AJC Staff Bios

A Brief Look at AJC’s Senior Staff


Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director

VICTORIA SCHONFELD, Associate Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, 2007. schonfeldv@ajc.org
Victoria spent 30 years as a finance and corporate lawyer, serving as a partner in several national law firms and as General Counsel of Paine Webber’s Asset Management Group. During this time she was an AJC lay leader, active on the Board of Governors, the Nominating Committee, and the New York Region’s Executive Committee. In her current position Victoria supervises the AJC Finance Department (including IT and Human Resources) and the Legal Department, directs implementation of the Strategic Plan, and works closely with the lay bodies of the agency. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University School of Law.


JANET BESSO BECKER, Director, Strategic Implementation, and Director, Human Resources, 2011. beckerj@ajc.org 
Janet came to AJC to implement the organization’s Strategic Plan by introducing new technologies, reducing inefficiencies, providing clarity regarding purposes and goals, and increasing productivity. She took on the Human Resources portfolio in 2012. Earlier in her career she was Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank; Vice President and Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning at The CIT Group; Senior Director for Human and Organizational Development and Director of Operations at Synergos, an international development nonprofit; and Consultant at Upshot Advisors. Janet has a B.A. in Fine Arts and Sociology from Brandeis University.

ELLISA SAGOR, Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications, 2009. sagore@ajc.org
Ellisa came to AJC originally as Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer in 2009, then assumed Chief of Staff to the Executive Director in 2010 and became Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications in 2013. She earned a B.A. in Government and German Studies from Dartmouth College, and spent almost a year in Germany interning for the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and for the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.


Resource Development

JULIE SCHAIR, National Director of Development, 2001. schairj@ajc.org
Julie was named National Director of Resource Development in 2012. She came to AJC in 2001 to head the AJC Centennial Campaign, and after its successful completion became Director of Donor Relations, Chief of Staff for the Executive Director, and then Director of Leadership Development and Individual Giving. She received a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton, Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. Before coming to AJC, Julie was a Development Associate at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, and Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations at New York University Law School.

CATHY BEZOZO, National Associate Director of Development, 1999. bezozoc@ajc.org
Cathy is responsible for AJC’s foundation relations and grants. She received her Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Binghamton and Master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and New York University.

ALEXIS DANZIG, Development Officer, 2012. danziga@ajc.org
Alexis came to AJC as a Development Officer in 2012, with responsibility for grant writing and foundation relations. She was previously a grant writer and consultant on foundations for Grantwriternyc, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, DOROT, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and other nonprofits, and has also done pro bono grant writing. She received a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. Alexis is a member of the New York State Bar.

MICHAEL GILBERT, Director, Regional Office Advancement (based in Boston), 2010. gilbertm@ajc.org
Michael is in charge of enhancing AJC development at the regional level. He was most recently Vice President for Development at Hebrew College in Boston, and previously held high-level development positions at Boston’s Temple Israel, the JCCs of Greater Boston, and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Michael has also taught courses in leadership development at Northeastern University. He earned a B.A. in English from McGill University, an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University, and a Master’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern.

NADINE GREENFIELD-BINSTOCK, Director, Leadership Development and Board Engagement (based in Washington), 2005. greenfield-binstockn@ajc.org
Nadine was Associate Director of AJC’s Washington D.C. regional office and AJC liaison on Polish-Jewish Affairs before being named to her present position in 2011. Before coming to AJC Nadine was Founding Director for Poland of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation. After earning a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University, Nadine received an M.P.A. in Management and Institutional Analysis from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program.

LEONARD MYRON, Senior Development Director, 1981. myronl@ajc.org
Leonard, who began at AJC in 1981 as an Assistant Fundraiser, is now a Senior Development Director. Over the years he has coordinated numerous successful fundraising events for AJC, working with a host of industry leaders and companies ranging from financial services to real estate. Before coming to AJC he taught high school in Jersey City, New Jersey, and designed and coordinated after-school tutorial programs for the city of Newark. He graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in history.

LILLI PLATT, Senior Development Director, 2010. plattl@ajc.org
Lilli came to AJC as director of the Long Island region after holding executive positions at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, American Friends of Tel Aviv University, and Hofstra University Law School. She assumed her current position in 2012. Lilli earned a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College.

DEBRA RUBENSTEIN, Director of Planned Giving, 2012. rubensteind@ajc.org
Debra, an attorney, solicits and arranges charitable gift plans and advises donors on contributing to AJC through trusts and estate planning. She previously handled planned giving for the Miami Federation, American Friends of the Hebrew University, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and other organizations. Debra earned a B.S. from New York University and a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

GARY SPRUCH, Director, Development Communications, hired 1996, left 1999, returned 2012. spruchg@ajc.org
In his role managing development communications, Gary helps create the written materials used for fundraising, prepares reports for major donors about the use of their gifts, and writes speeches, programs, invitations and related material for fundraising events. He is also in charge of AJC’s annual ad campaign. Gary previously worked at AJC from 1996 through 2009, and then ran his own consulting company. He received a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton

SUSAN TANENBAUM, Senior Development Director, 1981. tanenbaums@ajc.org
As a Senior Development Director at AJC, Susan is responsible for conducting a multimillion dollar campaign based on corporate, annual and special events. She began her AJC career in 1979 as a Development Associate. Before coming to AJC Susan was a Community Relations Associate at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. She received a B.A. in Communications from American University.

