The Jewish Community Foundation Of Greater MetroWest NJ (JCFNJ)
Beverly Kestenbaum: BKestenbaum@jfedgmw.org or 973-929-3063
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901 Route 10, P.O. Box 929, Whippany, NJ 07981-0929
(973) 929-3113 | (973) 884-9316 (fax)
1391 Martine Avenue, Scotch Plains NJ 07076-9920
(908) 889-5335 | (908) 889-5370 (fax)
Paula Gottesman is a pioneering philanthropist who has created model programs in day school education that have greatly enhanced Greater MetroWest, NJ and helped shape the national landscape in the areas of affordability and endowment development.
In 1998, Paula and her husband, Jerry z”l, began one of the nation’s first tuition subvention programs at a Jewish day school. The program spurred many similar programs in other communities and foreshadowed a national discussion on helping middle-income families afford Jewish day school. In 2007, the Gottesmans created the largest program endowment in the history of the Greater MetroWest community by endowing the Gottesman RTW Academy tuition program and partnering with other donors to create major endowments for day schools across the community. The Gottesmans also led the establishment of an innovative and highly successful Jewish camp initiative in Greater MetroWest.
A retired attorney, Paula is a past president of JCF, among many other roles.
Peter Langerman is the chairman, president, and CEO of Franklin Mutual Series. He is a co-portfolio manager of the Franklin Mutual Shares Fund, the Franklin Mutual Global Discovery Fund, and related strategies. He initially joined Heine Securities Corporation (predecessor of Franklin Mutual Advisors LLC). in June 1986. He served as CEO of Franklin Mutual Series and as the chairman of the fund boards before leaving in 2002 to serve as the director of New Jersey’s Division of Investment, overseeing employee pension funds. He rejoined Franklin Mutual Series in 2005.
Peter holds degrees in both accounting and law. Prior to 1986, he worked at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, one of the country’s foremost specialists in large corporate bankruptcies and reorganizations. He began his professional career in 1977 on the audit staff of Arthur Young and Company, where he earned his CPA designation.
Peter serves as chair of the JCF Investment Committee. He serves on the board of the All Stars Project of New Jersey and the advisory board of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. In 2010 he was selected to serve as one of three trustees of the AIG Credit Facility Trust, which held the U.S. government’s controlling interest in American International Group.
Renee Golush is a financial advisor and first vice president with Morgan Stanley in the Short Hills, NJ office. She is a Certified Financial Planner™ with over 25 years of experience in the financial industry. As a financial advisor, she works with clients to define their investment objectives whether it be retirement planning, college funding, tax reduction, or estate planning.
Renee serves on the board of trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. She is a member of the JCF investment committee and Create a Jewish Legacy. She served as treasurer of the Jewish Federation of Central NJ and held several leadership positions. She is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Westfield and serves on the Council of Trustees of the New Jersey Performing Art Center.
Jonathan Liss is an attorney and a director at Gibbons P.C., one of the largest law firms based in New Jersey. With more than 20 years of experience as a commercial litigator, he focuse his practice on resolving complex business and corporate disputes, with an emphasis on shareholder and corporate governance disputes, trust and estate litigation, business torts, commercial contract disputes, and general commercial litigation.
Jonathan and his family live in West Orange and are members of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell and Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston. In addition to serving on the JCF board, he is a member of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, where he is a past chair of the Young Leadership Division, now known as NextDor, and the Budget and Finance Committee, and currently serves as chair of the Security Committee. He is a past member of the board of trustees of Golda Och Academy, a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, and a recipient of the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award.
Michael Schechner is CEO of Schechner Lifson Corporation, which he joined in 1988 after graduating from Princeton University and earning his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Within the firm, Michael is partner-in-charge of the Legacy and Lifestyle Protection and Employee Benefits departments. He earned his CLU degree in 1996 and is well versed in life, disability, and long-term care insurance policy design and underwriting. He is also familiar with advanced uses of life insurance including non-qualified benefit plans, golden handcuff programs, and using life insurance policies as a wealth building and supplemental retirement tool.
Michael serves on the Boards of Trustees of the Hebrew Free Loan of NJ, Center for Jewish Life/Hillel at Princeton University, Oheb Shalom Cemetery Association, and Congregation Oheb Shalom in South Orange.
Eugenia Yudanin is a shareholder in the Tax/Trusts and Estates Department of the law firm Orloff, Lowenbach, Stifelman & Siegel. She focuses her practice on tax planning for businesses, high net worth individuals, and charities, including acquisition, disposition and restructuring of business entities, real estate transactions, estate planning, and charitable giving. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers since 2007.
