Board of Trustees
An extraordinary group of members who bring a wealth of experience in law, finance, education, social services, real estate, management, strategic planning, fundraising, and Jewish life to their work, the BJ Board of Trustees meets monthly. The Executive Committee and various Steering Committees meet periodically throughout the year as needed.
Alan Mantel President
Alan and his family have been members of BJ since 2001. Currently, Alan serves on the Finance Committee. Since its inception, Alan has been a Partner of Snow Phipps Group, a private equity firm. Previously he was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. Alan is a Director on several corporate boards in the business services, financial services and apparel industries, a member of the Deans Advisory Board of the School of Business at SUNY Albany and current Board President of his co-op. Alan is married to Jessica Feder Mantel and they have three children, Lauren, Rebecca and Joshua all of whom attended BJ Hebrew School.
Suzanne Schecter First Vice President
Suzanne and her husband Todd Ruback have been members of BJ since 2007. Suzanne started volunteering at BJ upon joining; cooking for the shelter, serving weekly guests at the lunch program and she eventually became involved with and chaired a number of membership committees. From 2014-2016 she co-chaired the Israel Dialogue Initiative, a pioneer project at BJ that has helped and encouraged members to tackle difficult conversations with respect and understanding. Todd volunteers at the BJ shelter and stays overnight on a monthly basis. BJ has brought a new Judaism into their lives that could not have been imagined before 2007 and they are ever grateful.
Jonathan Schwartz Treasurer
Jonathan and his family have been BJ members since 2011. He is a member of the Task Force on Interfaith Families and cooks and delivers meals with Spoonful of Hesed. Jonathan is a founder of Argentem Creek Partners, where he oversees investments in Latin America. Prior to that, he held positions at Black River Asset Management and J.P. Morgan. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and earned a master’s degree in political economy from NYU. Jonathan and his wife Oriyan have two daughters, Maya and Rena, who are children’s service regulars.
Karen Adler Vice President
Karen and her family have been BJ members since 1989. She is an independent management consultant working with high net worth families and their foundations and is also Senior Vice President of the Adler Group, a multi-generational family business. Karen was the CEO of Bromor Management LLC, and held executive positions in the General Services Administration during the Clinton administration. Karen is the past Chair of the Jewish Communal Fund of New York, Board and Executive committee member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Roosevelt Institute, and Plaza Jewish Community Chapel. She has an MBA in Finance from New York University, an MPA and an MA in Urban Planning from Northeastern University, and a BA in Political Science from American University. Karen is married to Laurence Greenwald. They have 2 sons and 5 grandchildren.
Steve Koppel Vice President
Steve has been a BJ member since 2009 and was a member of the IDI Committee. He is currently a Partner at Sidley Austin LLP, where he specializes in real estate finance and has a sub-specialty in affordable housing and community development law. Steve has served on the Board of Trustees or the advisory board of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, and the Rabbinical School at JTS. He was a founding President of the American Friends of the Peres Center for Peace and is a member of the Center's International Board of Governors. He holds a BA from Columbia University, a general course degree from the London School of Economics and a JD from George Washington University. Steve and his wife, Lynette Koppel, have two daughters: Sarah and Caroline, and a son-in-law Joshua.
Shira Nadich Levin Vice President
Shira and her family joined BJ in 1998. Shira co-chaired the Israel Dialogue Initiative, co-chairs the Minyan Committee, chairs the Advancement Committee, is a member of the Hevra Kadisha and leads Shacharit services as a Shaliah Tzibbur. She hosts BJ classes given in midtown and was the Kalat Torah in 2014. Shira is a real estate partner at Cooley LLP, co-chair of its leasing committee and founder and co-chair of its Women’s Initiatives. She served as president of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, sits on its executive committee and chairs its Holocaust Commemoration Committee. She is the Deputy Global Chair of WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum), a trustee of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and is actively engaged in pro-bono legal work with numerous Jewish organizations. Shira and her husband, Jim, are the parents of Alex, Gideon and Ben, the parents-in-law of Sara, Ben’s wife, and the grandparents of Jack Elliot Levin.
Irvin Rosenthal Chair
Irv and his family have been BJ members since 1990. Irv was President of BJ from 2014 to 2017 and prior to that served two years as Treasurer. He served a prior term on BJ’s board from 2001 to 2007; co-chaired the renovation of the 88th Street building in 1995-96; and previously co-chaired BJ's Building and Morning Minyan committees. He also leads the minyan on Monday mornings. Irv is the chief financial officer of UJA-Federation of New York. He was a founder and former treasurer of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, where he still serves as a board member. He was a founder and former board member of The JCC in Manhattan. Irv and his wife, Ruth Jarmul, are the parents of three daughters, Rebecca, Rachel, and Sarah, who grew up at BJ. For many years, Rebecca and Rachel led, and Sarah still leads, Shabbat and holiday children’s programs.
