Our Staff

Hope Ratner, Co – Administrator

Hope comes with substantial experience in operations, communications, project and event management as well as a strong background in IT and website management. Hope has worked as a grants manager for the Rosenberg Foundation and the Panta Rhea Foundation and has served as Office Manager for large non-profit organizations. She also has a paralegal degree and has worked in public interest law in the San Francisco area, assisting on major cases in civil rights, sex discrimination, and sexual harassment.

With a BFA degree from Syracuse University, Hope is an accomplished painter and photographer. In her free time, she loves to travel.

Hope moved to the Baltimore area after years in California and D.C. 

E-mail Hope

 Justine Abel, Co – Administrator

Justine Abel has long worked in the non-profit sector running programs that ranged from developing a program to recruit college students who receive work-study funds to tutor elementary school students in afterschool programs in Boston, to running an elementary school-based recess time physical activity and social skill development program in New York City, to implementing anti-bias and diversity education initiatives in schools and community-based organizations in Chicago. Prior to working in non-profits, she served as an English as a Foreign Language teacher volunteer in the Peace Corps for two years in Guinea, West Africa. Since she’s lived in Baltimore, she has been writing and editing grants and curricula for non-profits and tutoring refugee children at Beechfield Elementary/Middle School. Additionally, she loves to explore Baltimore with her husband and twins.

Justine received her received a BA in Sociology/International Affairs from Colorado College and her MA in Education and International Development from the University of London’s Institute of Education.

E-mail Justine

Jillian Manko, Director of Education 

Jillian Manko was born and raised in Baltimore and has always been drawn to her Jewish heritage. As a child she was active in Hebrew School and community wide volunteering opportunities. She decided to take the next step after High School and spent her first year of undergrad with American Jewish University in Israel volunteering, teaching, and falling in love with Israel more and more every day. Upon returning home to Baltimore, she knew she had to either make Aliyah or teach the beauty of our religion, culture, and love of all things Israel.

For the past ten years, Jillian has taught students from ages 1-99, tutored B’nai Mitzvah students, advised youth groups, and assisted in opening and teaching Hebrew Schools in areas with small Jewish populations. She enjoys reading Torah and especially teaching Torah. She has a passion for creating communities and bringing families together. Jillian believes in the importance of families following their own Jewish beliefs; that there is no wrong way to be Jewish.

Jillian graduated from Stevenson University with her B.S. in psychology. She loves meeting new people, traveling, trivia, playing sports, and she roots loud and proud for the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Capitals. Her family includes her adorably brilliant girls, Talia and Stella, and her wonderful husband Gennady.

E-mail Jillian