Eugenia is a member of the Essex County Bar Association, where she serves as co-chair of the Tax, Trusts & Estate Committee. She is a past president of Newark Emergency Services for Families, Inc.
Dov Ben-Shimon is the executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. Prior to joining Federation in September 2014, he served as assistant executive vice president and director of strategic partnerships at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), where he was a resource to American Jewish leaders on global Jewish needs and JDC’s programs and priorities.
Previously, Dov was major gifts officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, director of resources for the Israeli Reform Movement in Jerusalem, chargé d’affaires at the Israeli Embassy in Luanda, Angola, and assistant spokesman to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
Born in England, Dov moved to Israel at the age of 18. He served as an Air Force rescue medic and Infantry combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces, and saw active duty in both the Gaza and Lebanon fronts, with the rank of staff sergeant.
Howard is the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and the chief financial officer of JCF. He has worked at Federation and JCF for 18 years. Prior to joining Federation, he worked at Paul Scherer and Company, LLP, a certified public accounting firm in New York City, for 20 years, 10 years as a partner. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
In a volunteer capacity, Howard has served as treasurer, Audit Committee chair, Budget Committee chair, and a member of the Executive Committee of Golda Och Academy. He serves on the Executive Committee and is a past chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Financial and Technology Professionals Institute.
Ariel Nelson works for Geller & Company, which provides custom strategic financial advisory and wealth management solutions for businesses, individuals, families, and not-for-profit organizations. He serves as a divisional CFO for Bloomberg, LP.
Ariel and his family are members of the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center in Livingston, where he has served as a board member and treasurer. He chaired the Kushner Academy’s Day School Affordability Committee and was a member of Livingston’s Vision 20/20 (long-range planning) and Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committees. For the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, he served as a member of the Young Leadership Council, Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership Program, and Wexner Heritage Program. He received the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award.
Lee S. Murnick is a principal at Murnick Property Group, a family owned and operated real estate company located in Roseland, NJ.
Lee currently serves on the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ board and is the Lion of Judah Endowment chair for Women’s Philanthropy. She is a recipient of the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award. Lee participated in the Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership program and co-chaired it for two years. She is also an alumna of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet and the Wexner Heritage programs.
Lee is a member of the National Council of Trustees of National Jewish Health and from 2001-2006 she was a co-chair of the NY AIR Society for National Jewish Health. Along with her siblings, she is a past recipient of the Hospital’s Chairman’s Award.
Kim Hirsh is executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
For more than a decade, Kim has worked closely with philanthropic families of JCF to fulfill their vision and help transform and secure vital areas of our Jewish community, including Jewish day school education, Jewish camp, Birthright Israel, PJ Library and Jewish teen philanthropy and service learning programs. She is known nationally for partnering with philanthropists to create one of the first community-wide endowment programs for Jewish day schools as well as a national model communal Jewish camp initiative.
Prior to joining JCF in 2005, Kim was development director of the Gottesman RTW Academy (formerly Hebrew Academy of Morris County). Before entering the field of fundraising and planned giving, Kim worked for nearly 20 years as a newspaper and magazine journalist and public relations professional. Kim is an active volunteer in the community, having served on the capital-endowment committees of her alma mater, Newark Academy, and of Gottesman RTW Academy, from which her three children graduated.
Harris Nydick is a founding partner and Managing Member of CFS Investment Advisory Services, L.L.C., a Registered Investment Advisor, and has been advising institutions, retirement plans, high net worth individuals and families for over 34 years. He is a featured speaker at national industry conferences on 401(k) and Retirement Plan subjects and has been featured in television, radio, print, and electronic media on a variety of financial topics.
Harris is the co-author of Common Financial Sense, a number one Amazon bestselling book about simple strategies for successful 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plan investing.
Harris currently serves on the Investment Committee of the American Liver Foundation. He previously served on the New Jersey Attorney Ethics Committee and as an adjunct faculty member of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Gary R. Botwinick is co-managing partner of Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick, P.C. and chair of the firm’s Tax/Trusts and Estates practice group, which he developed over the past 20 years. Gary began his career as a US Tax Court litigator for the IRS and then as an associate for a large New Jersey firm. At Einhorn Barbarito, he provides his clients with advice in all legal areas including planning for unique family challenges, business succession, premarital planning, and charitable planning, always while focusing on keeping his clients updated on cutting-edge issues in the law.
Gary is a sought-after speaker on a variety of tax, trusts and estates topics and has authored numerous articles on taxation and estate planning. He also donates his time and efforts to assist nonprofit and charitable organizations on all legal matters.
