Executive Committee

Co-Chairs

  • Brian Lurie - President, Caroline and Brian Lurie Philanthropic Fund
  • Ariel Zwang - Chief Executive Officer, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Executive Committee

Bios

  • Brian Lurie

    President 
    Caroline and Brian Lurie Philanthropic Fund

    Rabbi Brian Lurie served for seventeen years as Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and for five years as President of the San Francisco Jewish Museum. He has worked in Israel and America to promote equality for Israeli Arabs and as Executive Vice President of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), he was instrumental in launching the second phase of Operation Exodus and provided the vision and strategic direction under which UJA has begun to broaden its mandate. Rabbi Lurie developed the concept of "The Living Bridge", a metaphor which is redefining the broad range of relationships and the partnerships, as equals, of American Jews and Israelis. Both the Israel Experience for teens and Partnership 2000 were created as pillars of the Living Bridge.

    Rabbi Lurie received his B.A. from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and a Masters in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He has been granted honorary degrees from both Lafayette College and Hebrew Union College.
     

  • Ariel Zwang

    Chief Executive Officer 
    JDC - American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

    Ariel Zwang is CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the global Jewish humanitarian organization operating in 70 countries worldwide. Ariel took the helm of JDC, and its team of hundreds of professionals, in January 2021.

    Ariel previously led Safe Horizon, one of America’s leading social service agencies, where she served with distinction as CEO for twelve years. Her mastery of complex organizational dynamics and multi-faceted operations helped transform the organization, as she doubled its size and enhanced its financial, operational, programmatic, and strategic health. Ariel oversaw its staff of 1,000, a $100 million budget (including tens of millions in government contracts and grants), and programs impacting 250,000 vulnerable people annually.

    Her distinguished career in the human and public service sectors includes her tenure as Executive Director of New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteering organization; as a White House Fellow in the Department of Housing and Urban Development; as Vice President of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation in the South Bronx; and as Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education. Ariel began her career with Morgan Stanley and the Boston Consulting Group.

    As a noted expert in social support for vulnerable populations and advocate for the impact of volunteerism, Ariel has regularly appeared in media discussing these trends. She was a board member of the Human Services Council of New York, and the Points of Light Foundation, and was ranked the “2nd most powerful nonprofit leader in New York State” on City and State’s Annual Power List.

    A passionate Jewish leader hailing from a family of rabbis and Jewish educators, Ariel has held numerous community leadership positions underscoring her commitment to Jewish practice, pluralism, and the diversity of Jewish life. She is a Vice President of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan; and has served in a variety lay roles at UJA-Federation of New York; as a past Board Member of Jewish Coalition for Service; and with the New York Committee for Harvard Hillel.

    Ariel received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College. She and her husband, Gordon Mehler, are the parents of two young adult daughters and reside in Manhattan.

     

  • Kenneth Jacobson

    National Director 
    Anti-Defamation League

    As ADL's Deputy National Director, Kenneth Jacobson serves in a number of capacities including representing ADL when CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is not available, writing extensively on ADL subjects, speaking to groups across the country and educating ADL staff and volunteer leaders about the history and legacy of the organization. Ken joined ADL in 1971. He is the longest serving ADL professional and has served in many roles, including leading the International Affairs, Civil Rights, Marketing and Communications, and Education divisions at various times. Ken has a BA in history from Yeshiva University and an MA in history from Columbia University.

    Mr. Jacobson holds degrees from the City College of the City University of New York, the Yeshiva of Flatbush, New York University School of Law, Clark University, Iona College, Florida International University and has completed graduate work in advanced Judaic studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and in international economics at The New School for Social Research. Mr. Jacobson is the author of Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism andThe Deadliest Lies, and is the recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Leadership Award, the State of New York at Albany University Medallion and Austria's Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold, among others.
     

  • Daniel J. Sokatch
    Chief Executive Officer
    New Israel Fund

     

    Daniel J. Sokatch is the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund (NIF), the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis.  Before joining NIF, Sokatch served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.  Prior to his tenure at Federation, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Los Angeles based Progressive Jewish Alliance.

    In recognition of his leadership, Sokatch has thrice been named one of the Forward newspaper's "Forward 50," an annual list of the fifty leading Jewish decision-makers and opinion-shapers in 2002, 2005 and 2008.

    Daniel has an MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and a BA from Brandeis University.  He is married with two daughters and resides in San Francisco.
     

