Centennial Mission to Israel 2023 > Centennial Mission Leadership

Centennial Mission Leadership

A once-in-a-century team for this once-in-a-century experience.

Bus lists

It takes a village to build community. We are excited to share with you the pictures and personal bios of over 85 of our dedicated Greater MetroWest professionals and leaders. We hope this will make creating new connections a bit easier once we hit the ground running.​ Scroll down to learn more about our leadership team including:

Mission Chairs

CENTENNIAL MISSION CHAIR
Ira Steinberg is honored and thrilled to be the chair of the Centennial Mission, the high-profile launch to Jewish Federation’s Centennial year! Ira served as the UJA Campaign chair for three years (2016-2019). During his time as campaign chair he traveled to Israel several times, grew the Annual Campaign, and inspired so many others to join him in supporting our community. Ira has held many board, committee, and event leadership roles with Federation for more than 28 years after first become “hooked” on a young men’s mission to Austria and Israel in 1993. His leadership, which included chairing the Young Leadership Division (predecessor of NextGen), was recognized as a recipient of the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award in 2000. Ira believes that Greater MetroWest is “not just a place, it’s a state of mind – filled with passionate and committed individuals who truly care about the Jewish people and repairing the world.” Ira and his wife Amy live in North Caldwell and have three adult children.

CENTENNIAL CHAIR
Jane Wilf,  a long-time Federation and community activist, is proud to be serving as the Centennial Chairperson. Jane is on the boards of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, JFNA National Women’s Philanthropy, Birthright Israel, The Jewish Museum, Hillel International, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Wilf Family Foundations. Jane was honored to chair Greater MetroWest’s 2018 commUNITY Mission to Israel. Jane was also the co-chair of the 2021 International Lion of Judah Conference, “Virtually Limitless.” Jane is a Wexner Heritage Fellow, an art enthusiast, and an avid runner. She and her husband Mark, who is the chair of the board of the Jewish Federations of North America, are members of Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston and live there with their four children.

VICE CHAIR
Terri Friedman
 is delighted to be serving as a Centennial Mission vice chair and also as a Centennial Local Community Engagement vice chair. Terri was a bus captain (go Bus 3!) during 2018’s commUNITY Mission. Terri currently serves on the Federation and Women’s Philanthropy boards and is the chairperson of Federation’s Center for Volunteerism. She has held leadership positions with Rachel Coalition, a division of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, Israel Bonds New Jersey Women’s Division, and Temple B’nai Abraham, among other local and international nonprofit organizations. Terri prides herself on being a connector and a convenor, encouraging friends, family, and even strangers to join her and participate with and support the organizations she champions. Terri and her husband Mark live in Livingston a
nd have three adult children.    

VICE CHAIR
Maxine Schwartz is thrilled to be a Centennial Mission vice chair, as she loves to travel to Israel. Maxine is also serving as a Centennial Local Community Engagement vice chair. Maxine has been involved with Jewish Federation for the past 25 years and currently serves on Federation’s board of trustees. She has held many leadership roles, including Young Leadership, Women’s Philanthropy, Center for Volunteerism and Allocations. She has participated in Israel One, JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet, and Wexner Heritage Program. Maxine and her husband Rob live in Westfield with their three sons. 

VICE CHAIRS
Emily & Jon Gantman could not be more excited to be Centennial Mission vice chairs. Both Emily and Jon grew up in the Philadelphia area and were raised in families who were very active in the Jewish community. Since moving to New Jersey, they have taken on a number of roles within Federation and have also been actively involved in the Golda Och Academy community where two of their children currently attend. Emily works in the pharmaceutical industry at CHDI Management where she has been for five years and Jon has worked at American Express for the past 17 years. Emily and Jon live in Livingston with their three children.

VICE CHAIRS
Marit & Jason Halper can’t wait to experience the Centennial Mission with Greater MetroWest. Marit is a former lawyer and is now the owner of HomeBodies Fitness, a virtual gym. She is a past president of the Board of Trustees of Gottesman RTW Academy and has served on the board of Adath Shalom in Morris Plains. Jason is senior counsel of a wireless infrastructure company. He is the president of the Board of Governors of Daughters of Israel. Before attending Cardozo School of Law, Jason played baseball professionally for a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. Marit and Jason live in Randolph with their two children.

VICE CHAIRS
Tracey & Jason Hoberman are excited to be vice chairs of the Centennial Mission following their experience as commUNITY Mission 2018 bus captains. Tracey calls herself a “professional volunteer” and serves on Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy board and Global Connections’ Arad Committee. She was a chair of the Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership Development Program. Tracey also serves on the boards of JCC of Central NJ and Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) in Scotch Plains and recently joined the NJY Camps Development Committee. Jason serves on Federation’s Board of Trustees, Allocations Committee, and Synagogue Leadership Council, and is a NextGen ambassador. He is the immediate past president of CBI and a board member of Jewish Family Service of Central NJ. Jason is the general counsel/chief compliance officer of an investment management firm. In his spare time, he enjoys running marathons. Tracey and Jason live in Scotch Plains with their two children.

For more information, contact:

Heidi Kuperman
Missions Director
(973) 929-3046
[email protected]

 

Centennial Mission Information and Resources

Bus Captains

Karen & Cliff Aaron (Bus 7) are excited to be bus captains on the Centennial Mission and are thrilled to be going back to Israel for the 12th time. All of their trips, whether with groups of friends, family or on federation missions, have been incredibly meaningful experiences. Karen previously served on the Board of Trustees at Golda Och Academy, then known as Solomon Schechter Day School. Karen is also the former Treasurer of Temple B’Nai Shalom in West Orange. Cliff is currently a member of the Board of Trustees at The Seeing Eye, Inc., a guide dog school for the blind in Morristown. Cliff formerly served as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Calais School in Whippany, as well as a Trustee at the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Karen and Cliff love to travel and have always incorporated their Jewish identity whether in a Jewish tour of the Vatican, a Passover Sedar in Florence, or spending Chanukah in Jerusalem. They look forward to meeting new friends and making new memories on the Centennial Mission.

Randy & Michael Belfer (Bus 6) are captains. After a career on Wall Street selling US Gov’t Bonds for a primary dealer, and after their first child, Randy left Wall Street and began volunteering with the seniors program of The Federation at the Wilf campus at the JCC in Scotch Plains. They now have two children and one grandchild which keeps them busy every day. They are looking forward to their 2nd Federation mission this summer and sharing it all with everyone.

