The Friendship Circle Pittsburgh

The Friendship Circle Mission Statement

The Friendship Circle, established in Pittsburgh's Jewish Community in 2006, is dedicated to helping children and young adults with special needs to become more fully integrated into the broader community. Since 1994, Friendship Circles have been created in more than 60 cities around the world.

The program allows children and young adults with special needs to enjoy the company of teenage and young adult volunteers in a full range of social activities.The Friendship Circle aims to enrich the lives of all participants through mutually advantageous interactions, creating lasting friendships which consequently strengthen both the Jewish and greater community.

Friendship Circle is an affilate of Chabad.

The Friendship Circle Board of Directors

Dr. Daniel Rosen, Chair

Lori Plung, Vice-Chair

Amy Spear, Second Vice-Chair

Alex Paul, Treasurer

Dr. Tracy Prizant Levy, Secretary

Jan Engelberg

Alan Gordon

Aaron Morgenstern

Deb Myers

Dorothy Pollon

Steve Silverman

Dr. Jamie Stern

Judy Wein

Jillian Zacks


Professional Advisor

Dr. Laura Marshak is a professor in the counseling department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is also a psychologist in private practice at North Hills Psychological Services. Her career has focused on promoting equal opportunities for people with diverse abilities. She is completing her sixth book.

Executive Director

Rabbi Mordy Rudolph 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.


Rivkee Rudolph graduated high school at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, and continued studies at Seminary Chaya Mushka in Tzfat, Israel. She taught several years of pre-school both here in Pittsburgh, and in Brooklyn, New York, before initiating The Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh together with her husband, Rabbi Mordy Rudolph, in September 2006.

Family Coordinator

Stacy Miller is the Family Coordinator at the Friendship Circle. She graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Psychology and minor in Education. Before moving to Pittsburgh and joining the Friendship Circle, Stacy was an assistant teacher for special education classrooms in San Francisco and Boston and spent a year serving in the AmeriCorps program, City Year, in Rhode Island.

Volunteer Coordinator

Adina Barber graduated high school at Yeshiva Schools and continued to study education at Beit Chana Teachers Seminary in Israel. She has much experience coordinating programs for summer camps and Hebrew schools since she was a young teenager!

Director of Programming

Adam Baron Adam comes to Friendship Circle after 10 years as a full-time staff member of the Jewish Community Center and Emma Kaufmann Camp. Adam oversees programming, staff training and development. Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Judaic Studies from the University of Cincinnati. Adam and his wife Liza have a son Brett (3 1/2) and a daughter Tatum (1). Adam is looking forward to creating great relationships and memories with the Friendship Circle community and is thrilled to be a part of this great organization!

Development Associate

Rachael Shockey graduated from Marist College with a degree in English and from University of Cincinnati with a master's degree in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research focused on issues of gender, identity, and inclusion for youth with special needs, and she's presented twice at The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. Her master's thesis was a study of special-needs cheerleading teams in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Rachael is originally from Ithaca, NY, and is excited to be a part of the community-building that The Friendship Circle accomplishes in Pittsburgh!

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