December 14, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Maya Barron is stepping down, Gosia Szymanska Weiss honored, more

Cantor Tifani Coyot. Photo by Loic Coyot

Cantor Tifani Coyot of Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills has been named the successor to Cantor Evan Kent at Temple Isaiah. Kol Tikvah announced that Coyot had taken the job with Isaiah in March. She will take over for Kent in July, by which time Kol Tikvah hopes to have a replacement. Kent and his partner, Rabbi Don Goor of Temple Judea, are moving to Jerusalem this summer. Meanwhile, Judea has hired Rabbi Joshua Aaronson of Park City, Utah, to replace Goor.

Maya Barron is stepping down as Bend the Arc’s Southern California regional organizer. May 17 is her final day with the progressive social justice organization, formerly Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice. “In my nearly three years with the organization, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Barron, who announced the news publicly on April 26. She said she is leaving to “pursue some exciting new opportunities.” A national nonprofit, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, advocates for immigration reform, domestic workers’ rights, tax reform and more. 

Elana Vorspan has departed her position at the Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) to work at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS). Vorspan’s hiring as VBS Day School’s director of communications was effective as of April 8. She previously served as the director of program and marketing at JFLA. “The Jewish Conservative day school experience is so valuable, and I am really so excited to be part of that,” said Vorspan, who will expand VBS Day School’s social media presence, manage its Web site and handle its general marketing matters. 

From left: Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, consul general of Poland; Rabbi Mark Diamond, AJC Los Angeles regional director; and Gosia Szymanska Weiss, assistant director for international relations in AJC Los Angeles. Photo by Thomas Neerken Photography

In recognition of Gosia Szymanska Weiss’ contribution to international cooperation between Poland and other countries, the office of the president of Poland awarded the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Los Angeles staff person the Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on April 23. Ambassador Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, consul general of Poland in Los Angeles, presented the honor to Weiss, assistant director of international relations at AJC Los Angeles, on behalf of the president of Poland. The ceremony took place during AJC Los Angeles’ annual meeting.

Local Jewish leader Bettina Kurowski has been named to the board of directors of the Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute. The former CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Los Angeles chapter, Kurowski has volunteered in the Jewish community for more than 25 years. Her contributions include a stint as past president of the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance. An independent, national, transdenominational organization based in New York, Big Jewish Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute reaches out to unengaged and intermarried Jewish families and helps the organized Jewish community welcome them.

Moving and Shaking acknowledges accomplishments by members of the local Jewish community, including people who start new jobs, leave jobs, win awards and more. Got a tip? E-mail it to