Name: Keren Ayalon
Family: My husband, Yaron, is Assistant Professor of Middle East History at Ball State University, and we have 2 boys—Yuval is 4 and Omri is 10 months old.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (but we’ve lived in a number of interesting places, including Princeton, NJ; Norman, OK; and most recently, Atlanta, GA)
Something you might not know about me: I love watching Israeli cooking reality shows, and then attempting to recreate the recipes!
Position at the Federation: Director of NEXTGen
Worked here since: August 1, 2014
People can come to me if they need: To be connected to other 20s, 30s, and 40s in the Jewish community, or if they want to learn how to make a real Israeli cheesecake!
Why I find working for the Federation meaningful: I love being able to reach out to young Jews in the area and help them find their connection to the Jewish community in Indianapolis, as well as to the global Jewish community.
Name: Patti Freeman Dorson
Family: My hubby is Roland Dorson and my sons are Ben, 24, and Daniel, 22. My dad, Irving Freeman, is a lifelong volunteer leader in the Jewish community. My siblings, Lisa, Martha and Eddie, all live in Indianapolis, and Lisa works for the JCC.
Hometown: Indianapolis born and bred!
Something you might not know about me: I have served as ba’alot tekiah, shofar sounder, for Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation for nearly 35 years.
Position at the Federation: Director of Planning and Engagement
Worked here since: I started in this position on June 23, though I’ve been the facilitator of the Mothers Circle of Greater Indianapolis since 2007 and launched the PJ Library in our community in 2009, serving as coordinator and expanding its reach over three years.
People can come to me if they need: Information about connecting with our Jewish community. There are countless doors through which individuals and families enter the Jewish community. I am here to help newcomers to our community or those connecting for the first time find their door.
Why I find working for the Federation meaningful: I find the people who work here are very dedicated toward helping others. Everyone works hard toward one goal and is friendly and fun to work with.
Name: Michael Skolnick
Family: I am the youngest of five children, with my parents and most of my family living in Louisville, KY. I also have siblings and other relatives in Atlanta, Memphis, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Ohio.
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Something you might not know about me: I was a certified mediator for the District Court system in and around Boston. Also, I have the somewhat unique distinction of having traveled cross country via UPS air transportation.
Position at the Federation: Associate Director, Campaign and Planned Giving
Worked here since: July 2014
People can come to me if they need: If there is some way that I can be of help, even if it is recommending someone who may be of more help, I am happy to do so. As I am responsible for helping secure the financial resources needed now and in the future to sustain and enrich our community, I also hope people will come to me to share their ideas and thoughts and of course their interest in supporting the mission, goals and needs of the Federation, the Jewish agencies and our community!
Why I find working for the Federation meaningful: I was raised with a strong Jewish identity and sense of tradition. My parents and grandparents were very committed to Judaism on every level, and they passed that along. For me, Judaism has not been just a religion; it is a way of life, with values that are a part of who I am and how I live my life. I was taught that it is up to each of us to help families, friends, communities and those we don’t know. Working for the Federation is meaningful because it provides the chance to put my skills, experience and knowledge to use for the good of the Jewish community as well as the broader world around us. With challenges and opportunities facing our community, I feel I can make a real difference for the present and future of the Indianapolis Jewish community.