Allie Lipner, Development Officer, 2014. lipnera@ajc.org
Allie came to AJC after several years of development experience at UJA-Federation of New York, where she coordinated over 70 campaigns and UJA’s internal staff campaign, among other responsibilities. Before that she raised funds for the University of Maryland and interned at Emily’s List and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Allie received a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland at College Park and is studying for a Masters in Public Administration at New York University.

LESLIE KLION, Director, National Events (based in Palm Beach), 2002. klionl@ajc.org
Leslie has held several event planning positions at AJC and has worked on the past nine Global Forums and Annual Meetings. Beginning in 2007, she served as Assistant Director of Leadership and Board Services, so that in addition to her Global Forum responsibilities Leslie served as liaison to the Board and worked on national leadership development. She earned a B.A. in Art, with honors, from the University of Florida.

 

JOANNA LIEBERMAN, Assistant Director, Leadership Development & Board Engagement, 2010. liebermanj@ajc.org
Joanna was named Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Board Engagement in 2013. She joined AJC in 2010 as Coordinator of Leadership and Board Services, assisting in the planning and execution of the annual Global Forum, Board of Governors events, and national leadership development initiatives. She was previously Senior Research Analyst at a marketing firm. After earning a B.S. at Cornell in Human Development with a concentration in Cognitive Development, Joanna spent ten months living in Israel.


DANIELLE TRAUB, Coordinator of National Events, 2013. traubd@ajc.org
Danielle manages registration, recruitment and outreach for the AJC Global Forum. She also helps manage logistics for AJC Board of Governors Meetings and AJC Diplomatic Missions. Before joining AJC, Danielle was a Project Manager at David Monn LLC, where she planned galas and personal celebrations for high-profile clients. Prior to David Monn, Danielle was a Manager of Special Events for Lansdale Associates, a boutique special-events firm in Washington, DC. Danielle received a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Judaic Studies from George Washington University.

MICHELLE KROLL, Donor Relations Coordinator, 2010. krollm@ajc.org
Michelle came to AJC in 2010 as an Assistant in the Department of Leadership Development & Individual Giving, and was promoted to Donor Relations Coordinator in 2012. She previously worked as a Marketing and Communications Intern at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Assistant to the Special Events Coordinator at the Sid Jacobson JCC. Michelle earned a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spending a semester abroad at the Universidad del Salvador.


Department of Regional Offices

DANIEL ELBAUM, Director (based in Chicago) 2009. elbaumd@ajc.org
Daniel originally came to AJC as Director of AJC Chicago, and in 2012 was named Director of Regional Offices, supervising 22 offices around the country. He previously spent six years as Civil Rights Counsel and Director of Development for the ADL’s Midwest Region. Before that he was an Assistant State Attorney for Cook County (Chicago). He earned B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

KIM KAMEN, Associate Director (based in Dallas), 2007. kamenk@ajc.org
Kim was director of AJC Dallas for three years before being named to her present position in 2010. Under her leadership, AJC Dallas won an AJC Szabad Award and LULAC’s statewide Unity Award. Before coming to AJC Kim was a Bilingual/ESL teacher in Houston and then a Department Head in Plano, Texas, in her spare time publishing a middle-school curriculum for the Houston Holocaust Museum. She then served as AmeriCorps Director in downtown Dallas and Executive Director of Frisco Family Services Center before starting her own firm, Kamen Consulting, which assisted nonprofit organizations. Kim holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Education from the University of Virginia.

MELANIE MARON PELL, Assistant Director of Regional Offices and Director of Regional Engagement, 2001. pellm@ajc.org  
Prior to becoming Director of Regional Engagement in 2013, Melanie served as Director of AJC Washington beginning in 2006 after five years working at AJC Chicago. She is on the Board of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Washington and the Steering Committee of the Israel on Campus Coalition of Greater Washington. Melanie received her B.A. from the University of Louisville and her J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

ELI LIPMEN, Communications and Advocacy Strategist (based in Los Angeles), 2006. lipmene@ajc.org
Eli came to AJC as Assistant Director for Communications of the Los Angeles Region, where, among other responsibilities, he led the energy security task force, which won the AJC Szabad Award. In his current post, assumed in 2010, he develops internal and external communications strategies for AJC regional offices. Eli received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Communications from the London School of Economics and the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication.