Stephanie Bonder

Stephanie Z. Bonder (Bus 4) has been involved in Global Connections since she was in the first cohort of The Peoplehood Project in 2009-2011. She feels a deep connection to Israel and loves to be involved in developing projects in the IPN. Being part of GC allows her to expand her Israeli family and deepen her ties to Israel. She even has an Israeli daughter, since her daughter, Rebecca, made aliyah this December!

Professionally, Stephanie is an educator in Jewish and secular schools. She taught at Golda Och Academy for 17 years and continues to teach in her synagogue and for Hadassah. Stephanie is pursuing a second master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, so that she can teach adult Jewish education in the Greater MetroWest community.

Shari Brandt (Bus 8) is looking forward to joining the Centennial Mission as a bus captain. Shari grew up in the area having attended the Hebrew Academy of Morris County (now known as the Gottesman RTW Academy). She previously served on Federation’s Board of Trustees and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for Jewish Family Service of Greater MetroWest as co-head of the Governance Committee and as a vice president. She participated in both the Borinsky Leadership Program and the Wexner Heritage Program. Shari is the head of litigation for the NY office of the law firm Perkins Coie LLP. Shari lives in Short Hills with her husband Brett and their twin boys and daughter.

Mariela Dybner’s (Bus 8) connection to our Jewish community is mainly through her deep and long-standing engagement with Greater MetroWest and her synagogue, Congregation B’nai Israel. As bus captain, bridging the two on this Centennial Mission is an exciting culmination of her years of leadership. She has served on the Board of Trustees for our Federation and for Women’s Philanthropy, acted as Borinsky chair and chair of the Synagogue Leadership Initiative, and currently participates on the Security and Global Connections Committees. As immediate past president of Congregation B’nai Israel, she has been at the helm of the organization through a change in rabbinic leadership as well as the initial stages of the pandemic. She loves visiting Israel and is thrilled to be doing so with her husband Ari, her rabbi, members of her Kehilla and so many of her neighbors!

Todd Eisenberg (Bus 1) is 55 years old. He grew up in Livingston, N.J. and is currently living in a JSDD supportive apartment in Maplewood, N.J. His hobbies and interests include astronomy, music, drama, and yoga. He considers himself to be spiritual and, in the past, he worked with children at a Hebrew school for more than 20 years. Currently, he attends the WAE Center Wellness, Arts & Enrichment program. He has many leadership qualities such as the ability to listen to others, to give positive input and treat everyone equally. He looks forward to being a bus captain. He traveled to Israel only once before in 1988 and is very excited to visit again on the Centennial Mission.

Ellen & Richard Ezra (Bus 5) are excited to be participating in the Centennial Mission as Bus 5 captains. Both feel a strong connection to Israel, having family living there, visiting as children, and most recently together with their children. Ellen’s bond to Greater MetroWest and Israel was truly cemented in 1995 when she was a sponsored participant on Project Otzma, a year-long volunteer leadership program for college graduates from every Federation around the country. As adult community members, Ellen has been a very active participant in Federation programs and activities, including co-chairing Challah Bakes, collecting and distributing holiday packages to seniors at Lester Housing, and packing camp duffels for One Happy Camper. In addition, their family housed an Israeli Rishon for 6 months when their children were younger and attended GRTWA. Rich is the chief marketing officer for Lion Brand Yarn Company. They live in Randolph with their two children.

David Feuerstein (Bus 4) is thrilled to be joining the Centennial Mission as a bus captain. Having lived in Hillside for the past 15 years and Livingston prior to that, David was lucky to join the last mission in 2018. He started his own insurance brokerage 2 years ago after working for a large national company. He sits on the Board of Federation, Global Connections committee, and chaired the Borinsky program for 2 years.

All this is made possible by his wife, Aliza, who manages their 5 kids in addition to her 2 jobs as a Physical Therapist. This is going to be the experience of a lifetime!

Diane & Jerry Forman (Bus 9), from Westfield, are very excited to be bus captains for the Centennial Mission; their third Federation trip to Israel. They became involved in Federation in 1986 when they moved to Union County, where Jerry set up his dental practice. Together they agreed to support Federation, which they felt was essential for Jewish life here and abroad. Diane, co-chaired Young Women’s Division, and the Ladies Shackamaxon UJA Day. She committed to being a Diamond Lion of Judah and LOJE on the commUNITY Mission in 2018. Jerry was co-chair of Men’s Shackamaxon UJA Day, co-chair of the Maimonides Society, and president of the JCC of Central New Jersey from 1995-1997. Four generations strong at the JCC, Diane’s mom enjoys the Senior Adult Program, Diane and Jerry are proud participants in the Grandparent’s Circle and their granddaughter is enrolled in the nursery school. They have also been members of Temple Emanu-El in Westfield for 33 years. In their spare time, they enjoy tennis, golfing, playing bridge, traveling and spending time with their family. Fun Fact: the photo was taken at the US Open Tennis, which they have been attending for 45 years together!

Michele & Jason Frieder (Bus 7) are from North Caldwell New Jersey where they have lived for 19 years and raised their children Alex 23 and Rylie 22. Jason is originally from Livingston, Michele grew up in Freehold. Michele had been to Israel several times with various organizations, but Jason had never been. Shortly after getting married, in 1999 they went on a Young Couples Mission to Israel and have been involved with Federation ever since. Jason has participated in the Borinsky Young Leadership development program and other various events. They are members of Agudath Israel in Caldwell. Fun fact: Michele’s grandfather was a rabbi and officiated their wedding.

Jeff Gluckman (Bus 1) has been a proud member of JESPY House for about 20 years. He has worked as a recreational assistant at West Caldwell Clear Choice Nursing for more than 18 years. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his parents still live. He has a younger brother who is a linguist in Kansas. Jeff is a very experienced traveler and enjoys the aspects of learning and exploration. He has traveled numerous times throughout the United States, Caribbean and Europe. In his spare time, he also enjoys reading, cooking, and getting together with family and friends. This is Jeff’s first time going to Israel and he is excited about the opportunity.

Dr Lynne B Harrison (Bus 4) is a vice chair of the Centennial Committee and delighted to be a bus captain on our Mission that will introduce so many to Israel, the soul and heartland of our Jewish people. She has served on and been an officer of numerous Federation boards and committees for several decades, as well as on boards of Hillel, CIJE and Israel Sci-Tech.

STEM and general science and math education are her passions and she honors Israel’s “Start Up Nation” achievements. A major funder of the Wexner Heritage Program, she is gratified to see how many top community leaders it has enabled. Born in NYC, she lives in Claridge House. Accompanied on the Mission by her daughter Judi Harrison, wife of Steve Gross and mother of Adam Harrison Gross, her other daughter Debra and son-in-law Mark are parents of Zachary Harrison Muller and Rebecca Harrison Muller.

