Emily Jennewein
Emily Jennewein. Photo by Melissa Jacobs

Jewish Family Service of San Diego has named Emily Jennewein chair of the nonprofit’s board and appointed two new directors with backgrounds in Chinese culture and ethics.

The new directors are Dr. Li-Rong Lilly Cheng, director of the Chinese Cultural Center at San Diego State University and chair of the board at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, and Sid Voorakkara, senior vice president at Strategies 360 and chair of the San Diego Ethics Commission. 

Jennewein has been a leader in San Diego’s Jewish community for the past 20 years, serving as president of Hillel of San Diego twice, from 2017-18 and 2014-16, and as president of Congregation Beth Israel from 2011-13.

Her two daughters began the family’s involvement with the nonprofit after volunteering with JFS’s Hand Up Food Pantry. 

“Emily’s dedication to the Jewish community, as well as San Diego at large, is well known throughout the region,” CEO Michael Hopkins said. “JFS is sure to benefit from her experience, and we are confident she will bring passion to the role and expand our outreach.” 

Jennewein served as principal for a website and marketing communications firm for 25 years before retiring professionally. She graduated from Amherst College and received her Master of Business Administration from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. She is married to Chris Jennewein, the editor and publisher of Times of San Diego.

“I feel truly honored to become chair of JFS’s board, and I feel an awesome responsibility to ensure that this organization serves the welfare of the entire community — making the world a better place for all,” Jennewein said.

Founded in 1918, Jewish Family Service assists people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. Last year, JFS served more than 39,500 clients, including over 17,000 asylum seekers at the JFS Migrant Family Shelter.