Marketing and Strategic Communications

DAVID MARKS, Director of Web Strategies and Online Giving, 2012. marksd@ajc.org
David is director and webmaster of the new AJC website and spearheads AJC’s social media activities. As founder of his own strategic marketing and branding consultancy, David has helped companies and nonprofit agencies increase market share, clarify their missions and raise funds. He has also been deeply involved in environmental issues, having served as Co-Director of Teva Learning Alliance and Program Director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). A former professional musician and songwriter, David graduated from Berklee College of Music.

 

LISA HOFF, Director, Direct Mail and Membership, 2002. hoffl@ajc.org
Lisa is in charge of AJC’s national mail programs—postal, e-mail, and telemarketing. Immediately before coming to AJC she was Director of Annual Giving at New York University. Earlier in her career Lisa was a magazine circulation manager and Membership Director for the Jewish Museum. She received a B.A. in English from Herbert Lehman College.

LINDA KRIEG, Art Director, 1990. kriegl@ajc.org
Before joining AJC, Linda did display design for Fortunoff’s, graphic design for Ingersoll Publications and the Long Island Press, and book design for the Dorot Foundation and NCCJ. Her work on the 2007 and 2008 AJC Annual Reports won the Award of Excellence from Apex Business Communications. Linda earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from Hofstra University and pursued graduate study in graphic design at the School of Visual Arts.


Media Relations

KENNETH BANDLER, Director, 1998. bandlerk@ajc.org
Kenneth Bandler is Director of Media Relations and spokesman for AJC. He is a Jerusalem Post columnist and regular contributor to FOXNews.com. Before joining AJC's senior staff in 1998, he was the Managing Editor of the global news service JTA. He previously spent ten years at the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (now the Jewish Council for Public Affairs) as Director of Public Information. During his tenure at NJCRAC, Bandler spent a year at Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center researching and writing about Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. He received his M.A. in Middle East Studies from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, and B.A. in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Miami Herald, New York Post, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

LAWRENCE GROSSMAN, Director of Publications, 1982. grossmanl@ajc.org
Larry came to AJC originally as a member of what is now called the Department of Contemporary Jewish Life, subsequently serving as Director of Publications and Co-Editor of the American Jewish Year Book. He is now once again Director of Publications as well as Associate Director of Research, responsible for editing much of the written material that emanates from AJC. He taught History for ten years at Yeshiva University before coming to AJC. Larry earned B.A., M.H.L. and Rabbinical degrees from Yeshiva University, and a Ph.D. in History from the City University of New York Graduate Center.


Office of Government and International Affairs (Washington, D.C.)

JULIE FISHMAN, Assistant Director, National and Legislative Affairs, 2012. fishmanj@ajc.org

Before coming to AJC, Julie worked in the Office of Congressman Heath Shuler where she served as senior advisor handling such issues as foreign policy, human rights, defense and homeland security. Prior to working on the Hill, she was director of college initiatives at BBYO and Hillel director for Georgetown University. Julie holds a master’s degree from the National Defense University in Strategic Security Studies with a concentration in counterterrorism. She also holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Religious Studies and a B.A. from American University.

NISSIM B. REUBEN, Assistant Director, AJC Asia Pacific Institute. ReubenN@ajc.org

Nissim is the assistant director of AJC's Asia Pacific Institute (API) assisting the director in building relationships between the US, Israel, Asian countries and between the Jewish and Asian American diaspora communities in the United States. Nissim is AJC's in-house India expert, with vast experience working with Indian diplomats, policy experts, congressional staffers and leaders from the Indian-American community. Prior to his current role, Nissim worked with AJC’s Belfer Center as Program Director, Indian-Jewish American Relations.

In India, Mr. Reuben worked as Principal Commercial Officer of the British and Israeli diplomatic missions. He holds an M.A. in international affairs from American University and a B.A./M.A. in economics from St. Xavier's College/Gujarat University in India.

STEPHANIE GUILOFF, Associate Director, Latino and Latin American Affairs, 2005. guiloffs@ajc.org

A native of Chile, Stephanie worked as Chief of Information for the Mexican-American TV network Azteca America before coming to AJC, winning two awards in 2004 from the Society of Professional Journalists. She also freelanced for Reuters TV and other media outlets. Prior to her arrival in the U.S., Stephanie was Marketing and Media Associate for Fashion TV in Buenos Aires and a news reporter for El Mercurio’s weekly technology magazine Siglo XXI. She graduated with highest honors from the Journalism School at Universidad de Chile and holds an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


JUAN DIRCIE, Associate Director, Latino and Latin American Affairs (based in Miami), 2006. dirciej@ajc.org
A native of Buenos Aires, Juan moved to Israel after high school and has lived in Miami since 2001. Before coming to AJC he worked for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, United Israel Appeal, and the Jewish Community Services of South Florida, where he led the Latin American Migration Program. Juan is regularly invited to speak on behalf of the Jewish community to Hispanic audiences, and his articles have appeared in many Latin American media outlets. He earned a B.A. with honors from the Hebrew University in International Relations and Education, and did post-graduate work in International Relations at the Buenos Aires campus of the University of Bologna.


