Susan Alpert, Ph.D., M.D., Minneapolis, MN
Susan Alpert, Ph.D., M.D.is currently the principle of SFA Consulting LLC, a one person firm focused on the strategies needed to place medical devices and other medical products into the global market. She was a Corporate Senior Vice President at Medtronic, Inc. and prior to that a VP at C.R. Bard, Inc. She previously worked at the US FDA where she held a variety of management positions in the Centers dealing with drugs, devices and radiological health, and foods. Susan is a microbiologist and pediatrician with a specialty in infectious diseases. She completed her undergraduate degree at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City, holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from New York University and a medical degree from the University of Miami (Florida). Susan serves on the boards of a several non-profit organizations and for profit companies. A member of a Judaean family from Conn. where her sister was also active and her mother was later director of the Region, Susan attended TY as a camper and was on staff as well. She was a member of the national mazkirut and is a graduate of year course. She travels to Israel often for work and family, as her sister and late parents made Aliyah.
Don Ashkenase, Great Neck, NY
Don Ashkenase, one of the most respected hospital administrators in the country, is Special Advisor to the President at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Don served as Executive Vice President-Corporate as the organization grew from $500 million in revenue to $3 billion. A former U.S. Air Force captain and marathon runner, Don now also serves as chairman of HealthFirst, a $3.5 billion managed care company; as chairman of Hospitals Insurance Co., New York’s most financially viable malpractice carrier; as chairman of the Bronx Regional Health Information Organization; as a board member of the Samuel Field YM & YWHA in Queens, N.Y.; and at 30 years of service, is the second-longest serving member in the 100-year history of Great Neck’s Board of Education. Don holds a master’s degree from Wagner College and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of Public Health. His children have been very active in Young Judaea – all went to Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake and TY. Jeffrey was vice president of the national mazkirut, Andrew was national mazkir, and both went on Year Course. His daughter, Debbie, and daughter-in-law, Jana Meyers, were Assistant Directors at Sprout Lake. Don’s wife, Karen, was president of Junior Hadassah, and they are founding members of The Friends of CYJ Sprout Lake.
David Bechhofer, Newton, MA
David Bechhofer, a Senior Director at Bain & Company, Inc., the global strategy consulting firm, has extensive consulting experience in all aspects of strategy development and implementation, including growth, sales and marketing, new technologies, global expansion, acquisition integration, change management, strategic planning processes and performance improvement. He has been at Bain for almost 30 years and has served on the Global Management Committee and as chairman of the Global Compensation Committee. He coordinated many of the firm’s pro bono efforts, including work with the Boston Public Schools, City Year, and Citizen Schools. David holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University Business School and a Bachelor of Science with highest honors in Applied Math and Operations Research from Yale University. He is the creator of two highly successful nationwide programs for young people who have been touched by breast cancer — the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Youth Corps and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Youth Crew — and he travels the country in support of the Avon Walks. David has served on the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts board for 8 years and as a director of Goodman Global, a $2 billion company. As a Young Judaean, he was involved in clubs in Ithaca, N.Y. David, who is married to Kate, attended TY, Summer Course, and Year Course, and was a club madrich in Connecticut while in college. His daughter, Jessica, was on Year Course three years ago.
Mike Berman, Tel Aviv, Israel
Mike Berman, a serial entrepreneur and seasoned corporate executive with vast experience in business start-ups, has co-founded two business incubators and co-founded or joined the boards of 14 medical device companies – an achievement that led to his recent induction into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame. He got his start as a product manager at a no-revenue company, SciMed Life Systems, where he rose to become President and directed revenue growth from $300 million to $1.5 billion in five years. A native of Ithaca, N.Y., Mike and his wife, Judy, lived in Israel for five years after he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, where he also received an M.B.A. Mike, who is now active in the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, was involved in Young Judaea as regional mazkir of Upper New York State Region. He was a TY camper, madrich, and merakez, and attended Machon/Year Course. His sons, Oren and Noah, were also involved in the movement through Camp Young Judaea Midwest, TY, Camp Young Judaea West, and Year Course, and Noah served as national mazkir four years ago.
