Paula is the current President of the Board of Directors of Hillel at Binghamton, having previously served as Chair of the Development Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. Her other volunteer work was as President (1998-2000) and Vice President (1994-1998) of the Board of the Binghamton University Alumni Association where she was chair of the development committee. Paula also serves as a volunteer at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York and at its Hebrew School, and at the Gateway Schools of New York. Professionally, Paula is Director of the Center for Corporate Wellness at NYU Langone Medical Center, having previously worked in a similar position at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. She has also held senior staff positions at the Mount Sinai Hospital and at the United Hospital Fund of New York. Paula holds a BA in both Psychology and Hebrew from SUNY Binghamton, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is married and lives in New York with her husband and son.
Steven Topal is a Partner in the Tax and Audit and Accounting Departments of Prager Metis CPAs, LLC, a member of Prager Metis International Group. He also leads the Hospitality practice group. He began his accounting career in 1982.
Mr. Topal believes in a relationship-based approach with his clients. He helps makes his clients’ quality of life better by offering an array of services that help them concentrate on the important things in their business and their lives. Those services include business consultation, bank financing, corporate and personal tax returns and new business set up. Mr. Topal specializes in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and taverns.
Mr. Topal was a partner at Rothschild, Topal, Miller & Kraft PC prior to merging his successful practice with Metis Group in January 2010. He has over 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountantand is also a practicing attorney. He is married and has two children, both of whom were presidents of their respective Hillels while in college. His son Andrew Topal was student President of Hillel in 2012-2013 and also served on the Board of Directors.
Mr. Topal also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Jewish Health System Foundation.
Boaz is a Binghamton University alum and a former president of both the Jewish Student Union and Hillel, and during his term, the JSU and Hillel officially merged creating Hillel at Binghamton as we know it today. Boaz has served on the Board of Directors of Hillel at Binghamton since its inception in 2001 and currently chairs the transition committee. He is also the CEO & Founder of www.TalkMarkets.com, a first of its kind social media platform to read about, and discuss, the financial markets.
Boaz has a BS and BA from Binghamton University and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and three children.
After a 25+ year career on Wall Street, Michael Lustig retired from a full-time focus on the world of Finance, and has been instead devoting the majority of his time and energies toward non-profit enterprises, and continuing his education along a variety of fronts. At the asset management firm BlackRock, Michael was a Senior Managing Director, overseeing Structured Products & Derivatives trading, heading Taxable Closed-End Fund portfolio management, and leading the Financial Markets Advisory management of the Federal Reserve’s Maiden Lane account, as well as sitting on the Fixed Income Investment Strategy Committee. He created the firm’s training program, and led that effort for 15 years.
Michael recently stepped down as President of the Board of the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, and has a deep involvement with UJA- Federation of NY, serving as Chair of the EPIC (Empowering & Promoting Inclusive Communities in Israel) committee within COJP (and serving on the commission’s Steering Committee), Chair of the i4 (Impact Investing in Israel) Task Force, co-Chair of the Manhattan Fundraising Campaign, and serving on the Network Cabinet, Jewish Life on Campus committee, SYNERGY, ACE, and PG&E, as well as acting as a MAP Consultant for a UJA-Federation Agency. He is a Trustee of the oldest Jewish institution in North America, Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue of NY, and serves as Segan (Vice President) and on the Executive Committee as the head of the Budget/Finance Committee. Michael is a Board Member of the Baron de Hirsch Fund and the American Jewish Committee/NY. He is a trustee of the Jewish Communal Fund (the largest Donor-Advised Fund in the Jewish community), chairing the Nominating committee, and is serving as an advisor to the Columbia Center for Comics Studies. Michael recently joined the Board of the Dualis Yozma Fund in Israel.
Michael lectures in two classes at Columbia University Business School, and has audited classes at Columbia and the City College Graduate Center. He is a member of the Annual Conference Committee of the CFA Institute, and is a frequent speaker/moderator at CFA conferences. Michael also serves on a number of for-profit Boards, and one of his corporate involvements recently completed the first large-scale (grid- connected) solar energy project in all of East Africa. He lives in NYC with his wife Rachel, and daughters Julia (Binghamton’20), Helena, and son Zander.
