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May 13, 2009

Former St. Louis Federation President, Heschel Raskas, nominated for Treasurer

Three Jewish leaders who have volunteered extensively in local, national and international Jewish communal and philanthropic affairs and who hail from highly accomplished professional backgrounds were unanimously nominated for three top volunteer offices of UJC/Jewish Federations of North America.

The UJC Nominating Committee on Tuesday recommended Kathy Manning of Greensboro, N.C., to be the new chair of UJC; Michael Gelman of Washington, D.C. to be the new chair of the UJC Executive Committee; and Dr. Heschel Raskas of St. Louis to be the new treasurer of UJC.

Manning, who has served as chair of the executive committee since 2006, becomes the first woman selected to UJC's top volunteer office since the organization's creation from the merger of the United Jewish Appeal and the Council of Jewish Federations in 1999.

"We are so fortunate to have the experience, dedication and passion of these three extraordinary leaders who will guide UJC and our community into the future," said Susan Stern of New York, chair of the nominating committee.

"I am especially proud that Kathy would serve as the first woman to chair UJC. She follows in the footsteps of some incredible predecessors, Carole Solomon, who chaired UJA, and Shoshana Cardin, who chaired CJF."

The officers' annual terms include an option of being renewed for up to three years 

These nominees join with Michael Lebovitz, of Chattanooga, Tn., named this winter as national campaign chair for 2010-2011, and Linda Hurwitz of Baltimore, selected this spring as the chair of National Women's Philanthropy for 2009-2011.

Manning will replace Joe Kanfer, of Akron, Ohio, who has served as UJC chair since 2006. Kanfer has been involved extensively both on the continental and local levels in Federation and throughout Jewish communal life.

Manning, a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Michigan Law School, is an attorney specializing in immigration law at Manning & Associates, PLLC, in Greensboro. She formerly served as UJC treasurer, chair of the UJC Budget and Finance Committee, the UJC Small Federation Steering Committee and the UJC Domestic Affairs Pillar’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. She is a former member of the UJC Young Leadership Cabinet and recipient of the UJC Young Leadership Award. She is also past president of the Greensboro Jewish Federation.

Gelman, a graduate of the University of Maryland, is a certified public accountant and founder of the accounting firm of Gelman, Rosenberg and Freedman in Bethesda, Md. He has served as treasurer of UJC since 2006 and formerly chaired the UJC Consulting Committee, UJC Domestic Affairs Pillar and co-chaired the 2003 UJC General Assembly in Jerusalem.

Gelman also has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and serves in leadership roles of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Raskas, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard, was president of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis from 2005 to 2007.  He has held numerous top leadership roles in the St. Louis Jewish community and was president of Raskas Foods, the largest private-label cream cheese manufacturer in the United States, until it was sold in 2002.

He is a member of the UJC Board of Trustees, an immediate past-president of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, a member of that Federation's Board of Trustees and chair of the Budget & Finance Subcommittee on Israel of the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors.

The UJC board must ratify the nominations at its annual meeting during the UJC General Assembly, this November 8-11 in Washington, D.C. An interim report on the nominations will be presented to the board at its spring meeting, June 8 in Jersey City, N.J.