Zev BW.jpg Rabbi Zev Baram , Executive Director: Zev founded the Philadelphia branch of the Friendship Circle with his wife. Rabbi Baram is the full-time special needs advisor and specialist for both the participant children and the volunteers. Once a new volunteer has expressed interest, Rabbi Baram meets with him/her personally to get to know and train him/her to ensure that they are comfortable going into the volunteer experience. Rabbi Baram's natural talent for working with children with special needs and his extensive experience in the field of special needs and informal Jewish education uniquely qualify him for the demands of his position. Zev also has a wonderful way of connecting with teenagers with special needs so he can guide their buddy and other staff on the best way to ensure full participation. He is available throughout every event, together with behavior therapists, to support the volunteer "typical" teen as well as the teen with special needs. Rabbi Baram has also developed individualized Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons and Jewish learning for the students. He coordinates home visits, fundraising, and connecting The Friendship Circle to the larger Jewish community.

Chani BW.jpg Chani Schmidt Baram,  Co-founder : Chani works with the rest of the Friendship Circle team to building community connections. Chani brings her extensive experience both in formal and informal Jewish education and programming with her degree in education from Bet Chana Academy in Israel. She also has unique personal experience as the sister of three younger siblings with special needs. As Co-founder Chani focuses on nurturing relationships with our parents, families, board, donors and staff and is an integral part of our community.

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Jared Pashko , Marketing & Outreach Manager: Jared works with with our active families and FC Youth. He is responsible for outreach to new families and recruitment of new volunteers. He also works with our active members to provide ongoing support in the home and at events. Jared brings a degree from the University of Maryland and a background in Special Needs and Youth Programming. Jared has worked at Ramah Camps as a counselor, buddy, and advisor in numerous Tikvah Programs. He has also utilized his passion in private life-skills tutoring and as a teacher in kindergarten classrooms.

Jared R BW 2.jpg Jared Rosenbloom , Program & Curriculum Manager: One of Jared's main passions is programming and his job is to create & plan fun, innovative activities for everyone to enjoy. Before coming to Friendship Circle, he was the Ritual Coordinator at a synagogue in S. Jersey and a Children's Programming Director at the JCC in Rockland County, New York.

Alexa Website.jpgAlexa Hinds , Administrative and Program Assistant: Alexa graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Anthropology/Sociology. Before coming to Friendship Circle she was the OfficeManager for the Center of Student Involvement at her school. Alexa assists with programming, scheduling, and organizing all Friendship Circle Activities. In her free time, Alexa volunteers at Community Learning Center and her yoga studio!

Emily BW.jpg Emily Coplon , Accounting: Emily provides organizational and procedural support to The Friendship Circle. She focuses on bookkeeping, development, donations and their acknowledgements, as well as coordinating the intake of new members.

FullSizeRender.jpg Cait Gilmartin,   Lead Behavioral Specialist: Cait has worked with children and adults of all ages in different capacities across the Philadelphia area, utilizing skills in relationship building, teaching, behavior strategies, consultation and counseling. She is a graduate of SJU and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Cait holds advanced degrees in clinical psychology and school psychology, receiving a doctorate in school psychology in 2014. Cait has been having fun and meeting new faces at Sunday Circles and other programs since 2009. Cait loves making art and music in her spare time and tries to read a book every week! 

Click on staff names to send them an email!