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 year has been an active, excited resident of Southwest Detroit. While studying sociology at Michigan State University, 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 is a team leader with Repair the World. With Repair, Alyah works to engage the Jewish community in volunteerism and social justice -- specifically in food and education systems -- and is excited to bring those passions and others to The Well! She enjoys concerts, Detroit's vibrant culture, and a reasonably priced glass of red wine.
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.
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 has lived in the Metro Detroit area since birth. Although she’s traveled frequently, she believes there’s no place like home, and she is excited to be part of The Bucket List to help engage and strengthen her Detroit Jewish community. Julie has a background in communications and working with not-for- profit organizations. Currently, Julie is working in the philanthropy sector and lives in (spoiler alert) Metro Detroit with her wonderful husband Ross. They communicate by meowing at each other. Julie loves (in no particular order) reading, traveling, cooking (come 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.
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 infant son Jonah.
RON ELKUS opened the Shirt Box in Southfield, MI after his graduation from MSU. The modest store had just men's shirts and ties. The business has since expanded greatly, relocating to Farmington Hills, and now also includes sport coats, casual and business wear, a big and tall section, and even shoes and other accessories. Known in the community for his activism and ability to link up like-minded people, Ron is a past president of MSU Hillel's governing board, is an active cyclist, and has proudly lived in Huntington Woods since before it was trendy to do so! If you're not wearing a tie, he will ask you why -- for Ron, it's all about the tie!
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 - and is expanding to Royal Oak (and hopefully beyond!). Sam is looking forward to getting more involved with the incredible Jewish community in her hometown by joining The Well’s Bucket List. In her free time, Sam loves playing tennis, being outside, hanging 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. Excited about all of the incredible things going on in and around the city, Steve immediately became active in various Jewish organizations around town, including serving as a co-chair for Shalom Detroit - a part of Federation's NextGen with a focus on bringing young Jewish adults back to Michigan. Steve also has served on various committees for Tamarack Camps, a passion arising from his many years as a summer camper. He is now very excited to be a part of the programming and opportunities that The Well will be bringing to the community. 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.