Rabbi Joshua FassAlumnus, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh
Rabbi Yehoshua Fass is Co-Founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh and has served as the organization’s Executive Director since 2002. After receiving his rabbinic ordination (‘96RE) and degrees in biology (‘94YC) and education (‘95AZ) from Yeshiva University, Rabbi Fass assumed the position of Associate Rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue of Florida and served as a member of the Beit Din of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council. During his tenure, he received the UJC 2000 Rabbinical Award for his exemplary community service and leadership. In addition, Rabbi Fass has been an educational director for the March of the Living and has served on several Jewish organizational boards, including the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).After an Israeli relative of Rabbi Fass' was murdered in March 2001 by a terrorist bomber, he was compelled to embark on a personal mission, which in the years that followed made a significant impact on the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Together with Tony Gelbart, he founded Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that has revolutionized western Aliyah by removing the financial, professional and logistical obstacles that prevent many individuals from actualizing their dreams. The organization has been credited for reviving North American Aliyah and making Aliyah a realistic option for tens of thousands. Together they have been responsible for raising over $120 million to help the organization fulfil its goals.Under the leadership of Rabbi Fass, Nefesh B’Nefesh has assisted over 36,000 Western Olim and has maintained a retention rate of 97%. Over the decade, the organization created specialized Aliyah programs for physicians, soldiers and for the development of Israel’s periphery. Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim contribute greatly to the social, financial and demographic welfare of Israeli society, infusing the country with idealistic enthusiasm and optimism. Additionally, according to a recent economic study, Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim have contributed over $400 million to the Israeli economy. Rabbi Fass was instrumental in an unprecedented Israeli Government cabinet decision supporting private Aliyah organizations in 2005, which instituted state funding for Nefesh B’Nefesh. In 2008, the same year that Nefesh B’Nefesh and The Jewish Agency for Israel entered a historic partnership; Rabbi Fass also spearheaded efforts to establish a Knesset lobby to encourage Aliyah from western countries.The success of Nefesh B’Nefesh has gained recognition from the Government of Israel and major Jewish organizations. As a result, Rabbi Fass has received several prestigious awards, including: the “Light Unto the Nations” Award in 2002, the “Menachem Begin Award” in 2004 and “The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism” in 2011. Rabbi Fass lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife Batsheva and seven children, including four native-born Israelis. Tony B. GelbartPrivate Investor, Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Mr. Tony B. Gelbart is a serial entrepreneur who has founded, grown and successfully led several companies through exits to both pUblic and privately held buyers. The businesses have been in diverse arenas ranging from oral care to tissue products and others.He has been recognized as one of "America's best minds in Marketing" and named by Advertising Age Magazine to its "Marketing 100". More than one of his ventures have been the subject of case studies in leading marketing textbooks. Today he continues to lead more than one company as President of White Cloud Marketing, Paper Partners and Old City Partners.Mr. Gelbart is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh which he has led since its inception over ten years ago. The organization has helped over thirty thousand people move to Israel. Since founding Old City Partners, Mr. Gelbart has been very active in seeking out and investing in Israeli companies and ideas.Mr. Gelbart has served as an indefatigable leader in community, civic and philanthropic activities. He was appointed by President G W Bush and served as a Council Member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; as a Board Member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; and continues to serve as a member of national Board Of Directors and advisor to the President ofthe Jewish National Fund.He has been involved in Israeli causes and Zionism from a very young age. Mr. Gelbart has also played an active role in many other Jewish and civic organizations and in his local community. He continues to devote himself to serving his neighbors, community, country and the Jewish people. He is married to Judy and they have two sons. He and Judy live in Boca Raton, Florida.
Abraham NaymarkBusinessman, YU Benefactor Born in Germany during Hitler's rise to power, Naymark fled Europe with his family to what was then Palestine. He served as a soldier in the Palmach - the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the Jewish underground army that fought during the British Mandate of Palestine - and helped establish the State of Israel. He moved to America in 1952.Naymark married his wife, Ruth, in 1954, and they made their home in Queens, NY. Ruth passed away in 2008.Naymark's philanthropic giving includes the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, where he funded the Abraham & Ruth Naymark Pavilion, part of a 7,000 square-foot complex for the LIJ Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders; the Young Israel of Holliswood Jewish Center, where he funded the Abe and Ruth Naymark Building;and Yeshiva University, where Naymark established the Naymark Scholarship Fund at the Sy Syms School of Business.Mr. Naymark is a benefactor to Yeshiva University. He has committed resources in support of undergraduate scholarships following his belief in advancing Jewish education for deserving students whose families do not have the financial ability to afford tuition.His life story will be an inspiration for our Yeshiva University students.
Merryl H. TischChancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, Jewish Communal Leader
Merryl H. Tisch was appointed to the New York State Board of Regents on April 1, 1996 and reelected to five year terms on April 1, 2001 and April 1, 2006. She was elected Vice Chancellor by her colleagues effective April 1, 2007 and was elected Chancellor by her colleagues effective April 1, 2009. Chancellor Tisch brings to her appointment many years of experience in the fields of education, community service, and philanthropy.Chancellor Tisch is chairperson of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. With an annual budget of $100 million, Met Council has gained national recognition for its work in the areas of youth and family services, housing, poverty programs, and neighborhood preservation. Previously, she served as chairperson of the Mt. Sinai Children’s Center Foundation.Chancellor Tisch serves on the executive committees of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Citizens Budget Commission. Additionally, she serves on the board of The Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York, the Graduate School of Education’s Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania, Learning Leaders, and the Sesame Workshop. From 1977 to 1984, Chancellor Tisch taught first-graders at New York City’s Ramaz School and the B’nai Jeshurun School. She received a B.A. from Barnard College, an M.A. in Education from New York University, and an Ed.D from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
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