Executive & Artistic Director
A Cincinnati transplant with local roots, Marie was born and raised in Indianapolis by interfaith parents (Italian Catholic and Ashkenazi/Sephardi Jewish) with her younger brother and sister. Extroverted and extracurricularly-inclined, Marie participated in various Jewish programs while balancing other school & community-based clubs, performing arts, and sports activities. Marie attended Ohio Wesleyan University graduating with a dual degree BFA in Painting, BA in Psychology, and a minor in Music. Marie met her husband while at OWU and followed him to Cincinnati after graduation... and has been in love with Cincinnati ever since.
Professionally, Marie brings a proven track record of success in the arts and community engagement. She began her career at ArtWorks, building an expertise in cross-departmental organizational management, marketing & development, administration and programming. With her feet firmly planted in the Cincinnati arts and Jewish communities, Marie was looking for opportunities to bring these two worlds together. After connecting with local artists, mentors, and long-time friend and then ArtWorks colleague, Rachel Rothstein, who was also deeply interested in creating a platform for local Jewish artists to sell their wares (Rachel took a concept for a Jewish marketplace called Ish through ArtWorks' creative business development course!), ideas were exchanged, concepts were married, and ish Festival was born in 2016.
Marie has lent expertise and creativity across a variety of Cincinnati-based organizations and programs including serving on the founding cohort of BLINK, and has held leadership positions in other community organizations including the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Congregation Beth Adam, MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, and the University of Cincinnati’s Alpha Tau Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.
Marie is Mom to two sons, a dog, two cats, and two snakes.
Senior Manager of Programming & Development
A Cincinnati native and community educator, Zak has spent his professional life in Jewish programming and development. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in Judaic Studies, and is currently pursuing his Master's in Jewish Nonprofit Management. He has previously worked with the Jewish Women's Theatre in Los Angeles and currently works with OneTable in addition to his work at ish. Zak's passion for Jewish & Israeli arts & culture stems from his time at summers at Camp Livingston, learning and teaching at Adath Israel Congregation, and leading services at Cincinnati Hillel.
Zak lives in Cincinnati with his partner, his adorable Beagle, and a cabinet full of cookbooks to feed his love of entertaining.
Director of Creative Design & Impact
AlliJo is an educator, designer, and research expert with a decade of experience in educational programming and community engagement design. Drawing on all three roles, AlliJo collaborates with community stakeholders to cultivate vibrant spaces where one’s rich historical and cultural narrative can be fostered, preserved, and sustained through socially just, transformative paradigms and place-based pedagogies. She has extensive experience and expertise in Design Thinking & Appreciative Inquiry Research, Youth Participatory Action Research, Community-based Action Research, Program Evaluation & Authentic Evaluation Systems. Playful Learning & Spatial Design, K-12 Programming, and K-12 Secular and Nonsecular Education.
With a decade of teaching and coaching experience, and over five years in collaborative program design, AlliJo is on a mission to create playful and vibrant spaces that enhance our joy of learning. She has previously worked with the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, Adath Israel Congregation, Temple Beth Adam, the Arlitt Child & Family Research & Education Center, Breakthrough Cincinnati, the University of Cincinnati and Dawson Elementary School. She is a Ph. D. Candidate at the University of Cincinnati in Educational and Community-based Action Research, current Brandeis University Fellow at The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center Doctoral and holds an M.A. in Educational Studies for Social Change from the University of Cincinnati, and a B.A. in Political Science from Indiana University.