PJA and JFSJ head Elissa Barrett moves to Bet Tzedek

Elissa Barrett is leaving Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice (PJA and JFSJ) to become vice president and general counsel of Bet Tzedek.

It was difficult decision to depart from PJA and JFSJ, she said, where she served as chief of regional operations. But, “I believe the law is a crucial tool for social change work, and I’m excited to bring that perspective to my work at Bet Tzedek,” Barrett said. Prior to the 2011 merger between PJA and JFSJ, Barrett served as PJA’s executive director.

Bet Tzedek provides free legal services to Jews and non-Jews in Los Angeles. PJA and JFSJ’s mission is working for social justice.

During her tenure at PJA and JFSJ, Barrett led campaigns addressing hunger, domestic workers’ wages and immigrant rights. It was “wild, exciting and wonderful,” she said.

This will be Barrett’s second position with Bet Tzedek, where she previously served as Bet Tzedek’s pro-bono director.

“We’re delighted to welcome Elissa back to the Bet Tzedek family,” Sandor Samuels, president and CEO of Bet Tzedek, said. Barrett will be his “number-two person,” he said.

Barrett replaces Michelle Williams Court in the position of vice president and general counsel. Last year, Governor Brown appointed Court to become a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge.

Barrett starts at Bet Tzedek on March 12. PJA and JFSJ will likely do an external search for her replacement, she said.