Director of Yalla Yalla!
Eric Salitsky is an architectural designer passionate about sacred spaces and community building through interfaith dialogue. Eric recently spent 6 weeks documenting multi-faith worship spaces in the US and Europe thanks to the Center for Architecture’s 2018 Stewardson Keefe Lebrun travel grant. Currently an interior designer at ICRAVE, a design and innovation studio, Eric specializes in hospitality design and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of ICRAVE’s in-house design blog, The Chop.
As a NY transplant, Eric enjoys exploring the vibrant ethnic enclaves and culinary destinations New York City has to offer, from Rego Park’s Uzbeki kosher kebabs to Sunset Park’s Buddhist vegetarian fare and Bay Ridge’s authentic Palestinian knafe - he’s tasted and attempted to recreate it all.
Director of Shabbat Salaam
Juni Hoppe is an interfaith expert and an enthusiastic bridge-builder. As the Director of Shabbat Salaam, she leads grant management, sponsorship relationships, and strategic development for the program.
Outside of Abe's, Juni coordinates an international interfaith publication project. Her post-doc research focuses on Jewish-Christian relations. Previously, she worked for the United Nations in Geneva and as a management consultant in Europe.
Juni holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Masters in Jewish Studies from Oxford, a Diploma in Theology, and a PhD in Jewish-Muslim Relations from the University of Cambridge.
Mohammad Modarres is a 2019 TED Resident and the Founder and CEO of Abe's Eats. He is responsible for the organization's strategy, product and brand development, marketing, and partnerships. He has produced all products, including Abe's Interfaith Meat, Hummus for All of Us, and Honey, I Love You.
Before entering the food world, Mohammad co-founded a biotechnology company, redesigned a board game, consulted a Grammy Award-winning producer, and was a published award-winning political cartoonist. He later spent two years fixing up a 1979 VW Bus and traveling up and down the Pacific Coast before moving to New York to develop Abe's Eats at the TED Residency.
Mohammad is a Bloomberg Scholar and an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University’s public health studies program and a George J. Mitchell National Scholar at Trinity College Dublin.
Brian Lai is the CFO and Co-Founder of Abe's Eats. He focuses on the finance, accounting, and supply chain of Abe's Eats' current pipeline and future scale.
Prior to Abe’s Eats, Brian spent 5 years within the asset management industry as a public accountant and private consultant with KPMG, Goldman Sachs, and Constellation Advisers.
Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University with a major in Accounting along with a Master’s in Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh. Brian currently sits on the Associate Board of Apex for Youth, a NYC-based nonprofit.
After moving to New York City to develop Interfaith Meat into Abe's Eats at TED's in-house incubator, Mohammad reconnected with childhood friend Brian Lai who joined Abe's soon after. The two have known each other for more than 15 years as friends, classmates, and teammates (The photo is from their Paramus High School graduation in 2007).
From Germany, Juni Hoppe learned about the work Brian and Mohammad were up to. A few weeks later, Juni moved to New York and began helping Brian and Mohammad host Shabbat Salaam dinners and building out the organization's operational framework.
Mohammad later met Eric Salitsky at the New Day Fellowship alongside advisor and Islamic Studies scholar Hussein Rashid. They are currently producing the Yalla Yalla Walking Tour as Abe's second interfaith programming after the success of the Shabbat Salaam interfaith dinners.