Brad Abelow Board Member
Brad has been a member of BJ since 1990. Over the last several years, Brad has served on the Israel Dialogue Initiative and JIBC Task Forces. Brad retired from Goldman Sachs as a partner in 2004 and has since worked in various businesses and NGOs and served as the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey and Chief of Staff to Governor Corzine. He currently provides strategic consulting advice to select NGOs and businesses. Brad chairs the board of The Century Foundation and is a board member of Just Vision. He received a BA from Northwestern University and an MPPM from Yale University. Brad and his wife Carolyn have three children Sarah, Hannah, and Daniel.
Dale Bernstein Board Member
Dale Bernstein and her family joined BJ in 1996. Dale chairs the Board Community Engagement Committee, serves on the Panim Leadership team and co-chaired the Marriage Equality Hevra. She also serves as Vice President of the PFLAG National Board of Directors and chairs its Business Advisory Board, is a commissioner with the Women’s Refugee Committee, and is an active alumna of Cornell University. Professionally, Dale is The Founder of UnCommon HR, a strategic HR consulting firm that works with small to medium businesses to build HR systems and programs that drive employees to be engaged and businesses to thrive. Dale retired as the Chief Human Resources Officer for NYSE Euronext. Dale lives on the Upper West Side with her husband. They have two grown sons, Zack and Max, a son-in-law Rob, and a grandson Asher.
Michael Brown Board Member
Michael and his wife Andrea have been members of BJ since 2012. Professionally, Michael works in the non-profit leadership arena helping individuals to be more impactful as social entrepreneurs and helping organizations to scale and to be more effective. He is now serving as Vice President overseeing international operations for United Hatzalah of Israel. He is also the Chair of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, providing training and peer learning for the next generation of young leaders in NY. Michael recently helped organize a Young Leadership Refugee Seder at BJ as part of the Refugee and Immigration Committee, and is also involved in the Israel Programming Committee and JIBC initiative.
Susan Fishman Board Member
Susan has been a member of BJ since 2005. Susan most recently served on BJ's Strategic Planning Committee and led the working group on Community. From 2011 - 2014, Susan was the co-chair of the Membership Steering Committee. Prior to that, Susan was a founding member of Tze'irim and chaired the Tze'irim Committee for three years. Susan is a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman where she has been selling real estate across Manhattan for over 13 years. In addition to her time at BJ and work, she is often found training and recovering from various obstacle and mud races.
Mike Gantcher Board Member
Mike has been a member of BJ since 2001. He is a partner and a Managing Director of RS Metrics, a data firm that analyzes satellite imagery. Mike has worked in real estate for the NYC Housing Partnership and the Related Companies, and in institutional equity sales for Lehman Brothers, Oppenheimer & Co. and Madison Williams. He received a B.A. in Urban Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Mike has extensive non-profit board leadership experience including The Doe Fund, Inc., his alma mater, Brooklyn CitySquash and Poly Prep Country Day School. Mike and his wife Christina, an active former board member, have two sons, Billy and Ben, who are also active BJ Hebrew School members.
Julie Kowitz Margolies Board Member
Julie and her family have been members of BJ since 2006. This fall, Julie became the co-chair of the Family Life and Learning Committee with Josh Penzner. Since 2014, Julie has served on the Kadima Advisory Committee, in which role she has coordinated several successful parent and family engagement programs. Julie also co-chaired the search committee for the current Director of Family Life and Learning, Mike Witman. She currently volunteers for the BJ’s Refugee Employment Task Force, assisting recent asylees and refugees with securing suitable employment. Julie is an attorney, and a principal of Kowitz Margolies Mediation LLC, with a dispute resolution practice focusing on employment and civil rights disputes. Her work as a mediator was particularly useful to her participation as a facilitator in the IDI process. Prior to becoming a full-time neutral, Julie was the Director of the Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York. She is a former Vice President and current member of the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Julie and her husband, Alex, live on the Upper West Side with their three children, Leo, Truman, and Imogen.
