Daniel Greyber | Rabbi, Beth El Synagogue in Durham, North Carolina
Daniel Greyber is the rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in Durham, North Carolina. He grew up in Potomac, Maryland and spent the first 21 years of his life focused competitive swimming. A gold medalist and Captain of the U.S. Swimming Team at the 1993 World Maccabiah Games, Rabbi Greyber holds a Masters in Speech and Communications Studies from Northwestern University and was ordained in 2002 at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of American Jewish University. During rabbinical school, he founded The Neshama Minyan at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles and Minyan Nifla at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, soulful, egalitarian, Friday night services using the melodies of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Greyber also founded LISHMA, an innovative learning program of Ramah and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (ZSRS) where young adult Jews spend the summer exploring traditional Jewish texts, prayer and practice in the beautiful setting of Camp Ramah in California.
In 2002, Greyber became the executive director of Camp Ramah in California. After a nine-year tenure at Ramah, Greyber spent the 2010-11 academic year as a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel. In July 2011, he became the rabbi of Beth El Synagogue, a Conservative and Orthodox synagogue that welcomes many intermarried and gay and lesbian families. Greyber is the author of Faith Unravels: A Rabbi’s Struggle With Grief and God (Wipf and Stock Resource Publications). Most of all, Daniel is a husband to his wife, Jennifer, and an abba to their three boys, Alon, Benjamin, and Ranon.
Saturday, March 28
Greg Liberman | Chief Executive Officer, Spark Networks
Greg Liberman is the CEO, president and director of Spark Networks, Inc., whose mission is to create niche-focused brands that build and strengthen the communities they serve. Anchoring Spark’s portfolio of “relationship brands” are ChristianMingle.com, the leading community for Christian singles, and JDate.com, which is responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other online dating sites combined. Since taking the reins as CEO in 2011, Liberman has been instrumental in driving historic growth for Spark Networks. Liberman’s relational leadership approach has generated impressive results, creating a company culture in which the best and brightest want to work, and perhaps most importantly, producing countless ”success stories” for the company’s subscribers. Spark Networks’ success under Liberman’s direction has garnered him interviews with top media outlets including Bloomberg Television and Radio, BusinessWeek and Fortune, among others. Liberman holds a B.A. in economics from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Chicago, where he also served as The Law School’s student body president. In addition, he completed the program for management development at Harvard Business School. When not leading the charge at Spark, Liberman can be found cheering on Stanford’s sports teams and enjoying family time with his wife and two young children.
Sunday, March 28
Dr. Ron Wolfson | Fingerhut Professor of Education at the American Jewish University
Ron Wolfson is a visionary Jewish educator whose enthusiasm for bringing Judaism alive in homes and synagogues has shaped his work in the community. An author of many books, his most recent is Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community. He is a member of the Shevet: Jewish Family Education Exchange and President of the Kripke (KRIP-kee) Institute for Jewish Family Literacy.
Ron is currently the Fingerhut Professor of Education at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) in Los Angeles where he has been a member of the faculty since 1975. He has also served as Dean of the Fingerhut School of Education, Vice President and Founding Director of the Whizin Center for the Jewish Future and the Whizin Institute for Jewish Family Life. The book, First Fruit: A Whizin Anthology of Jewish Family Education, which he co-edited with Adrianne Bank, won the 1999 Jewish Book Award. Over the years, Ron has visited hundreds of Jewish institutions across North America and around the world as a consultant, teacher and scholar-in-residence widely recognized for his passionate, insightful and often humorous presentations. Ron is a co-founder of Synagogue 2000 (with Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman) and currently serves as President of Synagogue 3000/Next Dor, a catalyst for excellence, empowering congregations and communities to create synagogues that are sacred and vital centers of Jewish life.
Allan Finkelstein | President of the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America
Allan Finkelstein assumed the position of president of the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America in 1994, culminating a 20-year career in the JCC field. His previous positions include executive vice-president of the JCCs of Los Angeles, executive vice-president of the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center of Columbus, Ohio. He began his JCC career with the JCC of Greater Buffalo. Allan was a faculty member of the Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Professionals at Brandeis University from 1995-2007. He also served as a faculty member of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.
Monday, March 29
Lenny Krayzelburg | Olympic gold medal winner and Swimmer
Lenny Krayzelburg is a four-time Olympic gold medal winner swimmer and was the 2004 Olympic team captain. He is the founder of the Lenny K JCC Swim Academies. Born in Ukraine, Lenny immigrated to the U.S. with his family. As a teenager, Lenny swam at the Westside JCC in Los Angeles, and participated in the JCC Maccabi Games.
