About American Friends of the
Parents Circle - Families Forum

Vision and Mission

American Friends of the Parents Circle-Families Forum (AF-PCFF) shares the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the American public in order to foster a peace and reconciliation process. The AF-PCFF is committed to supporting the Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF) through raising public awareness, constituency building and fundraising in the U.S.

The Parents Circle Families Forum is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of more than 600 bereaved families. Their common bond is that they have lost a close family member to the conflict. But instead of choosing revenge, they have chosen a path of reconciliation.

Through the different works of the PCFF, these bereaved members have joined together to take tens of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis on their personal journeys of reconciliation. It is often raw and always emotional. But out of these interactions, comes change. Not the kind of change that makes headlines, but a more personal and profound shift in perspective.

These bereaved members, armed with the credibility of their loss and the uncommon path they have chosen, have opened a crack in the psyche of a hardened populous. They have begun to stir an awareness about the conflict that transcends history and politics. For many, it is the first time they have seen “the other side” as human.

The PCFF hopes for the day that political leaders reach agreement for peace. But they strongly believe that reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian people is essential to ensuring that peace is sustainable.

Our Team

Board of Directors

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Douglas Cooper, President
Douglas is currently Of Counsel to the law firm of Ruskin Moscow Faltischek where he has served as a senior partner, co-chair of the International Practice Group and a member of the Litigation Department and the Construction law practice group. He was named a Co-Managing Partner of the firm in 2002, a position he held until 2010 when he assumed the chair of the Litigation Department. Douglas graduated from Hamilton College, studied at the School of Political Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, received his J.D. Degree from Fordham Law School and an L.L.M degree from NYU Law School. He is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School.

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Jennifer Bellini
Jennifer is a former in-house Associate Counsel, Director, and Assistant Secretary for a GMAC financial services subsidiary and was the inaugural Counsel, Communications Director, and Corporate Secretary for the Homeownership Preservation Foundation. She has a lifelong passion for volunteering, community service, and continuous learning. She is also deeply committed to animal and conservation issues. Jennifer lives outside of Chicago with her husband, Scott. They have two adult children, Isabella and Alexander. Their brood at home currently consists of horses, dogs, cats, chickens, and bees.

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David Altschul
David lives in Los Angeles where he currently practices law part time in the entertainment industry, primarily in the music industry. He graduated from Amherst College, summa cum laude, and received a J.D. from Yale Law School. His career as an attorney within the music industry spans over 45 years, including 21 years at Warner Bros. Records, Inc, where he served as General Counsel and Vice Chairman. He has been an active member of various social justice oriented organizations, currently serving on the Board of Directors of People for the American Way (on which he served as the Board Chair in the past) and as Board Chair of Music to Life, founded by Noel “Paul” Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary and his daughter, Elizabeth. David has been married to his high school sweetheart, Margaret, for over 50 years; they have four children and four grandchildren. David’s other passions include: travel photography (he has visited over 70 countries and all 50 states), playing the bassoon in a community orchestra, reading and musical theater.

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Oz Benamram
Oz is the Chief Knowledge Officer for White & Case LLP International Law Firm. He is a globally recognized thought leader and a frequent speaker on legal technology and knowledge management subjects. Prior to joining White & Case in late 2008, Mr. Benamram was Firmwide Director of Knowledge Management and Head of the Israel Desk at Morrison & Foerster, and was a practicing lawyer until 2002. His practice focused on corporate and securities law. He received his BA in Economics from Tel Aviv University Faculty of Social Sciences, magna cum laude, and his LLB from the Tel Aviv University Law School in 1995. Mr. Benamram was a Major in the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a Tank Company Commander.


Dean Daniels, Treasurer
Dean is the Managing VP, Ombudsman at Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company. Prior to that he has held various senior positions at Roubini Global Economics, Seed Media, theglobe.com and CBS News.
Dean lives outside New York City and is married to Faith Daniels. They have three children; Andrew, Alyx and Aidan.


