Leaders Assembly 2014
Special Guests

Plenary & Keynote Speakers

Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Board of Trustees, Foundation for Jewish Camp

Elisa Spungen Bildner most recently served as president of FreshPro, a leading fresh-cut produce company servicing the food industry. Prior to that, she was a journalism professor at Rutgers and New York Universities, a reporter/editor at the Newark Star Ledger, and has authored numerous articles for consumer and scholarly publications.  She is a former practicing attorney and has taught media law at Seton Hall University Law School. Elisa has held leadership positions in many Jewish organizations, including serving as board chair of the Jewish Funders Network and president of JTA - the Global News Service of the Jewish People.  Elisa and her husband, Rob, are among the founders of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, where she continues to serve on various boards and committees.  In 1998, the Bildners co-founded the Foundation for Jewish Camp; Elisa and Rob serve as co-chairs of its board of trustees.


Central Shlicha, Director of North America Region, Department for Diaspora Activities at World Zionist Organization

Tova Birnbaum is the Central Shlicha, Director of the North America Region of the World Zionist Organization, Department of Diaspora Activities and the Director of the WZO-Ameinu Voices Fellowship. She is one of the founders of the Secular Yeshiva at the BINA Center for Jewish Identity, Hebrew Culture and Social Justice in Tel Aviv. Tova is a teacher of Talmudic Rabbinic Literature, a Judaic studies lecturer and a theater Midrash workshop facilitator. She is passionate about Judaism as culture and has been teaching in many pluralistic Judaic Studies institutions in Israel. Tova is an actress and a Jewish performance artist who is primarily inspired by Jewish text and Jewish rituals, and has been performing in performance art festivals both in and outside Israel. She holds a BA in Psychology and Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA in Theater from Tel Aviv University. She currently lives in New York with her husband, Yishay.

ALEXIS KASHAR  @AlexisKashar
Civil Rights & Special Education Attorney

Alexis Kashar practiced law for 15 years in California, in the areas of civil rights and special education. Her focus was on the educational rights of children with special needs and the expansion of physical and communication access in places of public accommodations. In 2006, Kashar relocated to New York. She now serves as General Counsel for Krown Manufacturing, a manufacturer of assistive technology products for the deaf and hard of hearing market. Kashar serves the deaf community as Public Policy Chair for the National Association for the Deaf; President of the Board of Trustees for the New York School for the Deaf; and President of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that serves as a bridge between Jews who are deaf and hard of hearing and individuals and organizations throughout North America. Alexis currently serves as a commissioner on the American Bar Association's commission on disability rights.

Founder & Chairman Emeritus of CDW Computer Centers, Inc.

Michael Krasny received a huge response to his first $3 three-line ad in the Chicago Tribune for his old IBM, leading him to found Computer Discount Warehouse (CDW) in 1984.  He saw the explosive growth potential for the computing industry and realized early on that personal computers would be to productivity and communications what airplanes are to transportation and business.  As a result, CDW was among the first to market and sell computers directly to customers.  But Michael also understood that selling computer products would not be enough.  He needed to build a unique corporate culture that would appeal to customers and coworkers alike.  Michael’s leadership has contributed to CDW’s reputation for an employee-centric corporate culture.  Since retiring from leadership in 2011, Michael is now President of Sawdust Investment, a private investment management company.  He serves on the board of B’nai B’rith Beber Camp in Wisconsin.

