Ana Sazonov was born in Ukraine to a non-Jewish mother and a father who repressed his Jewish identity. Her family became Ukrainian in every way, which helped them to survive antisemitic attacks. Ana grew up as a Ukrainian girl with no knowledge of Judaism or Israel. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Jewish Agency sprang into action, promoting the Law of Return, and offered her family the chance to make Aliya and start a new life in the Promised Land. Aliya to Israel allowed Ana to grapple with her Jewish identity like few Jews do.
Ana served two years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a Basic Training Commander and trained IDF soldiers to be combat-ready.
Ana holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Ruppin Academic Center in Business and Economics, a masters degree in Jewish Professional Leadership and a masters in Nonprofit Management at the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She has explored different fields, such as advertising, crowdfunding, and development.
Ana served as the Israel Fellow (emissary) to Emory University Hillel, Atlanta GA, where she oversaw everything related to Israel, from education to programming and experience. In addition, she created RSJ@ATL, a platform which provides hundreds of Russian-speaking Jews in Atlanta the opportunity to connect to their Jewish roots and have a sense of community.
As a response to COVID-19, Ana founded JewBer, a Jewish startup that delivers kosher Shabbat meals to Jewish frontline heroes, low-income seniors and families, and Holocaust survivors in the greater Boston area. JewBer has delivered over 3,000 meals with the help of more than 100 volunteers in the past year.
Cheryl has worked in the Columbia Jewish Community since 2011. Prior to becoming a Jewish Professional, Cheryl earned her B.A. in English and her M.ED. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida, spending ten years in education, both in the classroom and as a curriculum developer. Cheryl and her husband are happy to call Columbia home and are thankful to be raising their son in such a loving, closeknit Jewish community.
As a native South Carolinian, Alison was excited to move back here after spending the better part of two decades in Memphis TN. Despite starting as Federation’s part-time bookkeeper just as the pandemic started in March 2020, Ali quickly enjoyed getting to know the community. Now she looks forward to her new, expanded role with the Columbia Jewish Federation. In addition to numbers, Ali enjoys gardening, tracking storms, bird watching and cooking. Alison has been married just over 20 years to her husband Reese, and they have three children.