Joint Placement Commission

Who We Are - Joint Placement Commission ("JPC")

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 Synagogues of Conservative Judaism, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham

Rabbi 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. Rabbi Abraham is the first member of the clergy to be awarded San Antonio Business Journal’s prestigious recognition “40 Under 40.” Rabbi Abraham 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.  Rabbi Abraham has received dozens of awards for his work in revitalizing and growing his synagogues. Rabbi Abraham was also a contestant on The American Bible Challenge game show with Jeff Foxworthy.

Rabbi Ari Averbach

Rabbi 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. He and his wife Vanessa have three children and enjoy doing crossword puzzles while eating ice cream.

Mr. William Bresnick, Esq.
William (Bill) Bresnick currently serves as the environmental counsel for the US Department of Homeland Security. He is a retired Air Force Judge Advocate who began his Jewish community roles as a lay leader in the Air Force. He has served as an officer and member of various non-profits including Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, MD, and the USCJ Seaboard Region and International boards.

Rabbi Aaron Melman
Aaron Melman is now in his fifteenth year as rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, IL. He is originally from Toronto where he attended York University and received his BA in Judaic Studies. Aaron currently serves as the only Chaplain to the Northbrook Fire Department and is a Past President of the Chicago Region of the Rabbinical Assembly. His non-rabbinic interests include golf, hockey, camping, and SCUBA diving.

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. She is also a teacher in the school, instructing classes in practical rabbinics. In addition to her work at AJU, Rabbi Peretz has served as a pulpit rabbi in the Los Angeles area.  She has been a High Holiday guest rabbi in Orlando, Florida, Redlands and Tiburon, California. She has also published articles in several books and publications. Cheryl is a 1988 graduate of the double degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where she earned degrees in Mathematics and Jewish Philosophy.



Margie Pomerantz
Margie Pomerantz is a Board Member of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ).  At USCJ, she has served as a Vice President, International Secretary, Chair of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee, co-chaired the 2019 RA/USCJ Workgroup and is a current member of the USCJ/RA Joint Steering Committee.  She is a former president of her synagogue, Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA where she currently chairs the Roadmap to Reopening Task Force.  Professionally, Margie provided technical, consulting and human resources expertise to companies and was the founding principal of two businesses.  Margie is originally from St. Louis and lives in Los Gatos, California with her husband, Howard. They are proud parents and grandparents.  

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.

Stofman headshot

Jennifer Stofman
Jennifer Stofman is The Director of Synagogue Consulting at USCJ.  Prior to coming to USCJ in 2012, Jennifer served as the Program Director and Associate Executive Director of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She also served as the first Director of the Ramah Day Camp in Elkins Park, PA from 1996 - 2000. Jennifer has spent the last 20 years as a Jewish Communal Professional and has experience in congregational programming and fundraising, public relations and advertising, membership recruitment and retention, leadership development and both formal and informal Jewish education. Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Jewish Studies and English Literature from Drew University and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Studies from Gratz College. 

Rabbi Brian Strauss

Rabbi Brian Strauss became the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Yeshurun on August 1, 2018.  He joined the congregation in July 2001. Rabbi Strauss is a graduate of the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles and the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the United Jewish Communities Rabbinic Cabinet and the United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet, he has been the recipient of the annual Jewish Federation of Greater Houston Mae & Edmund Hecht Rabbinic Presentation. Rabbi Strauss has also served on the Texas State Commission on Holocaust and Genocide. He was selected as the winner in the men’s spiritual leader category in Houston’s city-wide “Gen Next” contest, which recognizes Jewish professionals in their twenties and thirties. He is also a member of the prestigious program Rabbis Without Borders, sponsored by the National Jewish Center for Learning & Leadership (CLAL).

He has served on the boards of the Holocaust Museum Houston, the University of Texas Hillel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston as well as serving as the president of the Houston Rabbinical Association. He has served as a visiting scholar in residence at the International Kallah of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization in Starlight, Pennsylvania and other synagogues throughout the region. He is the author of the book, “To Life, To Family, To Me: 6 Keys to a Good Family Life,”.  He is also a frequent guest speaker at many local schools and churches and has been published in national and local publications.  Rabbi Strauss is married to Lisa Shapiro Strauss, a practicing attorney and a previous fellow in the Wexner Heritage Program. They have three children.

Rabbi Annie Tucker (chair)
Annie Tucker is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY, having previously served at Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah in Wilmette, IL, and The Jewish Center in Princeton, NJ.  She is also a member of the Rabbinical Assembly's Administrative and Executive Councils and will begin her term as Secretary in March of 2022.  Annie did her undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Psychology and Jewish Studies and received both a Master's Degree in Jewish Education and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  She has been a member of the Joint Placement Commission since 2017 and its Chair since June of 2021.

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach

RABBI Jan R. Uhrbach is Interim Pearl Resnick Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTS, where she also serves as Director of the Block/Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts and teaches prayer and liturgy.  She was the associate editor of Siddur Lev Shalem for Shabbat and Festivals, on the editorial committee for Machzor Lev Shalem, and is currently associate editor on the forthcoming Siddur Lev Shalem for Weekdays. Rabbi Uhrbach is also the founding Rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons in Bridgehampton. Before becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Uhrbach served as Law Clerk to Federal District Judge Kimba M. Wood, and was an associate and then partner of the New York law firm of Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP.