CRC partners with Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 11:30 am, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

The newest partner in the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual Israel Today series is the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

A panel of experts will discuss “Israel’s Success Story: A Model For Hampton Roads Business Leaders” at a Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lunch for the first event.

Despite its small size, lack of natural resources, and constant attacks by neighbors, Israel is an economic powerhouse. The Jewish state’s achievements, based on cutting-edge technology and innovation, have turned it into a model for businesses in the United States. Three visiting experts will focus on what Hampton Roads business leaders can learn from the Israeli success story and opportunities that exist for the region.

Sharing the value of the U.S.-Israel economic relationship from a national standpoint will be Josh Kram, the director of the Middle East Commercial Center for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the largest business organization in the world), the Chamber’s director for Turkey and Middle East Affairs and the Chamber’s director of U.S.-Israel Business Initiative.

Offering a Virginia perspective, Ralph Robbins, executive director of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB), out of the Office of the Governor, will speak about success stories that VIAB has had in the Commonwealth, bringing Israeli businesses (which translate to jobs and tax revenue for the state) and innovation through the most creative channels. Robbins always has exciting new plans to share about the Virginia-Israel commercial relationships and perhaps some opportunities.

Closing out the panel is local (Israeli) Lea Bogatch-Genossar, vice president of Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., with a portfolio that includes Canada, Caribbean, Central America and Trades. The first woman in ZIM’s history to hold a top executive position, Bogatch- Genossar will share a local perspective as an Israeli business leader operating in Hampton Roads. Established in 1945, Zim is one of the largest, leading carriers in the global container shipping industry. The Israeli-based company chose Norfolk for their North American office headquarters, thanks to the work of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board.

Danny Rubin, vice president of Rubin Communications Group, a public relations firm in Virginia Beach, will lead the discussion. Rubin is an active member of the Hampton Roads Jewish community and serves on its Young Adult Division Cabinet. He is also a member of tHRive, the young professional division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

Excited to share the stories of Israel’s economic success with the Tidewater business community, Greg Zittrain, co-chair of UJFT’s Business and Legal Society and a wealth management advisor and senior portfolio advisor at Jones Zittrain Wealth Management Group of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, says, “this new partnership will open a new conversation about the ‘Start-up Nation’ and how we might emulate Israel’s success locally.”

Zittrain also views the new partnership as an opportunity to network with business leaders from across Hampton Roads, as the Nov. 18 lunch is expected to fill to capacity at 150 people.

Also looking forward to the partnership is Pricilla Monti, the Chamber’s vice president of programs. “The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is honored to partner with United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council for the Israel Today series as we recognize the value of the global marketplace. Chamber members and the entire business community are always looking for innovative ways to reach new audiences for their products and services,” she says. “The old adage ‘Success begets Success’ is in force here as we explore the Israeli model for thriving businesses.”

A supervised Kosher lunch included with the cost to attend ($40 for Chamber members and $45 for non-members), payable to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce at the time of RSVP (required). Visit or contact Anne Baumler at 757-664-2518 or for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

For more information about the CRC, Israel Today and other local Jewish community initiatives, contact Robin Mancoll, director, UJFT Community Relations Council at or 757-965-6120.