ANN SCHAFFER, Associate Director, and Director, Belfer Center for American Pluralism, 1993. schaffera@ajc.org
After seven years as Director of AJC Westchester, Ann was named to her present position, in which she is responsible for strengthening AJC’s interethnic and interracial relations around the country by enhancing the intergroup work of the Regional Offices. She is currently implementing a major grant from the Ford Foundation in the area of immigrant advocacy. She is active on many intergroup organizations in the Westchester area and has served as president of her synagogue in White Plains. Born in Zimbabwe, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.


Interreligious and Intergroup Relations

EPHRAIM GABBAI, Assistant Director, 2008. gabbaie@ajc.org
Fluent in Hebrew and Arabic, Ephraim came to AJC to launch Asl Al-Yahud, an Arabic-language website on Jews and Judaism. Featuring material on Jewish history, culture and religion, pointing out parallels in Islam, and providing a means for readers from the Arab world to send in questions and comments, the site has proven extremely popular with Arabic speakers around the globe. A descendent of Iraqi Jews, Ephraim received a B.A. in Management Information Systems from Yeshiva University’s Sy Simms School of Business. He is also an ordained rabbi.

AVRIL PROMISLOW, Assistant Director, International Interreligious Affairs Dept, 2002. Avril Promislow
Avril came to AJC as Assistant to the International Director of Interreligious Affairs in 2002, and assumed her present position in 2007. Over the years she has worked to develop and run programs, researching the emerging and burgeoning world of interfaith relations in the region, and overseeing the administration of the IIA Department's Jerusalem-based office. Before coming to AJC, Avril worked at AACI, the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, and was a registered Israel tour guide. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Avril has a BA in liberal arts from UNISA, the University of South Africa. She is on the Board of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.

ACCESS: AJC’s New Generation Program

ALEXIS FRANKEL, Director, 2010. frankela@ajc.org
Alexis is in charge of ACCESS, AJC’s division for young adult professionals, which operates in numerous communities in the U.S. and abroad. Before assuming the post Alexis was Assistant Director of AJC New York and Director of ACCESS New York. Prior to beginning her AJC career she consulted and worked across the globe from Africa, to the Caucasus to the United States for a variety of nonprofit organizations engaged in humanitarian and international development, public policy advocacy and Jewish communal service. Among these organizations are USAID, the Center for Arts and Public Policy, Hillel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship for International Jewish Communal Service. Alexis earned a B.A. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Anthropology (with concentrations in Gender and South Asian Studies), and an Msc from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom in Social and Political Studies.


Law

MARC STERN, General Counsel, 2010. sternm@ajc.org  
Marc is a leading expert in legal advocacy issues that have traditionally been of concern to the Jewish community, and in the new field of “lawfare”—pursuing war through the use of international legal procedures. He came to AJC after 33 years at the American Jewish Congress, where he was General Counsel since 1999 and acting Co-Executive Director since 2008. Marc has authored numerous legal briefs, published many scholarly articles, and has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He earned a B.A. at Yeshiva University and J.D. at the Columbia University School of Law.

AVITAL BLANCHARD, Assistant Counsel, 2010. blancharda@ajc.org
Avital was an Associate in the real estate department of the Jones Day law firm before joining the AJC staff. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University, where she was on the law review.

BETTY ROBBINS, Special Counsel, 2011. robbinsb@ajc.org
Betty first came to AJC as Interim Counsel after serving as General Counsel at ADL and the United Way of New York City. She now serves as Special Counsel. Betty is retired from TIAA-CREF, where she worked for 23 years and served as chief mortgage and real estate counsel. Betty earned a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, where she was on law review. She is a graduate of the Hebrew College MEAH program.


Blaustein Center for Jewish Research

CHARLOTTE BONELLI, Director, 2000. bonellic@ajc.org
As AJC’s Chief Archivist, Charlotte oversees AJC’s invaluable collection of records, which illuminate more a century of American Jewish life. She has created ajcarchives.org, a website with more than 75,000 pages of AJC documents, films, radio and television broadcasts, the entire run of the American Jewish Year Book, and recordings from AJC’s Oral History Library—all available online. Charlotte received a B.A. in History from Skidmore College, an M.A. in History from Hunter College, and a Certificate in Archives and Records Management from Long Island University.


Project Interchange (Washington, D.C.)