Lauren & Marc Hausman

Coming soon!

Deborah & Gregg Jacob (Bus 11) are thrilled to be bus captains and excited to travel to Israel this summer. Deborah is the current Women’s Philanthropy president, she is a clinical psychologist and loves to bake. Gregg has been to Israel several times, but this is his first Federation mission. He is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, an avid runner, and has a vault of corny dad jokes! Deborah and Gregg live in Short Hills with their three daughters.

Patti & Wayne Kent (Bus 7) are beyond excited and counting the days until the Centennial Mission. Patti is a former geriatric social worker and sales associate with Worth, NY. She currently serves on the board of Family Connections. Wayne is the owner of Empire Lumber and Millwork Company. He is a long-time member of the board of trustees at Newark Academy and also serves on the board of governors at Mountain Ridge Country Club. The Kents are members at the Chabad of Short Hills where they have lived for the past 25 years with their three daughters and two dogs.

Stephanie & Ben Lehrhoff (Bus 12) live in Summit. Although Stephanie is originally from Maryland, she considers herself a proud New Jerseyan. Ben first went to Israel as a teenager with his mother’s entire family, and went back a few years later with the same group. After an almost 25 year gap he returned in 2019 for the 100 year anniversary of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Ben is on the board of UJA and the Foundation and holds various roles within both organizations, including working on the campaign team and with professional/business networking. His strongest Jewish connection is driven by family, food and philanthropy. He loves golf, coaches ice hockey and is a quadruplet!
Ben’s dedication to Federation is a team effort, and as a byproduct of his involvement, Stephanie feels very connected to the Greater MetroWest Jewish community. She couldn’t be more excited to see Israel for the first time and to share this wonderful milestone of Federation with her community.

Padi Nazmiyal (Bus 5) is looking forward to being a bus captain on the Centennial Mission! She lives in Montville and is very involved at her temple, Pine Brook Jewish Center where she has been a member for more than 23 years. She also enjoys her involvement with the Federation. She is on the board of Women’s Philanthropy, is a member of the Federation’s Business and Professional Network, participated in the fed-ed class in 2020 and co-chaired this year’s fed-ed class. She values her volunteer time at different organizations and also enjoys being a Realtor. On a personal level, she loves to spend time with her family and friends and looks forward to sharing an amazing , meaningful and fun journey together on our mission trip to Israel!

Robin Plattman (Bus 2) is delighted to be a bus captain for the Centennial Mission. She has been involved with Federation for more than 15 years. Robin participated in and was the chair of Global Connections’ Arad Committee. She currently serves on the Women’s Philanthropy board and also enjoys volunteering at Jewish Family Services in the pantry as well as delivering lunches for Holocaust survivors. She has been a member of Temple Emanu-El, in Westfield, since she was in the tenth grade and was a member of the board for many years. She is an avid pickleball player and is always taking photos. Robin and her husband Stephen live in Berkeley Heights and have two young adults.

Richard Prince (Bus 3) was born and raised in NJ. He is CEO of Vascarta, Inc., a commercial-stage pharmaceutical company in the inflammation and pain space. He lives in Short Hills with his wife Orlie and they have two young adult daughters. A Rutgers alum, Richard has been a passionate supporter of Israel during his adult life. He founded the “Cultural Celebration of Israel”, a five-year, grassroots event that took place during the years of the second Intifada and drew thousands each year to the Whippany campus and to Temple B’nai Jeshurun. He has been active in JNF raising funds primarily for reservoirs and active at his synagogue, Oheb Shalom Congregation, in South Orange. He is proud to share that Orlie is its current president. Orlie and Richard have been honored by Israel Bonds and have co-chaired several events honoring others. Orlie’s family settled in Israel in 1848 so, for them, traveling to Israel is about re-connecting with very family in the Homeland. Fun facts: Richard roots for the NY Yankees, Giants and Devils, loves to travel and is particularly fond of New Mexico.

Caren & Larry Rothenberg (Bus 7) had such a meaningful and fun experience on the 2018 commUNITY Mission that they wanted to step up and be bus captains for the Centennial Mission. Caren is a former treasurer of Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston and a longtime Lion of Judah member. Larry is a former president of Congregation Etz Chaim and serves on the boards of Golda Och Academy, Daughters of Israel, and the Rabbinical College of America. He is currently the chairman of Israel Bonds in the Greater MetroWest region. Caren and Larry are passionate hikers and have hiked at numerous locations around the world including Croatia, Peru, Iceland and Ireland just to name a few.

June & Michael Schechner (Bus 3) are returning for their third Federation mission together and their Federation involvement predates their marriage. Michael started with Young Leadership Division, has served on several Federation boards and currently is a JCF and Hebrew Free Loan board member. He participated in MetroWest’s original Wexner Heritage cohort in the early 90’s. Michael is a past president of Oheb Shalom Congregation and is president of the Oheb Shalom Cemetery. June spent 13 years as a Girl Scout leader and is now on the Women’s Philanthropy board, MetroWest Able Committee, CCM Committee of JFS, and volunteers full time at Friendship Circle/LifeTown in Livingston, where they both serve as board members. Michael is the 4th generation CEO of his family’s insurance agency in Summit. They are members of the Lester Society and June is an endowed Lion of Judah (ask her about her “Do Good” Fund). Together, Michael and June enjoy fishing, traveling, family, and the beach. They live in Short Hills and are empty nesters to 3 children, MayaBea, married to Travis Carlson, Eli, and Ruby.

Shoshana Schiff (Bus 10) is looking to forward to the Centennial Mission with Greater MetroWest. This will be her first mission! Shoshana is a partner with McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC, in Roseland, and specializes in bankruptcy and redevelopment law. Shoshana is the current president of the Essex County Bar Association and has served in many roles with that Association. In addition, Shoshana has served on the boards of many legal and philanthropic organizations including Partners for Women and Justice, a non-profit serving low-income victims of domestic violence. Shoshana and her husband Warren Usatine live in Montville and have two children.

Jessica & Andrew Silverstein (Bus 6) are thrilled to be Centennial Mission bus captains! Since moving from NYC and joining the local Jewish community, Andrew has been on the board of Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) in Scotch Plains and serves on the Security Committee at both CBI and the JCC of Central NJ. Jessica has held several volunteer positions at the JCC of Central NJ, including board member, co-chair of early childhood, chair of membership, and is currently co-chair of the arts & culture committee. Jessica also participated in the Borinsky program, co-chaired the Women with Purpose luncheon in 2019, and serves on Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy board. Jessica is a retired attorney and event planner, and Andrew works in finance. Both are looking forward to their second trip together to Israel, within 6 months! Andrew and Jessica met on JDate and live in Scotch Plains with their 2 daughters.

