Elana Paru became Central Synagogue’s first Director of Staff Development in June of 2015. In this newly created position, Elana works on a variety of projects and initiatives to help onboard, strengthen, educate and inspire a professional team of over 130 full-time and part-time employees. This new role consists of training, supporting and motivating staff while serving as a mentor and professional guide to help maximize performance and integration.
In January of 2011, Elana Paru became the Director of Educational Administration at Central Synagogue in Manhattan. In this new position Elana developed more efficient and collaborative management and communication systems and improved day-to-day operations among all of the education departments throughout the congregation, including the religious school, nursery school and adult learning programs.
Prior to joining the staff at Central Synagogue, Elana served as the Executive Director of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY. Her responsibilities included administrative supervision of all synagogue programs and staff. Additionally, she delivered senior level management services to the board, clergy, committees, staff and congregants.
Before focusing her efforts on congregational life, Elana served the Interim Executive Director and Associate Executive Director of ARZA, the Zionist arm and voice of the Reform Movement; Director of Development at the Jewish Outreach Institute; and Director of Development and Director of Operations for Young Judaea, the Zionist Youth Movement of Hadassah.
As a stepping stone toward working for national organizations, Elana started her career in local institutions and served as Assistant Principal of Beit Rabban Day School located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and as a Planning and Campaign Associate at the United Jewish Federation in Pittsburgh.
Elana received her B.A. in Judaic Studies and Sociology at SUNY Albany. As a Wexner Foundation Graduate Fellow, Elana completed a dual Master’s degree program in Jewish Communal Service and Non-Profit Management at Brandeis University. She then spent a year in Israel studying at the Pardes Institute before returning to the States to launch her career in Jewish communal service. Elana lives in Queens with her husband Michael Spevack and their daughter Noa.