Advisory Board | Jewish Studies Program

Advisory Board

Robert Austein: Real Estate Investments and Advisory Services, Dallas, TX

Susan Brokhin: Susan Brokhin is the youngest member on the Jewish Studies Program Advisory Board since its inception. She graduated with honors in political science in 2009 from UNT. Upon graduation, she moved to Jerusalem for a fellowship with the American Jewish Joint Distribution committee. While in Israel, Susan developed Oli'im and social entrepreneurship programs in Modi'in and Jerusalem. Moreover, Susan was the first fellow to develop youth programs with Bedouin teens in Rahat, a recognized Bedouin village. In 2010, Susan returned to Texas as the Political Affairs Director for the Consulate General of Israel in Houston. She later joined the City of Houston as the Community Outreach Manger for the City's Digital Inclusion Initiative, which works in underserved and at-risk Houstonian communities. Currently, Susan is the Director of Clinical Integration and Project Management at Legacy Community Health Services. Susan's involvement with the Jewish Studies Program during her time at UNT shaped her education and involvement with the Jewish Community. She is thrilled to be a member of the Board and to have the opportunity to help continue to grow this esteemed program.

Karen Cane: Karen E. Cane, a native Houstonian, spent her early childhood years at Kibbutz Alonim in Israel. Prior to attending the University of North Texas, Karen spent a year in Israel as a participant in Young Judea's Year Course program where she studied, volunteered, and spent time in an IDF basic training program. During her years at UNT, Karen served on the Hillel board as Membership Chair, Vice President, and later as the President of the organization. Additionally, she served as the Jewish Studies Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and worked under the leadership of Dr. Golden at the Jewish Studies Program. Karen graduated from UNT in 2010 with honors in Fashion Merchandising, E-Merchandising and Business.

Currently, Karen resides in Dallas and works at Fossil Group, Inc. as the Global Brand Specialist for Emporio Armani Swiss Made Watches. In this role, Karen helps develop global brand strategies for the Emporio Armani Swiss Made watches. Past brands include Michele Watches, Burberry Watches, and Zodiac. Karen continues to be an active participant in the Dallas Jewish Community with strong ties to UNT.

Marvin Frackt: Retired from industry but not from Jewish activism, Dallas, TX

Mike Friedman: Senior Vice President of Retail Services at CB Richard Ellis. He has 35 years of experience in commercial real estate, specializing in retail leasing and sales, dispositions, sale-leasebacks, shopping center sales, and retail land sales. He has represented clients such as 7-Eleven, Blockbuster, RadioShack, Pep Boys, Lone Star Restaurants, and WAMU. He is actively involved in numerous organizations and volunteers each week at Medical City Dallas and Children's Medical Center where he is a performing clown for children with cancer. Mr. Friedman holds a B.S. from the University of North Texas and a Masters of Real Estate Finance from Harvard University. He holds the position of Board of Directors at Harvard Real Estate Initiative, University of North Texas Alumni, Juvenile Diabetes of Greater Dallas, Cancer Foundation for Life, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Legacy at Willow Bend, Jewish Family Service, and is also Board of Directors and President Legacy at Preston Hollow. Mr. Friedman is the past president of the Lions Club, a past board member of Dallas Hebrew Free Loan and was awarded the Stemmons Award in 2006. In 2013 he was awarded UNT's Outstanding Alumna Service Award.

Arnold Gachman: Arnold G. Gachman is the owner of Gamtex Industries, a 100-year-old family business, and has over 50 years' experience in the metalworking industry. He attended public school in Ft. Worth and graduated from R. L. Paschal High. He received his BBA degree in Financial Management from TCU. He is a past National President of ISRI, the trade association for recycling of ferrous & non-ferrous metals, glass, paper & plastic. He is also a past chair of the NASCOOP, past chair of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, past vice chair of TCEQ and SBAC, a founding board member of the Texas Cast Metals Association, and the vice president of the Recycling Council of Texas. Arnold serves as the Chair of Trustees of Baylor All Saints and as a board member of Sammons Transplant Institute at Baylor Medical. Arnold is also on the Board of Governors of the Fort Worth Club. He is also the vice president of Beth El Congregation and Add Ran College of TCU Board of Visitors. He is the immediate past chair of University of North Texas Health Science Center Foundation and a member of the UNTHSC advisory board. He received the Person of Vision Award from UNTHSC in 2012. He also serves the Health Benefits Advisory Board of the City of Fort Worth. Arnold is married to Harriette Gachman, has two children and four grandchildren. They are members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Beth El Congregation, Jewel Charity Ball, Shady Oaks CC., and Fort Worth Club.