Robin & Ira Weidhorn (Bus 10) are excited to co-captain Bus 10 with Shoshana Schiff! Having held numerous community leadership positions, Robin considers herself a career volunteer. Her greatest pride is her work as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) to children in foster care. Ira is a managing director and co-head of H.I.G. Realty Partners. Ira has a passion for football and fútbol so be sure to test his knowledge. Robin and Ira have lived in Livingston since 2006 with their two children, Max and Marley, and are proud supporters of Federation and the Greater MetroWest.

Eileen & Larry Weiss (Bus 3) are super excited to be captains of Bus 3, following their incredible experience as participants in the 2018 commUNITY Mission to Israel. They are thrilled so many of their Oheb Shalom friends will be with them on the Centennial Mission and are excited to meet others from MetroWest.
Eileen is a graduate of the Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership Development Program, serves on the Women’s Philanthropy Board and co-chaired the 2021 Women’s Mission to Memphis. Until recently, she was vice president at Oheb Shalom Congregation, South Orange. She is a member of Oheb’s Board of Trustees and represents Oheb on Federation’s Synagogue Leadership Council. Eileen is the director of development for the Overlook Foundation, Summit after many years as a professional in the Jewish non-profit world. Larry is a senior cybersecurity engineer consultant in the financial industry and a realtor with eXp Realty. He serves on the Homeowners Association Board. Eileen and Larry live in South Orange, have two adult sons, and are delighted to welcome a daughter-in-law to their family at the end of May.

Jessica & Ari Wise (Bus 12) Ari is the chief financial officer of Atlantic Realty Development Corp. Involvement in, and dedication to, the work of Federation began in Ari’s family with his great-grandparents, whose decades-long commitment to Jewish communal volunteerism began in Cincinnati, Ohio through their work with Jewish Federation. Ari serves on Federation’s Board of Trustees. Jessica is the assistant director of admissions at Golda Och Academy after teaching at the GOA Lower School for 8 years. She hails from Canton, Ohio and grew up in a household that demonstrated leadership in the Jewish Community. Ari and Jessica met their freshman year at Indiana University and now live in Livingston with their 3 teenage children. They are both board members of Etz Chaim and serve on a multitude of committees for several Jewish organizations.

Rabbis and Agency Professionals

 

Jennifer Fay (Bus 1) is excited to learn more about Judaism during the Centennial Mission, which is her first trip to Israel. Since 2012 she has worked as the director of nursing for JSDD and has more than 25 years of experience in the mental health field, with a focus on intellectual disabilities. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ramapo College of NJ and her nursing degree from Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing, in Montclair. As part of the interdisciplinary team, Jennifer works as a liaison to the medical community to advocate for the health and well-being of the residents and their families. She is committed to assisting with the facilitation and coordination of the medical, health, and nutritional services for the residents to promote health and wellness through a holistic approach. She is from Clifton, NJ, and is married with two children.

Mike Goldstein (Bus 9), JCC executive director, started his career at the JCC as the director of Teen and After School Services in 2004. In 2007, Mike became one of the Camp Yachad co-directors and over the nine years in that position, he oversaw tremendous growth. From 2014 through 2018, Mike served as chief operating officer. Mike is a former professional musician with a master’s degree in musicology from Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He still loves to play with the Shabbatones at weekly Camp Yachad Shabbat celebrations. He lives in Ocean Grove with his wife, Carol, and their two daughters, Bess and Ella. Mike became a bar mitzvah on top of Masada in 1983, and this mission trip will be his first return to Israel!

Rabbi Laurence Groffman (Bus 4) has led the congregation at Temple Sholom of West Essex in Cedar Grove since 2006. He has a lifelong love of Israel, and has been there many times, including studying in Jerusalem for his first year of Rabbinical School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the chairperson of the Rabbis’ Roundtable of Greater MetroWest and greatly enjoys helping rabbis of all streams of Judaism connect with one another. He lives in Montclair with his wife and four children.

Rabbi Ari Isenberg’s (Bus 8) connection to the State of Israel and the People of Israel made participation in the Centennial Mission an easy decision. In fact, Congregation B’nai Israel of Millburn has one of the largest synagogue delegations on the trip and Rabbi Ari couldn’t be prouder. Prior to assuming the pulpit at CBI Millburn, Rabbi Ari held positions in Westchester (NY) and Halifax (Canada). Rabbi Ari is married to Gila, who grew up right here in GMW, and together they have a daughter. This Centennial Mission will be unforgettable. He can’t wait to see you in Israel.

Rabbi Marc Katz (Bus 8) came to Temple Ner Tamid in 2018. In addition to his regular clergy duties (leading services, conducting funerals, visiting sick congregants, officiating at weddings, and working with b’nei mitzvah students), his initiatives have included expanding the Israel discourse, enriching adult education, engaging empty nesters, re-imagining parent engagement in religious school, pursing social justice, and opening up spiritual avenues during prayer.
When not at Temple Ner Tamid, Rabbi Katz is an adjunct professor of Talmud at Hebrew Union College as well as a judge for the National Jewish Book Awards. He is the author of the book, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Rabbi Katz and his wife Ayelet live in Montclair. He can often be found running or on a bike and is always excited to talk about what you are reading.

Rabbi E. Samuel Klibanoff (Bus 7) was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY. After completing a year and half of study in Israel, Rabbi Klibanoff spent 7 years studying in Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Monsey under the tutelage of Rabbi Berel Wein. During that time, he received his Semicha, an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and a master’s degree in Secondary Education.

Rabbi Klibanoff’s first pulpit was in New Jersey in a small shul in Parsippany. There he learned the ins and outs of the MetroWest community, and how to make a left turn in the great state of New Jersey. After 5 years in Parsippany, Rabbi Klibanoff took his talents to the South Shore of Long Island to the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach and served there for eleven years. In the summer of 2013, the Klibanoffs returned to MetroWest with the honor to serve Etz Chaim. Rabbi Klibanoff is married to Dr. Sarah Klibanoff. For a long time, the family consisted of five beautiful daughters until the summer of 2015 when they were blessed with a son, the Prince of Bel-Air (of Livingston).

Rabbi Ari Lucas (Bus 4) has been the senior rabbi of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell since 2021. He loves Israel for so many reasons, but also for the food (ask him about Sabich and Marak Kubbeh Hamousta). This will be his second mission to Israel with GMW. He’s also an avid fan of Rubik’s cubes.

