Professor Yaron Ayalon, Charleston
College of Charleston
Dr. Yaron Ayalon is the Director of the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Center/Arnold Jewish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina. In July 2019, Yaron took over the leadership of the Program from its founding Director, Professor Marty Perlmutter. Yaron oversees an interdisciplinary academic program that offers Jewish studies courses to a broad spectrum of students. Yaron’s teaching focii concentrate on a wide historical spectrum in Jewish, Middle Eastern and Israeli histories. Among the courses he regularly offers include the Arab-Israel Conflict, the Ottoman Empire, Jewish History, Sephardi Jewry, Jews in Arab Lands, Israeli Society and Politics, and the modern Arab world.
Before coming to the College of Charleston, Yaron taught history at Ball State (2013-2019), Emory University (2011-2013) and the University of Oklahoma (2009-2011). Yaron received his BA and MA from Tel Aviv University and earned a second MA and his Ph.D from Princeton University in 2009.
A sample of his publications include, Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Empire: Plague, Famine, and Other Misfortunes (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014, paperback in 2017); “Individualistic or Caring? The Jewish Communities of Damascus and Aleppo in the seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries” in: Syrian Jewry: History, Culture, and Identity, 2015; and forthcoming, “Epidemics in premodern Middle Eastern society and thought,” History Compass, forthcoming in 2020. When he taught at Emory University, Yaron wrote a pre-collegiate curriculum unit for high school student, Sephardi Jewry and the Land of Israel: A Learner’s Guide, (Center for Israel Education, 2014).
Dr. Steven Bayme, Westchester
Public Intellectual, teacher/writer
Steven Bayme served as AJC’s Director of Contemporary Jewish Life and also of AJC’s Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations from 1982 – 2020. He holds undergraduate degrees in history from Yeshiva University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Jewish history from Columbia University. He has lectured widely across the country and taught at Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, and Queens College. He currently holds the rank of Visiting Professor at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
He has published articles on intermarriage, liberal Judaism, Jewish attitudes toward terrorism and violence, and modern Orthodoxy in America. He is especially well-know across the world for his incisive analyses of Jewish identity and Israel Jewish and diaspora Jewish relations. His published volumes include Understanding Jewish History: Texts and Commentary; Jewish Arguments and Counter-Arguments; and American Jewry’s Comfort Level. He is a Vice-President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, has served on the faculties of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and the Nahum Goldman Fellowship. He has been on the Wexner Foundation Fellowship Committee, and was a judge for the National Jewish Book Awards. Steven’s perspective on modern Jewish history and the changing roles that Israel is playing in national identities adds highly valued context and perspective to CIE’s work with students, young adults, and a changing American Jewish community.
Rabbi Peter Berg, Atlanta
Rabbi, The Temple
Rabbi Peter Berg is the senior rabbi of The Temple in Atlanta, Georgia. A native of Ocean Township, New Jersey, Rabbi Berg holds a degree in Education and Human Development, with a focus in human services, counseling and Judaic Studies from The George Washington University.
He earned his M.A. in Hebrew Literature and his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and Jerusalem, where he was a Steinhardt Fellow.
In July 2008, Peter Berg became the fifth person to hold the title of senior rabbi of The Temple since 1895. Prior to coming to The Temple, he served as rabbi of Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, New Jersey and as the Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas. Additionally, he served Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, New York as a rabbinic intern and at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, as its Youth Director.
Over the years, Rabbi Berg has spent a great deal of time working with advocacy groups on issues such as separation of church and state, the death penalty, civil rights, religious freedom, welfare reform, hate crimes, and the environment. In addition to CIE, Rabbi Berg currently serves on the Board of American Jewish Committee, The Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, URJ Camp Coleman Clergy Advisory Board, The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Rabbi Berg is on the editorial committee for the new machzor (High Holy Day Prayer Book) for the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is a member of the Greater Atlanta Reform Clergy Association and the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.
Marc Berman, Chicago
Partner, O'Connor Partners
Marc Berman is a Partner of O’Connor Partners in Chicago, IL. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Joffrey Ballet and is Chairman of its Audit Committee and an Ad-hoc member of its Executive Committee. Marc is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Baruch College Fund of Baruch College of the City University of New York. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Counsel of Jewish Elderly. A graduate of Baruch College with a BBA in Accounting, Mr. Berman earned his JD from the Brooklyn Law School. He was previously the President of Congregation B’nai Torah in Highland Park and a Board Member of the Jewish Federation of Chicago.
Ted Blum, Atlanta
Attorney, Greenberg Traurig
Ted Blum is the Managing Shareholder of the Atlanta Office of Greenberg Traurig and chair of the firm’s Atlanta Corporate and Securities Practice.
