Executive Committee

HOWARD LANZNAR - Chairman of the Board of Directors

Howard Lanznar Howard Lanznar is a seasoned business executive and legal advisor. He is a Founder and Senior Managing Director of Xyresic Capital, LLC, a recently-formed private equity firm focused on lower middle-market buyout transactions. He is also Senior Advisor with Mackinac Partners, a nationally recognized turnaround, restructuring and advisory firm. Howard previously served as is the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Diamond Resorts International, Inc., a global leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industry, with a worldwide network of over 400 vacation destinations in 35 countries throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Howard also has over 35 years of experience as a legal counselor and business advisor, principally as Senior Partner and Chair of the national corporate practice of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a major U.S. law firm. In his law practice, he has focused on all aspects of public and private mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, as well as securities offerings and the counseling of corporations, their boards of directors and senior executives.

Howard graduated magna cum laude in 1977 from Amherst College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree in 1983 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of The University of Chicago Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Mr. Lanznar is listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2009–2014), The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2015) and Illinois Super Lawyers (2012–2015).

A long-time supporter of ORT’s mission to achieve impact through education, Howard currently serves ORT America’s national leadership as Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors. Supporting ORT is a “family affair” for the Lanznars: Howard’s wife Gail and son Jonathan both also serve on the ORT America Board. Howard and Gail have traveled extensively with ORT on missions to Israel, the former Soviet Union and Latin America.

RICHARD N. BERNSTEIN - Chairman of the Executive Committee

Richard N. Bernstein was elected Deputy President of World ORT in 2016. A prominent corporate attorney, Mr. Bernstein is a specialist in non-profit governance and operations as well as cross-border transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity. His communal service includes membership on Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish Federations of North America, Past Chair of the United Israel Appeal, Chair of the Board of The iCenter for Israel Education, and membership on the Boards of the the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, the Jerusalem YMCA, and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

CONRAD GILES

Conrad Giles was appointed President of World ORT in May 2016, after serving as Vice President from 2013. He was Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs from 2008-2011, having served as Vice Chair from 2005. He became active in the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit in 1967 and served as its President from 1986 to 1989. Subsequently, he served as Chairman of Federation’s Executive Committee, President of the Michigan Jewish Conference, and as regional Chairman and national Vice Chairman of UJA. After holding various committee and officer posts, Conrad was named president of the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) in 1996. Following the merger of the UJA and CJF, he was elected Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the United Jewish Communities in 2000 and continues to serve on the board of the Jewish Federations of North America. He also served on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel from 1990-2002, serving on its Executive Committee from 1996-2000. From 1990-1999 he was a Board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee serving on its Executive Committee from 1996–1999.

Conrad was President of Detroit’s Men’s ORT chapter from 1978-1980. He was a Vice President of American ORT Federation from 1980-1983. He served as a member of the initial Executive Committee of ORT American Federation for three years.

A pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Giles has published extensively in professional journals. He is Chief Emeritus of Ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Wayne State University.

ROBERT GREY

Bio coming soon

LARRY KADIS

An active member of ORT for over 33 years, Larry Kadis is the immediate past National President of ORT America. Previously he served as Chair of the ORT America Executive Committee and on the National Board of Directors (2010-2016) and was co-chair of ORT America’s Strategic Planning Committee. In 2007, with the merger of American ORT and Women’s American ORT into ORT America, he was elected the first President of the ORT America Cleveland Region.

Mr. Kadis was President of the Cleveland Chapter of American ORT from 1994 to 1995 and in 1992 he was the first recipient of the Cleveland Chapter’s Sadie and Maurice Friedman New Leadership Award. In 1995 he was a co-recipient of American ORT’s first presentation of the Paul Bernick National New Leadership Award.

A former member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, he is a former chairman of the Federation’s Cleveland/St. Petersburg Partnership and the New American Leadership Training Program, and is Past Chair of the Federation’s Overseas Connections Committee, supporting programs and activities that create “living” bridges between Jews in Cleveland and Jews in Israel and around the world.

In addition to ORT, Mr. Kadis is Past Chair of the AIPAC Cleveland Council. An alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Foundation Leadership Program, he served as the chair of the Montefiore Foundation, was former President of the Cleveland Chapter of American Friends of The Hebrew University, former General Chairman of Greater Cleveland State of Israel Bonds, and currently serves on the board of Friends of JCC Krakow.

Mr. Kadis is President, CEO and co-owner of Federal Equipment Company, a global leader in the process equipment industry. He and his wife Suellen, an ORT America board and executive committee member, reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

SUELLEN KADIS

Suellen Kadis was raised by parents who always talked about the value of a quality education. With an education, doors open and choices for a successful future become possible.

Suellen has been involved in ORT for 30 years, serving as past President of the Cleveland Region of Women’s American ORT, and currently serving as Vice President of the Ohio Region Board of Directors. Suellen was honored in Cleveland at ORT America’s annual brunch with funds raised supporting the Shaare Ha’Negev Regional High School in Israel.

In Cleveland, Suellen serves on the Federation’s Community Relations and Endowment Fund Committees, and the Executive Committee of Jewish Family Service Association. Nationally, Suellen is a member of JFNA’s Israel & Overseas Committee; Secretary, Friends of JCC Krakow; Executive Committee, 70 Faces Media; Vice Chair, Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Ms. Kadis is a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in International Relations & Photo-Journalism, and of Case Western Reserve School of Law.

BRAD KOLAR

Brad Kolar is an executive consultant, speaker, and author with Avail Advisors. He works with leaders to simplify their problems, decisions, data, and communication. Brad was formerly the Director of Learning and Performance Strategy for Accenture and the Chief Learning Officer for the University of Chicago Medical Center. He holds a BA in Economics and a MA in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as an MS in Computer Science from Northwestern University. Brad lives in Naperville, IL and has a wife, Peggy, a son Zak (who is a digital literacy teacher in Waltham, MA), and a daughter Rebecca who attends the College of DuPage.

GAIL LANZNAR

Gail Lanznar has been active in ORT since 1994. She served as President of Highcrest Chapter from 1995 to 1997, then moved on to the Region Board serving as Donor Chair, Annual Campaign Chair, Executive Vice President and as President of Suburban Chicago Region in 2003-2005. A graduate of the President’s Young Leadership Council of Women’s American ORT, Ms. Lanznar has served on the National Board of Directors of ORT America since 2007, and she also serves on the Chicago Region Campaign Cabinet. Ms. Lanznar has also been very involved as Sisterhood President and on the Board of Directors of her temple.