Rabbi Ethan Prosnit (Bus 2) is the senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ. Rabbi Ethan is excited to be joining his first ever mission with Federation of Greater MetroWest. He has a great passion for Israel and has had the opportunity to travel to Israel many times including leading teen tours, Birthright trips, and a Temple Emanu-El trip this past summer. He lives in Westfield with his wife Arielle and three kids.

Rabbi Michael Satz (Bus 11) is honored to lead Temple B’nai Or in its important mission of being a vibrant and meaningful center of Jewish life in Morris County. He brings his passions for teaching, justice, and spirituality to his multi-generational community.

He is involved in the greater community through the Morris Area Clergy Council, Morris Area Together, the Religious Action Center of NJ, the Greater MetroWest Rabbis Roundtable, and the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis. He has been on the executive board of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, ARZA Canada, and the American Zionist Federation. He is a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow with 18Doors, an organization that strives to make our communities inclusive places for intermarried families.

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, he is a Cardinals fan. He graduated from Tulane University and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He and his wife Rabbi Janice Elster are the parents of Eitan and Ammiel and the owners of Koby, a Havanese. Rabbi Satz loves to play guitar, drink oolong and pu erh` tea, and listen to news and political podcasts.

Rabbi Pinchas Shapiro (Bus 4) is excited to return to Israel on the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest Centennial Mission. Pinchas was proud to participate in Federation’s extraordinary solidarity mission to Israel in June 2021.

Rabbi Shapiro is the executive vice president of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, NJ where he helps lead the community’s school, synagogues, and local Y. As part of the JEC, Pinchas is proud to work with Federation in multiple areas and cherishes his many colleagues and friends throughout Federation and greater community. He is a proud partner in the Federation’s Day School Initiative and is active in many Federation programs.

Earlier in his career, Pinchas served as the deputy secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, the youngest member of its governing board, a member of the Claims Conference, and the general secretary of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations. Pinchas also currently serves on the Hillside Board of Education to which he was elected 3 times.

Rabbi Mendel Solomon (Bus 11) grew up in London in an Orthodox Lubavitch family and received his ordination in the Chabad/Lubavitch educational system. He has lectured extensively all over the world. He is married to Chana D. Solomon with whom he built a vibrant Jewish community at Chabad at Short Hills. The Solomons are blessed with 6 beautiful children, a grandson, and many pets.

RABBI MENDEL & CHANA D. SOLOMON were both raised in Chabad families which instilled within them an energetic drive to love and welcome everyone unconditionally.

They have transformed the Short Hills and surrounding areas into a bustling hub of Jewish life where both young and old are excited to connect to their heritage in a fun and meaningful way.

Diane Squadron (Bus 8) has not been to Israel since she was 19, and is excited to be going with the Federation Centennial mission to learn more about the work Federation does in Israel. As CEO of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ, she knows how important it is to understand all Federation supported programs and partnerships. She has three children, two girls and one boy, who are the light of her life (in addition, of course, to JFS!). She can’t wait to see you in Israel!

Rabbi Howard Tilman (Bus 6) has been rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains since July 2017. He is thrilled to be participating in a Greater MetroWest mission for the second time and can’t wait to meet more members of the greater community. Rabbi Tilman has lived in Israel for two extended periods of study, one during high school and one during rabbinical school, and loves sharing his passion for Israel with everyone around him. Among his favorite classes to teach is using Israeli music as a window into its history. In the community, Rabbi Tilman is the immediate past president of the Scotch Plains – Fanwood Interfaith Ministerium and is an active member of the Union County Board of Rabbis. He and his wife Naomi are the proud parents of Micah (5.5) and Sophie (3), and while they won’t be joining this trip to Israel, they are already excited about making their own trip soon!

The last time Rabbi Abigail Treu (Bus 3) led a group in Israel was the Ramah Bar Mitzvah Family Adventure. This is her first Federation mission and she is excited to be with her Oheb Shalom family and the broader Greater MetroWest community. Rabbi Treu is a fourth-generation Federation groupie who just finished Jane the Virgin the second time through with her teenage daughters. Her son and husband just don’t get it, but those who know, know. She knits, practices Ashtanga yoga, and is always on the verge of getting a puppy. Her “way in” to Judaism is through the gates of compassion and the inner life of the spirit. As senior rabbi of Oheb Shalom, she uses the language of Torah to connect us to one another and to a sense of the Source of Life greater than each and all of us.

Audrey Winkler (Bus 1) resides in South Orange and is originally from Passaic, NJ. She joined JESPY House as executive director in 2016. JESPY House is a community-based nonprofit that serves adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities in South Orange, NJ.
Under her leadership, JESPY has enhanced its programs and quality of services for its clients, established an Aging in Place program and home for older clients; expanded its clinical and behavioral health program; increased residential options; and grown JESPY’s enrichment, athletics, and employment services.

In addition, Ms. Winkler has developed and strengthened relationships with local leaders and elected officials both at the village and county level and has garnered recognition for JESPY on a statewide level.

She is excited to embark on this trip to Israel. Ms. Winkler last visited Israel in 1973.

Federation Professionals

 

Diane Bakst (Bus 5) is the director of Women’s Philanthropy. She has travelled on several incredible Missions abroad and has seen Federation’s work in places such as Morocco, Poland, Argentina and of course, Israel. She belongs to Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit, NJ, with her husband and 2 daughters. She bakes challah at home and is excited for the challah, rugelach, and halva in Israel!

Ayala Bar-On is the coordinator in the Federation’s Israel Partnership Network, and focuses on allocations and marketing. In her past she was involved with guiding various groups from Israel and abroad, including Taglit and Jewish Journey groups. In addition, she used to manage programs to promote young settlement in the peripheral areas of the State of Israel. She along with her husband Yishai and two sweet sons – Lavi and Ber’ry live in Tene Omarim, which is near Beer Sheva. She has a bachelor’s degree in Land of Israel and bible studies and master’s degree in administration and public policy. She has a special click with Diaspora Jewry, and in her view, they have an important and crucial task in everything related to the connection between all parts of the Jewish people. She feels privileged to be part with the Greater MetroWest Partnership network and the Jewish Agency in this significant endeavor.

Dov Ben-Shimon was born in Manchester, England (the greatest music city in the world) and moved to Israel at the age of 18. Leading up to his appointment as CEO/executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ in 2014, he’s had an interesting and far-flung career path. He was an Air Force rescue medic and Infantry combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces, and saw active duty on both the Gaza and Lebanon fronts, with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served as assistant spokesman to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Chargé D’Affaires (Deputy Ambassador) at the Israeli Embassy in Luanda, Angola. He was Major Gifts Officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which is a very nice Federation, but, you know, it’s not New Jersey or anything. After serving as the executive director for Strategic Partnerships of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The Joint), he came to Greater MetroWest. Thanks for that, by the way.

