JLink Feature Friday: June Edition

Get to know Jewish professionals and JLink members in this month’s Feature Friday roundup!

Lex Dorfman


My name is Lex Dorfman. I just graduated from Augsburg University and got a degree in religion with two minors in Spanish and leadership. I did a lot of Interfaith work on campus, studied peace studies in Norway, and helped start a Hillel on my campus. I also led many Interfaith and Jewish events as well as ceremonies. I love public speaking and people! I am currently looking at relocation opportunities.

My three main goals are to help Jewish people reconnect to Judaism, do Jewish advocacy work, and educate anyone on Judaism.

My mom is from Mexico City and the majority of my family live there. Because of my Jewish family in Mexico, I know what a Jewish community should look and feel like. I want to bring that same sense of warmth to whatever Jewish community I end up in. I’m excited to connect with you!

Julia Laden


My name is Julia Laden. I grew up in the twin cities, and attended Temple Israel. I just graduated from Denison University with degrees in Psychology and Women & Gender Studies with a focus on transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender expansive identities. Throughout my undergraduate career, my community engagement experiences centered on providing social and emotional support to youth. Additionally, I was deeply involved in Denison’s Office of Gender & Sexuality, in which I planned programing that ranged in topics from bodily acceptance to mental health.

This past summer I interned at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, in which I was able to observe how a multidisciplinary team of therapists, pediatricians, gynecologists, and endocrinologists approach a wraparound model of healthcare, working in unison to provide transgender children holistic care.

In the near future, I see myself working towards a PhD in Human Sexuality, or doing a post-bac program to prepare for medical school. Any career trajectory will be deeply tied to the Jewish values that shape the way I connect with and advocate for marginalized identities.

For now, at the beginning of September, I will be leaving to teach English in the Canary Islands, Spain, on a Fulbright Grant. After preliminary research of my placement, Gran Canaria, it appears that I will be adding one to the 16 active members of the Gran Canaria Jewish community. I look forward to being the 17th!

After this adventure I plan to come back to the Twin Cities!

Jacob C. Kraus

Hi all! My name is Jacob Kraus, and I have been living in St. Paul for almost a year, since July 2018. I work at Jewish Community Action organizing with Jews, friends, and allies around the Twin Cities for racial and economic justice. Typically, you’ll find me either at the JCA office in St. Paul, criss-crossing the river for meetings with our members and partners, studying/worshipping/teaching/singing at Mount Zion Temple, cooking at home, or picking up my bagel supply at St. Paul Bagelry.

I grew up mostly in Cincinnati, OH and originally discovered the beauty of the Twin Cities while I was a student at Macalester College. That’s also when I discovered JCA and spent a few months there as a college intern. After graduating, I spent three years doing social justice advocacy, organizing, education and leadership development work at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism both in Washington, D.C. and New York, NY.

I am so thrilled to be here in the Twin Cities and to be working at JCA, specifically on the Decriminalizing Communities Campaign, working toward a vision of community that embraces where all people receive respect, compassion, and justice, regardless of race, religion, immigration status, or criminal record. I’m especially looking forward to our deep canvassing program, where we’ll be having conversations with people who live in St. Louis park this summer and fall about policies at the intersection of criminal justice and housing. If you want to come knock doors with us, let me know!

My name is Michael Forstein – I’m a filmmaker and festival producer, project manager, and professional organizer.
As a film producer and director, my work has screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, South by Southwest, and AFI Fest, and has been featured on Vimeo Staff Picks and Short of the Week.
I have worked in operations for the Tribeca Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and Rooftop Films Summer Series in NYC. Most recently I served as Interim Program Manager of Moving Image at the Walker Art Center and Festival Producer for the Camden International Film Festival in Maine.
Outside of work, I spend much of my time in the woods (hiking, camping, and paddling), reading, writing, taking community ed classes on new things I’m excited to learn, playing and watching soccer (Come on you Loons!), and immersing myself in the occasional all-consuming data project (like this  or this).
My portfolio website with contact info is michaelforstein.com. If you’d like to discuss a film/video project, organizational needs for your home or business, or just say hello, please feel free to reach out – I look forward to connecting!