Board of Directors

Judy Kleppel, President, Philadelphia PA – an American trained physician, Dr. Kleppel has 10 years of experience volunteering in Israel in the areas of health and trauma. Judy brings hands on experience in negotiating and carrying out volunteer opportunities in Israel to the Skilled Volunteers for Israel Board of Directors. Dr. Kleppel has learned to network and continue her relationships with Israeli organizations when she returns to Philadelphia where she works as a Rehabilitation Physician. In addition, she performed community based fundraising for Israeli nonprofits from the USA based on her personal knowledge and enthusiasm for their mission.

As a volunteer and board member, Dr. Kleppel brings the knowledge and experience of what it takes to succeed and add value to an organization’s mission in another country. She expects to help Skilled Volunteers for Israel create opportunities for other people with professional skills to meet the needs of a range of organizations in Israel.

Allen Poteshman, Treasurer, New York, NY –  Senior Vice President at the D.E. Shaw group in New York City where he specializes in the quantitative analysis of data in the financial markets.  Prior to joining D.E. Shaw, Allen was a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his research focused on the option market and the interaction between the option and the stock market.  He holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Chicago, a Ph.D. in philosophy and a masters degree in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelors degree in physics and philosophy from Yale University.  Allen will bring his expertise in the collection and analysis of data to provide strategic and financial insight to Skilled Volunteers for Israel.  He is an active member of Temple Shaaray Teflia in New York City where he is especially interested in programs that focus on engaging Israel and post-30s adults.

Marla N Gamoran, Secretary & Executive Director, Founder, New York –   Marla divides her time between New York City and Jerusalem. Following a career in non-profit management and workforce development, Marla completed the PresenTense Global Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs in 2010 and soon after ignited her lifelong passion for Israel by establishing Skilled Volunteers for Israel where she serves as Executive Director.

Born in Chicago, Marla completed a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Illinois, Champaign and a Masters in Business Administration from DePaul University.  She lived in Israel for two years after completing her BA, for a year on Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava and one year teaching English in the Negev development town of Sderot.

Marla has volunteered for her synagogue, served as the President of the Madison Wisconsin chapter of Hadassah and serves on the University of Wisconsin Madison Hillel Board, the American Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) Board and is an ARZA delegate to the American Zionists of America board.

Ron Hoffman, Toronto Canada/Miami Florida – Ron has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto and practiced as a civil and matrimonial litigation lawyer for 17 years.

He served as for 24 years as Vice President of Emerging Markets for Gamma-Dynacare Laboratories and led the organization in its drive to develop new or enhanced uninsured revenue strategies through the identification and sale of new tests, new product offerings and new business relationships. Ron is an active Jewish communal leader and has served as President and Vice President of JNF Toronto/JNF Canada; President of the Reena Foundation; President of the Canadian Foundation For Masorti Judaism in Israel; Vice President of the Kolel Legacy Fund, through which it sponsors educational programs presented by the Prosserman JCC in particular, Member of Toronto’s advisory committee for the Melton Educational Programme; Vice Chair of Facing History And Ourselves, Canada, the Canadian version of a U.S. parent entity.

Ron is also a member of the Advisory Committee for Toronto’s Jewish-Christian Dialogue, is an active member in the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and participates in the Florence Melton School of Adult Studies in Miami and Toronto.

Rabbi Alan Iser, Philadelphia – Rabbi Iser is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology at St. Joseph’s and Villanova University. He also teaches summers at the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem.  He is a former pulpit rabbi and Hillel Director. He received his rabbinic ordination from J. T. S. and holds a Masters degree from the Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard and a B. A. from  Washington University in St. Louis.

Cheryl Temkin, Tamarac Florida – Cheryl Temkin is a Skilled Volunteers for Israel alumni and volunteered in Jerusalem for Women of the Wall (WOW) and has become one of WOW’s most articulate lay spokespeople in North America. Cheryl is a leader in her synagogue and has served on the South Florida regional board for  Women’s League of the Conservative Movement.  She’s a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin’s Jewish Studies program.

Cheryl brings deep knowledge of Israel and her enthusiasm for the power of meaningful volunteering.

Howard Mednick, Toronto Canada – Howard Mednick is a Skilled Volunteers for Israel alumni and volunteered in 2019 putting his classical music expertise and technical skills together as a Classical Music DJ.

I have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.   Howard retired from his occupation as a computer systems consultant after some 45 years experience. He worked with computers starting from punch cards through to hand held mobile applications, but have basically specialized in large scale database management and reporting applications over the last few years.

Howard is also active in sports and athletics. He played inter-collegiate football at McGill University when he was a student there from 1967 to 1971. Since then he has coached baseball and football while his sons were growing up. He continues to be an active masters swimmer to this day and is involved with the JCC Maccabi program in Toronto as the assistant swim coach.

With regards to Israel I must also let you know that Howard and his wife (z”l) spent over a year in Israel, way back in 1974-75. They were involved with the World Union of Jewish Students program and took an ulpan in Hebrew before working in Nahariya. He worked as a cost accountant and developed some computer systems for inventory management for Iscar Blades Ltd., one of Israel’s first hi-tech companies which  still has a great international reputation to this day. As a result of that experience, Howard is fluent in Hebrew.

My volunteer experience enriched my visit to Israel greatly. Meeting staff, clients and volunteers was truly one of the highlights of my first trip to Israel. I will never forget this heartwarming experience! Thank you Skilled Volunteers for Israel.” Jane W, California, 2016

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