Steve Berman, Atlanta, GA
Steve Berman is President of Atlanta-based OA Development, a real estate firm that has developed or acquired close to 3 million square feet of office, industrial, and business park space in the South. Steve co-founded The Weber School, an innovative and successful Jewish community high school in Atlanta. He led the team that raised $36 million to start the school and is a past president of the institution. Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University and is a graduate fellow of the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He is also past president of the Greenfield Hebrew Academy and of Jewish Vocational Service. Steve has served on the national board of The American Friends of The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and was an officer of the Southeast American Israel Chamber of Commerce. A runner and cyclist, Steve worked at TY as a madrich and Head Counselor, and was Director of Florida/Puerto Rico Young Judaea. He met his wife, Gita, on Machon/Year Course and they lived in Israel for four years. Their daughters – Mara (whose husband, Michael Maze, is a Judaean who attended Camp Young Judaea Texas and TY), Aviva, and Shira – attended Camp Judaea, TY, and Year Course. Steve previously served on the board of Camp Judaea.
Oran Ebel, New York, NY
Oran Ebel is a New York-based attorney with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, an international law firm. As an associate in the firm's finance group, Oran has represented a wide variety of clients in connection with acquisition financings, restructurings, and mezzanine and subordinated debt financings. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in real estate finance. Oran earned a Juris Doctor cum laude from New York University School of Law, where he was an articles editor for the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics. At Princeton University, he graduated with both an A.B. in History cum laude as well as a certificate in Near Eastern Studies. As a Young Judaean, Oran was active on the Eastern Pennsylvania Region mazkirut and served as national mazkir in 1996-97. He participated in the Israel Discovery program in 1995, attended TY and was on tzevet there for several years, and participated in the 1997-98 Year Course. In recent years, Oran, who is married to Samantha, co-chaired Young Judaea fundraisers for young alumni in the New York metropolitan area.
Betsy August Gold, Saddle Brook, NJ
Betsy August Gold began her career as a reporter at The Miami News and later worked at newspapers in New York and New Jersey, where she last served as Business Editor of The Bergen Record. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and won the Society of Professional Journalists’ highest award for Distinguished Service for a story in which she traced the path of a serial killer as he crossed the country murdering young women. Betsy currently has a direct-sales business and was named a top performer companywide for 10 straight years. She oversees a 45-member team and is responsible for training, business planning, and recruitment. Betsy grew up in Young Judaea in Miami and served as mazkira of the Florida/Puerto Rico Region; attended Camp Judaea and then worked there as a madricha and Head Counselor; and attended TY. She was on Year Course with her husband, Ron, former mazkir of the New Jersey Region. Their daughters – Stephanie, Jacqueline, and Alexandra – have been engaged in the movement via CYJ Sprout Lake, TY, Machon, and Year Course. Betsy is a co-founder and immediate past president of The Friends of CYJ Sprout Lake.
Steven Greenberg, New York, NY
Steve Greenberg, Founder and CEO of S-Curve Records, is known for discovering and producing hits for such artists as Joss Stone, Hanson, the Jonas Brothers, and Andy Grammer. He is a multiple Grammy Award nominee and won in 2001 as producer of Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out." Steve, former President of Columbia Records, served a stint in 1981 as a disc jockey on the Voice of Peace pirate radio station, which broadcast from a ship in the Mediterranean in the name of peace. In 1983 and 1984, he was a correspondent for Israel Radio in Tel Aviv. Steve holds a master's degree in Applied Communication Research from Stanford University, a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University, and was a Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. He wrote about pop music culture in the anthology, "The 80's," is on the adjunct faculty of New York University’s Clive Davis School of Recorded Music, and serves on the boards of several Israel-based Internet start-ups focusing on music. Steve was on Queens Region mazkirut, and from 1976-1984, was a TY camper, madrich, and merakez. He was a Camp Judaea madrich before attending Year Course in 1978-79. His wife, Jennifer Sylvor, who was on Year Course in 1984-85, serves on the TY board, and their daughters, Amelia and Abigail, attend Young Judaea camps.
Donna Rosenblatt Horowitz, Northbrook, IL
Donna is Vice President of Human Resources for Leica Microsystems, the same company that saved Jews in Nazi Germany in an effort known as the Leica Freedom Train. She has held multiple roles in human resources in IBM, Motorola, Underwriters Laboratories, and Elkay Manufacturing. Donna, who has facilitated strategic planning processes for several Jewish organizations in the Chicago area, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from DePaul University. She was on Western Pennsylvania Region mazkirut, was a camper at TY and on staff at CYJ Midwest, is a graduate of Machon/Year Course, served as a madricha for Hadracha to Israel, and was Director of Michigan Region Young Judaea. Donna is married to Aaron Horowitz, a former national mazkir, and they have three children: Jonathan, Elana, and Alexa. All three have attended Young Judaea camps, including Camp Young Judaea Midwest and TY. Jonathan went on Year Course four years ago and Alexa was Midwest Region mazkira and Year Course participant.