Andrea Bergman (Bus 5) is thrilled to be part of Federation’s Centennial Mission and can’t wait to grab an Aroma coffee, falafel, or pomegranate juice (her FAVE!) with YOU in Israel. She currently serves as Federation’s first community concierge helping people like YOU find resources and connect with others in Greater MetroWest. If her name seems familiar, Andrea’s been with Federation for 13 years, connecting young families to the greater Jewish community and each other through PJ Library and Young Family engagement opportunities. Andrea has been to Israel five times (including as staff with GMW’s first Honeymoon Israel cohort) and learns something new each time. In her free time, you can find Andrea hiking, eating, running, reading, seeing Broadway shows, and sipping hot/iced coffee (season dependent). Andrea has lived in three Greater MetroWest towns, Glen Ridge, Millburn, and Montclair, and her favorite peeps include husband Jeff and grown-up munchkins Jeremy, Joshua, Rebecca, and soon-to-be son-in-law Sam!

Amy Wagner Biloon is Federation’s chief community engagement officer as well as the lead professional for the Centennial Mission. Amy believes she has the greatest job in the world and has been having the time of her life planning this once-in-a-century experience! Prior to her arrival in Greater MetroWest, Amy worked at Hillel International and the Jewish Federations of North America. She enjoys watching the Food Network, singing loudly in the car, and most chocolate chip cookies. Amy lives in South Orange with her husband, Jeremy, their two daughters, Aly and Mia, who are students at Golda Och Academy, and their dog, Jaxson.

Adi Ben Boher, is the new partnership network director. She is an entrepreneur and executive manager coming from the arts and culture world (Dimona Theater, Renana Raz Dance group, and her business for artists- ACIA). She holds a BA in theater, MA in organizational consulting and is an alumni fellow of the Mandel Program for Cultural Leadership in the Negev. As a child Adi grew up in Israel and Miami FL. She has always been connected and active building bridges and connecting Israel and the Diaspora- through youth movements (YJ, FZY, Israel scouts), student and adult delegations (AIPAC, UJA, Taglit), and today is a committee member of a new organization- Heart of a Nation. Adi Lives in Lehavim in the Negev with her husband Eli, 3 children (Itamar- 10, Yuval- 8, Amit- 6), 2 dogs, and a cat.

Yaara Ron Cohens lives in Retamim, which is a small settlement in Ramat Hanegev. She holds a B.A in communication from Sapir College and a chocolatier degree from a baking school. She loves baking, reading books and being with her 3 kids.
Prior to GMW, she worked as a coordinator of young adults who do national service (instead of going to the army), guiding them through their service and helping them with any difficulties. In September, Yaara will start working in the GMW Federation’s Israel Partnership Network in Ofakim, replacing Ayala during her maternity leave. She is excited to start working in the partnership and looking forward to meeting everyone!

Sarah Diamond (Bus 6) cannot wait to travel to Israel on the Centennial Mission. Sarah is originally from Rockland County, NY but has lived in West Orange, NJ for 18 years. Sarah’s involvement with Federation runs deep. She is the manager of Federation’s Synagogue Initiatives, sends her children to a local day school, a member of a GMW synagogue, and participates in programming from several partner agencies. Sarah first traveled to Israel on a tour with 30 other first-timers during the winter break of her junior year of college. She was fortunate enough to lead four Birthright trips sharing her love of Israel with college students. In 2015, Sarah explored Israel on a family trip with her husband, Michael, and their three teenage daughters. The Diamonds have become big travelers always planning the next adventure. As this is her first Federation Mission, Sarah is looking forward to learning about our work abroad (and eating and drinking her way around the Holy Land.)

Susan Ferber (Bus 2) is thrilled to be on Bus 2 and joining Federation for the second mega mission, having been a Federation professional on the 2018 commUNITY Mission. She grew up on Long Island and now lives in Haworth NJ. As the senior major gifts officer in the Women’s Philanthropy Division, Susan has been with the Federation for almost 6 years after a 20-year career in the advertising and publishing industry, where she worked at the New York Times and Hearst Publications as an advertising director. She feels passionately about the Jewish Federation’s impact both locally and worldwide. Susan recently led a women’s mission to Memphis and attended two International Lion of Judah Conferences. Susan’s first trip to Israel was with her synagogue Temple Emanu-el in Closter NJ on a family mission 12 years ago where her twins, Isabelle and Henry had their B’nai mitzvah at the Kotel. That began her deep love of Israel, and she is incredibly excited for this trip, the extended trip to Petra, Jordan, and sharing the mission experience again with her Greater MetroWest community.

Marcy Fink (Bus 4) is originally from Rochester New York, went to Simmons College in Boston and for the past 17 years has lived West Orange with her family. After working a few years in the retail industry, she realized that was not her calling and pivoted to her first stint in the Jewish communal world. Marcy was with UJA Federation of New York for 19 years in their Entertainment Division. Four years ago, Marcy joined the Campaign Team at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest managing the Business & Professionals Network. When Marcy is not working, you may find her baking, crafting, or spending time with her teenage girls on the tennis court.

Emily Fox (Bus 8) is thrilled to be joining this once in a century opportunity! Originally from Cincinnati, she now lives in South Orange with her husband and two adorable daughters who each attend the local synagogue early childhood center and Jewish day school. She first traveled to Israel the summer after graduating high school with a teen tour, and has since been back more than five times, including living in Jerusalem while studying at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). She received a joint master’s degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR and has spent her entire career working to advance excellence in Jewish education. Her favorite Israeli memory was hiking Masada for a sunrise concert with David Broza, and she can’t wait for a delicious halloumi cheese salad when she arrives!

Denny Frank was born and raised on kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in the upper Galilee, and lived in North Brunswick, New Jersey for 4 years growing up with his family. For the past 4 years he has been living in Tel Aviv with his newlywed husband Gal.
He volunteered in Shnat Sherut on the border with Gaza and served in the army as part of the education unit on the border with Lebanon. Denny studied events producing and designing while living in Tel Aviv and worked as a guide in a gap year program for young adults from abroad called Bina. He was an Upper Galilee Diller fellow from 2008 and continued his Diller experience while doing his Shnat Sherut, and in different Diller roles until a year ago, when he became the Rishon Letzion Coordinator.

