BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Neil Wessan
President

Neil is the Group Head and Managing Director of CIT Capital Markets, a financial holding company with more than $58 billion in assets. Neil’s areas of expertise include senior bank facilities and private high yield. He has held senior-level positions with various financial institutions over the course of his 35+ year career. Neil received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He and his wife Sharon reside in Westport, Connecticut, where they raised their two children, Eric and Lauren. A long-standing board member of JOIN Israel, Neil has also served on many other boards related to Jewish charities, including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and The Conservative Synagogue of Westport. JOIN Israel’s ability to see results way beyond its scale has been the key attraction for Neil. Over his 25-year involvement, he is proud of the organization’s ability to punch above its weight and provide meaningful help to those in need.

Neil is the champion of Educational Consulting

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Rick Smilow
Vice President

Rick is the President, CEO and Owner of the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City and Los Angeles. As of 2019, ICE is the largest, accredited, for-profit culinary education brand in America. Rick built the Institute after acquiring a predecessor business, Peter Kump’s New York Cooking school in 1995. Prior to ICE, Mr. Smilow was an entrepreneur in the pet food business and held product management positions at Nabisco Brands USA. Rick earned a BA degree in history from Emory University and an MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Rick is also a board member of City Harvest and STREETS International (Vietnam). As well as a member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), on the Advisory Council for the Yale Sustainable Farm, and a board member/ partner in Dinex, Chef Daniel Boulud’s NYC based, international restaurant group. Smilow co-authored the book Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food.

Rick is a champion of JOIN Lifeline

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Regina Bisk

Regina Bisk is a founding Board member of JOIN Israel. As a retired school teacher and after a brief stint as a real estate agent, Regina embarked on a long "career" of philanthropic volunteering, including with UJA, NYLAG, the Holocaust Memorial and as JOIN's most active and longest-standing Board member. Active and passionate well into her 80's she feels fortunate to be able assist JOIN to help Israel and those who really need our assistance.

Regina is a champion of Project Bolster Education

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Doug Cohen

Doug is a Managing Director at Athena Capital and a senior member of the Portfolio Management Team. Doug is responsible for delivering investment advisory services including asset allocation, portfolio construction and other portfolio management-related services. Prior to joining Athena, Doug co-founded Eachwin Capital in New York and was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. Doug received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.  Doug currently lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Doug is a champion of JOIN Literacy

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Murray Dayan

Murray is Finance Director of Bluestar Alliance, oversees all financial operations of the group and participates in deal analysis. He joined the company in April 2018 with eight years’ experience as Finance Director of a number of retailers, most recently Jacques Torres Adventures, a manufacturer and retailer of chocolate; and Ruby and Jenna, a retailer of womenswear. Prior to that, Murray spent 20 years in the investment industry; five years as Senior Analyst and Retail Team Leader at Janus Capital, and fifteen years as an equity analyst and co-portfolio manager at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder. He graduated the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. Economics and holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Murray has been involved with JOIN for over twenty years. He is married with four children, and now lives in New York City.

Murray is a champion of Project Our Own Way

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Daniel Goldberg

Daniel is Managing Director of IKOR of North Shore LI,. Daniel serves as a patient advocate and life care managing consultant to seniors and individuals with special needs. He gives these individuals a voice by preserving their wishes and helping them achieve the best quality of life considering their medical and financial status. After 30+ years on Wall Street, including his time as CEO and Founder of Velo Capital Management, LCC he decided to change careers in order to make a difference in people's lives. He graduated the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics and Finance and holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Daniel currently lives with his family in the North Shore of Long Island.

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Jeffrey Kleinhaus

Jeffrey is a lifelong New Yorker, supporter of Israel and proud member of the Jewish Community.  He works at SNA Displays as Director of Finance and Accounting.  As a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York he brings financial statement expertise to the board of directors.  His education includes an MBA from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business and a Bachelors of Arts from Brandeis University.  Jeffrey enjoys to play hockey as well as cheer on his New York Sports teams.  He also enjoys volunteering and networking for charitable causes.

Jeff is a champion of JOIN Lifeline

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Daniel Nir

Daniel was the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Gracie Capital as well as a founding board member of JOIN Israel. Daniel received a BS in Economics and a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania. He also attended the Rothberg School of international studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He and his wife Jill Braufman are New York natives who recently moved to Miami, Florida. Daniel and Jill are active philanthropists who focus on Israel and the Arts. They both hold multiple board member positions.

Daniel is a champion of Bolster Education

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Melissa Steinberg

Melissa’s caring and dedication toward the most vulnerable and those struggling to find justice is reflected in her firm, Law Office of Melissa L Steinberg, PLLC. Her focus has been elder law, anti-terrorism, consumer debt and bankruptcy, landlord-tenant and family law. She founded the Anti-Terror Lawyer’s Toolkit to assist lawyers to combat terrorism, the BDS movement, and other forms of anti-Semitisms. She is a member of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center Legal Action Task Force, The Lawfare Project’s legal network, and Stand With Us Saidoff Legal Pro Bono Lawyer Network Melissa received a B.A. in History and German from Bowdoin College. Melissa also attended Fordham University School of Law in New York. Melissa is currently an instructor in international and business law at Baruch College of the City of New York.

Melissa is a champion of JOIN Lifeline

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Bryan Weingarten

Bryan is a New York native that currently lives in Aspen, Colorado. Bryan is the retired Founder and CEO of WP Realty, a shopping center development company. Bryan has over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, specifically in identifying acquisition targets, negotiating agreements and cultivating national corporate leasing contacts. Bryan graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 with a B.S. in Finance.

Bryan is a champion of JOIN Lifeline