Dan Pallotta is a philanthropic pioneer whose innovative fundraising concepts and methods are employed by dozens of high-impact charities throughout the world.
Dan is best known as the inventor of the multi-day charitable event industry with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Days. In their first nine years, these events raised $582 million—more money raised more quickly for these causes than any private event in history. He also created the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention events.
Dan is currently the founder and chief humanity officer of Advertising for Humanity, a full-service brand and inspiration agency for the humanitarian sector. He is also founder and president of the Charity Defense Council, which aims to transform how the donating public thinks about charity and change. He is a noted speaker, and his iconic TED Talk on the future of philanthropy has been viewed more than 3.4 million times, making it one of the top 100 most-viewed TED Talks of all time.
Dan is the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press, and is a featured weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review online.
The Honorable John Baird served as Canada’s minister of foreign affairs from 2011 to 2015, during which time he championed freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He is also an outspoken supporter of the State of Israel and of efforts to combat anti-Semitism around the world.
Widely recognized as a diplomatic leader skilled at working across party lines, Baird began his career in government in 1995 in his hometown of Nepean, Ontario. Over the past two decades, he served six terms as an elected official and held ten cabinet portfolios in Canada and in the province of Ontario. His many domestic achievements include, as environment minister, overseeing the largest expansion of protected areas in Canada’s history, and, as transportation minister, spearheading some 12,000 infrastructure stimulus projects across the country.See full program
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For more than 12 years, Ambassador Ross was the U.S. point man on the Middle East peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians as they reached the 1995 Interim Agreement. He also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.
Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department's policy planning staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.
Jeremy Heimans is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, a home for building 21st-century movements and crowd-based social and economic models to tackle the world’s biggest problems.
Since its launch in 2009, Purpose has launched several major new organizations, built the world's first open-source global activism platform, and advised institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ACLU and Google.
Jeremy made a name for himself in the 2004 presidential election, when he used crowdfunding to create the “Chasing Cheney” tour. After building social movements in his native Australia, in 2007 he co-founded Avaaz, the world’s largest online citizens’ movement, now with more than 41 million members.
In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation's 75th Anniversary Visionary Award, and the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader. He delivered one of 2014’s top TED talks, and CNN named his most recent thinking on “new power” as one of the top 10 ideas to change the world in 2015.See full program
David Gregory is the former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press. He previously served as chief White House correspondent for NBC News, where he was hailed by Washingtonian magazine as a “firebrand in the front row.”
A journalist since the age of 18, David’s career spans more than two decades and has taken him across the country and around the world. As a correspondent, David covered the trials of OJ Simpson and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as well as other breaking news around the country. He contributed anchoring duties to all NBC’s major programs including Today and Nightly News. He also anchored a politics program on MSNBC called Race for the White House during the historic 2008 campaign.
David is the author of the forthcoming book, How’s Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey. Raised by a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, he had a strong sense of Jewish cultural and ethnic identity. But it wasn’t until he married a Protestant woman of strong faith that he was inspired him to explore his spirituality. His book is a spiritual autobiography and a faith journal about lessons in belief.
Jennifer Teege was thrilled when, in 2008, she stumbled upon a book about her biological family in a Hamburg library. Born to a German mother and a Nigerian father and adopted by a German family at age seven, she was eager to discover any new information about her ancestry.
But the book bore a chilling secret: Jennifer’s maternal grandfather was notorious Nazi leader Amon Goeth. Nicknamed “the butcher of Plaszow” for his cruelty, Goeth served as commandant of the Krakow-Plaszow concentration during World War II.
This discovery sent Jennifer into a profound confrontation with her past, her family and her sense of self, topics she explores in her 2015 book, My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.
Jennifer lives in Germany with her husband and two sons. She lived for four years in Israel, where she became fluent in Hebrew and earned a degree in Middle Eastern and African studies from Tel Aviv University. She has worked in advertising since 1999.See full program
David N. Saperstein is the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 12, 2014, and was sworn in and assumed his duties on January 6, 2015. The Ambassador at Large is, by law, a principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. He also heads the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Ambassador Saperstein previously served for 40 years as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), overseeing the national social justice programming for the largest segment of American Jewry. A rabbi and an attorney, for 35 years Saperstein taught seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center.
During his tenure at the helm of the RAC, Ambassador Saperstein has headed several national religious coalitions, including the Coalition to Protect Religious Liberty. He has served on the boards of numerous national organizations including the NAACP, (and most recently chaired its national Religious Affairs Committee), the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the World Bank’s “World Faith Development Dialogue.”
In 1999, Ambassador Saperstein served as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama as a member of the first White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. From 2011-2014, he served on the State Department’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society" as a member of its "Religion and Foreign Policy" working group.
A prolific writer and speaker, Ambassador Saperstein has appeared on numerous television news and talk shows. His articles have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the “Harvard Law Review.” His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.
Justice Rosalie Abella was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004. She is the first Jewish woman appointed to the Court.
A conservatory-trained pianist and a graduate of the University of Toronto, Justice Abella practiced civil and criminal litigation until 1976, when she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court. She was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992.
Throughout her decades-long career, Justice Abella has been a staunch supporter of human rights. As the sole Commissioner of the 1984 federal Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, she created the term and concept of "employment equity". The theories of "equality" and "discrimination" she developed in her report were adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its first decision dealing with equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1989.
She has written more than 80 articles, written or co-edited four books, received several awards and 34 honorary degrees, and held several distinguished positions at top universities and organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Israel.
Justice Abella has been active in Canadian judicial education, organizing the first judicial seminar in which all levels of the judiciary participated, the first judicial seminar in which persons outside the legal profession were invited to participate, the first national education program for administrative tribunals, and the first national conference for Canada's female judges. She is currently vice-chair of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute.
Born in a Displaced Persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany in 1946, Justice Abella’s family came to Canada as refugees in 1950.
Leslie H. Wexner started L Brands in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963 with one store and first-year sales of $160,000. Today, total sales for L Brands, a global leader in lingerie, fragrance and beauty, exceed $12 billion.
Wexner is currently chair and CEO of L Brands, whose businesses include Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle Co., La Senza and Henri Bendel. The company’s products are available in nearly 4,000 stores in more than 60 countries around the world.
He has a profound interest in the development of tomorrow’s leaders through the works of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership, The Wexner Foundation and The Ohio State University. His areas of community interest include the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University and the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus.
Wexner has received numerous international awards for his service, and holds several board positions at medical, commercial, education and artistic organizations. He was inaugurated by Harvard University into the Society of John Harvard Fellows and serves as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Jennifer Zwilling is the vice president for strategic initiatives at Hillel International, where she is responsible for planning and implementing key initiatives to advance Hillel’s strategic priorities and to develop a model for excellence in service delivery. She also oversees the Comprehensive Excellence pilot program, which seeks to rapidly improve the performance of local Hillels and leads Hillel’s measurement efforts. She co-authored The Drive to Excellence: The 2009-2014 Hillel International Strategic Plan with CEO Eric Fingerhut and led the related business planning process.
Since 2004, Jennifer has held a variety of roles in Hillel’s departments of human resources, education and campus services. Among her achievements was leading Hillel’s five-year, senior Jewish educator and peer engagement pilot, which pioneered innovative methods to engage more Jewish students. Before joining Hillel, she was a program director for the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston.
Jennifer graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University with a BA in religious studies and earned a joint MA in Jewish communal service and Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University.
Debra Messing, a celebrated actress whose career spans stage and screen, is best known for her lead role on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series Will & Grace. She captivated television audiences worldwide for eight seasons as Grace Adler, an interior designer whose best friend and soul mate is gay. For her work, Messing won the 2003 Emmy Award, has earned a total of seven Golden Globe nominations, seven Screen Actors Guild nominations, winning the ensemble award in 2001, five additional Emmy nominations, two American Comedy Award nominations and two People’s Choice Award nominations. She also collected TV Guide’s Actress of the Year in a Comedy Series honor in 2001.
Currently, she stars on the NBC series The Mysteries of Laura as the eponymous detective, and recently wrapped up production on the forthcoming feature fantasy film Albion: Rise of the Danann. In 2014, she made her Broadway debut 2014 in the Tony Award-nominated show Outside Mullingar.
Debra is a longtime advocate for a number of organizations that support the LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, including The Gay Men’s Health Crisis, AmFAR and Human Rights Campaign. GLAAD honored her several times for the social awareness and tolerance that her participation in Will & Grace helped establish, and she and her former TV co-star Megan Mullally received The Trevor Life Award as examples of acceptance and tolerance.
For Population Services International (PSI), Debra recently narrated a documentary special titled ViewChange: HIV Prevention – Looking Back and Moving Forward. In 2009, she traveled with PSI to Zimbabwe, where she visited their programs in HIV/AIDS prevention and education, safe water and malaria. The following year, she went to Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, where she highlighted successes from US investments in HIV/AIDS while urging members to consider more funding for HIV prevention and treatment in developing countries.
Debra was the guest of honor and delivered a speech at the USAID annual Auxillia Chimuroso Awards celebrating community leadership and action on HIV/AIDS. She also launched a BBC and UKAID film on PSI’s Hair Salon network that promotes the correct and consistent use of care female condoms through a network of hair stylists and male barbers trained as peer educators. She currently lives in New York.
Noam Gilboord, Israel Action Network’s director of community strategy, is responsible for strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he coordinates the activities of the field of Israel advocates throughout North America, leads mobilization programming and proactively builds partnerships with communities vulnerable to anti-Israel messaging.