Noa Hanuka is an educational director in the Federation’s Israel Partnership Network focusing on educational programs and the Kehila GMW Alumni Network in Israel. Born and raised in Ofakim, Noa spent her National Service in Arad, then went to Ramah Darom summer camp as a Hebrew and theater counselor. Noa completed a B.Ed in humanities (History, Literature and Tanach) at the Kibbutzim College of Education and recently finished her MA in public policy and management. Eight years ago, Noa moved to Western Negev and fell in love. Today she lives in Kibbutz Mefalsim with her husband Noam and is in process of becoming a kibbutz member.

Kim Hirsh (Bus 7) is the executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest (JCF), the planned giving and endowment arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. As part of that role, she is proud and honored to be steering our Federation’s Centennial Campaign, with the goal of raising $250 million to enhance our community today and secure a strong and vibrant Greater MetroWest for the next 100 years and beyond.
As a volunteer, Kim was a member of the Newark Academy Board of Trustees and served as development chair for several years. Prior to joining the JCF, Kim was development director of the Gottesman RTW Academy and worked for nearly 20 years as a newspaper and magazine journalist and public relations professional.
Kim loves skiing, biking, yoga, Pilates and vegging on the beach. She and her fiancé together have six adult children and two sons-in law.

Stacey Holston

Stacey Holston joined the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest in April 2021 as a digital designer of the Tour de Summer Camps NJ program. Shortly after, she increased her role as the lead designer for the Federation’s Centennial. Previously, she was an editorial production director at Hearst and Condé Nast, and she continued her career as a consultant as a graphic and production designer for retail, healthcare, pharmaceutical clients. Stacey lives in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and she and her husband Gary, have twin daughters and a son. This is Stacey’s first time on a Federation mission and visiting to Israel!

Sofya Iosiovich

Coming soon!

Inbal Kalimi is the operations coordinator for the MetroWest Partnerships Network in Israel. Originally from Be’er Sheva, she is one of five brothers and sisters. She is the mother of three children and lives in Sderot. After being divorced for 5 years she recently remarried Erez who she met through a Facebook group that she manages. Fun fact – she was an ambulance driver in Magan David Adom for 6 years. She is excited to be part of the team and the important activity they do together!

Yaffa Karp (Bus 3) is an experienced non-profit professional with a passion for Jewish community advancement. Yaffa serves as the associate director of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ (JCF). The groundbreaking CSP was established when Yaffa joined the team in fall 2017 with the mission of engaging families in thoughtful and impactful philanthropy, while providing a unique focus on Jewish vales and community.
Yaffa works closely with Foundation families on impact focused philanthropy. She oversees the foundation’s grant committee ensuring that grants are awarded to deserving organizations. Yaffa helped launch a community Innovations Fund that encourages its members to give of their time and financial resources. Creative, energetic, and skilled in donor cultivation and stewardship, Yaffa has proven successes in donor communication, retention and philanthropic growth. Yaffa lives in Springfield, NJ with her husband and three young children, a redhead, a brunette, and a blond.

Heidi Kuperman is our Federation’s mission director. She has spent the last 25+ years in Jewish communal service in the tri-state area. She began her career at UJA Federation of New York, followed by a four-year stint as missions manager at JFNA, almost a decade at Yeshiva University, and most recently as director of Institutional Advancement at Yeshiva College. Heidi came to our Federation eight years ago with a passion for missions. In her spare time, Heidi likes to travel the world with her family and eat chocolate.

Debra Levenstein (Bus 9), as senior development officer of Jewish Community Foundation (JCF), fundraises for the future of the community, ensuring that every donor who wishes to, can leave an endowment gift to benefit the UJA Annual Campaign in their name in perpetuity. She also helps to recognize, acknowledge, and thank Federation supporters through the Ner Tamid Society. Her entire life’s work has been devoted to the Jewish community through education – afternoon school, summer camp, JCC programming, JFCS programming all of which landed her at Federation 10 years ago.

A Jersey native she has lived in Jerusalem, Philadelphia, NY, Largo, St. Paul and back to NJ in Highland Park. She has four children, including two from her husband’s previous marriage – all of whom are married and have created grandchildren for me and my beloved to spoil rotten! Israel is in her kishkes, and she hopes you will feel it too after the Centennial Mission!

Benjamin Mann (Bus 9) serves as the chief planning officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey. Previously Ben worked in Jewish day school education, most recently as the head of school at Schechter Manhattan. Ben holds a Doctorate of Education and lives in Teaneck with his wife, Aliza, with whom he proudly shares three college and post-college age children.

Jill Nadison (Bus 10) joined Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest in March 2021 as manager of the Tour de Summer Camps NJ, raising funds to send kids to camp on scholarship and One Happy Camper grants. In November 2021, she became the director of events for the Federation’s Centennial. Previously, she spent ten years as the CEO/executive director at REED Autism Services, where she planned and opened REED Next, an adult day and residential program for adults with autism in Northern NJ, launched Greens do Good, New Jersey’s first indoor hydroponic vertical farm in Hackensack NJ providing jobs to adults with autism; created the Mobile Food Lab, a unique employment hub for adults with autism; and established the REED Foundation for Autism. Jill is currently a member of the REED Board of Directors. Earlier in Jill’s career, she spent 15 years at Symantec, most of them as a Global Events Manager. Jill lives in Montclair, New Jersey, and she and her husband Scott, have 3 boys.

Jill Pascol is Federation’s events and missions associate. She is excited for her third trip to Israel, the first was with Birthright Israel more than 20 years ago. Jill has been working in our Jewish community for fifteen years, getting her start as the early childhood administrator in the Brody Center of the (former) JCC of Whippany. She’s looking forward to this experience of a lifetime, as well as to being able to finally put faces to all of the names she’s been seeing while working behind the scenes on the Centennial Mission for the past year.

Mandi Perlmutter (Bus 7) lives in North Caldwell with her husband Brett, three children Aiden, Marlee and Andrew, and beloved dog Toby. She recently started a new position at Federation as manager of education and training and previously worked in the JCRC as the legislative advocacy manager. In addition to her work at Federation, she is a leadership and wellbeing coach. She is congregant at Congregation Agudath Israel and in her free time, enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, and reading. Her first trip to Israel was in 2018 for her daughter Marlee’s bat mitzvah. She is thrilled to be going on the Centennial Mission and excited to possibly run into Marlee while she is on her Diller trip.