Barry Dov Katz has served as rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale since 1998, working with members and staff to create a vibrant urban synagogue. Before coming to the Bronx, he served for seven years as the spiritual leader of Congregation Eitz Chaim, in Monroe, NY and as student rabbi at Neve Hanna, a home for youngsters from dysfunctional families in Kiryat Gat, Israel. He received his ordination and a Masters Degree in Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he now teaches as part of the adjunct faculty. His received his undergraduate degree in Psychology/Hebrew Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. He loves to teach children and adults of all ages in formal (shul, school, university) and informal (camp and youth group) educational settings. He enjoys doing Hebrew calligraphy, reading current fiction, and spending time with his wife and three kids. Two of his children have connections to Binghamton: One of his daughters is a senior and his son is a freshman. Many members of his congregation have Binghamton connections.
Gerry Roth Kessel is a Financial Consultant for a variety of high net worth individuals, their related companies and Israel & Co., a start-up nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate a generation of leaders about the values, innovation and global contributions Israel has to offer. Prior to working as a consultant, Gerry was a Vice President at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., a privately held holding company, where she oversaw treasury operations, administration of corporate retirement plans and payroll, in addition to supervising the private accounting for its Chairman and Vice Chairman. Gerry holds a Bachelors of Arts in Accounting from Rutgers College and lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, Pamela, a December 2015 graduate from Binghamton University School of Management. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors and various other committees at her synagogue, Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel in Fair Lawn, NJ.
Marc currently serves on the board of directors at Hillel at Binghamton. He began his work with Hillel as a student where he served as the first co-president of the organization in 2001 while simultaneously serving as a student board member on Hillel International's Board of Directors. In addition to his work with Hillel he currently serves as chair of the Teenok Heart Foundation, board member of the UJA Hillel Task Force and UJA Young Wall Street Executive Council. In his professional life, Marc is a trader at Angelo, Gordon & Co in NYC where he resides with his wife Jennifer.
Naomi is a sophomore from Bethesda, Maryland majoring in cell and molecular biology. Since her first month at Binghamton, Naomi became a leader on campus serving Bearcats for Israel's Executive Board as the Freshman Representative and planned Hillel's largest event, Yom Ha'atzmaut. Naomi's enthusiasm and leadership started at her Zionist youth movement and camp, Young Judea. She spent a year between high school and Binghamton living, learning and volunteering in Israel on Young Judea year course. Naomi is excited for her new role serving as the President for Bearcats of Israel and hopes to engage more students than ever before and share her love and passion for Israel. When Naomi is not sitting in Hillel meetings she is working a laboratory, cooking, tour guiding at Binghamton, and staffing conventions for Young Judea.
For the past 13 years I have been the Cantor of the Westchester Jewish Center in Mamaroneck, NY. I am an active member of the Cantors Assembly having served a three year term on its Executive Council (aka board of directors) and am a volunteer at the Larchmont Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force and also serve on its steering committee (aka board of directors).
L.J. was an active member of Hillel-JSU as a student, serving as Vice President of Finance for three semesters. A graduate of the 2007 class of Binghamton University, he joined the board shortly thereafter. L.J. worked as a writer and producer at NY1 News for six years, before going to CNN in 2013. L.J. serves on the board's audit committee. He's married to Caryn Spaet, who he met through Hillel.
Jeffrey Teitelbaum is a 2006 graduate of Binghamton University. As a sophomore Jeff was the Hillel at Binghamton student Executive Vice President and during his junior and senior years he served as student President. Jeff was the recipient of both the Binghamton University Exemplary Student Award and the Paul J. Battaglia Student Organization Leader of the Year Award. He was also selected as the Harpur College student commencement speaker. Upon graduating, Jeff was accepted into the Leadership Development Program at J.P. Morgan, where he now serves as a Vice President. Jeff has been a member of Hillel at Binghamton’s Board of Directors for the last 10 years. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Jeff, with his wife, son & daughter live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Alison currently serves as Director of Development for Columbia/Barnard Hillel, where she oversees the nonprofit’s fundraising campaign. She previously worked as a development officer at New York University, raising money for the University’s schools and programming needs. Alison received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University in 2008, majoring in Human Development. She went on to receive a Masters degree in nonprofit management from the Milano Graduate School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School in 2010.