Before retiring to raise her children, Ms. Lanznar pursued a career for many years in marketing research and information management in the packaged goods industry. She has two sons, Marcus and Jonathan, and two daughters-in-law, Erica and Emily. Her favorite activity is traveling with ORT, and she has been to ORT schools in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Russia, Israel and the U.S. “I love meeting our students, administrators and extended ORT family all over the world,” she says.

JUDY MENIKOFF

A devoted supporter of ORT for more than 35 years, Judy Menikoff was elected as Secretary and Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2016. She has served as Treasurer of World ORT (2008-2012), and Interim President of ORT America. Previously, as President of Women’s American ORT, she advanced its fundraising capabilities, reached out to new members and increased its overall effectiveness and productivity. While Chair of World ORT’s Fundraising Committee, she created the organization’s elite donors’ group, The 1880 Society. Ms Menikoff is also Assistant Treasurer of the American Section of the World Jewish Congress.

BUBBA URDAN

Bubba has been involved with ORT for over twenty years. He is a Past President of ORT America Michigan Region (2011-2014), Past Rub-a-Dub Event Chair (2006, 2007, 2015), and current ORT Michigan Sponsor Chair (2015-present). In 2018, he joined the board of Women’s American ORT Foundation, and is honored to now join as a National Board Member of ORT America. Bubba’s late mother was a long-time member of Women’s American ORT. Her involvement, and that of the many dedicated ORT lay leaders he has encountered over the years, has been an inspiration and the key to his success in helping make the ORT Michigan Region the most successful region in the country.

Bubba volunteers and sits on many boards and committees of Detroit Jewish organizations including the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, JARC, and the Holocaust Memorial Center of Detroit. He is a past alumnus of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America.

Bubba is the 2019 ORT Michigan Rub-a-Dub Honoree and on August 20th he will receive The Hermelin ORT Legacy Award for his achievements as a visionary leader of ORT’s Michigan Region and for his steadfast commitment to ORT’s critical mission. He previously received ORT America’s first National Leadership Award for leading the way with his innovative thinking, fierce dedication and buoyant spirit (2016).

In March 2016, Bubba married ORT Michigan Regional Director Nicole Miller. He enjoys watching movies and travelling, but above all, Bubba loves spending time with his family, including stepchildren Max and Bella, and Golden retriever (child #3) Rocky!

DARIO WERTHEIN

Dario Werthein was elected Chair of the World ORT Board of Trustees in 2016. One of Argentina’s leading businessmen, Mr. Werthein has been a supporter of ORT in his home country as well as globally for many years. Together with his family, he has contributed greatly to one of the network’s flagship schools in Buenos Aires. He has served as Chair of Tzedaka Foundation, one of Argentina’s largest social welfare organizations, is a member of the JDC’s Executive Board and has been a board member of Vida Silvestre, an affiliate of the World Wildlife Fund.

Linda Kirschbaum - Immediate Past President

Linda Kirschbaum of Highland Park, IL, has been an active member of ORT for over 30 years. As immediate past president of ORT America, Linda brings a wide range of ORT local, national and international leadership experience to the Board of Directors.  She has traveled extensively on ORT missions and to World ORT conferences, visiting ORT schools and programs in Argentina, Cuba, Israel, Mexico and the U.S. Past chair of the Zarem/Golde ORT Technical Institute (which became the Chicago ORT Technical Institute in Skokie, IL), Linda brings a unique perspective to the challenges faced by ORT operational programs in providing cutting-edge education to students, and she is a strong advocate for the ORT Next Generation program.

With a BA in Economics from Northwestern University and an MBA in marketing from the University of Michigan, Mrs. Kirschbaum obtained ten years of experience as a marketing and strategic planning consultant to Fortune 500 companies in the food industry, before deciding to stayhome to raise a family.

Shelly Dreifuss - Vice President

Shelly Dreifuss of Highland Park, IL, has been supporting ORT since 1982. She was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Chicago ORT Technical Institute in Skokie IL and serves as a member of U.S. ORT Operations. A Chicago native, Ms. Dreifuss has served on the Chicago Region Board for the past thirteen years. She is a Past President of the Metropolitan Chicago Region, where she served as Executive Vice President, Young Leadership Coordinator, and Co-Chair of Lunch with A View. She participated on three ORT missions:  The 2006 mission to Israel, the 2008 mission to Cuba to see the ORT program, and the 2014 Mission to Israel and Bulgaria, which she led.

Ms. Dreifuss enjoys working out, reading, social networking, playing canasta, and walking her dog. She and her husband spend their winters in south Florida. They have three adult children.

Morris Gocial - Vice President

Morris Gocial is the founding member of MDG, LLC, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants. After graduating from Temple University in 1969, he began his professional career at Price Waterhouse and started his own firm in 1976.  He is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Forensic Accountant, and a Certified Valuation Analyst.

He has been involved with ORT for over 40 years, serving on the board of American ORT, assisting in the merger of American ORT with Women’s American ORT, and serving on the combined board for many years. He is serves on the Executive Committee in the capacity of Vice President and Chair of the Audit Committee.  He also serves on the boards of the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, American Jewish Committee, Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce, and the Jefferson University Kimmel Cancer Center. He and his wife Sarita reside in Philadelphia and have two children and three grandchildren.

Alan Seidenfeld - Vice President

Alan Seidenfeld and his wife Susan retired eight years ago to Santa Rosa, California where they live close to one of their sons and two granddaughters. They have three sons and six grandchildren, and have been married 39 years.  Susan was active in ORT for many years and Alan was the supportive husband until his retirement, when he became an active participant and major donor. After moving to Santa Rosa, Alan became involved in the volunteer community and serves on the boards of the Santa Rosa
Symphony and the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, as well as Marin County ORT.

Alan was a partner in Marketforce, the seventh largest advertising group in Colorado, specializing in the food service industry. He served nineteen years on the state board of the Colorado Restaurant Association and twelve years as Colorado chairman of the National Restaurant Association PAC. During that time, Alan was awarded the CRA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, and elected Director Emeritus. Alan also served on the Board of Trustees of his synagogue for five years, and on the board of Shining Stars in Aspen,Colorado, an organization for children with life-threatening diseases.  He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in journalism and communications and is a Navy veteran.

 

Lew Zipkin - Vice President

Lewis Zipkin of Cleveland, OH is a second-generation ORT member and donor; his parents were members of American ORT (WAO) long before the two organizations merged into ORT America in 2007.

Active at the local and national levels of the organization, Mr. Zipkin has served in various capacities. He was vice president of AO’s Cleveland Chapter, as well as vice-president and member of the national board. He was also chair of the Finance, Budget and Investment, Planned Giving and Real Estate Committees. Presently he serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Cleveland Region, assists ORT America with its real estate holdings, and is co-chair of the Nominating Committee.

