Rabba Abby Brown Scheier is an educator and Jewish community leader in Montreal. Abby was member of the first ordination class of Yeshivat Maharat, holds a degree in Religious Studies from York University, and pursued an M.A. in Bible at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a popular Torah teacher in the Montreal community. In addition to her public lectures at synagogues and Federation, Abby works as a private tutor for conversion candidates, bat mitzvah students, and International Bible Contest candidates. Abby established a supplementary education high school of which she serves as director, and is active in multiple volunteer capacities at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the synagogue of which her husband is the Senior Rabbi. Abby serves on the board of directors of the Canadian Jewish News and writes a monthly column for the paper. Abby is married to Rabbi Adam Scheier, and together they have five daughters.
Ariel Groveman Weiner is Chair of the Board of Yeshivat Maharat and serves on the boards of JOFA, the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn and Penn Hillel. Ariel is an Advisory Board member of Midreshet Lindenbaum's Women's Institute for Halachik Leadership, serves on SAR Academy's Board of Education and is currently participating in the Wexner Heritage Fellowship. For over a decade, Ariel served as the Associate Director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation where she oversaw the foundation's grant portfolio and worked closely with the various initiatives the foundation supports, specifically focusing on strategic and long term planning. Ariel received her BA and MA in Jewish History from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Riverdale with her husband, Josh, and their three children, Ilan, Yael, and Meirav.
Alexandra “Sasha” Fox was born in Kishinev, Moldova. With the intent of immigrating to the United States, her family lived in Israel and France in the 1970′s, finally settling in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
After graduating from the University of Hartford, she landed a job at Salomon Brothers working in Compliance; she then made her way into Sales and Trading in various roles on the trading floor. Her career turned to Client Management, working as a strategic partner within Equities to help US and Global managers implement initiatives that helped increase revenues and productivity. As the firm evolved into Salomon Smith Barney, and then eventually, into Citigroup, Alexandra left the firm after 15 years of service to work at JP Morgan. She helped establish its Client Management department and worked with Sales through the Bear Stearns merger.
After four years at JP Morgan, a lucrative position became available to start up Client Management for Global Equities at Jefferies & Co where she implemented significant business, infrastructure, and technological initiatives. As the political and financial landscape changed in the past few years, Alexandra is taking time to concentrate on her family life. She just recently moved with her husband and two young sons to New Rochelle, NY.
Alexandra attended Jewish elementary and middle schools (Shulamith and Bialik in Brooklyn); however, her family was not observant. After September 11, 2001, she met her husband, Andrew, through Aish HaTorah and as they became more involved with the Upper West Side Jewish community, they began to live a Modern Orthodox lifestyle. In 2012, they were honored at the West Side Institutional Synagogue 91st Annual Dinner for their service to the community. They support various Jewish organizations in the US and Israel.
Daniel Held is the Executive Director of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, which builds the capacity of Toronto’s system of Jewish education. He has a wide range of experience in strategic philanthropy, conducting research and evaluation to maximize funders’ impact in Jewish education. Daniel holds a doctorate in education from JTS’s Davidson School of Education and is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Previously, he served as the Director of the Educators Track at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, as a senior educator at Brandeis University’s Office of High School Programs, and as a teacher at TanenbaumCHAT, Toronto’s community high school. Daniel lives in Toronto with his wife and daughters.
Leah Krakinowski, currently the director of marketing and communications for a private Jewish day school, had a 20-plus year career as a newspaper reporter, radio producer, and magazine editor, working for such media outlets as Foxnews.com, Dow Jones, the Voice of America, and Knight-Ridder, in the United States and Southeast Asia. She also previously worked as a communications strategist for several financial services and technology companies. In addition to her professional affiliations, Ms. Krakinowski has maintained a longstanding commitment to the Jewish community, raising funds through United Jewish Appeal’s Young Leadership program in Washington, D.C.; serving as a board member of the Hong Kong Jewish Benevolent Society, a private agency allocating funds for elderly, indigent Jews throughout Southeast Asia; participating in the creation of the Hong Kong Jewish Community’s first traveling Holocaust Museum exhibition; serving as a member of the Board of Kehilat Kesher, a modern Orthodox Synagogue in Englewood, N.J., and as a founding Board Member of Minyan Tiferet of Englewood & Tenafly, a partnership minyan, and donating her time to such organizations as Bonim Builders and Jewish Family Services. She has a bachelor of arts in communications and economics from the State University of New York at Albany, and a master of arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland. Most recently, Ms. Krakinowski, through a grant from the Berrie Foundation, participated as a community empowerment fellow with Mechon Hadar, a New York-based yeshiva that combines traditional text study, egalitarian prayer and social action with a special focus on personal religious growth.
Elena Neuman Lefkowitz is an independent documentary filmmaker in New York City. Her company, Neuman Films, produces short films primarily for non-profit cultural and educational organizations.
Previously, she worked as an associate producer at Manifold Productions, a Washington, DC-based film company, where she worked on three films for PBS: The Fall of Newt Gingrich, Rediscovering George Washington, and God and the Inner City. Before transitioning into film, she worked as a reporter for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and at The Washington Times, where she wrote monthly features covering the Supreme Court, social policy and health care for the Sunday magazine section, Insight on the News. She has also been published in The Weekly Standard, The Forward, Reader’s Digest, and Forbes Media Critic.
Elena is a graduate of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in History. She continued her history studies at Balliol College, Oxford University, and at Yale University, where she received a Masters Degree in 1991. She also attended the New York Film Academy.
