Our People

Meet the people behind the work

Team

David Mason

Executive Director

he/him

David Mason

David Mason

Executive Director

he/him

Rabbi David Mason is the Executive Director of HIAS+JCORE. He previously served as rabbi of Muswell Hill Synagogue for over 14 years, and at Kingston Synagogue in South West London prior to that. Born in Edinburgh, he studied at George Watsons College before receiving a BSc and MSc in Econometrics from the London School of Economics. He attended yeshivot in Israel for 7 years before joining the Rabbinate. David also has a Masters in Conflict Resolution in Divided Society from King’s College London.

Amos Schonfield

Deputy Director

he/him

Amos Schonfield

Amos Schonfield

Deputy Director

he/him

Amos Schonfield is a community builder and activist from London. He has worked to support and mould ecosystems of leaders and communities from marginalised backgrounds with the skills and connections to create a society rooted in social justice and dignity. As Deputy Director of HIAS+JCORE, Amos works across volunteering, education and youth engagement, as well as supporting the rest of the team across the organisation. He also founded and is CEO of Our Second Home, the UK’s refugee youth movement. Previously, he was CEO of Mavar, and has worked at Student Action for Refugees, Noam Masorti Youth, and Yachad (where he remains a trustee). Amos studied International Relations at the University of Leeds and holds an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford.

Jack Kushner

Campaigns & Communications, and Office Administrator

he/him

Jack Kushner

Jack Kushner

Campaigns & Communications, and Office Administrator

he/him

Jack first joined HIAS+JCORE in 2019. In his current role, he helps support our office administration, fundraising and recruitment. He also supports our campaigns, communications and youth engagement work. Jack holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies from King’s College London, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Leeds.

Eliza Ward

JUMP Project Manager

she/her

Eliza Ward

Eliza Ward

JUMP Project Manager

she/her

Eliza grew up in South London and joined HIAS+JCORE as the Unaccompanied Minors Project Lead in February 2023. Eliza has completed a Masters in Migration and Global Development from the University of Sussex, and has most recently worked as an employment caseworker and as a Manager at the social enterprise Luminary Bakery. Eliza has also spent time working in Greece on a search and rescue team, and went on to write a research piece on the criminalisation of humanitarian aid in the EU.

Rebecca Ebner-Landy

JUMP Project Lead

she/her

Rebecca Ebner-Landy

Rebecca Ebner-Landy

JUMP Project Lead

she/her

Rebecca joined HIAS+JCORE as the Unaccompanied Minors Project Lead in July 2023, having recently graduated from the University of Oxford with an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Previously she has worked in positions across the refugee sector: as an Outreach Office and Regional Manager at SolidariTee, as a Youth Leader at Our Second Home, and has volunteered in refugee camps across northern France with Utopia56. She has also worked at the Mediapila Foundation in Buenos Aires helping displaced and migrant women access employment. She comes to HIAS+JCORE with her own family background of intergenerational refugeehood, where her grandpa was a refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria. She is excited to engage Jewish communities in refugee-related work, and hopes to build from work she did during the COVID pandemic with UK Orthodox Jewish Communities on how they can engage in anti-racist action.

Honorary President

Dr Edie Friedman

Honorary President

she/her

Dr Edie Friedman

Dr Edie Friedman

Honorary President

she/her

Dr Edie Friedman was born in Chicago. A student in the 1960s, she was heavily influenced by the civil rights and peace movements. She came to England to study in Leeds and subsequently worked for Oxfam and the Community Relations Council in Ealing, West London.

She founded the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) in 1976 with the aim of providing a Jewish voice on race and asylum in the UK, and has led the organisation since. Over the 45 years, JCORE has campaigned together with the UK’s Black and Asian communities, taken race-equality education into Jewish schools, and supported refugees and asylum seekers through innovative projects.