Marlene Gorin: Marlene served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Dallas (JCRC) for 20 years. In that role, some of her responsibilities were to coordinate state-wide public policy issues in the Austin legislature between the five JCRCs and Federations in Texas, as well as developing relationships with Dallas city council members, state and federal elected officials and their staffs. As JCRC Executive Director, Marlene directed, programmed and coordinated Civic Leadership Missions to Israel for non-Jewish community influentials. An important component of the JCRC's agenda was to develop relationships with city council members, state and federal elected officials and their staffs. In the position of JCRC Executive Director, Marlene represented the Dallas Jewish community on over 50 interfaith coalitions on issues concerning housing, hunger, church-state, public school education, social welfare issues and the like. Before coming to Dallas in 1995, Marlene was the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. Currently, Marlene is working on issues with the city of Dallas pertaining to inter-faith relations and poverty.

Michael Kissner: I am a UNT graduate (1970), a U.S Air Force Veteran and I am married with four children and four grandchildren and my wife and I are life-long residents of Dallas.
I am accredited as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) with extensive executive-level experience in private and publicly held retail, wholesale, distribution, building materials, fresh food processing and petroleum companies working with diverse employee populations around the U.S., Canada and in Turkey.
I have a comprehensive understanding and a career based on business fundamentals and the importance of profitability, productivity, expense control and efficiency.
My public speaking ability is based on over twenty years of college-level teaching experience in several business courses that demonstrated a strong commitment for my passion for training and people development in my HR career.
I am also a certified mediator having completed the graduate level certification program in Alternative Dispute Resolution at SMU.

Mike Leve: A 1970 UNT graduate with a B.S. in Education, Mike worked as a secondary school teacher from 1970 to 1973 at Terrell and Dallas, Texas schools where he became interested in the effect of vision problems on learning. Graduating from the University of Houston College of Optometry in 1979, Mike has practiced family optometry for 35 years in the Dallas area. He has been the owner of Leve Eyecare in Mesquite for the past 20 years and is a member of the Dallas County Optometric Society. Mike has participated for many years in Vision U.S.A., which provides free eye exams to the working poor, as well as the Sight for Students program. He has been married 44 years to Rita with whom he joyfully shares two daughters and six grandchildren.

Louis Marx: Louis Marx was born and raised in Dallas. He graduated from UNT in 1998 with majors in Marketing and Economics. He completed his MBA in Corporate Finance at the University of Dallas in 2008. Professionally he is a Compliance Principal working in a national Supervision role for the Merrill Edge Division of Merrill Lynch. Louis is known for his work in the Dallas Jewish Community having volunteered 150 or more hours every year from 2003-2019 and exceeding 250 hours on multiple occasions. He is the current Vice President and Finance Director for the Temple Shalom Brotherhood. He is a Past President at the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, a former Senior Vice President for the BNai Zion Texas Region, and has served on several other Dallas area non-profit Boards including Hillels of North Texas (2011-2013), which serves UNT students as well as students at UTD. Louis received the United States Presidential Community Service award for his 2018 volunteer efforts. In 2017 he was Awarded the BNai Zion Community New Leadership Award for his years of service to the community. He and his wife recently spent two years participating in the "Friends for Good" program, which brings together members of congregations from four different faiths to forge genuine friendships despite profound differences. Mr. Marx is an avid pinball collector, former owner of a Private Pinball Lounge, and is the founder, owner, and operator of the DFW Pinball League, serving North and East Texas. Louis is married to Kimberly and they have four children.

Ken Newberry: Ken graduated in 1967 from UNT with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He is from Dallas, served in the U.S. Air Force, and has one daughter. He has an extensive background in marketing and sales in the investments industry where he was Regional VP with Dean Witter Reynolds; National Sales Manager for PHH Asset Management; Regional Marketing Director for Public Storage Inc.; and Director of Marketing for Cashen Investment Advisors, Inc. He has served on the faculty at the Southwestern School of Banking at SMU (SWIGSBIE) and served on several charity boards. Ken's passion is serving in Israel. He is a volunteer tour guide at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem where he has served three to six months a year for the past 7 years and is active with the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast.

