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Cohort I

 

Cohort I Profile

Cohort I is a diverse group of 19 educators. Participants range in age, affiliation, work experience, and areas of field interest.

Organizations represented: The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Camp Stone, Chabad, Hillel, Moshava, National Conference of Synagogue Youth, SAR Academy, Shalhevet High School, Temple Sinai (Washington D.C.), Yeshiva College Schools (South Africa), Yeshiva University, Young Israel.
 

New positions awarded to Cohort I members:

  • Hired as Director of Student Activities at a Jewish Day School in New York
  • Hired as Director of Student Activities at a Jewish Day School in New Jersey
  • Hired as educator at a Jewish elementary school in New York
  • Promoted from administrator to Executive Director of Synagogue
  • Promoted from supplementary school educator to Principal of Jewish Studies

 

Achievements:

  • Won the 2012 Jewish Futures Conference
  • Selected for the Repair the World fellowship
  • Selected as a Wexner Fellow
  • Book illustrated by cohort member recently published
  • Designed and implemented school wide change through mini-trainings developed for a variety of schools in South Africa

 

Cohort I Participants

 

Yoni Brander
Marc Fein
Gilad Friedman
Amanda Gelb
David Glazer
Rona Goldstein
Elyse Kumer
Eliana Leader
Hart Levine
Shani Malitzky
Sari Margolis
Yael Mendelson
Ben Rabinovitch
Eliezer Sneiderman
Max Socol
David Stein
Raizie Weissman


Yoni Brander

My name is Yoni Brander and I am a graduating senior at Yeshiva College in Judaic Studies and History as well as a MA student in Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate School. I have spent my summers in a variety of roles at Camp Stone including most recently as the Head of the Educational Staff (Rosh Chinnuch) and as the Division Head of the Outward Bound Experience for students going into 10th grade (Rosh Machal).


Marc Fein

Marc Fein graduated cum laude from Yeshiva University in 2007. Since then he served as a Presidential Fellow and Communications Associate for the Office of the President at Yeshiva University. He now leads the Upstate NY Region of NCSY and coordinates volunteer services for National NCSY.


Gilad Friedman

Gilad was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1985. After completing high school, he attended a Bnei Akiva gap year programme in Israel. Upon returning to South Africa he has remained actively involved in the community, both as a madrich as well as a youth leader for various shuls. Gilad worked full time as an informal educator in Cape Town for a number of years, after which he learnt at Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem. He is currently employed in Johannesburg as the Director of the YiD at Yeshiva College Schools. Gilad has recently completed a degree in Industrial Psychology and is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Training.


Amanda Gelb

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where she concentrated in Entrepreneurship and Social Strategy. She is passionately engaged in the power of social innovation to positively impact communities.

Amanda Gelb is fascinated by how to bring information to life. She has enacted imaginative programs with communities of all ages on topics such as social justice, literacy, and free choice. She has enjoyed implementing a food justice curriculum and panel at local Jewish high schools in Los Angeles and leading the youth programming at Canada’s largest synagogue. Amanda has worked extensively with youth from challenged backgrounds in expressing themselves through the arts. When Amanda is not volunteering or working, she is happily writing her children’s story.


David Glazer

David Glazer, teacher and experiential educator, has been working with and teaching students for over ten years. He currently works at SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY where he teaches Tanakh, Ivrit, and plans a variety of experiential educational programs. Over the course of his career, he has been privileged to plan and coordinate school-wide student led programs, such as a Hurricane Katrina relief effort to Mississippi, where he personally drove the truck with supplies. David plays piano, guitar, and drums, and has taught music in Camp Moshava, Indian Orchard, for the past ten summers. David received his BA in Special Education from the William Paterson University of NJ and an MSED in Educational Administration from Fordham University. He currently lives in Riverdale with his pediatrician wife Yardaena, and 4 children: Aura, Michael, Yonah, and Gilad.


Rona Goldstein

A native of Virginia, Rona is currently living in South Carolina with her husband Sanford and sons Ryan (9) and Mark (6). Rona has been a Regional Director for BBYO, Inc. for the past 6 years working primarily with teens in South Carolina and Georgia. BBYO is one of the world’s leading Jewish movements, convening and connecting teens of all backgrounds in the hope they will be inspired to live Jewish lives while making a difference in the world.


