Our Board

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 boards of Arts for Healing and the UConn Chapter of Hillel. 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.

Toby Deutsch is a board member and past three term co-president of her current synagogue, and past officer of her previous synagogue sisterhood and board. She is also past board member of Brandeis National Committee.

Dr. Farbstein is a retired physician and for the past 25 years was the Director General of Poriya Hospital and worked with the Ministry of Health. He has been involved with the Village for more than 15 years and is the head of its Medical Advisory Board.

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.

Yvette Lowenthal-Mulderry  is a philanthropist with a special interest in charities which support children. She is the co-chair of the development committee for the MA and NH Youth Village board and was the 2014 Youth Villages Spring Celebration Chair. She also volunteers on the family council of The Esplanade Association, promoting park stewardship and addressing the needs of families, as well as on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Lion of Judah Luncheon committee, both in Boston.   Other volunteer commitments include the MSPCA Spring Gala and The Esplanade Association’s Moondance Gala. Yvette also organized Party with a Purpose, a fundraising event benefiting Youth Villages’ transitional living program. She and her husband, Pete, are the parents of Benjamin.

Avishay Nachon is an Entrepreneur and Educator. Has been heavily involved over the last two decades as a leader in social programs, managerial roles, training and consulting as well as creation and organization of unique educational projects in Israel and worldwide. Nachon, holds an MA in Labor Studies and a BA in Education Policy and Management, as well as a degree in Conducting and Composition, from the University of Tel Aviv, Israel.  Currently, Avishay serves as CEO and owner of Camp Kimama – Educational projects and international summer camp programs for Jewish Youths from around the world. He splits his time between New York and Tel Aviv.

Kayla retired from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston in 1986 and spent several years doing long distance sailboat cruising and adventure travel with her husband, John. She volunteered for a number of Jewish organizations in Florida, and eventually joined the board of the Foundation for Jewish Camp for 10 years, and Camp JRF, where she chaired the site acquisition committee as the Reconstructionist Movement developed its residential camp program. She was a founder and early president of Reconstructionist Congregation Kol HaNeshama in Sarasota. She was introduced to JRV by founders Murray and Marilyn Grant. She divides her time between Sarasota, Bethesda, Maryland, and Westport, Massachusetts, accompanied by John. Their family includes 6 children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren, 2 step grandchildren, their dog, Freilach, and 3 grandogs.

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 Riverdale, NY, where he is heavily involved in the Jewish community, with his wife Hilana Ruben, who is a resident at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.  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 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.

Michelle (Mickey) is principal at M. Schwartz Ent. She has a clinical and administrative background in nursing. She has taught and advised in the field of medical ethics and health policy. She is currently an angel investor and managing director at Golden Seeds. Michelle’s current project is being part of the startup team at Steve & Andy’s Organics. Michelle has recently moved back to New York after many years in San Francisco. She has 4 children and 2 dogs.

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.


Israel Leadership

Chaim Topol - Chairman of the Executive Committee

Sara Lahat - Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yoram Belizovsky

Katia Citrin

Ruthie Danziger

Nira Dror

Eyal Edrey

Alony Elie

Dr. Yaakov Farbstein

Shmuel Friedman

Yigal Galli

Hava Bar-Shay Glass

Aviva Peterburg

Prof. Jacob Ramon

Shelly Ramon

Sandra Shapira

Uri Slonim


Role of Paul Newman

Paul Newman in Israel

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.

Join Our Mailing List

Enter your email address below to be put on our email list and receive periodic email updates from American Friends of Jordan River Village.

Support Our Efforts

We rely on our supporters to help us provide our children with life-changing opportunities.

Donate Now