During his time at IAN, Noam has been personally involved in combating anti-Israel resolutions in city councils, investment firms, academic associations, university campuses, and church movements. Prior to his current role, Noam was the coordinator for Israel and international affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, where he was instrumental in successfully defeating the Park Slope Food Co-op’s motion to join the BDS movement and in collecting over 107,000 signatures opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Noam holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Toronto and a dual master’s degree in near eastern & Judaic studies and Jewish professional leadership from Brandeis University.
Daniel Flax is director of financial resource development at the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, where he manages both major gifts and Annual Campaign strategy and events. A versatile professional with more than four decades of Federation experience, Daniel also supervises Campaign personnel, organizes Israel missions, helps steward affinity groups and secures corporate sponsors. During his tenure, JFNA has honored the Federation with four Sapir Awards for Campaign Excellence.
Dr. Ron Wolfson is the Fingerhut Professor of Education in the Graduate Center for Jewish Education at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. A popular scholar-in-residence at synagogues and communities who addresses a wide range of topics in Jewish life, he is co-founder of Synagogue 3000 and a pioneer in the field of Jewish family education. Ron is the author of Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community, The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community and, his newest book, The Best Boy in the United States of America: A Memoir of Blessings and Kisses. (Jewish Lights Publishing)
Rabbi David Eliezrie is the author of The Secret of Chabad: Inside the World’s Most Successful Jewish Movement. A Chabad shaliach in Yorba Linda, California and the director of the North County Chabad Center, he has spearheaded a successful Federation/Chabad partnership in Orange County that serves as a national model.
Chabad’s representative to major Jewish organizations including JFNA, Rabbi Eliezrie is also member of the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel and the board of Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County. Additionally, he is the president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County, a member of the board of the International Conference of Shluchim, the Chabad Internet Commission and the National Jewish Retreat. He also coordinates Chabad’s international emergency relief projects in the U.S. and overseas.
Joelle Asaro Berman is the program director for Amplifier, an exciting new initiative of the Natan Fund that helps people create Jewish giving circles–groups of donors who pool their charitable donations and decide together how to give them away. She believes that giving circles provide a unique and powerful giving experience that can transform us, our communities and our world.
Joelle has worked in the Jewish nonprofit space for more than 10 years, cultivating the brands and communication strategies of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and Taglit-Birthright Israel. In addition to building communities around giving, Joelle also helps bring people together around food through her community-supported agriculture project in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge CSA. She is a dedicated kickboxer and is known to start infectious dance parties, which is, incidentally, another great tool in community building.
Fran Seegull is chief investment officer and managing director of investments at ImpactAssets, a non-profit investment services firm that provides an impact investment asset management platform for investors and donor advisors seeking a blend of positive social and environmental outcomes, financial return and risk management. She leads their investments team, oversees product development and manages the Investment Strategies suite of products, including the Global Sustainable Agriculture and Microfinance Plus notes. She also heads investment management for The Giving Fund, a $200 million impact investing donor advised fund, including investment selection, monitoring and reporting.
Previously, Fran was managing director and COO of Funk Ventures, an early-stage venture capital and acceleration firm investing in clean technology, sustainable living, health & wellness and medical technologies.
Fran has consulted to a range of purpose-driven companies including National Geographic, NPR West and many family foundations. She also served as vice president of business development at Novica United, a venture-backed social enterprise that retails and wholesales products made by artisans in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Fran has a BS in economics from Barnard/Columbia and an MBA from Harvard, and is an adjunct professor at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and senior fellow at the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, both at USC’s Marshall School of Business. She serves on the board of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, the Investment Committee of the Goldhirsh Foundation and the G7 Social Impact Investment Task Force Working Group on Asset Allocation.
C. Brian Hayden is a partner at Collaborative Strategies, where he leads strategic planning engagement for private businesses and non-profits across the country. One of his focus areas is planning for Jewish communal organizations, and he has assisted Federations, JCCs, day schools and synagogues with long-range planning, helping them balance fulfillment of their missions with financial sustainability. Brian also leads Collaborative Strategies’ benchmarking practice, guiding the national benchmarking efforts for the JCC Association and Hillel as well as past measurement projects for JFNA.
Brian has 20 years of consulting experience focusing on strategic planning and marketing strategy. He served as manager with Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, a Chicago-based consulting firm, and held business development and market analysis positions with Sun Microsystems and Gartner Group, a leading provider of information technology advisory and research services.
An active member of the St. Louis community, Brian is vice chair of Loyola Academy, a Jesuit middle school for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential for college preparatory work. He is also the past chair of College Summit St. Louis, an organization dedicated to increasing college access for low-income youth.
Bill Sturtevant is a fundraising consultant and trainer who served for more than three decades as senior principal gifts consultant at the University of Illinois Foundation, where he guided relationships with individuals and families capable of gifts at a level of $5 million and above.
From 1980 until 2004, he served as vice president for planned giving and trust relations at the Foundation and built what is considered by many to be one of the nation’s preeminent gift planning programs. During his years at Illinois, he was directly involved with more than $600 million in major gifts; during the University’s recently completed campaign his office helped secure 65 gifts of $5 million or more.
A nationally recognized specialist in major and deferred gifts and planning and solicitation strategies, Bill earned the Certified Financial Planner designation in 1984 and regularly assists a variety of charitable organizations with complicated or unusual gift situations. In 1995 he was honored as Planned Giving Professional of the Year by Planned Giving Today. In January 2014, he was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Central Illinois AFP Chapter.
Bill is a frequent speaker before development professionals, hospital groups and civic organizations. He authored the best-selling book The Artful Journey: Cultivating and Soliciting the Major Gift and co-authored Moves Management Manual.
Bill is a member of the boards of the Sirazi Foundation, the Lauritsen Family Foundation and the First Busey Trust and Investment Company. He is a founding director of the Institute For Charitable Giving. His guiding tenet is that dedication to the best interest of donors is the only way to achieve the objectives of the charitable organizations we serve.
Michael Ben-Aharon is the founder and CEO of Golda Strategies, an advisory firm to international organizations that translates complex development reports and policy papers into infographics and murals for low-literacy communities in Africa. He has previously worked for Rocket Internet, Kroll, PresenTense and the Knesset.
Michael grew up in Beer Sheva, Israel, after his family made aliyah from the former Soviet Union. He holds a master's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Michael enjoys traveling and is happy to be back home after spending a few years living and working in Moscow; Washington, D.C.; Monrovia; Lagos and Casablanca. He is fluent in Hebrew, English and Russian and is currently working on his Korean.
David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel, the Jerusalem-based current affairs website that launched in February 2012. The Times of Israel, which provides independent coverage of Israel, the region and the Jewish world, is the fastest-growing news site in the Jewish world, and now also publishes in French, Chinese and Arabic. He was previously editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post from 2004-2011 and editor and publisher of the award-winning newsmagazine The Jerusalem Report.
Horovitz, who immigrated to Israel from London in 1983, has written from Israel for newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Irish Times and (London) Independent, and is a frequent interviewee on CNN, BBC, Sky, Fox News, NPR and other TV and radio stations. He has conducted landmark interviews with a succession of Israeli and international figures, including all of Israel’s recent prime ministers, President Barack Obama and George Bush. He also lectures widely in Israel, the United States and Europe on Israeli current affairs, regularly giving the introductory briefing on Israel to Congressional delegations brought to Israel under the aegis of AIPAC.
Horovitz is the author of 2004’s Still Life with Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism and 2000’s A Little Too Close to God: The Thrills and Panic of a Life in Israel. He edited and co-wrote The Jerusalem Report’s 1996 biography of Yitzhak Rabin, Shalom, Friend, which won the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction. In 2014, he was awarded B’nai B’rith’s lifetime achievement journalism award.
Samantha Dubrinsky is director of community impact and special projects at the Birmingham Jewish Federation. Her job covers a wide range of assignments, from fundraising to community relations to working with her fellow Millennials implementing new initiatives. Samantha also edits and writes for the Federation's daily e-newsletter, Update@bjf.org, which goes to more than 7,000 people locally and nationally.
Samantha’s passionate and emotional stories from the Jewish Agency’s solidarity trip to France in February 2015 received national acclaim. In June 2015, she participated on a JFNA mission to Ukraine to learn more about the difficulties Ukrainian Jews are facing and how Federations are helping them. Her reporting once again received wide acclaim, and her stories were published on The Times of Israel website.
A Birmingham native, Samantha interned with Federation during college and has since become a recognized, important and well-respected full-time staff member. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in international relations at Alabama’s Troy University.
Isaac Herzog is the chairman of Israel’s Labor Party and leader of the opposition in the Knesset. The son of former Israeli president Chaim Herzog, Isaac was born in Israel in 1960 and completed his army service with the rank of major (res.). He holds a law degree from University of Tel Aviv and is an attorney by profession.
Isaac has held a number of roles in the Israeli government and was elected to the 16th Knesset in 2003. His cabinet appointments have included minister of housing and construction; tourism; welfare and social services; and Jewish diaspora, society and the fight against anti-Semitism.
From 2012-2013, Isaac served as chairman of the Labor Party Parliamentary Group in the Knesset and was responsible for the coordination of the members of the opposition in the Israeli Parliament. He is also currently chair of the Knesset delegation to the European Parliament, the Israel-Great Britain and Israel-Ireland Parliamentary Friendship Leagues and a number of lobbies.
Isaac speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic, has published articles in the Israeli and foreign press and recently published a book entitled Work Plan: A Recipe for Economic Welfare.
Molly Horwitz is a senior at Stanford University majoring in religious studies and minoring in Jewish studies. Born in Paraguay and adopted and raised by a single Jewish mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Molly attended the Milwaukee Jewish Day School and graduated as a valedictorian from Rufus King International High School in 2012.
At Stanford, Molly was elected to the Student Senate in the spring of 2015 on the "Stand up to Stigma" platform, with the goal of promoting better communications and perceptions of mental health issues. She stood up against anti-Semitism when she was questioned by a student group about how her Jewish background would inform her position on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which seeks divestment of university investments in Israel.