Danielle graduated from Binghamton University’s School of Management in 2013, with a BS in Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. During her time at Binghamton, she was actively involved in Hillel—serving in a variety of roles that allowed her to propel Jewish Life forward. Among these roles, Danielle served for three years on the Board of Directors. She was on the Hillel Executive Student Board as the Director of Israel Affairs and Bearcats for Israel, the President of iNext, and like so many other students, chaired countless events, initiatives, and programs throughout her four years across various sub-areas within Hillel. Additionally, she was involved with the Student Association, Chabad at Binghamton, and the Marketing Association.
Upon graduation, Danielle joined Zenith Media. In her current role as a Strategy Supervisor, she consults across all of Zenith’s clients, providing innovation, ideation and insights that move each business forward. She has also been tapped to work on internal department and new hire training, as well as new business efforts.
Danielle is passionate about giving back, especially to the Jewish community. Her hope is that all Jewish students continue to share in the experiences she had in her four years at Binghamton.
Max is a Senior, from Old Westbury, NY majoring in PPL and Political Science. Max has been avidly involved with many aspects of student life since Freshman year, having served as a consultant for the university's Emerging Leaders Program, Public Speaking Skills Lab, and an Intern for the President's Road Map Team. Additionally, for the past two and a half years, Max has served as a Student Advocate, working with students who have been accused of breaking the student conduct code. Max is currently the President of his fraternity - Alpha Epsilon Pi. Within Hillel, Max has worked as a co-chair for Aroma Cafe, BUnity Shabbat, Freshfest, and has served as a committee head for Yom Ha'atzmaut. Max has served as President of Bearcats for Israel, and has been a member of Hillel at Binghamton's Board of Directors for the past two years. This year, Max will serve as Hillel's Vice President for Programming, as well as serve on the Board of Directors for a third consecutive year.
My name is Ilana Forchheimer and I am from Westchester, New York. This past year was my first year at Binghamton University. I am hoping to complete Binghamton’s 5 year accelerated degree program earning a bachelors in Judaic Studies and a masters in Public Administration. I am also ensuing a minor in Education. From the very beginning of my Binghamton college experience, Hillel was an immediate home for me. I immersed myself with Hillel’s amazing people, programs, and leadership and Hillel very quickly became a place of comfort, friendship, and support. This was not surprising to me and was rather natural, as I grew up as a committed member of my Jewish communities. I attended Solomon-Schechter of Westchester from kindergarten to senior graduation, taught hebrew school at a local synagogue, and attended Jewish summer camps and USY summer programs since I was in the 4th grade. Jewish education is the thing I feel most passionately about. When I “grow up” I aspire to educate and inspire young members of the Jewish community. This upcoming year I will be serving as Hillel’s Director of Education and I could not be more thrilled to serve as a position I care about so much. I hope to bring exciting educational events to the Hillel community, and I cannot wait to continue being a supporter, lover, and leader of Hillel in the future.
Benjamin M Brenner, AKA Benjaboo, is just your typical junior from Allentown Pennsylvania. He developed his interest for pluralism over his entire life but refined his taste for it when he attended Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic high school. He developed his fashion style while in kindergarten at his local Jewish Day School, and has stuck to it ever since. Classics never go out of style. Being both smart and handsome, he's a triple threat. Trying excruciatingly hard to be unemployable by the time he graduates college, Benjamin has switched his major multiple times, but is currently majoring in political science. While not contemplating something deep and profound, he thoroughly enjoys a nice quite game of Giants football. Since he has none, Ben loves making new friends. Call him, beep him, if you want to reach him, or be his friend, you can reach him at 516-780-4448. He's also a Resident Assistant, an associate justice for the IFC Judicial board, and his fraternities philanthropy chair.