Community Blog Hebrew College Welcomes Six New Trustees
David Hoffman knew very little about Hebrew College until last spring. A retired consultant, he got to know Rabbi Jevin Eagle, Rab`19, nearly two decades ago through volunteer work in the Greater Boston Jewish community. In April, Rabbi Eagle, then executive director of Boston University Hillel and a member of the Hebrew College Strategic Planning Committee, asked for Hoffman’s help.
Less than a year later, Hoffman, a Jewish Day School alumnus and alumni parent who counseled energy companies at Oliver Wyman for more than 30 years, has become a passionate and dedicated Hebrew College volunteer, contributing his time and expertise in strategic planning, organization transformation, and operational improvement to foster Hebrew College’s success. He comes to campus several times a week to help implement recommendations of the strategic plan, and was thrilled when Hebrew College Board President Andrew Offit asked him this fall to join the Hebrew College Board of Trustees.
“I believe when you’re a board member of any organization that it’s a team approach. When you see an area where you can help — because of your background, expertise, or just desire — that you are responsible to the organization,” Hoffman said. “So I’ve been helping out where I can with Hebrew College, learning more than I ever expected. And I’m increasingly impressed with the organization in terms of the programs we offer, all of the various opportunities for the community to interface, and the leadership — I think Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld is fabulous in so many ways. I’ve also been lucky to meet many of the teachers, instructors, and staff members. I’m very impressed.”
Hoffman is one of six people who have joined the 19-member Hebrew College Board of Trustees this year, bringing new ideas and insights to the College leadership team as the Board prepares for the second century of the College. The other new members are Rabbi Eagle, Deb Feinstein (pictured with President Anisfeld above), Susan Shevitz, Steve Targum, and Diane Troderman. Two others, Rabbi Van Lanckton and Tara Mohr, joined the Board of Trustees last year.
“These new board members bring fresh energy and perspective, as well as decades of experience and connections in the worlds of business, consulting, strategic planning, institution-building, women’s leadership, Jewish education, arts and culture, and national Jewish philanthropy,” said Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. “I love the rich mix of continuity and creativity they bring — it captures something vital about the spirit of this beloved institution as we approach our centennial celebration in two years.”
“We are building a winning team,” added Board Chair Andrew Offit, Me’ah`09. “Our Board of Trustees is growing, with wonderful new members joining us, eager to be part of the effort. Our staff is coming together, with new talent, new energy, and a renewed sense of vision and shared purpose. Our students and alumni have their eyes on the future, bringing our collective vision for Jewish life into the community and the world. When we look back a decade from now, it will be this moment, this team, that made the difference.”
- Rabbi Jevin Eagle, Rab’10, Executive Director of Boston University Hillel. Before attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Eagle was CEO of DavidsTea, a senior executive at Staples, Inc., and a partner at McKinsey & Company, Inc. He served as a board chair of Harvard Hillel and Dartmouth Hillel. He also helped found Jewish Lights Publishing. Iin addition, he serves on the board of directors of Carter’s, Inc., the leading branded apparel marketer for babies and young children.
- Deborah Feinstein, a Museum Director, educator, and curator, who has lectured on the religious, historical, and cultural connection of the three major religions through the visual arts at numerous universities and museums. After completing a master in Jewish Studies at Hebrew College, she has used the visual image as an interpretative tool in creating Jewish illuminated manuscripts.. She served as president of the Board of Directors for the Vilna Shul for five years, including as chair of the Capital Campaign that raised $4 million for the Vilna Shul’s renovation.
- Rabbi Van Lanckton, Rab`09, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple B’nai Shalom in Braintree, where he served in a student pulpit from 2007 to 2009 and then as Rabbi from 2009 to 2017. He is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical School’s Alumni Association, which he created in 2008, and secretary of the Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan, which he co-created in 2012. Rabbi Lanckton practiced law in Massachusetts for 36 years, serving initially as Director of the Community Legal Assistance Office and a Teaching Fellow in Law and Clinical Practice at Harvard Law School and then in two positions in the Massachusetts state government. He was one of founding students of the Rabbinical School.
- Tara Mohr, expert on women’s leadership and well-being, and an author, educator and certified coach. Mohr is the author of Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create and Lead and the creator of the pioneering “Playing Big” leadership program for women, and “Playing Big Facilitators Training” for coaches, mentors and managers who support women in their personal and professional growth.