Molly has been a vocal and consistent advocate for Israel and is currently a board member of the pro-Israel group on Stanford's campus, Cardinal for Israel. This past summer, Molly volunteered in the Yahel Negev Service Corps program, teaching English to young Bedouin women and working for Ma’an, a non-profit that supports Bedouin women's rights in the Negev. She aspires to work for pro-Israel and Jewish advocacy organizations after she graduates in 2016.
Melanie Schnoll Begun is a managing director at Morgan Stanley, where she leads philanthropy management and exemplifies her professional work by living a life of committed action. For more than 18 years she has worked with the firm’s wealthiest and most influential clients. She develops focus areas for clients’ philanthropy, engages senior and millennial generations in their foundations’ governance, designs customized grant portfolios, aligns client values with impactful investing, and facilitates giving circles, board retreats and educational events.
In 2000, Melanie launched Morgan Stanley GIFT, the firm’s global donor advised fund. In 2012, she launched Foundation Management Services, a philanthropic advisory and administrative services platform for corporate and private foundations. She is also responsible for the firm’s nonprofit and endowment consulting services.
Honored in May 2014 by the Rotary Club of Verrazano as Humanitarian of the Year, Melanie also received the 20134 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Perseverance Award. She is co-editor of Morgan Stanley’s Perspectives in Philanthropy and is a popular speaker. She has published articles in the Journal of Taxation, has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg and Investment News and has appeared on such programs as Good Morning America and CBS News.
Melanie currently serves as the nominating chair and former board president of the JDRF New York City chapter and sits on the advisory boards of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Quinnipiac University Law School and Grameen America.
Todd Stettner has been president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City for the last 16 years. He has more than 40 years of experience in several social service fields including fundraising, administration, volunteer leadership development, programming and community development.
Previously, Todd was COO of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay; held various positions with the San Francisco Federation, including regional director and major gifts director; was annual campaign director at Federations in Tucson and Seattle; and was assistant director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Seattle. He holds a masters in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University with an emphasis in the field of community organization, and a Bachelor of Arts from Marietta College.
Todd received the Mordecai Award by Congregation BIAV in Kansas City for his dedication and work on behalf of the Jewish community there and worldwide; the Jewish Community Professional of the Year Award from Tucson, Arizona; and the Guardian Award from Federations’ Secure Community Network for his work in the aftermath of the shootings in at the Overland Park Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom in April 2014.
Todd is also past chair of the Large Intermediate Federations of JFNA; a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation Leadership Institute; past president of Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, California; a founding board member of the Novato Educational Foundation; and past president of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.
Emilie Socash is a longtime Federation professional, with a long list of accomplishments to her name. Among her many successes, Emilie has played a leadership role in raising $20 million for a capital campaign for the new Tampa JCC.
Before that, she served as director of development of the Tampa JCC & Federation, taking annual financial resource development beyond $2 million. And in between, she took a break from the Jewish philanthropic world to become founding executive director of a successful start-up theatre company.
Three years ago, Emilie became the executive director of the Tampa Orlando Pinellas (TOP) Jewish Foundation. Under her guidance, the organization's portfolio grew by 30 percent (more than $10 million). TOP was recently chosen by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for the highly selective Life & Legacy program and is working with 15 area organizations to secure after-lifetime gifts.
Most recently Emilie has taken on another executive director position. She is now serving as executive director for Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties as well as TOP.
Karina Zilberman is the founder of Shababa at 92Y in New York City and director of 92Y’s Shababa Network. A 2012 recipient of the Covenant Foundation Award for excellence in Jewish Education, she has been educating and entertaining through the creative arts since her earliest days as a singer in her native Buenos Aires, Argentina. I
In 2007, Karina joined 92Y to create an innovative Jewish community of families with young children. Today she is widely known for creating 92Y Shababa, a new approach to intergenerational family Jewish experiences.
Having started with Shababa Fridays—a pre-Shabbat experience for young children and their grown-ups, featuring music, puppets and dance—the program now serves more than 300 families and has expanded to include 22 different kinds of experiences for children, adults and parents.
The Shababa Network, which extends beyond 92Y, is a community-building platform that provides educators, clergy, and lay leaders with training on Shababa’s unique approach to intergenerational Jewish experiences through on-site training, one-on-one office hours, monthly webinars, and an exclusive puppet.
Karina also leads 92Y’s High Holidays Family Services, a Passover family Seder and visits to local shelters and nursing homes. She is trained in cantorial singing as well as musical theater, and she sings in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino, Hebrew and Yiddish and has released four CDs.
Michael Wise is co-CEO of Honeymoon Israel, which provides highly subsidized, nine-day trips to Israel for couples in the first five years of a marriage or committed relationship.
Previously, he served as CEO and executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo and as CEO of the JCC of Greater Atlanta. While serving as CEO of the Jewish Community Board of Akron, Ohio for 17 years, Michael led a complete restructuring of the Jewish communal system that is now a national model for small and intermediate communities.
A Minnesota native, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Social Work degree from the University at Buffalo.
Avi Rubel is co-CEO of Honeymoon Israel, which provides highly subsidized, nine-day trips to Israel for couples in the first five years of a marriage or committed relationship. He previously served as the founding North American director of Masa Israel Journey for more than seven years, bringing more than 10,000 North Americans to Israel annually.
Avi has lived in Israel for several years and also spent more than a decade working on Jewish community development in the former Soviet Union with Hillel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He also served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Kyrgyzstan.
Avi earned a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Julie E. Kass is co-chair of Ober|Kaler's Health Law Group. She focuses her practice on the fraud and abuse aspects of Medicare and Medicaid, including OIG exclusion authorities and civil money penalties. In addition, Julie is a leader in the firm's ACO working group, assisting various clients in navigating CMS' ACO rules and application procedures. She represents a variety of health care entities, including hospitals, large physician practices, physical therapy companies, and long term care facilities. She is among the country’s leading authorities in the Stark and antikickback laws.
Previously, Julie served as senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, Industry Guidance Branch. There, she was responsible for writing advisory opinions, fraud alerts and safe harbor regulations. This experience makes her uniquely qualified to guide her clients through the complex Stark and federal antikickback regulatory environment.
Well-known as one of the nation’s leading attorneys in the field of fraud and abuse laws, Julie was named a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer in the area of Health Care for 2014. Nightingale's Healthcare News named Julie as one of the “Outstanding Fraud and Compliance Lawyers” for 2006.
Julie is on the board of directors at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and serves on JFNA’s Health and Long Term Care committee. She was also co-chair of the Federation’s 4th Annual Network Event Live. She received her bachelor’s degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and her JD summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Anne Tumlinson, founder of Anne Tumlinson Innovations LLC, has over two decades of research and consulting experience in post-acute and long-term care financing and delivery. Her consulting firm helps organizations respond to demographic changes and delivery system reform, with a special emphasis on innovations in the design of aging services and products to better meet consumer needs. Anne has testified before Congress on long-term care financing reform and appeared before the Long-Term Care Commission and the Bipartisan Policy Center. Her testimony has consistently emphasized that the under-financing of long-term care is an economic problem for families and caregivers, and stifles innovation needed to help them.
Anne has also created a consumer website, www.daughterhood.org, to generate better content and information for consumers navigating the health and elder care systems on behalf of their parents. and to create a community of women who can educate and inform each other. The daughterhood blog is distributed to subscribers and HuffPost50 readers as well as to a growing social media following. In support of this work, Anne researches, writes and speaks about innovation in aging services product and content design with blogs in Health Affairs and McKnights.
Anne served previously as a senior vice president at Avalere Health, where she founded and led Avalere’s post-acute and long-term care consulting practice for 14 years. There she created, developed and launched a data-based provider navigation tool for post-acute care placement and led many analytic and modeling projects for a wide variety of clients. Prior to that, she led Medicaid program oversight at the federal Office of Management and Budget.
Ellen Nissenbaum is in her 31st year as senior vice president for government affairs at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. She directs the Center's work with federal policymakers and with other national organizations on a broad range of federal policy issues, including budget and tax matters, Medicaid and health care, nutrition programs and other critical federal policies. She also works with various state coalitions and organizations on federal policies.
She is regarded as one of the leading legislative directors among non-profit organizations in Washington and frequently is asked to provide support to a number of organizations and coalitions by providing policy assistance, strategic guidance and communications planning for their legislative activities.
Ellen is frequently sought out by many journalists at respected news outlets covering legislative and budget developments for her analyses and commentary on congressional developments.
Stuart Butler is a senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution. Prior to joining Brookings, he spent 35 years at The Heritage Foundation as director of the Center for Policy Innovation and earlier as vice president for domestic and economic policy studies. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy and a visiting fellow at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. He is a member of the editorial board of Health Affairs, serves on the panel of health advisers for the Congressional Budget Office and is a member of the Board on Health Care Services of the Institute of Medicine. In 2002, he was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University.
Stuart has played a prominent role in the debate over health care and reform. He has also been working on a wide range of other issues, including budget process reform, the future of higher education, economic mobility and federal entitlement reform.
Stuart Butler was born in Shrewsbury, England and emigrated to the United States in 1975. He was educated at St. Andrews University in Scotland, culminating in 1978 with a Ph.D. in American economic history.
Ashleigh Miller has worked in the Federation system for over four years, first as young adult director in Dallas and currently as development director at JEWISHcolorado in Denver. Her role now includes general campaign, corporate sponsorship and major events responsibilities.
Federation has been an integral part of Ashleigh’s journey from Jewish awareness to avid community supporter, from a Birthright participant in 2007 and a Masa Israel participant in 2008 to a Hillel professional in 2009 and finally a Federation professional in 2011.
