Our Board Members
Robert Levitan (Chairperson) is a media and technology entrepreneur. In 1995, Robert co-founded iVillage, a pioneer of online communities and one of New York’s first Internet companies. At iVillage, Robert developed the company’s innovative advertising sales and sponsorship strategies. Robert has coached other internet executives and has served on the Board of a public technology company.
From 1992 until 2010, Robert served on the Board of Directors of New York Cares, one of the leading volunteer service organizations in the world. Robert is currently an honorary board member at New York Cares. Robert attended Duke University where he hosted the cable television show “Late Night with Bob Levitan” as well as published the world’s first video yearbook in 1982.Robert, his wife and two children live in Manhattan where they are active members in the Shababa community at the 92nd Street Y.
Peter Takiff is Chief Financial Officer of Eastern Consolidated, a full service real estate investment sales firm headquartered in New York City. Peter has served more than twenty five years as a successful corporate executive.
Peter is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Accounting. He attended the PolyGram International Management Program at the London Business School and is a Certified Public Accountant.
In addition to being on the board of Eden Village Camp, Peter is also a board member and Chair of Romemu, a progressive, fully egalitarian Jewish congregation located on the Upper West Side of New York City. Peter and his wife, Pamela, reside in Westport, Connecticut.
Yoni Bokser is an Upper West Side native, avid biker, skier and environmentalist. Yoni has spent 15 years in Jewish camps, with six summers at Camp Yavneh as Rosh Aydah (unit head), waterfront staff and programming staff. After graduating from the University of Rochester with majors in English/Communications and Political Science, Yoni worked for a few years in these fields in Israel and Belgium. He has experience in grassroots organizing and, while leading Rochester’s Committee for Political Engagement, oversaw the implementation and execution of a federal election worker program. Yoni recently worked for the NY Attorney General’s office for Consumer Fraud Prevention, Senator Chuck Schumer’s office and the Monroe County District Attorney’s office.
Donald currently advises large and small businesses in the financial services sector for project management and leadership development strategies in the US, Europe and Asia through his consultancy, Gardner Project Integration Group, Ltd. His leadership work includes development and delivery of comprehensive management and leadership training programs for Business and Information Technology managers and leaders. He also conducts extensive leadership coaching programs focused on individual development and high performance teams.
Richard Shuster is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Robeco Management, where he manages three different Small Cap Value strategies. In addition to serving on the Eden Village board, he is Chair of the board of Hazon. He and his father-in-law developed and promoted the first Walk-For-The Cure Walkathon for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 25 years ago and served on the Board of JDRF for five years.
Richard is married to Betsy Shuster, whom he met at the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches pre-school at Habonim on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where they raise their two boys, Jake and Henry. Henry is entering 6th grade at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School, and Jake is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. Their two dogs, Boy and Ruby, delight in joining the family on hikes and trips to the beach.
Julia Stalder is a non-profit professional with rich experience in strategic planning, fundraising, program development and board relations. She provides consulting services in these fields to New York area non-profits and is thrilled to be using her professional background to help Eden Village Camp grow. In addition to her consulting practice, Julia recently served as the U.S. Director for the Peaks Foundation, an international women’s empowerment organization, where she oversaw development efforts and U.S. program expansion. Before joining Peaks, Julia oversaw the programs and institutional fundraising for the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, a statewide environmental advocacy organization.
Previously, she was the Public Policy Associate at Hadassah, the largest Jewish and women’s membership organization in the United States. Julia is also an attorney and began her career practicing law at Chadbourne & Parke LLP. She is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and received her B.A. from the University of Michigan. Julia lives in Garrison, just down the road from Eden Village Camp with her husband, Sequoia, baby daughter, Stella, and dog, Jackson. She spends her free time hiking and trail running, usually with her daughter and dog in tow.
Dr. Saul Andron , is an associate professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University. Andron directs the Certificate in Jewish Communal Service program at Wurzweiler. He teaches courses in that program and runs experiential learning seminars for students to Jewish communities in North America and Israel. Andron has over 25 years of progressive executive and management experience in the Jewish communal sector in North America and Israel with specific emphasis on philanthropy, financial resource development, community and strategic planning, grant writing, program development, agency governance, board development and staff supervision.
Nigel Austin , is an experienced business lawyer who counsels entrepreneurs, companies and investors in a broad range of industries including luxury consumer, technology, manufacturing, fashion, food and beverage. Nigel was a founding board member and board chair of Romemu, a New York based center for Jewish spirituality, and has served as outside general counsel to several non-profit organizations including Repair The World. Outside of law Nigel practices Argentine tango, yoga and tai chi.
Advisory Board Members
Emma Blass is originally from South Africa and is the parent of two enthusiastic Eden Village campers. She was active in monitoring South Africa’s first post-apartheid election, and has been dedicated to improving literacy and access to quality education ever since. Now a New Jersey resident, she recently founded a tutoring company that helps students with writing assignments.
Jordan Dale is a graduate of Syracuse University where he was also Valedictorian and student body president. Jordan has a JD degree from Stanford Law School and is retired as a member of the bar in both Illinois and New York. Jordan came to Surprise Lake Camp as a camper in 1970. He has been a camper, counselor, unit supervisor, and division supervisor. After practicing as a lawyer for less than a year, he returned to camp as its Executive Director in May 1986. Jordan has been a member of the following Boards of Directors: American Camp Association—New York Section, Association of Jewish Sponsored Camps, New York State Camp Director’s Association, which he also served as Past President, Cold Spring/Garrison Area Chamber of Commerce, which he also served as Vice President. He is the Chair of the New York State Children’s Camp Safety Council. Jordan loves hiking, watercolors, scrabble, basketball, sunsets, birds, and beauty in all its manifestations.
