Voices of Hope Staff
- Kathy Fishman, Director of Operations
- Robin Landau, Director of Programs and Development
- Kimberly Ballaro, Director of the Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach (HERO) Center
- Alan Lazowski, Founding Chair
- Peter Fishman, President
- Adele Jacobs, Vice President
- Sharone Kornman, Secretary
- Rona Gollob, Treasurer
Board of Directors
Stuart Abrams is a teacher of Genocide Studies, Psychology, History, and Human Rights Education at Avon High School. He has served as the advisor to the school’s Amnesty International chapter since 1998. Mr. Abrams was awarded the Joseph Korzenik Fellowship for excellence in Holocaust Education by the Greenberg Center at the University of Hartford in 1996. In 2000, Mr. Abrams was awarded the prestigious Museum Teacher Fellowship by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mr. Abrams was selected as the Avon School District’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year. In 2011, Mr. Abrams received the Prudence Crandall Memorial Human and Civil Rights award given by the Connecticut Education Association. Also in 2011, the Polish government through the auspices of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invited Mr. Abrams to spend a week in Poland working with Polish educators discussing the future of Holocaust and Genocide studies in both countries. In 2015, Mr. Abrams was selected as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee to help launch a new statewide organization, The Connecticut Human Rights Partnership. The mission of the CHRP is to develop, support, and publicize educational and co-curricular opportunities through a network of interested individuals and organizations with expertise, skills and proficiencies in the field of human rights. In May of 2016, Mr. Abrams was recognized by Voices of Hope as a recipient of the first annual Simon Konover award in Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Teaching. In December of 2017, Mr. Abrams was honored to be elected to serve on the Board of Directors for Voices of Hope. Mr. Abrams resides in West Hartford, Connecticut with his wife of 46 years, Joan. They have two wonderful children, Lauren and Zachary, a terrific son-in-law Brian, and two adorable and delicious grandchildren, Nathan and Madeline.
Lois Berkowitz, Psy.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist working as Director of Psychological Services at the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families since 2006. Prior to that time, she had her own practice primarily working with children and families in Avon, CT as well as part time work with children and adolescents in psychiatric hospitals and day treatment. She currently serves as Second Vice President and has been on the board of the Jewish Children’s Service Organization since 2002. In addition, she was a founding member of One by One, a group consisting of children of Holocaust survivors and children of the Third Reich. The mission of that group was to work with groups in conflict and, through dialogue, decrease the risk of conflict going from generation to generation. As part of One by One, Dr. Berkowitz participated in a panel discussion at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about generational transmission of hate and trauma. The original dialogue group meeting was filmed and shown on an episode of Dateline on NBC. As a child of a survivor of the Shoah, Dr. Berkowitz devotes her time, both professionally and personally, on the need to address all forms of trauma including the abuse and neglect of children as well as the perpetration of any form of genocide upon a group of people. “In order to prevent the past from repeating itself, we must learn from it and act when we see it happening in our world today.”
Leon Chameides, M.D. was born in Poland, survived the war in hiding in a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic monastery, and came to the United States in 1949. He received a BA from Yeshiva College, a Hebrew Teacher’s Diploma from the Teacher’s Institute of Yeshiva University, and an MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Trained in pediatrics and pediatric cardiology at the University of Rochester, he came to Hartford Hospital in 1967 to set up a pediatric cardiology program. He was Director of Pediatric Cardiology (1967-1997) at Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Director of Pediatrics (1971-1980) at Hartford Hospital, and Clinical Professor (1968-present) at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He has been active in the Jewish community as Vice President of the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy, Chair of the Commission on Jewish Education, Chair of the Jewish Historical Society, President of Congregation Agudas Achim, and a member of the board of a number of other organizations. In addition to many professional articles, and a monograph on the History of the Department of Pediatrics at Hartford Hospital, he has authored three books (Strangers in Many Lands: The Story of a Jewish Family in Turbulent Times; On the Edge of the Abyss: A Polish Rabbi Speaks to his Community on the Eve of the Shoah; and A History of the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy). Dr. Chameides and his wife, Jean are parents of three children and seven grandchildren.
Anna Huttner is proud to sit on the Board of Voices of Hope. She worked as a Project Manager at JFACT and was the former Director of Education and Communications for Voices of Hope. Anna has a Masters Degree in Education and worked at Jewish Day schools in both Washington, D.C. and West Hartford, CT. Anna is the co-founder of the Pearl Society at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, sits on the Board of Directors for JT Connect and is an active participant on several community committees. She is thankful to currently have time at home with her family and volunteer at her children’s school.
