The Well's Bucket List is comprised of volunteer leaders who are stoked about building vibrant, inclusive and meaningful Jewish community here in Metro Detroit!
ALYAH AL-AZEM is a lifelong Metro-Detroiter and for the past two years has been an active, excited resident of Detroit. While studying sociology at Michigan State University (Go Green!), Alyah was engaged in volunteer work and the campus Hillel where she combined her passions for social justice and Judaism. After a short stay in Texas after graduation, the Jewish community and warm weather brought Alyah back to Detroit where she joined Repair the World for two years of service as a Team Leader. Growing up Alyah was an active member of her Temple's youth group and BBYO, so it seems natural that she is now the Teen Engagement Director at Temple Shir Shalom. With Shir Shalom, Alyah works to engage Jewish teens in their youth group through social action and a sense of community. She enjoys concerts, Detroit's vibrant culture, and a reasonably priced glass of red wine.
AUDREY BLOOMBERG returned to Metro-Detroit in 2013 after spending 8 years working at four different Hillel Foundations across the midwest. Passionate about the Birthright Israel experience, Audrey staffed 13 trips in 8 years, and is currently a Birthright Israel Fellow focusing on the educational and community building aspects of trips. Committed to community service, Audrey is an active volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association (a cause she is very passionate about), and served as the NEXTGen Liaison to Jewish Senior Life. She has found building community with The Well integral to creating a sustainable Jewish community for herself, and is excited and honored to join The Bucket List to help and inspire others to build community too! Professionally, Audrey works for Temple Shir Shalom as their Program Coordinator. A passionate Spartan (who has a graduate degree from UofM...), Audrey loves baking challah (just ask her Shabbat dinner group!), discovering new restaurants around town, traveling and occasionally running a half marathon or 5k.
GABRIEL SCHARG recently moved back to the Metro Detroit area after spending over six years in Los Angeles working in investment banking and private equity. While living and working in Metro Detroit on a business advisory project in the summer of 2014, he realized all the exciting opportunities taking place in and around Metro Detroit and decided he wanted to move back to Michigan to be a part of it all. Now home, he is extremely excited to get involved in the Metro Detroit Jewish community and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of The Well's Bucket List. In his free time, Gabriel enjoys spending time with his family and friends, exercising, cooking, cycling, mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding, boxing, going on adventures, playing and listening to music, reading and traveling.
GEORGE ROBERTS is a downtown Detroit resident, committed urbanist, public space lover, and dedicated-but-inexperienced cyclist. George moved back to Detroit from New York City in 2015 to lead redevelopment and activation of parks and public spaces in Detroit for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund. Prior to returning to Detroit, George lived in SoHo and worked on creating new public spaces in New York and across North America. George grew up in Birmingham and attended Wylie E. Groves High School before heading to the University of Michigan for an undergraduate degree in Urban and Metropolitan Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development. George is also a board member of Federation's NEXTGen, where he chairs the Israel Engagement Committee (he also staffed Teen Mission in 2010!). George is usually outside, typically in the city of Detroit, always carrying a book or paper, and is generally overdressed.
J. JACOB KRAUSE, a native Metro Detroiter, is a small business owner with a keen eye on community. Along with his husband, Steven Davis, Jacob owns Express Employment Professionals Royal Oak where his office works with job seekers to secure permanent employment with a variety of local industry partners. He is a member of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and proudly supports and sponsors such causes as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Forgotten Harvest, and The Early Music Festival of Detroit. With a degree in opera performance from the University of Michigan, he also has a professional singing and theater career focusing on making the arts accessible to all people in Metro Detroit. Jacob has a passion for working with LGBTQ organizations and has taken on leadership roles within KESHET, The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, NEXTGen Pride and more to create safe and inclusive environments for the LGBTQ Jewish community and beyond. Jacob is excited to join The Well’s Bucket List to help build a Jewish community he’s proud to call his own. In his spare time, Jacob loves to explore the emerging food scene in Detroit, singing and teaching with the Royal School of Church Music, entertaining at his Ferndale home and caring for his mischievous dog and cat, Serena and Xander.
JESSICA KATZ is a native metro-Detroiter and expert packer, having moved 10 times in the last 10 years, making the rounds in NYC, Chicago, and East Lansing. Finding herself back in Detroit, she is currently the Recruitment and Training Specialist for Moosejaw, an outdoor retail company. A camper and adventurer she has actually “found herself” on some pretty decent travel adventures. Jessica previously worked for Michigan State University Hillel and the Birthright Israel Foundation, and has led numerous Birthright Israel trips. She has spent many hours engaging, inspiring, and figuring out how to impact young Jewish adults. Jessica is the young adult liaison on the board for Kadima, and has served on various committees for NEXTGen through the Jewish Federation of Metro-Detroit in addition to her leadership with The Well. She practices yoga, pretends that she runs a lot, enjoys reading chick-lit and is known for her spot on goat impressions.
JULIE BAGLEY is a native to the Metro Detroit area. She is excited to be part of The Bucket List to help engage and strengthen her Detroit Jewish community. While she loves traveling, Julie truly believes there is no place like home, especially a home with strong community roots. Julie has a background in communications and working with not-for-profit organizations. Currently, Julie works in the philanthropy sector and lives in Metro Detroit with her wonderful husband Ross and their two fur kids. They all communicate by meowing at each other. She is always up for a new adventure or a coloring date, and is more than happy to show you pictures of her furry babies. Julie loves (in no particular order) reading, traveling, cooking (come on over for dinner!), photography, coloring and cats. Ask her about her cats.