Scott Peck: Director/Curator of the Dallas Biblical Museum of Art and National Center for Jewish Art, Dallas, TX

Lou E. Pelton: Marketing professor at UNT, Lou (Ph.D., University of Mississippi) served as visiting scholar at prominent universities across the U.S. and abroad. His principal research interests include relationship marketing and international distribution. He is senior author of four marketing channels textbooks that are published in several languages. He is also senior editor of several books on business ethics. He has published more than 100 research articles in prominent journals and international conference proceedings.

Dr. Pelton has delivered educational programs and keynote addresses for governments, firms and tertiary institutions worldwide. Past President of the Association of Marketing Educators, Federation of Business Disciplines, he served as vice president of the Academy of Marketing Science, the American Marketing Association, and the World Marketing Congress. He represented the U.S. in the APEC Leadership Summits. He is recipient of national and university teaching awards, as well as the UNT President's Award.

Beri Schwitzer: A native Las Vegan who didn't have the aspirations to be a showgirl, Beri Kaplan Schwitzer put her time, energy, and enthusiasm into education. Upon graduating the University of Nevada, Reno, with a degree in journalism, she began a career that has provided her with extensive experience in Jewish education, non-profit management, and corporate human resources/training. She is currently the Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, TX and serves as the Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Education Directors Council. Beri is a nationally recognized Jewish educator honored by Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) and by the former National Association of Temple Educators (NATE). She recently received her Certificate in Jewish Leadership and Jewish Education from Spertus and Northwestern University.

Larry Strauss: Current Chairman of the Board, Texas Region of Bnai Zion, Board member of Hillel of UNT and UTD, Board member of Legacy at Home. Past president of Congregation Beth Torah and former board member of Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and Israeli Bonds.

Shirley Strauss: Avid fundraiser for many Jewish causes, Dallas, TX.

Peggy Tobolowsky, JD: Retired professor in the Criminal Justice Department, University of North Texas. Past chairperson and currently life trustee of the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. Previous Board of Directors member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Foundation.

Martin M. van Brauman: Senior VP, Corporate Secretary, Treasurer, Director, Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ - "ZN"), Dallas, Texas & Caesarea, Israel. He is also the Managing Director of The Abraham Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the Managing Director of the Bnei Joseph Foundation (Israeli amuta). He is the co-founder and President of Jews and Christians United For Israel, Inc. (Texas nonprofit corporation - ยง501(c)(3)) and published the book entitled Jews and Christians, Fellow Travelers to the End of Days and publishes a monthly posting on its website concerning Judaism, Christianity and anti-Semitism.

He is Board Certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a past Adjunct Professor, Southern Methodist University, School of Law, LL.M. Tax Program and a past Adjunct Professor, University of Texas at Dallas, Masters in Accounting Program. He holds a B.E. (Electrical Engineering) from Vanderbilt University, an M.B.A. (Finance & Accounting) from Southern Methodist University, a J.D. from St. Mary's University and an LL.M. (Taxation) from Southern Methodist University.

He is a board member for the Bnai Zion Foundation and an AIPAC - Capital Club member.

Stephen A. Waldman: Born in 1951, Steve Waldman is a second generation Dallasite. Steve holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Risk Management & Insurance from the University of Texas at Austin, and the CPCU Designation from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. In 1973, Steve joined Waldman Bros (now IMA, Inc.), a legendary insurance, employee benefits and financial services firm, to specialize in Property and Casualty Insurance for both businesses and families. He currently serves as President of IMA Texas.

With a passion for advancing the goals of numerous philanthropic organizations, Waldman takes an active role in the community. A past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, his community service has included leadership roles with the Dallas Jewish Community Center, Congregation Shearith Israel, Texas Friends of Rabin Medical Center, Jewish Federations of North America, the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, and participation with the Lone Star Chapter of the National MS Society.

Waldman currently serves as chairman of the board of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. In 2015, he received Dallas Business Journal's Outstanding Non-Profit Director Award as well as Business Council for the Arts' Obelisk Award in the category of arts leadership in recognition of his great work on behalf of the Dallas Holocaust Museum and overall community involvement.