- Steven Targum, a psychiatrist-psychopharmacologist who has been the founder of and chief medical officer at several small biotech or pharmaceutical companies. Targum served as a Professor of Psychiatry and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Mental Health Sciences at Hahnemann University School of Medicine (Philadelphia) and a consultant in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has served on the boards of several Jewish charitable organizations, including the Institute of Jewish Spirituality in New York. He completed the Me’ah program and has continued to take Me’ah Select classes.
- Susan Shevitz, associate professor emerita at Brandeis University. For over 25 years, Shevitz taught in and then directed the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service (now Jewish Professional Leadership). She has helped numerous foundations, schools, synagogues. and agencies plan, implement and/or evaluate programs such as Hebrew charter schools, family education, and professional development programs for Jewish educators. Her research and teaching focus on organizational culture and change, leadership in non-profit organizations and pluralism in Jewish life. She teaches a course on leadership in the Rabbinical School.
- Sarah Sonnenfeld, General Manager, North American People & Organization practice at Boston Consulting Group. Sonnenfeld previously held strategy and division management roles at a variety of firms including Fidelity, Thomson Reuters, and American Express. She has strong personal connections to Hebrew College – she counts many dear friends and family among the faculty and alumni, including her grandmother who graduated from Hebrew Teachers College in 1950. She is also a board member of Natan, which provides early-stage funding to innovative Jewish and Israeli startup and post-startup nonprofits, social businesses, and social entrepreneurs around the world.
- Diane Troderman, member of the Board of Trustees of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which she directed from its inception in 1993 until 1998. Currently she helps make strategic decisions as part of her board portfolio serving on their PJ library book selection committee. In addition to Jewish children’s books, Diane’s passions range from Jewish education to women’s issues. She also serves on the boards of The Davidson School at The Jewish Theological Seminary and “Shalom Learning,” a start-up non-profit that partners with synagogues helping to transform their afternoon schools. In addition she is a board member of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In 2016, Troderman accepted an honorary degree from Hebrew College.
The new board members say they are excited to join the College’s leadership team. Many of them have long personal histories with the College — including some whose ties go back generations — and others have only recently become involved with the extended College community.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Hebrew College board whose energy, devotion and leadership are exemplary,” said Troderman. “I believe that being a knowledgeable Jew gives my life more meaning and purpose, I know that connecting people to their community can be inspirational. For me and my family, Hebrew College is that place and serves that purpose. May we continue to grow “from strength to strength”
“As Jewish leaders it is our obligation to model the mitzvah of tzedakah and to model the importance of giving thanks,” said Rabbi Eagle. “I am so thankful for everything that Hebrew College has taught me and grateful to give back by serving on the board of this amazing school, so that we can continue to inspire Jewish leaders and learners who go on to make a difference in Boston and around the world?”
These new members join veteran trustees Andrew Offit, Me’ah`09, Chair; Jack A. Eiferman, Secretary; Myra Musicant, Me’ah `03, Treasurer; Harvey Chasen, Me’ah`16; Carl Chudnofsky, MAJS`13, Me’ah`06; Harold G. Kotler, H`18, Me’ah`99; Lydia Kukoff; Professor Sara Lee; Ross Silverstein, Prz`78; and Myra L. Snyder, MAJS’01, Me’ah `97; and Trustees emeriti Betty Brudnick, H’10, Prz`46; Mickey Cail, H’06, Me’ah`03; and Theodore Teplow, H`99.
Rabbi Ansifeld said she is grateful for their continued commitment to Hebrew College.
“Hebrew College has been fortunate to have the leadership of an exceptionally dedicated Board of Trustees through some very challenging times over the last decade. Their steadfast commitment to our educational mission, together with their wise and courageous decision-making, has helped bring us to this critical moment of transition and new opportunity,” Rabbi Anisfeld said. “We are now blessed to be looking toward the future with a remarkable blend of old and new leadership, all of whom are working closely together as a team, with a renewed sense of vision, optimism, and shared purpose.”
She added: “I am energized and inspired by the outstanding quality of our entire board, and by the strong partnership we are forging between the College’s lay and professional leadership — starting with the close working relationship between myself and our extraordinary board chair, Andy Offit. We are so lucky to have someone of his talent, generosity, intelligence, integrity, and menschlichkeit leading our Board of Trustees at this critical moment in the life of the College.”