Julie Gales, Madrikha and Ex-Officio Board Member

Julie Gales has been the madrikha of the JCS since 1999. As a native Detroiter, she grew up in the Jewish Parents Institute, one of America’s earliest secular Jewish organizations. Her desire to give back to the secular Jewish community that was so influential in her life led Julie to study at the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ). In 1993, she was ordained as a madrikha.

Julie performs all Jewish ceremonial services for the JCS community: officiating at bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, weddings, baby namings, and funerals; conducting First Friday Shabbat, High Holiday, and Second Night Pesach Seder observances; assisting members with pastoral counseling; and helping JCS members interpret and find meaning in Jewish foundational texts as contemporary Jews.

Julie graduated from Tufts University in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in geological sciences and earned a master of science degree in structural geology and geophysics at the University of Michigan. For twenty-one years, she worked for the Legislative Service Bureau’s Research Services Division as an assistant director and a science research analyst, advising Michigan legislators and staff on a wide range of scientific, engineering, and environmental issues. She is currently working as the administrative director of the Molecular and Behavior Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan.

Julie’s family is both intercultural and transracial and blends the many traditions from their secular Jewish, British, African American, and Muslim backgrounds. The JCS is a very welcoming home for this type of diversity.

In her free time, Julie loves to downhill and cross-country ski, hike, and bake with her husband and their two daughters.

Wendy Sadler, School Principal

JCS Office

Board Members


  • Alon Yaffe (President)
  • Ruth Freedman (Treasurer)
  • Chad Wood
  • Sylvia Funk
  • Omer Berenfeld
  • Robert Davidow
  • Marni Hochman
  • Vicki Patraka
  • Cady Vishniac
  • Bev Wood