Harley Pasternak | Celebrity Trainer and Nutritionist
Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include 5-Factor Fitness, 5-Factor Diet, and The 5-Factor World Diet, and his books have been translated into 12 languages in over 20 countries around the globe. His most recent book, The Body Reset Diet debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list in March of this year. Pasternak holds a M.S. in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto. He is also certified by The American College of Sports Medicine and The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, and served as an exercise and nutrition scientist for Canada’s Department of National Defense for three years. As a fitness and nutrition specialist, Pasternak has trained many celebrities including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Pattinson, Jessica Simpson, Ke$ha, Hillary Duff and Jennifer Hudson. He has appeared on MTV, VH1, E!, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, The View, The Tyra Banks Show, Access Hollywood, Extra, Rachael Ray, Next Top Model, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. In addition, Harley has been covered in a wide array of print publications, including daily newspapers and health & fitness, women’s, lifestyle and entertainment magazines, such as: New York Post, LA Times, Washington Post, Shape, Men’s Health, Fitness, Woman’s World, Glamour, Elle, Allure, Jane, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Teen People, People, US Weekly, InTouch and Star. Pasternak is a Toronto native and currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.
Kerri Strug | Olympic gold medal winner and Gymnast
Born in Tucson, Arizona, Kerri Strug is an Olympic gold medal winner who earned nationwide stardom for her heroic efforts at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Despite an injury to her ankle, Kerri completed a successful vault, which ensured that the American team won the Gymnastics Team gold. Kerri’s famous coach Bela Caroly had to carry her to the podium to accept the award. Now a young mother, Kerri works for the U.S. Juvenile Justice Department. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stamford University.
Tuesday, March 30
Ethan Bortnick | Pianist, Composer, Singer, Entertainer
Twelve year old Ethan Bortnick has moved audiences nationally and internationally as a pianist, composer, singer, entertainer, dedicated to combining his musical pursuits with his charity work. At three years of age, the Hollywood, Florida native begged his parents for piano lessons and discovered an uncanny ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note, the musical equivalent of a photographic memory.
Ethan has been featured on many national television shows, including multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and Oprah, where he was named one of Oprah’s All Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids. In 2010, Ethan made history as the youngest musician to create and host his own award-winning, nationally-televised concert special on PBS. Also in 2010, Bortnick released his debut CD & DVD, Ethan Bortnick & His Musical Time Machine (Razor & Tie), a diverse collection of imaginatively interpreted covers of well-known pop songs and impressive original compositions.
Read more about Ethan in the Awards Luncheon section.
Irwin Mark Jacobs | Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm
Irwin Mark Jacobs is founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, a company he co-founded in 1985. As CEO through 2005 and chairman through 2009, he led the growth from startup to Fortune 500 company, now with over 22,000 employees worldwide. Qualcomm pioneered the development and commercialization of CDMA wireless technology, the basis for all third-generation cellular networks, which now provide voice and broadband Internet access for over 1.6 billion customers. Qualcomm is the world’s largest semiconductor supplier for wireless products and a leader in introducing fourth-generation technology. For 15 consecutive years, QUALCOMM has been named to Fortune’s list of The 100 Best Companies to Work For.
From 1959 to 1966, Irwin Jacobs was an assistant, then associate professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1966 to 1972, he served as professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego. While at MIT, Irwin co-authored with Jack Wozencraft a textbook in digital communications Principles of Communication Engineering. First published in 1965, the book remains in use today.
Irwin was named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute In November 2006 and served as chair of the National Academy of Engineering from 2008-2012. He has served on the UCSD Foundation Board of Trustees, the UC San Diego Health System Advisory Board and is past chairman of the University of California President’s Engineering Advisory Council. In June 2011, he was appointed by the Secretary of Education to serve on the Board of the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies (aka, Digital Promise). Additionally, Irwin is a board member of Building Engineering & Science Talent (BEST) and has served on the Advisory Board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management since the formation in 2000.
He is the recipient of numerous industry, education and business awards, the author of many articles and books, and the holder of a multitude of patents.
Joan Klein Jacobs
Joan Klein Jacobs was born in New York City and received her B.S from Cornell University in 1954. She was trained as a dietician and worked for the Groton Central Schools outside of Ithaca and at Boston Lying-in Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital), one of the nation’s first maternity hospitals. In 2008, Joan received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts.
In 1956, she moved to Boston, where her four sons were born between 1957 and 1966. While in Boston, Joan was extensively involved with the Boston Chapter of the League of Women Voters. She moved to La Jolla, California, in 1966 and has since played an integral part in shaping the community through her activism.
As a leading member of the San Diego community, Joan has focused her energies on numerous community groups and committees. Among these were support organizations at the University of California-San Diego and the San Diego arts community. She has served on the board of the La Jolla Playhouse since 1996, and she has chaired several committees for the San Diego Symphony. Currently, she is the chair of the Board of the San Diego Symphony Endowment Foundation. Joan and her husband were the honorary co-chairs for the San Diego Symphony’s Centennial Celebrations throughout 2010. Joan also sits on the Accession’s Committee of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Joan is a dedicated member of a number of community boards and organizations, including the University Club, City National Bank, the President’s Advisory Council at San Diego Hospice, the San Diego Opera and the Globe Theatre.
