Our Executive Director, Eileen Baitcher, is a paid professional and manages our organization from an office in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our Board of Directors consists of 23 members, including 18 seats from around the state serving three-year terms (representing their communities), and five past presidents with life terms. IJHS members vote to elect each Board member. The Board of Directors annually appoints our Executive Board, which consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Alan Gilbert of Fort Wayne, IN, has served as IJHS President since 2009. Alan was elected to the IJHS Board of Directors in 2005, and has previously served three years as its First Vice President. Community activities include presently serving his second term on the board of congregation Achduth Vesholom in Fort Wayne. Alan is a past president of the Southwest Allen County School Board. Alan attended public schools in Gary, Indiana where his family was a member of Temple Israel. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University and Indiana University School of Medicine. Alan has a dermatology practice in Fort Wayne.
Trent D. Pendley, 1st VP for the last 3 years, is a fine jeweler, writer and an advocate for social justice. Trent D. Pendley of Chesterton, IN. He previously served as the President of The Indiana Jewish Historical Society for six terms. He has been a member of the organization since he was age 18.
Trent has also served on the Board of Directors of UJA, JNF, Hillel-Arizona State University, Aviv, and the Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum in Greater Phoenix; The Greater Crown Point Chamber of Commerce, The Northwest Indiana Open Housing Center, The Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana and Temple Beth El in Odessa, Texas. He has also served in positions with the ADL, AJC, and B'nai B'rith. He is a member and board of director of Temple Israel in Miller Beach.
He is also on the ADL’s Upper Midwest Division’s Civil Right’s committee. He was a 1993 Leslie Wexner Heritage Foundation nominee; a columnist and former editor of the 'Illiana News.' He covered the historic Sadat visit to Jerusalem in 1977 when an Indiana University overseas studies student at the Hebrew University in Israel.
In 2004 his paper “The Jewish History of the Indiana Dunes Country, 1830-1950” was published in Indiana Jewish History and the only issue to be sold out hereto. He earned the Indiana Jewish Historical Society an Indiana Humanities Council Grant in 2005 for their display on Northwest Indiana at the Cultural Connections II exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center and for his “L’Dor V’Dor: Generation to Generation in the Indiana Dunes Country.” Trent’s display for the Cultural Connections III exhibit, “Soul of Region Women” and the IJHS’s “Women of Valor” earned a Genesis grant and has traveled to Munster, Beverly Shores and to Chicago.
Garry Mervis, 2nd Vice President. I have lived the majority of my life in Kokomo, IN. I have been a member of IJHS for many years.
I graduated from Murray State University with a History major. After college I joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. I later attended graduate school at Indiana State University in the Criminology program.
I worked for Marion County (IN.) as a Probation Officer for three years. I joined Mervis Industries in 1979 and was employed there for 26 years in the steel recycling business.
I have been a Board member of Howard County Vocational Education Committees since 1981. I have participated in the Volunteers For Israel (Sar-El) in the Hospital program over 15 times. I am a member of the Hartman Institute Lecture Series and a vibrant supporter of the Hapoel Tel Aviv Football (Soccer) Club.
David Piser, of South Bend, IN. He a life long resident of the Mishawaka/South Bend area, has been a member of the IJHS for many years. David has served as the IJHS Treasurer since 2005. David was a founding member of the Michiana Jewish Historical Society and is also their treasurer.
He has sat on the boards of the Jewish Federation of St. Joe Valley; YMCA of Michiana and as their President for two years; South Bend’s Sinai Synagogue, and Urban Youth Services Board.
A lifelong resident of Indiana, David attended Indiana University and also was honorably discharged from the Indiana National Guard after six years of service. He is the founder of Piser Enterprises in 1987, and retired when selling this company in 1998.
He was the treasurer of the B’nai Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in South Bend and with his late uncle, Mendel Piser, deeded the historic synagogue, erected by the Sons of Israel in 1901, to the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana in 2003.