He is the founder and principal of the law firm Zipkin Whiting,which focuses on employment discrimination and class action litigation. He has received awards as an extensive real-estate owner in the Cleveland area and holds real estate in other states.

Mr. Zipkin and his partner Dawn split their time between Cleveland and a home in Siesta Key, Florida. In Cleveland he has been involved in United Way, the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Care Association and the City Club of Cleveland. He was an initial trustee of Ohio’s Second Special Improvement District, where he served as president and a member of the board, and he currently serves as the District’s vice president.

Mr. Zipkin’ s daughter is a professor at North East Ohio Med School and his son-in-law is a physician in private practice. He has four grandchildren.

Bart Bookatz - Secretary/Associate Treasurer

Bart Bookatz of Beachwood, OH, has been a member and leader of ORT for over 30 years. He was elected President of the Cleveland Chapter of American ORT in 1989, and served a three-year term, during which he supported the growth of the local chapter through leadership development initiatives. He was elected President of the Cleveland Region of ORT America in 2009, and serves as President of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, Cleveland’s largest and oldest Jewish funeral home.

Mr. Bookatz is Vice President of the Cleveland American Jewish Committee and serves on the boards of The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, Suburban Temple and Israel Bonds. He is a member of the Advisory Board of The Hospice of Western Reserve, serves on the Advisory Council of the Ahuja Medical Center, and is an Auxiliary Chaplain of the Federation. In addition, he is a life trustee and former president of the Hebrew Free Loan Society, past chairperson of the State of Israel Bonds of Cleveland, past president of Temple Tifereth Israel, past president of The Oakwood Club and past president of the Northeast Ohio Region of Jewish National Fund. He is the Chair of the Cleveland Security Committee of the Jewish Community Federation.  Mr. Bookatz has traveled with ORT on several occasions, participating in missions to Israel and Cuba.

Neil Model - Member at Large

Neil founded Model Consulting, Inc. in 1990 after serving nearly 15 years as vice president and a shareholder for the MidAmerica Group of Pennsylvania and the Bear Stearns Benefit Planning Group. In early 2015, Model Consulting, Inc. was acquired by CBIZ, a national accounting and benefit organization, where he now serves as President of CBIZ Model Consulting.

Neil makes charity work a priority serving on several not-for-profit Boards. As the former chairman of the Lower Bucks County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Neil received its highest volunteer award for his unwavering

commitment to volunteerism and compassion for the delivery of critical human services. He was honored with the Philadelphia Chapter Supporter of the Year Award in recognition of his strong local efforts with ORT America.

Neil was recently elected as Chairman of the Board’s Executive Committee of ORT America. He is a long-time supporter and member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. He serves as Vice Chair of the Board of The Abramson Center for Jewish Life. Neil and his wife Karen were honored by The Abramson Center for Jewish Life with the Family Award, the Center’s highest honor, at their 2012 annual Rainbow Ball.

Neil and his wife of 44 years reside in Philadelphia and enjoy the company of their two daughters, sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Roz Vermut - Member at Large

Roslind (Roz) Vermut holds a BS in Education from Hofstra University and is a former elementary school teacher. She is the office administrator and bookeeper for David Vermut CPA PC.

Ms. Vermut has been an active member of Women’s American ORT since 1972, serving as its national chair and treasurer. Ms. Vermut was a member of the Financial Management Team, Restructuring Committee and the Finance Committee for both American ORT and Women’s American ORT and is a past member of the World ORT Finance Committee. She served as chair on the Bramson Board of Trustees and is the present chair on US ORT Operations.

Ms. Vermut has visited ORT schools in Israel, Argentina, Mexico and the US.

She is presently the Assistant Treasurer of Temple Or Elohim and is Chair of its Bylaws Committee and its Internal Controls Committee, as well as being a member of its Board of Trustees.

Andi Wolfe - Member at Large

Andrea (Andi) Wolfe has been involved with ORT since 1973. In the early days she did anything she could to help the schools; eventually she became Michigan Region Financial Secretary, and a few years later she became Co-President of the Michigan Region.

Ms. Wolfe’s passion for education and tikkun olam has driven her to become involved in many philanthropic activities. She serves on the board of Hebrew Free Loan Society, is a transgenerational member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation, and is a life member of Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, and Adat Shalom Sisterhood. She has been involved in Israel Bonds for over 35 years; she founded a women’s group for the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network in Michigan; and she is a national board member of American Technion Society.

Ms. Wolfe lives in Bloomfield Hills (MI) with her husband Lawrence (Larry). They have two children, Jeremy and Ericka (Mathew Thacker), and five grandchildren.

 

Board of Directors

JAMES AUGUST

Jim August worked in the adverting agency business for 55 years, including the last 20 as President of Stone August, Inc., and then served for eight years as the principal of August & Associates, LLC, a marketing and communications consultancy. His agency and his consultancy did work for a number of Jewish organizations (both for-profit and communal), as well as a wide variety of regional and national clients.

Jim’s community service background includes several decades and a variety of positions held with The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. He received the Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a life member of its Board of Governors. He has been president of what was then called Detroit Men’s ORT, The Michigan Jewish Conference, The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and Vice President of JTA. He was a founder and first President of The Jewish Ensemble Theater (the longest continuously performing professional Jewish theater in North America), and recently served a second term as its President.

Jim and his wife Doris (who worked for ORT many years ago) have three sons, three daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.

SAUL BERKOWITZ

A resident of Florham Park, NJ, Saul Berkowitz joined the National Board of Directors of ORT America in 2016. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and he recently retired as a partner at a national CPA firm where he practiced for over 40 years. A graduate of Syracuse University, Saul and his wife Suzanne have two children (and one grandchild), both of whom work for non-profit organizations.

For more than 20 years, Saul has been a member of the Accountants, Attorneys and Financial Services Chapter of ORT in New York City, and has been the Chapter Leader for the past seven years. He is an active member of the New Jersey Society of CPAs, and has been recognized by several charities for his active participation. He is also a Vice President of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ, where he has been a board member and officer for more than 20 years. In addition, he serves as a board member of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan NJ.

SID BESMERTNIK

Sid Besmertnik is married (42 years) to Laurie Besmertnik: Father of Bonnie, Todd & Sara Besmertnik.

He retired in March 2018 as Global Director of Safety, Regulatory Affairs and & Quality Control for the Novecare Business Unit of Solvay, a Belgium based, multi–national Chemical Company. Sid had been with Solvay and their predecessor companies for 36 years. Sid is a 1976 graduate of Cooper Union, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts). Sid has dedicated his retirement to his volunteer work in the areas of education and disabilities.