Rebecca Pollack (Bus 10) is the Federation Chief Development Officer. She loves all things Israel and is excited to return, for her 9th visit and her 7th Federation mission. Rebecca is looking forward to getting to know you on the mission and looks forward to falafel in the old city and a glass of wine on the beach in the Galilei! She loves to exercise and binge-watch the newest series on Netflix (especially Fauda), and cares deeply about our Jewish community. Rebecca’s favorite kiddos are her nine-year-old, Bennett, and six-year old-daughter, Mia, and her greatest support, her husband, Brian!

Howard Rabner (Bus 3) is the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, and the chief financial officer of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest. Prior to joining Federation, Howard worked at Paul Scherer and Company, LLP, a certified public accounting firm in New York City. He was with the firm for 20 years, 10 years as a partner. In a volunteer capacity, Howard has served as treasurer, audit committee chair, budget committee chair, and a member of the executive committee of Golda Och Academy. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and is a certified public accountant. Howard and his wife Hilary live in West Caldwell and have two adult children.

Tamar Reshef (Bus 4) is senior community shlicha. She was born and raised in Safed and served as a commander in the educational force in the IDF. Tamar holds a bachelor’s degree in community theater and education from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in education. For the past 6 years, she has worked as the educational program coordinator in the Hof HaCarmel Youth Department in the Haifa area.

Julie Rosenberg is the Events Director of Federation and excited to participate in another mission to Israel. She will be busy on the Centennial Mission making sure that all the events are “sababa” (awesome). Julie grew up in Northern California and is the very proud mom of Meital and Arielle. Israel is a second home to her and she is fortunate to visit often.

Beth Rosenthal (Bus 11) grew up in Houston, Texas and began her career in museum education by being a lead professional in the opening of Holocaust Museum Houston. Today she serves as director of philanthropic leadership at Jewish Federation of GMW in the Campaign department, and she is thrilled to be returning to Israel and experiencing the sights, sounds, flavors and sabras. Whether it is seeing Federation’s work on the ground, meeting with Israelis, bonding with people on the bus, or enjoying falafel, the spirit of Israel inspires her. She looks forward to sharing this feeling with all of you, and upon return, with her husband and daughter in Maplewood, NJ.

Amy Savage (Bus 6) is excited be a part of Federation’s Centennial Mission to Israel. While this is not her first time in Israel, this will be Amy’s first Federation mission. As a development officer in Women’s Philanthropy, Amy focuses on forging new relationships with community members, strengthening current relationships, and securing philanthropic gifts for the UJA Annual Campaign. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Amy moved to South Orange from Jersey City in 2021 with her husband and two little boys. She can’t wait to enjoy falafel and other Israeli delicacies with everyone in Israel.

Ilyse Shainbrown (Bus 11) is excited to be heading to Israel on the Centennial Mission. She is the director of holocaust education for the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. Ilyse, both personally and professionally, is deeply connected to the state of Israel and feels passionate about the connection between the destruction of the Holocaust and the birth and beauty of the state of Israel. Ilyse has created several curriculums on Holocaust Memoirs and works with a variety of programs to enhance historical education throughout the state of NJ, and feels motivated to share her work through her blog and on a variety of social media platforms. Ilyse lives in Livingston, NJ with her husband and three teenage sons and is always in the process of planning their next travel adventures together.

Avi Siegel (Bus 2) hails from sunny Los Angeles California but lives in Maplewood with his wife and three daughters. As director of teen initiatives at Federation, he focuses on strategy and strengthening partnerships with synagogues and schools in support of their work with teen professionals and teen participants. He has been fortunate to led trips to Israel every year for more than the past decade through various programs including Birthright, congregational missions, teen tours, educational fellowships, and Maccabi USA. He is a big fan of Jewish rituals that involve candles and bringing light into our world. He enjoys puzzles, hiking, and reading (ask him about his current book recommendations).

Lauren Theodore is honored to be part of this once-in-a-century experience. Lauren is the strategic communications manager working on the Centennial Mission and all the exciting aspects of Federation’s Centennial. Previously, Lauren was a communications and marketing professional for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC), and for Condé Nast multimedia brands including Glamour, Self, and Brides. Lauren’s pronouns are she/her/hers. This will be Lauren’s fifth visit to Israel where she loves to experience everyday life – the fresh air, special people, delicious food, amazing views. Her favorite thing is taking it all in by walking around. Yalla!

Jordan Vaughter (Bus 8) moved to New Jersey in 2020 from Southern California. He and his wife live in Summit with their dog Waffles. Jordan has been to Israel three times and loves relaxing on the beaches of Tel Aviv. Jordan has been with Federation for almost two years, starting as a campaign intern and now as the NextGen manager. Jordan in an avid coffee fanatic and during most recent trip to Israel, he found many coffee shops in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that he considers to be “hidden gems”.

Rebecca Wanatick (Bus 1) is so excited to be joining the Centennial Mission with the JESPY and JSDD community members! As director of disability inclusion & belonging, building an inclusive Jewish community is a priority and she loves that this mission is living these values. This will be her fourth time traveling to Israel, each time so special, creating memories to last a lifetime. She lives with her family in Randolph and in addition to her work with Federation, she is an active member at MJCBY. She loves spending time with her family, being outdoors and actively engaged in Jewish community. She can’t wait to make new memories and share the experience with everyone!

Michal Werner (Bus 12) is the associate executive director at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ (JCF), having joined in 2019. In her role, Michal helps lead all development efforts, including the launch and operations of the centennial campaign. She oversees JCF marketing and communications, supervises the development team, manages internal operations, and works alongside the executive director to engage the board of trustees and various committees. Prior to JCF, Michal has held positions at the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Penn State Hillel. Michal holds a M.A. in strategic non-profit and corporate communications from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in communications from The Pennsylvania State University. Michal lives in Randolph, with her husband Ben and their three sons, Gabriel, Zachary, and Ethan. Michal was born and raised (what they call a Zabarit) in Israel and moved to the U.S. when she was 18. Fun fact: She played flag football as a middle linebacker for the Israeli National Flag Football team and won first place in the European championships.

Michal Zur is the Greater MetroWest Federation Israel representative, overseeing Federations’ allocations and programs on the ground, in Israel. Born and raised in Israel, Michal has completed a BA in history and sociology at the TLV University. Her MA, from the JLM Hebrew U, was in contemporary Judaism, focusing on Jewish American communities and education. Michal also served as a community shlicha (an Emissary) in our community for three years and fell in love with the unique spirit of Greater MetroWest. Upon her return to Israel, she joined the Israeli Office and developed the Rishonim and Peoplehood projects. She has been to Cherkassy several times (and always feels at home there). About 7 years ago, Michal with her son Eitan (11) and daughter Maya (8), moved to Kibbutz Erez, where they became members of the community.