Dr. Michael Finkelstein is a Holistic Physician, who lives and works on his farm in Bedford, New York. He is the founder and Medical Director of SunRaven, A Center for Holistic and Skillful Living, and the author of the book: 77 Questions for Skillful Living: A New Path to Extraordinary Health. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his advanced training in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. Dr. Finkelstein was formerly the medical director of Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, NY and the Chief of the Departments of Medicine and Integrative Medicine there as well. His practice has evolved over the years to focus on the “living” aspect of health, particularly our relationships to each other, nature and the divine. His life and his passion is now dedicated to helping others achieve extraordinary health through the pursuit of meaning and purpose.
Jessica Haller is an environmental professional and entrepreneur. She is currently the VP of Strategy for Itemize, a digital receipts company. After ten years in the business and consulting world, she obtained an M.P.A. in environmental science and policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She then served as CEO of Svante Scientific, a Climate Change Intelligence company. Jessica was the editor and Director of the Jewish Climate Change Campaign and in 2009 was part of the Jewish delegation to an international UN event at Windsor Castle. She is also a founding member of the Green Pilgrimage Network. Jessica is a Leader with The Climate Reality Project, and speaks on the realities of climate change to audiences large and small.
Jessica is a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council. Jessica has a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Riverdale with kids and husband, Chad.
Lisa Friedman is the Founding Director of the Lisa and Maury Friedman Foundation. As an environmental educator and lifelong community activist, she takes great enthusiasm in supporting outdoor and informal education. In addition to Eden Village Camp, she is delighted to have been a supportive part of the growth of Adamah, Teva, Jewish Farm School, Hazon, Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah for the last several years.
Based in Los Angeles, she takes particular pride in the work of True to Nature at the Shalom Institute, Netiya , a Jewish network that works with interfaith partners to advance urban agriculture, Torah Trek Guides and roaming around Los Angeles in all of its diversity, watching a plethora of school and community gardens bloom. In Israel her current projects include the YEEPI (the Youth Environmental Education Peace Initiative) program under the auspices of the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies , the Green Network coordinated by the Heschel Center for Sustainability, and a peace garden and play space located at Ein Bustan, a Jewish and Arab Waldorf school in the lower Galilee.
Felicia Herman is Executive Director of The Natan Fund, a foundation supported by young philanthropists that funds innovative Jewish and Israeli nonprofits with budgets under $1.5 million. She is a frequent writer and speaker on philanthropic and social innovation in the Jewish community. Most recently, she co-edited The Jewish Innovation Economy: An Emerging Market for Knowledge and Social Capital (Jumpstart, Natan Fund, Samuel Bronfman Foundation, 2011) and chaired the Study Advisory Committee for From First Fruits to Abundant Harvest: Maximizing the Potential of Innovative Jewish Start-Ups (Bikkurim, 2012). In 2009, Felicia was awarded the JJ Greenberg Memorial Award, which was established by the Jewish Funders Network to honor foundation professionals under age 40 who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the field of Jewish philanthropy. She sits on the board of Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas, on the Advisory Councils for the Joshua Venture Group and Jumpstart, and she serves as an informal advisor to many of Natan’s grantees around the world. Previously, Felicia was Research and Program Officer at Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in American Jewish History from Brandeis University, and she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three children.
Jonathan Schorsch has worked as an environmental activist, musician, elevator operator, commercial fisherman and professor. He has taught at Emory University (Dept. of History) and Columbia University (Dept. of Religion). His scholarly interests include early modern Sephardic culture and history; race and religion; anthropology of Jews and Judaism; ecology and religion. General-interest writing — on socially responsible investing, the environment, Judaism and ecology, contemporary Jewish musics — has been published in venues such as Tikkun, Sh’ma, Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, Eretz Acheret, and European Judaism. He has led workshops on topics combining Judaism and ecology. He is an avid organic gardener, with the help of his children, and is proud of composting at his Bronx home.
Anne Friedman has experience in corporate management, not-for-profit governance, Jewish camping, career counseling and executive coaching. Anne was a marketing executive in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 20 years, most recently as a Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Business Analytics at Novartis and also served as an officer on the operating committee of Novartis. Following her corporate career, Anne took her MBA training and management experience and became a certified career and executive coach. Currently, Anne advises people in career transition through her work as a job counselor with the Connect to Care Program at FEGS and in her private practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Linda Gerstel is an attorney at Anderson Kill & Olick P.C. where she practices in the area of commercial litigation with many non-profit organizations as clients. She has been a legal advisor to the Fresh Air Fund and the Anti-Defamation League. She has also been involved in landmark cases in the area of international human rights. For over 15 years she has served on the board of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, which directed its early grants in the area of farming and agriculture. With the Baron’s support, new immigrants to the United States and South America were able to purchase land and become the first “Jewish Farmers”. Current grants are directed to new immigrants in education (from childhood to young adults) and vocational training both in the United States and Israel.
Trisha S. Margulies is a trained Jewish social worker and chef, and is currently on the boards of Hazon and The Teva Learning Alliance as well as Eden Village. She also serves on the board of the Wurtzweiler School of Social Work where she earned her degree. Previously, she served as a National Vice-President of Hadassah. Together with her husband, Rabbi Fred Margulies, she co-founded Pushing the Envelope Farm in Geneva, IL, in 2007: after attending the 2007 Hazon Food Conference, they were inspired to transition the field next to their family business, Continental Envelope, from conventional corn and soybean production into an organic community farm. The farm is growing into a gathering place where people can experience and explore Jewish thought, tradition, and agriculture. One of Trisha’s sons, Elan, has served as Eden Village’s Science of Nature educator, and Trisha has recently become a proud grandparent!