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Wendy Revel

President & Executive Director

Before founding The backStorygroup, Wendy Revel, a lawyer, was the Executive Director of CINE, Washington, DC- based film and television competitions non-profit group. At CINE, she conceived and implemented a film scoring competition, and obtained as guest judges well-known film composers and producers, including two Oscar™ winners.  She was previously a Congressional staff director, and has written articles for the Jerusalem Post and The New Republic, as well as a script for National Geographic Television's Explorer series.  Prior to her stint in politics, Wendy was a trial lawyer in Atlanta.  She has two sons, the older a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, who plays and teaches guitar, and produces original music. The younger, a graduate of the Ithaca College School of Music, owns Kudzu Recordings in Brooklyn, and is the drummer for the artist Hojean. Wendy's sweet dog Scheindle and 19 year old cat Mickey both have extraordinary vocal ranges.

Johanna Chanin


Johanna Chanin recently retired as Senior Vice President and Government Affairs Counsel for a global financial services company; earlier in her career, she was a litigator in private practice with a Washington, DC law firm.  Johanna has been involved in several nonprofit organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, the Financial Services Roundtable, Camp Judaea, and Adas Israel Congregation, where she is a past President. A native of Macon, Georgia, Johanna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University. She and her husband, Randall Levitt, live in the Washington, DC area.

Tamara Dunietz

Tamara Dunietz runs her family's real estate business in Germany and Israel. She earned a BA, MA in economics/statistics from Hebrew University, Jerusalem. After working at the World Bank, Washington, DC, pursued her MBA at The Wharton Business School. She takes part in the family philanthropic efforts in Israel such as in education focusing on Ethiopian Jewry, need-based scholarships to immigrants at higher learning institutions, as well as hospitals and other causes. 

Rhonda Shore

Rhonda Shore is a senior editor and communications professional with experience in the public and private sectors. Rhonda led the production of 12 editions of the U.S. Department of State's annual report, Country Reports on Terrorism, shaped media reaction on sensitive issues, handled crisis communications, and launched social media sites. She has written and edited speeches, congressional testimony, op-eds, blogs, press releases, and fact sheets; and has edited grant proposals, magazine articles, think tank papers, a self-help book, memoir, and historical fiction. In addition to communications, Rhonda designed international exchange programs for nine years at the United States Information Agency.


In the private sector, Rhonda was Director of Publicity for two record companies, Chrysalis and Island. In this incarnation, she developed campaigns that included print, television, and video for various artists, such as Robert Palmer, Billy Idol, and Huey Lewis and the News. She also led corporate communications.


Rhonda holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from SUNY Purchase. She lives in the metro Washington, DC area.

Jonathan D. Strum

Jonathan D. Strum has a wide array of experience on legal, financial and business sides of

investment and capital markets. He is currently Senior Advisor to Merchant-Edge, an

international capital advisory firm and separately acts as a counsel/principal in several start-up

ventures. From 2015 to 2020, he served as General Counsel to the Daniel Morgan Graduate

School of National Security, a graduate school in Washington DC serving the National Security

and Intelligence communities which has since been taken over by the Bush School at Texas


Previously, Jonathan was Vice President and General Counsel of Siraj Capital, Ltd., an Shari’a

compliant merchant investment firm based in Dubai and was Of Counsel to Patton Boggs LP, an

international law firm based in Washington DC. In the early 2000’s Jonathan worked with the

predecessor to the Israeli Platinum Venture Capital Fund.

Jonathan has been a frequent commentator and analyst on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel,

C-SPAN and al-Araby with regard to the Middle East and international issues and is a frequent

speaker at international conferences. Jonathan taught Israeli law at Georgetown University Law

Center from 1991 to 2004. From 2010 to 2019, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of

The University of the West, a Buddhist sponsored university outside of Los Angeles.

Jonathan is a Jewish High Holiday Cantor, having served for over 36 years at Georgetown

University High Holiday services. He also produced the first performances of the Batsheva

Dance Company in Washington DC at the Lisner Auditorium in 1987. Jonathan lives in

Washington DC.

Alan Makovsky

Alan Makovsky is a senior fellow for National Security and International Policy at American Progress. From 2001 to 2013, he served as a senior professional staff member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he covered the Middle East, Turkey, and other related issues.

At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy—a private think tank where he worked from 1994 to 2001—Makovsky wrote widely on various Middle Eastern and Turkish topics. He also founded and directed the Washington Institute’s Turkey Research Program.

At the State Department where he worked from 1983 to 1994—Makovsky variously covered southern European affairs and Middle Eastern affairs for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He also served as the political advisor to Operation Provide Comfort in 1992 and as the special advisor to the special Middle East coordinator from 1993 to 1994.

Harriet Tritell

Harriet Tritell is an ESOL teacher at the Washington English Center in Washington, DC. She is also a hospice volunteer and serves on the board of Temple Micah, where she chairs the communications committee and the community caring committee. Previously she served on the board of the Jewish Social Services Agency of Greater Washington. Harriet holds an MBA from Pace University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Bethesda, MD with her husband, Randy Tritell and has 2 adult sons.

Wendy Revel
Johanna Chanin
Tamara Dunietz
Rhonda Shore
Howard Milchberg
Harriet Tritell
Jonathan Strum
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