Andrew Kandel, New York, NY
Andrew Kandel is the Chief Compliance Officer, Co-General Counsel and Senior Managing Director of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., one of the world’s leading private investment firms. He has been at Cerberus for over 8 years and serves on numerous committees including the Investment, Valuation, Securities Compliance and Financial Risk Committees. Prior to joining Cerberus, Andrew spent over 8 years as First Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Merrill Lynch in charge of state regulation, legislation and government relations and also handled numerous SEC, NYSE, NASD and compliance-related matters.
Before Merrill Lynch, Andrew was the Chief of the Investor Protection & Securities Bureau at the New York State Attorney General's Office. During his tenure, the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted numerous securities fraud cases, both criminal and civil, and conducted public hearings on Microcap Securities Fraud and Discrimination on Wall Street. Andrew also served as Assistant Deputy Attorney General helping supervise the Environmental, Antitrust, Charities, Civil Rights, Consumer Fraud and Real Estate Finance Bureaus.
Andrew was also Senior Special Counsel, then Trial Counsel, at the Enforcement Division of the New York Stock Exchange. Andrew began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan where he investigated and prosecuted hundreds of criminal matters ranging from Arson and Robbery to Grand Larceny and Murder.
Andrew is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Economics and Political Science, and received a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law as well. He was born and raised in New York City and attended Bronx High School of Science. Andrew was an active Young Judaean, attending TY for several summers and was the National Treasurer before attending Year Course in 1978.
Joe Kornfeld, Houston, TX
Joe Kornfeld is an attorney in private practice in Houston, where he is very active in the Jewish community. He has served on the board and executive committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and as chairman of the Community Relations Committee. Joe, who received an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program and a co-founder and former president of the Emery/Weiner School, a pluralistic Jewish middle and high school in Houston. He was also chairman of the Southwest Zionist Youth Commission of Hadassah and president of Camp Young Judaea, Inc. Joe grew up in Elmira, N.Y., attended TY, was mazkir of Upper New York State Region, served on national mazkirut, and went on Year Course. He worked at Camp Young Judaea Texas during summers while attending college, and became the Director of CYJ Texas and the Director of the T-O-L Region after graduation. His three children — Alyse, Seth, and Dori — attended Young Judaea camps and each was a madrich on a summer Young Judaea Machon trip to Israel.
Marvin Krislov, Oberlin, OH
Marvin Krislov has served as President of Oberlin College since 2007. Previously, he was vice president and general counsel of the University of Michigan, where his legal defense of its admission policies resulted in a 2003 Supreme Court decision recognizing the importance of student body diversity. He also served as Acting Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor and Associate Counsel to the President during the Clinton Administration. Marvin earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Economics and Political Science from Yale University. He was named a Rhodes Scholar, and received master’s degrees from Oxford University and Yale, as well as a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. Marvin has taught advanced courses in law and public policy, and has published op-ed pieces in The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Chronicle of Higher Education on his commitment to teaching, student voting rights, colleges’ role in driving sustainable economic development, and student mental health. Nominated by President Obama in 2009, Marvin currently serves on the National Council on the Humanities. In Young Judaea, Marvin was mazkir of Central States Region, worked at Camp Young Judaea Michigan, and attended TY. His wife, Amy Ruth Sheon, served on Central States mazkirut and attended Machon/Year Course. Their children – Zachary, Jesse, and Evie Rose — have attended Young Judaea camps.
David Lehrer, Kibbutz Ketura, Israel
Mr. Lehrer holds a joint Masters Degree in Management Science from Boston University and Ben Gurion University and has been the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies since 2001. Mr. Lehrer has also worked as a business consultant for kibbutzim, small businesses, the Hevel Eilot Regional Council and the United Kibbutz Movement and has twice served as an emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel in the United States. His research includes studies on the effectiveness of the ISO 14001 environmental management system and sustainable development in the Dead Sea basin. Mr. Lehrer is presently pursuing a doctorate at Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Geography researching the cost of nature protection in Israel.
