Irwin has garnered a reputation as a conscientious businessman that seeks out opportunities to both aid businesses and the global good.
Before Irwin was a businessman he was a father and a rabbi. As a father of eight, Irwin wants to see his children (and 19 grandchildren) inherit a world that is on its way to a more peaceful and harmonious future. As a rabbi, Irwin believes that people have a responsibility to be kind and compassionate to each other. These are the foundations of Irwin’s business philosophy.
Irwin Katsof was the Co-Leader of the U.S. Commerce department 2008 Trade Mission to the Republic of Georgia with Under Secretary of Trade John Sullivan, US Trade Representative Larry Walther and Director of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Robert Mosbacher Jr.
In 2010 Irwin Katsof was the Co-leader of a US Commerce Department Trade Mission to Belarus.
Since 2010 he has been a member of the Board of Directors of IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK:IDWM) IDW Media Holdings is a fully integrated media company which includes the award-winning IDW Publishing, IDW Games, IDW Entertainment, Top Shelf Productions, the San Diego Comic Art Gallery and CTM Media Group, a subsidiary of IDW Media Holdings. CTM Media Group is one of North America’s largest distributors of tourism information. Distributing over 100 million brochures last year, STM’s comprehensive visitor out of home marketing network includes over 14,000 brochure information displays and 400 award winning touch screen kiosks. Katsof is a member of the Audit Committee and the Chairman of the Compensation Committee.
In 2011, he was appointed by US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative to be one of ten national energy executives to serve on the US Commerce Department Trade Advisory Board (ITAC 6) to advise the United States Government on International Energy Trade Policy.
In 2012 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Genie Energy (NYSE-GNE). Genie Energy Ltd. is an energy company headquartered in Newark, NJ. It is a holding company comprising IDT Energy, a retail energy provider, and Genie Oil and Gas, which controls the company’s ventures in oil shale research and development in Colorado,Mongolia and Israel. Members of the strategic advisory board include former Vice President Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch.
In 2012 he formed Katsof Consulting and organized the first ever “Alternative Investing in Alternative Energy” U.S. Department of Commerce, Private Equity and Venture Capital Certified Trade Mission to Germany.
In 2012 he became an advisor to Forbes & Manhattan, a multi national natural resource exploration company, to assist in the raising of capital worldwide.
In 2013 he organized the first ever Certified Trade Mission to Israel hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to help U.S. private equity, venture capital funds and real estate funds raise investments from the leading Israeli Institutions.
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In 1982, he moved from Jerusalem’s Old City to Los Angeles with his bride of 10 days, Judy, to establish what became a world-class model for Jewish adult educational programs. Among these was the cutting-edge “Twenty Something” seminar which was featured on the front-page of the Los Angeles Times View section and which has been copied around the globe. In 1992, he was ordained as a rabbi, and in 1994 organized the largest-ever international satellite broadcast in the Jewish world called “Help Our People Know,” to bring attention to the plight of Jews in the former Soviet Union who had been denied knowledge of their heritage under the communist regime. Vice President Al Gore, Simon Wiesenthal, Sumner Redstone and Jeffrey Katzenberg took part in the broadcast, which reached ten countries on four continents.
In 1995, Katsof founded the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah, and shortly thereafter relocated to New York with his wife Judy and eight children in tow. He served as its Executive Vice President until mid-2004 and thereafter as a Board Member.
He recruited countless senior level Officers of Fortune 1000 Companies and our nation’s political leadership for his high-level Jerusalem Fund missions to Israel and Jordan between 1996 and 2004, including former Commissioners of the FDA Mark McLellan and Andrew Von Eschenbach, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Governors Rick Perry, Tommy Thompson, Bill Owens, Christine Todd Whitman, Senators Harry Reid ,Orrin Hatch, John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, past House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Lady Margaret Thatcher, former Secretary of Housing Henry Cisneros and Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, as well as numerous business leaders, among them National Semiconductors’ Brian Halla, Chairman of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Barry Sternlicht, Starbucks’ Chairman Howard Schultz, founder of AOL James Kimsey, and Coors Brewery Chairman Pete Coors.
His creative, soft-spoken approach attracted many celebrities and business leaders to explore their Jewish roots. CNN’s Larry King, actors Kirk Douglas, Elliot Gould, Jason Alexander, Rod Steiger and William Shatner, as well as business magnates, AOL Time Warner Investments President Len Leader, and Dean and DeLuca Chairman Les Rudd are among the many that Katsof inspired to get involved in Jerusalem Fund programs.
That same year, he also launched “Words Can Heal,” a nationwide campaign to strengthen America through the power of words. As Executive Director, he oversaw the fastest and highest profile media launch of a non-profit organization ever. “Words Can Heal” was featured on over 100 national TV shows, including Oprah, Fox, CBS and ABC primetime news, as well as in 150 leading media outlets – among them the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today – and in an exclusive National Press Club event hosted by Goldie Hawn and broadcast live on C-SPAN and NPR.
On top of all of these accomplishments, he has authored three books between 1998 and 2001, and is currently working on his fourth. In 1998, he co-authored with Larry King,Powerful Prayers: Conversations on Faith, Hope and the Human Spirit with Today’s Most Provocative People, which was ranked the tenth best-selling religious book of the year according to Publishers Weekly. His second book, How to Get Your Prayers Answered, was published in 2000 and reissued in 2002. His third, The Words Can Heal Handbook: How Changing Your Words Can Change Your Life, was released in 2001. His fourth book – a memoir tentatively entitled A Time of Living Dangerously: Trying to Get Rich While Staying Connected to God – is in progress.
In 2005, he went on to found the World Congress of Christians, Jews and Muslims, an organization with a mission to harness the spiritual power and religious wisdom of these faiths in the service of universal peace and tolerance.
Later that year he established Global Capital Associates, a networking and consulting firm dedicated to initiating international partnerships and creating strategic alliances. Global Capital Associates assisted Israeli and Central/Eastern European start-ups in finding US investors and strategic partners, and developed investment banking relationships by capitalizing on an elite, worldwide contact network spanning a diverse range of industries – from defense to high-tech, from the life sciences to finance. Katsof arranged for AOL Investments to make their first strategic investments in Israeli companies. As a result, AOL Investments took an equity position in Dealtime.com, which later went public as Shopping.com and in Gurunet.com, which became Answers.com and also had a successful IPO.
He was a Founding member of the Board of Directors of IDT Entertainment from 2003-2006.
In 2006, he received his Series 7 Financial Certification.
In 2014, he enrolled in a four-year program to become a Certified Core Energetics Practitioner. Developed by John Pierrakos, MD., Core Energetics is a marriage of Body Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development. The work brings consciousness to how we block our energy and recreate defense patterns adapted in childhood that keep us limited and disempowered. He is also completing a specialty in marriage therapy.
Irwin Katsof lives with his family in Monsey, New York. He has nineteen grandchildren, seventeen of whom live in Israel.