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Sinai Akiba Names School Head, ELNET Appoints Director, Jews of Color Fellow, PJTC Honors Professor

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January 18, 2023
Lauren Plant, the new head of school at Sinai Akiba Academy. Courtesy of Sinai Akiba Academy

Day school Sinai Akiba Academy (SAA) has named Lauren Plant its new head of school, starting on July 1.

Plant’s hiring follows a national search led by DRG Talent Consulting Experts.

A Los Angeles native, Plant is currently head of school at Westerly School of Long Beach, where she has served since 2018. Her time at Westerly has been filled with innovative strategic planning, the development of signature education programs and helming a school-wide focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

As SAA, an ECC-8th grade day school at Sinai Temple, enters its 55th year, her leadership promises to lead the school into a dynamic and reinvigorated next chapter, according to SAA leadership. 

Plant, who describes herself as “a relational leader who deeply values open communication, collaboration, and community partnership,” succeeds Interim Head of School Rabbi Andy Feig. Feig will serve in his current role through June before becoming head of school at Ilan Ramon Day School in West Hills.


From left: State Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), honoree Peter Dreier and PJTC Social Justice Committee Chair Carl Selkin. Photo by Ann Marie Hickabottom

Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) honored Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College, at its annual Marv Gross Social Justice Award ceremony.

The Jan. 13 Friday night program coincided with the congregation’s sixth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat.  

Dreier, an author and activist who writes widely on American public policy, is a frequent speaker on topics including urban politics, housing, community development and community organizing. 


Nicole Daghighian, one of six young adults in the Jews of Color Initiative leadership.
Courtesy of Repair the World

Six fellows from the Jews of Color Initiative (JoCI) have begun their placements at various leadership positions in the Jewish organizational ecosystem as part of a ten-month fellowship for young adults offering firsthand professional experience in the Jewish nonprofit sector.

Nicole Daghighian, an Iranian-American Jew raised in West Los Angeles, is a member of the second-ever cohort of the JoCI Leadership Fellowship. She has been placed at Repair the World, where she will contribute to their data management projects.

One of six fellows in the recently announced cohort, Nicole joins Jonah Levy, an illustrator from New York City, at Repair the World.

“We are beyond excited to have Jonah and Nicole join Repair the World through the Jews of Color Initiative Leadership Fellowship,” Repair the World Chief Strategy Officer Kate O’Bannon said. “Their perspective and talents will enable us to engage more young adults in meaningful Jewish service. We look forward to supporting Jonah and Nicole as they learn and grow in their roles within the strategy team at Repair. Our partnership with JoCI enables us to live our value of action and learning, na’aseh v’nishma, as we collaborate and learn together.”


ELNET-Israel CEO Emmanuel Navon. Courtesy of the European Leadership Network

The European Leadership Network (ELNET) has appointed Emmanuel Navon executive director of ELNET Israel.

Navon is a renowned scholar, practitioner of foreign affairs and an expert on Europe-Israel relations. He brings more than two decades of experience in management, politics, academia and professional advocacy.

He has taught at Tel Aviv University; Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel; and at the IDF’s National Security College. His latest book, “The Star and the Scepter: A Diplomatic History of Israel,” is the definitive study of Israel’s international relations. 

With changes occurring in the geopolitical landscape in Europe and the Middle East, Navon is looking forward to leading the Israel office at ELNET, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to strengthening the Jewish state’s relationship with Europe based on shared democratic values and common interests. 

“I have worked with ELNET for years as keynote speaker for incoming delegations and strategic dialogues and I am familiar with its invaluable work and incredible team,” he said. “As CEO of ELNET Israel, I intend to build on past successes; develop strong relationships with European leaders; leverage the opportunities created by the Zeitenwende and Abraham Accords to strengthen Israel’s relations with Europe; and further develop financial resources.”

Friends of ELNET President David Siegel said Navon will be an asset to ELNET, a network of independent organizations.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Emmanuel Navon for several years,” Siegel said. “He is an extraordinary leader and practitioner, with a strong commitment to the core mission of ELNET.”

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