Jeff Israel is a native of Connecticut and grew up in Hartford where he attended local schools. He majored in television at Grahm Junior College in Boston, Massachusetts and majored in Communications and Theater at Western Kentucky University. Jeff worked in the television industry for over forty years. He started his television career at WTIC TV channel 3 in Hartford as a film editor and projectionist. He then worked for a short time at KDKA TV in Pittsburgh as an editor on Evening Magazine. He moved back to the Hartford area and worked for WFSB TV, formally WTIC TV3 as a news photographer. In 1979 he joined a small group of pioneers in Bristol, Connecticut and helped launch the ESP Network, now known as ESPN. Traveling the world Jeff covered every major sporting event as a photographer. While at ESPN Jeff covered major sports stories for SportsCenter, and other ESPN branded shows. Jeff is the recipient of five Emmys for his work on event coverage and studio shows. Before retiring from ESPN he came off the road to serve in Studio Operation and Engineering. Jeff lives in Bristol, CT with his wife Pat. He has two sons, Jonathan and Matt. Jeff is a member of the Temple Sinai Board of Directors and is a former president. He also serves on the Board of Voices of Hope, an organization whose mission is to foster a culture of courage and social action against hatred, bigotry, intolerance and indifference. Both of Jeff’s parents are survivors of the holocaust and he is active in telling his family’s holocaust story. In conjunction with the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies Jeff is a docent at the Museum of Jewish Civilization. Jeff is a member of the Bristol Interfaith Coalition. He also serves on the Mayor’s Diversity Counsel in Bristol, CT.
Adele R. Jacobs, is a daughter of Fred and Regina Jacobs, two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen Concentration Camps. She has her BA from Smith College and her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, and is licensed to practice law in Connecticut and New York State and Federal Courts. She is in private practice as a trial attorney in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and lives with her husband, Michael Liebowitz and twin sons, Jake and Stephen, in Fairfield. Adele is currently the Vice President of Voices of Hope, and she has proudly been the Chairperson for the State of Connecticut Holocaust Commemorations on three separate occasions, and has been the keynote speaker about the Shoah in multiple venues. In addition, she has chaired the Greater Bridgeport Federation Holocaust Commemorations and served on the committee, as well as serving on the Town of Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration Committee. She has recently completed her third trip to Poland, and is passionate and outspoken about the Shoah, and the importance of remembrance.
Sharone Kornman, VOH Secretary, is the daughter of two survivors from the Galitzia region of Poland. Her mother, Irene Frisch, survived the Drohobycz Ghetto and was later hidden by the family’s nanny, Frania Sobkowa. Her father, Eugene Frisch, fled to Russia alone and survived a Russian work camp and other dangers he did not care to recount. Sharone grew up in NJ, and later earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from George Washington University. She has practiced law in Hartford for close to 30 years. She is married to Paul Kornman and they have three children: Jacob, Isabel (Izzy) and Joseph (Joey). Sharone has been an active member of the Hartford Holocaust Commemoration Committee since 1990 and is a founding member of VOH. She also is active in The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, where she formerly served on the board and executive committee and now serves on the Adult Education Committee. Roughly 5 years ago, Sharone traveled with her mother and other family members to Drohobycz to see her mother’s childhood home, her nanny’s apartment, and other sites – a trip she recounted in her VOH Second Generation Speak-Up.
Eliane Sandler, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Eliane has been involved in Holocaust education and commemoration since the early 1980s, organizing the first Yom Hashoah Commemoration in Greenwich CT and serving as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, an ADL Echoes and Reflections facilitator, and a member of the Board of Voices of Hope. Eliane is a special education and reading specialist who has worked with low income, special needs, and emotionally disturbed students in Connecticut and New York states. Eliane has also served as the Coordinator at the Den for Grieving Kids, offering young adult bereavement support and currently teaches Adult ESL with Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford and as a tutor for adult asylum seekers. Eliane was born in Europe, after the war, to parents who lost their entire families, and lived in pioneer-era Israel until moving to America at age 9.
Marge Swaye; Marge was a reading specialist and Special Education teacher for the last 35 years in Wethersfield and most recently also volunteered with the Federation reading partners program and with the Freedom School’s Children Defense Fund in Hartford for children who are most at risk. Both of Marge’s parents survived the Holocaust and when they moved here 5 years ago, they become involved with Voices of Hope. Marge is always willing and available to help volunteer with any of our programs and attends our programs regularly. Last year Marge participated in our 4th Speak Up Showcase and she and her mother recently spoke together at the Museum of Jewish Civilization to students from Venture Academy in Meriden, CT.
Melissa Torrente, M.S. is a Connecticut middle school educator who has been active in Holocaust education for many years. She is a member of the University of Hartford Holocaust Educator conference and serves on the selection committee for the University of Hartford Holocaust Educator Awards. Mrs. Torrente is the recipient of the Simon Konover Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Teaching and the 2018 Funds For Teachers fellow, she will be traveling to Europe in order to help her students better understand the Holocaust, World War II and the refugee crisis of today.