Who We Are

AACI Cares

AACI provides a wide range of services and programs to meet the needs of its membership whether new immigrants or English-speaking long-time residents:

  • Professional counseling on Aliyah and Klitah (absorption)
  • Emergency, mortgage and small business loans
  • Support groups
  • Advice Sessions: tax, banking, translation and more
  • Legal consultations
  • Blood bank privileges
  • The AACI Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired
  • Senior Outreach


AACI can move mountains when its members' welfare is at stake. AACI:

  • Lobbied successfully to modify the effect of new Israeli tax laws on immigrants;
  • Produced and distributed a free Emergency Handbook and held gas mask demonstrations prior to and during the Gulf War;
  • Confronted the social, economic and psychological pressures affecting its membership through the Seniors Outreach Project.

AACI Builds Community

AACI offers a warm and welcoming environment, with special programs targeting families, young adults, mid-lifers and seniors. Members participate in:

  • Welcome Home events for new olim (immigrants)
  • 4th of July/Canada Day & Thanksgiving Celebrations
  • AACI Travel Experience & Study Vacations
  • Social and Cultural Programs,
  • Lectures and more

AACI, a voluntary, non-profit organization, was established in 1951 to help North American immigrants acclimate to Israeli society and to build strong ties between North American Jewish communities and Israel. AACI’s services are available to all English speakers. AACI is governed by a lay board and administered by a professional staff. Its many activities are financed through the support of foundations, annual membership dues, an annual fundraising drive and private donations.

First of all, I want to thank Julian Landau, the immediate past president, for all the time and effort he has invested during the past 4 years to help AACI continue its vital work for English-speaking olim.
Some of you have met me at the Blood Drives or Health committee programs, but I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN and attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper and staff member. I made aliyah from Chicago with my late husband Steve with 2 boys in 1978. Our daughter was born here a year later. We moved to Elazar in Gush Etzion in 1988 and I continue to reside there. I am trained as a physiotherapist and have worked as an Administrative Assistant for many years.
My goals for my term as National President are to balance the budget and widen our base of support by offering programs that will attract singles, couples and families, while maintaining and enhancing the ongoing programs that are well attended.
Please feel free to send me suggestions for programming, and even constructive criticism. I hope to help AACI continue to be responsive to the needs of the relevant English-speaking public. My e-mail address is: president@aaci.org.il.
At this time of the year, our thoughts center around various aspects of the circle of life both in relationship to our personal selves and family and the Jewish traditions and Torah in general. Before the next edition of the Voice is received, we will have finished reading the last Torah portions of Deuteronomy and started over again with Genesis in an unending cycle. Jewish tradition is filled with round symbolism in the life cycle – garbanza beans at a bris, the round wedding band, eggs and lentils during shiva. During the High Holidays many eat round challot (with or without round raisins) and on Pesach many eat round hand shmura matzot.
The special prayer book we use on the High Holy Days is called the Machzor, which means “cycle.” In a never-ending circle, we return to the High Holy Days year after year.
The cycles of our lives are not closed circles, but spirals. Yes, we come back to the High Holy Days year after year, but we are not in the exact same space. Furthermore, we have some ability, and therefore responsibility to influence whether the spirals of our lives are upward or downward spirals.
As we open a new machzor in our lives this Rosh HaShana, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts strengthen our resolve to move this year in an upward spiral, our faith that we can do so, and our clarity how to do so. May we come around to this season next year knowing that our voices have been more productive and more active and that we have all contributed just a little more to the success of AACI.
Shana Tova, U’Metuka
AACI Board

Chana (Anne) Weiss - President
Chana was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN and attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper and staff member. She attended the University of Wisconsin and, after marrying, moved to Chicago and completed her general studies at Spertus College of Judaica and in physical therapy at Chicago Medical School.
Chana made aliyah from Chicago with her late husband Steve and 2 boys in 1978 and their daughter was born here a year later. 
Chana worked as a physical therapist in the US and in Israel. She transferred into administration in the late 1980s and worked as an Administrative Assistant for many years.

Chana feels very fortunate that all her children and grandchildren reside in Israel – in Jerusalem and Modi'in! 
She has been a member of the AACI Jerusalem Council and the National Board for many years. I serve on the Health Committee and volunteer at the Blood Drives. 

Marvin Stenge - Treasurer

Stuart Forman - VP Development

Ivor David – Vice President of Operations
Ivor was born in Bombay India, and immigrated with his parents and siblings to Sydney Australia in the mid sixties.
Ivor and his wife Ruth, made Aliyah from Australia in 2011, joining their two sons and two daughters and grand children, who all made Aliyah progressively a few years earlier.
Ivor attended the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales where he obtained Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Economics, Accounting and Statistics.
Ivor is now semi-retired in Israel and is working on a casual basis as a lecturer in Accountancy at Machon Lev.
On arriving in Israel Ivor and Ruth have become life members of AACI and have attended several overseas trips and continuing Education trips with ACCI.