ROBIN LEVENSTON, Executive Director, 2014.levenstonr@projectinterchange.org
Before becoming executive director of Project Interchange, Robin Levenston held a series of high-level positions in the Jewish community. She has served as Vice President for Israel and Global Philanthropy at the Jewish Agency for Israel, National Development Director for B’nai Brith Youth Organization, vice President for Women’s Philanthropy at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, Associate Regional Director for the Southeast Region of United Jewish Communities, and Director of Planning and Allocations for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Robin earned a B.A. in Political Science and Judaic Studies from the University of Florida and a Masters in Public Administration, specializing in nonprofit management, from Florida Atlantic University.

IDA SINGELENBERG, Director, United States Programs, 2008. singelenbergi@projectinterchange.org
Ida is responsible for planning Project Interchange seminars in Israel for American groups, recruiting participants, and supervising all arrangement prior to takeoff. She was previously Missions Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and has also worked for El Al Airlines, Academic Travel Abroad, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ida earned a B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University.

NISHA ABKARIAN, Director, International Programs, 2005. abkariann@projectinterchange.org
Nisha plans the Project Interchange seminars in Israel for groups from outside the United States. She first worked for AJC from 1988 through 1990 as a Legislative Assistant in Washington, D.C., and then spent more than a decade abroad, first as Community Liaison Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, then as Office Manager of the U.S. Embassy Medical Unit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and then back in Beijing where she created the first Hebrew school. Nisha earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester and M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

MYRA CLARK-SIEGEL, Director, International Communications and Marketing, 2008. clarksiegelm@projectinterchange.org
Myra came to Project Interchange with over two decades of global public-policy and media-relations work. She was Account Director at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide; Vice President at Ruder Finn Israel; Director of Communications at the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Senior Consultant for Rabinowitz-Dorf Communications. She earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.


Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

FELICE GAER, Director

Felice is director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. The Institute conducts research and advocacy to strengthen international human rights protections and institutions worldwide. Read more.

CHRISTEN BROECKER, Associate Director, 2011. broeckerc@ajc.org
Christen came to AJC after a fellowship at Human Rights Watch, where she investigated the state of human rights in Indonesia and produced advocacy materials to combat violations there. She has published several scholarly law reviews articles on international business law. Christen received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina in Peace, War, and Defense and International Studies, and a J.D. and an LL.M in International Legal Studies from NYU Law School.

MARRA GUTTENPLAN, Advocacy/Editorial Officer, 2011. guttenplanm@ajc.org
Marra joined JBI in 2011. She previously worked overseas in Thailand to promote human rights in Burma through two roles. At EarthRights International she developed international human rights law based advocacy materials to engage with corporations and governments accountable for human rights abuses and corruption stemming from oil and gas projects in Burma. For Burma Issues-Peace Way Foundation she trained local staff to develop fundraising strategies and conduct advocacy on violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Before that, she practiced international corporate law at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in New York. Marra earned a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She is a member of the bars of New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.


Transatlantic Institute (Brussels)

DANIEL SCHWAMMENTHAL, Director, 2011
Daniel Schwammenthal, an authority on European affairs, is director of AJC’s Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, Belgium. Located in the city that is home to the Council of the European Union, this AJC institute seeks to foster relationships between the EU, the U.S. and Israel. Schwammenthal, a native of Germany, completed his undergraduate studies in political science at the University of Aachen, and earned an M.A. in international relations and international communications from Boston University, and a Master of Law (European law and policy) from the University of Manchester. He was a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires in Bonn, Berlin and Brussels, and in 2004 became an editorial-page writer and op-ed editor for Wall Street Journal Europe. He assumed the directorship of the Transatlantic Institute in 2011. JOSHUA GOODMAN, Program Director, 2010. goodmanj@ajc.org

Joshua returned to AJC after an earlier stint in 2006–07 as an International Affairs Research Fellow, where he produced analytical pieces and briefing materials. He has also been Associate Director of the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels and Director of Research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. He has published numerous articles on global security issues and appears frequently on television and radio. Joshua earned a B.A. in History from York University (Toronto) and an M.A. in Middle East History from Tel Aviv University.

 


Country Representatives

Asia Pacific Institute: SHIRA LOEWENBERG, Director, 2011. loewenbergs@ajc.org
Shira is the director of AJC’s Asia Pacific Institute (API), founded in 1989 to advocate with Asian nations on issues of Jewish concern, to exchanges ideas, make connections and build strong relationships with political, business and opinion leaders throughout the Asia Pacific region and their representatives in the United States. Shira previously served as Associate Director and Director of International Affairs of the AJC New York Region. Prior to working with AJC, Shira worked for international organizations including the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding. Her academic and professional background includes study of the history, politics and culture of South and East Asia, as well as roles leading the development, implementation and assessment of programs in South Asia. She spent two years working in Japan.

Shira earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Asia Pacific Institute: IAN MELLER, Coordinator, AJC Asia Pacific Institute (New York, NY), 2014. melleri@ajc.org
Ian Meller assists API in building relationships between the US, Israel, and the countries of the Asia Pacific region countries and between the Jewish and Asian American diaspora communities in the United States. Ian is API's in-house China expert; he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and proficient in other Asian languages. Before joining API, Ian studied and lived in multiple Asian countries. His academic and professional background includes study of the history, politics, culture, and financial/economic systems of East and Southeast Asia, as well as roles in finance and research in East Asia. He spent 2 years working in China.