Feeling strongly that once you turn on the Federation light bulb it’s hard not to see the role it has played in all of our lives, Ashleigh continues to work on behalf of the Jewish community to ensure a vibrant Jewish future in Denver and around the world.
Leslie Pomerantz serves as chief development officer at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
A full-time professional in the Baltimore Jewish community since 1991, Leslie began her career at the JCC, where she served in a variety of capacities, most notably as the director of the 2002 JCC Maccabi Games. In 2003, she became executive director of the Jewish Volunteer Connection and grew the program from a small volunteer clearinghouse organization to one offering a myriad of programs for volunteers of all ages. She was the catalyst behind the development of several leadership initiatives, including three highly competitive and prestigious teen programs.
Joining The Associated in 2009 as executive director of its Center for Community Engagement and Leadership, Leslie most recently served as the Federation’s senior vice president of development, overseeing an integrated resource development strategy, Associated Women and the Annual Campaign. She recently completed JFNA’s Fundraising University, a selective national program for 20 top Federation fundraisers.
Leslie holds an MSW and an MA in Jewish studies. She lives in Reisterstown, MD with her husband and their three children.
Jennifer Sheehy is the deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor. The mission of ODEP is to develop policies to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.
Prior to her current position, Jennifer spent ten years at the U.S. Department of Education in many roles, including acting director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, acting deputy commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and special assistant to the assistant secretary of Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
Jennifer came to the Department of Education from the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, where she was senior policy advisor and served a detail as associate director in the White House Domestic Policy Council. Before she joined the task force staff, Jennifer was vice president of the National Organization on Disability and director of its CEO Council. She has worked for Marriott, Sheraton and Anheuser-Busch and has received many civic and leadership honors. Jennifer earned a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
Dana Marlowe is an architect of inclusion and accessibility. She is the principal partner and co-founder of Accessibility Partners LLC, a disability and accessibility advocacy IT consulting firm. From instituting empathetic practices in her personal life to making a fully accommodating workforce in her business, Dana fights for a world that fully accepts the contributions of those with disabilities.
As an accessibility subject matter expert, Dana has been featured in countless national and international industry publications and media platforms to promote inclusive technology.
She lives with her family in the Washington, D.C. area, and keeps her calendar full of family outings, indie music concerts, road races and struggling to make her garden grow.
Seth Wong is in his third year as chair of the Young Adult Department (YAD) at JEWISHcolorado, that state’s Federation, where he also serves on the board of directors. He is co-vice chair of communications and social media of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, and is about to enter his second and final year of the Wexner Heritage Program. He is also on the board of directors of the Fulda Foundation a group that helps disadvantaged Ethiopian youth in Lod, Israel.
Seth is president of Industrial Laboratories, a 70-year-old food and drug testing laboratory located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He also recently started a new venture, TEQ Analytical Laboratories, which he envisions will be the state and the nation’s leading cannabis testing laboratory on Colorado’s premier Anschutz medical campus.
Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, D.H.L., is the executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, the only national independent organization dedicated to bringing Judaism to interfaith families and the unaffiliated. He is also a fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate School and University Center, CUNY. Formerly, he served as vice president of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, the premier adult Jewish learning and Jewish leadership program in North America. Previously, he was national dean of adult Jewish learning and living at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he served on the faculty and administration for 15 years following his tenure at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT.
A leader in the development of innovative Jewish education, particularly for adults, he has shaped training programs for clergy of all faiths, especially in the area of pastoral care and counseling in the Jewish community. He has done pioneering work in Jewish Twelve Step spirituality and Jewish gerontology. Rabbi Olitzky also serves as a fellow and consultant to Synagogue 2000 and is a partner with the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR. He is a contributing editor for Shma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility and is also the author of many books and articles in a variety of fields, including The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal, with Dan Judson.
Janine Zacharia has reported on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy for close to two decades, including stints as Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post, chief diplomatic correspondent for Bloomberg News, Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, and Jerusalem correspondent for Reuters. She appears regularly on cable news shows and radio programs as a Middle East analyst and is currently a visiting lecturer in the department of communication at Stanford University.
Yehuda Kurtzer is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He has a doctorate in Jewish studies from Harvard University and an MA in religion from Brown University, and is an alumnus of both the Wexner Graduate and Bronfman Youth Fellowship programs.
Yehuda is the author of Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, a work of constructive theology that offers new thinking on how contemporary Jews can and should relate to our past while living profoundly in the present. As a fellow in the Institute’s iEngage Project, Yehuda writes and teaches widely on the central challenges facing Jewish life in both America and Israel, and how new Jewish thinking can help us stand up to these challenges.
Yehuda previously served on the faculty of Brandeis University as the inaugural chair of Jewish communal innovation. He now lives in New York with his wife, Stephanie Ives, and their three children.
Vicki Agron, Founder and Principal, Vicki Agron Consulting LLC
Vicki Agron is founder and principal of Vicki Agron Consulting LLC. With nearly four decades of experience as both a national leader and a senior development professional, she opened her own consulting firm specializing in strategic fundraising. Less than one month later, her client list included local, national and international Jewish organizations.
A former executive with United Jewish Appeal and its successor organization, United Jewish Communities, Vicki has worked with Federations and other nonprofits throughout the world for more than 35 years. In her last post as senior vice president for development, she had oversight and strategic planning responsibilities for the Annual and Special Campaigns, planned giving and endowments and supplemental giving. Together, these efforts resulted in Federations raising more than $3 billion each year.
Vicki has cultivated relationships and worked with volunteer leaders around the world. An innovative thinker, she has created and developed a wide range of initiatives to attract and engage philanthropists. She has led study and fundraising missions, traveling to Israel more than 100 times as well as participating in more than 50 visits to meet with Jews throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, South America and Africa. Her expertise on American Jewish demographics and psychographics, particularly as related to philanthropy, has earned her an international reputation as an effective educator, trainer, fundraiser, speaker and strategist.
Prior to her professional experience, Vicki served in a variety of local and national leadership positions, including UJA National Women’s Young Leadership Chair.
Vicki and her husband, Joel Friedman live in New York, Miami and Denver. They have five children and seven grandchildren—so far.
Alan Hoffmann assumed the position of CEO and Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel in 2010, and has led the strategic refocusing of the work of the Agency whose mission is ensuring the Jewish future for generations.
Since his Aliyah from South Africa in 1967, Alan's professional life has been dedicated to promoting Jewish community and Jewish education. He began his career as a professional in the field as the director of the Young Judea Year Course. After three years of doctoral study at the Harvard School of Education, he spent 13 years at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, including six years as its director. Subsequently, Alan served as the executive director of the Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) in New York and was then named the head of the Mandel Center for Jewish Continuity at Hebrew University.
He next became the director general of the education department of the Jewish Agency. Under his leadership, the Agency's education department developed such groundbreaking initiatives as Masa Israel Journey and MAKOM – a think-practice tank focused on re-imagining the place of Israel in Jewish life. He led the department to play a central role in training inspiring educators. The focus is on developing compelling content, and promoting transformative Israel experiences that together encourage Jewish identity and a connection to the Jewish People and to Israel.
Michael Siegal of Cleveland, OH, is the chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. He is also the immediate past chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
Michael has served on numerous other nonprofit boards including AIPAC, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Israel Bonds where he served as International Campaign Chair from 1991 – 1993 and Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2011. He also served on numerous community and industry boards. He currently serves on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Board of Trustees in Cleveland.
Michael has received numerous awards including the Edwin M. Weiner Young Campaigner of the Year Award from the Cleveland Jewish Community, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Metal Center News’ Steel Man of the Year, and Inside Business’ Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame.
Michael is Chairman & CEO of Olympic Steel, a publicly traded company, and a national expert in the steel industry. He is a frequent industry and university lecturer, speaking on industry trends in steel distribution, transforming and transitioning family businesses, initial public offerings and corporate governance, ethics and values.
Michael graduated from Miami University.See full program
Multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator, Bill Todd was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He began playing the saxophone as a young child and within a few years began playing clarinet and flute, as well.
Bill continued his studies of music at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music where he earned his Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies and based on his merits and achievements became a Presser Scholar, receiving the Theodore Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award.
Bill has studied with world-class jazz artists such as Dick Oatts, Jimmy Greene, Eric Alexander, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Todd Coolman, Jon Faddis and Pete Malinverni and has shared the stage with with distinguished artists as Steely Dan’s, Walt Weiskopf, Joey DeFrancesco, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Cyrille-Aimee and The Ed Palermo Big Band. He has performed at Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blues Alley and many other venues in the U.S. and around the world.
Bill’s theatrical experience has flourished over the years with his involvement in many Broadway shows such as, Young Frankenstein (National Tour) and Fiddler on the Roof (Riverdale Repertory Theater) and Café Swing Society (59E59 Theaters).
Currently, Bill lives in Brooklyn, New York where he is able to fully immerse himself in the musical culture and opportunity the city has to offer and is studying for his Master’s in Multiple Woodwind Performance at New Jersey City University.See full program
Dana Bash is CNN's award-winning chief political correspondent, responsible for covering the activities of both the U.S. House and Senate since March 2006.
As a member of the Peabody Award-winning "Best Political Team on Television," Bash covered the candidates on the trail for the network's America Votes 2008 coverage and broke several crucial election-related stories. Previously, she reported as CNN's White House correspondent from the nation's capital and from locations around the world covering President George W. Bush and his administration. Bash has reported on major stories including Hurricane Katrina, the CIA leak investigation, the capture of Saddam Hussein and the 2004 presidential campaign.
Bash also served as Capitol Hill producer for CNN, where she had primary editorial and newsgathering responsibility for the network's coverage of the U.S. Senate and covered Republican dominance in the 2002 elections, the war on terrorism and the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. In 2000, she covered the presidential primaries, traveling extensively with former Vice President Al Gore and other candidates.