Sid’s ORT experience includes: ORT America National Board Member and Chair of Planned Giving (2010-2015); (Men’s) American ORT – National Executive Board Member (2006); National Chair, Next Generation Committee (Young Leadership) (2006-2007).

In Atlanta, Sid currently serves as Regional President of the Atlanta Region for 2018-2019, and previously served as Atlanta Region Vice President from 2006-2017; Sid has been Board Member of the Atlanta Chapter from 2005  to the present, and served as Chair of ORT Atlanta-Lipson Exchange Program (2005-2011).

BARON VIVIEN DE GUNZBURG

Mr. de Gunzburg is the Founder and Managing Partner of Gunzburg & Co. LLC, which owns Ceres Infrastructure Asset Management LLC, managing the leading private debt fund in the U.S. dedicated to financing large core infrastructure assets long term. Mr. de Gunzburg is also the founder and Managing Partner of Findercod, established in 2003. Findercod is the third financial advisory services company that Mr. de Gunzburg helped to create. Located in the UK, Belgium, and France, Findercod provides corporate finance services, including long-term alternative financing solutions – or “DAFS” – to corporates, private equity and asset management areas.

In 2002, Mr. de Gunzburg was involved in the creation of a second investment banking start-up: Stephens Financial Group (SFG). SFG was set up to be the large capitalizations New York mergers and acquisitions arm of the Stephens Group, which belongs to the Stephens family from Little Rock, AK—one of America’s most successful investing, operating, banking and political families (providing financial support to Walmart, President Bill Clinton, and General Wesley Clark, etc.). While at SFG, Mr. de Gunzburg worked as a Vice President in the M&A advisory practice, serving clients in the industrial, aerospace, homeland security and life sciences areas..

From 1998 to 2002, Mr. de Gunzburg was part of the Banking Group of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York. While at Lazard, Mr. de Gunzburg was, in 2001, a Senior Associate dedicated exclusively to and worked in duo for Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, while participating in the creation of Rohatyn Associates, where clients included Comcast, HSBC, Suez, Sodexho, LVMH, Publicis, Fiat, Fimalac, United Technologies and Pfizer. Prior to this assignment, Mr. de Gunzburg was, in 2000, an Associate in the Industrial and Retail Group at Lazard. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. de Gunzburg was an Analyst in the Lazard Life Sciences Group, working for Kenneth Jacobs, currently worldwide Chairman of Lazard.

Prior to joining Lazard, Mr. de Gunzburg worked at Rothschild & Cie. in Paris in 1997 as an Analyst in the Mergers and Acquisitions department advising clients in the industrial, financial, real-estate and technology sectors. In 1995 and 1996, he worked at Société Générale as an analyst in the Credit department both in Madrid and in Hong Kong. In 1994 Mr. de Gunzburg worked at Sanofi Beauté in Barcelona; and prior to that, in 1993, worked at Republic New York Corporation (Republic National Bank and Safra Bank) in the Mergers and Acquisitions department in New York.

A French and Belgian national, Mr. de Gunzburg received a MSc. in financial engineering from E.S.L.S.C.A., and a BA with honors from the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris. Mr. de Gunzburg is fluent in French, English and Spanish, with notions of German, Japanese and Russian.

Mr. de Gunzburg is a Young Leader and member of the Board of Directors of the French-American Foundation in France, the founder and President of the de Gunzburg Myeloma Research Foundation in the USA, a Member of the Executive Committee and Treasurer of FFRMG (French Foundation for the Research on Myeloma and Gammopathy) in France, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of World ORT (the world’s oldest and largest NGO dedicated to education) and Chairman of ORT-IC (International Cooperation) in Switzerland and the UK, President of Union ORT in France and a member of the Board of Directors of ORT France, Member of the Board of ORT America, Member of the board of directors of ORT Belgium, a Vice President and member of the General Committee of The Travellers in France, and Co-Founder, shareholder and ex CEO of IRO (a med-tech company developing a machine combining diagnostic and cure) in France. Mr. de Gunzburg is also the President of AQDE (Association Quartier Dauphine Environnement) and member of the Board of Directors of COBB (Coordination pour la Sauvegarde du Bois de Boulogne et de ses Abords) both to protect and preserve the 16th district of Paris, the Bois de Boulogne and its surroundings.

SHELLY DREIFUSS

Shelly Dreifuss of Highland Park, IL, has been supporting ORT since 1982. A Chicago native, Ms. Dreifuss has served on the Chicago Region Board for the past 14 years. Shelly was honored to be the 2018 recipient of the ORT America President’s Award. She is a Past President of the Metropolitan Chicago Region, where she served as Executive Vice President, Young Leadership Coordinator, and Co-Chair of Lunch with A View. She participated in three ORT missions: The 2006 mission to Israel, the 2008 mission to Cuba to see the ORT program, and the 2014 Mission to Israel and Bulgaria, which she led. She served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Chicago ORT Technical Institute.

EVA LYNN GANS

Eva Lynn Gans is a Computer Consultant whose past corporate clients include the IBM T.J. Watson Labs and TEDA (Technology Evaluation & Development Associates). Her Jewish community involvement on the national scene included being a member of the JFNA Board of Trustees, the Fair Share Committee, ONAD Committee, and By-Laws Committee. Eva also served on the Women’s Division National Board of State of Israel Bonds. In Bergen County, NJ, she served as Chairman of Bergen County State of Israel Bonds Women’s Division and as Women’s Division President of the UJC of Bergen County. For UJA Federation of Bergen County and North Hudson, Eva was the first woman to serve as Campaign Chairman, increasing the campaign in two years from $6.9 million to $8.35 million after many years of decreasing campaigns. She also served as Federation President, followed by a three-year term as the first woman president of the UJA of Northern New Jersey Endowment Foundation. During her tenure the Endowment Foundation increased assets under management from approximately $36 million to $62.9 million and saw the growth of LOJE from 28 women to 68 women.

Eva was the first woman President of her synagogue, the Jewish Center of Teaneck. Under her guidance, the synagogue membership voted to change from Conservative to Orthodox and thus reverse the trend of decreasing membership to enjoy a steady consistent increase in membership.

Eva has received awards from Boys Town Jerusalem, UJC Women’s Division, Israel Bonds, Northeastern NJ Region of Women's American ORT, and she was the first woman to receive the Shofar Award from the Bergen Council of the Jewish Committee on Scouting. Eva lives in Fort Lee with her husband Leo. She is a “frequent flyer” with 33 trips to Israel, plus numerous cross-country trips to visit her five grandchildren in California.

