Our Board

US Leadership

Claude grew up in NYC, attended Ithaca College and the Sorbonne for his BA, and then attended UCLA, U of Houston and NYU for an unfinished MBA. Claude worked in France for several years after a short stint teaching high school French in Vestal NY. In 1980 he returned to NY and joined Lehman Brothers and subsequently Oppenheimer and Co. In the 1990s Claude founded a long distance telephone company which was sold in 1999.

In the non-profit arena Claude created several programs focused on strengthening the Jewish commitment of young Jews including the Outreach program “Traditions on Wheels” which was successfully duplicated in over 50 communities in North America. He has served as the Campaign Chair for the United Jewish Federation of Stamford, CT, worked on the UJF executive committee, and is currently on the board of Arts for Healing and the UConn Chapter of Hillel. Claude founded The Teen Tzedakah program in the greater Stamford area that had a one time 225 members. Claude has recently joined the Board of Inspirica the Homeless Shelter in Stamford CT. Claude’s biggest love is his work for Jordan River Village. Claude has been married to Melody for more than 30 years. They have 2 adult children Alex and Matthew and 2 grandchildren Jack and Brady.

Talia Berger joined the board of directors of Jordan River Village in 2019 following a few years that her eldest son, Oliver, had attended as a camper due to a challenging background of intractable epilepsy. The incredible impact those 5 days a year had on Oliver for the remaining 360 – was substantial and Talia naturally wanted to share the magic of the Village with as many families as possible! Talia, and her husband Eli, live in Herzliya with their 3 teenagers – Oliver, Andy and Emma. Professionally, Talia’s 20-year career path includes working for various organizations, of all sizes as well as business owner and most recently as a headhunter for Israeli startup and high-tech companies who are seeking talent outside of Israel. Talia is also a licensed coach, meeting each coachee where they are at and empowering them to find life-work balance and live healthier, happier versions of themselves.

Eiran was born in Israel, grew up in England, and has lived in the U.S since 2005. He served in the IDF as an Intelligence Officer for 13 years. He is an entrepreneur known for founding “Mini Israel”, a unique outdoor park featuring exact scale replicas of all the famous and important sites in Israel and “Gulliver’s Gate” in Times Square which depicted the world in miniature models. He also owned a high-end boutique hotel in Lenox, MA. Currently a business consultant, he matches Israeli hi-tech start-ups with investors.

He is a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and earned a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Australia’s Swinburne Institute. He and his wife live in the NW corner of Connecticut. They have three sons who have all volunteered at the Village and all served in combat units in the Israeli army.

Matthew Kayton has over 25 years’ experience in real estate settlement services, mortgage servicing and P&C insurance industries.  Throughout Matthew’s career he has served as operator, investor and consultant for a number of businesses in a variety of fields including title insurance, specialty lines of insurance, legal services, land surveying, mortgage services, telecom support, off-shore business services, home health care, HR services and BPM technology.

Businesses he played an integral part in forming, operating and owning include: First Financial Associates, Inc. (a foreclosure auction company in Massachusetts), First Financial Surveyors, Inc. (at its peak, the largest mortgage land surveyor in Florida and other Southeastern States), Consumer Select Insurance of America, LLC (a multi-state P&C insurance agency), and Field Asset Services, Inc. (a national property preservation, REO maintenance and repair company based in Austin, TX).  He also spent a significant part of his career at First Southwestern/First Financial Title Group (a national group of title insurance agencies) which was founded by his father in the 1970’s.

Most recently, Matthew spent the better part of two years developing a new insurance product for a large publicly traded insurance carrier and was also instrumental in the formation of a national title insurance company for that organization.  Additionally, he helped fund and support operations for a SaaS start-up focused on the BPM sector.  Some consulting highlights include the turnaround of a national telecom support services organization for a PE firm, a turnaround of multiple mortgage services entities for another PE firm and the creation of a service platform in India for a publicly traded company based in Luxembourg.

Matthew has sat on the Board of multiple public and private organizations.  He resides in Southern California with his wife and children.

Former manager of some of L.A.’s most beloved restaurants and creator of the experiential dinner concept, PARE, Danny now delivers his hallmark level of above and beyond hospitality service to his real estate clients.

Having achieved Coldwell Banker Realty’s International Sterling Society distinction in 2020 while at the same time acting as Director of Operations for Susan Monus (Coldwell Banker Realty’s 2021 #1 Malibu Agent YTD), Danny is driven and determined to help all around him reach their goals. Whether working with his own clients or assisting Susan, Danny’s ability to think creatively and plan strategically helps to ensure successful results and memorable client experiences. As a former copywriter who grew up in an advertising family, Danny’s takes pride in creating custom designed marketing materials and fully integrated marketing plans.

A Philadelphia native with a degree in English from the University of Maryland at College Park, Danny credits his father for his work ethic, his mother for his love for people, and his wife Natalie and children Bastian and Wylie (and baby to be due in January, 2022!) for every day inspiring in him the best.

When he’s not showing property or working side by side with Susan, Danny enjoys coaching Wylie’s soccer team, playing piano, listening to John Prine records, savoring Natalie’s vegan meals and feeling grateful for each moment shared with his kids who are growing up way too fast.

Pam Posner graduated from Boston University. Pam served as a National Sales Director for Niche Media Publications from 2000-2010. She is married to Jarrett Posner with whom she shares 3 children. Pam is a long-time philanthropist, supporting Ransom Everglades School, The Scarlett Fund and the Jewish Community Project. Pam splits her time between Miami and the Hamptons.

