Meet the Friendship Circle Team

 

Rabbi Mordy Rudolph

Executive Director

Rabbi Mordy graduated high school at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, and studied in London, England, and Tzfat, Israel, before receiving his Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical College of America at Morristown. He initiated The Friendship Circle together with his wife Rivkee, in September 2006.

Email: [email protected]

Rivkee Rudolph

Director

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Rivkee Rudolph graduated from Yeshiva Schools, then studied at Seminary Chaya Mushka in Israel. She began her professional life as a pre-school teacher, first in Pittsburgh and then in New York. In 2006, Rivkee founded The Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, where she has served as its Director ever since. She is singularly focused on and is largely responsible for Friendship Circles’s basic philosophy: all members are equally welcome and lines between abilities should be blurred as much as possible. Her commitment to executing this philosophy throughout the scores of programs and events FC sponsors has enabled the organization to become an integral part of both the Jewish and the general community in Pittsburgh. 

Email: [email protected]

 

Hallie Weinstein

Facilities Manager

Hallie is happy to be back at Friendship Circle. She was involved in the early days when Friendship Circle was first beginning here in Pittsburgh while she was also attending The University of Pittsburgh. Hallie went on to get her degree in finance and then moved to Virginia after she and her husband, Josh, got married.  During their time in Richmond, Hallie and her family were all involved in the Friendship Circle of Virginia. Hallie is thrilled to have brought her family back to Pittsburgh to live near family and is excited for the opportunity to be back at this incredible organization helping with the very important work of building an inclusive community.

Email: [email protected]

 

Nechama Hordiner

Administration & Program Support Sr. Associate

Nechama worked as a preschool teacher for 10 years before she went back to school to learn more about human actualization. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in communications at Chatham University.  Specifically led by her fascination with how adults express themselves and grow at work, Nechama continued studying and completed an MBA in leadership. Nechama joined the Friendship Circle team recently, September 2023, and is excited to be a part of this dynamic, and incredibly talented team of highly committed community members. Nechama lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband and seven kids.

Email: [email protected]

 

Ann Grandinetti

Development and Community Engagement Coordinator

Ann was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and her master’s degree is in Public Administration and Non-Profit Management. Working at an organization like the Friendship Circle, which serves the community in such a vibrant way, is why she went to school for non-profit administration in the first place. She is ecstatic about this amazing opportunity!

Email: [email protected]

 

Holly Benson

Grant Development and Communications Associate

Holly joined The Friendship Circle in September 2023, having volunteered at past FC events such as Walk4Friendship and Friends All Around. She grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from West Chester University in 2020. She has completed two service years (with AmeriCorps VISTA and PULSE), the latter of which brought her to Pittsburgh. She is grateful to join a team of such talented, passionate individuals and can’t wait to connect with FC members and the community!

Email: [email protected]

 

Emily Vogt

Inclusion and Membership Manager

Emily graduated from Goshen College in August 2017 with a degree in P-12 Education. She moved to Highland Park in September as part of the PULSE program, spending a year serving the city of Pittsburgh. Emily is so excited to serve at The Friendship Circle and to help further their mission of enriching the lives of all participants through mutually advantageous interactions.

Email: [email protected]

 

Paige Eddy

Adult and Partnership Manager

Paige received her Master’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Temple University in 2018. She is passionate about creating social opportunities for adults that are truly inclusive to all. She grew up in New Jersey and moved to Pittsburgh in 2018. After interning for Baltimore City Recreation and Parks and co-leading a recreational group for Temple students with autism, she felt inspired to continue work in an inclusive community setting. Paige believes that people of all abilities should be brought together in their community through fun times and friendship. community.

Email: [email protected]

 

Alyssa Fife

Program Sr. Manager

Alyssa joined the Friendship Circle in the fall of 2019. She grew up in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, and then attended the University of Pittsburgh where she got her Masters in Applied Developmental Psychology. She has worked in a variety of settings with children and families, most recently working with toddlers in early childhood education. Alyssa is passionate about working with people of all ages and abilities, especially within the Pittsburgh community, and is excited to be a part of the Friendship Circle team!

Email: [email protected]

 

Grace Whited

Program and Engagement Sr. Associate

Grace joined the Friendship Circle in September 2021 as a part of the PULSE program, a year-long service opportunity. She grew up in Maine and graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology. Currently, she is enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh working toward her Master’s in Applied Developmental Psychology. Grace is passionate about fostering the holistic development of children and creating spaces for people to tell their own stories. She is excited to be part of the Friendship Circle Team and can’t wait to make lasting friendships in the FC community!