SUSAN S. GOLDMAN

Suze Goldman has been a committed member of the Western Massachusetts community since moving to Longmeadow with her husband Dr. Marc Goldman, a gastroenterologist, in 1978. The couple have 3 adult daughters and 2 grandchildren. Immediate Past President of Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts she also served as secretary and Major Gifts Chair. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors of Sinai Temple, Board Member and Secretary of the Springfield JCC and the Board of Directors of Interfaith Homes in Longmeadow. Suze is a former Hadassah vice president, member of the Board of Directors of JFS and one of the founders and President of the Hatikvah Holocaust Education and Resource Center.

Professionally, Suze maintains a private psychotherapy practice working with adolescents, adults, couples and families. In addition, she has been an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Elms College teaching many students for whom higher education is a first experience for their families. Suze has been actively involved in collaborative interfaith programming linking Elms College and the Jewish community through film and other educational modalities.

Suze and Marc were participants in the World ORT Missions to Russia in 2016 and Ukraine in 2018.

DEBBIE KANTER

From a very young age, Debbie Kanter was aware of her family’s commitment to ORT, although it took her many years to connect with ORT as an adult. In the interim, with a B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University, she taught and supervised programs for deaf children, and negotiated teacher contracts for South Suburban Chicago. Her next stop was Cleveland, where she founded and supervised the first Total Communication program (using sign language) in the Cleveland suburbs while earning her M.Ed. in Special Education Supervision.

Debbie has had an eventful history with ORT, working as Chapter President in Des Moines and serving on the Midwest District Board in Chicago. Through ORT, she became active in the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, where she served on the Women’s Division Cabinet and as local Program Chair of the “Anne Frank in the World” exhibit from Amsterdam. She then turned her attention to the Des Moines Jewish Community Relations Commission.

A prolific writer, Debbie penned articles for ORT, Federation, and other local publications, which led to authorship of a series of op-ed articles on Soviet Jewry for the Des Moines Register.

After relocating to Miami, Debbie served as School Board Chair of the local Solomon Schechter Day School during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, and subsequently became president of her congregation.

A move north to Boca Raton and environs rekindled her interest in writing—newsletters, speeches for local politicians, proposals for policies, and strategies for organizational implementation.

ORT recaptured Debbie’s imagination. Still passionate about writing, she wrote and gave a speech to the ORT America Florida Region Leadership Cabinet (now Board) about the history of ORT and its impact on the Jewish world. She deeply believes that education in its highest contemporary applications will help individuals gain career skills and personal dignity, and result in Jewish communities’ ability to survive and flourish. In our quest to fundraise for our ORT schools and programs, it became evident that public awareness of our mission and our cutting edge quality are inextricably linked to the funds we are able to raise.

Husband Larry continues to be the love of her life. Their two children are each married and live in the greater Washington D.C. area. Their family is blessed with two grandchildren. And at 93, Great Grandma Shirley Sokolsky has overseen the fun, still stays focused and in the loop, and is grateful that ORT continues to command our attention and commitment.

JONATHAN LANZNAR

From a young age, Jon has been exposed to ORT work through his dedicated parents. In 2008, he began volunteering for ORT, serving on the national marketing committee; currently Jon serves on the board of both New York City Next Gen and national Next Gen. The Senior Manager of Life Sciences at Truveris, a healthcare technology firm based in New York City, Jon focuses on building transparency throughout the prescription drug industry. He manages Truveris relationships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and develops new products to fit the needs of their ever-changing market. Earlier, as a consultant at Interbrand, an Omnicom Company, Jon helped shape the vision and strategy for Fortune 500 companies and their flagship brands. He holds a BA from Emory University and an MBA in healthcare and entrepreneurial management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

HUGO LEIBOVICH

Hugo Leibovich, of Coral Gables, Florida was born and educated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hugo obtained his Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires. He is currently the President Latin American Operations of Rotation Dynamics Corp. USA, General Director and CEO of Mexroller SA de CV Mexico, Vice President and CEO of Rotadyne Chile SA, and President and CEO of Rotadyne Argentina SA.

Hugo has served on the ORT Argentina Board as a member (2007-2009), General Secretary (2009-2011) and Second Vice President (2011-2013), and on the World ORT Board of Representatives (2008-2012).

With his wife Adriana, he has four children and 6 grandchildren. Hugo enjoys boating, golf, basketball and tennis.

JOAN LEVIN

Joan Levin, of Jacksonville, Florida has a long history of involvement in Jewish philanthropy. Joan has served on several committees and is an honorary board member of the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Jewish Federation, is a past member of the Board of Directors and Program and Services Committee of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, a past member of the Board of Directors and Program Chair of Jacksonville Jewish Foundation and has been a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Jacksonville Jewish Center since 1970. She served on the UIA Board of Directors and currently serves on several Jewish Agency committees.

Joan is the recipient of many awards, including the Etz Chaim Tree of Life Award (JNF), the Woman in Power Award (NCJW), The Lion of Judah award (Israel Bonds), the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Lion of Judah award (UJC National Women’s Philanthropy) and the Joe P. Safer Community Services Award (Jacksonville Jewish Federation).

Joan is a graduate of the University of Florida (English and Chemistry Major). She is married to Ronnie Levin and has three married children and eight grandchildren.

 

JON LEVINE

Jon Levine is the President of The Image Group, a top 40 promotional products distributor in the country with offices in Toledo, OH, Richmond, VA, Cleveland, OH and Ann Arbor, MI. Jon is responsible for strategic direction as well as acquisitions. Prior to joining The Image Group, Jon was an Executive in the Steel Distribution industry holding positions with O’Neal Steel of Birmingham, AL and Wabash-Lagrange Steel of Toledo, OH.

Jon serves as the Current Chair of the JSS SO, a $12 million supporting organization for Jewish Seniors in Greater Toledo. He is also the current member of the Toledo Museum of Art Development Committee, and has served as the Past President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, the Past President of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of NW Ohio, and was a Past Board Member of the United Way of Greater Toledo, as well as a Past Board Member of Mercy Health System ($4 billion revenue hospital chain).

Jon graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting in 1980. Jon has been married for thirty five years to Arleen Levine and they have two adult sons.

LEANDRO MARGULIS

Leandro Margulis is the VP & GM of Developer Relations at TomTom, the leading independent location technology specialist, shaping mobility with highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services. In this role, Leandro sits at the intersection of product and business, leading TomTom's Developer Relations organization: a global, multidisciplinary 25-person team including sales, marketing, product marketing and developer relations, with team members in the U.S., Poland and the Netherlands.

Prior to joining TomTom, Leandro served as the VP of Strategic Partnerships & Alliances at Cint, where he was responsible for developing a new business unit around data collaboration and supply with “non-traditional” partners such as publishers, app developers and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) for data distribution of self-declared, deterministic, first party data. Leandro also founded Searchnwork, a recruiting and confidential job search platform, as well as TrazeTag, inventing a visual durable radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag for tracking high value assets outdoors in harsh environments.