Dennie is a retired nurse who lives in Israel and holds both American and Israeli citizenship. Dennie worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at TASMC Clinical Research Center Sorasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. She received her B.Sc. in Nursing from Columbia University in New York and received her MS in Nursing from UCLA.

Neil Ruben is an attorney at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP in Stamford, CT.  His practice focuses on representing corporations and private equity and venture capital funds in domestic and international control investments, minority financings and related transactions. He attended NYU School of Law.  He lives in New Rochelle, NY with his wife Dr. Hilana Ruben and their two children.  He also serves on the Young Professionals Committee of Inspirica, Inc., a charity based in Stamford, CT, that focuses on breaking the cycle of homelessness in Fairfield County.

Ariella Saperstein has worked in the Israel-related non-profit sphere for 15+ years, currently as Senior Program Officer for Maimonides Fund in NYC. She spent four years as Israel Program Officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, focusing on support for scientific and medical innovation, healthcare preparedness, and Israel’s standing in the world. Her previous work experience also includes overseeing governance and university relations at American Friends of The Hebrew University, and directing public programs and educational workshops at the Anti-Defamation League. Ariella has been awarded a Germany Close Up fellowship by the German government, an Israel Diplomatic Fellowship by the Israeli Consulate of New York, and was selected as a participant in the 2012 and 2013 New York Leaders program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Initiative. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Haverford College and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Professional Leadership.

Leigh had her own production for 15 years and was the executive producer of several shows including MTV’s “True Life”.  She earned an Emmy for her work in 2009. Leigh lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and children.

Laura is a former Hole in the Wall Gang sibling camper. At 15, she began getting involved in the efforts to build Jordan River Village and share her experiences as a camper and a sibling by raising awareness.

Now, Laura lives in New York. She has an MBA with a concentration in finance from William & Mary and works at IBM in Corporate Social Responsibility.

“Camp is a place where YOU can be normal, even if everything around you is not. Everything is possible at camp: imagination and ingenuity make dreams come true.”

Billy became the Executive Director of the Leo Baeck Institute in January, 2013.  Dr. Weitzer, formerly the Executive Vice President at Fairfield University in Connecticut, has over thirty years of experience in academic affairs, budget and finance, fundraising, community relations, and program evaluation. The Leo Baeck Institute is a research library and archive that documents the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry, primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries, but also including documents dating back to the Middle Ages.  It was founded in 1955 as a repository for the books, papers, photos and documents that were salvaged from Central Europe after World War II.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, community involvement has been a priority in Dr. Weitzer’s life. While at the University of Massachusetts, he served on its Hillel Board and later was active in addressing equity and diversity issues in the West Hartford (CT) public schools.  He currently serves on the boards of the Jewish High School of Connecticut and the American Friends of the Jordan River Village. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Lisa D. Grant, who is a professor at the Hebrew Union College.  Dr. Weitzer and Dr. Grant have two adult children, Hannah and Nate.

Ayelet Zurer is one of Israel’s most acclaimed actresses. She was born in Tel Aviv, and first garnered the attention of Hollywood when she was cast by Steven Spielberg in her first English-speaking role, as Eric Bana’s character’s wife in the Oscar nominated film Munich. Ayelet has starred in a number of films including Vantage PointFugitive PiecesAdam ResurrectedAngels and DemonsDarling Companion, and Man of Steel. 

She won the Gold Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 54th Festival of Television of Monte-Carlo for her role in the series Hostages and an Israeli Film and TV Academy Award for her lead performance in Nina’s Tragedies. She won the Haifa International Film Festival critic award and was awarded a star on Haifa’s “film boulevard,” for her international and local achievements. Ayelet also won the Israeli Television Academy Award for her lead performance in In Treatment a highly acclaimed television series that has been adapted by HBO for American television. In 2013 she was nominated opposite herself for an Israeli Television Academy Award for her role in Shtisel, but won best actress in a drama for her portrayal of a brilliant surgeon faced with the life and death dilemma in Hostages.

She married Gilad Londovski in 2003 and they had a son, Liad, in 2005. In 2004 when Ayelet was cast in Steven Spielberg’s Munich, she moved with her family to California where she resides today.

Advisory Board

Toby Deutsch
Yvette Lowenthal
Kayla Niles
Michelle J. Schwartz
Jeffrey Serkes
David Trachten
Gary Wolff

Israel Leadership

Chaim Topol – President
Prof. Ya’akov Ramon – Chairman, Board of Directors
Sara Lahat – Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
Elie Alony
Hava BarShay
David Ben Zeev
Talia Berger
Yoram Belizovski
Katia Citrin
Ruthy Danziger

Moti Dotan
Nira Dror
Dr. Yaakov Farbstein
Shmuel Friedman
Yigal Gali
Dr. Moshe Papa
Aviva Peterburg
Shelly Ramon
Sandra Shapira
Uri Slonim

Role of Paul Newman

Paul Newman left a legacy in Israel that is far greater than simply his portrayal of Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus, he was instrumental in the founding of Jordan River Village — helping guide the process, assisting with fundraising, lending his name, making connections, and so much more.

Paul is quote as saying:  “Let’s make the Village a peace camp” — he dreamed that it would help all sick children in the Middle East transcend their differences while focusing on the magic and fun of camp.

Paul Newman in Exodus

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