AUSTIN, Texas – eTN contributor and ambassador Dr. Peter Tarlow was named by Governor Greg Abbott as presiding officer of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, appointed to a term set to expire on February 1, 2019.
The Governor additionally appointed Lynne Aronoff and Pastor Becky Keenan for terms set to expire on February 1, 2019, and reappointed Peter Berkowitz and Alia Garcia Ureste for terms set to expire on February 1, 2017. The commission was established to ensure that resources are available to students, educators and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides.
Peter Tarlow, Ph.D., of College Station is the founder and president of Tourism & More, Inc., and a lecturer at Texas A&M University Medical School. He is also the director of the Center for Latino-Jewish Relations and Crypto-Jewish Studies that works to educate the Hispanic and Jewish communities about their shared history and lineage. He previously served as the Rabbi for the Texas A&M Hillel for thirty years and now holds the title of Rabbi Emeritus. As an expert on Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish history and literature, he lectures around the world. He also writes a monthly column for the Bryan Eagle and a weekly bilingual Torah commentary available through his various organizations.
Tarlow is the past president of the Texas Chapter of the Travel and Tourism Research Association. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and economic development. Tarlow has consulted on tourism development and security for the Hoover Dam, the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the U.S. National Park Service, the Smithsonian’s Institution Office of Protection Services, The Center for Disease Control, the Rio de Janeiro 2014 World Cup Games, the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, and the Panama Canal Authority.
He has contributed to numerous articles and books, but is the sole author of several books including Twenty Years of Tourism Tidbits: The Book, Event Risk Management and Safety, and Tourism Security: Strategies for Effective Managing Travel Risk and Safety. Tarlow received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from George Washington University. He was ordained as a Reform Rabbi and earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College. He received a Doctorate in sociology from Texas A&M University.
Lynne Aronoff of Houston is the former president of StoneNet, Inc. She is also a former first and second grade teacher at the Hebrew Academy in Houston. Prior to that, she was a third grade teacher for the Houston Independent School District. Aronoff is a board member for the Jewish Family Foundation, vice president of the Consular Women’s Club of Houston, officer and board member for the Jewish Family Service, board member for Citizenship Month of Houston, and honorary host committee member for the Aga Khan Foundation. She has previously served as a board member for the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. She has been recognized for her devout service as a recipient of the 2015 Shirley and Allen Becker Jewish Family Service of Houston Leadership Award and recipient of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston’s 1985 Esther and Nathan Falik Young Leadership Award. Aronoff received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Texas.
Becky Keenan of Pearland is senior pastor at Gulf Meadows Church. She is also the president of One With Israel which is an educational organization that coordinates with religious and secular leaders to strengthen the vital relationship between the United States and Israel. Keenan serves on the national council for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and is the city director for Christians United for Israel. She has been active with the Houston Bilingual Night to Honor Israel event, Wondrous Women’s Conference, Solidarity with Israel event, and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Keenan has traveled with numerous organizations to Israel including the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) Christian outreach delegation, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) Hispanic delegation, and the One with Israel Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation. She has also traveled around the world as a guest speaker to various conferences. She was born on a United States military base in Germany while her father fought during World War II. Keenan studied pedagogy at the Universidad de Puerto Rico. She also received an honorary doctorate from the Association of Evangelical Gospel Assemblies.
Peter Berkowitz of Houston is the former president and CEO of Continental Controls, Inc. He served honorably in the United States Army from 1957 – 1959. Berkowitz is currently an advisory board member of the Holocaust Museum of Houston, member of the Instrument Society of America and member of the Chemical Engineer Society of America. He has previously served as a trustee on the Executive Service Corps of Houston, trustee for the Holocaust Museum of Houston Foundation, board member for Hillel Texas, president of the Houston chapter of the Instrument Society of America, chairman of the Holocaust Museum Houston, advisory member for the National Science Foundation, and member of the Metallurgical Society of America. Berkowitz received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University and a took graduate classes toward a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.
Alia Garcia Ureste of El Paso is a managing member of Gateway Salvage and Recycling, LLC. She is also the owner of Gateway Lodge in Ft. Stockton. Previously, she has served as a staff nurse at Abilene Regional Medical Center. Ureste is a member of several organizations including Hadassah, Jewish Federation of Greater El Paso, Tejano Land Grant Society and the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. She serves as a board member for the Sephardic Anusim Cultural Heritage Resource Center and a board member for Congregation B’nai Zion Synagogue. Ureste is a former member of El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. Ureste received a certificate as a licensed vocation nurse through the Midland College Ft. Stockton LVN program. She earned an associate of applied science degree in nursing from New Mexico Junior College.