Dec. 07, 2020

Meet Repair the World’s Newest Board Members

Repair the World is excited to welcome Jesse Colvin, Yoshi Silverstein, Yosef Webb-Cohen, and Melissa White as its newest Board members as we continue to grow and expand our reach. Last year, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and welcomed Cindy Greenberg as President and CEO. Over the last year, we’ve also welcomed Robb Lippitt as Board Chair, refreshed the mission and vision of the organization, and most recently affirmed our racial justice commitments. This summer we expanded our programming with the launch of Serve the Moment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These dynamic individuals bring with them a wealth of expertise in national service, philanthropy, and social justice. They share a passion for mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world while representing diverse backgrounds, geographies, and identities. Learn more about them and what motivates them to serve their communities. To see a list of all our current board members click here.

Jesse Colvin (he/him)

Jesse Colvin is the CEO of Service Year Alliance, a nonprofit working towards a day when national service is part of growing up in the United States. He is a recognized leader and military veteran who ran to serve as the Representative from Maryland’s first congressional district in 2018. Jesse previously worked as a strategic advisor for Toffler Associates, a management consultancy. Prior to that, he held investigatory roles at Barclays Capital and Control Risks. Jesse served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, where he completed four combat deployments to Afghanistan. Before joining the military, he taught English language courses to Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria. Jesse holds a B.A. in history from Duke University and a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Jordan, a former police officer, their toddler, a PAW Patrol enthusiast, and rescue dog, a poorly behaved Husky-Shepard mix.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work? 

What motivates me to serve is a question I’ve thought a lot about, and I’m still figuring out the answer. Part of it comes from my parents, who are career public servants in the state of Maryland. I’ve spent my adult life running towards some of our country’s biggest problems. I taught English to Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria after college. I served in the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment through four combat deployments to Afghanistan. My wife served as a police officer and founded a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate on behalf of veteran service organizations who help military veterans heal from trauma by partnering them with specially-trained psychiatric service dogs. I ran for public office in 2018 and now lead a nonprofit, Service Year Alliance, whose vision is to make national service part of growing up in our country. As it relates to Repair, the parts of my life and identity related to being Jewish and the parts of my life and identity that have led me to service have often felt like two separate and distinct worlds. There were no role models — outside of a few Greatest Generation members — in our synagogue growing up who had served in the military. I was usually the only Jewish soldier in the units I served in. That’s a shame; it took until later in life to realize the values that have led me to serve and my Jewish values are, in reality, very much interconnected and mutually reinforcing. So when Cindy Greenberg told me she thought the national service community ought to have a voice from within the Jewish community and that the Jewish community ought to have a voice from within the national service community, I was in. 

What’s something people should ask you about?
Anything related to our toddler; PAW Patrol; our poorly-behaved rescue dog; my first jobs at an ice cream store, construction company, and animal hospital


Yoshi Silverstein (he/him)

Yoshi Silverstein is Founder and Executive Director of Mitsui Collective, which builds resilient community through embodied Jewish practice and racial equity. He is also a Cleveland community organizer for Edot: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative, a cohort six Schusterman Fellow, and is part of M² Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s inaugural Jewish Pedagogies Circle. Formerly, Yoshi was Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon from its launch through its first four cohorts, through which he catalyzed the growth and leadership of over 60 emerging professionals working across the US and Canada in the realm of Jewish relationship to land, food, culture, climate, and community.

As a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is an active advocate and educator in the Jews of Color community and speaks regularly on racial equity and inclusion. A former founding member of the Repair the World NYC Advisory Board, he is currently a member of the Grants Advisory Group for the Jews of Color Initiative, an alumnus of Selah (Cohort 14, Jewish Leaders of Color), and a member of the Selah Advisory Council, and has been a cast member of Kaleidoscope Project’s “What Does Jewish Look Like to You” monologue series, an ELI Talks speaker, and a Dorot Fellow. Yoshi holds certificates in Spiritual Entrepreneurship (Columbia Business School through GLEAN Network), social entrepreneurship (PresenTense NYC), permaculture design, ecovillage design, and environmental education; and earned his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland with a thesis exploring Jewish frameworks, concepts, and vocabularies for landscape journey and experience in Jewish outdoor learning environments. Also a 2nd degree blackbelt and aficionado of Chinese Roast Duck, Yoshi lives in the Cleveland area with his wife, daughter, and pup.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
Both through formal and informal structures, service is a key component to a thriving, resilient community and, in the absence of those qualities, can be a significant driver of change. I believe that service can be a positive catalyst for shifting relationships across multiple vectors — between individual and community, between differing communities, and in the relationship between individuals, communities, and society at large.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Ask me about the time I walked (almost) the entire shoreline of Manhattan in one day.


Yosef Webb-Cohen (he/they)

Yosef Webb-Cohen, MDiv. is an educator committed to supporting individuals and communities in their journeys for personal, social, and cultural growth and change. Yosef is the Senior Educator and Co-Founder of the Calico Hill Collective, developing experiences to support individuals and communities who are seeking to strengthen their capacity to live out their justice values and to engage effectively, ethically, and authentically across identity differences, including race, gender, sexuality, religion, class, immigration status, and disability/mental health among other differences.  Yosef received his Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in NW Washington, DC where he focused his studies on interfaith (Jewish/Christian/Muslim) dialogue for peace, a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis on the experiences of indigenous Native American peoples, from California State University, Sacramento, and two AA degrees from American River College in Sacramento. He successfully completed a year and a half of Clinical Pastoral Education (5 Units) and is trained as an interfaith and mental health chaplain, including more than a year at Saint Elizabeths Mental Health Hospital in Washington, DC. Yosef is currently pursuing an MSW at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I believe we all have a spark of the Divine within us. To serve others is to serve the Divine. To see others, in all of their complexities, is to see the Divine.  All of this is in order to make the world a better place.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Ask me about my past jobs and careers…Bring a lunch, it will be a long conversation. lol


Melissa White (she/her)

Melissa is Executive Director at the Key Biscayne Community Foundation (KBCF). Over the last ten years, Melissa has led the foundation and the Key Biscayne community in making a collective impact in Miami through a network of partner organizations, focused on collaboration. KBCF initiatives during Melissa’s tenure have included a sister-city initiative created by Melissa and the Key Biscayne Police Chief between KBCF, the Village of Key Biscayne, and the under-served neighborhood of Liberty City as well as one of the first university, foundation, and municipal partnerships for citizen science. Before joining KBCF, Melissa was a senior program coordinator at the University of Miami. She is a board member of Friends of Cape Florida State Park and served in the past on the board of governors of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club. Melissa holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Tech and a MA in International Administration from the University of Miami. She and her husband are proud parents to three children who provide them with laughter and love.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m motivated to serve in order to make a positive impact on the world.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Please ask me about my kids.