In 1995, she was the recipient of the David K. Kroll Leadership Award for exemplary service, dedication and commitment to the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center of San Diego County.
Craig Reid Taubman | American Singer/Songwriter and Music Producer
Craig Reid Taubman is an American singer/songwriter and music producer based in Los Angeles, California. Through his independent label/production office, Craig ‘N Company, he has produced 11 albums. He is also the executive producer of the Celebrate Series, 12 Jewish-themed compilation albums with titles like Celebrate Hip Hop and Celebrate Passover.
Taubman’s career initially launched with his popularity as a children’s recording artist in the early 1990s, during which he was prominently seen on the Disney Channel. In recent years, he has branched out into recording and performing more adult-oriented music, most of it Jewish in nature, although he continues to record and perform for children.
Through Craig ‘N Co., Taubman regularly produces and performs at concert events across the country, most notably his regular Friday Night Live Shabbat evening services at Sinai Temple (Los Angeles, California), the Let My People Sing Passover Festival, and the Big Tent Event.
In February 2013, Taubman bought the former Welsh Presbyterian Church on Valencia Street in downtown Los Angeles. Taubman announced plans to convert the building, which from 1909 to 1925 was the home of Sinai Temple and which was named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1977, into a “a multicultural and interfaith performing arts center and house of worship.”
- Visit the Craig ‘N’ Co Website
Beth Cousens | Principal of Imagine: Jewish Education Consulting
Beth Cousens serves as principal of Imagine: Jewish Education Consulting, working with leaders in Jewish education and in Jewish life to help organizations create impact. Her focus on strategic thinking, collaboration, and creative and relevant Jewish educational ideas have helped her to be a respected voice in this field. For almost two decades, Beth has helped to lead Jewish educational organizations in program and policy development. At Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, she launched the department of organizational learning and invigorated the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience, creating new initiatives and setting new priorities within Hillel. At the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, she was responsible for launching change projects in congregational education, Jewish overnight camping, and teen participation in Jewish life.
Beth has a Ph.D. in Jewish education from Brandeis University and was the recipient of a Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She is the author of numerous articles and research publications about Jewish life and living and is a specialist in emerging adulthood, Millennials, and Generation X. She lives in San Francisco with her husband.
Barry Finestone | Executive Director of the JCC of San Francisco
Barry Finestone joined the JCC of San Francisco as executive director in June 2010. Previously, he served as executive director of the two-campus Isaac M. Wise Temple from 1999 through 2005, transforming its information technology systems and earning the Harris K. and Alice F. Weston Award for outstanding leadership. Barry then joined national retailer Jones the Florist/Sweets in Bloom as an executive vice-president. Previously, he was the national associate director of Hadassah/Young Judaea, a national youth movement with camps, conventions and college study programs throughout the United States and Israel.
Barry holds a B.S. in community education from Jordanhill College of Education in his native Glasgow, Scotland. He and his wife, Ellen, have three children: Gabrielle, Ethan and Mia.
Liz Fisher | Managing Director at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation
Elizabeth (Liz) Fisher is managing director at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Liz comes to NEXT from The Jewish Education Project, where she served as director of development and institutional advancement. Prior to that, she spent eight years in the Federation system, first at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and then at UJA-Federation of New York. For much of her time at UJA-Federation, Liz focused on team-building, strategy, and operations with the emerging leaders and philanthropists department, which re-envisioned outreach to donors in their 20′s and 30′s. Liz has a M.S.W. degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She’s a fan of Brooklyn (where she lives with her husband and two children), an amateur runner, and an avid reader of periodicals.
Yehuda Kurtzer | President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
Yehuda Kurtzer is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing the Institute’s many educational initiatives for the leadership of the North American Jewish community. He previously served as the inaugural chair of Jewish Communal Innovation at Brandeis University, where he taught courses in Jewish studies and in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He has also taught at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School and in adult and academic settings across the country.
Yehuda is the author of Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, which deals with many of the central challenges facing contemporary Jewry, and offers new thinking on how contemporary Jews can and should relate to our past.
Yehuda received his doctorate in Jewish studies from Harvard University and is an alumnus of both the Wexner Graduate and Bronfman Youth Fellowships. Yehuda also helped co-found Brookline’s Washington Square Minyan, and co-organized the first two Independent Minyan Conferences. He lives in New York with his wife, Stephanie Ives, and their three children.
