Terry Waslow, Executive Director


Terry Waslow was raised in a secular Jewish home. She became an active participant in the Jewish secular community in the mid-1990s when she enrolled her children in the Jewish Children's Folkshul. She began attending the annual CSJO conferences in 2000 and has attended regularly since. Terry was a board member of Folkshul and CSJO. She spent 4 years as the Chair of CSJO before becoming the Executive Director.

Terry has her Master's in Business Administration with a focus on nonprofits and her undergraduate degree is in Human Services/Counseling. She has worked for over 25 years with individuals and families impacted by physical, intellectual and/or economic challenges to build fully inclusive communities.

Sarah Waslow-Washington, CSJO Chair


Sarah Waslow-Washington has been a proud member of CSJO since 2001, starting as a teen when she was 13. Over the years Sarah has work diligently in her roles within the organization, having been teen and young adult conference coordinator, becoming the Vice Chair of the organization for 8 years before becoming the Event's Coordinator of CSJO and more recently taking on the role of Chair of the organization. Sarah is truly excited to take on this new rule and to keep moving the organization forward in a positive and strong way.

When Sarah is not working on CSJO activities she is a Teacher in Philadelphia who loves to travel. Sarah is currently working on completing her second Masters in Education.

Adam Beardsley, Co-Vice Chair

Adam has been going to CSJO Conferences since 2008. He started on the board as Teen Representative to the Board, and was the Young Adult Representative to the Board before being elected co-Vice Chair. He attended Jewish Children's Folkshul in Philadelphia. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he is trying to get into political work.

Karen Knecht, Past Chair

Karen has been an active member of CSJO since 1985, when she attended her first conference. She became a board member as the delegate for her organization in 1987. From 1989-2012, Karen served as the Teen Young Adult Liaison for CSJO. She was the Vice Chair of CSJO from 2000-2002, and then the Chair from 2002-2012.

Karen has been a board member of the International Institute for Secular Humanism since 2002, and has been a certified Madrikha since 1987. She truly believes in what CSJO represents and will continue to be an active member as long as she can.

Joan Kurtz, Treasurer

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Joan Kurtz has been the CSJO treasurer and conference registrar for more years than she can remember. She also held the position as the first CSJO membership chair as well as the delegate from her LI affiliate. Her identity as a secular Jew continues to be strengthened with her attendance at CSJO conferences as well as her membership in the Council for Secular Humanism, Freedom from Religion Foundation and MA-ASH (Massachusetts Atheists, Secularists and Humanists). She lives in western Massachusetts where she hikes with the Appalachian Mountain Club every Tuesday as well as plays scrabble at her community center.

Joan and her husband, Sandy, volunteer weekly at their local food pantry and as needed as blood drive ambassadors for the Red Cross. They have two children: Robert, who is CSJO's Teen/Young Adult Coordinator living outside of Boston, and Andrea, who lives in Seattle with her husband Marc and their four-year-old son, Elijah.

Samara Cogan, Recording Secretary


Samara grew up in the Jewish Children's Folkshul of Philadelphia, and began attending CSJO conferences when she was fourteen years old. Her younger sister Zoe began attending the conference soon after, and they ran several workshops together. After a decade of attending conferences, Samara was elected by her peers to serve as the Youth Representative to the Executive Committee of CSJO. After the two-year term of her youth position was over, she was elected to the board position of Recording Secretary. Samara, an associate member of CSJO, currently lives in Elkins Park, PA, with her mother and her dog, Cooper.

Jordan Shuster, Youth representative to executive committee


Jordan Shuster is proud to continue representing the CSJO Youth in her second year as the Youth Representative to the Executive Committee. She has been attending CSJO conferences since 2010 and is a graduate of the Jewish Children's Folkshul in Philadelphia, PA. Jordi will graduate from Drexel University in June 2018 with B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering, and she plans to transition into a career as an engineering librarian. She is also currently an executive board member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional sorority for women in STEM fields. Jordi can be found reading, rock climbing, singing, and petting dogs in her spare time.

Madeline Burns, Member at Large

Madeline Burns become an adult member at large after attending her eighth conference. Her first conference was at Arcadia University in Philadelphia when she was 13 and she's been coming to Conference ever since. Madi attended Jewish Children's Folkshul in Philadelphia when she became a Bat Mitzvah. She continued to be involved with Folkshul as a post Bat Mitzvah student, and then as both a community and teaching assistant. Since being involved with CSJO, she has served on the Board in four capacities: as alternate teen rep to the board, teen rep to the board, youth rep to the executive committee, and currently as an adult member at large. She has also served as a youth representative of CSJO on many occasions, most recently to speak to members in Chicago about the 2017 CSJO Conference.

Madi is now a senior at the University of Pittsburgh as an accounting major and theatre minor. On a more personal level, she enjoys raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, as well as pina coladas and getting lost in the rain.

Dana Lowi-Merri, Member at Large

Dana Lowi-Merri is thrilled to take on the role of Member at Large for the CSJO. After attending her first conference three years ago, she immediately recognized the value of the CSJO in the secular, humanistic Jewish community. Dana looks forward to reinstating the CSJO's Social Justice Committee. In addition to her involvement with the CSJO, Dana also sits on the Executive Board of the United Jewish People Order (UJPO) in Toronto, Ontario, her hometown. She is involved with organizing the New Generation contingent of the UJPO.

A social worker by profession, Dana works with the Canadian Red Cross as a Case Worker for Disaster Management in Fort McMurray, Alberta. She appreciates, and takes advantage of, advances in communication technology to support her ability to be involved with all other organizational commitments remotely. Dana likes attending cultural events, television, hiking, brunch, and coffee. Having lived in Vancouver BC, and now Fort McMurray Alberta, she prefers Ontario autumns over rain or freezing temperatures.

Joanne Shane Plummer, Member at Large


Joanne Shane Plummer was born to and raised by a long line of Jewish secularists, activists and labor organizers. As a child she attended a secular shula in Sunnyside, New York and is the mother of Robert Plummer, a graduate of the Philadelphia Jewish Children's Folkshul. Joanne has been a member of CSJO for 40 years and a board member for 35 years. She has served on the board as an Executive Committee member for the last 5 years. Joanne is also a member of the Philadelphia Secular Jewish Organization and a renowned Seder Maker.

Joanne was the Executive Director of the New York CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). She participated in the Freedom Highway actions to integrate Howard Johnson rest stops along the highway corridor from Washington D.C. to Florida.

Joanne retired from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare where she was a program planner and Unit Director for welfare reform, employment and training initiatives.

Jamie Ireland, Member at Large


Jamie is excited to be back on the CSJO board as a member at large. She was originally a representative from the Tri-Valley Cultural Jews, of which she is a founding member and sits on the board. Jamie has been attending CSJO conferences since she was 13 years old. More recently, she has been teaching TVCJ’s Jewish Culture School where her two daughters, Rebecca and Sophia, attend class and where Rebecca will have her Bat Mitzvah this year. Just this year she became a madrikha through the IISHJ.  

In her "other life," Jamie teaches second grade part time, volunteers for Girl Scouts, and loves doing crossword puzzles, taking classes at the gym and traveling. Before kids, she loved traveling the globe; now it is more to see the national parks and monuments.