Ian earned a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Ian studied advanced Chinese at Tsinghua University.

Berlin: DEIDRE BERGER, Director, 2000. bergerd@ajc.org
Deidre Berger has served as Director of the American Jewish Committee Berlin Office/Lawrence and Lee Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations since 2000. In that capacity, she advocates for a strong transatlantic partnership, a deepened understanding of Mideast affairs, dialogue among ethnic and religious groups, the endurance of Holocaust remembrance and other issues of pertinence to American-German-Jewish life. The AJC Berlin Office/Ramer Institute works in close partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote diversity, democracy and human rights.

Ms. Berger is a frequent lecturer in Germany and the U.S. on European security affairs, German-Jewish relations, issues of extremism and the promotion of democracy.

Ms. Berger is a member of the boards of Action Reconciliation/Service for Peace; the International Youth Center in Oswiecem; House of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin; and the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation.

Prior to joining the American Jewish Committee in 1999, Ms. Berger worked for 15 years as a foreign correspondent based in Germany, reporting for the Washington, D.C.-based public radio network, National Public Radio. She reported on German and European affairs for Deutsche Welle, the German international radio and television service. She also reported for print and broadcast media including Monitor Radio, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and the Christian Science Monitor newspaper.

Ms. Berger earned her master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri at Columbia and her bachelor's degree in art history at Bryn Mawr College.

Paris: SIMONE RODAN-BENZAQUEN, 2010. rodans@ajc.org

Simone comes to AJC after serving as an adviser to the Ambassador for Human Rights in the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. She was previously the founding General Secretary of the Brussels-based Medbridge Strategy Center, which seeks to strengthen ties between political and civil society leaders, and Vice President and Co-Founder of SOS Darfur. She holds a law degree from Kings College, London; an M.A. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics; and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Sciences-Pro in Paris.

Rome and the Holy See: LISA PALMIERI-BILLIG, 2005. billigl@ajc.org
Before assuming her position at AJC, Lisa taught English in New York and Rome, served as Rome correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, and was the Italy and Vatican representative of the ADL and the World Jewish Congress. She is fluent in three European languages: Italian, French and German. Lisa was the first President of the Christian-Jewish Friendship Association of Rome. She received a B.A. from Barnard College, an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College, and is working on a Ph.D. at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

São Paulo: MURIEL ASSERAF, 2012. asserafm@ajc.org
Muriel engages in Jewish advocacy in Brazil, a nation fast developing into a regional and global power, and at the same time strengthens AJC’s ties with the large and vibrant Jewish community there. A French citizen, she received a B.A. in French Linguistics from the University of Paris III and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. An experienced journalist, she previously worked in AJC’s Washington office as a specialist on European and Arab affairs.

Southeast Asia: YAEL AMIT, 2008. amity@ajc.org
Yael carries out AJC’s mission in countries of Southeast Asia. Previously, as Assistant Director of Leadership and Board Services, she helped organize the AJC Global Forum and national Board of Governors and leadership development events. A veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where she served as a fitness instructor, Yael earned a B.A. in History from the University of British Columbia, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Queen’s University (Ontario), and an M.P.A. at the National University of Singapore.


Finance, IT, Office Services, & Campaign Records

RICHARD HYNE, Chief Financial Officer, 2008. hyner@ajc.org
Rick oversees AJC Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Facilities. He began his career with the public accounting firm Ernst & Young, and before coming to AJC held a series of senior finance positions at Becton Dickinson, a large medical technology company. Rick earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Adelphi University and is a CPA.


DANIEL GOLDWATER, Controller, 2013. goldwaterd@ajc.org
Dan, who came to AJC as Assistant Controller in 2012, was named Controller in 2013. He was previously Controller at the American Lung Association, and before that was a Manager at Grant Thornton. He has also worked as an accountant at Rothstein Kass and Co. and at Anderson LLP. Dan received a B.S. in Accounting from the State University of New York at Albany and is a CPA.


RUTH HARENCHAR, Chief Information Officer, 2010. harencharr@ajc.org
Ruth directs AJC’s Information Technology (IT). After 17 years with Electronic Data Systems, she held executive positions at Ernst & Young, Bowne & Co., Hobart West Group, and Spire Solutions Group. Ruth earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois, an M.P.H. from Northwestern University Medical School. She has been an Adjunct Professor for the M.S. Technology Management Program at Columbia University. Before becoming an I.T. professional she worked as an epidemiologist on the Northwestern faculty.



