Born and raised in London by a Yemenite father and Welsh mother, Lonnie earned a BA (Honors) from Middlesex University and then studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance. She moved to the United States in 1993 and settled in New Orleans in 2002, where she raised her four children, Ariane, Saul, Talia, and Renata who have citizenship in 3 countries.
In 2007, after Katrina and as a single mother she founded ‘Strike it Green’, now Lil’ Oak Productions, which responsibly sources merchandise, props, and other items for companies, films, theatre, and events. In her community, she was elected the first female President of her traditionally orthodox synagogue, Anshe Sfard.
In 2008, she was interviewed for the Jewish Women’s Archive - Jewish Women's Archive. "Lonnie Zarum Schaffer." <https://jwa.org/people/schaffer-lonnie>.
Lonnie serves on the Anti Defamation League (ADL) Board and the Board of the Jewish Community regional Council (JCRC). In 2010, Lonnie was appointed to Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Taskforce on Sustainability in New Orleans and is also a founding member and performer of The Sirens, the NOLA dance Krewe which also performs for Mardi Gras parades. From 2011-2013 she participated in the Lemann- Stern Leadership program. Lonnie was the chair of the 1st Limmud in New Mexico, 2020, during COVID and is also the current President of the Board of Limmud New Orleans. She shares a semi-nomadic life with her partner, Peter in the communities of New Orleans, Austin, and Santa Fe.