About Us

Building Together is a US-based NGO that creates connections between Palestinians and Israelis for shared respect and economic benefit. By developing joint tangible projects, Building Together improves lives on the ground for both communities. Starting with agriculture initiatives, Building Together brings together Palestinian and Israeli farmers to improve their capacity and jointly develop products to market at home and in the United States. In the United States, Building Together brings together Americans of all faiths to foster connection, teach dignity and support our work in the Middle East.

The Board

ANDREW WILSHINSKY
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Andrew has been a senior partner with The Wilshinsky Group at Morgan Stanley since his arrival at the firm in 1999 and focusses his practice on institutional Retirement Plan Consulting and Private Wealth Management. He sits on the board of the nonprofit organization American Friends of Hebrew University and works with a variety of other environmental charities.

KATHY ROBB
GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE

Kathy Robb is the CEO of Blue Access LLC, a company addressing water quality and security needs through diverse water-related investments. and counseling before federal, state, and administrative courts. She is founder and director of the Water Policy Institute, which seeks innovative solutions to water supply and quality issues.

MAHMUD RIFFAT
FINANCE COMMITTEE

Mahmud is a Principal at Energy Capital Partners. He is involved in the Firm’s credit and capital solutions investment activities. Mahmud earned a B.S. in Foreign Service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University where he graduated from the Value Investing Program.

LEAH MOLAIEPOUR
BOARD SECRETARY

A seasoned philanthropic professional, Leah Molaiepour has many years of experience in CSR, development and fundraising, program management and research and evaluation, in both the public and private sectors. Currently, as Vice President, Philanthropic Initiatives at BNP Paribas, Leah heads the Bank’s grant-making, corporate philanthropy and employee engagement in the US.

HOWARD LEV
TREASURER

Howard Lev is the founder and Managing Member of Wheelhouse Property, LLC. Wheelhouse Property is a real estate investment, advisory and asset management firm focused on acquiring, operating and repositioning multi-family apartments in New York City and its environs.

FAISEL KHAN
BOARD MEMBER

Faisel Khan is senior vice president of finance for Sempra Energy, and chief financial officer of Sempra LNG. He has spent two decades working in the global energy industry. Prior to working at Sempra Energy, he was a managing director for Citigroup in New York, covering the natural gas, power, pipeline, midstream, refining and integrated oil industries. Khan holds bachelor’s degrees in engineering and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

BEN JABLONSKI
BOARD CHAIRMAN

Ben is the founder of Building Together and is also the CEO of Robin Ruth North America, an apparel and accessories brand for tourists worldwide. Robin Ruth has more than 3,000 points of sale in North America through airports, national retailers, and gift shops.

ADAM BELFER

Adam Belfer is a principal of H.I.G. Realty Partners and has been with the firm since 2007. Adam manages the west coast office based in Los Angeles, and is responsible for all aspects of the investment process, including sourcing, transaction structuring, financing, and post-closing execution.

YAEL AMRON
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Yael Amron is an executive and the Operations Lead at Heat Watch, a fast growing energy efficiency start up in NYC. At Heat Watch, Yael heads everything on the backend of the company, from growth strategy, to field operations. field operations. She believes strongly in the goal of the company, to help Landlords and building mangers throughout the US reduce their buildings’ energy consumption and carbon footprints.

RULA ABU RAJAB
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Rula Abu-Rajab is a Global Associate Marketing Director for Oncology at Abbott Diagnostics who runs a $3.8B business with focus on China and Japan market. Rula is a board member for many humanitarian organization such as PCRF, BPFF, and Karam Foundation. She has participated in humanitarian missions as well as helped fund and organized major fundraising events. She is interested in creating social awareness for Building Together and fundraising.

Leon Bijou

Leon Bijou is an attorney at Jefferies LLC, an investment bank headquartered in New York City, where he is involved in the firm’s corporate governance and supports the Public Finance Department. He began working to promote economic cooperation between Israel and her Arab neighbors beginning in 1994 during the Oslo Peace Process.

Daniel Daks

Daniel Daks is an entrepreneur who began his career as the founder and CEO of TradeUp, an education technology platform since acquired by the Apollo Education Group (NASDAQ:APOL). Most recently, he has founded Palette Media. He has also spent time in business development roles at Devik International, Inc. where he partnered with leading middle eastern agribusinesses. It was there that he gained an appreciation for trade as a means of bringing communities together.