Previously, Bash was an editor in CNN's Washington bureau, where she planned and coordinated the network's coverage of Capitol Hill, the State Department and key issues such as Medicare and Social Security. Bash also served as a producer on the network's major public affairs shows, producing long-form live interviews with heads of state, lawmakers and other newsmakers.
Bash graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political communications from George Washington University.
Rae Ringel is a certified executive coach and founding president of The Ringel Group. She is a faculty member at the Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership and was recognized in 2013 by the International Coaching Federation for excellence in the field. Rae is also the founding director of a new certificate program in the art of facilitation and design program at Georgetown, launching in winter 2016.
Rae is in high demand as an innovator in the areas of coaching, facilitation and training across sectors. She enables a growing list of executives in some of the most successful Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and government agencies to become more effective managers and stronger communicators with a formidable leadership presence. In cooperation with ChangeCraft, Rae runs an ongoing facilitation-training program for executives and business owners from around the world.
Rae offers deep experience in the areas of fundraising and board development. Previously, she was director of professional and volunteer development at United Jewish Communities, the precursor to JFNA. In this capacity, she devised an award-winning interactive web-based training program and myriad conferences in service of over 20,000 professionals and volunteers.
Rae is a Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of the University of Rochester. She received her master’s in organizational psychology from Columbia University and earned her leadership coaching certification from Georgetown University. She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and now holds a faculty position with the Wexner Foundation. Rae lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and four children.
Barney Frank served as a U.S. Congressman from 1981-2013 and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007-2011.
In Congress, Barney worked to adjust America’s spending priorities to reduce the deficit by providing less funding for the military, thereby protecting funding for important quality-of-life needs at home. In particular, he focused on providing aid to local communities and to building and preserving affordable rental housing for low-income people. He was also a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and the vulnerable, and he won reelection 16 times by double-digit margins.
As chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Barney was instrumental in crafting the short-term $700 billion rescue plan in response to the crisis, and he then worked for the adoption of a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence of the crisis. He was a key author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. He also led passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.
In 1987, Barney became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as openly gay, and in 2012 he married his longtime partner, becoming the nation’s first Congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office. Since retiring from office in 2013, Frank has been teaching, giving speeches and lectures around the country. He has written a book titled Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage, released March 2015.
Sharon Ness is the vice president of corporate development for the Jewish Federation of Broward County. She partners with leadership to identify corporations and businesses that want to promote brand awareness to the local Jewish community, and, through this vehicle, identifies donors for the Annual Campaign, the Jewish Community Foundation and Federation’s supplemental giving opportunities.
Previously, Sharon was senior development executive for American Friends of The Hebrew University. She also served as the executive director of the Development Corporation for Israel (Israel Bonds) in Broward County, Dade County, the Keys, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Her first communal position was with the Jewish Federation of Bergen County in New Jersey.
Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Living in Hollywood, Florida, Sharon is married and has three children and five grandchildren.
Caitlin A. Durkovich was appointed assistant secretary for infrastructure protection (IP) with the National Protection and Programs Directorate of U.S. Department of Homeland Security in May 2012 by President Obama. She leads the department’s efforts to strengthen public-private partnerships and coordinates programs to protect the Nation’s critical infrastructure, assess and mitigate risk, build resilience, and strengthen incident response and recovery.
With more than 16 years of homeland security-related expertise, Caitlyn has taken on a leading role in establishing a community-based program on Countering Violent Extremism with DHS and has also led in the deployment of the IP Gateway as a centralized interface for integrated infrastructure protection data, tools, and risk management functions. She was also appointed co-chair for the Space Weather Operations, Research and Mitigation Task Force in 2014 by the National Science and Technology Council.
Previously, Caitlin was an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, worked with former Oklahoma Congressman Dave McCurdy to launch the Internet Security Alliance, and was a Vice President at iDEFENSE. Born and raised in Albuquerque, she graduated from Duke University in 1994 with a BA in public policy studies and earned a Certificate in Business Strategy in 2003 from The Aspen Institute. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and their three children.
Miryam is the senior director of community development at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, where she leads the organization’s Jewish identity, community and philanthropy efforts, oversees Israel and Overseas, NEXTGen Detroit and other community-focused departments.
Prior to taking on her current role, Miryam led the Federation’s young adult department as director of NEXTGen Detroit. With her innovative approach to outreach, engagement and leadership, she quickly built the department into a national model and has consulted several communities on how to successfully serve their young adult populations.
Miryam has also served as the head of development initiatives at World ORT, associate director of national young leadership at JFNA and director of volunteers at the Educational Alliance, where she grew the organization’s donor base from 100 to 11,000 in only four years.
Miryam earned an MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurtzweiler School of Social Work.
Dori Gelb grew up in New Jersey and received BA degrees in Spanish and in Comparative Literature from Binghamton University. She has been singing ever since she could speak, and was fortunate enough to participate in choirs, musicals, and a cappella groups throughout her life.
In college, she joined Kaskeset, Binghamton’s Jewish a cappella group. With Kaskeset, she toured throughout the east coast and competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Following college, Dori performed the national anthem at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. She also was a semifinalist in the Hallelujah Global Jewish Singing contest.
Dori currently lives in Queens and works as a development and communications associate for the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, an Israel-based nonprofit organization that serves at-risk youth. She is a member of Cadence, a New York City-based a cappella group whose mission is to bring music to the lives of children and seniors who are facing difficulties.See full program
Elan Carr is deputy district attorney of Los Angeles County and an officer in the United States Army Reserve, Judge Advocate General’s Corps who spent nearly a year on military deployment in Iraq.
As part of an anti-terrorism assessment team for the U.S. Central Command, Elan led missions through Iraq meant to anticipate and prevent terrorist attacks against Coalition assets. Then, as a Judge Advocate for Combined Joint Task Force Seven, the Coalition’s military command for Iraq, he prosecuted terrorists and insurgents who committed crimes against Coalition forces before Arab tribunals, an historically unprecedented role of a U.S. military lawyer. As part of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s efforts to establish an independent Iraqi judiciary, he helped to train Iraqi judges and lawyers on topics such as constitutional law and criminal defense. He also regularly conducted Jewish services in the former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and was the first to light a hanukkiah in the presidential palace.
An American born to a prominent Iraqi Jewish family, Elan speaks Hebrew and the Iraqi dialect of Arabic, and is well-traveled throughout the Middle East. In 1996, he served as a legal advisor to Israel’s Ministry of Justice, where he helped to create the first-ever public defender’s office. Since then, he has conducted regular visits to Israel and received briefings from government officials and terrorism experts.
In his current role as deputy district attorney, Elan prosecutes violent crimes involving weapons and some of LA’s most notorious criminal street gangs. Previously, he practiced commercial litigation in leading corporate law firms. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a law degree from the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.
A frequent guest lecturer around the globe, Elan ran for Congress in California’s 33rd Congressional District in 2014 and finished first out of 18 candidates in a top-two primary.
An active philanthropist, Elan served as international president of Alpha Epsilon Pi from 2012-2014 and is an active member of AIPAC. He is married with two daughters.
Arya is a first-generation American born to Iranian-Jewish refugees in the bustling metropolis of Tehrangeles, CA. Most passionate about travel, languages (four and counting) and exploring foreign cultures, Arya earned his BA in psychology from UC San Diego and MA in organizational behavior from NYU while studying in Israel. Masa Israel Journey subsidized his master’s program, which initially drew him to the opportunity, and he deepened his relationship with the organization as a participant in the inaugural Masa Leadership Program.
Since then, Arya has spent five years working in different HR capacities in the for- and non-profit sector, most notably at Hillel International's Washington, D.C. office on various talent recruitment and professional development initiatives. He recently moved back to Los Angeles where he works as a private consultant, and just returned from a five-week excursion to Japan and Southeast Asia.
Pnina Agenyahu is the Jewish Agency senior shlicha of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She previously served as director of the Hillel Center at Tel Aviv University, and has extensive experience in public speaking and teaching.
In Israel, Pnina was an activist involved in several endeavors aimed at social change and was appointed as public representative on the country’s Council for Higher Education. In 2014, as Israel marked 66 years of independence with a tribute to women, Pnina was named by Haaretz as one of 66 influential Israeli women you should know.
Pnina holds a BA in Jewish history and sociology from Hebrew University and an MA in political and public leadership from Tel Aviv University. An Ethiopia native who made aliyah at three years old, Pnina has a unique understanding of and love for the land of Israel, in addition to her love of the People and State of Israel. She and her husband have one child.
Asher is founder and executive director of JQ International, an LGBTQ and ally Jewish nonprofit that creates community through identity-building programs, and provides teen education and national support services and resources.
A native of Los Angeles, Asher was raised within the Conservative Movement and is the product of Adat Ari El Day School, Camp Ramah and United Synagogue Youth. Prior to launching JQ International in 2004, Asher was regional director for Young Judaea in California, Nevada and Hawaii, created curriculum for the Bureau of Jewish Education in Los Angeles, and facilitated and guided teen scholastic credit Israel study tour programs.
For six years after earning his MBA, Asher worked in real estate asset management while simultaneously developing and launching JQ International. In recent years, he has participated in the inaugural cohort of PresenTenseLA Fellowship, American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellowship, and Eighteen:22, the global think tank of LGBTQ and ally Jewish visionaries.
Asher also serves on the community advisory board of KCET Link, the nation's largest independent public television station, and as amentor and consultant on inclusion and community building for LGBTQ Jews, their families, and allies for dozens of Jewish and non-Jewish institutions globally.
