Our theory of action centers the leadership of Jewish People of Color in our region. Meet our team!
Shahanna McKinney Baldon
Shahanna McKinney Baldon is a longtime educator in Jewish and public school settings. An active Jewish diversity advocate and thought leader for over 20 years, Shahanna brings past experience serving in a range of organizational leadership roles that have focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in schools and communities. In addition to leading Edot, Shahanna works as an evaluator and Clinical Program Co-Director at University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. She currently sits on the Board of Governors for Reconstructing Judaism, and co-chairs the Tikkun Olam Commission for the Reconstructionist Movement, one of the major streams of Judaism in North America. Shahahnna comes from a large Midwest US African American and Ashkenazi family with Seminole, Cherokee, Blackfoot, and Sephardi heritage.
Milwaukee & Development Team
A native Wisconsinite, Chelsea Cross uses her experiences from living abroad and on both United States coasts, while serving in both the education and health field, to impact her home on a broader scale. Chelsea identifies as a Blewish woman (Black+Jew), as her background propels and enables her to make change. She is a former classroom teacher who works as a consultant, leading political and other community-based campaigns. Chelsea holds degrees from Brown and Johns Hopkins universities. Advocating for diverse, safe, educated, and healthy communities are the types of challenges that Chelsea relishes. In addition to acting as Edot Point in Milwaukee, she helps to lead Edot fundraising and development work.
Rafi Forbush is an entrepreneur and active member of the Twin Cities Jewish community, serving as an educator, coach, and mentor for Jewish youth. In addition to serving as Twin Cities Point for Edot, Rafi is Founder of the Multiracial Jewish Association of Minnesota, which focuses on creating a space for Jews of color to connect to one another through the community, education, and advocacy. Since 2014, Rafi has worked to create awareness for issues related to race, religion, and the intersection of the two, through his work as a public speaker. A seasoned Jewish Day School teacher, Rafi currently works as a consultant, leading racial diversity and equity work in youth spaces for the Conservative Movement, one of the one of the major streams of Judaism in North America.
Tamar Ghidalia (she/her) is a Sephardic Jew with roots in Tunisia, France, Israel, and Minnesota. An educator and musician with many years of experience in leadership, Tamar’s is former Executive Director of Urban Arts Academy, a non-profit serving diverse students and families through art-infused education. She has received numerous awards for her work in racial justice. In addition to Project Managing all of Edot’s work and leading Edot facilitation and technical assistance initiatives, Tamar is a lead facilitator for the JewV’Nation Fellowship leadership program for Jews of Color–an initiative of the Reform Movement, one of the major streams of Judaism in North America.
Gage Gorsky Ph.D. (they/them) is uniquely positioned as a mixed Mexican neurodivergent radical nonbinary trans queer Millennial interdisciplinary research consultant raised by their single white Jewish mom among diverse chosen family in Chicago. Dr. Gorsky has a doctorate in Educational Measurement and Statistics from the University of Washington and their research explores the construction of identity in context, especially the intersections of race, gender, class, and belief. Their own intersecting marginal identities and feminist, activist spirit inform and shape their spiritual and methodological approach. Though they live in Seattle, WA, their family, friends, and heart-work keep them firmly rooted to the Midwest.
Sara Greenhalgh (she/they) was born in Wonju, South Korea and grew up in Minneapolis. She holds a Bachelors and Masters in Social Work with a specialization in Child Welfare, and currently works as a social worker in Hennepin, County, Minnesota. Sara leads Edot’s work with Midwest synagogues. She also leads Edot’s work to engage teens and young adults, including managing the Edot JOC Teen Mentoring Program, in which JOC Teens in the Midwest act as paid mentors for younger youth and their parents. Sara brings to her work years of youth work and experience engaging in racial equity issues in a Midwest synagogue setting. She serves as a Board Member for Jewish Community Action, and is an activist in the Twin Cities.
Kai Yael Gardner Mishlove
Kai Gardner Mishlove is a former Edot staff person, and now sits on the Edot Advisory Board. She is African American and Jewish, and hails from Madison, Wisconsin via Milwaukee, Chicago, and originally, New Orleans. Kai is the current Executive Director of Jewish Social Services of Madison, and the former Executive Director of Jewish Community Relations Council of Milwaukee–the only African-American person to have led a JCRC anywhere in North America. Kai is also the founder of Tables Across Borders, a collaborative global pop-up dining experience highlighting the cuisines of refugee communities resettled in the Milwaukee area.
Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in suburban Chicago, SooJi Min-Maranda is the executive director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the umbrella nonprofit for the Jewish Renewal movement. SooJi has served as executive director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, and Korean American Community Services, a comprehensive social service agency in Chicago. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards and fellowships for her work in the health field, and for her leadership in the social justice community.
Yoshi Silverstein is a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew and an educator, designer, speaker, husband, and father. In addition to serving as Cleveland Point for Edot, Yoshi leads Mitsui Collective. A a cohort six Schusterman Fellow, Yoshi’s work weaves tapestries of embodied spiritual practice, somatics and antiracism. He has studied Jewish landscape journey and experience, spiritual entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, permaculture design, and environmental education, and is currently engaged in deep study of foundations in somatic abolitionism. Yoshi was selected as a 2021 “Grist 50 Fixer,” and sits on the Board of Directors for Repair the World as program committee chair.
Point Person for Indigenous – Native American
Lasha Tilsen is the Indigenous Native American Point for Edot, and also leads Edot’s work to engage families with young children. She is an enrolled member of the Brotherton Indian Nation of Wisconsin, with family at White Earth Reservation and Oglala Lakota Nation – Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Lasha is also Ashkenazi heritage. In addition to her work with Edot, Lasha works as COVID Resource Manager for Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, Minnesota. She also serves as a parent representative with her local public school board. A mother and early childhood educator with many years of experience in JCC and Montessori settings, Lasha and her daughters were leaders of the Jewish Women of Color delegation at the front of the 2019 Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
Robin Washington is a longtime Black and Jewish thought leader and an award-winning American journalist and filmmaker. He currently serves as Editor-at-Large with The Forward, America’s flagship Jewish news media organization, and host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Simply Superior. As a journalist and editor, Robin has worked for newspapers in Boston and Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in a family of Black and Jewish civil rights activists in the Chicago of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and has made documentaries about the civil rights movement and the lives of African Americans.