Mark Shapiro | Executive Director at the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC
Mark Shapiro is the executive director at the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Chicago native, he moved to Milwaukee in 2004. He was the assistant director at JCC Camp Chi from 1993 – 2002, and then became director of the Perlstein Resort and Conference Center. Before entering the JCC field, Mark owned a transportation brokerage company called Cool Runnings. Mark studied psychology at Indiana University.
Jonathan Salem Baskin | Founder of Baskin Associates
Jonathan Baskin believes businesses need a new model for branding in the 21st century, one that is truthful, actionable, and delivered across every possible communications channel.
Jonathan is author of six books on marketing and culture, including Branding Only Works On Cattle; Histories Of Social Media; Tell The Truth: Honesty Is Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool; and Bright Lights and Dim Bulbs: This Year in Marketing Buzz, Brilliance and Buffoonery So You Don’t Have to Repeat It. He’s also a Forbes contributor and Advertising Age columnist, and a frequently quoted media resource on breaking business news.
After 30 years working at big ad/PR agencies and at major brands, Jonathan founded Baskin Associates in 2003, where he put his findings to work for clients around the world and, in 2013, he co-founded Consensiv, a reputation controls firm. In addition Jonathan is managing director and catalyst at TechNexus, a venture collaborative.
In his spare time, Jonathan is a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and he has been known to create curiously entertaining unsanctioned museum audio tours for museum Guides.
Alan Blank | Director of Marketing at Guidebook, Inc.
Alan Blank is the director of marketing at Guidebook, Inc., a mobile technology company in the Silicon Valley. Guidebook specializes in designing and building comprehensive mobile solutions for community centers, including apps for iPhone, Android, and mobile web. Working at Guidebook, he has had the opportunity to extensively research a variety of mobile solutions. Alan has also worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and as a media relations specialist for the University of Rochester in New York.
- Download the JCCs of North America app, powered by Guidebook
Joel M. Breitstein | Attorney
Joel M. Breitstein is an attorney who has made a difference with over thirty years of professional experience in charitable gift planning, legacy, endowment and planned gift development. During his career he has helped to develop in excess of $300 million dollars in endowments, donor advised funds and other special funds working as vice president of legacy, endowment & planned giving for the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; senior vice president for planned giving & endowments for the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County; and serving as consultant to numerous nonprofit organizations. As managing director of Legg Mason Trust, Joel worked closely with financial advisors and their high end clients while developing Legg Mason Trust’s Donor Advised Fund program. He has published articles for national publications and has been a speaker on topics of interest in the charitable gift planning arena. Joel is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University School of Law.
Michael Chernick | Deutsch Family Chair in Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Professor Michael Chernick holds the Deutsch Family Chair in Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, the seminary of the Reform movement. His area of expertise is the Talmud. Within that field, Michael’s major field of interest is early rabbinic legal interpretation of the Bible. He received his doctorate in rabbinics from the Bernard Revel Graduate School and his rabbinic ordination from R. Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, both affiliates of Yeshiva University. He has written extensively about Jewish law and lore and has lectured on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. He is the author of two Hebrew volumes on rabbinic interpretation, an English language edited volume, Essential Papers on the Talmud, and a book titled A Great Voice That Did Not Cease. He also founded the Summer Jewish Studies Program at Kibbutzim Yahel and Lotan.
Arna Poupko Fisher, | Faculty of the Judaic studies department of the University of Cincinnati
Arna Poupko Fisher, who has lectured in over 130 North American communities, is on the faculty of the Judaic studies department of the University of Cincinnati, where she teaches Bible and Jewish thought. Arna has over twenty-five years of experience teaching and working in the Jewish community. She was recently chosen as one of ten 2010 Women to Watch by Jewish Women’s International.
After graduating from Yeshiva University with degrees in both Jewish education and medieval Jewish philosophy, Arna continued her graduate work in the doctoral programs of both the University of Toronto and McGill University. She is a frequent guest on national radio and television and has published on subjects pertaining to the relationship of Jewish law to contemporary society. Professor Fisher is on the core faculty for the Wexner Foundation, the Wexner Fellows program and is a frequent scholar in residence for JFNA Young Leadership Cabinet, and synagogues and Federations throughout North America.
Stuart Himmelfarb | CEO of B3/The Jewish Boomer Platform
Stuart Himmelfarb is CEO of B3/The Jewish Boomer Platform, a new initiative dedicated to engaging—or re-engaging—Baby Boomers in Jewish life. He founded B3 in 2011 with Dr. David Elcott, Taub Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Himmelfarb has held numerous professional and volunteer leadership positions in the Jewish community. Professionally, he was most recently chief marketing officer at UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey and director of the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program. Along with two co-chairs, he also created the Klene-Up Krewe, a volunteer corps that has visited New Orleans ten times since Hurricane Katrina. This latter experience has intensified his appreciation for significant volunteer engagement as a meaningful path to greater involvement in—and commitment to—Jewish life.
