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Sarah M. Nissel, Esq.
Executive Director

Sarah M. Nissel joined the Jewish Divorce Assistance Center (JDAC) as its founding Executive Director in 2015. Ms. Nissel is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law where she teaches and directs the Faith & Family Mediation Clinic and teaches Divorce & Family Law.

Prior to joining JDAC, Ms. Nissel worked in the areas of white-collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation at Bird, Marella, et al., a Los Angeles-based litigation boutique firm. While at Bird, she gained extensive experience in litigation, mediation, arbitration and client counseling. Ms. Nissel worked successfully with opposing counsel as well as with law enforcement officials on the local, state and federal level to negotiate mutually beneficial outcomes and to avoid contentious litigation. Before joining Bird Marella, Ms. Nissel worked as an Associate at Morvillo, Abramowitz, et al., a boutique litigation firm in New York City.


Ms. Nissel has served as a fellow at the Innocence Project, where she gained experience working on criminal proceedings at the state level. Ms. Nissel represented clients in various stages of post-conviction litigation. One of her clients was ultimately exonerated and another’s post-conviction appeal was heard by the Supreme Court in its 2009 term.


While in law school, Ms. Nissel worked as a legal intern with federal prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and for the Honorable Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


Ms. Nissel graduated with honors from Yale University in 2003 where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2008 where she was a Dean’s Scholar. Ms. Nissel is admitted to practice in California State, New York State and in the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Ms. Nissel sits on the Young Leadership Board of Chai Lifeline and on the Board of Gindi Maimonides Academy.

Ms. Nissel resides in Los Angeles with her husband and four children. 

Yona Elishis,
LL.B., LL.M.

Yona Elishis joined the Jewish Divorce Assistance Center of Los Angeles (JDAC) as a mediation consultant in December 2015.

Ms. Elishis obtained her law degree in 2004 from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and completed her final year of schooling in New York City at Columbia Law School. Ms. Elishis went on to obtain her Masters in Law (LL.M) from NYU Law School with a focus on Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Ms. Elishis practiced family law at the firm of McCarthy Tetrault in Toronto where she trained with many of Canada's highest profile divorce attorneys and worked diligently to help families resolve their legal disputes effectively and equitably. Prior to this, Ms. Elishis practiced corporate law at the firm Paul Weiss in New York City.

In addition to her work at JDAC, Ms. Elishis also runs her own children's clothing business, Matooka Kids, where she is able to channel her creative energies. She is also involved in various community projects and most importantly raising her five children.

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