Steve and his wife Jackie, have three children, who, along with their spouses, have blessed them with eight beautiful grandchildren.

Howard Watt, JD: Attorney at Law, The Law Office of Howard E. Watt, P. C., Former Municipal Judge, City of Denton; former president, Congregation Kol Ami, Flower Mound, Texas; former chair, Big Brother, Big Sister of Denton County; Denton Country Child Welfare Board; and Regional Hillel of North Texas.

Sharon Wisch-Ray: Sharon Wisch-Ray was born and raised in Fort Worth where she graduated from Trinity Valley School. She graduated from Washington University with a BA in Psychology. She earned her MSSW from UT Arlington. She maintained a private practice for several years and was an adjunct at UTA's school of Social Work. In January 2002, when her father passed away, she was "ABD" for her doctorate, and left social work to help out at the Texas Jewish Post. She has been at the TJP ever since.

Carole Wolanow: Carole Wolanow has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Educational Counseling. Both received from San Diego State University. A California native, she has resided in Dallas since 1980. Carole had a career in Human Resources and Executive Search consulting. She retired in 2014 from Kenzer Group, a New York-based Retail Executive search firm. Since coming to Dallas, Carole has served on the Boards of Congregation Beth Torah, The Dallas VAAD, Akiba Academy, and the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association. She currently serves on both the Regional and National boards of the Bnai Zion Foundation, North Texas Hillels, Congregation Shaare Tefillah, and the Maayan Chai Foundation. Carole also serves as a committee member to select films for the JCC Film Festival and to select books for the JCC Book Fest and Community Reads. In 2009, Carole and her husband Joram were honored by Bnai Zion with their Anshei Chesed award.

Mark Yudof: Mark G. Yudof, who served as the 19th president of the University of California from 2008 through 2013, is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Yudof previously served as chancellor of the University of Texas System and as president of the four-campus University of Minnesota. Before that, he served as dean of the law school at the University of Texas at Austin from 1984 to 1994, and as the University's executive vice president and provost from 1994 to 1997.

Yudof is a recognized authority on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law. He is the author of When Government Speaks and co-author of five editions of Educational Policy and the Law. In 2013, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion awarded him an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. He is a member of the governing boards of Hebrew University and the University of Haifa, and also serves on the boards of the Lumina Foundation, the Opportunity Institute (Berkeley), and the Blum Center for Developing Economies.

Currently he is a senior consultant to the Schusterman Family Foundation and chair of the advisory board of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN). AEN opposes boycotts and divestment from Israel and Israeli institutions and promotes freedom of expression on university campuses.

Donald Zale: Born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, where at a very early age he worked at his family's jewelry store. He attended Texas A&M University and received a BBA from Southern Methodist University. He held numerous positions at Zale Corporation, was elected President and Chief Executive Officer in 1971, and became its Chairman and CEO in 1981. In 1980 he led a challenge to several universities to provide a curriculum in retailing which resulted in the establishment of the Center for Retailing Studies in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. After Zale Corporation was sold in 1986, he left the company and associated with Blockbuster Video, becoming for several years their largest franchisee. Zale became Chairman of Zale Lipshy University Hospital at UT Southwestern Medical School in 1987 and has been in several director positions at the Southwestern Medical Foundation since that time. He also served as Chairman of the M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation and the Abe Zale Foundation. In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Texas A&M University. He and his wife Barbara reside in Dallas, Texas.

Fred S. Zeidman: Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman Emeritus US Holocaust Memorial Museum, was appointed by President George W. Bush in March 2002 and served in that position from 2002-2010. A prominent Houston-based business and civic leader, Mr. Zeidman is also Chairman Emeritus of the University of Texas Health Science System Houston, interim Chief Financial Officer of the Texas Heart Institute, and member of the Board of the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR). He further serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the University of Saint Thomas and Houston Community College. Mr. Zeidman currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Petroflow Energy, and as a Director of Petro River Oil, Hyperdynamics Corp., Straight Path Communications, Inc. and Prosperity Bank in Houston. He was formerly Chairman of the Board of SulphCo Inc., Chief Restructuring Officer of Transmeridian Exploration, Inc. and Bankruptcy Trustee of AremisSoft Corp. He has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Seitel Inc. and Unibar, Inc.

Mr. Zeidman holds a Bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master's in Business Administration from New York University.