Mr. Lehrer moved to Israel in 1978 and has been a member of Kibbutz Ketura, a rural cooperative, since 1981. He is married to Barbara Pinsker and they have three daughters, Avigail, Ariana and Meital.
Dan Mogulof is the Executive Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley. In that capacity, he serves as spokesperson for the world’s leading public university and plays a central role in the development and execution of communications strategies to promote and protect its reputation. Dan also oversees a team of media relations specialists and editorial writers who extend the campus’ reach through journalistic outlets, social media, and the institution’s websites. A four-time Emmy winner, Dan previously served as a producer at CBS News, PBS, National Geographic Television and New York Times Television – including four years as the CBS News Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv. Dan first got involved with Young Judaea as a 12 year old at Camp Judaea in Northern California. He served on mazkirut of the Northern Pacific Coast Region; spent three summers at TY as a camper, kitchen boy, and madrich; and attended Machon/Year Course in 1974-75. He later settled on Kibbutz Ketura, which was established in 1973 by Young Judaea alumni. Dan, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and an alumnus of Columbia University, is married to Anne Wolf.
Marlene E. Post (New York, NY) served as the 21st National President of Hadassah and past President of Hadassah International. Marlene serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and chairs the Jewish Agency Assembly Meeting. She is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of Birthright Israel North America. Additionally, Marlene was Co-Chair of the Confederation of United Zionists and honorary Co-Chair of the National Coalition for Literacy. She has served on the Executive Board of the World Zionist Organization, as well as on the boards of the State of Israel Bonds, the Advisory Council of the New York Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and the UJA Federation of New York.
Donald F. Rabinovitch, New York, NY
Donald Rabinovitch, a health care and media entrepreneur, recently retired as co-Founder, President, and co-CEO of AFP Imaging Corp., a leading publicly traded company. He is currently Founder/Principal of Andes Films Co., producer of four award-winning films, including “Mendy: A Question of Faith,” the story of a Hasidic boy’s encounters with the secular world. Donald recently started to grow QUADflix SELECT, an on-line digital platform for the venerable independent art film house, Quad Cinemas. Born in Montreal, he grew up in a creative/artistic Cooperative Housing Community in the Bronx. Donald earned his bachelor’s at Pace University and his M.B.A. in International Business at The George Washington University. He has served on the board of the Truman Institute for Peace at Hebrew University and is now on the boards of The Town Hall and The Dominican Dream Project. Donald, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, South America, from 1968 to 1970, was mazkir of Bronx Region, attended TY, and was on the 1964-65 Year Course, where as a member of the “Caspi Trio” folk group, he played throughout Israel and on Kol Yisrael. He was an Israeli Army volunteer during the Six-Day War, and he and his wife, Irene, worked at TY in 1970. Their three children, one of whom made aliyah, attended Young Judaea camps, Summer Course, and Year Course. They have four grandchildren.
Roni Schwartz, Brooklyn, NY
Roni Schwartz, the Young Judaea Coordinator for Hadassah, is a speech pathologist who works with developmentally disabled adults. She currently sits on the boards of the Jewish National Fund and Town Square Inc., and is the founder of the Friends of Edward R. Murrow High School in New York, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the arts in public high schools. Previously, Roni was president of Hadassah’s Brooklyn Region and served on the board of the Institute for Living Judaism. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Education from the University of Buffalo and Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Brooklyn College. Roni currently serves as a Hadassah National Vice President and her dedication to the organization began with her late mother, Hilda Spivack, and has extended three generations to her daughter, Sari, who is also a life member. A Judaean herself, Roni has three children – Jeremy, Sari, and Joshua, a Young Judaean who went on Year Course. She and her husband, Michael, were founders of the Young Judaea Youth Hostel in Israel.