As Managing Shareholder, Ted is responsible for the growth and strategic direction of the Atlanta office, which has more than 100 attorneys. An accomplished attorney, Ted leads and advises a team with the strategic business, legal and market experience needed to manage and close complex business transactions, as well as to provide counsel on day-to-day operations. Ted has been recognized for his legal work through listings in The Best Lawyers in America (2007-2017), Georgia Super Lawyers (2006-2017), Chambers USA (2007-2017), and Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite (2008-2013, 2015-2016).
Ted supports his community through his involvement with several organizations. He currently serves as chairman of the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s Advisory Board supporting youth education, is on the board of trustees for Junior Achievement, is the Chair of the Task Force of the Rotary Club of Atlanta to Fight Human Trafficking and Slavery, and acts as General Counsel to the Jack Jill Foundation.
Ted is also active in an array of Jewish Philanthropic roles and serves as General Counsel of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, as well as being active in a variety of Jewish charities. In 2015 Ted, his wife Leah, and their family were honored at the annual celebration of The Epstein School.
A native of Champaign, Illinois, Ted graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He earned a law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 1992 before moving to his wife Leah’s hometown of Atlanta. Ted and Leah have three children: Josh, Abigail, and Evan.
Lee Buckman, Jerusalem
Lee Buckman is an educational consultant (http://www.jedvision.com/) whose clients have included PEJE, the Avi Chai Foundation, Yeshiva University, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and a host of Jewish day schools in North America as well as Israeli-based non-profit organizations such as Tanach929, Mosaic United, Tzav Pius, the SonShine Foundation, and the Lookstein Center for Jewish education. In the 20 years immediately prior to making aliyah with his wife in December 2017, Lee founded a Jewish day high school in suburban Detroit, revitalized a community Orthodox elementary school in Atlanta, and launched a long-term sustainability initiative at TanenbaumCHAT, a 900-student Jewish day high school in Toronto, Ontario, that led to a double-digit annual increase in student enrollment.
Throughout his professional career in school leadership, Lee has placed Israel at the center of his educational vision. He strives to push schools to move from crisis Zionism, which focuses on Israel’s role as a safe haven in times of persecution, to aspirational Zionism, which invites individuals and communities to share the dreams, aspirations, values, and hopes of the modern State of Israel.
Lee is an avid student of Zionist history and, now residing in Israel, has developed a knack for collecting stories and anecdotes from older Israelis who personally experienced the events that occurred around the founding of the State. He is also passionate about the Hebrew language as a way to connect Diaspora Jews to the culture and people of Israel. Inspired by Eliezer ben Yehudah, he and his wife raised their four sons, two of whom served in combat units in the IDF, bilingually.
Lee received his BA at the University of Michigan, an MA at the University of Minnesota, an MA and rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Orthodox semicha in Israel. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, writing, and marathon running.
Keith Dvorchik, Orlando
CEO, Federation and JCC
Keith Dvorchik is the CEO of The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando and the Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. A native of Gainesville, Florida, Keith grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and graduated High School outside Philadelphia. A graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Accounting, Mr. Dvorchik earned his M.Ed. from The Pennsylvania State University in Counselor Education/Rehabilitation Counseling and pursued a PhD. in Marriage and Family counseling from the University of Florida.
Keith served as the CEO of Hillel at the University of Florida for 15 years during which time he oversaw the capital campaign and construction of the new Norman H. Lipoff Hall, home to UF Hillel. In 2013 he assumed the title of President and CEO at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle where he served for 3 years.
Keith and his wife Alison have been married since 1998 and have two children, Evan and Matthew
Josh Goldstein, Cleveland
Businessman, Family Bronze
Josh Goldstein is a 1994 graduate of Emory University, where he wrote his honors thesis on the Camp David Peace Agreement with guidance from Dr. Ken Stein.
In 1997, he earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University and was a summer clerk at the Department of Justice-Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He practiced law for four years as a litigator/city prosecutor at Taft Stettinius and Hollister in Cleveland, later joining his family’s small manufacturing business. In 2008, Josh started a bronze memorial company called Family Bronze. He has taught Israeli history to high schoolers at Temple Tifereth and Park Synagogue in Cleveland for 10 years and spends his free time researching and writing Jewish history.
Dr. Rachel Fish, Boston
Executive Director, Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism
Dr. Rachel Fish as the founding executive director of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism. Fish. In 2018 to October 2019, she served as Senior Advisor and Resident Scholar of Jewish/Israel Philanthropy at the Paul E. Singer Foundation in New York City. From 2011 to 2018, she was the Executive Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. She completed her doctoral degree in 2013 in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department at Brandeis University, where she researched the history of the idea of bi-nationalism and alternative visions for constructing the State of Israel. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School and a BA degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies – Cum Laude from The George Washington, University. She has taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, UMASS Amherst and Tzion and Me’ah, Adult Jewish Education programs. She serves as a Board Member of the Association of Israel Studies, the Jewish Community Day School in Boston, and on the Next Generation Board for PJ Library. In 2015 she held the Rohr Visiting Professorship at Harvard University, where she lectured on modern Israel and received the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence. She is co-editor, with Ilan Troen, Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century.
