Honorees

Co-Chairs: Ace Greenberg and Peter Edelman

[image - Murray Koppelman]

Murray Koppelman moved to Israel after graduating high school to join Kibbutz Gal On in the Negev desert. Almost two years later he returned to Brooklyn and joined the U.S. Army. A graduate of Brooklyn College, Murray became a CPA and ran his own accounting firm for a decade before entering the Securities field, eventually starting his own firm. A well-known and passionate philanthropist, Murray resides in Manhattan with his wife Ellen and is the proud father of three daughters, and the especially proud grandfather of four granddaughters.
 

[image - Peter Shapiro and Bryna Linett]
Peter Shapiro and
Bryna Linett

Peter Shapiro is managing director of Swap Financial Group, the leading independent advisor and arranger of financial derivative products in the U.S. Prior to founding Swap Financial Group in 1997, he served as senior vice president of Euro Brokers, and spent six years at Citibank. Before entering the financial world, Shapiro spent twelve years in government service in New Jersey. He served two terms in the New Jersey Legislature, and was the first elected County Executive of Essex County, New Jersey’s largest county government. Shapiro served as a delegate to three Democratic National Conventions, heading the caucus for Edward Kennedy in 1980 and chairing the New Jersey delegation in 1984. He has been a Board member of New Israel Fund since 2005.
 
Bryna Linett is the CFO of Swap Financial Group, the leading independent advisor of interest rate derivatives in the U.S. Prior to the founding of SFG in 1997 Bryna was an independent consultant to NGO's providing a range of services including long range planning, accreditation preparation of healthcare facilities, and executive search. Bryna also spent twelve years as a teacher and administrator in the NYC Public Schools and at The Little Red Schoolhouse in Greenwich Village. In addition to being an member of NIF's International Committee, Bryna has served as chairperson of the NY Regional Board of NIF.
 

Celebrating

Women of the Wall, or Nashot Hakotel in Hebrew, is a group of Jewish women from around the world who strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem, Israel. The Western Wall is Judaism’s most sacred holy site and the principal symbol of Jewish people-hood and sovereignty, and Women of the Wall works to make it a holy site where women can pray freely.
 

[image - Lesley Sachs]

Lesley Sachs is a leading activist in the movements for religious pluralism and advancement of women. She is the Executive Director of Women of the Wall and of Project Kesher Israel, and a founding member of the "pluralist forum," which works with the political parties and the Knesset on religious pluralism. Lesley is a director on the board of the Jewish National Fund representing the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
 

Molad: the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy is an independent, non-partisan research institute and think tank dedicated to the fundamental political and social issues of Israeli life. Molad was established in early 2012 to inject quality content into the Israeli public discourse. This content is based on the highest possible standards of research, analysis and thought and coupled with a commitment to a progressive vision for Israeli society. Molad sees its mission as developing a comprehensive vision for the State of Israel that is equitable and, in tandem, seeks peaceful integration of Israel into its geopolitical environment.
 

[image - Hillel Ben Sasson]

Hillel Ben Sasson is Director of Programs at Molad, where he is responsible for presenting and promoting Molad’s political vision among organizations and individuals within the progressive camp in Israel. Prior to Molad, Hillel was spokesperson for the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. Hillel studied at both the Freie Universität in Berlin and NYU in New York, and is a doctoral candidate in Jewish Theology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 

Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice is a non-profit organization that aims to create social change by using the law to address the needs and rights of women from the social, economic and geographic periphery of Israel. Founded in the summer of 2001 by a group of leading feminist legal professionals in Israel, Itach aspires to increase access to the law, legal knowledge and tools among the population of disenfranchised women, specifically in the fields of employment rights, welfare benefits, public housing and violence against women. We believe that as lawyers, we have taken on the professional responsibility to create access to justice for every citizen. Itach's three branches are located in Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Haifa, and each branch focuses on different needs in its region.
 

[image - Samar Qudha Tannous]

Samar Qudha Tannous is a Palestinian Arab Israeli lawyer, feminist, human rights activist and a mother of two. Earlier this year she got her LLM degree specializing in Human Rights law, through the NIF law fellowship program at Washington College of Law. Prior to joining the fellowship Samar worked as a coordinator and moderator of the Women Legal Leaders Program in Itach-Ma'aki - Woman Lawyers for Social Justice, a feminist organization comprised of women-lawyers aimed at advancing social justice to all parts of Israeli society, where she is also working at the current time. Samar believes that law can lead to social change mostly when it is combined with other social or academic tools and skills, such as activism, arts and dance, that can go beyond rigid texts and courtrooms.
 

[image - NIF Board Member Yael Sternhell]

NIF Board Member Yael Sternhell teaches history and American studies at Tel Aviv University. Her fields of interest include 19th century US history and the history of modern societies at war. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 2008 and has since held fellowships from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Rothschild foundation, as well as from Yale University and the Huntington Library in California. A former journalist and news anchor for Channel One, she continues to contribute commentary on American affairs to various media outlets.