Rya Fishman '09
Rya F. ‘09 is a public defender and an advocate for criminal legal reform and death penalty abolition. Afterattending The University of San Francisco where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Rya graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law where she was the founder and President of the Gonzaga Law Innocence Club, a student-led advocacy organization focused on raising awareness of the injustices of the criminal legal system in the form of wrongful convictions and exonerations. She also received the Certificate of Civil and Human Rights from Gonzaga Law, earning a Pro Bono Distinction award. Prior to receiving her J.D., Rya completed internships with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, ACLU of Northern California, and the American Bar Association. She also speaks Hebrew and received a Certificate in the Jewish Studies and Social Justice program from USF. In her free time, Rya likes to spend time with her family, friends, and dog, Lincoln.
Adam Spiegel ‘98
San Francisco native, Adam Spiegel, is the President and Master Distiller at Corning & Company. The company, originally founded in the pre-prohibition era, was founded on the principles of making high-quality and accessible whiskey. Adam’s original distillery, Sonoma Distilling Company, was one of the first 200 distilleries in the United States in 2010 and one of the earliest in Sonoma County’s wine country. Corning & Company today now services clients for contract production, barrel management, packaging, marketing, and route to market. With a production and storage facility that amasses over 40,000 square feet, they are one of California's premier distillery partners.
Adi Alouf ‘09
Adi Alouf moved to New York City after graduating from Jewish Community High School to attend List College, which is part of Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and enables students to pursue a unique joint degree program with Columbia University. Adi earned a BA in Religion from Columbia, a BA in Talmud and Rabbinics from JTS, and an MA in Jewish Ethics from JTS. This fall Adi will return to San Francisco to take on a new role - Director of Student Life at her alma mater, Jewish Community High School, where she will also teach Jewish Studies.
Aiden Sagerman '16
After graduating from Brandeis, Aiden attended Proof School, a small, math-oriented high school in San Francisco. Currently, he is studying at Columbia University, pursuing a double major in Comparative Literature and Mathematics. Outside of the classroom, you will find Aiden engaged in historical European martial arts, a version of fencing, involving mostly medieval German and early-modern Italian sources with historical weapons, such as longsword, sidesword, and rapiers.
Alina (Sivorinovsky) Wickham ’81
Alina (Sivorinovsky) Wickham and her family immigrated from Odessa, Ukraine in 1977, and she enrolled at Brandeis as the second Russian-speaking student at the school. She received her B.A. and M.A. in broadcast communications at San Francisco State University. She is a New York Times
best-selling author of romance and mystery. She has been a writer, producer, and skating researcher for ABC, NBC, TNT, ESPN and Lifetime TV. Brandeis featured her book “The Nesting Dolls”
as the inaugural Brandeis Connects book club selection. Currently, she lives in New York City with her family.
Aliza Lauter '12
Aliza Lauter '12, graduated from The University of California Davis with a BS in International Agricultural Development and a BA in International Relations. Currently, Aliza is a Food Systems Policy Officer for Global Policy & Advocacy at CARE, an international humanitarian organization working alongside women and girls globally, to achieve social justice by fighting poverty and world hunger.
Anna Schecter Zigler ‘94
Anna Schecter Zigler ‘94, is an award winning journalist with the NBC News investigative unit. Prior to working at NBC News she worked for ABC News where she received a Peabody award, a George Polk award, and two Emmy awards among others. For her reporting on human rights abuses in China, she received an Overseas Press Club Citation for Excellence. Schecter completed her graduate work at the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Center in Nanjing, China. After completing her studies at Brandeis, she received her bachelor’s degree in Mandarin and French from Middlebury College in Vermont where she graduated summa cum laude. She currently lives in New York City with her family.
Becka Padgett '12
Becka Padgett attended Brown University where she received a BA and MS in Medical/Biomedical Engineering while competitively skiing on the Women’s Ski Team. Currently, she is a Senior Research Associate on the Cell Engineering Team at Amcam, a biotechnology company in Boston.
Brian Goldman '97
After graduating from Brandeis in 1997, Brian attended San Francisco University High School and then Yale University. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 2010 and become a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Brian then moved to Washington D.C., where he served as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and then as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice of the Supreme Court. Following his year as a clerk for Justice Sotomayor, Brian moved back to San Francisco, where he is a partner at the law firm, Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP.