In 2008 she co-authored Reluctant Refuge – The Story of Asylum in Britain. She has also authored and co-authored a series of race equality education resources covering the primary school to adult age ranges.

 

 

 

Trustee Board

Jonathan Black

Trustee

he/him

Jonathan Black

Jonathan Black

Trustee

he/him

Jonathan is a partner at BSB solicitors, a firm that he established over 20 years ago in Bloomsbury. He has a special interest in criminal defence, extradition and human rights. He has campaigned on justice issues for most of his career and more recently was President of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association.

Jonathan has been a Trustee of HIAS+JCORE since 2019 and is keen to ensure that the Jewish voice on racial justice issues is heard.

Isabel Burton

Trustee

she/her

Isabel Burton

Isabel Burton

Trustee

she/her

Isabel is the senior director of community engagement programs and initiatives at HIAS. In this role she oversees initiatives that enable the American Jewish community to act in support of refugees through public events, volunteer and educational opportunities, and grassroots advocacy. Most recently she has led the launch and implementation of HIAS’ Welcome Circle initiative in the US – a private citizen-powered resettlement model implemented as an emergency response to help Afghan refugees and later, displaced Ukrainians. Prior to joining HIAS, Isabel worked in non-profit management, community organising, and community development both in congregational settings and in agencies in the US and UK. She holds a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Oxford University, and a Masters in International Development from SOAS, University of London.

Rebecca Heller

Trustee

she/her

Rebecca Heller

Rebecca Heller

Trustee

she/her

Rebecca is a Performance Director at digital agency In Digital and have been a trustee since June 2021. 

She has held voluntary roles in Jewish community organisations since her teens, from youth work to event management. Rebecca aim to combine prior voluntary community experience with professional expertise across digital communication strategy to support and elevate HIAS+JCORE’s work.

 

Adam Isaacs

Trustee

he/him

Adam Isaacs

Trustee

he/him

Adam works as a Director in the public affairs team at Dentons Global Advisors. In this role he works with leading businesses across the FMCG and clean transport sectors, supporting their engagement with government. Adam was recognised by PR Week as a “30 under 30” for 2022.

Before joining Dentons Global Advisors, Adam worked for HIAS+JCORE as campaigns and communications officer, supporting the organisation’s advocacy and media activities. He studied International Relations with Political Science at the University of Birmingham.

 

Rachel Levitan

Trustee

she/her

Rachel Levitan

Rachel Levitan

Trustee

she/her

Rachel is Chief Global Policy & Advocacy Officer, leading HIAS’s global policy and advocacy to advance the rights and protection of refugees and other displaced people. Working to influence leaders in Washington, DC and around the world, including in government, UN agencies, and the private sector, she helps communicate the organization’s global impact and thought leadership to bring tangible change to the lives of people HIAS serves.

Rachel previously served as HIAS’s VP, International Policy and Relations and as VP, International Programs, where she expanded HIAS’ global impact. In prior roles she led research and advocacy on refugee legal rights, gender-based violence, LGBTQ protection, and multifaith engagement.

Before coming to HIAS, Rachel co-founded Turkey’s first legal clinic for refugees and litigated race and gender discrimination claims in federal court in New York City. She received her BA from McGill University and a law degree from the University of British Columbia.

David Thompson

Trustee

he/him

David Thompson

David Thompson

Trustee

he/him

David is a Film & TV producer and executive who has been responsible for over 150 projects, including work that has won Baftas, Golden Globes, Oscars and Emmys. For 10 years, he ran the feature film and single drama team of the BBC, before setting up his own production company. David is also Professor of Production at Royal Holloway, London University. Film projects have included Billy Elliot, the Oscar nominated An Education, Notes on a Scandal, Woman in Gold, Mandela,Catherine the Great, and Revolutionary  Road  (Leonardo de Caprio and Kate Winslet).

David has been a trustee of HIAS+JCORE for three years and is also a trustee of One to One Children’s Fund. His particular charity interest is projects for asylum seekers and he has made many films exploring social concerns in the UK and beyond.