Lauren Glant
Lauren’s varied career combines law, education and consulting. After practicing as a litigator, she has taught at New York University Law School, Pace University School of Law and Brooklyn Law School, and now consults with nonprofits. Lauren is also active in the world of Brooklyn nonprofit institutions. On the board of Weeksville Heritage Center and the Wyckoff House Museum, she was also a trustee at Packer Collegiate Institute, chairing the Board’s Diversity Committee for six years, and chaired the Collections Committee at the Brooklyn Historical Society for a decade. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where she is a member of the Council on Presidential Initiatives, and Harvard Law School.

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Rabbi Juliana Karol
Rabbi Juliana Schnur Karol is Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom (CRS) in New York, NY. Among her responsibilities at CRS she is honored to serve as clergy liaison to the Israel Committee, an active group of congregants that supports Israel through grant-making and programming. Rabbi Karol attended New York University, earning her BA summa cum laude in Spanish Literature and Jewish History in 2008 and her MA in Jewish History in 2011. Prior to enrolling at HUC-JIR, she worked at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in Washington, DC and the Union for Reform Judaism in New York City. Juli grew up in Scarsdale, NY and now lives in Manhattan with her husband Adam and their two children.


Rabbi Shira Milgrom
Rabbi Shira Milgrom is one of the rabbis of Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY. She is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has academic training in a wide range of learning. Rabbi Milgrom is the author of articles on Jewish spirituality, education and healing. She has been the keynote speaker in major American conferences ranging from young leadership, women and feminism to issues facing the aging and the elderly.
Rabbi Milgrom is married to Dr. David Elcott and they are the parents of four children, and nine grandchildren.


Howard Sumka
Howard was a Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service with the U.S. Agency for International Development. From 2006-2010, he was based in Tel Aviv as director of USAID’s Mission to the West Bank and Gaza overseeing programs for Palestinian economic development and state building. He had previously been director of the USAID Missions to Albania and to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the CEO of the OneVoice Movement in 2011-2012 and is on the advisory board of Zimam, OneVoice’s Palestinian partner. He holds a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the USAID Administrator’s Distinguished Career Award.


David Wyler
David is Principal/VP, Advanced TV & Digital Video at IRI Worldwide, the leader in leveraging data and predictive analytics to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, retail, over-the-counter health care and media companies grow their businesses. David focuses on helping media sellers and advertisers utilize IRI data for advanced TV and video planning, targeting, activation, in-flight optimization and campaign measurement to help buyers and sellers maximize the value of their media investments and inventory. David is a graduate of Columbia Business School and Columbia College, Columbia University. He lives in NYC with his wife and daughter.


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Shiri Ourian
Executive Director

Shiri has been the Executive Director of the American Friends of the Parents Circle since 2013. Previously, she was Senior Consultant at BenOr Consulting, providing strategic communications and resource development consulting for progressive, non-profit organizations in Israel and the West Bank. Shiri launched her own business, Atlas Coaching and Consulting, which provides coaching and resource development services to the non-profit sector. She has a B.A. from Vassar College and a MPH from Hebrew University. Shiri is a certified coach by the International Coaching Federation. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three daughters.

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Christopher Beachy
Development and Communications Manager

Christopher has been with American Friends of the Parents Circle since 2016. Previously, he served as an AmeriCorps Public Ally in Des Moines, IA as the Project Coordinator for Polk County Decategorization, a project created by the Iowa State Legislature to assist local child welfare organizations in obtaining Iowa Department of Human Services and Juvenile Court Services funds. Much of his service term was focused on the creation of a special project to serve Des Moines’ diverse refugee population. Christopher earned his B.A. in Arabic and French from Indiana University. He lives in Goshen, Indiana.

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Lior Ben-Zvi
Development and Communications Coordinator

Lior has been with the American Friends of the Parents Circle since 2023. Previously, she served as Director of Camp Shomria and Manager of Community Relations for Toronto Ward 12. She has been working in Israel-Palestine education for nearly a decade and is happy to be with the PCFF team. Lior holds a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and French from Rutgers University, as well as a Fundraising Specialization from UC Davis. 

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