He holds a BA in political theory from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Avi Ganon is the chief executive officer of World ORT Kadima Mada, World ORT’s representative office in Israel. He is responsible for the overall management of the international educational NGO’s activities in Israel including representing the organization to Israeli governmental bodies, leaders of academia, donors, the media and World ORT Kadima Mada-affiliated schools, and has oversight of an annual budget of 100 million NIS.
Avi has been involved with World ORT since 2003, when he was CEO of ORT in the former Soviet Union, based in Moscow. His prior experience includes roles as head of the education department and director of the Israel Center for Culture in the Israel prime minister’s office and the Israeli Embassy, all in Moscow.
A native of Beer Sheva, Avi holds an MA in organizational consulting, a management degree, and a BA in economics and behavioral sciences, all from Beer Sheva University. He is fluent in Hebrew, English and Russian, and completed his service in the IDF as a course commander for the Navy. He is married with three children.
Jonathan Plutzik chairs UJA-Federation of New York’s impact committee, which strives to develop a rigorous metric-based framework for grant making. He served for a dozen years as chairman of the board of the CORO New York Leadership Center, with additional executive leadership service to UJA as a member of the board and executive committee and chair of the caring commission and of the Connect to Care initiative, UJA’s community response to the 2008 financial crisis.
After a 24-year career, Jonathan retired as a vice chairman of Credit Suisse (CSFB) in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, he served as chairman of Firaxis Games, a leading computer game company. He is currently co-president of the PG Family Foundation in New York City and principal owner of The Betsy-South Beach, a luxury hotel recognized for its community-based philanthropic work and its commitment to arts and culture programming.
Since 2009, Jonathan has served on the board of directors of Fannie Mae, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2015, he became a founding board member of Planet Word, a Washington, D.C.-based museum dedicated to language arts, and was appointed by the mayor of Miami Beach to chair the blue ribbon task force on the future of Ocean Drive.
Jonathan received a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Judith Samuels, Managing Director of Impact and Performance Assessment, UJA-Federation of New York
Dr. Judith Samuels is managing director for the recently formed impact and performance assessment department at UJA-Federation of New York.
Previously, Judith was a tenured research scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in New York. She maintains faculty appointments at New York University’s School of Medicine in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry and at NYU Steinhardt’s Global Institute for Public Health. She has had an active consultancy with work in 14 U.S. states, the federal government, many national and several international organizations, and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and advisory boards.
Judith has an MBA from Rutgers University, and MPhil and a PhD in public administration from NYU. In her doctoral studies, she concentrated on social science research methods, organizational development and public policy. With an background in electronic engineering, she began her professional career in private industry, working for nearly 10 years as a junior executive and expert in new telecommunication technologies
Judith has conducted and led extensive research in social services, health services, policy and finance. Her topical areas of content expertise include mental health, adult and family homelessness, health and mental health services, policy and finance. Her work with homeless families is featured in the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health final report, and she was the lead author on a paper entitled Homeless Children: Update on Research, Policy, Programs and Opportunities, commissioned by the federal health and human services administration. She maintains a voluntary position as a member of the National Research Council on Homelessness.
Tamir is a double and electric bass player from Ashkelon, Israel. He served as the bassist in the Israeli Defense Forces Orchestra from 2005 to 2008 and studied at Rimon School of Music.
In 2008 Tamir was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with some of the school’s top teachers.
Since arriving in the U.S., Tamir has had the honor of performing and recording with many renowned artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Kevin Eubanks and Jason Palmer. He has also appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, Martha's Vineyard Jazz Festival and several other prestigious festivals and venues around the world.See full program
Wayne Tucker is a 25-year-old trumpeter/composer/arranger from Syracuse, NY. He is a 2009 graduate of the Jazz Studies program at SUNY Purchase under the direction of Todd Coolman, and has studied such great trumpeters as George Coble, Jon Faddis, Scott Wendholt and Jim Rotondi.
Wayne has played with many of today's current jazz stars including Bob Mintzer and Delfayo Marsalis, pop legend Elvis Costello and even the popular Haitian band Djet-X. He has also performed at some of the world’s greatest venues including Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Avery Fisher Hall, Birdland, The Ravinia Festival and The Kennedy Center, The Syracuse Jazz Fest, and Jazz in The Square. He has also performed at clubs and festivals across Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
A participant in the 2009 & 2011 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program and the 2009 National Trumpet Competition, Wayne can be seen performing around the New York area with many of today's current and up-and-coming jazz stars.See full program
Mark Gurvis joined JFNA as its executive vice president in September 2013.
Mark has spent much of his life serving the Jewish people, leading initiatives in key communities across North America. In nearly 12 years as CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, he spurred major growth in the Federation’s annual fundraising, from $4.2 million to $7.6 million, despite challenging economic times. During his tenure, the community’s endowment fund also climbed steeply, from $13 million to $34 million. At the same time, Mark modernized the Federation’s communications, broadened outreach to young Jews and families and raised Vancouver’s profile in Canada. The Federation’s ties to Israel and the global Jewish community also deepened strengthening its partnership with the Upper Galilee Panhandle.
Before leading the Vancouver community, Mark was vice president/assistant director of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. He directed their strategic planning process that resulted in a redesign of social planning and research. He also initiated the planning for a multi-project capital campaign for the Federation’s centennial.
Previously, as managing director of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, Mark coordinated a merger that created the new agency, and spearheaded a funding campaign that raised $10 million for the Fund for the Jewish Future.
Mark earned a BA from SUNY Albany, a MA in Jewish community service from Hebrew Union College and an MSW from the University of Southern California.
Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg has been a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute since 1994, and is editor of Identities: Journal for Jewish Culture & Identity. Among other worldwide affiliations, he recently became an associate of the program on law and religion in Regent's Park College at Oxford.
Rabbi Rothenberg serves as rabbi and spiritual leader of Har Adar, a Jerusalem suburb, where he has lived with his family since 1987.
Naftali Rothenberg is the 2011 laureate of the Liebhaber Prize for the encouragement of religious tolerance in Israel. His main fields of study are the wisdom of love, political philosophy, philosophy of halakha and democratic education.
He has published numerous articles and 12 books. His most recent book is Values and Citizens: Civic Democratic Education, released in 2014.
Gali Cooks is the inaugural executive director of the Jewish Leadership Piplines Alliance, an organization formed by foundations and Federations to influence, inspire and enable dramatic change in attracting, developing and retaining top talent for Jewish organizations.
Gali brings to the Alliance extensive professional experience in nonprofit, public and private sectors. Her career began in Washington, D.C., where she was a speechwriter at the Israeli embassy and worked as a legislative assistant at AIPAC. She then joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, where she was founding director of PJ Library. From 2007-2013, she served as executive director of the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, where she oversaw the distribution of millions of philanthropic dollars to organizations working to empower people and inspire hope.
In the private sector, Gali was vice president of operations at an education technology startup, and most recently served as director of business operations in the youth division of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Gali serves on the board of Keshet and the Joshua Venture Group, and has served on the boards of Exponent Philanthropy and the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.
Idit Klein has been an activist for equality and social justice for the past 20 years. Since 2001, she has served as executive director of Keshet, which she built from a one-person, local organization with an annual budget of $42,000 to an 18-person, national organization with an annual budget of nearly $2 million. Under her leadership, Keshet developed a comprehensive training curriculum for LGBT inclusion and trained educators in hundreds of Jewish communities around the country. In Massachusetts, Klein helped mobilize rabbis and synagogue members to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Klein also served as the executive producer of Keshet’s award-winning documentary film Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School.
Prior to leading Keshet, Klein was an activist in the LGBT community in Israel and played a role in early organizing efforts to create the Jerusalem Open House. She has worked for social justice organizations in Jerusalem and in Boston including SHATIL, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research & Information, and Community Work Services. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, Klein received her master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on social justice and anti-oppression education. She is also a certified facilitator of the Center for Leadership Initiatives.
Klein was among eight recipients of the 2003-2005 Joshua Venture Fellowship for young Jewish social entrepreneurs and was a plenary speaker at the 2007 GA. A board member of JOIN for Justice and a past fellow, Klein was honored by the Jewish Women’s Archive with a Women Who Dared award and named to the Forward 50.
Jen Rudo is the teen engagement coordinator for Jewish Community Services in Baltimore since December of 2013. She also runs a variety of programs for JOIN and The Mitchell David Teen Center. Prior to that, she worked with Jewish youth at Beth Tfiloh Camps for more than five years.
Jen is a Baltimore native who married her high school sweetheart and is raising two children in the same community in which she and her husband grew up. Jen cherishes family time and looks forward to cheering her kids on at their various games and activities.See full program
Jackson Rudo, Sixth Grader
Jackson Rudo is a sixth grader at Franklin Middle School in Baltimore County, MD. He credits his third grade teacher, Lara Fruman, for encouraging his thirst for knowledge and voracious appetite for reading.
Jackson often says “I bleed purple and orange” to show his pride in his hometown sports teams, the Orioles and Ravens. He enjoys playing basketball and lacrosse, and is excited about playing for the Lax World club lacrosse team this upcoming year.
Jackson is always up for a challenge, and when his parents challenged him to get straight A’s for the entire 2014-15 school year, he made sure he accomplished this.See full program
Susan Stern is the incoming vice chair of the Board of Trustees of JFNA.
Susan has served in numerous leadership roles in the Federation community. In New York, she served as both board and Campaign chair. She has also held positions as chair of National Campaign, president and chair of National Women’s Philanthropy and co-chair of National Young Leadership Cabinet. She currently chairs Global Programs for JDC and has previously served on the board of governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
A community activist and political advocate in New York and nationally, Susan chairs the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. In 2013, she was named one of the New York Modern Day Abolitionists and, in 2011, was nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, focusing on the issue of human trafficking. She is also involved with the leadership council of Repair the World, the board of trustees of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the dean’s advisory committee for the University of Michigan and the president’s advisory committee for Hebrew Union College. Ms. Stern has received numerous awards including the 2012 Woman to Watch award from Jewish Women’s International.
