“Now more than ever, there is a need for a moral voice in the public sphere. We must take the leap from acknowledging issues of injustice to the concrete steps of implementing policies and programs for social change.”

Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds


Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds

Founding Exec Director

Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds is the founding executive director of the Jewish Center for Justice, where he envisioned the need for a Jewish justice organization to reach the unaffiliated and expand the breadth and scope of wider Jewish community. Before this position, he was the West Coast Legislative Director for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Rabbi Simonds also serves as Rabbi of the Synagogue for the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, CA. For the past eight years, he has served as the Associate Rabbi at University Synagogue in Los Angeles.


Abbi Hertz

Communications & Outreach Director

Communication and outreach director Abbi Hertz directs the communications and outreach programs for JCJ. Before co-founding JCJ, Abbi consulted with some Jewish organizations including Sharsheret and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism where she developed long-term strategies on social justice issues and met with public and elected officials. For more than a decade, Ms. Hertz directed the Los Angeles office for social marketing agency O’Rorke Inc. and was accountable for developing environmental outreach campaigns to educate and drive behavior change for clients including Los Angeles County, the City and County of San Francisco, and much more.



Julie Bank

Board Chair

Julie Bank is the Founding Board Chair of Jewish Center for Justice. She has a Master’s of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Ms. Bank has worked both professionally and as a volunteer in the Public Policy and Social Service areas for organizations such as the Chicago Urban League, Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Children’s Home and Aid Society and the Jewish Federation. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Economic Justice Task Force of the Commission on Social Action for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and is a trustee-at-large on the Union for Reform Judaism North American Board.


Julie Bank

Lisa Laffer

Michelle Sampson

Jeremy Cronig

Nick Melvoin

Jen Haarmann