Historic Moment for Jewish Life and Leadership
Announcing the Harvard Chabad Endowment for Jewish Leadership
Thursday, September 22, 3:30 PM 
Aldrich 112, Harvard Business School

A $5 Million gift by Jackie and Omri Dahan endowing
The Jackie and Omri Dahan Harvard Chabad Jewish Chaplain

and the Dahan Fellowship for Jewish Leadership

Followed by:

Symposium on Jewish Leadership
A conversation with Alan Dershowitz, George Rohr, and Ruth Wisse
on Jewish ideas,
values, and identity
Moderated by Omri Dahan


Jackie and Omri DahanOmri has spent over 25 years as an operator, advisor and investor in startup companies, in industries ranging from consumer products to health care to consulting to fintech. Most recently, he led the commercial charge at Marqeta, a payments technology venture, from the first dollar of revenue until filing for its IPO in 2021. He earned his B.S. from UC Berkeley and MBA from Harvard Business School in 2001.

Omri feels deeply connected to the Jewish people and committed to the advancement of the State of Israel. Inspired by the unique legacy he received from his father’s family (Moroccan) and his mother’s (Romanian / Lithuanian), he is active in several organizations ranging from AIPAC, outreach to unaffiliated young Jewish professionals, Israel advocacy education for college students and in his own local community.

Jackie was raised in NYC where her deep love for Judaism and Israel were inspired early by her family and her attendance at Jewish day schools. She received her doctorate in Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Jackie has a private practice with a specialty in working with individuals impacted by chronic medical conditions and has been published for her work on trauma and resilience in cancer and more recently on work with patients during the COVID pandemic. Her most important job – being a mom to three middle schoolers – Maya, Jonah and Ezra – keeps her especially invested in the development of young Jewish leaders. 

Jackie and Omri are longtime friends of Chabad of Harvard. Omri first met Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi on Lag B’Omer 2001, at the original Chabad House at 38 Banks. Since then, Rabbi Zarchi and Elkie have been dear friends, and the Zarchis have been cherished spiritual mentors to both Omri and Jackie. Rabbi Zarchi was a witness at their wedding in Sonoma, and this past year the Zarchis made the trip to California to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Maya. 

They are deeply grateful for the opportunity to partner in the extraordinary work the Zarchis do every day on behalf of the Jewish people. 

Alan Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called one of the nation’s “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” an “international treasure,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort.” He has been named “the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion,” “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and America’s most “public Jewish Defender,”. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25, becoming a full professor at 28 – the youngest in the school’s history — and became an Emeritus professor after 50 years of teaching and 10,000 students.  At 81, he was the oldest lawyer ever to argue before the Senate in a presidential impeachment case, having made the constitutional arguments against removing President Trump.

Dershowitz has been called “one of the sharpest legal minds of all time,” “a masterful advocate,” the “winningest” criminal appellate lawyer in modern history and has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation and around the world. He was involved in many of the most significant legal cases and constitutional cases of the past half century, including the Pentagon Papers case, the Impeachments of Presidents Clinton and Trump, Bush v. Gore, Julian Assange, O.J. Simpson, Natan Sharansky, Nelson Mandela, Mike Tyson, Patricia Hearst, Michael Milken, Jeffrey Epstein, Mark Rich, Leona Helmsley and David Merrick. He has won the vast majority of his homicide and capital cases (approximately 23 out of 27) and has never lost a client to the death penalty. He devotes half of his practice to pro bono cases and causes.

Professor Dershowitz is the author of more than 40 non-fiction works and three novels with a worldwide audience, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Chutzpah and six other national bestsellers.  His autobiography, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law, was published in 2013. Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client was published in 2019. He has also published more than 1000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs. 

Dershowitz has lectured in venues throughout the world, including The Kremlin, The Knesset, The French National Assembly, The House of Lords, the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden, as well as at many of the world’s great universities.

Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said of him: “If there had been people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.”

George Rohr ‘76, MBA ‘78 is Founder and President of NCH Capital Inc. Since 1993 NCH has been investing across asset classes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union on behalf of its institutional clients.

George’s principal personal philanthropic foci have been the establishment of Chabad Houses across college campuses in North America, the revival of Jewish communal life in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and adult Jewish literacy writ large.

Ruth Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, Emerita, and the founding faculty advisor of Harvard Chabad. Prior to her Harvard career, she helped found the Jewish Studies Department at McGill University. Currently a senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund and recipient of its Herzl Prize, she has written widely on cultural and political subjects for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, National Affairs, and other publications. Her books include The Schlemiel as Modern Hero, The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Literature and Culture, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor, If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews, and Jews and Power. In 2007, she was awarded the National Medal for the Humanities, and in 2004, an Honorary Degree by Yeshiva University.