DREW KUGLER  @DrewKugler
Communication & Leadership Coach at The Kugler Company

Since entering into the work of coaching and teaching nearly 30 years ago, Drew Kugler has served dozens of organizations in the fields of professional services, consumer products, entertainment and media, technology, and nonprofits.  Drew guides individuals and groups to build trust, respect, and strategic optimism.  His work articulates the difficult choices involved in communicating vision and genuine collaboration and is grounded in a framework he has termed Constructive Candor.  Past clients include McKinsey & Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LucasFilms, Warner Bros., adidas, and Cedars Sinai Medical Center.  Drew is a highly regarded faculty member at Hebrew Union College.  Drew has been published in the American Lawyer; has appeared on CBS, ABC, and NPR; and has been a guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School.  www.DrewKugler.com

President and Chief Operating Officer at Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Michael Leven has served on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors since 2004.  In 2009, he became the president and COO and assumed responsibility for the overall operations of the company’s U.S. and international locations.  A veteran hospitality executive, he has more than 50 years of experience in the business and has held a number of leadership roles including former president and CEO of US Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995.  In addition to being a hotel industry icon and one of franchising’s most innovative leaders, he is a recipient of prestigious awards and recognitions in sales, marketing, and hospitality.  He has served on the board of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, is a trustee of the Marcus Foundation, and is an active board member at the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Birthright Israel Foundation, amongst many others.

SHALOM ORZACH  @Shalomorzach
Avi Chai Foundation Project Director and Director of Education in the Shlichut and Israel Fellows Unit of the Jewish Agency for Israel

Shalom is currently the Avi Chai Foundation Project Director and Director of Education in the Shlichut and Israel Fellows Unit of the Jewish Agency. He has a rich background in camping, running various camps in England where he grew up and later serving as the Education Director at Ramah Poconos. He has served as consultant for the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Jewish Peoplehood Committee and teaches a course in experiential education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shalom has a BA in Psychology, and a Post Graduate Degree in Judaic Studies. Shalom was a scholar on the prestigious Jerusalem Fellows Program, and he served as the Executive Director of Jewish Renewal for United Jewish Israel Appeal(UJIA) for two years in the United Kingdom. Shalom has a strong passion for teaching, feels privileged to live in Jerusalem with his family, and will always have an amusing story about life in the "Land of so much Promise".

Professor of International & Global Studies at Middlebury College, Senior Research Scientist at Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Theodore Sasson is Professor of International and Global Studies at Middlebury College and Senior Research Scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. He is also Visiting Research Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University and a consultant to the Mandel Foundation. Professor Sasson’s research examines Israeli political culture, Israel-Diaspora relations and American Jewish identity. He is co-principal investigator for numerous studies of Taglit-Birthright Israel, including a longitudinal study of program alumni. He is author, most recently, of The New American Zionism (New York University Press, 2014) as well as dozens of scholarly articles and research monographs. Professor Sasson is a faculty fellow of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and member of the board of directors of the Association for Israel Studies.

TIFFANY SHLAIN  @tiffanyshlain
FilmmakerArtistFounder of the Webby Awards, & Co-Founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, artist, founder of the Webby Awards, and co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. A celebrated thinker and catalyst, her work has received 60 awards and distinctions including a “Disruptive Innovation Award” from the Tribeca Film Festival.  Two of her films have been invited to represent America at embassies worldwide as part of the US State Department’s American Film Showcase.  Tiffany is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute, an advisor to The Institute for the Future, and invited to advise Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the internet and technology.  Her first book, Brain Power: From Neurons to Networkswas just published, and her latest film, The Science of Character, will be released this winter.  Her new hit AOL series, “The Future Starts Here”, explores being human today.  www.tiffanyshlain.com

Featured Guests

DAVID BROZA  @DavidBroza
Singer-SongwriterInstrumentalist, & Peace Advocate

A dynamic artist, multi-platinum Israeli icon, David Broza, has won the hearts of audiences with magnetic performances and soulful lyrics. His guitar playing fuses Israeli, Spanish, and English musical influences; his flamenco rhythms blend with intricate rock-and-roll finger picking. He has released over 25 successful albums and won numerous awards. A steadfast humanitarian, Broza has worked to spread a message of peace through his music, devoting substantial attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Songs such as the hit “Yihye Tov” and “Belibi” - a collaboration with the Palestinian music group Sabreen - have earned the performer accolades. His dedication to promoting Israeli-Spanish relations and earned Broza a Spanish royal medal of honor from King Juan Carlos I in 2009. A passionate musician, peace advocate, and music industry innovator, Broza inspires audiences with his sincere message and musical allure.  www.davidbroza.net