Directors of Regional Offices

Atlanta: DOV WILKER, 2011. wilkerd@ajc.org
Dov is no stranger to Atlanta AJC, having served as Assistant Director from 2007 through 2009, when he left for Israel to work for a software firm. Earlier in his career, Dov was Regional Director of Academic and Community Affairs for the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Atlanta. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami and a Sofaer International M.B.A. from Tel Aviv University’s Recanati School of Business.


Boston: ROBERT LEIKIND, 2008. leikindr@ajc.org
Rob came to AJC Boston with considerable experience as a leader in the community, having served as Senior Vice President of Boston’s Hebrew College and, before that, as New England Regional Director of ADL. Prior to entering Jewish communal service Rob was an Assistant District Attorney for Essex County, Massachusetts. He earned an A.B. in Religion from Vassar College, a Master’s from Columbia University, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.


Chicago: AMY STOKEN, 2013.
chicago@ajc.org

Before joining AJC, Amy served as the Chicago area director of AIPAC for seven years. During her legal career, she worked at the U.S. Supreme Court, and several law firms, including Davis, Polk, and Wardwell LLP in New York and McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago. Motivated to make the world a better place through public service, Stoken volunteered full-time at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center after Hurricane Katrina. After Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, Stoken moved to Israel to volunteer with the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel. A graduate of Eckerd College and George Washington University in Washington D.C., where she received her Public Policy master’s degree, Stoken has also received a J.D. from Georgetown University.


Cincinnati: BARBARA GLUECK, 1991. glueckb@ajc.org
Before joining AJC Barbara taught English at the University of Cincinnati and was the first Director of Development for the Walnut Hills High School Foundation. For eight years she chaired the Cincinnati Citizens Police Advisory Commission, which sought to eliminate racism in police recruitment and training. Barbara earned a Master’s degree from the Harvard University School of Education.


Cleveland: LEE C. SHAPIRO, 2007. shapirol@ajc.org
Lee C. spent over 20 years in network television, first at the CBS News Election & Survey Unit and then as Director of Media Services for Voter News Service (VNS), a cooperative venture of the major networks that conducted exit polls, collected and tabulated returns, and projected the outcomes of elections. Immediately prior to joining AJC she was Director of Government & Public Affairs and Communications for Adelphia Communications of Northern Ohio. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Dallas: ANNA POPP, 2010. poppa@ajc.org
Anna served for over eight years as Admissions Director and Campaign Coordinator for Jewish day schools in Dallas before coming to AJC. She has a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University.


Detroit: KARI ALTERMAN, 2007. altermank@ajc.org
Before coming to AJC, Kari worked for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit—most recently as Director of Leadership Development—and taught courses about the American Jewish community at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work. Kari earned a B.A. in History and an M.S.W. and Certificate in Jewish Communal Service from the University of Michigan.


Houston: RANDY CZARLINSKY, 2006. czarlinskyr@ajc.org
Randy has spent nearly 30 years in Jewish communal life. Among his previous positions were Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte and Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. He also served with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and the Jewish Federations of Springfield, Massachusetts and Seattle. Randy has participated in numerous intergroup coalitions and forums, and was appointed by the mayor of Houston to the city’s International Affairs Committee for North Africa and the Middle East. He earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and an M.S.W. in Social Strategy/Policy from the University of Maryland.


Kansas City JCRB/AJC: MARVIN SZNELER, 1999. marvins@jewishkansascity.org
Marvin, then a banker, was serving on the Kansas City AJC Board when the position of Director opened up, and he decided on a career change. A longtime volunteer for civic and Jewish organizations, he received the Kansas City Jewish Federation Young Leadership Award, participated in the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program, and was Founding Treasurer of the Kansas City FBI Citizen’s Academy Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of the Urban League and is a Commissioner on the Overland Park Civil Service Commission.


Long Island: ROBERT SOCOLOF, 2013. socolofr@ajc.org
Robert was named Director of AJC Long Island in 2013 after more than two decades of experience working in the Jewish community. He has served as Executive Director of Medical Development for Israel and of the American Council for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is planned to open in Warsaw. He was also Regional Director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Public Information Officer of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Information Officer of the Israeli Consulate General in New York City. Robert earned a B.A. in Communications from Queens College.


Los Angeles: MARK DIAMOND, 2012. diamondm@ajc.org
Mark came to AJC after 12 years as Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, a multidenominational organization of 330 rabbis. Earlier in his career Mark served as rabbi in synagogues in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York, and founded “Ask a Rabbi,” a cyberspace forum for answering questions from America Online subscribers. He created the Los Angeles Jewish Federation’s Interreligious Action Center and has taught at several universities. Mark is a graduate of Carleton College and received his M.A. in Jewish studies, rabbinical ordination and Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also studied in the Rabbinic Management Program of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.