Michael P. Sherman, New York, NY
Michael Sherman is a business leader and attorney in New York City. Currently a Senior Advisor for the Peter J. Solomon Co. investment bank, Michael has spent 25 years in multi-channel retailing, where he has been involved with numerous acquisitions, spin-offs, and restructurings. He was President of Fingerhut Companies, Inc., a $2 billion direct marketer that was purchased by Federated Department Stores. He was also chairman of the Direct Marketing Association in 2002 and he currently serves on five boards. Michael, who earned an A.B. from Syracuse University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University, spent his junior year at Hebrew University and was a volunteer during the Yom Kippur War. His Young Judaea connection is through his children: Son, Josh (Rosh Sport at CYJ Sprout Lake); daughter-in-law, Andrea Eisenstein (TY, Year Course, Rosh Mumchim at Sprout Lake); daughter, Laura (Sprout Lake, TY, Year Course, national mazkirut; met her husband, Avi Fisher, on Year Course); and son, Jon (Sprout Lake, TY, Year Course). Michael, who served on the board of The Friends of CYJ Sprout Lake, is married to Ruth. He was a counselor and Rosh Edah at Camp Ramah, president of Neve Shalom synagogue in New Jersey, and treasurer of Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis.
Shelley Sherman, Great Neck, NY
Shelley Sherman, an attorney, is the Hadassah Executive Division Coordinator and immediate past Coordinator of the Young Judaea Division. She previously served as the Young Major Donors Chairperson and was the originator of Hadassah’s Take a Stand!, the young women’s fundraising and advocacy initiative. Shelley joined Hadassah in 1974 at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem after spending the summer backpacking through Israel and being impressed with Hadassah’s institutions. Shelley, a past president of Temple Isaiah of Great Neck, N.Y., graduated from The George Washington University and Hofstra University School of Law. She practiced public service law in the New York State Department of Health, where she prosecuted doctors for misconduct, and in the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. She also taught torts, legal writing, and trial practice at two law schools. Shelley and her late husband, David Diamond, are second-generation Hadassah Guardians of the Dream Donors, and part of a three-generation Founders family along with their children: Hannah, a Young Judaea Year Course participant in 2007-08, and Daniel, a Young Judaea alumnus.
Barbara Spack, Edison, NJ
Barbara Spack is a former educator, president of BPS Computer Services and Real Estate Broker who is an activist by birth, by training and by actions.
Barbara's 47 years—and counting—of service to Hadassah, 37 on the Hadassah National Board, including three Young Judaea portfolios among others before she assumed her current job as Chair of Young Judaea.
A five-generation Life Member of Hadassah and a past National Vice President, Barbara and her husband Eliot have three daughters, Beth, Paula and Rachel, all of whom attended YJ camps Sprout Lake, Tel Yehudah and Year Course, and count their closest friends among their YJ cohort. All five grandchildren are following in their families’ footsteps by attending Year Course, Israel Programs and YJ camps as well. Beth was a Year course madrichah, Rachel served on the National Mazkirut, grandson Avi Kessler was also President of NJ Young Judaea and a counselor/merakez at CJ in Hendersonville, NC, while Liat Kessler also served as a madrichah on Year Course and will be joining her Doda Beth by making Aliyah in August 2016-- As you can tell this is a Young Judaean family!
Barbara serves on the Advisory Board of LAPID, The Coalition for High School Age Programs in Israel. She also served on both the Education and the Unity of the Jewish People committees of the Jewish Agency for Israel. A current member of the JNF Board of Trustees, Barbara is also a Life Member of her Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, serving on its Israel Task Force. As an active member of her synagogue, Neve Shalom, she is a regular Torah reader and leader of services. Her favorite role is leading Shacharit on Yom Kippur.
David Stone, New York, New York
David retired as a partner in the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, one of the largest New York-based international law firms, approximately six years ago. At Weil Gotshal, Mr. Stone specialized in corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions law. During the last decade of Mr. Stone’s 35 year career, his practice focused almost exclusively on the Middle East. At Weil Gotshal, he created and led the firm’s Israel Practice Group and Middle East Practice Group. During his tenure, the Israel Practice Group represented the issuers or underwriters of more than 90 public offerings by Israeli companies of equity and debt securities in the United States and Europe, and the Middle East Practice Group represented and advised governments and government agencies, as well as private enterprises and individuals, in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Since his retirement Mr. Stone has studied 15th Century Flemish painting at New York University and Jewish law and philosophy at Yeshivat Hadar and has taught International Securities and Capital Markets Law at the Law School of the College of Management in Rishon L’Tzion, Israel. He also actively participated in the development, creation and administration, and served as Chairman of the Selection Committee, of the Avi Chai Foundation Fellowship Program, and actively participated in the development and creation, and current serves in the administration, and as Chairman of the Academic and Selection Committees, of the Russell Berrie Foundation Program in Interreligious Studies at The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy.
