Meet the new staff, young leaders

The Jewish News


Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs co-founder and CEO, will attend SWU-Michigans gala for the first time as it unveils its new staff and direction.

The “Campus Champions: Leaders of Tomorrow” gala will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Farber Soul Center in West Bloomfield. The community will have an opportunity to meet the new team, headed by Vida Velasco, the first associate director of StandWithUs-Michigan.

Barbara Moretsky, who is stepping down after seven years serving as SWU-MI president, is the honoree as well as the honorary chairperson for the gala. New board officers are Reva Rosen, president; Robert Rollinger, vice president; and Julie Blair, secretary.

The Midwest team includes Peggy Shapiro, executive director, StandWithUs Midwest; Andrew Moss, Michigan community liaison; Liora Bachrach, the new Midwest campus coordinator; and Avi Yudkowsky, the recently appointed Midwest high school coordinator.

Keynote speaker Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (ret.), will provide an insider’s look at the U.S.-Israel relationship, the economic ties and the mutual benefits of Israel’s high-tech miracles. Rothstein will present SWU’s innovative and diverse programs that educate and empower.

Attendees also will meet the high school interns and SWU College Emerson Fellows who, despite formidable challenges, are standing up for Israel and telling Israel’s real story. The high school interns are from Farber Jewish Day School in Oak Park and Groves High School in Beverly Hills. SWU Emerson Fellows are at Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University and Hillsdale College.

Vida Velasco began her career at SWU as the Emerson Fellow at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 2011. Immediately after graduation, she was the first coordinator hired to launch the StandWithUs High School Internship in the Central Region.

She has educated thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish people of all ages about Israel and worked on many initiatives to spur people into action on behalf of the Jewish state.

“I am so excited to become a part of the Detroit Jewish community,” she says. “It is even more special to come full circle and work with Andrew Moss, who was one of my interns five years ago. Michigan is one of the pillars of the American Jewish community, and SWU is thrilled to be here and to grow it in innovative ways.”

StandWithUs Midwest also launches a new middle school curriculum, “LINK — Discovering Your Israel Connection.” The six-lesson unit allows students to explore the historic Jewish roots to Israel while discovering their own personal, modern connection. LINK’s pilot testing last year demonstrated measurable and impressive results.

L-R StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein with Vida Velasco, SWU-Michigan’s first associate director.


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or contact Vida at or call (310) 836-6140, ext. 106.

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