Dr. Georgiana Gibson

Dr. Georgiana Gibson has a longtime interest in public health issues and education. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Public Health in 1978 with a Masters in Public Health degree, followed by a Doctorate in Medicine in 1982 from UT Southwestern Medical School. She completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology as well as fellowships in Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology. After working as a faculty member in Neuroradiology at UT Southwestern, she entered private practice in Plano, Texas with Texas Radiology Group. She retired from active practice in 2008. Dr. Gibson serves as Board Secretary for the NGO Plan International.

Mehra Golshan

Mehra Golshan, MD, MBA, is a cancer surgeon and a nationally and internationally recognized leader in breast cancer treatment and research. In addition to caring for patients, he serves as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Surgical Services and Director of the Breast Cancer Program for the Yale Cancer Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital, and Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers. Prior to joining Yale, he spent 17 years in Boston at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Golshan completed his fellowship in breast surgical oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He earned his Medical Degree from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Andrew Ross

Andrew Ross is an experienced financial and governmental executive with more than 25 years of experience spanning both the public and private sector. Andrew joined Sovereign Infrastructure Group, which is a global financing company, in 2017 and runs business development efforts in Africa, investor relations, and SIG’s Sustainable Development/Impact strategy. Andrew spent more than four years working for former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, including as his Chief Operating Officer. He was responsible for driving the State of Illinois’ economic development agenda, including overseeing a $31 billion capital program, while also serving as the Governor’s senior energy advisor and crafting Illinois’ renewable energy policies. He also serves on theboard of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. Andrew earned his BA from Northwestern University and has a master’s degree from Syracuse University in Broadcast Journalism.

Staff

ROLAND LEWIS

PRESIDENT
rlewis@buildingtogether.org

Roland Lewis now the president of Building Together previously served thirteen years as the first president and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of more than 1,000 organizations with ties to the New York and New Jersey harbor and waterways. Internationally recognized, the Waterfront Alliance brought profound change to the region with improved harborside resiliency, access, water quality and jobs. Prior to taking the helm of the Waterfront Alliance in 2007, Roland was the executive director of Habitat for Humanity New York City for ten years, guiding it to become one of the top producers in the region and a nationally emulated model for Habitat for Humanity locations in other urban settings. A lifetime New Yorker, Roland is a graduate of Columbia University and earned both a Master of City and Regional Planning and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University.

KIAN GOLSHAN

INTERN
kgolshan@buildingtogther.org

Kian is a rising senior at Tufts University majoring in International Relations and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Philosophy. He is a graduate of Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge, MA. Prior to joining Building Together in 2020, Kian has gained valuable marketing and research experience working at the Peabody District Court under Judge Barretto, Representative Khan at the Massachusetts State House, the commercial real estate firm Bulfinch, and TripAdvisor. He strongly believes in the mission of Building Together.

Daniel Bornstein

INTERN

Daniel Bornstein is a law student at St. John's University interested in environmental law. As a law student, he has interned with Crag Law Center and the Center for Food Safety, two leading public interest environmental law organizations. Daniel has vast experience working on global agricultural development as an academic researcher and journalist. He conducted 2 research projects on food systems in The Gambia in West Africa, interviewing farmers and government officials. Has has authored several Op-Ed pieces on food security in Africa, including for the Christian Science Monitor and the Worldwatch Institute.

Middle East Team

Monther Hind

Consultant

Monther Hind was born and raised in Al Bireh-Ramallah and received his bachelor’s degree in 1994 in civil engineering, hydraulic section from University Degli Studi del’Aquila in L’Aquila, Italy. Monther worked as a project manager of a large-scale wastewater management project funded by the German government for ten years. Since 1996, he has provided technical environmental services to local authorities with a focus on water, wastewater and solid waste management, collaborating with different international donors and experts to support the Palestinian National Authority. Monther worked as a freelancer for different donors, performing feasibility studies and advisory services on infrastructural issues and environmental projects. In 2004, Monther founded the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (PWEG), aiming to support local and national authorities in better performing their environmental duties with a special focus on water resources protection.

Dr. Clive Lipchin

Consultant

Clive currently serves as director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies' Center for Transboundary Water Management where he oversees research and development projects, workshops and conferences that focus on transboundary water and environmental problems facing Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. His specialty is in water resources management and policy. Clive's research and development work has recently focused on cross-border stream restoration and waste water management issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Clive, a native from South Africa has been living in Israel for over twenty years. He received a BSc degree in zoology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, a BSc Honors in wildlife management from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, a MSc in desert ecology from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and a PhD in resource ecology management from the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan.

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We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax ID: 82-3156624