Mara grew up in a suburb of Chicago, has a BA from Northwestern University in International Relations and Jewish Studies and a Masters in Public Policy from Hebrew University focusing on migration and health insurance.
Prior to moving to Israel, Mara worked for PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values in Washington, DC. Mara has worked in the field of co-existence education and interreligious dialogue as a teaching assistant at the University of Maryland, at the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) and at the Truman Center for International Peace at Hebrew University where she published a number of articles with a team of professors on best practices in facilitation of dialogue groups.
Mara was a Dorot Fellow in 2004-2005 and has been on the DFI Staff since 2006. More recently she edited a book on policy related to gender and families in welfare states and did research on gender and immigration with the JDC.
In addition to her professional and academic work, Mara volunteers with African Refugees in Jerusalem.
Mara lives in Jerusalem with her husband Josh and her daughter Noa.