Mr. Stone is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Ameinu and T’ruah; the Leadership Circle of Trustees of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; the Finance Committee of J Street; the Jewish Studies and Library Advisory Boards of the Jewish Theological Seminary; and the New Israel Fund. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Israel College of Management, a founding Trustee of the Tikvah Fund, a trustee of the American Friends of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, a trustee of Lincoln Square Synagogue and a member of the Boards of Directors of On-Track Innovations Ltds., a NASDAQ-listed high technology company headquartered in Rosh Pina, Israel, and Uri L’Tzedek.
Manny Synalovski, Plantation, FL
Manny Synalovski is the Managing Principal of Manuel Synalovski Associates, a national architecture firm headquartered in South Florida. In addition to his significant accomplishments in the design industry, Manny is a highly regarded construction and real estate development professional. Manny completed his architecture studies at the University of Miami and for more than 25 years, his firm has completed award-winning projects in Florida, Puerto Rico, Connecticut, Texas, and Illinois. Born in Cuba and raised in Puerto Rico, Manny is currently on the board of the Jewish Federation of Broward County and serves as president of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County. Manny’s involvement in Young Judaea began during high school and he served as mazkir of Southern Region. He also worked at CJ and was a club leader during college. Manny is married to the former Lisa Kliegman, his Year Course sweetheart who was Director of Florida/Puerto Rico Young Judaea and Assistant Director at TY. Their daughters, Eva and Lindsey, are fourth-generation life members of Hadassah and active in the Jewish community.
Melanie Topper, Washington, DC
Melanie Topper is a Technical Account Manager for Attunity, a leading provider of big data management software solutions. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems at the University of Georgia. She was a member of the first class of the Hadassah Leadership Fellows, designed to inspire and cultivate future leaders, from 2013 through 2015. As a New York Region board member, Melanie served as a membership vice president, recruiting young professional Jewish women into Hadassah, including many Young Judaea alumni. She also served as a mentor for Year Up, an intensive training program that provides urban young adults with technical and professional skills to bridge the opportunity gap, and spent five summers as an advisor and co-director of Anytown South Alabama, a teen leadership program that exposes and tackles prejudice and discrimination. Melanie grew up in Young Judaea clubs in Mobile, Ala.; was a camper and madricha at Camp Judaea and TY; served on Southern Region mazkirut and national mazkirut; and attended Year Course. She and her husband, Jason Kromirs, have two small children and live in the suburbs of Washington, DC.
Ayal Willner, Los Angeles, CA
Ayal Willner is a Fellowship trained Pediatric Otolaryngologist with a thriving practice in Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California. He has served, in various capacities, on the hospital leadership of Long Beach Memorial Hospital and Miller Children’s Hospital, including Chairman of the Division of Otolaryngology and Vice Chairman of the department of Pediatric Surgery. Outside of his regular medical activities, Ayal has been the lead surgeon on six medical missions to Guatemala on behalf of the non-profit, Mending Kids, leading teams of 6 to 15 medical professionals, as well as volunteers, on week long missions that have in total helped the lives of over 300 children. Plans are underway to expand this program to Tanzania and other countries in dire need of specialized surgeons, and Ayal is being honored this year at the organization’s fundraising gala. Ayal has also been involved with his shul, Congregation B’nai Israel, since moving to Southern California, taking on the roles of general board member, Ritual VP, and Executive Vice President. As well, he has been involved as a regular Torah Reader, Ba’al T’kiyah, and Purim Schpieler. Ayal has also been involved in other endeavors within the Jewish Community, including being an original donor to Tarbut v’ Torah Community day school, and is a founding member of the Orange County Community Scholar Program. He and his wife have been involved in both AIPAC and the ADL, and were the Honorees at the 2016 ADL annual fund raising event. He is currently the chair for the Orange County AIPAC region, and is a member of AIPAC’s National Council. Ayal joined his local Young Judaea club in 7th grade, with continued involvement through high school, serving on the local board and as Administrative Vice President of the UNYS region. He attended Tel Yehudah for two years, and worked at Camp Sprout Lake. He went on Year Course in 1979-80, and subsequently served as a Madrich at TY. Ayal has a B.S. from Cornell, and received his doctorate at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. He has two extraordinarily talented daughters, Yael and Sigal, who are graduates of Barnard and Cornell respectively.