity and the American Jewish Community,” Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 2014