Our Staff

Our staff powers our mission and vision. Learn more about the people behind the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and contact us if you’d like to be connected with one of our staff members.


Executive Director

As executive director, Jarad oversees the operations of both the Federation and the Des Moines Jewish Foundation. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Jarad moved to Des Moines in 2006. He earned his BA from UC Santa Barbara and MBA from Drake University. Jarad previously worked at the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest and Drake University. He met his wife, Lilianna, on Birthright Israel and together they are the proud parents of Flora Gardenia.


Director of Education

Sophie grew up in Des Moines and moved to Washington, DC for college in 1995. In November 2012, she moved back to Des Moines with her husband Matt, daughter Hailey, and son Lester. Formerly a Family Care Coordinator at Early Stages with DC Public Schools, Sophie supported families of children ages 0-5 from time of referral through the child’s placement into special education.

 Sophie received a MEd in School Counseling from George Mason University and a BA in Elementary Education from American University. Sophie taught elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia for 9 years. Sophie’s primary goal is to support and foster children’s growth and inquiry into Judaism.


Director of Jewish Family Services

Jody is the Director of Jewish Family Services and Outreach. She works closely with seniors in our community, arranging luncheons and other social activities, as well as visiting in-home to provide support. She also works with volunteers to provide transportation and support to Jewish seniors and oversees the Tzedakah funds to help those in need. Jody is also involved in community groups focusing on food insecurity and aging issues. Prior to joining the Federation, Jody was a program manager at the Iowa Department of Human Services.


Iowa Jewish Historical Society Director

Sandi is the Director of the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and has been with the Society since 2008. Sandi holds an MA in History and an MBA from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and a BA in History from Lenoir-Rhyne College in NC. She is the Past President of the Iowa and Nebraska Museum Associations and served as an officer and on the national Council of the American Association for State and Local History. Sandi is responsible for the management, development, promotion, and funding of the IJHS.


IJHS Curator, Manager of Collections

Sarah is the Curator and Manager of Collections at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and has worked at IJHS since 2011. Sarah earned her MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and her BA in Anthropology with a Minor in History from Iowa State University. Sarah main focus is on the development, management, and care of the IJHS collections, and the development of exhibits.


Accounting and Data Administrator

Henry works in the Accounting department and really loves the friendly atmosphere and the rich Jewish history of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. He enjoys cooking, reading, and going to social activities such as concerts. One thing most people don’t know about Henry is that he used to play the banjo!


Assistant Director of Education and Programming

Benjamin is a passionate Jewish educator, programmer, and camp professional originally hailing from Omaha. After teaching in Beit Sefer Shalom, other community supplemental religious schools, and Jewish summer camps for many years, he is excited to be part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Benjamin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Drake University, focusing on vocal music, music education, and ethnomusicology. He has also taken MBA coursework in non-profit management.