Joint Placement Commission

Joint Placement Commission - Who We Are

The Joint Placement Commission is the decision-making body for rabbinic pulpit placement in the Conservative movement. It consists of members from the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham (chair)
Jeffrey Abraham is a rabbi at Congregation B’nai Amoona in St. Louis, MO.  He has also served as Senior Rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in San Antonio, Texas and Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, New York. Abraham is the first member of the clergy to be awarded San Antonio Business Journal’s prestigious recognition “40 Under 40.” He has served on the Executive Council of our RA since 2017 and on the Joint Placement Commission since 2019.  He also was the co-chair for the initial committee in working to strengthen ties between our RA and USCJ, and was on the Strategic Planning Committee for our RA.  Abraham has received dozens of awards for his work in revitalizing and growing his synagogues. He was also a contestant on The American Bible Challenge game show with Jeff Foxworthy.

Rabbi Ari Averbach
Ari Averbach (Ziegler 2015) was the rabbinic intern at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom of Northbrook, IL, and now serves as senior rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks, CA. He is on the board of the Schulweis Institute and the Clinical Ethics Advisory Committee at Los Robles Hospital.

  Rabbi Ayelet Cohen

Mindy Gordon
Mindy Gordon is in her 12th year as the Synagogue Consultant for the Central District of USCJ. She is a product of the Conservative Movement and a lifelong member of N.S.S. Beth El in Highland Park, IL. She was an active USYer, went on USY Israel Pilgrimage and was a camper, staff member and Board member at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Gordon is a a graduate of Tufts University and The University of Chicago Law School and attended The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also took part in the Wexner Heritage Program from 2006-2008. 

Rabbi Susan Leider
Susan Leider was the first woman to be a senior rabbi at a Northern California Conservative congregation, (Congregation Kol Shofar) and the first woman to be Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles.  
She was ordained by the 
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Now working as an independent rabbi, she has multiple RA roles: an Executive Council member, a Career Coach, a Mishpahah facilitator and a participant in the Racial Justice and Progressive Zionists Groups. A contributing writer to, she is also a part of the Roots Clergy Council, a network of Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank. A graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Clergy Leadership Program, she leads virtual daily meditations.

  Brian Levey

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
Since 2001, Cheryl Peretz has served as one of the deans of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, teaching, counseling, advising and programming. For more than 20 years, she has worked with rabbis and organizations on issues of placement and leadership development. As a teacher, she trains rabbis in Jewish law and in practical rabbinics. In addition to her work at AJU, Peretz has served as a pulpit rabbi in the Los Angeles area.  She has been a High Holiday guest rabbi in multiple cities. She has also published articles in several books and publications. Peretz is a 1988 graduate of the double degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Margie Pomerantz
Margie Pomerantz is a long time USCJ Board Member where she has served as a Vice President, International Secretary, Chair of the Human Resources Committee, Joint Steering Committee and has been involved with many RA/USCJ alignment projects.  She is a former president of her synagogue, Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA.  Professionally, Pomerantz worked in high tech in many functions including Human Resources, training, professional services and consulting.  

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay
Stephanie Ruskay is the Associate Dean of the JTS Rabbinical School. She has made her career in the Jewish social justice sector. She served in leadership positions at American Jewish World Service, Auburn Theological Seminary, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, and JOIN for Justice. She directs field education and entrepreneurial endeavors and is focused on raising the scope and profile of social justice work and community organizing skills in the role of the contemporary rabbi.