Jewish Book Council Staff:

Carolyn Starman Hessel - Director

Carolyn joined the Jewish Book Council in 1994, when the JBC, originally created in 1941, became an independent organization . Since then she has been named to the Forward 50 five times for her work in Jewish literature. In 1999, she founded the Jewish Book Network, a popular program that currently tours over 200 authors to hundreds of Jewish book programs around the country. Carolyn initiates and encourages new programs to meet the changing needs and interests of its many constituents. She mentors new authors while also working with literary agents and publishers to help heighten awareness and strengthen the world of Jewish literature in North America. 

Naomi Firestone-Teeter - Associate Director

Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Naomi joined the JBC staff in 2006. She graduated from Emory University with degrees in English and Art History and, in addition, studied at University College London.  Naomi serves as the editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, she oversees JBC's social media presence and digital initiatives, and also developed the JBC's Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.

Miri Pomerantz Dauber - Program Director

Miri joined the JBC team in Winter, 2004 upon graduating from Brandeis University. Originally from Philadelphia, she has lived and studied in Israel and London.  Prior to working with JBC, she interned for the Jewish Publication Society. After seven years as the director of the JBC Network program, Miri has shifted her focus to book clubs, working to create a new division of Jewish Book Council and developing resources to better serve book club readers. 

Carol Kaufman - Editor, Jewish Book World

Carol joined the JBC as the editor of Jewish Book World in 2003, shortly after her son’s bar mitzvah. Before having a family she held positions as an editor and copywriter and is the author of two books on tennis and other racquet sports. She is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a BA and MA in English.

Suzanne Swift -  Director of JBC Network

Suzanne joined the staff of the Jewish Book Council as the director of the JBC Network in August 2013. Prior to that she was the program director at Valley of the Sun JCC and the director of adult service and cultural arts for seven years. Suzanne also owned a children’s book and toy store in the Dallas area, and was the book vendor for many Jewish book fairs and schools in the community. She has a degree in Art with a minor in both Psychology and Education and certifications in both Jewish Education and Jewish Family Education and is currently enrolled at Spertus Institute of Judaic Studies and working on double Master’s Degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Studies.

Joyce Lit -  JBC Network Associate

Joyce Lit joined the JBC staff in 2005 after working in the JCC field in Texas for over 25 years. She held positions in Houston, San Antonio and Austin in the Cultural Arts departments teaching theater and dramatic arts classes, directing Performing Arts Camp and was a book fair coordinator. A graduate of Arizona State University with a BA in Theater, Joyce finally gets to use her training in Readers Theater to prepare authors for the Meet the Author JBC Network events. Joyce also works closely with Miri on expanding and coordinating author tours through JBC.

Mimi Frank - Board Liaison

Mimi is the Secretary of the Board of Directors as well as the Special Events Coordinator and Board Liaison. She is Chairperson of the National Jewish Book Awards ceremony. She is a life member of Hadassah and Past-President of Hillcrest Hadassah. Mimi has been honored by State of Israel Bonds, UJA-Federation, Hillcrest Hadassah and received the Outstanding Parent Volunteer Award from her children’s public school.

Nat Bernstein - JBC Network Coordinator

Nat is an F'07 graduate of Hampshire College and a former Fellow at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read Nat's reviews for Jewish Book Council here.

Dani Crickman - Art Director

Dani joined the Jewish Book Council in the summer of 2010 after graduating from college. She earned her BA in English and Women’s Studies from Skidmore and studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo.

 Michal Malen - Children's Editor, Jewish Book World

Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of the children's book review section of Jewish Book World and the librarian at the North Shore Hebrew Academy middle and elementary schools. She has lectured on a variety of topics relating to children and books and her greatest joy is reading to her grandchildren on both sides of the ocean. Michal lives in Great Neck, NY and Efrat, Israel.