Doug Wachter ‘05
Doug Wachter is the assistant director of Major League Operations for the 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. In his role he contributes to the team’s pitching game planning and run prevention. Following his time at Brandeis he attended Lick-Wilmerding High School and the University of Michigan, where he majored in Sport Management and minored in Applied Statistics. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife.
Leo Stroe ‘06
Leo Stroe is participating in the Jewish Community Federation Fellows Program and as part of the program selected to return to Brandeis to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. After Brandeis, Leo attended The Urban School and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a BA in International Relations. Before starting his career in San Francisco, Leo volunteered in South America teaching English at an elementary school in Arequipa, Peru. He is a Mortgage Consultant at O’Dette Mortgage Group in San Francisco.
Maya Kesselman Cruz '03
Maya is a San Francisco native, attending Brandeis from K-8th grade, graduating in 2003. She is a professional circus artist who has performed around the world, beginning her high-level athletic performance training as part of The San Francisco Circus Center’s Youth Circus from ages 10-18. After studying at SFCC, she moved to Europe, where she graduated from Ecole Superieure des Arts du Cirque, in Belgium. Maya specializes in Hoop Diving, Chinese Pole, and all types of acrobatics. In 2014 she co-founded Back Pocket, a Belgian circus company where she worked to create and tour projects throughout Europe. She then went on tour with “Luzia” by Cirque du Soleil for almost 3 years, and is now delighted to have moved back home to perform in Club Fugazi’s “Dear San Francisco” in North Beach. She currently performs there 7 times a week, and is also a Pilates teacher at Pilates Vita in Russian Hill.
Maya Menachem ‘15
Maya Menachem ‘15 was elected Student President for SF Hillel at San Francisco State. Maya shared what inspired her to take on a leadership role at SF Hillel, “The Jewish values I was taught during my time at Brandeis continue to inspire me to push myself and find ways I can best support my community—whether that's my school community, the Jewish community, or the greater world. I wanted to join the Hillel leadership team so that we could continue to create that safe space that would enable students to connect with one another and feel connected on campus. I especially wanted to ensure that Jewish students on campus are heard and supported. It is my hope that my efforts as President will help create an even more inclusive environment at SFSU.”
Rafael Mandelman ‘88
Supervisor Mandelman lives in the Mission District and grew up in San Francisco. He attended The Brandeis School of San Francisco and Lick-Wilmerding High School, prior to earning a B.A. in History from Yale College, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Currently he is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing District 8.
Samantha Schireson ‘04
Samantha Schireson ‘04 attended School of the Arts, where she majored in technical theater. Following high school, she graduated with a degree in art history from Chatham University. She worked at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh before pursuing a master’s of library and information science with a specialization in archives management and preservation from the University of Pittsburgh. Following graduation, Samantha interned in the library at Trinity College in Dublin, before landing in Washington, D.C. She is currently a library technician at the Library of Congress.
Teresa Strasser ‘82
Teresa Strasser ‘82, is an Emmy Award winning writer, television host and radio personality. She is a regular contributor and columnist for The LA Times, AZ Central, and Jewish Journal, as well as author of the bestselling memoir, "Exploiting My Baby.” After graduating from Brandeis, Ms. Strasser attended Lick-Wilmerding high school and New York University, where she earned a degree in acting and journalism. Ms. Strasser made a guest appearance at the spring fundraiser in 2021, ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ offering a direct appeal to support the tuition assistance program at Brandeis. “You want students from different backgrounds to learn from each other and live in different communities and have different socioeconomic backgrounds. That is one of the things that makes Brandeis what it is. There is no way I could have gone to Brandeis without financial assistance. My life was forever changed.” Teresa, her husband and two children currently live in Arizona.
Emma Tick-Raker ‘14
Emma Tick-Raker ‘14 is in her fourth year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was recently elected President of Hillel San Luis Obispo. In August, she graduated from the Jewish Changemakers Fellowship
through The Jewish Federations of North America
. Emma’s goal during her leadership includes, “I want to first and foremost inspire others. I want to be a leader that ignites passion in others and encourages people to speak their own truth, as I learn to speak mine. Furthermore, I want to leave a legacy for Hillel when I graduate in June. One that emphasizes diversity and inclusion and hones in on interfaith work and the greatness that comes from learning from those who are different.”