Annual COJECO Gala

Since 2010, COJECO’s annual “Building the Future” receptions have been honoring individuals and organizations that have strengthened our community through excellence in leadership, advocacy, and support of Russian-speaking Jewish culture and heritage.

17th Anniversary Celebration
May 23, 2018


17th Anniversary Celebration

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Angel Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk St,
New York, NY 10002


Kate Kalmykov
COJECO Board Co-President,
Greenberg Traurig, LLC

Kate Kalmykov currently leads the business immigration practice group in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia offices at Greenberg Traurig.  Within the field of immigration law, Kate is a well known speaker and author.  She is often called upon by various media outlets to comment on topics of business immigration law including the New York Times the Real Deal, the Wall Street Journal, and Law360.  Kate has appeared on numerous TV programs related to immigration law including the Stoler Report, China Business Network and CNN  and has been published in immigration practice handbooks for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, ILW, and in news periodicals that include Law360, the New Jersey Lawyer, the New Jersey Law Journal, USA Today,, and the Real Deal.  At the request of the American Bar Association (ABA), Kate co-authored the book “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law,” the definitive guide for non-lawyers on immigration law practice which is available in every single ABA accredited law school library nationally.

In addition to Kate’s successful professional career, she is an active member of her community and is dedicated to a variety of philanthropic causes.  Kate has successfully worked with non-profit legal organizations to secure immigration benefits for trafficking victims and women pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Since 2013, Kate has been a COJECO board member and currently serves as the organization’s Co-President. She has been active in the New York Russian Jewish Community, has worked to raise funds and support various programs that include informal Jewish education cultural programs, leadership development initiatives, support for grassroots initiatives and assistance to Jewish organizations interested in providing culturally-sensitive and appropriate programming for the Russian-speaking Jews of all ages.

Ronn Torossian
President and CEO, 5WPR

With 20-plus years of  experience creating  powerful  narratives,  Ronn  has  grown 5WPR into one  of the 15 largest  independent PR firms  in the nation, with  more than 150 professionals in the company’s headquarters. Torossian has a diverse roster of  client experience and has  represented top global brands including Coca-Cola,  McDonald’s and Microsoft. His firm was named “PR Agency of  the Year” three consecutive years by the American Business Awards.
Torossian serves as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and as an advisory board member for JetSmarter.
Torossian regularly provides expert commentary for CNBC, Entertainment Tonight (ET) and Fox News, and is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer. He has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Inc. Magazine and more. Torossian’s book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” is a PR best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

Marina and Michael Zurakhinsky
Community Leaders,
Founders of Zplay School and The Art Story Foundation

Marina Zurakhinsky is a community organizer that has  been  developing and  running interactive  programs for  children  since 2002.  Marina is very  involved in Jewish community  life  as a professional, a volunteer, and a lay leader. Marina  holds   MA in Education from Fordham University. She  recently  founded ZplaySchool on the Upper West Side of  Manhattan – a center where specialized educators offer top-notch  programs & workshops for local (and her own) children & their parents. She strives to bring together the Russian and Jewish communities together at the center, and in her community work.
Michael Zurakhinsky is a graduate of Manhattan College, with an MBA from New York University. He works in the boutique asset manager Horizon Kinetics LLC. Michael founded The Art Story, an internet resource that provides expert and clear art history information across the world. He was lucky to be introduced to the Russian-Jewish community by COJECO in 2010, and has been a friend of the organization ever since. Michael is also involved in a number of other RSJ initiatives including co-chairing the Natan RSJ Giving Circle (now The UJA RSJ Giving Circle), being a member at UJA Task Forces, volunteering with Limmud FSU, and learning for 2 years with the Wexner Heritage RSJ 2014 cohort.

Keynote Address:
Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg,
Scholar and Author

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg  was ordained by Beth Joseph  Rabbinical  Seminary of  Brooklyn,New York and has a  PhD in history  from  Harvard  University. He has had a long  and notable career in the   service of the Jewish people.  Together with Elie Wiesel, he  founded  CLAL: The National  Jewish Center for Learning  and Leadership and  served as  its president until 1997. CLAL  offered pluralistic Jewish  learning for Jewish  communal leadership and programs of intra-faith  dialogue for rabbis of every denominational background. From 1997 to  2008, he served as founding president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation which created such programs as  birthright Israel and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education.

Rabbi Greenberg was one of the activist/founders of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in the movement to liberate Russian Jewry. When Elie Wiesel served as chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, Rabbi Greenberg served as its (Executive) Director. He served as the Museum’s chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2000-2002.

He is a leading Jewish thinker and has written extensively on  post-Holocaust Jewish religious thought, Jewish-Christian relations, pluralism, and the ethics of Jewish power. In his new book,The Triumph of Life (forthcoming), he argues that the Holocaust and the Jewish assumption of power in creating the state of Israel are the beginning of a new era in Jewish history .Together, these two vents usher in a third stage of Jewish religion.

Special Remarks:
Honorable Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Ambassador Danny Danon is Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Chair of the UN’s Sixth (Legal)  Committee. Just last year, Ambassador Danon was elected Vice President of the 72nd UN General Assembly.

Danon was appointed Ambassador in October 2015 and has previously held senior positions  in Israel’s Cabinet and the Knesset (parliament) including Deputy Minister of Defense and Minister of Science, Technology, and Space.

He was first elected to the Knesset in 2009 and subsequently served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Chair of the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee and Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Ambassador Danon completed his IDF service with the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a BA in International Relations from FIU and an MA in Public Policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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