Donna Grushka - VP Klitah

Donna Grushka made aliyah in 1978.  Born in and raised in New York, Donna attended Cornell University where she earned BS and MS degrees, and where she met her husband, Eli, a native Israeli (who passed away in 2016). She has 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren.
After a brief stint as a researcher at Hebrew University, Donna worked for AACI from 1983 until 1997, first as a counselor and then as Assistant Director of the Jerusalem Branch.  She subsequently worked for Taglit-Birthright Israel, for Hadassah-Israel, and for the Israel Government Coins & Medals Corp.  She has also been a partner in a small business in the field of senior services. 
Donna served as co-chairperson of Jerusalem Branch of AACI from 2011-2015.  A long-time member of the National Board, she has been Co-Chair of the National Memorial Committee since 2003.  She currently chairs the Art Exhibits Committee and the WITH BRUSH AND PEN children and teen arts show program.  She has also served on the boards of the Jerusalem Scholarship amutah, the cemetery amutah, and the Jerusalem Building/Endowment amutah. 

Hilton Share - Secretary
Hilton Share made aliya with his wife Rosalind from London in 2008. In his previous life, Hilton was an executive at JPMorgan Chase, where he worked for over 30 years, latterly in finance technology. He took a redundancy package in order to make aliya. He is currently Chairman of Netanya AACI, both Vice Chairman and a gabbai at the Young Israel Synagogue of North Netanya, Treasurer of Keren Olim, a non-profit which delivers food packages to the poor in Netanya, and also helps to run the Vaad Bayit in his apartment building. As well as enjoying a busy volunteering life, Hilton also ensures that he has sufficient time to relax and to travel to various places in Israel.
Ros and Hilton have two children in London, and they each have one son. They travel to London regularly in order to spend time with their children and grandchildren.

Jeff Rothenberg
Brooklyn born, Jeff earned a BS degree in electrical engineering, followed by a law degree. During his career as a US Intellectual Property attorney, Jeff served as Managing Partner for 13 years of the largest IP law firm in upstate New York. His communal roles included synagogue president, national board member of the Jewish Educational Service of North America (JESNA), Israel Bonds spokesperson, and Vice President of Grants, Allocations and Planning for his local federation. Happily married, with 2 children and 6 grandchildren - all living in Israel, Jeff and his wife, Anne, made Aliyah in 2017. Anne is president of the English-speaking Jerusalem chapter of Hadassah, and national fund-raising chair of Hadassah Israel. For the past few years, Jeff has coordinated and revitalized the AACI program of in-country study trips attracting new participants and generating good will for AACI. 

Belle Fine-Cohen, Personnel
Belle made aliyah in May 2003 on a day that the airport was on strike. No one was there to greet her and to process the necessary paperwork. That’s when she heard of AACI: someone from the airport contacted AACI and one of their volunteers made a special trip to the airport to help sort things out. A couple of days later, she was honored to attend the Annual Mossad Memorial Ceremony  with her late husband Maurice Cohen, brother of Eli Cohen, “Our Spy in Damascus”. Thus she began her life in Israel awed by the fact that one day people were grieving, remembering the fallen, and the next day they were celebrating Israeli Independence Day.
Belle was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a B,S. in Independent Studies on Aging from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and an M.Ed. in Counseling the Aging from the University of Bridgeport. She was certified as a Gerontologist by the Westchester County’s  Governor’s Office on Aging, 1977.
Upon moving to Jerusalem in 2009, she became actively involved in AACI initially as a Klitah volunteer. Belle became Co-Chairperson of the Jerusalem Branch Council in 2011. She started the 55+ Friendship Circle and Chairs AACI’s Annual Health Conference.

Julian (Julie) Landau - Member at Large

Julian (Julie) Landau made aliya in July 1969 from Washington DC where he worked for AIPAC. As part of his work in Israel as a writer, editor and print production supervisor, he helped write, design, page and print the AACI Voice for a number of years. Following his retirement in 1995, Julie became an active volunteer at AACI as a member of the Memorial Committee, the National Board, as Vice President of Development and Treasurer. He is married to Sara and has four sons and one daughter who live in various parts of the country along with his twenty grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Sarah B. Weinstein - Member at Large

Sarah Weinstein made aliyah on June 21 2001. She is the owner of 4U GIFTS at 41 Hebron Road. Sarah has a B.S. degree from the University of Illinois Champaign Illinois.

Sarah is a past board member of NY United Jewish Appeal and Legacy committees, founding board member of the JCC on the upper west side and NY rep of the young leadership cabinet and a Wexner Fellow Graduate. Sarah has been involved in past national missions, chaired UJIA summer singles missions and was past mission chair of the NY Big Apple mission.

Matt (Matthew) Schein - Member at Large

Matt made aliyah in 1998 with his wife Shirley. They have 2 married children and 10 grandchildren living in Israel. Matt retired from the IBM Corporation as a Senior Software Technology executive.

Shortly after arriving in Israel, Matt was asked to review and propose improvements to AACI’s computer systems. In doing so, he became aware of the many beneficial activities and programs provided by AACI. The work led to ideas for integrating AACI operations and the instillation of a single database to unify AACI’s various files into a single modern database system. Matt was asked to join the AACI board, and became VP of Operations.