Elena serves on the board of Yavneh, an egalitarian Orthodox minyan on the Upper East Side of New York City; she also sits on the executive board of the Cornell Hillel, and serves as Vice President of the Zamir Choral Foundation, a Jewish non-profit that promotes choral music as a vehicle to inspire Jewish life, culture, and continuity. She recently completed a five-year term on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Elena lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jay, a lawyer, and their three children: Talia, a former IDF paratrooper and student at Barnard College; and Danielle and Jacob, who both attend Ramaz High School. In her spare time, Elena paints abstract art and sings with the Zamir Chorale.
Chani Laufer graduated from Fordham Law School in 2004. After graduation she worked as a Law Guardian representing children in custody and abuse and neglect cases in the Bronx and New York district court. Before entering law, Chani was a journalist, reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Bergen Record. She was also involved in New York State politics. Chani, and her husband Steve, live in Riverdale with their two children, Shoshana and Ari.
Atara Miller is a partner in the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and a member of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration Group. Ms. Miller’s practice focuses on federal and state court litigation of complex commercial matters and bankruptcy-related litigation. She has significant experience in the financial restructuring sphere, having litigated through trial multiple fraudulent transfer claims and adversary proceedings and prosecuted fraudulent misrepresentation. She represents individual and corporate clients.
Ms. Miller was a founding member of Milbank’s Women’s Affinity Group and has taken a leading role in the Milbank Women’s Initiative, which organizes events to strengthen the firm-wide network of women attorneys.
Originally from Montreal, Atara lives in New Rochelle with her husband, Rabbi Benji Shiller (a YCT alum and teacher at Heschel) and their 4 daughters.
Ann Baidack Pava is the immediate past chair of National Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). During her two- year tenure (2013-2015) she traveled the world speaking to women about their philanthropy and its impact on the Jewish people. Under her leadership the Women’s Philanthropy Campaign of the Jewish Federation of North America increased by 3 million dollars. She is a past recipient of the JFNA Kipnes-Wilson Friedland Award for outstanding women philanthropists, the ADL Torch of Liberty Award and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Lay Leadership Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
A passionate advocate of Jewish Day School Education, she served as the founding President of the Hebrew High School of New England, the region’s first Jewish high school serving the communities of Western Massachusetts and Greater Hartford and New Haven Connecticut.
Ann is the current campaign Chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. She has served on the board of JOFA since 2003 and was recently appointed to the board of GPATS at Yeshiva University.
Ann and her husband Jeremy Pava live in West Hartford, CT. They have three children and a daughter in law, Harvey and his wife Devorah, and Nate and Devorah, both students at Brandeis University.
Andrew Silberstein is senior vice president of Globecomm Systems, a publicly held global provider of communications solutions and services. He currently leads the company’s operations, planning and execution of strategic business development, as well as sales and management of ongoing services. A 25-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, Mr. Silberstein most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Schema Inc., a global wireless optimization software company, with operations in the United States, Israel and Latin America. Prior to his tenure with Schema, Mr. Silberstein served as Globecomm’s Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong. Mr. Silberstein has served on the board of a number of Jewish institutions, including the Ohel Leah Synagogue in Hong Kong, and is currently a board member of Areyvut, a non-profit organization helping Jewish youth infuse their lives with the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (social action). He is also involved with the Sanhedria School for Boys in Jerusalem. Mr. Silberstein has a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from Rutgers University, M.Sc. in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and an Executive MBA from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the country’s academic leader in science and technology.
Rabbi Daniel Smokler is the inaugural Chief Innovation Officer of Hillel International. In 2011, the Jewish Week named Dan one of the 36 under 36 change makers in Jewish life.
Dan grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan and graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a Bachelors of Arts in the History of Art. Following college, Dan worked as a labor union organizer for the Service Employees Union and the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union in Connecticut and Los Angeles. Dan then went on to found Organizational Solutions, a labor-consulting firm that helped reorganize the Writer’s Guild of America.
Dan went to Israel for his rabbinical education and was ordained in 2005 by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, of Jerusalem’s highest rabbinic court. Dan has worked for Hillel at Occidental College and University of California Los Angeles. He now works at New York University’s Hillel. Dan is also a doctoral candidate in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University and a Wexner Fellow.
Dan lives in New York with wife Erin Leib Smokler, the director of Spiritual Development at Yeshivat Maharat, and their two sons, Shalev and Nadiv.
Zelda R. Stern is a donor-activist who is a member of the founding board of JOFA. A graduate of Temple University, she received an MSW from Columbia University and a Post-Masters Certificate in Advanced Clinical Social Work from Hunter College. She is a trained psychotherapist who had a private practice before transitioning to her later work as a member of the Board of Directors of the Harry Stern Family Foundation, where she worked with her five siblings, and where she became an officer. She speaks and writes about using strategic philanthropy to effect change, and also mentors women serving in Orthodox leadership positions.
Abigail Tambor currently serves on the boards of JOFA, Penn Hillel and Yavneh, a Partnership Minyan on the Upper East Side. She has been dedicated to developing greater opportunities and leadership roles for Women in Orthodox communities since birth. She currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and 4 children.
Chaim Trachtman is Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology, NYU Langone Medical Center. He cares for children and adolescents with kidney and is the principle investigator for several NIH-funded studies of kidney diseases and hypertension. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Nephrology Reviews and is on the Medical Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation-NY. He has edited a book entitled Woman and Men in Communal Prayer: Halakhic Perspectives that brought together several viewpoints on the halakhic validity of partnership minyanim. He is married to Audrey Trachtman, former executive board member of JOFA, and is the father of three wonderful girls and their three husbands. So far, Chaim has three grandchildren.