Additional leadership roles Leandro has previously held include Senior Consultant at Deloitte, Managing Director at Impulsa Business Accelerator, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships at Quixey, and Senior Director of Product Management and Business Strategy at a stealth travel and leisure startup.

Leandro holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Florida International University (FIU), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He is an ORT Argentina Alum and has been involved with ORT America for over 20 years.

PETER MENIKOFF

Mr. Menikoff has served as interim Chief Executive Officer of American Electric since August 2018. He has been a director of American Electric since May 2007, Vice Chairman of the Board from November 2009 to May 2014 and Chairman of the Board since May 2014. Mr. Menikoff served as the Interim Chief Financial Officer of Vlasic Foods International Inc. from February 2000 to May 2001.

Mr. Menikoff served as President and Chief Executive Officer of CONEMSCO, Inc., an oil and gas drilling/production supplies, services and equipment company, from April 1997 until June 1998. Mr. Menikoff served as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Tenneco Energy Corporation from April 1997 until June 1998. Prior to that, Mr. Menikoff served as a Senior Vice President of Tenneco, Inc., from June 1994 until April 1997. Mr. Menikoff served as Executive Vice President of Case Corporation, an agricultural and construction equipment company and a subsidiary of Tenneco, Inc., from November 1991 to June 1994. Mr. Menikoff served as Treasurer of Tenneco, Inc. from May 1989 to November 1991. Mr. Menikoff served as a Director of Chubb Limited, formerly named ACE Limited, from 1986 until his retirement from the board in 2016.

Mr. Menikoff holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Bates College of Law of the University of Houston. Mr. Menikoff is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

MORGAN NEWMAN

As a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, Morgan focuses on educating the next generation of the responsibilities that come with the attainment of wealth. She manages the investment portfolios, technology and marketing, for her team, the Newman Group. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Morgan worked in international development and government relations in Washington, DC. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with minors in Mathematics and International Politics from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Morgan is a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Economic Honor Society and is Series 7, 66, and Life and Health Insurance licensed. She is the President of the NYC Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter, a competitive member of CrossFit Dynamix, and a proud member of Team Brunette for the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual flag football game. She lives in Astoria and is an avid traveler, having visited 14 countries including South Africa, Nicaragua, Israel, and Brazil.

MICHAEL PERLMUTER

Michael is the President and General Counsel for Alex N Sill Company, LLC, the nation’s leading public adjusting company and property loss consultant.

He has been involved with ORT on a local basis for 30 years including former President of Cleveland Men’s ORT. Michael also serves on the local board of the ADL, and is an officer of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. Michael is married to Shari Sill Perlmuter, and they have two grown children, Lexi and Brittany.

BARBARA ROSS

Bio coming soon.

BARBARA SIEGEL

Barbara Siegel joined ORT in 1972. She served in several capacities until she became President of the North Woodmere-Hewlett Chapter of the South Nassau Long Island Region. She has served as Vice President of the newly formed chapter of Nassau Singles ORT.

Barbara was a teacher for 34 years in the New York City School System. In addition, she ran her own Defensive Driving business. Barbara is a graduate of Long Island University, and has accumulated additional courses in Human Resources towards a Master’s Degree at the New School for Social Research.

When she and her husband Jerry moved to Cascades in Boynton Beach, Florida it was another perfect fit. She quickly joined ORT and served as its first Membership Chair and in that capacity Cascades had phenomenal growth and is still growing strong. She then became president of Cascades for two very successful years.

Barbara went on to become Executive Vice President of the North Palm Beach County Region and from 2005 through 2007, she served as President of the Region. Currently she is on the ORT America Florida Regional Board and serves as Annual Campaign Co-Chair, Major Gifts Co-Chair and Area Development Advisor, and previously served as president of the ORT America Cascades chapter. She was the Florida Region Chair for the 2011 Mission to Israel, and the National Chair for the ORT America Annual Meeting 2016.

Barbara is a mother of three, as well as a stepmother of three more, and has ten lovely grandchildren to enjoy. Her love of fundraising and her unique ideas are well known. Her high level of energy enables her to enjoy Jewish studies, literature, the theater, mahjong and golf.

Barbara lives her favorite quote, which is: “Life is not a dress rehearsal!”

JOSE PEPE SIGAL

Jose Pepe Sigal was born in 1950 in Mexico City. He moved to Dallas (TX) in 1983 and then moved on to Los Angeles (CA) in 1989. He is married to Rita Sigal and has two children and three grandchildren. In Mexico, he had various occupations in banking, textiles, and insurance, and in the United States he ran a family-owned real estate company with an emphasis on commercial properties. He has been on the Board of Directors of Atlantida Insurance Company, Grand Bank, Multibanco Mercantil de Mexico, Founders National Bank, ORT-Los Angeles, Columbian Country Club, Club deGolf Bellavista, and Brentwood Country Club. He has also been on the Board of Governors for Cedar Sinai.

DR. LOUANNE SMOLIN

Dr. Louanne Smolin is an urban educator with diverse experiences in arts research and teacher education. Her areas of expertise include curriculum reform through multimedia and arts integration. She has extensive knowledge in curriculum reform and serves as a researcher on large-scale program evaluations. Dr. Smolin has published journal articles and book chapters related to collaborative program evaluation, multimedia, and teacher professional development, and has also been a recipient of the Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

ANDREA (ANDI) WOLFE

Andrea (Andi) Wolfe has been involved with ORT since 1973. In the early days she did anything she could to help ORT’s schools. Andi served as Michigan Region Financial Secretary, and a few years later she became Co-President of the Michigan Region.

Ms. Wolfe’s passion for education and tikkun olam has driven her to become involved in many philanthropic activities. She serves on the board of Hebrew Free Loan, is a transgenerational member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation, and is a life member of Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, and Adat Shalom Sisterhood. She has been involved in Israel Bonds for over 35 years; she founded a women’s group for the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network in Michigan; and she is a national board member of American Technion Society.

Ms. Wolfe lives in Bloomfield Hills (MI) with her husband Lawrence (Larry). They have two children, Jeremy and Ericka (Mathew Thacker), and five grandchildren.

LAWRENCE WOLFE

Lawrence A. Wolfe was born in Ontario, Canada and moved to Detroit with his family in 1952.  He earned a Bachelor of Art’s degree from Wayne State University in 1969 and his Juris Doctor Degree from the Detroit College of Law in 1972.

Mr. Wolfe practiced law for seven years specializing in corporate and labor law.  In 1979 he joined Production Tool Supply Company, an international distributor of industrial tools, supplies and machinery.  He became President/CEO in 2003.

