JTS Board of Trustees Elects Three New Members

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu


August 8, 2012, New York, NY

The Board of Trustees of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has elected three new members: Gabriel Nechamkin, Irving Smokler, and Didi Wallerstein.

"We are indeed fortunate to have the collective insight and experience that our new members bring to the board," said Abby Joseph Cohen, chair of JTS’s Board of Trustees. "We look forward to working with them and, together, identifying innovative ways to educate the next generation of clergy, scholars, teachers, and lay leaders."

"JTS is honored by the addition of these members to its board, all of whom care passionately about this institution and its mission. We know that their dedication will make them important and active partners in our community, especially as we move forward into the next academic year," said Professor Arnold M. Eisen, chancellor of JTS.

Gabriel Nechamkin is a founding member and portfolio manager of Ellis Lake Capital, LLC. From 1999 to 2009, he was a founding member and senior principal at Satellite Asset Management, a multistrategy hedge fund. Prior to launching Satellite, from 1988 to 1999, Mr. Nechamkin was a managing director in the arbitrage, high yield, and distressed securities group at Soros Fund Management, LLC. Earlier in his career, he comanaged the risk arbitrage group at Plaza Securities Company and was a vice president at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Mr. Nechamkin holds bachelor's degrees in both Economics and Statistics from the University of Rochester. He is a long-term member of the executive committee of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and chairman of the board of the University of Rochester Hillel. He is also an active supporter of Camp Ramah and a former board member of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison.

Irving Smokler, a retired psychologist, is the chief executive of Maple Leaf Properties, a commercial real estate firm in Boca Raton. He is the president and founder of the Nephcure Foundation, which raises money to fight glomerular kidney diseases. Mr. Smokler is chairman of the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He is also a board member of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Previously, he was co-chair of the International Center for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. His undergraduate degree is from Johns Hopkins University. He also holds a master's degree in Political Science from Wayne State University, and two PhDs (in Philosophy and Clinical Psychology) from the University of Michigan.

Didi Wallerstein is a freelance media and communications consultant. She advised No Labels, a nonpartisan political movement dedicated to problem-solving, on media strategy for its New York launch in 2010. She also worked with Mercado Global, a fair-trade organization that helps women artisans from Guatemala, on fundraising and media strategy. Other clients have included the Democratic National Committee and Jumpstart, a preschool literacy organization. From 1987 to 1999, Ms. Wallerstein was a producer for CBS News, where she planned and coordinated coverage of the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Accord signing at the White House with President Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat. She also covered national political conventions, presidential campaigns, and inaugurations, and both the George H. W. Bush and William J. Clinton administrations. Ms. Wallerstein earned her BA from Barnard College and her JD from the Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. She is a longtime member of Park Avenue Synagogue and a member of the UJA Women’s Executive Circle.

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