Local Real Estate Leaders Honored at Leonard Litwin New York City Real Estate Tree of Life™ Award Gala

NEW YORK, May 13, 2021 - Deborah E. Riegel, Partner, Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., Michelle Bernstein, President, Miter Construction, and paramedic Ari Rubinstein will be honored at Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) Leonard Litwin Real Estate Tree of Life™ Award Virtual Gala on June 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm ET. The prestigious award ceremony will recognize the tremendous accomplishments of these individuals for their professional and philanthropic contributions to the New York real estate industry. Founder of Douglaston Development Jeffrey E. Levine and David R. Greenbaum, Vice President of Vornado Realty Trust are the event’s honorary chairs.


The virtual ceremony will feature an intimate dialogue with Emmy-award winning actor, director, producer, and best-selling author Henry Winkler and Academy-award winning actress, producer, and activist Marlee Matlin.


As a senior member of Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., Deborah Riegel’s wide-ranging practice includes complex commercial lease and property disputes, construction disputes, and class action litigation over rent regulatory issues. She is also the President of JNF-USA’s New York Board of Directors, member of JNF-USA’s National Board of Directors, and the incoming Chair of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Task Force.


Named after Leonard Litwin, the New York Real Estate Mogul who is largely credited with building New York City’s residential real estate empire, the humanitarian award recognizes outstanding community involvement, dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and devotion to peace and security of human life.


“It is an incredible honor to be the recipient of this year’s Leonard Litwin Tree of Life Award. I have supported JNF-USA since I started planting trees for Tu BiShvat as a child and am thrilled that my professional connections brought me back. The New York real estate community is an incredibly dynamic community which knows how to improve and grow our city and state, just as JNF-USA does in developing Israel. Past honorees include some of the most prominent members of our community, and I am humbled and honored to join their company. To be considered worthy of joining their ranks is one of the most significant honors of my career,” said Riegel.


Michelle Bernstein, President, Miter Construction, a general contracting company that focuses on the interior renovation of commercial spaces, is the recipient of the JNF-USA Gregory A. Davis Leadership Award. The annual award was established in memory of Gregory A. Davis, the founder of JNFuture, JNF-USA’s young professionals division. The award is presented to young professionals aged 22-40 who are dedicated leaders with a passion for supporting the land and people of Israel. Michelle is a valued member of JNF-USA’s New York Board and Housing Development Fund Task Force, and the co-chair of JNF-USA Real Estate Cabinet.


“In 2008, a friend introduced me to JNF-USA by inviting me to one of its community real estate events. In 2011, I went on a JNFuture Leadership Institute mission to Israel. That’s when my eyes were really opened to how extensive JNF-USA’s footprint is in Israel and its impact. That was the impetus for me to get more involved,” said Bernstein. “I love that there are so many ways to get involved with JNF-USA. When you’re passionate about this type of philanthropic work, it brings extra meaning and creates a sense of fulfillment outside of your professional business responsibilities.”


Ari Rubinstein, a JNFuture New York Board Member and paramedic will be accepting an award in honor of frontline medical workers and first responders. Ari currently serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Incident Management Team under the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response. He began working at New York Presbyterian Hospital as an EMT from 2006-2013 and was later promoted to his present role as a paramedic. Ari has responded to worldwide disasters as a reservist for the National Disaster Medical System since 2008. A proud Zionist, Rubinstein also serves as the Vice President of JNFuture New York.


“I am excited to receive this award on behalf of first responders and healthcare workers,” said Rubinstein. “This year has been especially trying for this group of individuals who often do not seek or receive recognition.”

Event details:

What: The Leonard Litwin Real Estate Tree of Life™ Award Virtual Gala Honoring Deborah Riegel, Michelle Bernstein and Ari Rubinstein

When: June 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm ET

Where: Join the celebration at jnf.org/treeoflifenewyork

Questions? Contact Michael Feinman at mfeinman@jnf.org or Sarah Azizi at sazizi@jnf.org.



Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

561.447.9733 x 875



About Jewish National Fund-USA

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.