MEET THE TEAM:
Board & Professional Staff
David Azose is currently serving as the Chair of the Board. David is CEO of Azose Commercial Properties and has been involved in the real estate industry since 1977, having worked in all aspects of commercial real estate. He is a member of the Washington State Association of Commercial Realtors and the Rental Housing Association. He has served terms and held leadership positions on the Commercial Brokers Association Board, the Seafair Board, the Washington Commercial Association of Realtors, the Executive Board of the Washington Association of Realtors, the Mercer Island Planning Commission and the local Campfire Board. David graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences and Education.
David Ellenhorn is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Board. He is a partner at Ogden Murphy Wallace, specializing in corporate and real estate law. David has served on the board of the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle and was a long-time board member and officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. He is a proud graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Washington.
Jerome Cohen is currently serving as the Secretary of the Board. He is a Seattle native and business and real estate attorney with Holmquist and Gardiner, PLLC. Jerry is a board member and secretary of the Washington Higher Education Facilities Authority, and a member of the South Seattle College President’s Council. He previously served on the board of the Jewish Day School.
Eli Genauer is the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance/Audit Committee. He is a Seattle native and has served as the longtime President of Eilat Management Company, which provides property and asset management for privately held commercial retail property in the Puget Sound Area. Eli is a member of the Jewish Funders Network Board of Trustees.
Victor Alhadeff is a Seattle native and a retired serial entrepreneur having founded several companies. He is a former President of the Seattle Hebrew Academy and Board member of Northwest Yeshiva High School. Victor is a graduate of the University of Washington and served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He is currently a member at large of the Board.
Eli J. Almo
Eli J. Almo Is a Seattle native and President and CEO of Era Living, which owns and operates independent and assisted care retirement communities. Eli and his wife Rebecca established the Aljoya Professorship, an endowment to promote gerontological research at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Eli is currently a member at large of the Board.
Dana Behar is Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee. He is a Seattle native and a founder of Discovery Bay Investments which specializes in private equity investing, consulting, and real estate brokerage. Dana is also a Director of First Federal, where he serves on their loan and audit committees. Dana serves on the boards of Forterra, Capitol Hill Housing, the Seattle Sephardic Network, and Lid I-5. He is the great-nephew of Sam Israel and joined the Samis board in 2012.
Maria Erlitz is the Vice Chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee. She has worked in every facet of organizational development from strategic planning to facilitation and executive coaching. For the past 30 years she has been deeply involved in helping day schools grow and thrive, as Board President and then Head of School of the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, and with PEJE. Maria joined the Samis Board in 2019.
Barry Ernstoff is a member at large of the Board. He is an attorney in private practice who practiced in Seattle and now does so in Israel since he made Aliyah in 1985. Barry was president of the Seattle Hebrew Academy and Secretary of the Seattle Jewish Federation. In Israel he is active in the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, and his synagogue leadership.
Eddie Hasson is currently a member at large of the Board. He is a Seattle native and nephew of Sam Israel. He is a CPA and retired partner of the accounting firm Hasson Laible & Co.
Al Maimon is Chair of the Grants Committee. He is a Seattle native who has spent his professional career in operations research and management science and information systems design and implementation at Boeing. Now retired, he is a student of Sephardic Jewry and is active in many Jewish community affairs including president of the Seattle Sephardic Network and Sephardic Adventure Camp, and was previously involved with the Federation, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Hebrew Academy (he was a graduate of the first class, and his children and grandchildren have followed), and Sephardic Bikur Cholim.
Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers
Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers is the “Rabbinic Trustee” on the Samis Board. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Winnipeg and Semicha from Rav Yaakov Moshe Poupko z“l, Rav Avraham Kopschitz z“l and Rabbi Yitzchak Kolitz z“l, late Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Rabbi Meyers served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth Sephardic in Seattle from 2011-2018, and also taught at Seattle Hebrew Academy and Northwest Yeshiva High School. A pioneer in online Jewish education, Rabbi Meyers launched the Talmud learning platform www.talmid-chaver.com. He made Aliyah with his family in 2018 and is now the second Samis trustee based in Israel.
Judy Neuman is the Vice Chair of the Grants Committee. She is the former CEO of the Stroum Jewish Community Center after working 3 decades as a leader in the consumer marketplace. Her dedicated lay leadership include roles at the Federation, JFS, JDS and Herzl Ner Tamid. Judy is a Wexner Fellow from the first Seattle cohort in 1997. Judy joined the Samis Board in 2019.
Lucy Pruzan is currently a member at large of the Board. She was born and raised in Uruguay and has lived in Seattle for more than 60 years. Lucy is a retired nurse who, along with her husband, Herb, invests in real estate and new and emerging companies in the Pacific Northwest. Lucy served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, among her many other volunteer activities.
Greg Roer is the Chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee and the Vice Chair of the Finance/Audit Committee. A Seattle native who along with his wife, Dorothy, he is the owner of Roer & Company CPA firm, specializing in tax and trusts. Greg is also the Director of Seattle Campus of Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation. He is the past president of Seattle Hebrew Academy, and Founder and Board Member of Minyan Ohr Chadash. Greg joined the Samis board in 2016. He is a great-nephew of Sam Israel.
Ernie Sherman is a member of the Endowment Investment Committee. He is a Seattle native and owner of Pacific Plumbing Supply Co which has branches in Washington and Alaska. Ernie splits his time between Hawaii, Seattle, and Camano Island.