His “encore career” at UJA Federation followed 25 years in marketing, advertising, media, research and consulting. He co-founded and was president of CollegeTrack, Inc., and his advertising clients included Nike, Coca Cola, GM, Ford, IBM, Visa, American Express and MTV.
As a volunteer, he served on the executive committee of Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, was marketing chair and a trustee of New York UJA Federation, co-president of Temple Sinai of Bergen County (NJ) and is currently co-chair of the board of the New York Jewish Week newspaper. He is also an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program (NY/Seagram).
He earned an M.B.A. in marketing from Columbia University Graduate School of Business where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society; an M.A. in contemporary Jewish studies from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service; and a B.A. in religious studies from Brown University.
Kenneth Jacobs | Managing Shareholder of GrayRobinson’s Jacksonville office
Kenneth Jacobs is a commercial litigator with substantial experience representing debtors and creditors in bankruptcy cases and debt workouts, and is currently the managing shareholder of GrayRobinson’s Jacksonville office. He has also arbitrated employment and commercial claims, and has handled a wide range of employment issues, contract disputes, commercial lending matters, and complex construction cases. Ken is rated “AV,” the highest professional rating available from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was named a “Jacksonville Top Lawyer” by 904 Magazine.
His written work has appeared in various publications, including The Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar’s The Advocate and Emory University School of Law’s Bankruptcy Developments Journal. He has also been a guest columnist on bankruptcy and employment issues for the Jacksonville Business Journal. Ken has been an instructor for various courses at the University of Florida’s College of Law, a speaker on various employment related topics for the Miramar Human Resources Consortium and a guest speaker on construction law topics at seminars conducted by Law Engineering and Environmental Services.
Ken obtained his B.A. from Duke University in 1989 with a double major in economics and computer science and his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1992. He was a board member of the Florida Law Review and a state finalist on the Florida Trial Competition Team.
Howard T Jacobson | Past President of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas
Howard Jacobson founded Paragon Capital Management in 1998 and has earned a well-deserved reputation for investment excellence over a 40-year career that began following his graduation from the University of Missouri with a B. S. in banking & finance. His deep understanding of finance started at industry icon E.F. Hutton & Company where he spent almost twenty years immersed in investment analysis, mastering several key roles. He eventually joined UMB’s Trust Investment Division and led the growing practice in positions such as executive vice president & portfolio manager and director of equity research & trading. Howard has been named Kansas City Magazine’s Best Personal Wealth Manager five times.
A deep commitment to philanthropy has driven Howard to engage in several Kansas City business and Jewish ventures. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Kansas City, past president of the Jewish Community Center as well as Kansas City’s Jewish Community Campus. His history of community involvement includes religious, cultural, healthcare and youth organizations such as the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Heritage Foundation, Starlight Theater, the UMKC Conservatory of Music, Friends of the Kansas City Zoo, the Heart Association of Kansas City, the Cancer Society of Kansas City, the Boy Scout Council and several others.
Einat Kapach | Screenwriter and Film Director
Einat Kapach is a screenwriter and film director who lives and creates in her native Jerusalem. A graduate of the Ma’aleh Film School and with an M.A. from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, Einat lectures on film and Jewish identity in different communities in Israel and abroad, including the small Jewish communities in Montana, Idaho, and even Namibia and Zimbabwe. As a filmmaker, she directed the award-winning Jephftah’s Daughter, which played at numerous festivals around the world; produced a series of short films about international charity organizations; and was a diarist in the film Peace Diaries, which details the lives of Israelis and Palestinians over a six-month period. She recently directed the documentary film Two Legacies.
Einat is frequently invited to lecture at various foundations, and was a judge at the 2009 Jerusalem Film Festival. She won the Minister of Education’s award for Artists in the Field of Jewish Culture for her feature script “At the End of a Long Day.”
Marjory Kaplan | Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair
Marjory Kaplan currently holds the Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair and has served as the chief professional of the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego since 1994. During her tenure, the Foundation’s assets have grown from $14 million to more than $300 million. The Foundation has awarded over $850 million in grants since inception, including nearly $100 million last year.
With deep relationships in the community – donors, Jewish organizations, and San Diego nonprofits – the Foundation focuses on increasing philanthropy in the region. At the forefront of new initiatives, the Foundation pioneered programs in youth philanthropy and legacy giving. The Create a Jewish Legacy program has been replicated in Jewish communities throughout the United States.
Before serving in her current role, Marjory was a director of development at the Scripps Foundation for Medicine and Science in La Jolla. Her early career centered in the corporate world where she held vice president positions in banking, both in the human resources and investments areas.
