Leon Rodriguez Joins Lana Alman, Gary Hirschberg, Ilan Rosenberg and Ari Rudolph as Newest Members of HIAS Board of Directors

NEW YORK—The immediate past director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has joined the board of directors of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. Leon Rodriguez, who led USCIS from July 2014 until January of this year, was elected alongside four other new board members, during HIAS’ board meeting in New York on May 21. Rotating off of HIAS’ board this year were former chair of the board and chair emeritus Dale Schwartz, Benita Fair Langsdorf and Neil Moss.

"We are excited to welcome five new very talented board members who have a passion for our mission, come from diverse geographies and backgrounds, and bring outstanding skills and judgement to HIAS at this important time," said current chair of the board Dianne Lob. "Their dynamic skill sets will be a wonderful addition to the organization's leadership. At the same time, we extend our sincere thanks to long-term board members Dale Schwartz, Benita Fair Langsdorf and Neil Moss for their tremendous support of HIAS."    

Rodriguez continues to be an outspoken advocate for refugees and asylum seekers and also has a personal connection to HIAS. His family was assisted by the resettlement agency on its journey immigrating from Cuba to the United States. Currently a partner at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP in Washington, D.C., Rodriguez received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. He and his family live in Maryland.

“In this time where those working to support the growing number of refugees worldwide are meeting stronger and stronger headwinds, it is humbling to be part of this truly distinguished class of new board members,” said Rodriguez.  

Joining Rodriguez on the board are Lana Alman, Gary Hirschberg, Ilan Rosenberg and Ari Rudolph. They enter as the tenures of longtime board members Dale Schwartz, Benita Fair Langsdorf and Neil Moss draw to a close. Schwartz, who is chair emeritus, has been a member of the HIAS board since 1981. A member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Georgia, he is currently a principal of Dale M. Schwartz & Associates, LLP, and an adjunct professor of immigration law at Emory University School of Law.

“Dale has served HIAS for decades and always brought a sense of humor when we needed it most,” said HIAS president and CEO Mark Hetfield. “He has always been a great leader in the immigration field, both as chair of HIAS and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.”   

Fair Langsdorf and Moss have both served on the board since 2008. Langsdorf has long been active in HIAS Pennsylvania and served as its president from 2001-2004. Moss, whose parents were assisted by HIAS in the mid-1930s, is a past chair of the board of directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and is an ex-officio member of Hillel's International board of governors.

“Benita has traveled to Ukraine, Austria, Israel, Georgia and Hungary for HIAS, and led the Public Policy Committee during the time of HIAS' greatest transformation from an agency that welcomes  refugees because they are Jewish to an agency that welcomes refugees because we are Jewish,” added Hetfield. “And Neil may be off our board, but will always be consulted by us for his sage wisdom. He has been a great mentor and voice of reason on the board.”

More information on the incoming board members is below:

Lana Alman—Washington, DC area

Originally from Tiraspol, Moldova, Lana immigrated with her family to Cleveland, Ohio, with the help of HIAS in 1990. As a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, Lana focuses on border, immigration, and healthcare issues, particularly related to Spanish-speaking communities. She received her B.A. from Miami University in International Studies and Spanish and her M.A. in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University. Additionally, Lana served as a Fulbright fellow in Santiago, Chile, where she focused on capacity building and labor mobility of Peruvian female migrants.

Gary Hirschberg—Chicago, IL

Gary is a Vice President in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs & Co. He previously worked in the area of non-profit development. He was the Director of Development for Vanderbilt University Hillel and Assistant Director of Developmental Activities at Georgetown University. Currently Gary sits on the boards of Hillel International and HIAS, both out of Washington D.C. He is a regional board member of the Anti-Defamation League and a member of the Illinois Bar. He received his B.A. with Honors from Georgetown University and his M.B.A. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University.

llan Rosenberg—Philadelphia, PA

llan Rosenberg, currently board president of HIAS Pennsylvania, is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Gordon Rees Scully Manssukhani, a national litigation and business transactions firm. His practice concentrates on commercial litigation, complex insurance coverage, and international disputes involving Latin America. Ilan received his law degree from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City. Ilan holds an L.L.M. and a Master’s in Comparative Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he is also a lecturer.

Ari Rudolph—New York, NY

Ari Rudolph is a Planning Director at UJA-Federation of New York, overseeing several grant-making portfolios and departmental strategic planning. Previously he has worked as the Israel Affairs Associate at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, in the Department for Combating Antisemitism at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, and as the Director of the Israel Research Fellowship.

He graduated from Hebrew University with a master’s degree in diplomacy and national security and has lived and worked in Johannesburg, Washington, D.C., New York and Israel.


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