  • Carolyn Greene

    Deputy Director and COO 
    Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

    Carolyn Greene is the Deputy Director/COO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, having served the organization in various leadership roles for over 30 years. Carolyn is responsible for the operations of the Conference, various aspects of policy-making, program planning, communications, administration, and capacity building for new projects. She also directs the Conference’s annual Leadership Mission, which brings organizational leaders to Israel, Europe, Eurasia, and Africa for meetings with top governmental and military officials and local Jewish community leaders. Carolyn represents the Conference of Presidents on the Executive Committee of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues, has served on the Executive Committee of the Israel on Campus Coalition and chaired the Advisory Committee of Israel Campus Beat.

    Prior to joining the Conference of Presidents, Carolyn served as Director of Operations for Eshed International, facilitating joint ventures in manufacturing, marketing, and research and development for United States, Israeli and South American partnerships, as Director of Programming and Operations for the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. Carolyn received her B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and is a former officer member of the Board of Trustees of Congregation Ansche Chesed.

     

  • Roni Rubenstein

    Member-at-Large

    Roni Rubenstein has worked with minority populations in Israel as past chair of the Ethiopian Task Force and the Economic Empowerment Committee at UJA-Federation. She is also a former chair and current board member of the Baron de Hirsch Foundation. Additionally Roni sits on the alumni council of the Wexner Foundation and the boards of the Good People Fund and UJA-Federation. Professionally, Roni is an attorney, having worked in the private sector as a litigator at Shearman & Sterling and in the public sector as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
     

  • Michael Hirschhorn
    President of the Trustees
    The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation

    Michael Hirschhorn served as Executive Director of the International Human Rights Funders Group from 2008 through 2014. Prior to directing IHRFG, from 2003-08, Michael was Executive Director of the Coro New York Leadership Center. Earlier, from 1995-2001, he served as Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center in New York City. Michael was an Assistant to the Chancellor of the NYC Public Schools and a Visiting Non-Profit Executive at Yale's School of Management. Michael serves as President of the Trustees of The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, and also serves on the boards of several rights-related and educational non-profit organizations. Michael received his BA from Yale University in 1981 and his MBA & MSW from Columbia University in 1989.
     

  • Howard Sohn

    Chair and Executive
    Fohs Foundation

    Howard Sohn board chair and executive of the Fohs Foundation, which is dedicated to improving Arab-Jewish relations within Israel; co-chair of the board of The Kenneth Fund Initiatives; an active member of the Inter Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues and the Social Venture Fund of the Jewish Federations of North America.

    He is retired board chair and CEO of Lone Rock Timber Company and Sun Studs, Inc., Roseburg OR; served as director of human resources policy, planning, and communication at Pfizer Inc., New York, NY; and taught ethics and public policy at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Public service activities have included the State of Oregon Board of Higher Education; member and chair of the State of Oregon Board of Forestry. He holds a PhD from Fordham University, MA from Manhattan College, and BA from Claremont McKenna College.
     

  • Jeffrey Solomon

    Senior Advisor, Chasbro Investments
    The Karev Foundation

    Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon is Senior Advisor to Chasbro Investments, the family office of Charles Bronfman. For two decades, he was president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, a group of foundations operating in Canada, Israel and the United States, Among the foundations’ innovative launches were Birthright Israel and Reboot, two initiatives aimed at connecting young, assimilated Jews to their tradition. He currently sits on the Boards of the Leichtag Foundation in San Diego, the Jim Joseph Foundation in San Francisco and the KIND and Lubetzky Family Foundations in New York. He served as the Chair of Leading Edge, an organization aimed at talent acquisition and retention in the Jewish community and serves as Co-Chair of the Peaceworks Foundation. His books (co-authored with Charles Bronfman), The Art of Giving and The Art of Doing Good, have won awards and recognition throughout the philanthropic world. He is also the author of over 120 publications in both professional journals and outlets such as The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. He served as an adjunct associate professor in the masters and doctorate programs of New York University School of Social Work.

  • Rebecca Katz-White

    Planning Director
    UJA-Federation of New York

    Rebecca Katz-White is a Planning Director in the Jewish Life department at UJA Federation of New York, focused on the organization’s work in Israel. Previously she was part of UJA’s Commission on the Jewish People where she managed grant portfolios focused on engaging interfaith families in New York and Israeli civil society. Before coming to UJA Rebecca was a public interest lawyer, serving as a public defender, a union labor lawyer and as the staff attorney for a disability rights organization. She also taught basic education to adults who immigrated to the United States. Rebecca studied political science at Stanford University and received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.