Nadav Kidron | Chief Executive Officer & Director, Oramed Pharmaceuticals
Nadav Kidron is an entrepreneur with experience in senior management roles in a wide range of industries. Nadav currently serves as CEO & director of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, an oral drug delivery company that he founded in 2006. He is an advisory board member for The Trendlines Group, which invests in and develops innovation-based businesses; a board member for Entera Bio, a joint venture formed by Oramed and DNA Biomedical Solutions; and an international lecturer on Israel’s entrepreneurial culture and the country’s roots as an oasis of innovative ideas. He holds a bachelor of law degree and an M.B.A, both from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Nadav is a fellow of the Merage Business Executive Leadership Program and a member of the Israeli Bar Association.
Jeff Kline | Founder and CEO of Accrisoft
Jeff Kline is the founder and CEO of Accrisoft. Jeff is an accomplished entrepreneur with a successful track record spanning two decades in software product development, office automation, and Internet technology. He launched his career in 1982 at the Burroughs Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, and in 1986, Jeff co-founded Adcom Corporation, a customer-driven company that specialized in providing total office automation solutions. In 1999, Jeff established Accrisoft Corporation as a standalone company with the release of Accrisoft Freedom™ Web empowerment software™.
Jeff is a graduate of the University of Akron with a B.A. in business management. An expert in leveraging the Internet for business success, Jeff is a frequent guest speaker on content management systems, personalized news, Web analytics and other critical topics.
Eric J. Lange | Director of Human Resources, 92Y
Eric Lange came to 92Y with 36 years of experience in human resource leadership. He most recently spent 17 years as senior vice-president of human resources at the Nielsen Company, the top consumer and media-research company in the world. At Nielsen, Eric focused on talent acquisition and development, culture transformation, organizational design, diversity programs, and labor and employee relations. Prior to joining Nielsen, Eric was senior vice-president of human resources at United Jersey Bank in Princeton New Jersey, where he ran the HR function for a 160-branch bank. He held prior HR positions at Citicorp, Telemundo, The Penske Corporation and the Continental Can Company. Eric has an M.B.A. in human resource management from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.S. in management from Northeastern University.
Dr. Hal M. Lewis | President and Chief Executive Officer, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Dr. Hal M. Lewis is the president and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining Spertus, Dr. Lewis served as the president and CEO of the Columbus, Ohio Jewish Federation from 1999-2002. He is a recognized authority on leadership and has published widely on the subject in both the popular press and scholarly journals. His book Models and Meanings in the History of Jewish Leadership (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004) has been called “a must read for both current and future communal leadership.” His work From Sanctuary to Boardroom: A Jewish Approach to Leadership (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006) has been hailed by scholars, communal professionals, lay leaders, and clergy alike. A master educator, he has served on the teaching faculty of the University of Cincinnati, University of Illinois, Chicago, the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, where he participated in a similar capacity as visiting faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 2012 he has served as scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Leaders Institute of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Professor Lewis holds a doctorate in Jewish studies from Spertus. He was graduated with a B.A. degree in political science from Columbia University, and was awarded a master’s degree in counseling from the University of South Florida.
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Susan Meier | Senior Governance Consultant, BoardSource; Principal, Meier & Associates
Susan Meier is a senior governance consultant for BoardSource and the principal at Meier & Associates. From 2004 to 2011, Susan served as the vice-president of consulting and training for BoardSource. She has spent more than 23 years in governance and nonprofit work, working collaboratively with nonprofit executives and board members to identify governance challenges and opportunities and to implement proven strategies to address a broad array of governance issues. Susan engages boards in a deeper understanding of roles and responsibilities, strategic and generative thinking, concrete ways to maximize board meetings, and addressing culture and dynamics in the boardroom.
Jeff Metz | Partner of Bloom Metz Consulting
Since 2008, Jeff Metz has been a partner with founder Seth Bloom in Bloom Metz Consulting, a firm specializing in nonprofit fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and leadership development. The firm has provided counsel to dozens of capital campaigns as well as providing fundraising and leadership training, and strategic planning to organizations as diverse as The Salisbury Zoo, Interfaith Housing and The Governor’s Council on Hispanic Affairs. Jeff has provided training to numerous synagogues, social service organizations, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the American Camping Association, Theta Chi International, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism as well as the JCCs of North America Professional Conference and Biennial Convention. Jeff is an adjunct instructor and teaches a course in fundraising for Gratz College in Philadelphia. Prior to Bloom Metz Consulting, he served ten years as the executive director of the Jewish Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware and six years as the assistant executive director of the JCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeff began his career as an educator in Dallas, Texas and a camp director with Tamarack Camps in Detroit, Michigan.
- Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn
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- Visit the Bloom Metz website
Noa Peri-Jensch | Founder and Principal of the Global Momentum
Noa Peri-Jensch is the founder and principal of the Global Momentum, providing training, coaching, consulting and meetings facilitation services to businesses, individuals and communities. Her expertise is in leadership development. Noa is involved in the Jewish community, helping raising funds through motivational speaking, training, and hands on support. Noa is the former regional director of training for Marriott Intl. in Europe and holds an M.B.A degree in International Business/OD. Noa is also part of the team at MyJewishCoach.com
Hilda Polanco | Founder and Managing Director of FMA
As founder and managing director, Hilda has led FMA to become the go-to capacity builder foundation and nonprofit leaders seek to address nonprofit financial management issues.