DR. DAVID BRYFMAN  @Bryfy  @JewishFutures
Chief Learning Officer at The Jewish Education Project

David is the Chief Learning Officer at The Jewish Education Project (formerly the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York-SAJES). His current work focuses on bringing innovative strategies and creative thinking to Jewish education.  David  has a Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Studies from NYU focusing on Jewish adolescent identity development and experiential Jewish education. He is also a graduate of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. David completed his MA in Education in Melbourne, and is also a graduate of the Melton Senior Educators Program at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Pardes.  Prior to moving to New York, David worked in formal and informal Jewish educational institutions in Australia, Israel, and North America.  He has worked for JEXNET, MAKOM, and the Israel Caravan for Democracy as an Israel Educator, and is currently an educational consultant for the iCenter.  www.jewishfutures.wordpress.com

Managing Director at Innovation: Africa

While studying art and literature at New York University, Rachel took some time to study and teach in West Africa, where she founded a small non-profit for street children. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in individualized study, she decided not to get her Ph.D. as planned, and traveled the world instead, before returning to her native new york and joining the Innovation: Africa team. Rachel has worked with various non-profits promoting the arts, education, and human rights. She has taught English on three continents and has traveled to over 30 countries.
President at Ruderman Family Foundation

Jay Ruderman is the President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which focuses on the inclusion of people with disabilities in Israel and the Jewish community worldwide and educating Israeli leaders on the American Jewish community. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Funders Network and is a member of the JDC Executive Committee. Jay was a life-long Bostonian until moving to Israel seven years ago. Upon graduating law school, he began his career as an assistant district attorney in Salem, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2001, he became Deputy Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in New England. In 2005, Jay enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and became the liaison between the IDF and Diaspora Jewry. After his service, he returned to AIPAC as the Leadership Director for AIPAC in Israel. Jay received his JD from Boston University School of Law.

Speakers from Foundation for Jewish Camp

Chair, Board of Directors at Foundation for Jewish Camp

Lee D. Weiss is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Family Endowment Partners (FEP), an endowment style asset management firm for Family Offices, Registered Investment Advisors, Foundations, and Endowments. Lee has spent his career advising wealthy families in the areas of investments, estate planning, taxes, and insurance. He has participated in the Pan Mass Challege charity bike ride for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA for the last 9 years. Lee grew up in the Atlanta, GA area and attended four different summer camps over his 11 years as a camper and counselor. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Maryland and has received a Certified Investment Manager Analyst designation and is a Certified Financial Planner. Lee currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife and four children.
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors at Foundation for Jewish Camp

Peter Weidhorn is currently a consultant, corporate director, and private investor in the multi-family housing market.  He has over 30 years of experience in the management, acquisition, disposition, and financing of commercial real estate.  Peter is the immediate past Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).  Prior to this position, he chaired the North American camping committee of the URJ and was instrumental in crafting the camp movement structure.  Peter and his wife, Joan, live in Manalapan and have two married children, Ira (m. Robin Levy) and Elyse (m. Scott Everett) and four grandchildren.

CEO at Foundation for Jewish Camp

Jeremy Fingerman joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp as CEO in 2010. Prior to joining FJC, he had a highly-regarded 20+ year career in consumer packaged goods, beginning at General Mills, Inc., then at Campbell Soup Company, where he served as President of its largest Division, US Soup. In 2005, he was recruited to serve as CEO of Manischewitz.  Jeremy spent many wonderful summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a child where he discovered the joy of Judaism and made lifelong friends. He started his Jewish communal work in high school, serving as international president of United Synagogue Youth. He since served on many philanthropic boards including Jewish Federation, Israel Bonds, American Friends of Magen David Adom, and currently serves as vice-president of his synagogue.  He received a BA in English Literature from Columbia University and an MBA in General Management from Harvard Business School.