Meet members of the JDC Ambassadors Steering Committee
Zachary “Zach” D. Fasman, Co-Chair
JDC Board Member since 2012; New York, NY
Zach Fasman is a partner in Paul Hastings LLP and national co-chair of the firm’s employment discrimination practice. He has practiced labor and employment law in Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York for 40 years. He is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has been listed for many years in Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in American Law. A member of the Advisory Board of New York University’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, he frequently teaches labor and employment law to members of the federal judiciary on behalf of the Federal Judicial Center and New York University Law School. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern University.
Zach is a Board member of the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in Israel and a member of the Lawyers’ Committee of the ADL. He has three grown children and two grandsons. Zach and his wife Andrea Udoff live in New York City.
Jayne Lipman, Co-Chair
JDC Board Member since 2011; Mamaroneck, NY
As a resident of Westchester, New York for the past 16 years, Jayne has been an active volunteer with leadership roles in numerous community organizations, including Board positions at Larchmont Temple, the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, the Emelin Theater, and the Student Aid Fund.
Currently, she is Co-President of the PTSA at Mamaroneck High School and a member of Cornell University’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts & Sciences.
As a Board member of JDC and co-chair of its Ambassadors’ Circle, Jayne has traveled on a number of JDC missions, including ones to Lithuania, Ukraine, the Russian Far East, and Uzbekistan.
Jayne holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University, and continues to study intensive Hebrew. She and her husband, Bob Goodman, have three children, ages 21, 17, and 11.
Debra G. Cohen
Debra G. Cohen is a native Houstonian and has been active in many Jewish organizations. She has served as a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston for the past 17 years, receiving the Barbara Falik Young Leadership Award and serving as Women’s Philanthropy Chair for two years. Presently, Debra is a member of various committees, including the Women’s Cabinet, Israel/Overseas, and Fund for the Jewish Future.
Debra has been a board member and on the executive committee of Jewish Family Service in Houston for the past ten years, serving as both Vice President of Program Services and Development. Most recently, Debra co-chaired the 100 Names for 100 Years campaign in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Jewish Family Service. In addition, she serves on the Houston Jewish Family Foundation board. Ms. Cohen has been an active board member of Holocaust Museum Houston since 2003 and has also served on the executive committee.
Debra was on National Young Leadership Cabinet for six years, holding several portfolios. She was a National Women’s Philanthropy (NWP) board member for six years, with leadership portfolios, and she is presently a member of the advisory board of NWP. Debra is a board member of Jewish Federations of North America and serves on the Israel/Overseas Committee.
Debra is passionate about the global Jewish world. She has traveled extensively on local and national missions to Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Morocco, Czech Republic, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Ethiopia. She serves as a committee member on the board of governors for Jewish Agency for Israel, an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation of North America. Debra attended Tulane University. She is married to Steven Cohen and has two daughters, Courtney and Hilary.
New York, NY
Cheryl Fishbein has a long history of voluntary leadership involvements. She is on the Board of UJA-Federation of NY, where she is the 2008 recipient of the Generosity of Spirit Award. She is past chair of the Caring Commission, of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee, of the Missions Committee, and of the Trauma Task Force at UJA-Federation. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency (JAFI), and The United Israel Appeal (UIA), and she is on the FSU and Property Reclamation Committees of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Cheryl serves on the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and is co-chair of the New York Region Diplomatic Outreach Committee. She is past chair of the Commission on Jewish Contemporary Life at AJC. Cheryl is on the Board of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), where she carries the Israel Strategy Portfolio. She is on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), where she co-chairs the Commission on Intergroup Relations; the Jewish Home and Hospital Board; the Board of the JCC Association of North America; the Board of the Jewish Funders Network; the Board of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), where she chairs the Emergency Committee and where she is past chair of the Domestic Council; and several other boards of non-profit agencies. Cheryl serves on the International Board of Governors of Beit Hatfustot, Museum of the Jewish People, and is the Immediate Past President of the American Friends. She serves on the Board of the Israel Trauma Coalition and as Secretary of the Board of Israel 21c. Cheryl is the past president and chair of the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn.
