Our Staff

Our staff represents a unique blend of talents, personalities, and world views
that help make us such a diverse and creative organization.


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Rabbi Raphael Shore

Founder & CEO

Raphael Shore, Jerusalem U Founder and CEO, is a rabbi, educator and filmproducer. He produced the 2016 mini-documentary about an Israeli-Ethiopiansoldier, Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew, and its 2015 predecessor, Beneaththe Helmet: From High School to the Home Front (rated one of Netflix's top fivemilitary movies), an inspiring coming-of-age film about five Israeli soldiers. Anotherof his productions is the powerful Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitismon Campus, which explores the proliferation of anti-Israel and anti-Semiticsentiments on North American college campuses. In 2012 he launched the PBS-featured, film, Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, about contemporary Israel and its global contributions. All his films serve as pillars ofJerusalem U's Israel and Jewish curricula. FULL BIO >

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Dina Rabhan


Dina Rabhan is the President of Jerusalem U. Formerly, Dina worked as an educational consultant supporting more than 200 Jewish Day Schools across the globe in North America, Australia, Russia, UK,  and South America. As the Associate Executive Director of the YU School Partnership, Dina led the strategy and business development, strategic partnerships, and fundraising and development initiatives. She holds an LMSW from Rutgers University and after completing all of her coursework, she is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Education.

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Bruce Konners


Bruce is the Chief Financial Officer of Jerusalem U. Bruce also serves as the President of Envision Asset Management (Florida), an investment financial advisory firm. Previously, Bruce was P/CFO/VP of Party Supermarket, Inc., which was the largest franchisee of Party City. He also worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Andrea Gottlieb

Executive Director

Andrea is the Executive Director of Jerusalem U. In this capacity, Andrea coordinates strategic partnerships with organizations across the US. She works closely with Jewish youth groups, camps, schools, JCCs, Jewish conference series, organizations, Jewish Federations and others. Her professional background is in marketing and advertising. Today, Andrea serves on the board of multiple organizations, including Jewish National Fund Philadelphia, Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy and Jewish Federation Woman’s Division. Andrea holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.


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Lior Krinsky

New York Regional Director

Lior is the New York Regional Director of Jerusalem U. In this position, Lior develops relationships with Jerusalem U partner organizations located across the greater New York, Connecticut and Northern New Jersey area. On the national level, Lior provides programmatic support for Jerusalem U curricula, hosts events and film screenings and works with synagogues, youth groups, Jewish schools and community centers to implement Jerusalem U’s innovative programming. Previously, Lior worked with The David Project as a Middle East Analyst and Educator and University Relations Manager. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree from The George Washington University in International Affairs and two Master’s degrees from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership.
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Chloé Valdary

Director of Partnerships & Outreach, Shillman Fellow

Chloé Valdary is the Director of Partnerships & Outreach at Jerusalem U. Chloé was named one of the top 100 people positively affecting Jewish life by Algemeiner and was a Tikvah fellow under Pulitzer Prize-winner Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal. Her outspoken defense of Israel, and championing of the Jewish people, can be seen in Jerusalem U videos, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Tablet Magazine, Huffington Post, Israel Hayom, The Daily Beast, Al Jazeera + and others.
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David Coleman

Director of Distribution and Strategic Relationships

David is Director of Distribution and Strategic Partnerships at Jerusalem U. In this position, David promotes and distributes Jerusalem U films and programs to broad audiences. He has been instrumental in devising and implementing distribution strategies for Jerusalem U feature films and developing strategic partnerships with individuals, organizations and festivals to introduce the films to millions of viewers worldwide. David is a filmmaker who brings more than 17 years’ experience in the Entertainment and Media Industry to Jerusalem U. He has worked for some of Hollywood's leading production companies, including Warner Bros. TV, and has served as producer, director, and distributor on numerous productions shown on networks including PBS and Comcast. His award-winning documentary film, Blindsided, premiered on HBO. David holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign.
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Sarah Ovadia

New England Executive Director

Sarah Ovadia is the Executive Director of Jerusalem U for New England, USA. In this region, she oversees fundraising and donor and community events, including major preview screenings of our feature films. Sarah has over 25 years of major gift and strategic development experience. Prior to joining Jerusalem U, Sarah spent over twelve years as the Director of Major Gifts at Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly. Additionally, she was the Vice President of Strategy and Development at Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Boston​.​ Sarah worked for CJP, Boston's Jewish Federation for 6 years. ​She holds​ ​a Master’s Degree from Brandeis University​ ​and a Bachelor of the Arts​​ ​in Marketing and Advertising from the State University of Buffalo.
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Hadara Ishak

Vice President of Distribution

Hadara is Vice President of Distribution for Jerusalem U. Based in Atlanta, Hadara develops strategic relationships with organizations and markets Jerusalem U feature films and film courses worldwide. Hadara has been instrumental in building partnerships with media outlets, federations, communities, leaders and youth, and works with many Israel advocacy initiatives. Through her efforts millions of people have seen JU’s films on North American TV, and there have been screenings in 28 countries around the world. Prior to JU, Hadara had a clothing manufacturing business, and is a partner in a real estate development company. Hadara was co-founder of Chaver L’Chayal, “Friend of a Soldier” and sits on the boards of FIDF in Atlanta and the Counsel of Birthright Foundations.

