Irwin & Roberta Chafetz
Irwin and Roberta Chafetz have many years of experience both as successful entrepreneurs as well as philanthropists in the Greater Boston and Jewish communities.
Irwin has over 40 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in the travel, hospitality and trade show industries. He is past President and a Director of The Interface Group-Massachusetts, Inc., a privately held company that owned and operates GWV International, New England’s largest charter tour operator. He also served as President of Five Star Airlines, a charter air carrier in support of GWV. He was a Vice President and Director of The Interface Group-Nevada, which owned and operated the largest American trade show, Comdex, as well as other successful information technology events in the United States and around the world.
He was an owner of two major properties in Las Vegas, the Sands Hotel and Casino, and the adjacent Sands Expo and Convention Center, the largest privately owned facility of its kind in the United States; and he sold these Las Vegas interests in April of 1995.
Irwin is actively involved in the philanthropic community and serves on numerous Boards including the Wellness Community of Greater Boston, Hebrew College, the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, and he is a Trustee of the Hebrew Senior Life. In addition, he is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Boston University School of Management and a member of the Board of Trustees at Suffolk University. Irwin is also a member of Las Vegas Sands, Inc.
He is a graduate of Boston University Class of ’58 with a BA Degree and attended Syracuse University in ’60 & ’61. He was Vice President of AITS (Administrative Information Technology Services) and he is presently Vice President and Director of The Interface Group-Massachusetts. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston University and Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Stonehill College, Hebrew College, Suffolk University and Boston University.
Roberta was born and raised in Boston and attended Boston University but left to pursue the fashion industry. She was selected for the Executive Training Program at Jordan Marsh Co., where she became the youngest buyer in the chain’s history also receiving company recognition for achieving sales volume records.
After leaving Jordan Marsh to raise a family, she began designing high fashion hand knitted sweaters, which she produced and sold nationally (several of her creations appeared on hit TV shows such as “Dynasty” and “Matt Houston”).
In 1976, Roberta was struck with breast cancer. At that time she met another patient who was a musician and she saw the opportunity to pursue another passion, singing. She studied voice, worked on arrangements and performed with Troupin’s Troop, a group of singers who performed in Boston. She appeared in amateur productions and performed for several local civic organizations, while raising her children.
In 1983 she and neighbor, Arlene Gerstenblatt, decided to sell jewelry and their business, “Arlene & Roberta” has grown tremendously and enjoys a marvelous reputation in its 25th year.
As a result of her bout with Breast Cancer, in 2000 Roberta received the Gilda Radner Award presented by the Wellness Community, and served as Co-Chair of the Beth Israel Deaconess Celebration of Life in 2004 with her husband, Irwin; and in 2008, Roberta was honored by the Silent Spring Institute with the Rachel Carson Advocacy Award. She is an educated and outspoken advocate for Silent Spring Institute and its pioneering research as well as its work to inform women about environmental health issues.
Roberta and Irwin live in Brookline and they have two sons and five grandchildren.