Cheryl is in private practice as a clinical psychologist and an attorney. She has worked as an attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and also continues to do consulting for individuals in the area of their donations to charity organizations. She holds a doctorate in psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook, a law degree from New York University, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Barnard College. She is married to Philip Schatten and they have four children and 3 grandchildren.
Morton “Mort” L. Friedkin
JDC Board Member since 2003; San Francisco, CA
Morton Friedkin is Founder and Chairman of Friedkin Realty Group, a real estate development firm based in San Francisco. Mr. Friedkin also serves on the Boards of the Jewish Community Foundation, the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Friends of Israel Political Action Committee, the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Hood River Distillery, and the Anti-Defamation League.
Mr. Friedkin has degrees in Economics and Political Science from California State University, Hayward. He and his wife, Amy, have three children, Benjamin, David, and Jennifer, and three grandchildren, Brian, Sarah Anne, and Nicole.
JDC Board Member since 2014; Philadelphia, PA
Barry Kahan is President and Owner of Kay & Sons, LLC, a sales organization specializing in energy efficient solar shading systems and lighting control technology. His organization became one of the pioneers of Total Light Management - combining the intelligent control of both natural and artificial light to reduce energy costs in buildings.
A graduate of Dickinson College, Mr. Kahan’s real passion is in helping others. Toward that end, in 2009 he sold the majority share of Kay & Sons to a group of investors. Mr. Kahan is the founder of Adath Israel “Mitzvah Makers” and a Board Member of Chasdei Eliahu (financial assistance and food to the Jewish needy). He serves as a Member of the Advisory Board for Congregation Beth Hamedrosh and is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. Mr. Kahan has created fund raising events for and participated in the event planning committee for Fox’s Fight to Beat Melanoma, The Cook for a Friend program, and The Mitzvah Food Pantry. He is the Recipient of the Ateret Kavod Award, given by the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism for Social Action and Community Service and the National Solomon Schechter Award for Social Action.
In his spare time, Mr. Kahan has been a Member of the USA Triathlon Team at the 2009 World Maccabiah Games and the USA Aquathlon Team at the 2006 Age Group World Championships. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, and especially to Israel, on both family and adventure vacations.
JDC Board Member since 2014; Los Angeles, CA / Denver, CO
Bettina Kurowski recently retired as CEO of the LA chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Before that she led her own health care biotech consulting firm for 10+ years; was a pioneer in the HMO industry; managed two medical centers; and started it all as an academic at the Univ. of Colo. Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Business. She holds a Ph.D. and M.P.A. in Health Policy and a B.S. in Finance from U.S.C. Currently, she runs the family real estate business.
Throughout her professional and volunteer activities, she has received numerous awards and honors. All her volunteer activities have focused on fundraising for Jewish organizations. She has held 12 chairs spanning three communities over 25 years in several Federations, most recently having chaired the Los Angeles Campaign & been President of the Valley Alliance. She has also been involved in fundraising for her synagogue, Valley Beth Shalom, as well as the Jewish Outreach Institute. She and her husband, of blessed memory, have 5 wonderful grandchildren from 4 children.
JDC Board Member since 2013; New York, NY
Sandy Lenger is a Vice Chair with Jewish Federations of North America's National Women’s Philanthropy. Her portfolio includes co-chairing the T.E.C.H. Team, a corps of trained consultants who speak at Federations throughout the country.
Ms. Lenger has participated in numerous missions throughout the world with JDC and JFNA, and co-chaired the 2011 Heart to Heart Women’s Mission. She also served as Campaign Co-Chair for the Federation of Middlesex Country, Chair and President of the Women’s Division campaign, and was granted the Young Leadership Award. She is a Young Leadership Cabinet alumnus.
Ms. Lenger and her husband, Dr. Steven Lenger, have underwritten the Cuban children’s milk program. Ms. Lenger is a graduate of Skidmore College and a Registered Nurse.
Dr. and Ms. Lenger have three children: Marisa, Paul, and Carly.
