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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alan Solow is a vice chair and member of the executive committee of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. He has held numerous leadership positions at his Federation and previously served as a trustee of The Jewish Federations of North America.
Mr. Solow is also a dedicated lay leader at the JCC Association of North America, having served as board member, board chair and CEO search committee chair.
From January 2009 to May 2011, Mr. Solow chaired the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and from 2005-2007, he chaired the Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago.
Mr. Solow is a partner in the law firm of DLA Piper LLP (US).See full program
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
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.
Sandy Lenger is the Women's Campaign chair of UJA-Federation of New York and an advisory member of The Jewish Federation of North America National Women's Philanthropy Board.
An award-winning Young Leadership Cabinet alumna, Ms. Lenger co-chaired the 2011 Heart to Heart Mission, the 2013 National Mission and the 2014 Campaigners Mission, all to Israel.
Locally, she has served as vice president and Campaign co-chair at the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and has been chair and president of their women's division campaign.
Ms. Lenger is a board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and has traveled around the world on numerous JDC missions. As members of JDC’s Ambassador Steering Committee, she and her husband have underwritten the Cuban children's milk program.
A graduate of Skidmore College, Ms. Lenger is a registered nurse.See full program
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.See full program
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeffrey A. Bartos is president of ESB Holdings LLC, which acquires, develops and manages commercial, multi-family and single-family residential real estate. ESB also owns several energy efficiency service and contracting companies.
Prior to forming ESB, Jeff was president and CEO of Mark Group, Inc., and led the North American operations of Mark Group's global energy efficiency business from the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia. From 2010 to late 2014, Mark Group, Inc. grew from one employee to more than 200 employees serving customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Delaware and Virginia. Mark Group was the leading provider of energy efficiency services for residential, multi-family and commercial property owners in the region.
Prior to joining Mark Group, Jeff served as division president for Toll Brothers, Inc., the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder, managing land acquisition, land entitlements and homebuilding operations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.