The Interfaith Atlanta, formerly FAMA, board and various committees are comprised of individuals, worship communities and social justice organizations who believe we can build a better world, together. We are people determined to create that better world — a world of compassion and justice for all — by living the tenets of our faith and spiritual traditions. We are people who engage in respectful dialogue and in community initiatives by working collectively and collaboratively with others who also seek to create a more sustainable, loving world.
Interfaith Atlanta Board Officers
Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser, President
Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser is in her 3rd year as president of Interfaith Atlanta. She works for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and is the part-time rabbi for Congregation B’nai Israel in Fayetteville, GA. Ellen was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1993.
Albina Bhimani, Vice President
Shia Ismaili Muslim
Albina Bhimani is in her second year as Vice-President of Interfaith Atlanta. As a Secondary Religious Education teacher for the Ismaili community in Atlanta, GA, she teaches Muslim history, principles of faith, literature, and ethics in her professional life. Albina earned a BA in Religion and Anthropology and Political Science from Emory University before pursuing a career as an educator. She further went on to earn a double MA in Teaching and in Muslim Societies and Civilizations from the University College London’s Institute of Education and the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Albina’s passion for community outreach and education drives her to be greatly involved as both a leader and member of her respective communities.
David Schoenberg, Interfaith Speakers Network Chair
David is a near-native Atlantan who practices business, international and trusts and estates law from his home in Buckhead. He has served on the Board of Interfaith Atlanta for 18 months and is the Chair of the Interfaith Speakers Network (ISN). David is active in his synagogue, Temple Sinai, is a past president of Second Helpings Atlanta and is a new member of the Board of Actors Express.
Mike Holmes, Programming Chair
Valerie Morvan, Secretary
Valerie Morvan has served several terms on the Interfaith Atlanta’s board and is the current Secretary. One of her favorite projects is coordinating the organization’s Midday Respite, a weekly on-line contemplative program exploring peace, kindness, and compassion. She is an active member of the Shambhala Meditation Center, a Buddhist community.
Rena Marroquin, Treasurer
Rena Marroquin currently serves as Interfaith Atlanta’s treasurer and has served in that capacity since 2013. She also serves as the treasurer for Compassionate Atlanta and formerly volunteered as Account Manager for the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP). Retired Financial Aid Director at the Art Institute of Atlanta after 18 ½ years.
Interfaith Atlanta Board Members
Sima Abadi is in her two years as a board member of Interfaith Atlanta. She graduated from Georgia State University as a psychology major and works at Shallowford Falls Elementary school. She is a student at Maktab Tariqhat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi (M.T.O.) School of Islamic Sufism since 1997 in Atlanta.
Monica Hochstein was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She studied at Mexico National University for a bachelors degree in physics and math before moving to the US to attend grad school at Georgia Tech. She speaks 5 languages and works in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Monica was raised Jewish in a predominantly Catholic country. Both of her parents and grandparents were Jewish, my 4 grandparents were Jewish, etc, etc. She considers herself a melting pot of cultures with a mom from Costa Rica and grandparents from eastern Europe, Lithuania, Poland, Bielorussia. She feels it gives her the opportunity to be more universalist than many.
Monica is a member of Congregation Or Hadash, in Sandy Springs. She has been part of the synagogue board for the last 4 years. She enjoys traveling, going to movies, and time with her family.
Venerable Priya Rakkhit Sraman
Venerable Priya Rakkhit Sraman is the Buddhist Chaplain in the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life at Emory University. He is an ordained monastic in the Theravada Buddhist School.
Gillian Renault’s spiritual home is the Vedanta Center of Atlanta, founded by her guru, Swami Yogeshananda. She served on the Center’s board as secretary for several years. She is a graduate of the Upaya Zen Center’s two-year Chaplaincy Program and is an ordained Buddhist Lay Minister in the Prajna Mountain Order. In the early 2000s, Gillian was involved in the Interfaith Community Initiative’s (ICI) Immersion Project, wrote the chapter on Hinduism for the book Sacred Spaces and was a speaker with the Interfaith Speakers Bureau. In 2011 she was one of three organizers of FAMA’s Decatur, GA, interfaith event marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11; 500 people attended. She currently co-facilitates Hospice Atlanta’s ongoing bereavement group.
From 2016 to 2020, Gillian worked as a hospice chaplain in Los Angeles, providing spiritual and emotional care to patients of all faiths and no faith. Prior to her calling as a chaplain, Gillian had a 30-year public relations career in the TV industry. Her last corporate job was as Vice President, Communications, at the Travel Channel. She later founded a virtual PR and media training firm representing clients such as Travel Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, Discovery Channel and Atlanta’s Visiting Nurse Health System. Gillian is originally from the United Kingdom where she was baptized, confirmed and married in the Church of England and attended Catholic schools. She has a deep commitment to interfaith dialogue and understanding.
Sharon grew up in CT and lived in Upstate NY, Israel, and Wisconsin before settling in Atlanta. She works as a Clinical Psychologist at the Atlanta VA Healthcare System. Although an active member of Congregation Or Hadash and a chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Sharon is new to the Board of Interfaith Atlanta.
Parminder is an active prominent community leader servicing the Sikh community of Atlanta and southeast US nonprofit institutions through continuous learning, volunteer programs and humanitarian efforts. Born and brought up in India, he migrated to USA in 1997. Parminder has lived and served the Atlanta communities and neighboring states for the last 24 years. He is one of the founding Trustee of Guru Nanak Mission Society of Atlanta, a Sikh organization located in Norcross GA founded to support the religious, educational, cultural, and economic needs of the communities. Over the last two decades, he has organized and lead several educational events at cross-community levels to increase the cultural, educational, and religious awareness, and aided with social, political and economic issues confronting different communities. Parminder earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in Computer Science and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration from Quantic School of Business and Technology, Washington DC. He has served several leadership roles and is currently working with Cox Communications as a Technology Strategy Leader. He is married to his loving wife Amar and has two young boys.
Shi’a Ismaili Muslim
A teacher educator for secondary level students for 20+ years, Ambreen Sohani is passionate about civic service, youth projects, and community building. Having graduated with department Honors in Religion and Sociology in 2017, Ambreen is an active volunteer of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community of Local Atlanta, where she served as a member of the council board for secondary outreach projects for Grades 11 & 12 students. She joined Interfaith Atlanta (FAMA) in 2020 with the aim to encourage dialogue and awareness on diversity and collaboration amongst local communities, what she calls as, A Road Less travelled.
Red Clay Sangha Buddhism
Gareth Young is a co-founder of Red Clay Sangha, a non-denominational peer-led Buddhist community in Atlanta. He has been involved in interfaith and social justice organizations for many years and has served twice as President of Interfaith Atlanta.
Jessica Mattadeen, Executive Director
Jessica Mattadeen joins Interfaith Atlanta having served several metro Atlanta nonprofit organizations in a range of capacities – from development to operations. Her most recent posts include International Partner for International Institute For Peace Through Tourism and Managing Director and Founder of the Mattadeen Scholarship For Opportunity.
Mattadeen is also Founder and Director of Shear Grace Cuts, a charity benefiting homeless women and children.
Jessica’s experience, energy and resolve will raise Interfaith Atlanta to the next level through community gatherings, partnerships, education, social justice work, and more.
Interfaith Atlanta Members-At-Large
Audrey Galex, Judaism
Saubhav Kapoor, Hindu
Nikkia Velazquez, Christianity