Becoming a parent is a transformative and exciting time with lots in store. Having good support along the way is essential to overcoming the challenges something so new can bring. The Marks JCH initiative is aimed at providing supportive, nurturing and focused care to brand new families during the sensitive prenatal and postpartum stages of parenthood. Adoptive families, queer families and families of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in our programs!

The program will offer a variety of workshops and in-home services for new families including but not limited to:

  • Access to expert consultants including social workers, lactation specialists, childbirth educators, clinicians and doulas
  • Reduction of isolation through new parent and infant groups and peer support workshops
  • New parent resources and supportive interventions such as infant feeding classes, infant movement, and development classes, postpartum mental health resources, prenatal swim and more
  • Jewish family engagement opportunities for families with infants



Laurey Dachs


Laurey has been a therapist specializing in depression and anxiety for six years, all at the same time as starting her own family and raising her two daughters. Her personal experiences have lent her a degree of empathy and understanding for the circumstances which confront new mothers today. She has turned her clinical eye towards the treatment of women and their partners who have had difficulty adapting to maternal life. Her Bachelor’s degree is in psychology and her Master’s in Social Work. She continues to develop her practice and stay current through continuing education.

Yana Shenker, LCSW professional photograph

Yana Shenker


Yana received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University in 2012. Since then, she has worked with adults, adolescents, and children, specializing in depression, anxiety disorders, and childhood development. 


Rebecca Koyf


Rebecca’s breastfeeding struggles with her three children made her pursue this field. She has a degree in Accounting, and worked as an Auditor for NYC Comptroller’s Office for 8 years. It took the persuasion of a loving friend and 4 years of study and training to finally follow her passion in lactation. She takes great care to accomplish her goals of assisting parents in their breastfeeding journey in a nurturing and compassionate manner. She believes that wanting to breastfeed your baby is natural, but doing it, as she learned for herself, doesn’t always come easy.

lactation counselor Simone black lactation



Simone is a mom of 2, who after the birth and nursing experience of her daughter became a certified birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator and doula educator/mentor for her certifying organization Doula Trainings International. She is also a certified lactation counselor and is involved in many community parenting support groups such as Chocolate Milk Cafe, La Leche League and Mocha Moms, Brooklyn chapter. Simone has a BA in psychology and continues to support families with various goals in birth and breastfeeding.

Shirin postpartum doula



Shirin’s mission is to help foster a positive environment by holding and nurturing a healing space for new parents to receive support. With education and tools to navigate the delicate season of postpartum, Shirin helps families to establish healthy rhythms and healing practices. Her capacity for compassion to maternal mental health is homegrown; through helping her own mother in her arduous healing journey, she finds her experience navigating with others an extension of seeing first hand what a difference nurturing support can make on a mother at any stage in their postpartum life. Shirin is a Certified Postpartum Doula from Carriage House Birth in Brooklyn and currently training with Innate Traditions Postpartum Care by Rachelle Garcia Seliga. She is also a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor, and a volunteer Community Doula for El Nido de Esperanza in Washington Heights.

Crystal Malone doula



Crystal is NYC/NJ based postpartum doula and newborn care specialist. She believes support looks different for everyone. Her expertise ranges from: The first 48 hours, full-time care and support with recovery through the first few months and significant experience in newborn sleep and helping parents balance their sleep needs and normal newborn expectations. She loves navigating all of expected and unexpected with first time and seasoned parents.

Donna pediatric physical therapist

Donna Kleyman


Donna Kleyman, a licensed pediatric Doctor of Physical Therapy, strongly considers play to be essential in better bonding with your baby. Donna hopes to inspire purposeful play by sharing her strategies on setting up space, using developmentally appropriate toys, and sensory rich experiences. Donna believes that parenting can be fun, especially if you know how to play.


Laura Vladimirova

Laura Vladimirova, LMSW


Laura started her journey into reproductive and women’s health support work by becoming a doula, lactation counselor and childbirth educator. After working for many years in childbirth and witnessing the births of hundreds of babies and new families, she went back to school to obtain her Master’s of Social Work. Running the JCH’s dynamic and critical programming supporting the women and girls of South Brooklyn, where Laura grew up, brings Laura great professional fulfillment.

Violetta leadership team photo

Violetta Shmulenzon

Assistant Executive Director

Violetta serves as the Assistant Executive Director, Resource Development and Strategic Initiatives at the Marks JCH. A native New Yorker, her family is originally from Odessa, Ukraine. Violetta rose from a counselor to a madricha and later director of camping and leadership development at the JCH, having the opportunity to develop multi-faceted initiatives to meet the evolving needs of the RSJ community of NY. Violetta also served as the Program Director for Overseas Experiences on the JDC Entwine team overseeing hundreds of college students and young professionals in learning about the global Jewish world prior to returning to the Marks JCH over five years ago to serve as the Chief Program Officer where she launched the burgeoning Women’s Center of the JCH. Violetta holds an MSW from Columbia University and is currently a Wexner Field Fellow.



Liza Mordkovich




  • newborn sleeping

    Newborn & Infant Sleep: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

    October 10 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Calling out to all expecting and exhausted new parents! Are you bouncing, rocking and walking in cir...

  • newborn prep

    Newborn Prep and Safety

    November 14 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    This newborn care prep class is full of practical ideas to make the time after birth bonding and sup...

  • baby massage

    Baby Massage and Play: Newborn to Infant

    December 12 @ 10:00 am - December 19 @ 12:00 pm

    Nurturing touch and infant massage can improve sleep, digestion, increase bonding, and aid in neurol...

  • mikael-stenberg-HP5bznfpIMU-unsplash

    Baby Massage and Play: Infant+

    December 19 @ 10:00 am - December 26 @ 12:00 pm

    Nurturing touch and infant massage can improve sleep, digestion, increase bonding, and aid in neurol...

  • newborn and parent

    Birth Story Writing Workshop Series

    Jan 9, 2022 @ 10:00 am - Feb 13, 2022 @ 11:00 am

    Join our series of six writing sessions with professional writer and editor, Sara Nolan. Birth stori...

  • Infant-CPR

    Virtual Infant CPR

    Feb 20, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Learn the crucial and invaluable skills that may save a child’s life....

  • newborn prep

    Newborn Prep and Safety

    Apr 10, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    This newborn care prep class is full of practical ideas to make the time after birth bonding and sup...


Laura Vladimirova
Women’s Center Director