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.

Bob Goldberg

Executive Director

Bob is from Omaha and is a product of its Jewish community. Bob attended the University of Arizona and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, receiving a BA in Communications and a MA in English. He spent the first part of his professional career in financial services, and it was during this time he became an active volunteer, serving on the JCC, Federation, and boards of other agencies and organizations.

In 2008, Bob joined the staff of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. In 2013, he became the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in Texas, and in December of 2021, he became the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Bob is passionate about uplifting the Jewish community, and inviting in and inspiring all to bring forth their strengths to make a better world.

SOPHIE HOMONOFF

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.

JODY INGERSOLL

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.

SANDI YODER

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.

SARAH CARLSON

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.

HENRY CHEN

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!

GIOVANNA ZAVELL

Judaic Specialist, Engman Camp Shalom Camp Director, Editor In Chief of The Jewish Press

Giovanna is the Judaics Specialist and works with Gan Shalom, Beit Sefer Shalom and Engman Camp Shalom children to bring Jewish education to their daily lives. When she isn’t in a classroom with students, or outside with campers, she serves as the managing editor for The Jewish Press. She is responsible for creating content, working with others for content and layout of the Jewish Press. Zavell is a graduate from Drake University with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and a BA in English. She is a native of Skokie, Illinois but admits Des Moines has captured her, and is her second favorite city, after Chicago.