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Rabbi Brad Yellen

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Brad Yellen is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Jerusalem U, where he works to expand the organization's educational impact in the West Coast. Previously, Brad served as the Executive Director of JAM/Ashreinu, a leading Jewish engagement organization, where he channelled his talents to enhance the lives of Jews from all backgrounds. He gained business and leadership experience working as a young entrepreneur, corporate fast-tracker, world traveller and collegiate track and field captain. Brad is a Minnesota native and a graduate of Carleton College.
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Zeev Ben-Shachar

Director of Israel Education

Zeev Ben-Shachar is Jerusalem U's Director of Israel Education. He oversees curriculum development and is Senior Educator for the JU Israel Gap Year Program, a leadership development program for post-high school students studying in Israel. The course – taught in over 20 schools to 500 students – provides a comprehensive foundation of Israel-related knowledge and addresses the issues at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Zeev lectures widely at synagogues, youth movements, Jewish federations, college campuses and national and international conferences, in Israel and abroad, in English and Hebrew. He has a BA in Psychology from Harvard – later teaching there and receiving a certificate of distinction for teaching – and a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University. He was a soldier and commander in the IDF’s Sayeret Givati Brigade. Among his many talents, Zeev is also a spinning instructor and personal fitness trainer in Jerusalem. He has even combined his passions in a “Spinning Through Israel Course,” in which he takes students on a virtual cinematic tour of Israel while both teacher and class are pedaling on their spinning bikes!
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Adina Schonfeld

Director of Recruitment and Campus Relations

As Director of Recruitment and Campus Relations, Adina oversees student recruitment for Jerusalem U in the US and Canada. In this position, Adina promotes Jerusalem U on campus, liaises between students and serves as a reference for students enrolled in online film-courses. Additionally, Adina organizes information sessions and events on college campuses to advertise Jerusalem U’s online educational programs and advocacy initiatives. Adina also oversees Jerusalem U student recruiters on campuses across the country. Adina has developed strategic partnerships with Jewish student organizations located on college campuses, including Hillel, AEPi, MEOR, Jewish Awareness Movement (JAM), Hasbara Fellowships, MASA and others.
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Wayne Kopping

Film Director

Wayne is Director, Editor and Co-Writer for many Jerusalem U film productions. Wayne directed and edited Israel Inside: How A Small Nation Makes A Big Difference, and produced Jerusalem U's latest film, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front, released in 2014. Wayne's work has been featured on CNN Headline News and Fox News, in The New York Times and countless other publications and blogs.
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Baruch Goldberg

Writer, Producer

Baruch is a Writer for Jerusalem U. He has written for several Jerusalem U feature films, including the critically-acclaimed film, Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, which was released in 2011. Most recently, Baruch was involved in writing Jerusalem U's newest upcoming film, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front, which documents the lives of several young Israelis serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Baruch received a Bachelor's in Fine Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University and spent several years working in Chicago theatre.

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Roz Kozak

West Coast Director

Roz is the West Coast Director of Jerusalem U. In this position, Roz develops relationships with Jerusalem U partner organizations and individuals across the greater Los Angeles area, promoting Jerusalem U films and educational programs. She is also in charge of organizing screening events and working with synagogues, college campuses, Jewish schools and community centers to implementJerusalem U’s innovative programming. Previously, Roz worked for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She attended the Boston University School of Communication where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Film & Television and minored in Judaic Studies.
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Chava Kott

Content Marketing Specialist

Chava is an Educational Writer at Jerusalem U. She develops and writes curricula, educational products and films that educate about and inspire a connection with Israel and Judaism. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the Jerusalem U team, Chava worked as a social worker with at-risk youth, both in the US and Israel, and at the Heritage House Jerusalem Hostel.
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Alan Goldman

Senior Israel Educator

Alan Goldman is a Senior Israel Educator at Jerusalem U. He oversees the Jerusalem U Oz Fellowship, an elite training program for Israel activists. Alan also teaches approximately 400 students as part of the Jerusalem U Gap Year Program, an Israel education and leadership development program for post-high school students studying at some 15 gap-year institutions in Israel. Prior to joining Jerusalem U, Alan worked in formal and informal Jewish education in Israel programs for 25 years, serving on the senior faculty for a number of organisations, including Young Judaea Year Course, Ramah Israel Programs, JRoots, and Heritage Seminars. Alan moved to Israel from Philadelphia, PA in 1989 after completing a BA from Clark University in Sociology and Jewish Studies. He later went on complete a Master’s Degree in Jewish History and to receive Rabbinic Ordination in Jerusalem.
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Jeana Rivkin

