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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Orren Alperstein, President

Trained in publishing and marketing, and currently a teacher of special needs preschool children, Orren is a founder and current president of the Canavan Foundation. As the mother of a child born with Canavan disease, she knows first hand the challenges that come with caring for, and losing, a child to the disease. These experiences inform her work as president of the foundation, inspiring her to work to both prevent and cure Canavan disease.  Watch the video of Orren and her husband Seth Gelblum talking about their experiences with Canavan disease.  


Pat HirschhornPat Hirschhorn, Vice President

In 1992, when the Canavan Foundation was formed, Pat made a commitment to work on behalf of widespread screening for Canavan disease, and she has been true to that commitment ever since. As co-chair of the benefit committee Pat has used her considerable organizational skills to help the foundation's annual theater benefits run smoothly and efficiently.



Lois NeufeldLois Neufeld (Emerita)

A past president of the Canavan Foundation, Lois was a tireless advocate for carrier screening. In 2005 Lois co-founded the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium, of which the Canavan Foundation is a member, to expand efforts to educate at-risk communities about all the diseases more prevalent in the Jewish community.



Deedy GoldstickDeedy Goldstick

Touched by the diagnosis of Morgan Gelblum in 1991, and moved as a result to dedicate herself to the prevention of Canavan disease, Deedy Goldstick has been an unflagging worker for the cause of genetic screening for over 21 years and a member of the Board since the start of the Canavan Foundation in 1992. Deedy performs many functions, including being Co-chair of the annual theater benefit and Treasurer of the Foundation.


Beth Zuriff

Beth Zuriff

One of Beth Zuriff's earliest New York memories is a Canavan screening at Mount Sinai hospital in 1995, soon after she and husband Laurence moved from Washington, D.C. A long-term supporter, along with her husband, of the Foundation, Beth joined the board in 2008, citing her feeling that this is a particularly promising time in the field of genetics: “We’re entering a new era of testing combined with genetic technology,” Zuriff says, “which presents the chance to reach a generation just entering their reproductive years. These days it's becoming much more mainstream to think about genetics. Every woman about to get pregnant buys What to Expect When You're Expecting, and starts taking vitamins. Genetic testing lets her cross one more thing off her list of worries.”

In Memoriam

Seth Gelblum (1954-2016)

Seth and his wife, Orren Alperstein - along with Orren's parents, Eileen and Arnold - founded the Canavan Foundation in 1992 after their daughter, Morgan Gelblum, was diagnosed with Canavan Disease. Seth’s energy and wise council were instrumental in the growth and success of the Canavan Foundation. As one of the nation’s foremost entertainment lawyers, he was a moving force behind the Canavan Foundation’s annual Theater Benefit, and his Q&A sessions with noted theater personalities were a highlight of the dinner before each year’s production.

Seth graduated from Wesleyan University and Georgetown University Law School. A partner at Loeb & Loeb LLP, Seth chaired the theater department, representing writers, producers, directors, performers and others involved in the theater, television, and film industries. Seth received numerous professional accolades throughout his life; most recently, he was a recipient of the 2016 Tony Honors for Excellence in Theater.

Alongside his dedication to his work, Seth was a loving and devoted husband, father, and friend. In addition to Canavan Foundation, he was deeply involved with Lawyers For Children and New Dramatists. 

Watch the video of Seth and his wife Orren Alperstein talking about their experiences with Canavan disease.

Arnold Alperstein

Eileen Alperstein

Rosalind Poss Rosen