Board of Directors
Vicki Abrams graduated from Upsala College and Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She was a psychotherapist with post graduate training in family therapy and individual psychoanalytically based therapy for over 25 years. Vicki served as a board member of the Metrowest JCC where she chaired the early childhood department from 1970-1978. She also served as Vice President of Oheb Shalom Synagogue in South Orange New Jersey, was on the board of the AJC, and served on the Advisory Board of Davidson School of Education at JTS. Vicki and her husband, Bill Abrams, are very involved with congregation B’nai Jeshurun and are part of the core committee fundraising for the new building. Since retiring, Vicki has spent a great deal of time learning at various institutions in New York including Drisha, Skirball, B’nai Jeshurun, and Hadar. Vicki and Bill have two children and five grandchildren.
Talya Bock, President
Talya Bock is a Senior Vice President in Private Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch in Washington, DC. Talya graduated magna cum laude from Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) with degrees in Economic History and Talmud. She also holds an MA in Jewish education from JTS. Previously, Talya worked in private wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and in investment banking at BMO Capital Markets. Talya was a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in the summer of 2010 and served as gabbai at Kehilat Hadar from 2008 to 2010. She is an active member of DC Minyan and serves on the Board of JTS. Talya Bock grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and lives in Washington DC with her husband and two children.
Debbi Bohnen works as a Nurse Midwife at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. She was a gabbai at Kehilat Hadar from 2002 to 2004 before she moved to Teaneck, NJ, where she now lives with her husband and two children. She is a founder of Minyan Koleinu in Teaneck, and is a member of the leadership team there.
Margaret Cohn was born and raised in the Chicago area. She attended Tufts University, where she earned a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Chinese Studies. Margaret spent two years studying in The People’s Republic of China and Taiwan and upon returning from China, worked for Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry. She also worked for a cross-cultural training company, International Orientation Resources, helping prepare executives and their families for transfer to foreign countries. Margaret volunteered in the library of the Solomon Schechter Day School for 13 years and as an academic coach for the Wolcott School (a college prep high school for students with learning differences). She has served on the boards of Solomon Schechter Day School, The Board of Jewish Education, The Davidson School at JTS and currently is in her last year of service for the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. Margaret has attended the Hadar Executive Seminar for the last eight years and also participated in their 10-year Shabbaton. Margaret is an adult learner of Talmud, Tanach and Jewish thought and started a monthly parasha study group in her community. Margaret and her husband, Lee live in Highland Park, IL and have three grown children.
Susan Weiss Firestone
Susan was the owner and President of Plastic Packaging Corporation, a leading manufacturer of rigid open top food packaging, she sold the company in 2014 to Placon Corp.
Susan serves on various local and national boards including the Jewish Federations of North America, United Israel Appeal (UIA) and the International Board of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. She is a member of the JFNA Israel and Overseas Committee as well as the JFNA Global Planning Table. Locally, Susan serves as President of the Jewish Federation of Western MA., Vice President of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western MA, where she chaired the PACE/LOJE program. Susan also serves as a Vice President of Temple Beth El, Springfield, MA and is a past board member of Heritage Academy, community Jewish day school, of which her children are graduates. She is a past member of the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet and is a recipient of the Philip E. Saks Young Leadership award. Susan is the former president of Plastic Packaging Corp. She holds a BS in Economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is married to William Firestone and has twin daughters in college.
David Gilberg is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell where his practice involves a broad range of securities and derivatives-related regulatory and transactional matters. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He and his wife Judy have two grown children and live in White Plains, NY. David is a former President of Temple Israel Center of White Plains and was previously on the Board of the Westchester Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, the Board of the Jewish Publication Society and the Board of Overseers of the Rabbinical School of JTS.
Harman Grossman is assistant general counsel at Johnson and Johnson, where he has worked since 1992. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, he is very involved in his synagogue, Beth Sholom of Teaneck, NJ. Harman is a past participant in the Executive Seminar at Hadar, and his children have attended Hadar's Winter Learning Seminar and Camp Ramah staff program.
Ben Hofkin is a principal at Hofkin Capital Management in Minneapolis. Ben holds a BA in history and political science from Columbia University and an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to his career in the investment industry, Ben worked extensively in Jewish education and youth leadership, including many years at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, where he spent four summers as a rosh eidah and is today a member of the board. He lives in Minneapolis, where he grew up, with his wife and two daughters.
Jana Jett Loeb was a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in 2010-2011, and is a graduate of Brown University and the University of California-Berkeley School of Law. While in law school, Jana was active in the Bay Area Jewish community and co-founded the Niggun Collective, an egalitarian space to share and teach the spiritual practice of singing niggunim. Following law school, Jana was an associate at the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, where her practice focused on white-collar investigations and complex commercial litigation. She also spearheaded the firm's pro bono partnership with Sanctuary for Families and represented domestic violence victims through the Orthodox Matrimonial Project. Jana has also served a law clerk to the Honorable Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, and the Honorable Morgan B. Christen of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Anchorage, Alaska. Though she has made her home in Brooklyn, Jana proudly hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she grew up in a cherished Lubavitch shul and attended the local community Jewish day school. Jana loves hiking, cooking, leading davening inspired by her love of Hasidic nusach, and cuddling with her very frum dog, Zisi. Jana is proud to work as a prosecutor in New York City.
Jonathan Lopatin, a former Partner at the Goldman Sachs Group, received an MA in Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2009. He is the founder of not-so-simple-productions and producer of Eyes Wide Open, a documentary film about the experience of American Jewish visitors to Israel. Jonathan serves on the boards of several institutions involved in Jewish and Israel education in the US and in Israel.
