Monica Gebell has been named executive director of the Levine Center to End Hate, which is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.
Gebell was hired as director of community relations for the Center in early 2022. She succeeds Karen Elam, who served in the role since 2018 and recently left for another professional opportunity.
Prior to the Federation, Gebell was a high school teacher for two decades and was founder and chief creative officer of Roc the Mic Productions, LLC, which helps local non-profit agencies raise funds while raising awareness about a variety of causes and issues in Rochester through the art of storytelling.
“I’ve always been drawn toward the power of stories, whether spoken word or literature, to change perceptions,” Gebell said. “I’m a big fan of the Levine Center’s programming and the focus on personal consequences of hate in addition to systemic issues. I look forward to continuing this important work as build a more inclusive Greater Rochester for all.”
Gebell, a founding member of CURB (Community Uprooting Racism in Brighton), hosted an interfaith Shabbat dinner to demonstrate how dialogue can break barriers. Last spring, she organized a public shiva demonstration with Pathways to Peace at Washington Square Park where community members sat in silence in remembrance of those killed by gun violence.
Since joining the Jewish Federation, Gebell has focused on education as a method to increase acceptance of Judaism. She has also been a frequent collaborator with the Levine Center, including serving as a workshop moderator at their Third Summit to End Hate in 2022.
Gebell will be co-facilitating a local initiative in Black-Jewish relations called the Rekindle Fellowship with Taj Smith, a local diversity consultant, in late August through October.
Since its inception as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester in 2018, the Levine Center has developed numerous programs meant to address current issues in the community. Their initiatives have covered topics such as anti-Asian hate, Transgender rights, systemic racism and antisemitism.
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