Mauricio Friedman, Mexico City
Head of Jewish Education, Hebraica University; Program Director, Keren Hayesod
Mauricio Friedman leads the Jewish Education department at Hebraica University in Mexico City and is concurrently a Program Director at Keren Hayesod. A graduate of Hebraica University with a BA in Education and MA in Jewish Studies, Mauricio earned a Certificate in Teaching Techniques for Jewish History from The Melton Centre at Hebrew University and is completing an MA in Israel Education from George Washington University. In his current role, Mauricio oversees educational design and implementation, striving to make Jewish studies ever more engaging and consequential to students, while liaising with the Jewish community at large. At Keren Hayesod, Mauricio focuses on the Mejanjei Israel teacher development program, empowering cohorts of K-12 faculty through Jewish literacy, leadership, and global best practices. Past endeavors include rolling out experiential learning plans for Mexican youth and hosting CIE Israel enrichment workshops as the director of Bitui, part of the Jewish Agency for Israel, as well as serving as the education officer for Mexico at the World Zionist Organization. Mauricio supports his community as a volunteer professor and youth leader, reinforcing Jewish identity and heritage across organizations in countries like Israel, Russia, and Cuba. Engaging new generations through forums, events, and cultural immersion trips remains the cause dearest to his heart. Mauricio is raising two daughters, Ilana and Naomi, and a ragamuffin terrier named George.
David Horwitz, Atlanta
David is chairman of the Kwalu Group of companies who manufacture furniture for the health care market. He is the past chairman of the Cape Town Federation (South Africa) and he has been an executive committee member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. David is a board member of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), chairman of the Latin America committee, and co-chairman of the annual campaign. He is married to Merle and they have 2 children and 4 grand children, all living in Atlanta.
Marc Kramer, New York
Attorney, Rolnick Kramer Sadighi LLP
Marc Kramer is a founding partner at Rolnick Kramer Sadighi LLP in New York. Marc specializes in value-generating securities fraud litigation with a focus on class action opt-out/direct actions, bondholders’ rights, and investor appraisal rights. During a more than 30-year career, Marc has recovered over $1 billion for professional investors such as hedge funds, mutual funds and other prominent money managers.
Marc has been active in many communal and charitable organizations in both the Jewish and broader community. Most recently, he has been active with the Chabad at Emory University and Chabad at Rutgers University; currently sits as a board member of the Golda Och Academy Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey; and serves as a board member of a prominent family charitable foundation.
Marc earned his law degree from Pennsylvania State University, The Dickinson School of Law, and his B.A. from Rutgers University.
J Gregory Press, New York
President, PC 911
J. Gregory (Gregg) Press is the president of PC 911, with over 25 years of industry experience in all facets of IT. PC 911 works with numerous not for profits and most notably in the Jewish community among them AFMDA, AMIT, URJ, ARZA, FJC, Israel Cancer Research, The Covenant Foundation and more. PC 911 specializes in CIO in box solutions, security and network consulting, helpdesk services and internal and cloud based server management. It develops websites, mobile device apps, middleware, and custom donor needs. Gregory writes and gives seminars on all aspects of web development and donor management. He has served as a volunteer web consultant to UJA funded agencies.
Phil Rubin, Atlanta - Board Chair
Founder and CEO, rDialogue
Phil is the founder and CEO of rDialogue, a leading customer loyalty and relationship marketing firm, working with a range of blue-chip companies ranging from the Fortune 50 to leading mid-market brands. He has 25 years of strategic marketing experience with an emphasis on customer loyalty and relationship marketing, integrated communications, partnership development, promotions and program development. Phil has an MBA with a concentration in marketing and strategy from the A. B. Freeman School at Tulane University and a BS in Finance from LSU. Mr. Rubin is also heavily involved in non-profit leadership. He serves on the boards and/or executive committees of the Anti-Defamation League, The Weber School Jewish High School in Atlanta and the American Israel Chamber of Commerce.
Rob Rubin, Chicago
Investment Principal, Diamond Group
Since 1998, Rob Rubin has been the Managing Principal of the Diamond Group, an investment group that operates various companies and partnerships engaged in asset management and realestate investments. In addition to his business interests, Mr. Rubin is Vice-Chairman of the JNF Parsons Water Fund and a member of the Board of Governors of Aleh Negev, which supports facilities for developmentally disabled children and adults in Israel. Rob received his BA from Harvard College in 1978 and his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1986.