Email: [email protected]

 

Mariel Ward

Program and Engagement Sr. Associate

Mariel joined the Friendship Circle in the summer of 2022. She is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and studied Speech Language Pathology & Audiology at The College of Wooster in Ohio. She has experience in early childhood education and in mental health advocacy for children and teens. Mariel is passionate about community organization and accessible communication. She enjoys bringing people together to have meaningful conversations and learning about what is important to the people in her life. She is excited to create relationships, plan opportunities that are inclusive and fun, and help show the value of being a part of a diverse population. Hoping to spread the importance of the Friendship Circle’s mission, she looks forward to contributing to a more equitable and sustainable world.

Email: [email protected]

 

Lucy Sommer

Program and Engagement Associate

Lucy joined the Friendship Circle team in March of 2023. She grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Chartiers Valley High School in 2017. She recently moved back to Pittsburgh from Tucson, Arizona. Lucy was a member at The Friendship Circle throughout her high school years, and she was involved with the Leadership Board for two consecutive years. She is passionate about inclusion, making our teens feel heard and creating a strong group of young leaders! Lucy is excited to be back as a staff member and continue to make close and meaningful friendships with everyone associated with the Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh.

Email: [email protected]

 

Julia Averbach

Member Engagement Manager

I am so excited to officially be back at The Friendship Circle as the Manager of Member Engagement! For those of you who don’t know me, The Friendship Circle has been a part of my life for many, many years. I grew up in Squirrel Hill and attended Friendship Circle programs throughout high school. I went to Ohio University where I met my now fiancé, Gabe! After graduating, I returned to Pittsburgh and worked at The Friendship Circle as the Member Relationships Manager for three and a half years before moving to Chicago. I have since moved back to Pittsburgh and now live in the Strip District with Gabe and our very fluffy Bernedoodle, Benji! I am so excited to be back at The Friendship Circle and can’t wait to continue making new memories and growing friendships with all of you!

Email: [email protected]

 

Becca Greenhouse

Teen Engagement Sr. Associate

I grew up in Squirrel Hill and attended Winchester Thurston High School. I went to Hiram College in Ohio and studied Sociology, Psychology, and Education, and also played on the Women’s Lacrosse team! I then moved to Washington, DC to attend graduate school at George Washington University and got my Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. I then moved to the Piedmont region of Italy and taught ESL to high school students! I now live in the Strip District with my rescue dog, King, a 105 lb Leonberger mix. FC has been a part of this community for so many years and I’ve always admired everything it stands for, and I’m so excited to be a part of that!

Email: [email protected]

 

Ally Weekley

Wellness Coordinator

Ally joined the Friendship Circle in November of 2021. Ally is originally from Florida, but moved to Pittsburgh where she received her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Ally is a NASM certified personal trainer and wellness enthusiast. Ally is passionate about ending stigma surrounding mental health, advocating for mental health treatment as a human right, and providing all individuals, of all abilities, with meaningful connection and purpose. Ally enjoys the community and connection of the Friendship Circle, and hopes to make a difference in the lives of each member–and the greater community–in her role as wellness coordinator.

Email: [email protected]

 

 

Our Board of Directors

Professional Advisor

Dr. Laura Marshak

Chair

Geri Cohen Recht

Vice Chair

David Goldberg

Treasurer

David Khani

Vice-Treasurer

Joe Reschini

Secretary

Stacey Seewald

Directors

Ruth Ann Crawford

Lenny Davis

Elyse Eichner

Debbie Graver

Clayton Hirsh

Karen Oosterhous

Rachel Petrucelli

Andrew Rabin

Nicole Ruttenberg

Bradley Stein

Carol Tabas

Dr. Laura Voigt

Bari Weinberger

Friendship Circle

Alumni Council

President

Clayton Hirsh

Vice President

Masha Zaldonis

 

Council Members

Natalie Boyanovsky

Emily Ford

Alexa Goldsmith

Joshua Platto

Angie Robertson

Colton Vazquez

Brad Vayonis

 

 

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Recent blog posts

Weekly Roundup: June 21, 2024

FOTT Cafe This week Friends on the Town had their last Cafe of the program year. Throughout the year our host committee selected their favorite restaurants to mimic their menu from. Themes included Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and our final theme of Olive Garden. This week our menu included spaghetti, vegetarian meatballs, salad, garlic bread, and mini no-bake cheesecakes! Members had… Read More

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Nasso Much

A WEEKLY TORAH THOUGHT FROM RABBI MORDY This week’s Parsha (Nasso) discusses the end of the census and teaches various laws. It also discusses the inauguration of the Tabernacle, detailing the offerings brought by each of the tribes. Curious that each offering was identical and yet each was described. (For more on this, please see my thought from last year!)… Read More

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Weekly Roundup: June 14, 2024

FOTT Trip Friends on the Town had a blast at their last Trip of the year. This month we took to the FC Rooftop for a BBQ! Friends got to eat hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, watermelon, and Italian ice. We also got to play plenty of lawn games like table top checkers, Connect 4, and cornhole. We also made keychains and… Read More

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