Fundraising and Development Coordinator

Jeana Rivkin is the Development Coordinator at Jerusalem U. In this capacity, she manages donor relations, grants and proposal submission and oversees the fundraising team. Jeana also serves as personal assistant to Jerusalem U Founder and CEO. Before joining the Jerusalem U team, Jeana interned for the Jewish Agency for Israel in the Israel department’s resource development and marketing division and for the Jewish Communal Service Association. She holds a Masters in Social Work with a focus in Community Organization.
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Ryan Lifchitz

Film Editor

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Tania Fraenkel

Director of Operations, Marketing & Distribution

Tania Fraenkel is Jerusalem U's Director of Operations for the Marketing and Distribution Division. Holding a BSC (Econ) Hons in International Relations from the London School of Economics, Tania worked as a Research Analyst specializing in Islamic fundamentalism beyond the Middle East and in administrative posts in a number of non-profit organizations in the Jewish community in London. In 2002 she founded the UK branch of the OneFamily Fund which assists victims and survivors of terror in Israel. In Israel, Tania established and managed a successful carpentry business before returning to the non-profit world.
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Simone Katz

Chief Marketing Officer

Simone is the Chief Marketing Director at Jerusalem U. She has spent the last 15 years in the for-profit world of advertising. Most recently, she managed an international multidisciplinary team for a small New York City-based agency, and oversaw campaigns targeted at young adults in the US. She is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to support the Jerusalem U mission. Simone wishes she had had a resource like Jerusalem U when she was a student at Columbia University. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three children.
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Nechama Abramson

Senior Associate, Marketing and Distribution

Nechama is a Senior Associate of the Marketing and Distribution Division at Jerusalem U. She graduated with honors from Bar Ilan University with a BA in Political Science and Communications with a specialization in marketing and advertising.
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Rebecca Shore

Creative Director

Rebecca is a writer for Jerusalem U's documentary films, including the widely viewed documentary, Israel inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference. This award-winning film was screened on PBS to audiences across the United States. Rebecca is an artist, educator and lecturer and speaks to audiences internationally. She studied at Vassar College and received a degree in Psychology from the State University of New York.
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Esther Mendlowitz

COO, Israel

Esther is COO of Jerusalem U's Israel Offices. Before joining Jerusalem U, Esther spent 12 years in magazine and book publishing, serving as Editor-in-Chief of several national magazines, as well as editor of a dozen books on Jewish subjects. For the last eight years, she has also served as an educator and counselor in seminaries around Jerusalem. Esther holds a BA in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from the University of Florida.

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Tzvi Gluckin (Rabbi)

Director, JU MAX

Tzvi is the Director of JU Max, a Jerusalem U online learning initiative for college students. He is the author of four books, including "Everything You Want Is Really Jewish" and "Knee Deep in the Funk: Understanding the Connection Between Spirituality and Music". He is an accomplished musician and his most recent album, (MiMi), was released in 2013. He served in the Israeli Army, holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music and received his Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Noah Weinberg ztz'l.
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Yitz Brilliant

Film Director

Yitz is a Film Director at Jerusalem U. He is involved with the development and production of Jerusalem U feature films and educational videos, including Habits of Happiness (formerly Positive Psychology and Judaism) and Jerusalem U's newest Jewish leadership film course. Previously, Yitz worked as an independent filmmaker and ran his own production company, Brilliant Productions, producing documentaries, commercials and promotional videos. He has written and directed award-winning films screened at film festivals internationally, including one film that won the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award and another that was a finalist in the Students Academy Awards. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama and a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University.
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Michael Unterberg

Israel Educator

Michael has been an educator for over 20 years. He was a founding member of the Torat Tzion Kollel movement in Cleveland, Ohio, where he and his wife Dara taught in and helped create the curriculum of the Fuchs Mizrachi School. Michael was the lead educator for ICNext, a training program for the broader Jewish Community in Cleveland. He was also a creative consultant the the Cleveland Playhouse. Michael studied philosophy in and received smicha from YU. Michael and Dara have five children and live in Efrat.
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Sara Rivka Pincus

Web & IT Associate

Sara Rivka is Jerusalem U's Web and IT Associate. She specializes in the implementation of Salesforce.com, a customer relationship management system that records all of the data for Jerusalem U's many projects. She has been the Database Administrator for Jerusalem U since its inception, catering to the changing needs of the dynamic organization.
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Francine Elgart

Assistant/PA President

Francine is the Personal Assistant to Jerusalem U's President. In this role, Francine supports the President’s agenda and assists JU staff members and volunteers in the areas of operations, fundraising, communications and special events. Francine is a life-member of Hadassah and an active member of her synagogue Sisterhood, where she has held various positions. She is a former owner of a confection company. Francine holds a Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University.