Sally has been practicing and teaching midwifery for 30 years, most recently at the New York University Graduate Midwifery Program. She is a lifetime student of Tanakh and Halakha, has a degree in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and currently studies Gemara at Hadar. She is a founder and leader of Minyan Shachar in Riverdale, and organizes an annual east coast Shavuot Retreat. She and her husband have 3 grown children, one daughter-in-law and one grandchild.
Dan is the Director of Financial Vitality at Prizmah, Dan oversees a variety of training programs that help day schools optimize their revenues and achieve greater financial stability. Prior to joining Prizmah, Dan served as the Vice President for Program and Strategy at The Foundation for Jewish Camp and as a program officer in day school finance at the AVI CHAI Foundation. Dan spent nearly 18 years in the financial world. He worked as a security analyst and portfolio manager at leading investment firms, including Iridian Asset Management, Centurion Investment Group, and Soros Fund Management. Dan was privileged to serve as a Wexner Heritage Fellow and currently serves as board chair of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He also serves on the boards of Hadar and SAR Academy, and the advisory board of the Jewish New Teacher Project. Dan is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business and has a master’s of business administration in management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Sarene P. Shanus
Sarene is an active, longstanding volunteer in the Jewish community. She is finishing up a term as Chair of the Jewish Life Department at UJA Federation of NY and member of the UJA Executive Committee. Sarene is also a member of the UJA Board of Directors and has held numerous other leadership positions at UJA. She is also active in her synagogue, Westchester Jewish Center, where she is a past President and Chair of the Board and has held many other positions. Currently at the synagogue, Sarene chairs an Israel Engagement Task Force and a committee that organizes a Study Service each year on the High Holidays. Sarene is a past member of the Board of Hadar and of the Board and Executive Committee of The Jewish Education Project as well as a past President of the Board of Henry Kaufman Campgrounds. Sarene is an attorney and is a partner with her brother in a family-owned business that manages and develops commercial real estate. She lives in Mamaroneck with her husband Harold Treiber and they share four children and four grandchildren
Geoffrey Stern is the founder of Voice Express Corp. and an early pioneer of voice chip and network computing convergence. With multiple patents covering the online personalization of voice enabled print media, Stern has been at the forefront of using Voice and on-demand media to drive commerce. Stern's products have been used in voice enabled toys, sentiment expression, photo imaging, direct mail, packaging, and Point-of-Sale signage, to name a few. As the exclusive provider of Sounds to Build-A-Bear Workshop, Stern’s company has shipped over 50MM electronic sound devices enabling consumers to express their emotions and put a smile on the face of young and old, alike.
Stern is currently working on launching VoiceGift™, the first VoiceGifting™ platform that will create A New Way To Gift™ and put meaning and emotion back into the gift-giving experience. Stern is also launching Connect™ a smart-speaker-in-a-card that will enable brands to engage their clients through an interactive voice experience in Direct Mail, Point-of-Sale and at the magical moment of unboxing.
Stern has been a trustee of PEF Israel Endowment Funds, Inc. for over 20 years and has served as PEF’s president since 2010. PEF was established in 1922 by Justice Brandeis, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Robert Szold and a group of distinguished Americans to enable the direct distribution of funds to selected and approved charitable organizations in Israel. PEF grants (now totaling over $2 billion and averaging over $120MM annually) have touched almost every facet of Israeli life.
Geoffrey lives with his wife Orna in Westport, CT where they enjoy visits from their three children and three grandchildren as often as possible.
Eli Ungar founded Antheus Capital in 2002 and serves as one of its principals. From 1990 to 2002, Eli was director of acquisitions, finance and property management for a private real estate investment firm. Eli graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies. He is chairman of the board of Jewish Home Family, a nursing home and assisted living not-for-profit, and past president of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County.
Jeffrey Wechselblatt grew up in Yonkers, New York and lives in Riverdale with his wife and four children. Jeff graduated from Solomon Schechter School of Westchester (1985), Ramaz (1989 (with Hadar notables Shai and Ariella Dubler)), Columbia College (1994) and Columbia Law School (1998). He spent two years studying in Israel (Yeshivat HaKotel (89-90) and Pardes (94-95)). While at Pardes, he also interned at the Israel Religious Action Center. He also spent many years as a camper at Young Judaea camps. Jeff is the General Counsel of Lone Pine Capital LLC, an investment adviser based in Greenwich, CT, and worked at NY law firms prior to joining Lone Pine in 1997. In his free time Jeff is an enthusiastic (a kind way of saying bad) guitar player, and enjoys coaching his kids in their various endeavors, reading and running.
Alisa has been active on the boards of a wide spectrum of organizations and foundations - small and large, new and old - that promote deep engagement with Jewish life, and that build and provide care for community. She is immediate past chair of the Jim Joseph Foundation Board, She is also past President and Chair of the board of UJA-Federation of New York where she has long been involved with its grantmaking in the Jewish education space as well as in Israel. A past president of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City, she was instrumental in founding its high school division and building a new school campus. Additionally, she serves on the boards of Montefiore Health Systems, a major academic medical center and New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization.
Ariela Dubler is the head of school at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School, and served as Hadar’s inaugural board chair. Previously, she was a professor at Columbia Law School with a specialty in family law and legal history. Ariela lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and three children. Ariela was on the founding board of The Natan Fund.
Amos Hochstein is executive vice president for international operations at Cassidy & Associates in Washington, DC. Amos represents foreign and domestic clients on a wide variety of issues, ranging from general foreign policy to investments and business developments. Amos’s practice focuses primarily on the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Russia. He appears regularly on Middle East television and radio networks as a commentator. He served on the Steering Committee of the DC Minyan. Amos is Vice President of the Washington DCJCC board while serving on the boards of Impact Arts & Film Fund and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. He is also a partner in the West End Cinema as well as two restaurants in Washington DC.