After almost 20 years as a highly respected securities analyst for leading investment banks, and six years at AT&T, Steve embarked on a new professional path in late 2005 as an independent director of corporate boards. He currently serves on the board of directors of two publicly held technology companies. At PCTEL, he is the chairman of the board, and sits on the firm’s Audit and Nomination and Governance Committees. At Allot Communications, he is the chairman of the Compensation & Nomination Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.
Steve serves as director on the board of privately held Edison Properties, a leading real estate owner and operator focused on the New York and New Jersey areas. He has also served on the boards of directors of the publicly held companies Tut Systems and Zhone Technologies, and the privately held company Genband Inc.
Prior to retiring from Wall Street in 2005, Steve served as a managing director and global head of communications technology research at Lehman Brothers, as a director of telecommunications research at Salomon Brothers, a managing director and head of the communications research team at Oppenheimer & Co., and a senior communications analyst at Hambrecht & Quist. He was recognized as one of the top analysts in the industry by a variety of independent organizations and surveys, was often quoted in communications trade journals and financial publications, and was regularly interviewed by CNBC, CNN, and other business media.
Steve volunteers his time as a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. In the past few years, he has focused on strategic changes to the Federation’s allocation process and on new ideas for making the community’s day schools more affordable. In the past, he also served as president of the Board of Trustees of a community Jewish Day School in Morris County, New Jersey, and he is a founding member of the MetroWest Day School Advisory Council. Along with his wife Beena, he co-chaired a $25 million campaign that will sustain the newly renamed Gottesman RTW Academy for the next 50 years with an entirely new campus and a significant increase in that school’s endowments. He also serves on the Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation as a trustee and chairman of their investment committee.
“Leaving a Legacy is For Everyone”
Joan Levinson’s commitment to the Jewish community began when she was growing up in Plainfield, NJ. Her parents, who were both actively involved in their synagogue and the JCC, planted the first seeds at an early age. When Joan and her husband Les moved back to New Jersey from New York City as young newlyweds, it felt natural for her to get involved in the Federation.
She became active in the Young Women’s Division, attending many programs and making lots of friends, and she ultimately served as president of the group from 1990 to 1992. At the end of her term, she became the first recipient of the Rhoda Rosenbach Young Leadership Award, earning a space on a national women’s mission to Israel.
“I was 37 years old when I took that trip,” Joan says, “and that experience sealed the deal for me. It wowed me.” It wasn’t her first trip to Israel, but she was able to see for the first time how an individual could have a profound impact on others through their caring and, of course, their generosity.
“Most of the women on that trip were similar to the people I know – not necessarily affluent in their communities. What they did have was a lot of heart, a lot of passion, and a lot of dedication, and they had all made the choice to do whatever they could to help. I wanted to be just like them.”
Joan had planned for many years to become a Lion of Judah ($5,000 donor), and in 2006, right around her 50th birthday, she did it. She was so proud of this accomplishment and of being a part of this incredible group of committed and dedicated women. Several years later, she became aware of the concept of endowing her Lion gift, learning that you can endow a gift at any level and that then, upon your death, your gift will continue to be given forever. This means that each year, when the campaign begins on July 1, the Jewish Federation starts out with almost $2 million, due to the foresight of donors who left a legacy for the future of your Jewish community. Joan was blown away by this supreme level of commitment.
“I hope to live for many more years,” said Joan, now 63, but after a breast cancer scare more than 15 years ago, she knows there are just no guarantees in life.
Joan has worked her entire adult life in the field of early childhood education. She and her husband live in the same home they purchased 30 years ago, and there are still renovations she would like to make. They have put two daughters through college. The money she gives to the Federation each year is money that they could easily spend on something else, but she has always been acutely aware of the value of supporting the Federation. “There are a lot people who think that charitable giving is for the wealthy alone,” Joan says. “I’m here to tell you that leaving a charitable legacy is for everyone.”
“I Felt Personally Responsible for Making My Mark Now”
Rebecca Gold has been an active volunteer with Federation for 18 years, and it was her dedication to Federation brought her to the Jewish Community Foundation.
She chaired the Federation’s Golda, Pomegranate, and Lion of Judah Campaigns. She is the immediate past president of Women’s Philanthropy. She helped developed the Philanthropy 101 program, and was an active facilitator and trainer for this outreach and education initiative. She’s an alumna of both National Young Leadership Cabinet and the Wexner Heritage Leadership Program.
She became a Lion in 2006. “I was very aware of the Lion of Judah Endowment (LOJE) for a long time. But I really thought of it as something people do later in their life.
At 54, though, Rebecca decided she didn’t want to wait until later. “It was important for me to demonstrate the power of a woman’s gift, and set an example for other women who were still actively working—don’t wait for retirement! And I wanted to set an example for my children.”
