Alan Schwartz, Board Chair
is a strategic management and finance professional with over 30 years of experience in the private, governmental and nonprofit sectors. He is the principal of AGS Associates which advises clients on strategic development, restructuring, and financing in the United States and overseas. In addition, Alan is an experienced family wealth management advisor, and serves as a trustee of private trusts and foundations with aggregate assets of several hundred million dollars. Alan has held leadership positions in numerous public entities including: Executive Director of the Architectural Conservation Trust and Historic Massachusetts Inc., and Chairman of the Boston Landmarks Commission.Alan has been a lifelong Jewish, Zionist and community leader. Alan has spent considerable time in Israel since he was a child, and has conducted business in Israel over many years. As an undergraduate at Boston University, he founded one of the first Holocaust Education Week programs on a college campus. Passionate about social justice and human rights, he has been deeply involved in causes ranging from the Save Soviet Jewry movement to efforts on behalf of Syrian refugees. Alan has also been a leader in LGBTQ & HIV/AIDS activism for almost 40 years, including serving as Vice President of Fenway Community Health. Alan is a leader in Manhattan’s downtown Jewish community. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, a welcoming modern Orthodox synagogue in New York City’s East Village. Among his many awards and distinctions are recognitions from: Bank Boston; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and the American Institute of Architects. Alan is most proud that the City of Boston designated him a “Special Boston Landmark.”
James Moon, Vice Chair, is a partner with the law firm Meland Russin & Budwick, P.A. James is as passionate about Israel as he is about progressive and LGBTQ issues. Although he is not Jewish, James makes the case that progressives and LGBTQ in particular can and should support Israel – the only country in the middle east where LGBTQ can find hope for a valued and respected life. James has recognized Israel’s special place in the world since he first learned about it as a boy, and has always found ways to support it, including encouraging his friends and family to buy Israeli goods from Israeli companies to show their support, especially during times when Israel finds itself under attack. James is a board member of SAVE, and Secretary of SAVE FOUNDATION: organizations dedicated to protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. James has also served on the board of the Outshine Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and chaired the Inclusion Mentoring and Fellowship Committee of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar, which is tasked with diversity outreach to and for the Florida legal community. James has been active on boards of various nonprofit organizations over the years and is also a leader in progressive and LGBTQ outreach as a recognized leader within AIPAC. Prior to his legal career, James served for approximately 10 years in the United States Navy aboard both ballistic missile and fast attack submarines as communications and cryptographic specialist and is a Gulf War veteran.
Carmella Ettinger, Secretary is currently the managing partner of her family’s residential real estate company. Previously she practiced law in the Portland area including being a member of a feminist law collective serving low-income women. She has participated in Jewish education her entire life including serving on the boards of her son’s Jewish daycare and his Jewish day school. Currently she is the chair of the Overseas Special Projects committee of the Portland Federation. Additionally, Carmella has been very active in the Portland LGBTQ community including serving on the Board of Portland’s Pride celebration for six years with three years as the chair of that organization. Carmella has a lifelong commitment to the State of Israel with all its uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses. She has been traveling to Israel regularly since she was 10 months old. Her father was the 7th generation of her family born in Jerusalem and he is buried on the Mt. of Olives along with several generations of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Barry Blecher, Treasurer is a retired actuary who lives in New York City and has served as the chairperson of A Wider Bridge’s New York Metro Council. Barry participated on the 2014 and 2015 A Wider Bridge Israel Missions and has hosted multiple AWB programs in his home. Barry is a member of CBST, where he serves in the synagogue choir.
Bruce Maxwell, Past Chair, is a Principal at Arroyo Insurance Services, a commercial insurance agency in the Greater Los Angeles area. Bruce has been a long-time leader in the Los Angeles Jewish and LGBT communities, including serving as President of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the nation’s oldest LGBT synagogue and on the Board of the Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing in which he helped to build and open the first ever low-income affordable housing for LGBT seniors in Hollywood, California. Bruce is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, attended a year of his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.
Arthur Slepian, Founder, comes to A Wider Bridge with several decades of experience as a leader in the Jewish community along with a successful career as a leader in the business world. Arthur serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area, is the Chair of the LGBT Alliance of the Federation and serves on the San Francisco area Jewish Community Relations Council. Arthur has been a leader for more than 15 years at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, one of the nation’s oldest and largest synagogues serving primarily LGBT Jews, where he served as President from 2003 to 2006, and continues to serve in a variety of leadership roles.
Dr. Dana Beyer is a retired eye surgeon who was a candidate for the Maryland state Senate in 2014 and 2018. She was, from 2011-18, Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, the state’s trans political organization which successfully worked the gender identity bill to passage. She served a term as a senior adviser for Councilmember Trachtenberg on the Montgomery County Council. She is chair of the national advisory board of Freedom to Work, and wrote a weekly column for five years for the Huffington Post as a weekly columnist. She has served on the Rules Committee of the national Democratic Party, and has twice run for state Delegate in Maryland. Dana has been a member of the board of A Wider Bridge since the early years, and served on the board of Keshet for nine years. She had the honor of being part of the team which removed Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM in 2011, ending consideration of trans being a mental illness, and coined the term “gender incongruence,” now used globally to refer to the medical condition applied to trans persons.