Elyse Kumer

Born and raised in Thornhill, Ontario, Elyse moved to Montreal in August 2010 to become Hillel Montreal’s Campus Coordinator. In 2008, Elyse completed her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University, and later attended University of Toronto where she graduated with her Masters of Social Work. Elyse can usually be found working with students in person, over the phone, via email or Facebook, to help them run awesome programs and events on their campus! In her spare time, Elyse loves decorating her new apartment, cooking, going for walks on Mount Royal, and discovering the many wonderful restaurants Montreal has to offer! Elyse is thrilled to be part of this innovative program and is excited to grow both personally and professionally.


Eliana Leader

Eliana Leader was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. After graduating high school she spent a year in seminary in Israel at Midreshet HaRova then went to University of Maryland – College Park, where she majored in Sociology and minored in Jewish Studies. In the last few years Eliana has taken several positions with Jewish organizations and institutions, amongst which was a fellow position on an Israel advocacy program with Hasbara Fellowships in 2005 and staff and counselor jobs at Moshava Stone in the summers of 2003 – 2007. Eliana is now back in Atlanta, working as the Executive Administrator of a Modern Orthodox shul, Young Israel of Toco Hills. She is also a Fellow for Birthright NEXT, the sister organization of Birthright Israel, which works with Birthright Alum and other young Jewish professionals in their 20s and early 30s on community development and personal Jewish growth. She is married to Yoni Kaplan, a YU graduate and fellow Atlantan.


Hart Levine

Hart Levine hails from Greenwich Village, NY and is one of 5 kids. After attending Ramaz, he spent a gap year studying at Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem and went on to the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in May 2010 with a degree in bioengineering. Among other roles in Jewish leadership and activism in college, Hart began a grassroots student movement called “Heart to Heart”, whose goal is to welcome and engage Jewishly uninvolved students into the fabric of Jewish life on campus. (It’s something like social engineering, which is something like bioengineering) He was the 2010 recipient of Penn Hillel’s inaugural award, for “innovative Jewish leadership, tireless dedication, and building a more inclusive Jewish community”, and was a 2011 NYC PresenTense Fellow. In his spare time, Hart loves playing guitar, meeting new people, and inviting them to Shabbat dinner.


Shani Malitzky

Shani Malitzky has been the Director of Student Activities at Yeshiva University High School for Girls for three years. This spring, she graduated from Queens College with a degree in English and a Psychology minor. She plans to pursue her MS in Jewish Education at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate Institute. 

Shani has a strong background in both formal and informal Jewish education. Having performed in and directed numerous shows and chorale performances, she has led seven consecutive winning performances in the All Girls Inter-Yeshiva High School Choir Competition in the Tri-State area and won the Annual “Kedma” Inter-Seminary Choir Competition in Israel. 

Shani lives in Kew Garden Hills with her husband, Aaron, a YC Graduate, and they are expecting their first child in the fall.


Sari Margolis

Sari Margolis—a recent graduate of Stern College for Women from Rockland County, New York—went to Bruriah High School and then spent a year and a half in Israel studying at Darchei Binah. At Stern, she majored in biology, minored in art, and participated in a joint program with F.I.T. to take courses in computer graphics and animation. Passionate about Jewish education, she has been a counselor and teacher for several summers in various camps and a devoted Hebrew School teacher for a few years. This past summer she ran uNight, a unique summer night program for girls. She is enrolled in Azrieli’s new accelerated Master’s program and plans to bring creativity, excitement, and good computer graphics to the field of Jewish education. Some of her hobbies include writing, drawing, acting, magic tricks, animation, photography, and licking cookie batter.


Yael Mendelson

My name is Yael Mendelson and I am a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where I studied History, Psychology and Secondary Education. After spending a year studying at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, I became active in Jewish education in Ann Arbor, as a religious school teacher and student leader at the University of Michigan Hillel. Through Hillel, I served as chair of the Orthodox minyan, secretary of the Executive Board, a Birthright bus leader, and co-founder of a program called Friday Night Learning, to engage Hillel’s diverse student body in peer-led, text based Jewish learning opportunities. I have spent a number of summers at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Camp Stone, where I will be working this summer as Rosh Chinuch, or head of education. Beyond education and Jewish programs, I am also interested in art, psychology, and dance. Next year, I am looking forward to working in a Jewish day school in New York, and continuing to expand my knowledge and experience in the world of Jewish education.


