Dr. Eugene Spiritus
Gene Spiritus is the Chair of Hillel Foundation of Orange County. A native New Yorker, he arrived in California in 1970 with his wife, Susan, after spending two years as a U.S. Navy physician on Guam. Following his residency and fellowship at UC Irvine Medical Center, he began practicing as a Board Certified Pulmonologist. He was the founding member and CEO of Pulmonary Consultants and Primary Care Physicians in Orange County for more than 20 years before serving as a healthcare consultant to KPMG Peat Marwick. In 1997, he became Chief Medical Officer at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center where he was responsible for case management, performance improvement and quality as well as the departments of Risk Management and Infection Prevention and the Medical Staff Office. In 2011, he left UCI and has been exploring the role of telemedicine and the use of medical robots. He is extremely proud of the three women in his life: his wife, Susan, and his two daughters, Margo and Lisa. Gene and Susan can often be found at South Coast Repertory and the Main and Second Stage, and the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. They are weekend golfers and lifelong readers and always have a few books on their Nook or iPad. They have been members of Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach for more than 36 years, where Gene is the immediate past chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. He also serves on the board of the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services.
Immediate Past Chair
Richard K. Matros is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Hillel Foundation of Orange County. He serves as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sabra Healthcare REIT, Inc. and was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Healthcare Group, Inc. from 2001 until the separation in November 2010. Mr. Matros served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Bright Now! Dental from 1998 to 2000 and a Director from 1998 until its sale in December 2010. From 1998 until its sale in May 2008, Mr. Matros was also the managing partner of CareMeridian, and continues to hold a partnership interest in a number of entities that own and lease real property to CareMeridian. Previously, from 1994-1997, he served Regency Health Services, Inc., a publicly held long-term care operator, holding positions as Chief Executive Officer, President, director and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that time, from 1988 to 1994, he served Care Enterprises, Inc., holding positions as Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Operating Officer, director and Executive Vice President-Operations. Mr. Matros currently serves on the advisory board for RFE Investment Partners and is the Executive Producer of Sabra Films, LLC. He is a prominent member of the Orange County Jewish Community, serving as the AIPAC Political Chair for Orange County as well as on the AIPAC Orange County Council.
Vice Chair of Governance
Seth Siegel is the Vice Chair of Governance on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Hillel Foundation of Orange County. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Seth is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of The Health Emporium International based in Newport Beach, California. He is also the director of The Fred Siegel Company, Laguna Beach, a commercial real estate management firm; President and CEO of JY Collections, Kyoto, Japan, a custom pearl, diamond and gold jewelry design company; and President and Chief Executive Officer of MYRA Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, an award winning premier Japanese chocolate company. Seth serves on the Board of Directors and is First Vice Chair of Governance of The Bureau of Jewish Education of Orange County; Senior Vice Chair and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Balboa Performing Arts Theater Foundation; and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Solomon Society of Jewish Federation & Family Services. He holds degrees from UCLA in business, acting, voice and music and is an acclaimed tenor, singer-songwriter, producer, performer and director.
Henry J. Cohen
Vice Chair of Finance
Henry was born in the New York City suburb of Jamaica, Queens in 1942. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and not surprisingly, found an interest in the sciences and engineering. He moved upstate to Troy, New York to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Metallurgical Engineering. After a short period at an industrial research laboratory, Uncle Sam had a better idea for Henry, and he was drafted into the US Army to continue metallurgical research for the Ordinance Corps. Recognizing his developing interest in business, Henry entered Steven Institute of Technology to pursue a Master’s Degree in Business and Management. Following that new direction, employment included positions in financial management, market planning, product design, product line management, field sales, sales management, distribution and general management. Henry has worked in markets for industrial gases, welding equipment, lighting fixtures, automated industrial equipment and fiberoptic equipment distribution. Since retiring 2007, Henry has been active with Jewish and secular charities, pro-Israel political activism, business consulting, real estate investment and management.
Lisa Armony is the Executive Director of Hillel Foundation of Orange County. A proud New Jersey native, she graduated Magan cum Laude from Cornell University (Go Big Red!) and holds an M.A. in Political Science and Master of Philosophy from Yale University. She also studied at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies and lived in Israel for two years. Lisa began her professional career in Toronto, Canada, where she was Director of the B’nai Brith Canada’s Institute for International Affairs and Communications Director for the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region. After moving to Los Angeles with her family in 2002, she became a freelance writer, reporter, and public relations professional and won awards for her work in journalism and marketing. In 2012, she became Director of the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS), a position she continues to hold through to a strategic partnership between Hillel of OC and JFFS. Married with three children, she loves sharing Jewish and Israel experiences with people of all ages and is committed to providing an fun, safe and inclusive environment for students to pursue their Jewish journeys.
Dr. Matthew Brenner
Professor of Medicine, UC Irvine Medical Center
Dr. Marc Ecker
Fountain Valley School District
Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz
Rabbi, Temple Bat Yahm
Volunteer and Philanthropist
President, Gateway Gardens
Dr. Mark Filowitz
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
California State University, Fullerton
Faculty Advisor, CSUF Hillel & AEPi
Dr. Marilyn Harran
Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education
Stern Chair in Holocaust History
Professor of Religious Studies and History
Faculty Advisor, Chapman Hillel
Dr. Matthias Lehmann
Teller Family Chair in Jewish History
Associate Professor of History
Director, Program in Jewish Studies
Department of History
University of California, Irvine
Faculty Advisor, UCI
Past Chairs (Ex Officio)
Dr. Eli Benjamini
Dr. Alyse Kirschen
Dr. David Kirschen