Rebecca created her LOJE through an insurance policy, and it was easier than she expected. “I look at it as an investment in my community—I felt personally responsible for making my mark now, rather than leaving it for my children to do on my behalf, after I’m gone.”
As someone who cares about social action, she wants to do that work through a Jewish conduit. “I care deeply about Jewish community, here and all over the world,” she says. “Through our local agencies and our overseas partners like the Jewish Agency, JDC, and ORT, I can reach more people than in any other way. Giving through our Federation is the best bang for my buck.”
“My husband says, ‘Hope is not a strategy.’ It’s not enough for me to hope our Jewish community will thrive. I felt it was time to make a permanent gift. And it’s important for me to protect and build on my own investment by encouraging others to join me. By supporting the Jewish Community Foundation, I am part of ensuring our success.”
“Legacy Giving Ensures a Vibrant Future for Our Jewish Community”
It all started with Steve, whose involvement with the Greater MetroWest Jewish community stretches back to the late 1970s. “It’s a long-term relationship,” he says. When he was president of Jewish Family Services in the late ‘80s, through working with donors and showing them projects, Steve was introduced to JCF. He served on the Foundation’s board for several years, and he continues his commitment to JCF as a long-time member of the Investment Committee.
Meanwhile, Lori was busy raising the kids—until, she says, “I got bit by the bug, thanks to a few persistent women.” She became involved in the Federation’s Women’s Division, which is now our Women’s Philanthropy, taking on progressively more responsible roles culminating in terms as Federation president and chair of National Women’s Philanthropy. “Steve ignited the spark in me—he’s the enabler and empowerer. It’s become a family business.”
Steve and Lori established a small donor-advised fund and involved their daughters, who now have children of their own. As a family, they review grants and make allocations on an annual basis. Steve advises others to follow their example. “I’ve had the opportunity over a lot of years to be a salesperson for the Foundation,” he says. His pitch is a business approach: “Donor-advised funds are simply a very effective way to give.”
“It’s important to us as a family to be engaged Jewishly,” Lori said. “We want to maintain that legacy, and legacy giving ensures a vibrant future for our Jewish community.”
Lori and Steve believe that the role of the Foundation is critical to the future of the Federation and the future success of the Jewish community. “Maintaining relevance and having the flexibility to change require investment, and we’re proud to be among those setting an example. Leadership is about keeping an eye on the horizon, focusing on the future of our community, and motivating others to share that vision. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to inspire involvement and build connections toward a bright Jewish future for our children, our grandchildren, and generations to come.”
Jewish Responsibility, and Keeping an Eye on the Future
Sanford “Sandy” Hollander grew up in the rural town of Newton in Sussex County, where he still lives today. His father, an immigrant from Czarist Russia (now Belarus), settled there because he liked the bucolic landscape. He built a family and a small house painting business. There were a handful of Jews in the town– most of them poor. But on the High Holidays, Sandy recounts, the congregants in the small shul would bid for the honors during the services.
“The biggest honor of them all,” he said, “was to open the ark during the Yom Kippur afternoon service. Year after year, that honor went to Schmya, a poor but pious rag trader in town.” One year, when Sandy was eight or nine years old, there was a rumor that Nathan, the nonobservant wealthy baker, was going to bid against Schmya. In the bidding war that ensued, Sandy’s father outbid Nathan and paid $100 – an astronomical sum at that time – then handed the honor over to his friend Schmya. That evening at home, Sandy listened as his mother scolded her husband for spending money they couldn’t afford. His father calmly responded, “What better thing could I do with our money?”
This was the first time he saw an example of “Jewish responsibility” – he prefers this phrase to “philanthropy” – demonstrated by his father. Sandy uses this, along with many other memories and his phenomenal gift for storytelling, in one of his proudest roles: as a volunteer fundraiser for Jewish Federation for more than 50 years.
After graduating from Columbia University, becoming a lawyer, and meeting his wife Roz, Sandy moved back to Newton to build his own family and career. He discovered the UJA Annual Campaign when he took on legal representation of a local Jewish businessman who conducted the campaign in their area. When this man died, Sandy inherited the role, and, as with any responsibility he’s faced, he took it very seriously. In his first year, 1967, he raised $13,000 in Newton, making him “a bit of a legend” in the New Jersey Jewish community. This promising young fundraiser was invited to participate in the Young Leadership Cabinet Mission to Israel, launching his life-long love of the country.
As a small-town attorney, Sandy often felt intimidated by the large gifts many of his colleagues, major donors, were able to make, but he soon realized that each person is responsible for making a quality gift within their own means. As long as he was doing so, he felt comfortable asking others to do the same.