Miami & Broward County: BRIAN SIEGAL, 2004. siegalb@ajc.org
Before becoming director of AJC Miami and while serving as AJC Assistant Director of Intergroup Relations, Brian coordinated the organization’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund and served as the Secretariat of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations. Brian was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a B.A. and a J.D., and at New York University, where he completed a dual Master’s program in Public Administration and Jewish Studies. While working as an international lawyer, he studied law at University College of London and worked in the British legal system as a Pegasus Trust Fellow. He then studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while clerking for Chief Justice Aharon Barak of the Israeli Supreme Court.


New Jersey: JOHN ROSEN, 2012. rosenj@ajc.org
John took on responsibility for AJC activities in the state of New Jersey after serving for five years as regional Development Director. He previously worked for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, the Jewish Federations of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County (New Jersey), and as Director of Development for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He earned a B.A. in German from Dartmouth College and an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University.


New York: MICHAEL SCHMIDT, 2011. schmidtm@ajc.org
Michael came to AJC with over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, most recently as CEO of the Council on Accreditation, the premier international human service accrediting body. Before that he served, among other posts, as Vice President of the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens and Director of the Community Guardian Program. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the New York University Silver School of Social Work. After earning a B.S.W. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Michael served for three years in the Israeli army, and then received an M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College and an M.S.W. from Fordham University.


Palm Beach County: RACHEL MILLER, 2009. millerr@ajc.org
Born and raised in the Midwest, Rachel worked for the Jewish Federations of North America in a variety of positions, doing major gifts cultivation, annual campaign organization and implementation, campaign analysis, training, and leadership development, before joining AJC. She received a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.S. from the University of Michigan.


Philadelphia: MARCIA BRONSTEIN, 2008. bronsteinm@ajc.org
Marcia was named Director of AJC Philadelphia in 2013 after five years as its Director of Development. Before coming to AJC, Marcia was Vice President of JCCs of Philadelphia; Vice President for Institutional Advancement of Martins Run, a senior living community; Senior Vice President for Development of the National Liberty Museum; and Director of Community Development for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. After receiving a B.A. in Sociology and Education from the State University of New York in Albany, Marcia earned an M.S.W. from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


St. Louis: NANCY LISKER, 2007. liskern@ajc.org
Born and raised in Mexico City, Nancy worked for the Mexican government for three years as Consul for Press and Public Affairs in Chicago. She then spent five years at an advertising firm in Chicago developing marketing and advertising strategies for Fortune 500 companies before joining AJC. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Communications from the National University of Mexico and an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.


San Francisco: MERVYN DANKER, 2008. dankerm@ajc.org  
Mervyn was born and raised in South Africa, where he was a high school teacher of History, Geography, and English, and a principal of Jewish day schools. Arriving in the U.S. in 1988, he was a day-school principal on the West Coast before assuming his position at AJC. Mervyn earned a B.A. from the University of Cape Town.


Seattle: SIMON AMIEL, 2013. amiels@ajc.org
Simon joins AJC with over fifteen years of experience in the Jewish community relations field, where he worked primarily for Hillel in many capacities. From 2005 to 2008, Simon served as the Executive Director of the Hillel at George Washington University. Following this experience, Simon then went on to become Director of Campus Engagement Strategies in Hillel’s National Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Most recently, Simon returned to his hometown of Seattle to serve as Executive Director and Vice President at City Year Seattle/King County to provide critical support for underserved youths.


Washington, D.C.: ALAN RONKIN, 2013. ronkina@ajc.org
Before coming to AJC Washington, Alan was the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston’s (JCRC) Deputy Director from 2000 until 2010 and served as Interim Executive Director from 2010-2011. During that time he led successful campaigns to defeat BDS ballot initiatives in the Greater Boston area and a wide variety of other Israel related efforts including numerous tours of Israel for prominent non-Jewish leaders including elected officials and clergy. He subsequently served as Policy Adviser and Constituent Manager for the Jewish community on Representative Joe Kennedy’s Congressional staff. Prior to coming to Boston, Alan worked at Jewish Federations in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. He is a native of Bridgeport, CT, earned a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Jewish Communal Service from the Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles.


West Coast Florida: BRIAN LIPTON, 2007. liptonb@ajc.org
Brian served as Director of Development for the Regional Office before becoming Director. He previously was Director of Membership for the local JCC. Prior to entering the nonprofit world he worked for over two decades in sales and corporate training for Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Champs Sports, and Brooks Brothers. Brian studied in London and Israel before earning his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and then graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law.


Westchester: SCOTT RICHMAN, 2009. richmans@ajc.org
Scott worked as a financial analyst and lawyer before entering the nonprofit world. Employed first by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, he was its New York Director of Programs for Jews in the Former Soviet Union for almost a decade, afterward serving as Executive Director of Dor Chadash. He was a board member of Westchester AJC before becoming its top professional. Scott is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn Law School, and the Institute for Non-Profit Management of the Columbia University School of Business.

Get Email Updates

Receive the latest global Jewish advocacy news from AJC.