The Jewish Community Alliance is more than just offices and a building. It is also people – volunteers and staff – all dedicated to the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and gmilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness).
Molly Curren Rowles
Molly has been director of the JCA since 2017. Under her leadership, the organization has worked to raise its profile and strengthen its commitments as a JCC, JFS, and Federation. During Molly’s tenure, the JCA’s annual budget has grown significantly, and its Annual Campaign has increased by over 30%. Molly is passionate about building transparent, ethical, efficient systems; strengthening communal and institutional resilience and capacity; and sharing the wisdom and beauty of Judaism and Jewish life with those of all backgrounds.
After graduating from Cornell Law School, Molly worked for seven years at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, first as a Frank M. Coffin Family Law Fellow, then as a generalist in York County, and finally as manager of statewide intake. Prior to law school, Molly worked in human rights issues and human services. Molly is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Smith College, where she majored in Religion and Biblical Literature and was awarded the Sidney Balman prize for outstanding work in Jewish studies. She grew up “off the grid” in rural New Hampshire, and enjoys spending time reading, crafting, and outdoors in Maine with her husband and three children.
Sam has been living in the Portland area since finishing college at the University of Maine in Orono, where he studied journalism and history. He most recently spent 5+ years working with local nonprofit Preble St. in roles with Food Programs and as a case manager with Veterans Housing Services. Sam is passionate about movies and food and would be thrilled to talk about both in great detail. He is fed by bike rides on sunny days (or quiet nights), and truly appreciates the Portland Trails network and bike infrastructure. Sam is a longtime mentor with The Telling Room’s Young Writers and Leaders Program and spent the last year working with Unity Runners ME to curtail the use of no-knock warrants in Maine. Sam is looking forward to connecting with the JCA community and meeting the needs of current and future members. Feel free to give him a shout anytime!
Ilana is a graduate of Colby College and University of Southern California and has worked in research labs as a marine microbiologist for nearly two decades. She has always enjoyed community engagement through volunteering, and has extensive experience planning events, fundraising, writing grants to secure programming, and generating games & activities for communal gatherings. Ilana, her husband, and two boys recently moved to Dayton from central Maine. She and her family are members of Temple Beth El in Augusta, where her oldest son recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. In addition to serving in leadership roles in the synagogue and wider community, Ilana’s passion is classical and folk music. She plays piano, guitar, and Scottish smallpipes, and loves to accompany her sons, who play violin.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Ashley has spent her career working exclusively in non-profits and higher education. Following her experience as a United Way Loaned Executive in 2016, she made the official switch into Development work. As a former Board member of the JCA, Ashley knew how important and special this organization is to so many, so when the opportunity arose in 2019 to direct the J’s development activities as a member of the staff, she knew she had to act on it. The best part of Ashley’s job is working with our donors and helping them to see their dollars in action. Outside of life at the J, Ashley’s time is spent indulging her elementary-aged son’s many, many interests, volunteering, cooking, and craft cocktail making. Ashley is an active member of the Jewish community and currently sits on the Board of Trustees at Congregation Bet Ha’am.
Bonnie has been the Finance Director at the JCA since January of 2015. She graduated from Thornton Academy and earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maine at Orono. But, as often happens, life sometimes throws you a curveball and she ended up back in school in an accounting program and now has over 38 years of experience in the accounting field. Bonnie lives with her husband in Biddeford and when not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, trying out new recipes, and listening to almost any genre of music. Bonnie is also an avid reader and makes it a point to read for at least an hour every day… even on vacation!
CENTER DAY CAMP DIRECTOR
Chris has been the Director of Center Day Camp since 2020, and is looking forward to his 4th summer on Sebago Basin! During his tenure, Chris has worked to strengthen the CDC camper and counselor experience by implementing session based registration and focusing on facility improvement and program development. The current retention rate for campers is over 70% and he is proud of the commitment from staff to continue giving the Portland community a traditional Maine camp experience! During the pandemic Chris helped to build the youth program “J All Day” which was designed to support students and families with the virtual learning school year. The full day program offered a wide variety of enrichment options, and helped to create a community for 18 public school students. He currently oversees the afterschool and youth programming department at the JCA.
A graduate of UMaine, Chris spent the early part of his career in Massachusetts, where he worked with youth in Roxbury and Dorchester as an AmeriCorps member and teacher, and later served as Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Wakefield. Chris lives in the East End of Portland with his girlfriend and dog Pemi. When he’s not working you can find him hiking, skiing, lounging on the beach, and enjoying all that Maine has to offer!
Shawn was born and raised in Bowdoinham, has two boys and a girl, and now resides with his wife and his two chihuahuas.
Adam is an AmeriCorps alum with a strong background in civic engagement and volunteer management, along with a deep commitment to human services. He received an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Suffolk University, and has a BA in Secondary Education from Lesley University. Most recently, Adam worked as the Volunteer Services Supervisor at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging. He served as the Volunteer Coordinator at KJFS in 2017-2018, and he is thrilled to be back at the JCA once again! Adam is an avid Boston sports fan (Go Celtics!) and resides in Scarborough with his wife and son.
REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT MANAGER
Siobhan started her career as a member of the leadership team at the Coalition for Refugees from Burma (CRB; now the Communities of Rooted Brilliance) in King County, Washington. There she helped to develop and implement services for refugee youth and families to equitably engage with education systems, built partnerships with community groups, and trained and supported over 50 volunteers annually.
Siobhan is passionate about social, economic, and racial justice, and works to ensure that every newcomer to our community has access to the resources they need to thrive.
YOUTH PROGRAMMING AND PJ LIBRARY COORDINATOR
Marlena grew up in the Portland area and graduated from Skidmore College in 2016 with a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology. Before starting at the JCA, Marlena worked for several years as a classroom teacher at Ocean Avenue School in Portland. She has also spent the past 9 summers working at Center Day Camp in various roles. As youth programming coordinator, Marlena runs the JCA’s afterschool program and works to connect families through PJ library programming through the year. She is also thrilled to get to continue spending summers at Center Day Camp as the assistant director.
Tori has lived in Maine since 2016 when she attended Maine College of Art and ended up staying after receiving a Bachelor's in Animation and Game Art in 2020. She brings over ten years of customer service, a great sense of humor, and a bright smiling face to the JCA community. As a Receptionist for the J, she is everyone's go-to gal—you will definitely end up talking to her! Whether she is answering the phone or emails, Tori strives to help the JCA community in any way she can. When Tori isn't at work, she is probably reading, playing video games, or watching the same show for the millionth time. She lives in Portland with her partner and very orange cat, Kombucha.
Goldman Family Preschool Staff
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Wendy is enthusiastic about working collaboratively with families and teachers to develop shared understandings and actions that advocate for the best interest of the child. She has a BA from the University of Southern Maine, served two years on the visiting committee for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the 2020 ECE Policy Leadership Program with MaineAEYC. Wendy enjoys running, nature walks, painting, crochet and is the proud parent of her daughter Egypt, who is currently a sophomore at Bennington College in Vermont.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Janel Goodman is Assistant Director of the JCA Preschool, and has been with the JCA for over fourteen years. She holds a K-8 teaching certificate from the University of New England and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Farmington. Janel especially enjoys watching the way four and five year olds grow throughout the year. Warm hugs, spontaneous dance parties, and fantastic colleagues are a few of her favorite parts of the JCA Preschool!