Phil Schatten, New York
Chief Executive Officer, RAI Group
Philip Schatten is the Chief Executive Officer of RAI Group, an asset based lending company. His volunteer engagement with Jewish communal organizations has stretched across a life-time.
He has served on the board of directors of UJA-Federation of New York, on the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and was chair of the Russian Communities Committee, and is on the executive committee of the JCC Association of North America, and past Chair of its Finance Committee. Additionally he is the past Vice President of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), and the past President and Chair (serving in these positions twice) of the Board of Jewish Education of New York (Jewish Education Project). He is past President and Chair of the Westchester Day School and past President and Chair of the Edith and Carl Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, which was instrumental in the resettlement of 60,000 Russian speaking Jews in its catchment area.
Phil currently heads the micro loan Program of the Hebrew Free Loan Society of New York, which successfully has loaned over seven million dollars to Russian immigrants and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Phil is chairing a new committee to create micro loans for Eastern European Jews, building on his success with similar micro loan programs in New York, Israel, and Argentina.
Phil received his BA in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance from Pace University. He and his wife, Cheryl Fishbein, a clinical psychologist and attorney have four children and seven grandchildren.
David Schulman, Atlanta
Attorney, Greenberg Traurig
David Schulman is a Shareholder at the Atlanta office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. His law practice encompasses a wide array of corporate services, and includes representation of publicly and privately held businesses, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and lenders in all aspects of their commercial and intellectual property transactions.
David has wide-ranging experience in structuring and negotiating complex technology, eCommerce and telecommunications transactions, outsourcing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings, private equity investments, strategic alliances, and joint ventures. David also advises clients on general business law matters, including entity formation, corporate governance, capitalization issues, equity compensation strategies, employment matters, and customer and vendor contracts.
David is active in a broad array of community roles, both in the Jewish and broader Atlanta community. He earned his Law Degree from Emory University School of Law and his B.A. from the Honors College of the University of Arizona.
Adam Shapiro, New Jersey - Treasurer
Head of School, Golda Och Academy
Adam Shapiro is the Head of School of Golda Och Academy in West Orange, NJ.Adam graduated with an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Prior to that, Adam earned his BA in Education and Jewish Studies at Emory University while studying with Dr. Stein. While at Emory, Adam was enamored with Israel Education and it was this passion that led him to write a high school Israel curriculum for his Masters’ thesis at JTS. What started as simply an idea in college, led Adam to creating a course at Golda Och Academy that he was able to teach and refine over the course of the past decade. Working with students both inside and outside of the classroom and helping them to grapple with some of life’s most difficult questions and challenges is what keeps teaching so exciting and relevant each and every day.
Dr. Nachman Shai, Jerusalem
In Spring 2020, Nachman Shai was a Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at Emory University. From 2009-2019 he served as a Labor Party member of the Knesset and from 2002-2009 he was a Senior VP and Director General of United Jewish Communities, Federations of North America. From 1983 to 1991, he held positions aas Communication Adviser to the Ministers of Defense, Moshe Arens and Yitzhak Rabin, Spokesperson for the IDF during the 1991 Gulf War, Director General of the Second TV and Radio Authority, Chair, of the Board of Directors of the Israel Television News Authority, and Commander and Chief Editor of Galei Zahal (Israel Defense Forces Radio, He received his doctorate in Political Science and Communications at Bar-Ilan University in 2010, He completed his BA and MA studies at the Hebrew University. He is written numerous OPEDS for the Israeli media and three books, Media War, 2013, Caught in the Net, 2016, and Hearts and Minds, 2018. In 2019-2020, he worked with CIE and developed digital material relating to contemporary Israeli politics and US-Israeli relations.
Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Atlanta
Ken is the President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE) and the Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI). Since 1977, he has taught modern Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and Israel Studies. The establishment of ISMI in 1998 was the first permanent Institute or Center in the U.S. created for the study of modern Israel. An off-shoot of ISMI, CIE was established in 2008. Ken is the author of four books, numerous papers and scholarly articles, whose expertise focuses on the origins of modern Israel, the conflict, Palestinian history, and U.S.-Israeli relations. Two of his books, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (1984) and Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (1999) have remained standards in their fields.
He is the recipient of awards at Emory for teaching excellence, life-long mentoring of students and for internationalizing the curriculum. Ken’s initiatives are responsible for bringing to Emory College ten visiting Israeli professors. His vision and execution are responsible for more than two dozen Center-sponsored workshops for students and educators about modern Israel. Educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA) and the University of Michigan (two MA degrees and a doctorate in Middle Eastern History), he was an advanced graduate student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In Spring 2006, he was a visiting professor of Political Science at Brown University. He is the primary content author of materials found on the website.