 

Cathy Ashley

Trustee

Cathy Ashley

Cathy Ashley

Trustee

Cathy is the Chief Executive of the national child welfare charity Family Rights Group, which she has led for 20 years. The charity works to enable children to live safely within their families, and strengthen the family and community networks of children who cannot live at home. She previously worked as a political adviser.

Cathy served for six years as Chair of the trustee board of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and in 2017 was awarded an OBE for services to Holocaust education and commemoration.  As a local parent in Lambeth, Cathy also helped set up a new non-selective comprehensive school and was chair for some years of the Parents’ Promoters Foundation for the school. She has previously served as a local councillor in Lambeth.

Marisa Cohen

Trustee

She/her

Marisa Cohen

Marisa Cohen

Trustee

She/her

Marisa is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She practises in public law with an emphasis on immigration and community care. Marisa also sits part-time as a First-tier Tribunal judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

Marisa graduated in Law and Politics at Manchester University, and has a Masters in Law from the London School of Economics.

Russell Cohen

Trustee

Russell Cohen

Russell Cohen

Trustee

Russell is a solicitor and partner at the law firm Farrer & Co (where he is responsible for international strategy). He specialises in advising international families on succession and governance.

He regularly provides legal advice to trustees and is himself an experienced trustee (both of private and charitable trusts).

Adam Fagan

Trustee

Adam Fagan

Adam Fagan

Trustee

Adam Fagan is Professor of European Politics at King’s College London, where he is also Vice Principal for Education. His academic research has focused on civil society and popular mobilisations across Eastern Europe. Adam has held several voluntary positions within schools, including being Chair of Governors and a trustee.

Martin Hyman

Treasurer

Martin Hyman

Treasurer

Martin is treasurer and a trustee of HIAS+JCORE.  He is also a trustee of the International Rescue Committee UK and a volunteer mentor for the Prince’s Trust.

He is a second-generation refugee. His mother was on the Kindertransport, arriving in England from Vienna in 1938.

Martin is a Chartered Accountant, qualifying at KPMG.  He has been the finance director and CFO for a number of businesses, including several that are listed on the Alternative Investment Market or PE backed.

He is also a guest speaker at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.

Alba Kapoor

Trustee

Alba Kapoor

Alba Kapoor

Trustee

Alba Kapoor is the Head of Policy at the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank. She delivers large scale pieces of policy research and works to set out Runnymede’s anti-racist agenda. As part of this role, she led the English civil society submission to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination. Alba was the recipient of the Kennedy Scholarship 2022-’23 at Harvard University. Her research focused on race and migration studies, across the Harvard Kennedy and Law schools.

Before that, she worked as a researcher for Members of Parliament in the House of Commons advising senior politicians on ongoing political developments, including in their positions on the Shadow front bench. Alba holds a degree in History and Politics from the University of Oxford, where her thesis looked at the history of Bengali anti-racist resistance in Tower Hamlets in the 1970s and ’80s.

Judith Flacks

Chair

Judith Flacks

Judith Flacks

Chair

Judith has been working in the Jewish community for over a decade and specialises in crisis and change communications with extensive experience in strategic national, political and community based campaigns.

 

She is currently the Head of Communications and PR at Jewish Care, the largest Jewish social care provider in the UK, leading on communications, PR, and public affairs for the organisation. 

 

Prior to this, she was the Head of Communications and Campaigns at the Jewish Leadership Council working on campaigns including Enough is Enough, Balfour 100 and Cable Street 80. Judith has spent time working in Parliament and in America, where she ran a leadership development programme for the Jewish Federation of Orange County. She has also previously worked at the Union of Jewish Students where she is now a trustee, and has also served as a trustee of Jewish Women’s Aid and women’s interfaith charity, Nisa-Nashim. 

 

Judith is passionate about community, equality, and progress.