Sandy served in many Jewish communal leadership positions, including on the Executive Committee of National UJA and as a member of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors. He was also one of the founding members of the Morris Sussex Jewish Federation, working with Seymour Epstein and Dan Drench to build the small organization that merged into the much larger Federation of MetroWest in 1983.
When Seymour passed away, the Epstein Fund was established, dedicated to developing a leadership mission in Israel to engage the next generation of community leaders. Participants learned the value of sharing personal stories when soliciting gifts. Sandy participated in each of these missions, teaching the next generation to take the reins of leadership.
Throughout his 50+-year involvement in our Federation, and now, as a proud member of the Ner Tamid Society, Sandy Hollander has always kept an eye on the future. He’s passionate about his work with future leaders and about his involvement in the Ness Foundation, which is dedicated to the development of the Negev region in Israel and is critical to the future of Israel. And he is passionate about endowing his gift.
“Roz and I decided to endow our gift to Federation as an extension of what we’ve always been doing. We are committed to the Jewish community. We are committed to the survival of the Jewish State and of the nearly 9 million Jews living there. We are committed to taking care of the Jews still living in the former Soviet Union. We are committed to a thriving and creative Jewish life in the United States. As Jews, we have a responsibility for all of these things.”
Sandy’s endowed gift will ensure his impact on the Jewish community for generations to come.
She became active in the Young Women’s Division, attending many program and making lots of friends, and she ultimately served as president of the group from 1990 to 1992. At the end of her term, she became the first recipient of the Rhoda Rosenbach Young Leadership Award, earning a space on a national women’s mission to Israel in March 1993.
“I’m Confident in the Future of Our Community”
Martin Fox comes from a family of Federation leadership. “My father was a VP of Federation close to 100 years ago,” he says. “I remember as a kid, Federation talk around our dinner table was common. I was taught that involvement and contributing was part of the essence of our being.”
As an adult, Martin was busy day and night with Federation business. “I loved it, it was wonderful, it was fun,” he says. He served on every committee, eventually taking on the role of Federation president. His spirit of involvement extended to the general community: “I was twice a Democratic candidate for Congress, and I volunteered during civil rights movement.”
Martin was thrilled to pass down this legacy of Jewish engagement to his two daughters, a doctor and lawyer, and to his grandchildren. He’s proud that all of them are involved in Jewish life.
“JCF is essential to the future of the Federation and our community,” he says. “Pressures on giving in the general community are growing. Having an endowment will preserve the Federation from the variabilities of fundraising. It’s important to build endowment by gifts during life and from estates.
“I’m confident in the future of our community, because I’ve seen how it continues from generation to generation. Federation has changed with the times, but as a place for exchanging ideas and finding solutions, it’s more important than ever. It’s almost 100 years old, and it still works.”
Sandra Sherman is a founding partner and co-chair of the Tax and Trusts & Estates Group of the firm of Sherman Wells Sylvester & Stamelman LLP in Florham Park, NJ, and New York City. She lectures frequently on tax, trust and estate, and nonprofit topics, and has published her work on multiple occasions in national journals devoted to those topics.
Sandra has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America since 2006, and was named to the Worth Magazine list of 100 top attorneys in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008. She was selected as one of the Best 50 Women in Business in NJBIZ in 2008.
Sandra serves as a trustee, secretary, and executive committee member of the New Jersey Health Foundation, and a board member of the Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC. She is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Planned Giving Tax Force. She is a director of the F.M. Kirby Foundation.
Robert G. Kuchner, CPA, PFS, is a partner at Marks Paneth LLP. He serves a diverse spectrum of privately-owned companies and their owners as well as clients in the theater, media, and entertainment industries. He also provides business management and family office services to a varied client base.
He was the managing partner of Rosenberg, Neuwirth & Kuchner, CPAs, P.C., a Manhattan-based accounting firm that he founded in 1990. He played an active role in that firm’s growth and development until it combined with Marks Paneth LLP in 2013. Prior to forming Rosenberg, Neuwrith & Kuchner, he was employed at a Big Four accounting firm as the director of small business services for its middle market services group.
Robert has been awarded the personal financial specialist (PFS) designation by the American Institute of CPAs). He is a member of The All-Star Financial Group, LLC, a national association of CPAs who specialize in financial and tax planning for clients with high-net-worth and/or unique circumstances.
He chairs the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Audit Committee and is a member of its Budget and Finance Committee. He also holds or has held leadership roles at Hofstra University, Rutgers Hillel, UJA-Federation of New York, the Jewish Federations of North America, and North American Friends of Amcha Israel. He is a past president of Jewish Federation of Central NJ.