Dr. Alex Sytman
Alex Sytman is a member at large of the Board. He graduated from Garfield High School in 1956 and from The University of Washington Medical School in 1963. He is married to Leatrice (Lucy) Israel Sytman, a niece of Sam Israel, and they lived in New York, Fort Lewis and Los Angeles before returning to Seattle in 1970. Alex was Sam Israel’s doctor during the last months of his life.
Louis Treiger is the Vice Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee. He is a Seattle native who, after graduating from Yeshiva University and Harvard Law School, has practiced law in the Seattle area for over 35 years. Louis has served on the boards of Jewish Federation, Washington State AIPAC, Seattle Hebrew Academy, Northwest Yeshiva High School and other nonprofit organizations. Louis is a Wexner Fellow, graduating with the first Seattle cohort in 1997. He joined the Samis board in 2019.
Samis Foundation Lifetime Trustees
Victor Alhadeff, Eli Almo, Jerome O. Cohen, Barry Ernstoff, David Friedenberg z”l, Eli Genauer, Rabbi William H. Greenberg z”l, Eddie Hasson, Mike Israel z”l, Al Maimon, Morris Piha z”l, Lucy Pruzan, Martin Selig, Ernie Sherman, Dr. Alex Sytman, Irwin Treiger z”l
Connie Kanter is the Chief Executive Officer of Samis Foundation as of March 2019. She served as a Samis Board Member from 2010 to 2019, as Grants Committee vice-chair, and on the Finance and Audit, and Planning Committees. Prior stepping into her role as Samis CEO, she was the CFO/Sr. VP, Finance and Business Affairs at Seattle University. She spent most of her career in finance at high technology manufacturing companies and is a business leader recognized for her skills in financial management and strategic planning. Connie received her undergraduate degree with honors from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from Booth School at the University of Chicago. She is a Certified Public Accountant. Connie has served in a variety of leadership positions in the Jewish community including the boards of Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Kline Galland Center, and Seattle Hebrew Academy. She was a member of the UJC Young Leadership Cabinet and Wexner Heritage Program.
Rachel Grunbaum is the Samis Israel Consultant. She has been representing various foundations and private philanthropies in Israel since 2009, primarily in the areas of grant proposal evaluation, project measurement, implementation of efficient grants management, and supervision. Rachel graduated Summa Cum Laude, Dean’s List, and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, Columbia University, and first in class at Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Management. Rachel has been working with Samis since 2019.
Adam Hasson has been working in commercial real estate at Samis Land Co. for over 20 years. Since 2013 as the Director of Real Estate, he has been responsible for asset management of a diverse portfolio including residential and commercial properties, timber and agricultural land. As many of Samis’ holding are in the Pioneer Square Historic District or designated Landmarks by the City of Seattle, he is involved in historic preservation and is on the board of The Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Pioneer Square BIA. Adam is a great-nephew of Sam Israel.
Ariel Lapson is the Program Officer for Experiential Jewish Education at the Samis Foundation. In addition to her portfolio of grants, Ariel manages the Foundation’s digital marketing. She was most recently the Israel and World Jewry Program Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle where she spearheaded an Israel education and engagement initiative. Before moving to Seattle in January 2018, she served as a City Director for BBYO in Indianapolis, IN and Assistant Director of Israel Education at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. Ariel lived and worked in Israel for six years, managing marketing and operations efforts in the Israeli high tech and diamond industries. She has a Bachelor in Business Administration with a double major in Jewish Studies from Emory University and a Master’s in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ariel is a recipient of the Schusterman Israel Scholars award and a JFNA NextGen Fellow.
Peggy Longeway has been with Samis since 2000 as the Executive Administrator to the board of directors and chief operating officer. She is also the HR Administrator and Office Manager. Prior to working at Samis, she was the Business Manager for 17 years at Friedman Properties in Chicago. Peggy holds a BS from Columbia College in Chicago, IL.
Linda McClure began working at Samis in 2009 and currently serves as Administrative Assistant to the Grants Department. She assists with operations and tasks large and small, including beneficiary correspondence, processing grants and the day to day running of the Foundation. Prior to Samis, she worked at a small Seattle law firm and local non-profit in administrative roles. Linda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Justice from Central Washington University.
Melissa Rivkin is the Director of Day School Strategy for the Samis Foundation. She brings over 20 years of experience working in Seattle Jewish education and philanthropy. Prior to joining the Foundation, Melissa served as the Director of Institutional Advancement at Northwest Yeshiva High School, where she led the school to unprecedented levels of fundraising success. She also spent years tirelessly fundraising on behalf of the Seattle Hebrew Academy, and over a decade as a professional educator. Her extensive international experience includes teaching roles at the American International Schools in Israel and Switzerland. Melissa was also the Founding Head of School of the American School of English in Seattle’s University District. Melissa currently serves as a Board Member for the Rivkin Center, and on the Advisory Board for the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Barnard College in New York City.
As the Chief Financial Officer of the Samis Foundation and Samis Land Co, Linda Sullivan is responsible for all of the company’s financial functions including accounting and financial planning. She is a CPA with over 30 years of experience. Her background includes not-for-profit, real estate, software implementation, loan underwriting and public accounting. She has Bachelor of Business Administration Degrees in Accounting and Finance from Texas A & M University.