Mr. Wolfe has long been very involved in philanthropy in the Detroit area as well as internationally.  He is the immediate past president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and immediate past Chair of the State of Israel Bonds for Metropolitan Detroit.  Mr. Wolfe is currently a board member of Jewish Fund, Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network (Bloomfield/Detroit), Yeshiva Beth Yehuda Partners in Torah, American Friends of Rambam Hospital, the Shabbat Project and the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator; He is a Board of Trustees member of World ORT, Kids Kicking Cancer and the Detroit Zoological Society as well as past president of Adat Shalom Synagogue and the Jewish community center of metro Detroit.

Awards received include the Sam Rich Memorial New Leadership Award (Israel Bonds 1988), the Susan Alterman New Leadership Award (Metropolitan Detroit Jewish Community Center 1995), the ORT Visionary Award (ORT America 2001) and two awards from Yeshiva Ben Yehuda (Golden Torah Award 2010 and Guardian Award 2016).

Mr. Wolfe lives in Bloomfield Hills (MI) with his wife Andrea (Andi). They have two children, Jeremy and Ericka (Mathew Thacker), and five grandchildren.

A steadfast proponent of ORT’s mission, Mr. Wolfe notes, “Education is a cornerstone for improving all aspects of one’s life. ORT is a significant collaborator and facilitator in achieving improved educational process, cutting edge teaching materials and methods of learning. I am honored to be a small part of this most worthwhile organization and endeavor to improve quality of life through education.”

LEWIS ZIPKIN

Lewis Zipkin of Cleveland, OH is a second-generation ORT member and donor; his parents were members of American ORT (WAO) long before the two organizations merged into ORT America in 2007.

Active at the local and national levels of the organization, Mr. Zipkin has served in various capacities. He was vice president of WAO’s Cleveland Chapter, as well as vice-president and member of the national board. He was also chair of the Finance, Budget and Investment, Planned Giving and Real Estate Committees. Presently he serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Cleveland Region, assists ORT America with its real estate holdings, and is co-chair of the Nominating Committee.

He is the founder and principal of the law firm Zipkin Whiting, which focuses on employment discrimination and class action litigation. He has received awards as an extensive real-estate owner in the Cleveland area and holds real estate in other states.

Mr. Zipkin and his partner Dawn split their time between Cleveland and a home in Siesta Key, Florida. In Cleveland, he has been involved in United Way, the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Care Association and the City Club of Cleveland. He was an initial trustee of Ohio’s Second Special Improvement District, where he served as president and a member of the board, and he currently serves as the District’s vice president.

Mr. Zipkin’s daughter is a professor at North East Ohio Med School and his son-in-law is a physician in private practice. He has four grandchildren.

Lois Dermer

Lois Dermer, a New York native, is a Florida resident.  Having earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and master’s degrees from Hofstra University and New York University, she was a foreign language teacher for 25 years.  Lois has been devoted to ORT ever since 1970, when she became president of the Sayville, Long Island Chapter and began serving on the South Shore ORT Region board. After she and her husband Arthur moved to Florida, she became president of the Pointes of Boca ORT Chapter for three years; she then served as co-president of the South Palm Beach County Region and Region A.D.C.  She serves as the chair of Special Events, and is a member of the Florida Leadership Campaign Cabinet and the de Gunzburg Society.  She is also active in JAFCO and Boca Pointe Cancer Research, and is a volunteer at Boca Raton Community Hospital.

Committed to ORT, Lois and Arthur have visited ORT schools in Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Moscow.  Lois is delighted to serve on the national board of directors of ORT America for 2016-2019.

Toby Feuer

Toby Feuer joined the Flatbush Chapter of ORT (WAO) in 1972, became Chapter president in 1977, became president of the Brooklyn region in 1982, and continued to hold many positions on various ORT committees.  In 1998 Toby moved to Florida and became active in her local ORT chapter, a member of the East Coast Florida Planned Giving Committee and eventually chair of the committee 2001-2004. Toby served in different positions over the years, becoming chair of the ORT America Annual Meeting in 2012 and Shabbat dinner chair of the 2016 Annual Meeting, and she is a member of the de Gunzburg Society.  Toby was elected City of Weston Commissioner in 2010 and re-elected to that office in 2014, representing the city on various Broward County committees. Her son and daughter also reside in Weston.

 

Karen Fine

Karen Fine of Northbrook, IL has been actively involved with ORT since 2005, serving on the ORT Chicago executive board in various capacities, including executive vice president 2009-2011 and president (2011-2013). She enjoys volunteering for ORT because “I truly feel that education is a key component in the success of every person’s life.”  Karen and her husband Neil participated on the ORT mission to Argentina and Uruguay in 2009 and on the Chicago Region mission to Israel in 2012. She has served on the Jewish United Fund Young Women’s Board of Metropolitan Chicago, the board of the sisterhood of Congregation Beth Shalom, and on the board of trustees of the Hebrew school in Northbrook.

 

 

Debra Kanter

From a very young age, Debbie Kanter was aware of her family’s commitment to ORT.  With a B.S. in speech from Northwestern University and a M.Ed. in special education supervision from Kent State University, she taught, supervised, and negotiated teacher contracts in suburban Chicago.

Debbie has a long history with ORT, serving as chapter-at-large president of ORT in Des Moines, and as chairperson for the Midwest District of Women’s American ORT.  She has been active in the cabinet of the Jewish Federation Women’s Division, on the Jewish Community Relations Council, and as program chair for the Anne Frank in the World exhibit through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.  A prolific writer, Debbie penned articles for local publications and op-eds in the Des Moines Register, and she served as a Democratic precinct captain for the Iowa Caucuses, as well as president of the board of a Solomon Schechter Day School, and president of her congregation.

Involved in the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, Debbie writes for the legislative committee, co-leads a zone of 39 precinct leaders, and is a member of the Palm Beach County Democratic executive committee.  Larry continues to be the love of her life; their two children are each married and live in Washington, DC, and the Kanters have a grandson.

Hilly Panovka

Hilly Panovka of Atlanta, GA continues her service on ORT America’s second National Board of Directors as a member of the Executive Committee and as chair the Diamond Ladder Society. In 2007, when American ORT and Women’s American ORT merged into ORT America, she was elected to the inaugural board.