Les Nelson Board Member
Les and his family have been BJ members since 1997. Les retired from Goldman Sachs in 2014 after a thirty-year career. Previously, Les worked at Procter & Gamble and, before that, served for seven and a half years as an officer in the US Navy. At BJ, he currently serves on the Mekusharim Committee. Les is a member of both the Task Force on Aging and the Jewish Spiritual Care Advisory Committee within the Caring Commission of UJA-Federation of New York. In addition, he and his dog, Piper, are a certified Pet Assisted Therapy team, visiting outpatients receiving chemotherapy at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where Les also serves as a Patient Ambassador. Les has a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Les, and his wife Jill Hayman, have two children, Remy and Micah.
Josh Penzner Board Member
Josh Penzner and his family have been BJ members since 2010. Josh is the current chair of the Family Life & Learning committee, and he is a member of the Leadership Development committee. Josh is a Managing Director at BlackRock, responsible for iShares distribution to fixed income and insurance clients. Josh lives on the Upper East Side with his wife, Julie Penzner, and their three children.
Ilene Rosenthal Board Member
Ilene Rosenthal has been a member of BJ since 1992. She has previously served on the Board as chair of the Hebrew School Advisory Committee where she helped lead the Reach For Shabbat and Reimagine projects. Most recently, Ilene coordinated BJs inaugural “BJoyous” Mishloah Manot effort, and has participated in the Israel IDI process as a facilitator. Ilene is president of White Space Marketing Group, a digital marketing company. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Young Judaea’s Camp Tel Yehudah. In 1992, she met her husband, Lou Geser, at Shabbat services and were married at SPSA. Their two teen girls, Amelia and Cara, are active in the BJ Teens, serving on its leadership committee.
Alexandra Stern Board Member
Alexandra has been a member of BJ since 1996. She has worked with the UJA Caring Commission and served on BJ's Core Campaign and Strategic Planning Committees. She has been an advocate for mental health care in college and for medical students and has an abiding interest in providing mental health care to the underserved. Alexandra grew up outside of Boston, and attended Harvard College and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. She trained in psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Clinic. She sees patients in her private practice as well as at the Bellevue Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic. Alexandra has two daughters (Isabel and Rebecca) and twin stepsons (Parker and Harrison). She lives with her husband, David Stern, and their children on the Upper West Side.
Gideon Taylor Board Member
Gideon and his wife Deborah Kazis have been members of BJ since 1993, and have enjoyed many happy years with their two children at BJ's children's services and Purim plays. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Gideon came to New York to work for the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the overseas humanitarian arm of the American Jewish community, where he met Deborah. He worked on programs in Arab countries and Ethiopia, oversaw JDC’s International Development Program which implemented disaster relief and development programs in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and spent a year, together with his family, living in Israel. He served as Executive Vice-president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) which is responsible for recovering and distributing former Jewish Holocaust-era property and compensation as well as promoting Holocaust education. Currently he is Executive Vice-president of Earle W. Kazis Associates, a real estate firm established by his father-in-law, a long-time BJ member. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, and is on the Board of the NY Jewish Community Relations Council and Selfhelp Community Services.
Marjorie Vandow Board Member
Marjorie and her husband Richard Fields have been members of BJ since 1994. Margie and Richard are active in BJ’s Refugee and Immigration Committee: Margie leads the immigrant legal assistance effort while Richard leads a refugee employment group. Previously, they worked together on BJ’s Superstorm Sandy relief effort. Margie has served on the BJ Hebrew School Advisory Committee and was the lay leader of a Task Force on student mitzvah engagement. Margie loves her work as a special education mediator for the New York Peace Institute. She practiced corporate law for over 13 years, in private practice and as General Counsel of Merrin Financial. She is retooling her skills in order to serve immigrants pro bono and has taken her first cases. Marjorie is a proud alumna of Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel. She earned her B.A. in political science from the University of Rochester and her J.D. from George Washington University. Marjorie and Richard have two children, Gabe and Rebecca, both of whom attended BJ Hebrew School. At the time of Gabe’s Bar Mitzvah, Richard and Margie serendipitously discovered that Richard’s great, great grandfather was the President of BJ when he died in 1922.
Scott Weiner Board Member
Scott and his wife, Beth, have been members of BJ since 2007. Scott is the President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, a Not For Profit Corporation that develops affordable, supportive and senior housing for individuals engaged in the performing arts and entertainment industry. Prior to being elected to those positions, Scott served as the Chairman of the AFHDC and as a Trustee of its parent organization, The Actors Fund. Scott is an active participant in the Men’s Havarah. He is a Trustee of the American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and has previously served as a Trustee of the Barnert Temple and Har Sinai synagogue in New Jersey.
