Five Detroiters were recently elected to the National Board of ORT America at ORT’s annual meeting in New York. It’s a pretty remarkable number. But when you think about it, this is a pretty remarkable group of people! The new ORT America leaders are:
A steadfast ORTist dedicated to achieving impact through education, new Board of Directors member Jim August has worked in the advertising agency business for 55 years, including as President of Stone August, Inc., and as the principal of August & Associates, LLC, a marketing and communications consultancy.
Jim’s community service background includes several decades and a variety of positions held with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. He’s served as President of Detroit Men’s ORT, the Michigan Jewish Conference, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and Vice President of JTA.
Dr. Conrad Giles
New Executive Committee member Dr. Conrad Giles was appointed President of World ORT in May 2016, after serving as Vice President from 2013. Dedicated to strengthening Jewish communities worldwide, Conrad has served in numerous leadership positions, including at The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, UJA, The Council of Jewish Federations, The Jewish Agency for Israel, and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He was President of Detroit Men’s ORT chapter from 1978-1980. He was a Vice President of American ORT Federation from 1980-1983. Conrad also served as a member of the initial Executive Committee of ORT American Foundation for three years. A pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Giles is Chief Emeritus of Ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Wayne State University.
Executive Committee new member Bubba Urdan has been involved with ORT for more than twenty years. He’s a Past President of ORT America Michigan Region (2011-2014), Past Rub-a-Dub Event Chair (2006, 2007, 2015), and current ORT Michigan Sponsor Chair (2015-present). In 2016, Bubba received ORT America’s first National Leadership Award for leading the way with his innovative thinking, fierce dedication and buoyant spirit. In 2018, he joined the board of Women’s American ORT Foundation. Bubba’s late mother was a long-time member of Women’s American ORT. Her involvement, and that of the many dedicated ORT lay leaders he’s encountered over the years, is an inspiration and the key to his success in helping make the ORT Michigan Region the most successful region in the country. Bubba volunteers and sits on many boards and committees of Detroit Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, JARC, and the Holocaust Memorial Center of Detroit. He is a past alumnus of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America. He’s also the 2019 ORT Michigan Rub-a-Dub Honoree and on August 20, 2019, he will receive The Hermelin ORT Legacy Award for his achievements as a visionary leader of ORT’s Michigan Region and for his steadfast commitment to ORT’s critical mission.
New Board of Directors member Andi Wolfe has been involved with ORT since 1973. Since that time, she’s played an integral role in helping to accelerate progress for ORT’s schools. She’s served as ORT’s Michigan Region Financial Secretary, and later became Co-President of the Michigan Region. Andi’s passion for education and tikkun olam has driven her to become involved in many philanthropic activities. She serves on the board of Hebrew Free Loan Society, is a transgenerational member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation, and is a life member of Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, and Adat Shalom Sisterhood. She’s been involved in Israel Bonds for over 35 years; founded a women’s group for the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network in Michigan; and is a national board member of American Technion Society.
Newly elected Board of Directors member Larry Wolfe has been a pillar of the Detroit community for many years, where he’s been very involved in philanthropy both in the Detroit area, as well as internationally. Larry currently serves on the Board of Trustees of World ORT. He’s a Board Member of the Jewish Fund, Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network (Bloomfield/Detroit), Yeshiva Beth Yehuda Partners in Torah, American Friends of Rambam Hospital, the Shabbat Project and the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator. He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of Kids Kicking Cancer and the Detroit Zoological Society, as well as Past President of Adat Shalom Synagogue and the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit. He’s also the immediate Past President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and immediate Past Chair of the State of Israel Bonds for Metropolitan Detroit.
Our entire community is proud of the Michigan area ORTists who will serve on the newly elected national leadership team. And who knows, maybe the next Annual Meeting will feature Vernors and coney dogs.
PHOTO CAPTION: Current ORT America Board of Directors. Front row: Louanne Smolin, Saul Berkowitz, Suellen Kadis, Dr. Conrad Giles, Barbara Siegel, Morgan Newman, Jonathan Lanznar. Back row: Debbie Kanter, Larry Wolfe, Andi Wolfe, Bubba Urdan, Chairman of the Board, Howard Lanznar, Outgoing National President, Larry Kadis, Gail Lanznar, Sid Besmertnik. (Not pictured: Jim August.)