Mrs. Panovka has been an active volunteer in every community in which she has lived. A native of South Africa, she moved to Israel in 1964, where she was an active volunteer for the Women’s International Zionist Organization, ORT and other local civic organizations. Since her arrival in Atlanta in 1979, Mrs. Panovka has been involved in ORT. She served as Chapter President and President of the Atlanta Region of Women’s American ORT (WAO). She started Oasis (ORT Atlanta School for Immigrant Studies) and was the liaison officer between WAO and American ORT. She has been very active in the Atlanta’s ORT Lipson International Studies Exchange Program and has chaired many successful WAO fundraising campaigns, holding every leadership title in the organization. Mrs. Panovka has been a member of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta for many years. As Vice President of the Board
of Jewish Family & Career Services, as well as a member of its Executive Committee, she worked on and chaired many of its committees. Mrs. Panovka was the founding president of WIZO in Atlanta in 1991. Her tireless fundraising and advocacy have raised unprecedented support for a myriad of organizations in Atlanta. The recipient of numerous honors, she was a five-time recipient of the Federation’s Woman of Achievement Award; the first recipient of the Bea Camhi Award for Excellence from Women’s American ORT and the Vital Service Award for Disabilities from the Atlanta Alliance. She is very active at her grandchildren’s schools, is Grandparent Chair at the Epstein School, and serves on many committees at the Davis Academy in Atlanta.

Mrs. Panovka and her husband, Gerry, are very proud of and enjoy their children: Alon and Sheri; Robin and Alexandra; Tamar and Mark; and their grandchildren: Rebecca, Sarah, Ariel, Julia, Daniel, Alexander & Oren.

Barbara Ross

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Arthur Rottenstein

Arthur Rottenstein of Boca Raton, FL, is serving his first term on the National Board of Directors. He has been an active supporter of ORT for the past 5 years. His mother was an active supporter of ORT for 50 years.

He lived in Israel from 1971 to 1972, attending Tel-Aviv University during his stay there.

Mr. Rottenstein has been in the financial services industry for the past 34 years. His areas of expertise are estate planning and portfolio management. He is currently branch manager of a team of Financial Advisors with Raymond James, Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.

Arthur has lived in the South Florida area since 1991 and has 2 adult children, Adena, age 34, and Adam, age 30.

Eric Rubin

Eric Rubin of Beachwood, Ohio is past president of ORT America Northeast Ohio Region. He is a second generation ORT member as his mother was involved with Women’s American ORT.
Mr. Rubin holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Miami University. He is currently a Registered Representative with The Cedar Brook Group, a comprehensive financial planning firm. Prior to this, he was Owner and COO of Modern International Graphics, one of the largest commercial printing companies in Ohio.

Mr. Rubin has been active in the Cleveland Jewish community for many years. In addition to his work with ORT, he also serves as a Vice President of The Cleveland Jewish News Foundation. Mr. Rubin is a former board member of The Park Synagogue and for many years was a Jewish Big Brother. He enjoys golf (most of the time) and is the father of two grown children.

Mitchell Schneider

Mitchell Schneider was elected to the Board of Directors of ORT America in 2016 and has served in a variety of roles in ORT for more than 30 years. He served as the President of Cleveland Men’s ORT in 1992 – 1993 and was honored as its Man of the Year in 2004.

Mitchell is the President of First Interstate Properties, Ltd., a Lyndhurst, Ohio based real estate development and management company. Mitchell Schneider is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Legacy Capital Partners, a company that is focused on the investment community with opportunities to invest in real estate assets around the United States.

Mitchell is involved in a variety of local and national community organizations. He has been a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) since 1988 and has served in its Government Affairs Committee. He currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and is the immediate past chair of its Allocations Committee. Mitchell recently served a four year term as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Siegal College in Cleveland, Ohio.

Additionally, Mitchell is a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, one of the premiere land conservation organizations in the country, where he also serves as the Chairman of its Transaction Review Committee. Mitchell also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The MetroHealth System, a county health care system in Northeast Ohio.

Mitchell has four children and lives in Solon with his wife, Kyla.

Eileen Sirkin

Eileen Sirkin has been an active ORT member since 1987. Eileen held many positions in Harmony Way ORT chapter, including President, and also on the Board of the Metropolitan Chicago Region of ORT.

In addition to ORT, Eileen volunteers and serves on the boards of other nonprofit community organizations in the areas that correspond with her passions—the Jewish community: Hadassah and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the environment: the Chicago Botanic Garden, Friends of the Green Bay Trail, the Glencoe Community Foundation and the Lakeshore Advisory group of the Glencoe Park District. She also currently serves on the Glencoe Caucus.

Eileen graduated with a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and has a PhD from The Committee on Genetics of the University of Chicago. She works as a market research analyst in the Chicago suburbs. Eileen lives in Glencoe, IL with her husband, Hal, and has 2 grown children, Jessica and David.

Janet Sulek

Janet Sulek became involved with ORT comparatively recently in 2010. She has traveled on ORT missions to Argentina, Uruguay, Israel, and Sofia, Bulgaria.

Before retiring to Florida, Ms. Sulek was a successful advertising and marketing executive for the Washington Post in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sulek studied at UC Berkeley and lived in Oxford, England. She has volunteered most of her life, starting at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis as a teen, at homeless community shelters in California, Virginia, and D.C., as well as serving as a docent at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.

She lives with her husband Ken, pet boxer Jake, and cat Pookie in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Florida. She has two handsome stepsons and two beautiful grandchildren. Her hobbies are reading and interior decorating.

Randy Wertheimer

Randy Wertheimer serves on the local and national board of directors of ORT. Randy is a past president of the ORT Michigan region and currently sits on the Jewish Federation of Detroit real estate board and board of governors. Randy is a board of director of Defeat The Label, an anti-bullying charity and a past board of director member of Junior Achievement. Randy donates to dozens of other charities locally and nationally.

Randy founded Hunter Pasteur Homes in 1999 and has developed residential single and multifamily communi-ties throughout SE Michigan. In the past 10 years Hunter Pasteur Homes has developed and/or built over 1,000 residential lots in Ann Arbor, Novi, South Lyon, Commerce, Clarkston, Northville, Lake Orion and many more. In his free time Randy enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis, and attending sporting events with his kids.

 

Honorary Board of Directors

Herbert Ackerman
John Benator
Marilyn Eager
Shelley Fagel
Doreen Hermelin
Linda Kirschbaum
Charles Kurland
Grace Mendelson
Hilly Panovka
Steven Schlosser
Marilyn Thypin
John VerStanding

 

Life Trustees

Paul Borman
Pepi Dunay
Shelley Fagel
Reese Feldman
Alvin L. Gray
Doreen Hermelin
Sandy Isenstein Z”L
Linda Kirschbaum
Larry Kadis
Murray Koppelman
Carol Linch
Judy Menikoff
Ruth Eisenberg Moskowitz Z”L
Robert Sill Z”L
Michael R. Stoler
Ruth S. Taffel Z”L
John Verstandig