Cindy Brown comes to A Wider Bridge with almost three decades of leadership experience in the non-profit sector, including serving as executive director of the MDGLCC Foundation/LGBT Visitor Center, program officer for the United Foundation for AIDS, and director of Miami Beach Pride. Cindy currently runs the Lambda Living Program for LGBT Seniors, a program of Jewish Community Services. Cindy also runs a consulting firm for non-profits, Cenergy LLC, whose numerous local and national clients have included GLSEN, Miami Beach Gay Pride, the Alliance for LGBTQ Youth, and Equality Florida. Her volunteer connections to the non-profit community have been numerous and ongoing, including serving on multiple boards. Cindy currently serves as the Vice Chair of the LGBT Advisory Committee for the City of Miami Beach, the Vice-Chair of the Mayors Elder Affairs Committee for Miami-Dade County, and a board member of the Haitian American Community Development Corporation. A Florida native, Cindy graduated from Miami-Dade College with a music education degree, and the University of Miami with bachelor degrees in both psychology and criminology.
Daniel Hernandez is a native Arizonan, lifelong Democrat, and Member of the Arizona State Legislature. He currently serves on the Judiciary and Federalism Committees and is the Co-Founder of the LGBT Caucus. Daniel has received praise for his work to find bipartisan solutions; from introducing a bipartisan resolution in recognition of Israel’s Independence Day. In 2011, while working in the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Daniel took actions on January 8th with which he is credited with saving her life. That day and the aftermath drove him to advocate for Gun Violence Prevention at the state and national level, which he does to this day. Daniel is a 2018 Alumnus of the AWB LGBTQ Leadership Mission to Israel.
Ron Lezell is a former CPA with Big Four public accounting experience and currently provides fiduciary services under his consulting firm dba, Teva Associates. He was also Senior Director with the national financial consulting firm, Accretive Solutions, where he provided clients with Interim Controller, CFO, and finance project work for 18 years. Ron has served on the National Boards of the Association of Reform Zionists of America and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, having been their regional Vice President in Northern California and Pacific Northwest. In 1992 and 1997, Ron represented the Reform movement as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem. Ron is a founding member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, where he has served as an officer and board member and is the former Treasurer of A Wider Bridge. Ron has holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Golden Gate University.
Frank November an experienced non-profit leader, is a new Israeli citizen, having made aliyah at the end of 2017. Prior, he was both a senior staff member and volunteer leader for two-decades with the Human Rights Campaign. Frank was an instrumental member of the team that designed HRC’s largest-grassroots expansion, leading up to its 2018 midterm election, historic wins. As a fundraising leader, Frank was a part of the team that raised the funds required to build HRC’s headquarters building, a powerful, permanent presence for the community, five-blocks from the White House, and helped lead efforts to grow HRC’s mid-level donor program, the Federal Club. Prior to HRC, Frank was an entrepreneur, worked in corporate strategy & planning in the pulp & paper industry and was a management consultant in the telecommunications industry, working with both manufacturers and end-users. Frank’s active involvement in the Jewish and Zionist communities includes leadership roles with United Synagogue Youth, Hillel, United Jewish Appeal, and a synagogue with outreach to LGBTQ Jews. Living in the heart of Tel Aviv, Frank is involved with the TLV LGBT Sports Club, LGBT Olim, and volunteers with the Aguda – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel. Frank graduated from Ohio University with a Communications degree, earned an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and studied at London Business School.
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf is the rabbi at Congregation Kol Shalom in Rockville, Maryland. He is the founder and director of the Hineni Fellowship for LGBTQ Jewish Leadership, a program that trains, educates and inspires up and coming Jewish leaders from the LGBTQ community to serve in leadership roles throughout the Jewish world. Rabbi Steinlauf served for ten years at Adas Israel Congregation in DC, where he was the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on this and many other issues facing modern culture and Judaism. He was recognized for his success in re-envisioning the nature of the largest and oldest Conservative synagogue in Washington, DC. In that role, he pioneered a paradigm shift that lifts up innovative modes of study and exploration of meaning as central in synagogue life. Rabbi Steinlauf founded nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel, including MakomDC for 21st-century experiential learning, and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington for meditation, yoga, and contemplative Jewish practices.
Dylan Tatz is Executive Director of Z Sharp, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that provides comprehensive, in-school music education to over 4,000 low-income children in Bay Area elementary schools who would otherwise have no formal music education. His prior positions included serving as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and as Assistant Director of Strategic Planning at the American Jewish Committee. Dylan earned his M.B.A. from Wharton and his A.B. from Princeton University.