LAUREN STERLING found her way back home to Metro Detroit after spending time in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she met her husband Jonathan. (Yes—she stole a good one from the City of Angels for the Motor City. If you ask him, he loves snow.) A passionate educator, Lauren started her teaching career over a decade ago and enjoyed her time in the classroom immensely. Currently, Lauren spends her days with her two darling boys, Jonah and Max, focusing her efforts on raising curious tiny mentches. If you find Lauren in a quiet moment when she's not involved in a craft project or story time, you will see someone enjoying a good book or passed out on the couch. (Her boys enjoy waking up before the sun rises.) Lauren feels overjoyed that The Well has become a reality and is thrilled to be joining this team of enthusiastic community builders.
LOWELL WEISS grew up in Bloomfield Hills and always knew he wanted to stay in the area. After graduating from The Ohio State University and Michigan State College of Law, he and his wife moved back to metro Detroit. After practicing law long enough to know it wasn’t for him, he transitioned to a role as a financial advisor and Certified Financial Planner designation holder. He is forever grateful for the support of his wife, kids (Ben and Bex), and Portuguese water dog (Harley). In his rare free time he enjoys cycling, running, and running his smoker for BBQs. He also enjoys a good American whiskey and planning trips to Disney World for friends and family. Over the years he has been honored to help raise money for Homes for Our Troops and Make A Wish and is thrilled to join the Bucket List to work with some of our community’s best and brightest!
MATTHEW ROSS grew up in West Bloomfield, MI and after pursuing business opportunities in New York and Chicago found himself following his heart/soul back to Metro Detroit. A graduate of West Bloomfield High School, University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and University of Detroit Law School, Matthew is a member of the Illinois and Michigan Bars and is now an associate with his family's legal practice, Ross Law, where he is grateful for the opportunity to spend time with his personal hero: his father. Matthew loves anything that gets him outdoors (which makes you wonder why he moved back to Michigan), with a particular appreciation for soccer, running and yoga, and is proud to have raised money for charities such as Paws for a Cause and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Grateful for the love of family and friends, he is excited to join the Bucket List to have a strong hand in continuing to build community here in Metro Detroit!
MIRIAM HORWITZ is new to Metro Detroit, establishing herself as a Michigander in June of 2014. Aside from being married to Rabbi Dan (and thus co-hosting a significant number of The Well’s programs in their shared home), Miriam is a certified ASL-English interpreter who works in myriad settings and was recently appointed by Governor Snyder to the State of Michigan’s advisory council on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. In a previous professional life, she toured the globe as an actress and performer. Jewishly, Miriam started the Inclusion Fund for Moishe House to enable Deaf individuals in their 20s and 30s to attend Moishe House educational events, was an active participant in a Women’s Rosh Chodesh Group in Washington, DC, and is a member of the ROI Community, an international network of Jewish activists and change makers, having been selected to attend their 2013 summit in Jerusalem. Miriam loves practicing yoga, experimenting with new recipes, knitting, art-journaling and making music with her husband and their boys, Jonah and Micah.
SAMANTHA FRIEDMAN moved from Manhattan back to Metro Detroit to build her own fitness business. She was able to convince her New York native husband to join her on her mission. As a full family affair, the Friedmans - along with Sam’s mom and “bonus” dad - created Cycle & Row of West Bloomfield. Sam had the privilege of working with celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels to refine the concept, which is now known as Fuse45 - a 45-minute circuit-based workout. In 2016, Sam opened her second Fuse45 studio in Royal Oak and is working towards continued expansion of the fitness concept. Sam has thoroughly enjoyed getting more involved in Detroit's incredible Jewish community by joining The Well’s Bucket List and plans to continue exploring her Jewish identity and roots through the Well's programs. In her free time, Sam loves playing tennis, being outside, hanging out with family and friends, cooking, trying new restaurants, reading and traveling.
STEVE HURVITZ returned to the Metro Detroit area after spending time exploring Jewish communities in Boston, Anchorage, and Washington D.C., and quickly became active in various Jewish organizations around town. He was immediately drawn to The Well given Rabbi Dan's passion and the exciting things the organization was doing to connect with Jews from different paths, views, and backgrounds all across the area. Steve also is an active member of other Jewish organizations in the area, including being on various committees for Tamarack Camps, acting as a founding committee member for Shalom Detroit,and currently serving on the Board of Trustees for Congregation Shaarey Zedek. Steve is an attorney and lives in Huntington Woods with his wife Tammy, who works for a fantastic organization called Racquet Up Detroit, which is based in the old Jewish Community Center in Northwest Detroit. Fun fact: In high school,Steve and (now-Rabbi) Dan created two award-winning BBYO Regional Convention musical talent show productions.
ZAC BERLIN is a native metro Detroiter, who moved back to the city in 2012 as an inaugural Challenge Detroit fellow. Zac has been actively involved in the Jewish Community since high school, where he was a leader in BBYO, and also supported the work of many Jewish organizations as an undergrad at the University of Michigan. He is now excited about continuing his involvement in the Jewish Community by joining the Bucket List. Zac enjoys watching Detroit sports (especially when they win), Michigan Football, exercising, making music, and finding new places to eat and drink in Metro Detroit.