Ben Rabinovitch

Ben Rabinovitch, of Riverdale, New York, is currently studying in Yeshiva University as a sophomore, and is studying political science. He is planing on entering the field of international relations upon graduating.

Ben recently spent a year studying at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa in Israel, and before that he attended The Frisch School in Paramus New Jersey. Ben enjoys studying Tanach, bike riding, and is involved in Bnei Akiva.


Rabbi Eliezer Sneiderman

I was born in Norfolk Va. to naval family. Raised all over the country, I attended Milton Academy for high school. I graduated the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Non –Western Intellectual history and immediately got a job trading equity options on the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  After two successful years trading, I left to attend Yeshiva, finally receiving semicha from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Crown Heights. I continued my education at Yeshiva University graduating with a Masters in Social Work in 1999. In 2000 I was happy to be one of the first cohort of Joseph Reimer’s IJE institute through Brandeis. I am presently enrolled in the EdD program at Gratz College.

I am the Director of Chabad at the University of Delaware where I have had the pleasure to host one of the largest Birthright contingents in the country. In 2008 Chabad of Delaware led five full buses. Today, I work as an educational consultant for Mayanot birthright. I have planned and led numerous Shabbatonim and educational experiences for both high school and college students. 


Max Socol

I grew up in Greensboro, NC, with one younger sister, Robin. In 2008, I graduated from St. John’s College, a small “Great Books” school in Annapolis, MD. During school, I worked as a religious school teacher and bar mitzvah instructor at a handful of synagogues, from a large congregation outside of Baltimore to a 50-family, one-room shul on the southern edge of Maryland’s eastern shore.

After graduating I moved to Israel, where I worked as a freelance reporter and an intern at the Jerusalem Post. I stayed in Israel for about 10 months and then returned to the US to work as a unit head at Camp Ramah Darom, where I grew up as a camper. Eventually I found my way to Washington, DC, where I am currently the youth director for Temple Sinai.


David Stein

Originally from Skokie, IL, David Stein will be joining the Innovators Circle to help design a curriculum for teaching Judaic studies to Jewish high school students. After studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion for two years, David went on to study Pre-Engineering, Physics and Political Science at Yeshiva University, graduating from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College. In addition to his Rabbinic studies at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, David has received a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University. David has also been extensively involved in Jewish education, as a program director at Camp Moshava of Wild Rose, WI, as well as the Youth Director of the Young Israel of East Brunswick, NJ


Raizie Weissman

After high school, Raizie Weissman spent a year in Ramat Beit Shemesh studying at Tifferet Seminary. She then attended Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business and graduated Cum Laude in 2009. In addition to majoring in Marketing, she was also able to flex her creative muscles by working in the marketing and events team at JP Morgan during her last semester in college. Raizie was a Giveback fellow run by Azrieli, Yeshiva University’s graduate school for Jewish Education. As a “fellow,” she started teaching a beginner Judaism class at Shalhevet high school in Los Angeles to students who came from public school. In addition to this, she helped organize and lead all student activities.  

“Through the Certificate Program I have acquired new language and tools that have helped me to professionalize the work that I do at Hillel. The program has given me the opportunity to network with and learn from academics specializing in experiential Jewish education, which as a result has heightened my confidence and passion to pursue a career in this growing field.”
 
Elyse Kumer, Engagement Associate, Hillel House, Mcgill University (Cohort I)

 

“Under the guidance of amazing directors, peers and mentors in the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education, I have professionalized my passion for working in the Jewish community and helping others to explore their Jewish identity. Having this certificate has opened up many leadership opportunities for me, and has given me confidence in my role as both a partner in community building and a guide of meaningful Jewish experiences.”
 
Eliana Leader, Executive Director at Young Israel of Toco Hills, Atlanta, GA (Cohort I)