Prior to her involvement in philanthropic causes, Susan served as the first director of quality assurance at the American Dental Association, where she authored a book on quality assurance in dentistry and lectured extensively on the subject.
David Butler is chair of the Domestic Policy & Government Affairs Council at JFNA. He is a past chair of JFNA’s Global Planning Table and bylaws committee, and is a member of JFNA’s executive committee. He is a past president and Annual Campaign chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and the immediate past president of the United Jewish Endowment Fund.
David is an active advocate for the Jewish community in the Washington area, where he has taken on many roles with local Jewish organizations including president of Kemp Mill Synagogue, president of Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy and treasurer of the Jewish Community Relations Council. He continues to serve as a trustee of the United Jewish Endowment Fund and a member of the Philanthropic Fund Advisory Council.
With more than three decades of experience as a trial lawyer, David is a partner in the Washington, D.C. and New York City offices of Morgan Lewis & Bockius. In addition to his active commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice, Mr. Butler is counsel to Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and special litigation counsel to the Orthodox Union.
David Brown is chair of Global Operations: Israel & Overseas at JFNA. He is immediate past chair of the Human Services & Public Policy committee and prior to that was co-chair of the Domestic Affairs Health & Long-Term Care Workgroup.
David has held numerous leadership roles at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF). He is currently is an active JUF board member as well as immediate past board chair of its board. He is active in AIPAC and is a regular visitor to Israel. David has run in the Chicago Marathon eleven times on behalf of the American Liver Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and most recently on behalf of JUF.
An accomplished attorney and committed civic leader, David is chairman of the Chicago-based law firm Much Shelist, P.C., for which he is actively involved in strategic planning and leadership development. David is an experienced business and transactional attorney who also serves as a valued business advisor to his clients.
David earned his JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a BS from the University of Illinois.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is the president of Clal—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
An expert on religion and public life, he offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide. He was listed for many years in Newsweek as one of America’s “50 Most Influential Rabbis,” and recognized as one of America’s leading “Preachers & Teachers,” by Beliefnet.com, where he runs his blog, “Windows and Doors.”
He is the author, co-author or editor of several books, including You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism (Harmony, 2008). He is a Fox News regular contributor, Washington Post blogger, and think tank president.
Rabbi Hirschfield also conceived and hosted two groundbreaking series for Bridges TV-American Muslim TV Network, Building Bridges: Abrahamic Perspectives on the World Today, and American Pilgrimage. He is also the co-founder and executive editor of thewisdomdaily.com.
An interfaith activist, Rabbi Hirschfield has inspired diverse audiences around the country, including being featured at Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona and Melbourne. He was recently invited by the governments of the United States and the Republic of Indonesia to speak at the Jakarta Interfaith Dialogue.
He is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and received his MA and MPhil from the Jewish Theological Seminary and his BA from the University of Chicago.
Irwin Cotler is a member of the Canadian Parliament, emeritus professor of law at McGill University, former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer.
A constitutional and comparative law scholar, Irwin intervened in landmark Charter of Rights cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, minority rights, peace law and war crimes justice. Among his many groundbreaking moves as minister of justice and attorney general, he helped make the Supreme Court the most gender-representative in the world; appointed the first-ever aboriginal and visible minority justices to the Ontario Court of Appeal; and crafted the Civil Marriage Act, the first-ever legislation to grant marriage equality to gays and lesbians.
A leading Parliamentarian on the global stage, Irwin chairs several groups focused on human rights. And throughout his legal career, he has served as counsel to a number of famous prisoners of conscience.
Irwin is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates and has been recognized as “a scholar and advocate of international stature”. He was elected 2014 Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues, and recently received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award.
Ami Petter-Lipstein is the executive director of the Jewish Montessori Society, where she consults with Jewish day schools around the country on marketing, PR, program building and expansion.
She believes Jewish day school can (and should) be awesome, that learning is naturally fun and that curiosity should be joyfully encouraged. She is also a passionate Jewish Montessori parent of three fabulous kids who run INTO school each day with big smiles on their faces, excited to learn.
Michael Balaban is the chief development officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. His nonprofit management experience spans more than 25 years and he has proudly served the Jewish Federations of Rhode Island; Columbus, Ohio; and Los Angeles, California in senior financial resource development and community planning roles.
Previously, Michael was director of development for Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chief development consultant to the Treatment Research Institute, Girl Scouts, Gratz College and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Michael received a FEREP Fellowship in 1992 and graduated with an MPA from University of Southern California and a master’s in Jewish communal service from Hebrew Union College. In 2014, he proudly participated in the first cohort of JFNA’s Fundraising University. Michael is married to another Jewish communal professional and has three children.
William (Bill) Glazer, president and CEO of Keystone Property Group, founded the company in 1991. Initially a real estate brokerage firm, Keystone grew from an investment firm and development company in the 90s to a real estate private equity firm in 2003 and a full-service real estate investment and development operating enterprise in 2014. He has invested and developed over 10 million square feet of properties in billions of dollars of transactions using multiple investment structures.
In addition his real estate equity investments, Bill served as chairman of Hyperion Bank, a Pennsylvania state-chartered commercial bank, and serves as director on several nonprofit boards, including at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. His professional affiliations include the Young Presidents Organization, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and the Wharton School’s Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Bill is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Pennsylvania Award for Community Excellence, the Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
An avid endurance athlete who has completed numerous marathons and triathlons, Bill follows a long-term training philosophy that mirrors his patient investment philosophy.
Yonatan Sacker is the regional representative to the Midwest for The Jewish Agency for Israel.
Born and raised in South Africa, Yonatan was deeply involved in Netzer, the Reform youth movement. He spent a gap year in Israel after high school and never left.
Yonatan lived on Kibbutz Lotan for many years, completed his army service as a paratrooper and worked for two summers at Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, TX. He has been involved in Jewish education and management for most of his professional life, working at The Jewish Agency for Israel in the summer shlichim department, as a shaliach in Melbourne, Australia for three years, at the Leo Baeck Center in Haifa as well as at the Daniel Centers for Reform Judaism in Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Yonatan is married and has three children. Though he is based in Chicago for his current position, in Israel he and his family live in a wonderful community on Kibbutz Mishmarot.
Tali Lipschitz is the west coast regional representative for The Jewish Agency for Israel.
Born in Tel Aviv, Tali spent most of her childhood in Even Yehudah. After serving in the IDF as a motorcycle rider in the military police, she joined The Jewish Agency’s summer shlichim program and spent a summer at URJ Crane Lake Camp in Massachusetts. After returning to Israel, Tali started studying behavioral sciences at Bar Ilan University and worked for CellCom. During her studies, she once again dove into the Jewish world, this time as a yearlong shlicha to the Jewish community of Newfoundland in Canada.
Tali returned to Israel to complete her degree and started working full-time for the Jewish Agency in the short-term shlichut division, where she also met her husband.
Shortly after they got married, Tali and her husband were sent to the Greater East Bay Jewish Federation, where she was an award-winning community shlicha for four years. After a short return to Israel, Tali, her husband and their two children returned to the U.S., this time to Los Angeles, for her current position with The Jewish Agency.
Nir Lahav is director of social activism for The Jewish Agency for Israel. He is responsible for the development of programs such as Net@, Youth Futures and Youth Villages, as well as the launch of new programs such as post-high school service learning academies (Mechinot) and Project TEN (Global Tikkun Olam). These programs help create sustainable frameworks for meaningful volunteer contributions by young Jews, using the volunteer experience to enhance the Jewish identity and sense of Jewish collective belonging of the volunteers themselves.
A successful businessman and attorney, Nir decided to leave the commercial/private sector and turn his efforts toward nonprofit work in Israel. He has degrees from Tel Aviv University Law School and Pomona College in California. He then studied at the Mandel School of Educational Leadership in Jerusalem, focusing on the area of unemployment and youth, and later combined the two subjects as program director of JDC’s It’s a Deal project.
Nir came to The Jewish Agency in 2006 as the director of the Youth Futures program. He greatly expanded the reach of the program, developing an effective model of educational and social intervention among Israel’s most disadvantaged youth. He also took responsibility for The Jewish Agency’s programs to help children from Israel’s war-torn regions rehabilitate their lives and continue on a path of healthy development. after the Second Lebanon War. Following that, Nir served as interim director for the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village for orphans of the Rwandan genocide, living on site with his wife and three children. He returned to The Jewish Agency in 2011.
Mimi Lee Kravetz, chief talent officer for Hillel Interational, began her career as a Jewish Campus Service Corps fellow at Stanford Hillel, followed by several years in the business world.
For the previous six years, Mimi was a marketing executive at Google overseeing Employment Branding, a partnership with Google’s people operations (HR) team to find, grow and keep great talent. In this role, since 2009, Mimi managed Google.com/careers, a site with millions of visitors a month; shared Google’s diversity data with the world on Google.com/Diversity with the goal of influencing the tech industry to be more transparent and active on this important issue; and launched re:Work, a Google-led initiative to convene conversation around changing the nature of work.
Mimi revamped new employee orientation for hundreds of new employees starting each week and created a campaign to highlight real Google interns around the launch of film, The Internship. She also led marketing for Google for Nonprofits and spearheaded several projects connected to the Jewish world, including partnerships with The Israel Museum and Yad Vashem. Before Google, Mimi was a product manager at American Express in New York City.
Mimi has a an MBA from Harvard Business School and an BA from Tufts University with a dual major in Judaic studies and international relations focused on the Middle East. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young children.
