Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation, Inc.
Board of Directors
Jill Levine is a graduate of Tulane University and brings to our board additional expertise in managing real estate enterprises. She has served on several other boards, including Temple Emanu-El, a supporting foundation for the Atlanta Jewish Federation. She also served on the board of directors for the Weinstein Hospice in Atlanta, where she is currently an honorary member.
Susan Benson-Steenbarger is an active community supporter and has lent her knowledge and provided services to a vast host of organizations in Sarasota, such as Harvest House, the SaraMana Chapter of ORT, Temple Emanu-El, Sarasota Orchestra and Temple Beth Sholom. She is also an active sponsor for the Great Dane Rescue of Southwest Florida.Susan currently serves on the board of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and the Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation. She has served on multiple boards such as American Heart Association, A.M.C. Cancer Research, Myasthenia Gravis Foundation and Women’s Resource Center, among many others.
Bruce S. Udell has over 40 years of experience in the financial industry. He is the CEO of Retirement Wealth Specialists and founder of Udell Associates. Bruce holds an Advanced Estate Planning certificate from The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Financial Consultant, a Master Certified Estate Planner, and a Chartered Life Underwriter.Bruce is a dynamic speaker and author of several books; Enjoy your Wealth and Pass it On a contributing author to the Florida Bar’s Basic Estate Planning in Florida, Fifth Edition. He invented The Wealth Enjoyment System®, an innovative approach to estate planning. Bruce is a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table and a past advisory board member of the Top of The Table, a distinguished group of the top life underwriters worldwide.
Merrill Wynne is a founding partner of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, where he specializes in individual, estate, financial and tax planning. His experience encompasses more than 40 years of involvement with issues affecting health care, real estate and retail clients.
A long-time resident of both Atlanta, Georgia and Sarasota, Florida, Merrill continues to maintain his firm in both cities. He is currently the Planned Giving Endowment Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and president of the Standard Club of Atlanta. Merrill is also on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Perlman Music Program Suncoast and the advisory board of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Isabel Anchin Becker, a member of the National Council of Jewish Women, served as the president of the Westchester Women’s Council of Realtors in Westchester County, New York before relocating to Sarasota, Florida. She has a passion for the arts and is currently involved in multiple organizations offering her leadership and support to the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota, the Sarasota Ballet, Art Center Sarasota, Venice Art Center, and the Art and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. She is an exceptional fabric artist who has exhibited at The Landings, the Art and Cultural Alliance, Art and Frame and the Art Centers of Sarasota and Venice.Isabel currently leads one of the most beloved art classes for residents at Anchin Pavillion and Benderson Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, and a watercolor painting class at Kobernick for independent living.
Sheila Birnbaum has served as an advocate, educator and change agent in the healthcare field. At Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, New Jersey, she established a patient-centered culture of service throughout the hospital. While there, she also initiated, developed and implemented the Arts & Healing program, the Service Recovery program, and several employee programs that led to dramatic improvements in employee satisfaction.The programs Sheila developed have won numerous industry awards. Sheila’s columns on health and patient advocacy have been published by several journals in New Jersey.
Norman Cohen has a passion for developing leaders and has served as an Executive Coach and speaker for The John Maxwell Company. Norman is the CEO of Leadership Builder, LLC a training organization dedicated to helping people become better leaders. He has over 40 years of experience in the home building industry. For over 25 years, he has served on the board of the National Association of Home Builders. Previously, has served on the board of Temple Emanu-El, Vistage International, and as a managing member of Camelot Signature Development, LLC.
Al Ernst is a 1974 cum laude graduate of Wayne State University (Detroit) School of Law. For 35 years, Al was with Dykema Gossett, where he directed the firm’s Energy and Public Utility Group. He has acted as general counsel to several non-profits, including the Michigan Easter Seal Society and a number of rural electric cooperative utilities and trade associations.Al has served on the board of for-profits, including Utility Supply and Construction Corporation and ITC Transmission Holdings Corp. He has also served as an energy consultant to the US Department of Energy, the General Services Administration and the US Department of Defense. Al has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, The Super-Lawyers, and was named Best Energy Lawyer in Michigan’s State Capitol.
Anne Garlington is a financial professional at PNC Investments, a broker-dealer with over 2,350 registered representatives nationwide. Anne has held an industry securities registration for 11 years and is subject to SEC and FINRA oversight.
Bob Israeloff is the founder and former CEO of Israeloff, Trattner & Co, CPAs, PC, one of New York’s leading professional service firms. Named one of the 125 most influential CPAs in the history of the U.S., he is a past chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and past president of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.Bob has served on numerous nonprofit boards at the local and national levels, including as former president of HIAS, Inc., and treasurer for both the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast and Sarasota County Arts Council.
Gerald “Jerry” Levinson is president of the Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation Board and executive director of the Harriette and Charles L. Tabas Foundation. He served as vice president of a commercial bank and business manager at the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as director of the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania and the First Republic Bank for 10 years, respectively. He held leadership positions with B’nai B’rith service agencies, received the Legion of Honor Award of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains and David Ben-Gurion Award by the State of Israel.Jerry is a 32-Degree Mason, a veteran who served in the US Army in Korea, and a life member of both the Jewish War Veterans and the American Legion. Jerry is past president of the Philadelphia Association for Retarded Citizens and has served on the board of the Lannett Company for more than 19 years.
Alfred Rose operated a family real estate management business in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York. He began working in the family business immediately after graduating college in 1958.Alfred moved to Sarasota in 1985 after a two-week vacation at The Colony on Longboat Key inspired him to stay. Prior to serving on the Kobernick-Anchin board, Alfred was the chair of the capital campaign for the Center for Building Hope, an organization that offered free programs and services to people affected by cancer.
A retired professional photographer and former part-owner of the Detroit Pistons professional basketball team, Warren Coville and his wife Margot have supported and promoted Sarasota’s cultural, educational, health and arts initiatives since 1994. Warren currently serves on the board of directors of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and is a past president of the Asolo Theatre Company.The Covilles recently donated more than 1,700 photographs depicting 20th century events to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Their charitable work earned them the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist from the 2012 American Fundraising Professionals’ Philanthropy Day.
Scott serves as VP of Philanthropy for The Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation. Scott previously served as Senior Philanthropic Advisor for almost 10 years with Gulf Coast Community Foundation, a longstanding supporter of the Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation and Aviva: A Campus for Senior Life. In addition to his decade of experience in philanthropy with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Scott serves as a volunteer for multiple community organizations, has served as senior account executive for Herald-Tribune Media Group and held management positions with GTE.