Board of Directors

Rebeca Besquin,
Member of Board of Directors

Rebeca BesquinRebeca was born in Mexico City and grew up in a home with very strong Jewish values and identity. Since she can remember, her parents have always been very involved with the Jewish Community, especially her father who was the president of Keren Hayesod Mexico for several years.

Rebeca received a degree as a Dentist in Mexico City but since her move to San Diego twenty-seven years ago, has had many different roles such as running her own catering business, assistant to the Director of Judaic Studies at SDJA and, most importantly, mother to her four children. She has also always been very involved with the Jewish community of San Diego volunteering on the board of the UJF Women’s Division, SDJA PTA and the ADL. Read more about Rebeca Besquin

Judi Gottschalk,
Member of Board of Directors

Judi GJudi Gottschalk is a native San Diegan and the daughter of two Holocaust survivors who immigrated to San Diego in 1949. She was an active member of the Phoenix Jewish community for 42 years and has recently moved back to San Diego. She serves as the San Diego Regional Chairperson for the United States Holocaust Museum. In Phoenix she served as a member of the board of the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center and Valley Beit Midrash, a pluralistic Jewish learning center and The Ballet Program for School Children. She is committed to supporting endeavors that build continued Jewish legacy and peoplehood. Read more about Judi Gottschalk

Karen Jinich,
Member of Board of Directors

Karen JinichKaren Jinich was born in Lima, Peru, where her family created and founded the Jewish Institutions that provided the necessary foundations to create a strong and vibrant Jewish Community. Karen attended the only Jewish Day School in Lima, “Colegio Leon Pinelo,” where her strong sense of Judaism and Zionism was formed. Karen and her family moved to San Diego 18 years ago. She, and her husband Roberto, chose the San Diego Jewish Academy for their children’s education because it was essential for their family to instill Jewish values and traditions in her children. Read more about Karen Jinich

Aaron Landau,
Member of Board of Directors

Aaron LandauAaron was born and raised in San Diego with a strong sense of Judaism passed down from his family and from attending Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School and the San Diego Jewish Academy. He had the opportunity to go to Israel on Birthright while in college, which had a huge influence on his Jewish identity, and looks forward to going back soon. Aaron is currently a Financial Planning & Analysis Manager at Becton-Dickinson (formerly Carefusion), supporting the Budgeting, Forecasting, and Accounting of a billion dollar business. Read more about Aaron Landau

Jan Landau,
Co-Founder and Member of Board of Directors

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 2.25.01 PMJan Landau graduated from University of Michigan and San Diego State University, and has over 30 years experience as an elementary school teacher and administrator. While working at San Diego Jewish Academy as Director of Family and Special Programs, she was looking for a way to bring Holocaust remembrance to the school in an age-appropriate way. Inspired by the documentary Paper Clips and the poem, The Butterfly, written by Pavel Friedmann, a child in a concentration camp, Jan chose the butterfly, a beautiful symbol of hope and freedom, for children to make to memorialize the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. She enlisted the talents of SDJA parent/artist, Cheryl Rattner Price, and together with other parent volunteers, created The Butterfly Project – originally known as Zikaron V’ Tikvah (Remembrance and Hope). Read more about Jan Landau

Barbara Ostroff,
Member of Board of Directors

DSC02499Barbara is the daughter of Holocaust survivors Max and Lili Bialar z”l, and has always embraced their love of yiddishkeit and their pride in Jewish history. Barbara was born and raised in Brooklyn, however Barbara’s father Max insisted that they speak Yiddish at home. As a result, while growing up, she got to hear her family’s stories of survival in the camps as they casually spoke of what they went through, making her a witness to more than she realized. This fueled her commitment to be involved in the Jewish community and live a Jewish life. Read more about Barbara Ostroff

Danny Recht,
Member of Board of Directors

Danny RechtDanny was born and raised in San Diego and only left for his four years at the University of Arizona where he studied business. He currently works as a financial planner and volunteers with many different Jewish organizations around the San Diego community. His passion for communities around the world to always remember the Holocaust comes from his grandparents who were survivors. He has grown up listening to the horrific stories and wants to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Read more about Danny Recht

Corey Samuels,
Member of Board of Directors

20160627-oertlet-1361Corey Samuels is a third generation Holocaust survivor. Her grandfather, Henry Oertelt, survived five concentration camps. Her mother Stephanie Samuels was born in Berlin in 1948, and came to the US, settling in Minnesota with her parents at age 1. Corey hopes to ensure that her family’s story and the Holocaust are never forgotten through participating in Holocaust education events and sharing the short film she coproduced, Becoming Henry, which is based on part of her grandfather’s survival story. Corey has lived in Cardiff by the Sea for three years and works for a Life Sciences consulting company, leading teams that create computational software. Read more about Corey Samuels

Rick Schwartz,
Member of Board of Directors

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-11-04-44-amRick is CEO and Managing Partner of Schwartz Advisors LLC, a mergers and acquisition advisor and management consulting firm to the transportation industry. Prior to forming Schwartz Advisors, Rick’s career included several senior level positions in sales, marketing, finance and general management. He was Chief Operating Officer at IDEA Health & Fitness, Inc., and he held senior sales and marketing positions at Nestlé USA, Macy’s and The Upper Deck Company. Read more about Rick Schwartz


Susan Chortek,
Member of Advisory Board

UntitledSusan Chortek Weisman has been an active member of several local Jewish organizations for several years, and has been a long-time supporter of youth-based initiatives in San Diego. She has taken on many prominent leadership roles at the Lawrence Family JCC La Jolla, such as Board Member, Teen Initiative Advisory Board Member, and Teen Parent Committee Member. Susan has also been a member of the California Selection Committee for the Diller Tikkun Olam Award, a member of the Peter Chortek Leadership Award Selection Committee at the Jewish Community Foundation, and a member of the David Rubenstein Scholarship Selection Committee at Jewish Family Service. Susan has recently been involved with San Diego Jewish Academy as an Executive Committee Member, Board Member, PTO President for both Upper and Lower schools, and Co-Chair of SDJA’s Every Child Campaign. Read more about Susan Chortek

Sonia Ancoli-Israel,
Member of Advisory Board

Ancoli-Israel 2015Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus and Professor of Research in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, and Director of the Gillin Sleep and Chronomedicine Research Center. Dr. Ancoli-Israel received her Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ancoli-Israel is Past-President of the Sleep Research Society (SRS), Past-President of the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms, and was on the founding Executive Board of the National Sleep Foundation. She was honored in 2007 with the National Sleep Foundation Life Time Achievement Award and the SRS Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award, in 2012 with Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine Distinguished Career Award and in 2014 with the SRS Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Ancoli-Israel is published regularly in medical and psychiatric journals with over 400 publications in the field. Read more about Sonia Ancoli-Israel

Shari Schenk,
Member of Advisory Board

ShariSchenk-5x7Shari Schenk has been the Director of Business Development at CaseyGerry since 1999, overseeing numerous marketing and new business programs. In addition to her work for the firm, she is active in a variety of community projects and charities. A past board chair of the San Diego Jewish Academy and of the Agency for Jewish Education, she was a board member of the United Jewish Federation’s Women’s Division for nearly ten years. She currently serves on the board of the Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. Shari has served on the boards of Hillel of San Diego (where she co-chaired the Campus Superstar inaugural event), Congregation Beth Am and the San Diego chapter of the Jewish National Fund, as well as the California Commission for Economic Development (appointed by Governor Gray Davis). She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Tufts University, holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from San Diego State University, and is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation program for leadership development. Read more about Shari Schenk