Elissa Polan was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in political science and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Following graduation, she lived in Israel for one year and worked as a guide at Yad Vashem.
Afterwards, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked at AIPAC. In 1998, she returned to Israel and lived in Jerusalem for more than three years, working for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in its Division for Development and Public Relations.
Elissa has been working at JUF for twelve years and is an assistant vice president in the Planning and Allocations Departments. In that capacity, she has direct oversight for JUF’s overseas allocations as well as a number of JUF overseas programs and projects. She staffs JUF’s Israel and Overseas Commission and JUF’s Partnership Together Committee.