A nationally recognized and sought-after leader in the field, Hilda serves the sector in many ways. Since its inception, Hilda serves on the selection committee of the New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards. She also is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s department of health policy and management, as well as on faculty with the Donor’s Forum of Chicago.
Hilda’s other public service duties include being a frequent speaker at the New York State Society of CPA’s annual Nonprofit Conference, where she also is a member of the conference planning committee. She also speaks annually in San Francisco at the AICPA Not-for-Profit Financial Executives Forum.
In 2008, Hilda was honored with the Social Entrepreneur Award from the National Association of
Women Business Owners-New York City. Her previous honors include an award from WHEDCO for outstanding leadership in the field of nonprofit finance and the Latina Excellence Award in Community Service from HISPANIC Magazine.
Hilda graduated from New York University with a B.A. in accounting. She holds the Certification in Control Self-Assessment from the Institute of Internal Auditors awarded to practitioners who can provide guidance on risk, controls, and business objectives. Hilda began her career at Ernst and Young, Citibank, and in 1990 opened her own accounting firm, soon realizing that nonprofit organizations were returning year after year with the same issues arising in their audits.
Agata Rakowiecka | Director of the Jewish Community Center in Warsaw, Poland
Agata Rakowiecka is the director of the Jewish Community Center in Warsaw, Poland, which moved to its new facility in the city center in October 2013. A Warsaw native, Agata studied speech therapy and Polish literature at the University of Warsaw. She spent a year in Jerusalem, participating in the senior educators program run by the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University. She has more than ten years’ experience as a madricha, educator and unit head in Poland and the international Jewish camp in Szarvas, Hungary.
Prior to accepting her current position, Agata worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Poland, coordinating different educational and cultural programs, and as a director of the Jewish summer camp Atid, which serves hundreds of Polish Jewish children.
Todd Rockoff | President/CEO of the Tucson JCC
Todd Rockoff assumed the position of president/CEO of the Tucson JCC after a 28-year career in the Jewish Community Center (JCC) field. Prior to moving to Arizona Todd held the position of executive director of the Shaw JCC of Akron, Ohio from 2002 – 2013 and the Calgary JCC from 1995 – 2001. Before that, he worked at the Scranton JCC in Pennsylvania.
A native of Rochester, New York, Todd graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland. He has received several honors from the JCC field in the area of program development and has been a part of the continental training staff for JCC Association in the areas of staff development and customer service and a leader in helping to develop and implement national pilot programs for JCC’s.
Todd and his wife Jenni live in Tucson with their four children.
Rabbi Laurence H. Rubinstein
Laurence H. Rubinstein holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform) where he received his rabbinic ordination in 1965. After serving congregations in Omaha, Nebraska and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1965 until 1978, Larry left the pulpit to become the director of the Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal. While serving as a pulpit rabbi in Philadelphia, Larry was an adjunct professor at Rosemont College and lectured at the University of Pennsylvania.
Larry has served as the senior vice president of Brandeis University and the Jewish theological Seminary of America. At JTS, he led an effort with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to establish a degree in Jewish Archival Studies at the Moscow State University in the former Soviet Union. He eventually became executive director of YIVO and led the effort to create a consortium of Jewish archival institutions including the Leo Baeck Institute, the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardic Foundation and the Yeshiva University Museum, which became the Center for Jewish History in New York City. Larry finished his career in charge of fundraising for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. His volunteer activities include 23 years as a member of the board and president of Surprise Lake Camp.
Larry and Robin retired to Scarborough, Maine in 2003 and have two daughters who live in Waltham, Massachusetts with their families.
Eliana (Ellie) Rudee is currently a senior at Scripps College in Claremont, California. During her participation with the Career Israel program in Jerusalem, Eliana spoke at the Israeli Presidential Conference about the future of Jewish leadership. For her five-month program in Israel, Eliana interned at the Institute for Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), a private security firm. Eliana was a fellow of Hasbara, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and AIPAC, which helped her start a pro-Israel group, Claremont Students for Israel (CSI) where she served as president. She is the recipient of CAMERA’s “David Bar-Illan Award for Outstanding Student Leadership,” as well as being first recipient of the Hilda Specter Morgenstern Merit Scholarship. At Scripps, Eliana received the Esterly Award for her summer internship at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Johnson Student Research Award to study women’s agency in terrorism. Eliana is passionate about Israel and the Jewish world, and is excited to act as a leader in a related field after her graduation this May.