Carol R. Levy
Park City, UT
Carol R. Levy has been President of Stillwater Investment, Inc since 1986. In that capacity she has led investment groups in the purchase of moderate-size manufacturing companies. She currently serves as chairman of B&P Process Equipment and Systems, a Saginaw, MI based manufacturer of large scale mixing and separation process equipment. Prior to forming Stillwater Mrs. Levy spent two decades in lending and finance, including posts as VP of Prucapital, a subsidiary of Prudential Insurance, and VP of J. Henry Schroder Bank and Trust Co. She holds a BA from Mt. Holyoke College, MA from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from New York University. She has served on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, including,currently, the Jewish Federation of Utah and resides in Park City, Utah.
Shari B. Levy
Shari Levy is involved in various local and national organizations and has served on the board of directors and executive committees of The Conservative Synagogue of Westport and Weston and UJA/Federation of Westport, Weston, Wilton and Norwalk.
She is currently a member of the executive committee of Camp Ramah New England in Palmer, MA, a trustee of The Washington Institute, and a member of the Northeast Council of AIPAC. Ms. Levy has been recognized for her service to the community by UJA/Federation WWWN, United Synagogue, and the Anti-Defamation League.
Ms. Levy grew up in New York and earned a B.A. in Humanities from SUNY College at Purchase and then went on to earn an M.A. in Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University. She has taught various subjects to all ages, from preschool to adults, in diverse settings.
Ms. Levy and her husband, Harold (co-president of Iridian Asset Management), live in Westport, CT. They have three children.
A Londoner, recently returned from living for several years in New York, Gaby spent 15 years in the retail and wholesale fashion industry working with a high end brand which numbered the late Margaret Thatcher during her term in office amongst it’s customers. This role included the day to day operation of shop-within-stores across the UK.
After the birth of the first of her two children in 1989, she co-founded an employment agency for childcare in family homes. It has now grown to include an employment business supplying state sector day care and private day nurseries, a training company delivering accredited training and is currently part of a UK government pilot scheme. In autumn 2013 the business rebranded to include care of the whole family from birth to senior family members.
Volunteering both within the UK Jewish community and more widely has been a very important component. Formally acting Chairman of the Board of Management of a central London Synagogue (at that time women were not able to be described as Chairs of Orthodox Synagogues), volunteer fundraiser for Richard House Children’s Hospice and barista for HousingWorks, a charity for people with the dual challenge of AID’s and HIV in New York.
Currently a board member of the Zionist Federation of the United Kingdom, US Friends of BICOM and on the board of the AJC in New York.
In 2010 she created and still chairs the US Chesed Bursary Fund, a Charity of the United Synagogue of the UK, an umbrella organisaton of over 50 synagogues across the UK. The charity enables young people who would not otherwise be able to do so due to financial constraints to participate in all the programmes of Tribe, the youth movement of the United Synagogue. Key programmes that the fund supports are UK residential and day summer camps, month long trips to Israel for 16 year olds and heritage trips to Poland and Israel as part of Tribe's “Learn to Lead” project aimed very directly at developing future community leaders.
In 2013 Gaby and her committee have taken the next step with the creation of US Futures whose core aim is to address a larger, strategic issue namely to ready youth to take the United Synagogue and the Anglo-Jewish community into the future, to ensure the continuity of the community, it’s traditions and to continue the positive contribution of Jews to Britain.
White Plains, NY
Diane Werner is the President of WB&E Realty, a real estate management firm in White Plains, New York. Diane is a past President of Westchester Hebrew High School and serves on the board of the Westchester Jewish Council. She also serves on the Westchester Leadership Council of the American Jewish World Service. Recently, Diane founded Mosaic of Westchester, a new initiative working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ Jews into Westchester Jewish life. Ms. Werner has master’s degrees in both Journalism and Business Administration from Columbia University. She and her husband Michael have four sons and live in White Plains, New York.
Etta Gross Zimmerman
JDC Board Member Since 2002; Boca Raton, FL
Etta Gross Zimmerman is the Chair of the Africa & Asia Committee and a past Chair of the JDC Ukraine Area Committee. She has traveled extensively throughout the world visiting various JDC programs and speaks of her overseas travels, using personal photojournalism to engage communities in supporting overseas needs.
Ms. Zimmerman is a past Chair of the Board of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and an Honorary Board member of the Jewish Agency for Residential Care.
Ms. Zimmerman and her husband, Raymond, have one daughter, Leya Edelstein.