In that role, Matt led the establishment of the AACI Small Business Loan Program, and became the chair of the Real Estate and Shiputz Committee, responsible for selling AACI’s existing premises, and leading the purchase and shiputz of AACI’s new home.

Yitz Jacobsen, Member at Large
Born 1949, Hampton GB,''made'' aliyah 1949 and grew up in Rehovot.
1964-7 = IDF ,inc Keva
BA Hebrew U , MA studies at Schechter ins
1969 married   Chana Koch -olah from Philadelphia = children Aviyah , Elisha & Amitai
1969-72 , Jewish Agency Shlichut to USY {United Synagogue Youth}
1972-2016  various positions   & retiring as the acting director - the Jerusalem Fuchsberg Center. Currently volunteering  in AACI , Yad Vashem , Cong ''Bet Boyer'' and ANA {Israel Youth Hostel Ass}

Judy Ann Cohen - Member at Large

Judy moved to Jerusalem in 1975 after a 4.5 year precedent-setting tenure at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion as the first single woman to be accepted as a member of the kibbutz. In Jerusalem, this fifth-generation American from Davenport, Iowa, was employed in office management and administration by a variety of organizations, including AACI. Judy has been an active volunteer on various administrative projects; for 14 years she chaired the Annual Memorial Ceremony with Rabbi Jay Karzen and has coordinated the Opera program for many years..  After serving in several other board positions in the interim, this is her second go-around as National Treasurer

Don Edelstein - Member at Large

Don Edelstein was born in Boston and grew up in Quincy a part of greater Boston and is a graduate of Yale. He and his wife, Paula, made Aliyah in 1972 and he has been active in AACI since then. They have two sons and seven Sabra grandchildren. Don directed the Hillel counsellorship at the University of Cincinnati and the International Services and Foreign Student Counseling Of
fice at the University of Cincinnati and specialized in cross-cultural education.
Here in Israel, he worked at the School for Overseas Students at the Hebrew University and later developed and managed the first membership data base for AACI. He was also the Web Manager for the Israel Religious Action Center of the Israel Reform Movement. Don has served AACI as National Vice President of Operations, Treasurer of both Jerusalem and National AACI, Chairperson of the Jerusalem Region and has been involved in many other regional and national committees and projects. He is a past president of the Jerusalem Rotary Club where he continues to be active.

Dr. Jan Jacobson Sokolovsky  - Member at Large
Jan, an attorney, was born in Chicago into a very Zionist home, and was educated at the University of Chicago and Columbia University. She belonged to Jewish youth organizations, and spent many wonderful summers at Camp Ramah, first as a camper and then as staff.
 For 10 years, while her sons were young, she taught undergraduate economics at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle. When the family moved to New York, she became a trial attorney in the Anti-Trust Division of the US Department of Justice, and then for AT&T in “the big case”/.
 In 1986, when the case was settled, and her sons were grown, she realized her dream of Aliyah. She was admitted to the Israeli bar, and worked for the Legal Advisor of the Ministry of Communications, in the field of international relations.  Then followed  years in private practice, both in the secular and the rabbinical courts.
Jan has  been active in  several Jewish organizations —the ZOA in New York where she was the National Executive Director; Keren Klita,  which works for the benefit of Russian olim in the Jerusalem area, as ombudsman and now as comptroller; Regavim, as International Policy Advisor; and as National Treasurer of AACI from 2002-2004.
She loves to travel and to play tennis, and to be with her grandchildren and her friends.

Frances Barrow, Branch Representative, Tel Aviv
Former Central Board Chairman of the Central Region, Frances made Aliya in 1987 from the US where she worked in client services and as press officer for Sotheby’s both in NY and in  Israel for many years, and then with Artis,  a non-profit supporting and promoting Israeli contemporary art and artists at the international level. Today she is a freelance editor in English. Married to an Israeli “whose roots here come up as he walks”, she in her favorite city, Tel Aviv. 

Stuart L. Fischman, Branch Representative, Jerusalem
Dr. Stuart Fischman attended Cornell University and graduated cum laude from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American Boards of Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine.
During his academic career Stuart had 3 sabbatical leaves in Israel, at the Hebrew University Faculty of Dental Medicine. The first was in 1981when the Fischmans became re-acquainted with their new neighbors and friends from Buffalo, the Grushkas. At Donna’s invitation, they attended a few AACI events and became overseas members. After retiring from the School of Dental Medicine in Buffalo as Professor Emeritus of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, Stuart and Jane spent several springs in Israel, to show their support during the second intifada.  (Jane maintained that it was easier to change countries for Pesach than change the dishes in Buffalo). Stuart and Jane made aliyah nine years ago and reside in Mevaseret.
Since moving to Israel, Stuart has been an active volunteer at the AACI. He has served on the Health Committee, the Art Committee, and the Nominating Committee and is a member of the Jerusalem Branch Council. Currently he is a Member-at-Large of the National Board.
Stuart is a Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine. The Fischman’s daughter, Dr. Lisa Fischman, is Director of the Art Museum at Wellesley College.
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