Arnold Raymon | Vice-President/CFO of the Merage Jewish Community Center
Arnold Raymon is the vice-president/CFO of the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County, California. He has had a 40-year career in corporate accounting and finance, with 10 years as CFO of the JCC. His past assignments include an internal audit for 20th Century Fox and corporate finance and pricing for McDonnell Douglas Information Systems, Siemens & Toshiba.
Arnold has a B.S. in business administration and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida. He is a former Certified Public Accountant.
Steve Tepper | Executive Director of the East Valley JCC
Steve Tepper is the executive director of the East Valley JCC in Chandler, Arizona. A Merrin Teen Fellow, Steve began his JCC career in 1998 at the Tucson JCC. He has ten years’ experience of work at a Wisconsin overnight camp, where he became the director. Steve has a B.S. from the University of Arizona in human development with an emphasis in child development, and a M.S. from Indiana University in applied health sciences with a specialty in human development. He is currently working on his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.
Kevin A. Trapani | President and CEO of The Redwoods Group, Inc.
Kevin A. Trapani is president and CEO of The Redwoods Group, Inc., an insurance company dedicated to protecting YMCAs and Jewish Community Organizations (JCOs), since its inception in 1997. He also is president of the recently created Redwoods Group Foundation. Kevin grew up in the YMCA community, having worked as a Y camp counselor, lifeguard, swim coach and aquatics director. He also served on a YMCA Board of Directors and chaired a public school board of education. He was the aquatic director and swim team coach at the New Haven Jewish Community Center in New Haven, Connecticut, and ran a program there to teach autistic kids to swim.
A 1979 Duke University graduate, Kevin is a regular speaker at Duke University’s Hart Center for Ethical Leadership and has trained YMCA leaders and staff in local YMCA and Y-USA risk management sessions over the last 15 years. He is a member of the board of Action for Children, NC, a child care and early learning resource and referral agency, and Chicago Commons, which helps individuals, families and communities overcome poverty, discrimination and isolation. Married and the father of three children, Kevin lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
David Valinsky | Founder of David Valinsky Associates
David Valinsky is the founder of David Valinsky Associates. With more than thirty years of fundraising experience, he is the co-author of The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising Money Through Bequests and Getting The Most From Your JCC’s Annual Appeal.
Prior to founding the firm in 1998, he served in both national and regional senior development and marketing roles with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Foundation, a national Catholic health care organization with facilities in six states, and as the lead adjunct consultant in fundraising for USAID in a three-year partnership with several recovering cities in Croatia.
He also served as the associate executive director for the Columbus Jewish Community Center and held other executive positions with JCCs in Milwaukee and Waterbury, Connecticut.
David is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), a designation offered by The American College. His team has worked with more than thirty Jewish Community Centers along with hospitals, Jewish federations, law foundations, synagogues and arts and social service organizations in the areas of capital and endowment campaigns, planned giving development and marketing, and strategic planning
He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub | Founding Director of Encounter
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub is a social entrepreneur, educator, and thought leader who works at the intersections of Israel, Jewish thought and conflict resolution. Among other projects, Melissa is currently directing the Jewish Council for Public Affair’s new national Civility Initiative, working to transform communal norms around Israel and other charged issues from tension and avoidance to productive deliberation across political divides. Melissa was the founding director of Encounter, an organization dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the Jewish people to be agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For her efforts, Melissa was awarded the Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. Melissa has lectured and taught in hundreds of Jewish communal institutions, universities, and international forums, and is a faculty member for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University.
Harlene Winnick Appelman | Chief Jewish Education Officer of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
Harlene Winnick Appelman, a distinguished Jewish educator from Ann Arbor, Michigan and one of the first recipients of the Covenant Awards, became the foundation’s executive director in June 2005.
Harlene has worked in Jewish education for nearly thirty-five years as a pioneering family educator, director of community education and outreach, and most recently as chief Jewish education officer of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Known internationally as a creative force in Jewish education on both the institutional and communal levels, Harlene received the Covenant Award in 1991 and was invited to join the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation in 1993.
Sandra Zeckel | Consultant in Strategic Planning
Sandra Zeckel, consultant in strategic planning and pharmaceutical development with experience in leading projects at Eli Lilly & Co. and past president of the Indianapolis JCC.
Karina Zilberman | Director of Jewish Family Life and Culture for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92nd Street Y
Karina Zilberman is the director of Jewish Family Life and Culture for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92nd Street Y, where she developed the 92Y Shababa community. She has been educating and entertaining through music since her earliest days as a singer in her native Buenos Aires, where she created the famous Argentinian Hebrew vocal group Chavaia. Prior to joining 92Y, Karina served as cantorial soloist and clergy at Temple Israel of Greater Miami; she also taught music at the Greenfield Day school in Miami and Temple Judea in Coral Gables.