Jewish Book Council Staff

Naomi Firestone-Teeter - Executive Director

Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, joined the JBC staff in 2006. She graduated from Emory University with degrees in English and Art History and studied at University College London. Naomi has served as the founding editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, she has overseen JBC's digital initiatives, and developed the JBC's Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation. She also sits on the board of Jewish Creativity International.

Carolyn Starman Hessel - Director of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature | Executive Director Emerita

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 JBC Network, a popular program that sends authors on Jewish book programs around the country.

Miri Pomerantz Dauber - Book Club 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 develop resources to better serve book club readers. 

Carol Kaufman - Executive Editor

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 received a Masters degree from Spertus Institute of Judaic Studies 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. 

Evie Saphire-Bernstein - Program Director 

Evie Saphire-Bernstein graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.A. in English and a minor in Jewish Studies. Before joining the Jewish Book Council team in 2015, she spent a year and a half working within the Conservative Movement as the Network Liaison for the Schechter Day School Network. She is a recent transplant to New York City, after living in Chicago for most of her life. In her spare time, Evie is a writer, blogger, and social media maven for numerous websites.

Becca Kantor  - Editorial Director

Becca Kantor received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has lived in Estonia, England, and Germany.

Stefanie Shulman - Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Associate Director

Stefanie joined the Sami Rohr staff in March 2017. Previously she was Engage Life Director for Atria Senior Living in Manahattan and Long Island, developing programs and special events for senior residents. She served as Director of Cultural Arts at Sid Jacobson JCC, East Hills for over 9 years where she ran the Book & Author Program, the Jewish Film Festival and Spotlight Speaker series. She is a native New Yorker and has a BA in Communications & Political Science from Queens College, CUNY.

Natalie Aflalo - Digital Content Manager

Natalie joined the JBC staff in 2017. Originally from Stamford, CT, she graduated with a B.A. in History and Spanish from Smith College and spent a year in Cordoba, Spain. Before joining JBC, she worked as a Communications Fellow at a nonprofit called Everyday Democracy. 

 Michal Hoschander Malen - Children's and Young Adult Editor

Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council's young adult and children's book reviews. 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.