Our Leadership

Leadership is the catalyst that creates unity, trust and inspiration within an organization. The founders of Chavurat Emet served as past presidents of synagogues, CEOs of businesses, fund-raisers, educators, honorees, attorneys, business and synagogue board members  and yes, parents and grandparents.

Our first Chavurah Board Chairperson was Curt Lader.  There was no question that he was the one person who had the capability of making this circle of friends a functioning organization.  His leadership style was influenced by a belief that by working cooperatively with people and delegating responsibility success could be achieved. His knowledge of procedure, expertise as an educator, experience as a past president of a synagogue and three other prestigious organizations, and his calm and direct demeanor created unity and direction. Under his able leadership organization’s by-laws were put into place and issues were resolved by establishing consensus rather than by formal voting. The result of his leadership was respect and warmth amongst its board membership and the growth of our organization.  He served as chairperson for 3 years.

Jo Ann Katz accepted the chair position for the next 3 years.  She introduced a new dimension of creativity and social action to our Chavurat. She came from a background committed to Jewish organizations as well as to charitable and political causes and has continued that commitment into her adult life. Her contribution to the Chavurah has been enormous as she is multitalented in acting, directing, and management.  She is also a highly experienced and successful businesswoman.  She is responsible for creating “The Not Quite Ready for Off Broadway Players” which is our in-house theater group presenting shows for our membership.  One of her special projects was acquiring the Chavurat Emet Memorial Board.  During her final year as chairperson, she encouraged each Board member to serve as a temporary chair. Her trust in each one of the members to share this important obligation resulted in a team that believes that working together we can accomplish almost anything. 

Milton Cohen became our third chairperson in 2009. The organization is benefiting from his 35 years of business experience in marketing, research, and advertising. He came into this position with a mission to communicate more effectively with our own members and with the community as a whole. The development of our new website, expanding the Chavurah’s social action program and fiscal responsibility are all part of his agenda.  His membership profile study led to a creative advertising campaign that resulted in increased membership.  His commitment to our Chavurah was evident early in our history when he and his wife Olga donated their facility as our first home, Beit Chavurah. It was their generosity that helped us begin and it is under his direction that we will continue to grow.

Arthur Podwall became our fourth chairperson in June, 2011. Arthur, a founding member of our Chavurah, believes that the Chavurah fulfills a need in our Jewish community. Arthur and his wife, Marcia, with the support of friends and family were responsible for bringing us our First Torah, which was purchased in memory of his father-in-law, Jack Melzer. The Torah dedication was a community event that firmly established our Chavurah. Each year, Arthur continued to fulfill ritual responsibilities and enlightened us at a High Holiday Service, with an interesting speech. Arthur has been a resident and an audiologist/speech pathologist in our community for more than 40 years. He has a practice in Nassau County (Syosset Speech and Hearing Center) and Suffolk County (Arthur Podwall, Ph.D. & Associates). He has served on the State Board for Speech Pathology and Audiology, has published and has earned national recognition of the high clinical standards in his practice. Arthur’s intellect, kindness and commitment to his family, friends and community, make him the right person to bring this Chavurah into the next decade.

Chavurat Emet's 10th Anniversary year welcomes our new Chairperson, Len Feldman. Len has been a leader in the Jewish community of Smithtown since 1980 and one of the original founders of our Chavurah. The Chavurah is grateful for his many years of service, particularly his legal expertise. He also functioned as recording secretary and shared the important ritual role of assigning honors with past Chairperson, Arthur Podwall. Len moved his law practice to Smithtown in 1988, and is most proud that his daughter, Jodi, became a partner in 2004. His daughter, Kari and son-in-law, Gavin, live in Manhattan with sons Ethan and Brody. Len's wife of 44 years, Arlene, serves on our Board and is an Associate Dean at Stony Brook University. Len is committed to his family, his friends, his practice and is a consistent strong supporter of our organization. He said that his goal is to "ensure the future of our organization by encouraging more members to participate in leadership roles." He believes that "a continued Jewish presence in our community must be preserved." We are most fortunate to have him lead the Chavurah into its next decade.

The Board of Trustees

Olga Cohen
Len & Arlene Feldman
Ken & Anita Greene
Stan Katz
Ann Keim
Stan & Sandi Packman
Marcia Podwall
Irwin & Bernice Polinsky
Mark Samel
Joan Savitt
Charlie Schneck
Marvin Shostack
Neal & Roseann Spevack
Marty & Elise Teitelbaum