Jacob Adudaram is a senior at the University of Michigan studying economics and political science and minoring in community action and social change. He has been involved in leadership with Michigan's Central Student Government as well as with Hillel and the Jewish community in a number of capacities, including leading an initiative in coordination with the It’s On Us national campaign to address sexual assault on college campuses.
Jacob attended the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in New York City and participated in the Kivunim: New Directions program based in Israel.
David Yarus is the founder of mllnnl, a millennial marketing agency that helps organizations like Birthright Israel and the Israeli Consulate understand and inspire millennials worldwide. He is also the founder of JSwipe, the world's largest and fastest-growing Jewish dating app, with more than 450,000 users.
David is passionate about technology, millennial empowerment and all things #future. Previously, he was the general manager of Mr Youth, where he ran youth marketing for brands like Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Spotify. He spends his free time thinking about Facebook ad strategy, studying consumer behavior and empowering local Jewish communities and organizations with social media best practices.
Ben Proler is an exchange analyst at Shell Oil Products U.S., the wholly-owned trading subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, which optimizes a comprehensive portfolio of physical commodity products including motor gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. He has worked previously with Caterpillar Oil & Gas, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Southern Core Recycling.
Ben currently serves as a Houston co-chair for JDC Entwine, which provides young Jewish leaders with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on global Jewish needs and international humanitarian issues. He is also an active member in a number of Jewish and civic organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, and is a Houston co-chair of Maverick PAC, an organization that provides a platform to engage the next generation of America leaders in business and politics.
Ben holds a BA in marketing from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.
Becky is the executive vice president and chief program officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where she oversees all of its programmatic and allocations activities in Los Angeles, Israel and internationally.
Becky has spent much of her career working in the Federation system, beginning at as the director of the university programs department at UJA-Federation of New York, before moving becoming its regional women's division director, then the western region director.
Most recently, Becky served as vice president of consulting and community development at JFNA, where her leadership was fundamental in energizing Jewish Federations to enhance community impact and Jewish identity programs, foster dynamic connections with Israel and care for Jews in need.
A strong proponent of philanthropy, Becky also volunteers with Freedom School of the Children’s Defense Fund, a literacy program that empowers children to make a difference, both within their own families, and in the greater community.
Becky is married and the proud mother of two adult children.
Jacob is the president and chief executive officer of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and has been its chief professional officer since 1992. Since beginning his affiliation with the Miami Federation in 1981, he has held a variety of positions, including director of planning and budgeting and assistant executive vice president overseeing the Annual Federation/United Jewish Appeal Campaign.
He also currently serves as president of JPRO Networks, the central professional association for individuals employed in Jewish communal organizations and agencies.
Before coming to Miami, Jacob trained at the Jewish Federations of New York and Philadelphia while a student at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, where he received his MSW. He began his studies in Jewish communal service as a recipient of a Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program (FEREP) scholarship award. In addition, he also holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jacob and his wife live in South Miami-Dade County and are the proud parents of three children and two grandchildren.
Michael is an associate professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University, where he also serves as faculty advisor to ISU Hillel.
Michael authored the resolution opposing “Zionism Unsettled” at the 2014 Presbyterian General Assembly. He is the moderator-elect of the Presbytery of Great Rivers and also leads its interfaith group.
Michael is actively engaged in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking through Friends Forever US, a co-existence project that brings Jewish and Arab teens from Israel to the US for two-week “life-rafts.” He frequently attends Shabbat services as a friend of Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington, Illinois.See full program
Richard L. Sisisky chairs the planned giving and endowments committee of JFNA. He has served as president of the Jacksonville Jewish Federation as well as the Jewish Foundation of Northeast Florida.
Richard is president of The Shircliff & Sisisky Company, a management consulting firm based in Jacksonville, FL that has consulting agreements with more than 200 clients, and lead director of Stein Mart Inc. Previously, Sisisky served as president and chief operating officer of ParkerVision, Inc., a local high tech company.
Richard serves on the board of Baptist Health System and chairs the public policy institute at Jacksonville University. He has also held board and leadership roles at The Bolles School, United Way of Northeast Florida and WJCT Public Television, and was founding chair of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission. He received a humanitarian award from the National Conference for Community and Justice in 1999.
Richard earned a bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and JD from the University of Richmond. He is married and has two daughters and two granddaughters.See full program
Jeff Klein came to Jacksonville to serve as executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Northeast Florida in September of 2014.
Previously, he served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern New Jersey in Cherry Hill for more than 18 years. During his tenure, Jeff guided the growth of the endowment program—including current and future assets—from $6 million to more than $50 million and increased the number of funds from 75 to just under 500.
Prior to Cherry Hill, Jeff served as regional director for State of Israel Bonds, serving Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY.
While earning a MS in social science administration at Case Western Reserve University, Jeff interned at the Jewish Federation of Greater Cleveland and chaired the college’s UJA campaign. He then became assistant executive director at the Jewish Federation of Atlantic County and Cape May Counties and, later, campaign director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo.
In his spare time, Jeff loves to work out and run. He has competed nearly 50 races including 6 marathons. He is married and has three children and eight grandchildren, with number nine due in January.See full program
Dr. Beth Cousens is the lead of JFNA's Jewish Education and Engagement office. Most recently, as the principal of Beth Cousens Consulting, she supported Jewish educational organizations through program evaluation and strategic research. She has a PhD in Jewish education from Brandeis University and is the author of varied articles and research publications about Jewish life and living, with a focus on Millennials and Generation X.
Elissa Maier is vice president of JFNA’s Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence, which assists the Federation system in the areas of talent acquisition and talent development by providing resources and expertise to identify, recruit, develop and retain the highest quality professional and volunteer leadership.
Elissa has spent her career working in the Jewish community. As a college student, she served as campus campaign chair for UJA, where she later worked for many years, including several as director of the university programs department. She also worked for the American Society for Technion, for UJA-Federation of New York, and as the New Jersey regional director of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Returning to JFNA, Elissa leveraged expertise in effective communication and program and leadership development to help Federations develop programs to advance the skills of their volunteer and professional leaders. She is an active volunteer in her local community and synagogue, Kol Haneshamah, and served as president of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County.
Elissa has an MSW from Yeshiva University and a BA from the University of Miami. She is married and has two daughters.
Iris Wolf is responsible for the overall pedagogical content, strategy and assessment of World ORT Kadima Mada – Israel programs as well as for the selection of new projects and initiatives. Wolf develops and manages the relationship with academia, including management of the Academic Advisory Council. Wolf has an MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in education management, with a focus on innovative teaching methods and educational planning, and is a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. She has a special interest in the development of methodologies and tools for the assessment and evaluation of students in a digital environment.
Rabbi Mike Uram is the executive director and campus rabbi at the Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a forthcoming book about how to build Jewish community in a post-institutional world.
Mike is passionate about breaking down the personal, spiritual and intellectual boundaries that prevent people from having full self-actualized Jewish identities. He helped create the Jewish Renaissance Project (JRP), a Jewish engagement ‘start-up’ that reaches thousands of students on the Jewish periphery with cutting-edge methods for building alternative Jewish communities and delivering content-rich Jewish experiences. JRP was recently included in the 2014-2015 Slingshot guide for most innovative Jewish organizations in North America.
In 2012, Mike was named to the Forward 50 Jewish leaders who made the most significant impact on the news in the past year. In the spring of that year, he received the Ally of the Year award from AIPAC for his campus work during the Penn BDS Conference. In the winter of 2007, he received Hillel’s highest award for professional achievement, the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence.
Mike has written a number of articles and currently pens a monthly column for Philly.com. A member of several local, national and international organizations, he serves as a Jewish educator for the Philadelphia Federation’s Men’s Cabinet and Round Table, and scholar-in-residence for the inaugural cohort of the Schusterman Fellowship.
Mike holds a BA in history and religious studies from Washington University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife and their two children.
Amos Lev-Ran serves as the director of JDC-FSU's division for external relations and government affairs, where he focuses on board and donor relations, developing ties with international organizations and educating the broader community about JDC’s efforts throughout the former Soviet Union.
Amos began his tenure at JDC in 2003 as director of FSU Missions and Special Projects. He has traveled extensively throughout the region, from Odessa and Azerbaijan to St. Petersburg and Siberia. More recently, he served as FSU regional specialist at JDC headquarters in New York City for three years.
He was also a team leader in JDC’s international relations division, where he was responsible for developing and fostering links between JDC programs, North American Federations and private donors, and a senior program manager at JDC-Israel, responsible for the implementation of the annual work plan and external relations for the ESHEL Elderly Services department.
Before joining JDC, Amos ran Jewish identity seminars for cadets in the Officers School of the IDF and served as an education emissary to Jewish communities in Australia and New Zealand.
An infantry officer (reserve) in the IDF, Amos holds an MA in organizational sociology with honors from Bar-Ilan University and a BA in Behavioral Sciences from Ben-Gurion University. He and his wife have three children.
Rebecca Caspi is the Senior Vice President for Global Operations of The Jewish Federations of North America, as well as the Director General of JFNA’s Israel office, a position she has held since joining the organization in 2007.
In this capacity, Rebecca leads a team that serves as the eyes and ears – and often voice – of North American Jewry and the Federation movement in Israel. Rebecca’s department oversees hundreds of projects, missions and other Federation activities in Israel, runs JFNA’s Global Planning Table, leads the liaison with JFNA’s historic partners, organizes the 2013 General Assembly in Jerusalem, represents the movement to the Israeli media and wider public, and interfaces with all levels of the Israeli government.
Prior to joining JFNA, Rebecca worked for over 16 years at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Her positions with JDC included serving as Executive Director of Worldwide Human Resource Development, Deputy Director for International Relations, and Director of Human Resources and Administration for the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute.
Rebecca was the first woman ever appointed to JDC’s global executive management team. She has an extensive background in operational management, human resources and financial resource development.