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Beth Austin Mischel

Associate Director of CORE18

Beth is the Associate Director of CORE18, a project of Jerusalem U and new venture in Jewish social entrepreneurship. Beth combines a long history of work on Wall Street with an abiding commitment to Jewish social activism. She managed portfolios, major projects, and teams for financial service corporations like Goldman Sachs and Alliance Bernstein. Beth has also served on the Board of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and was a regular Torah reader and organizer of the synagogue’s women’s prayer group. Beth worked as a coordinator of an Art and Music Appreciation curriculum for children in Jewish day schools in the US, and an English Studies curriculum for junior high school students in Israel. She also assists her husband, Ken, with his start-up venture - a comprehensive, automated pension-advice solution for the global market. Beth received her B.S. Degree in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell University, attended Albany Medical College, and completed a CFA certification.
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Alex Meyler

Creative Manager

Alex is Creative Manager for Jerusalem U. In this role, Alex is responsible for the Jerusalem U graphic design team; designs graphics for the Jerusalem U website, film landing pages, and brochures; and has most recently been charged with designing the webpage and marketing materials for Jerusalem U's newest upcoming film, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front. Previously, Alex worked as a graphic designer for ICTS Europe Systems, a flight security company, where he designed the company's marketing materials, web page, e-learning lessons and GUI graphic interface for PC and Tablet technologies. Alex holds a Bachelor's of Design degree in visual communications from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem.
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Julea Gasner

Development Assistant

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Goldie Goldberg

Production Manager

Goldie is the Production Manager for the Film and Education Department at Jerusalem U. In this position, Goldie follows film and educational products from their creative phase to their completion. She manages project work flow and scheduling, coordinates film shoots nationally and internationally and assists with DVD production. Goldie has been part of the Jerusalem U team for five years. She holds a Bachelor's degree in liberal arts.
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Aviva Isenberg

Senior Graphic Designer

Aviva Isenberg will be joining the JU team as Senior Graphic Designer for the United States. She spent a year in Israel before college on USY's Nativ program, and graduated Drexel University in Graphic Design in 2011. She has since worked in retail packaging & food marketing as a Senior Designer. After a summer internship in the nonprofit sector, she knew that the nonprofit world was for her. She grew up first in Portland, OR and then Milford, CT, and has lived in the Philly area since graduating from college. She is extremely excited to get back to her roots and work in the Jewish community, and can't wait to help expand Jerusalem U.

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Regan Weiss

Distribution Associate

Regan Weiss is JU’s Distribution Associate, serving as a liaison between universities and organizations and coordinating event logistics. Originally from Cleveland and now in Philly, Regan has a BA in Human Resources from The Fisher College of Business at Ohio State. She has worked as a career coach and in HR for a communications company.
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Erika Perilstein

New York Assistant Director

Erika (Shaid) Perilstein is the New York Assistant Director, working under New York Regional Director, Lior Krinsky. Erika graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Sociology and Community Action Social Change. After graduating, she spent her gap year in Israel studying at Midreshet Rachel V'Chaya Seminary in Jerusalem. She is eager to build off her university experiences and passion for Jewish life to help make an impact in the New York region.
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Jenna Wilkin

Distribution Associate

Jenna, originally from San Francisco, then Cleveland and now Los Angeles, graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Psychology and Marketing and has a Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts. In the past, she has worked for IDT, SpeedDating, Maalot, United Jewish Appeal and Aspire Careers.
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Micah Smith

Executive Producer and Director, Short Films

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Steven Perlin

Executive Assistant

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Jasmine Esulin

Executive Assistant

Jasmine is an Executive Assistant at Jerusalem U. After high school, she spent a year learning at Midreshet HaRova and then attended Bar-Ilan University where she received her bachelor's degree in Communications and Political Science. She worked for CAMERA as a Communications Associate. Jasmine grew up in Los Angeles but is now living in Jerusalem.
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Gabriela Mischel

Project Manager

Gabriela (Gabi) Mischel is a producer of short films and a production manager at Jerusalem U. Her work includes the Hear Me Roar series, and Chloe and Renny's epic 24 hours in Israel. Prior to joining JU, Gabi worked as a certified pastry chef. When not working or baking, Gabi is an avid reader.

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Sara Frohwein

UX/UI Designer

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Tova Dworkin

Partnerships Associate

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Gilad Takoni

Front End Developer

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Aaron Rosenberg

Marketing Associate & Assistant to Creative Strategist