Paula Kramer Weiss Board Member
Paula fell in love with BJ in the summer of 1997, after attending her first Kabbalat Shabbat. Her husband Jeff was already a BJ member when they met in 2000 and they joined as a family in 2001. Paula’s career has been spent in the healthcare sector, where she currently serves as the Director of NYU Langone Health’s Center for Corporate Wellness, leading a team that designs and implements wellness and prevention programs for businesses. She is a lifelong volunteer. Her prior not-for-profit board experience includes the Alumni Council of New York University (graduate school); President, Binghamton University Alumni Association (undergraduate); and she just concluded 10 years on the Board of Directors of Hillel at Binghamton, the last four as chair. Closer to home, Paula’s BJ volunteer efforts have been in support of children and teen activities, as a High Holy Days volunteer, an occasional Torah reader, an annual fund caller, as a member of the Celebrate Community Auction committee since its inception, and wherever else her skills could be put to good use. Paula and Jeff live in Riverdale with their teenage son Eli, who they refer to as a child of the BJ community.
Lisa Zucker Board Member
Lisa and her family have been members of BJ since 1999. She has served on the Hebrew School Advisory Committee and was an active member of the Marriage Equality Hevra for five years. Currently, Lisa serves on the Panim Leadership Team, the Faith and Public Life Advisory Group, and is the Co-Chair of the Economic Justice Hevra. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan Law School. She has over 20 years of legal experience in reproductive rights, civil rights, and civil liberties issues. Presently, she works at the New York Civil Liberties Union where she specializes in legislative campaigns and policy work. She is also a member of the Advocacy Council of the Citizens Committee for Children. Lisa, her husband Dan, and their three children Sophie, Ben, and Clara, have traveled to Israel with BJ. They are truly grateful to be members of such a special community. When not spending time with family or friends, Lisa can be found at Fairway or walking her dogs, Sam and Ginny.
Ariel Zwang Board Member
Ariel has been a member of BJ since the early ‘90s. She is the CEO of Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest non-profit provider of services to victims of crime and abuse. Ariel was previously the Executive Director of New York Cares, and before that, served as a White House Fellow in the Clinton Administration. She is a current or past board member of the Points of Light Foundation, Miss Porter’s School, the Harvard Alumni Association, and the Human Services Council of New York. Ariel is a regular at Shabbat and holiday services. She and her husband, Gordon Mehler, live a couple of blocks from BJ. They are the proud parents of two teenage daughters, Grace and Rachel, who grew up at BJ.
General Counsel – Ex-Officio
Ellen Corenswet Secretary
Ellen Corenswet, and her husband John Morgan, have been BJ members since 1989. Ellen is a partner in the New York office of the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP and co-chairs the firm’s Venture Capital/Emerging Company practice group. Ellen acts as outside general counsel to a number of companies in the life sciences, technology and media industries. She also acts as pro bono counsel to an international NGO and a tech community-focused non-profit in Queens. Ellen and John have two children, Jake and Brianna, who grew up in the synagogue. Brianna was a children’s services leader for a number of years. Ellen’s BJ activities have included Hebrew School board, children’s activities, AIDS Walk coordinator and High Holiday services volunteer.
Hebrew School Advisory Representative
Galit Lopatin Bordereau BJHS Representative
Galit and her family have been members of BJ since 2008. Galit currently serves as the chair of the Hebrew School Advisory Committee. Most recently, she created Three Cups of Tea, a program which encourages young families, in the comfort of their homes, to forge deeper friendships and embrace Shabbat with their children. Galit also serves as the President of the Board of Yaldaynu Preschool, one of the oldest Jewish preschools on the Upper West Side. Professionally, Galit was a Director in Crédit Agricole’s U.S. based Mergers & Acquisitions group focusing on cross border and domestic transactions. She is currently pursuing a degree at Bank Street’s Graduate School of Education. Galit and her husband Sam have three sons who are enthusiastic participants in BJ’s annual Purimspiel and Hanukkah Chorus.
- Jonathan Adelsberg*
- Virginia Bayer*
- Ted Becker*
- Frederic Goldstein
- Marcy Grau*
- David Hirsch*
- Richard Janvey*
- Robert Kanter
- Joan Kaplan
- Susan Kippur*
- Sara Moore Litt*
- Naomi Meyer
- Judith Stern Peck*
- Stephen Stulman, Trustee Emeritus
* Past President
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