Newsmakers the Week of May 14, 2015


Big news out of Penn: An incoming chemistry professor from Israel due to arrive at the U of P in July has just been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Meanwhile, the university has honored a legendary Broadway director./producer who also happens to be one of their more eminent alums.

Rabbi Nina H. Mandel, ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote in 2003, has been named president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Mandel is religious leader of Congregation Beth El in Sunbury, Pa., and teaches Jewish philosophy and culture among other subjects of Jewish interest at Susquehanna University. She has contributed to and served on the editorial advisory board of the Guide to Jewish Practice, published by the Reconstructionists.

Now residing in Philadelphia, David Weiss, former associate director at Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, N.C., has been appointed executive director of Habonim Dror Camp Galil in Ottsville, Pa. The Bucks County camp, founded as part of the Labor Zionist movement, describes its offerings as a “kibbutz-style summer experience with an emphasis on community and Jewish values.”
Abraham Nitzan, who is leaving Tel Aviv University to become a member of the U of P’s Arts & Sciences’ Department of Chemistry in July, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, long considered one of the most prestigious positions accorded scientists and engineers.

Legendary Broadway producer and director Hal Prince, whose vast body of work includes Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, West Side Story, A Little Night Music, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera, was honored by his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, with its Creative Spirit Award. Prince has long maintained his ties with Penn, with a theater named after him that was built primarily with royalties from Cabaret that he pledged the university.

Outgoing president of Congregation Kol Emet in Yardley, Andrew Finkle, has become a principal in the commercial services practice of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in Plymouth Meeting.

Jennifer Brandt of Cozen O’Connor, where she is a member of its Family Law Practice Group, presided over a seminar at the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section Spring Conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Her topic: “Secrets of a Successful Family Law Practice.”

Karen B. Gurmankin has been named program director of Heart-to-Heart — a program for families facing hard times and difficult circumstances — at KleinLife: Northeast Philadelphia.

Susan Peikes Gantman, president judge of the Superior Court, will be feted at Jewish Law Day celebrations on May 28 presented by the Committee of Judges and Lawyers, the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia. The event will be held at the Jewish Community Services Building in Center City.

Jeffrey Weber will be installed officially as chazzan of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park, with a special concert presentation slated to honor him on May 31.


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