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Mike is passionate about social justice, Israel, community building, and making real, tangible impact, all things that led him seven years ago to create the Young Leadership Group as a volunteer effort for the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart, which now has chapters throughout the U.S. Mike works as the Vice President of United Hatzalah of Israel, overseeing the US and Canadian offices of the organization and international development. After graduate studies at Columbia focused on better understanding of the Middle East, Mike has worked with a number of Israeli-based NGOs that are committed to improving Israeli society and helping save lives, as well as serving on the Board of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents. Mike is excited to participate as a Convener for Resetting the Table because he is launching a new Giving Circle that will focus on facilitating conversation around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and making grants to organizations that help those affected by the conflict.
Cheryl has twenty five years of leadership experience as a leader, manager, fundraiser and program planner in the Jewish community. Eight months ago, she joined Avodah as Executive Director – and has been enjoying learning about the incredible impact Avodah has had on building leadership capacity for the Jewish and social justice communities. Before joining Avodah, she was Chief Operating Officer at Hazon for nine years, helping Hazon grow from a small national organization with 6 staff and a $650k budget in one city to a much larger organization with close to 80 staff and a budget that is over $8 million, based in 8 cities. She’s worked across the innovative sector of the Jewish community – at Makor, New Israel Fund, JESNA, Hillel and the 92nd Street Y. She is passionate about creating a vibrant Jewish community that opens doors, engages people from across all backgrounds and plays a significant role in making the world a more just and caring place for everyone. Aside from her professional work, she serves on the boards of Habonim Dror Camp Naaleh and the PS/MS 282 PTO. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two sons, within an incredible village of family and friends. Why is she doing the Fellowship? This is one of the most fraught conversations in the Jewish world – which means it’s either avoided or it is explosive – and she is interested in creating safe space for an inclusive conversation.
Yael Lewis grew up in the United States, where she was active in various volunteer projects in her community, including Young Judaea, Hadassah and J-serve. She immigrated to Israel in 2008 and served as a sergeant in the IDF forces. Yael worked and traveled in various countries and developed her passion for languages and cultures. Yael received her bachelor’s degree in Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy from the Raphael Recanati Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Israel. Yael was co-manager and instructor in a non-profit organization that gives aid to those serving in the IDF. She also volunteered with Holocaust survivors living in Israel. She is interested in international relations, public policy and diplomacy, and speaks English, Hebrew, Spanish, and basic Arabic. As the Westchester Community Shlicha (Israel emissary), Yael has the ability to facilitate outreach to many different and diverse groups and to conduct conversations about Israel. She has chosen to participate in the Resetting the Table fellowship as a convener in order to improve on the level of debate and discussion regarding Israel in the community she is serving and beyond.
After graduating from Law School, Orly received an LLM with a specialization in conflict resolution and worked for seven years as a District Attorney in Tel-Aviv with a specialization in criminal law. Upon studying at Beit Midrash Kolot, she decided to leave her legal career to influence Israeli society in the area of social justice. In the framework of Tehuda: The School for Jewish Leadership, she launched a new program called “Opening the Lines” at Memizrach Shemesh, an organization that applies traditional Jewish principles of social justice to modern Israeli society today. Before coming to Brooklyn, Orly was a founding director of Neve Schechter, a center for Jewish culture in Tel Aviv, and the board chair of Shaharit – Creating Common Cause, a group that aims to generate a new vision for Israeli society. Orly also served on the board of an Israeli water corporation, specializing in governance issues relating to corporate social responsibility. As the director of the UJA-Federation of delegation of shlichim, Orly acts as the ongoing link between the shlichim and UJA-Federation, and plays a role in UJA-Federation with regards to broader shlichut issues.
Susan Heller Pinto is Associate Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s International Affairs Division and Director of the Department of Middle Eastern Affairs. In this capacity, she evaluates and interprets international issues and events and develops ADL positions and programs on these matters. She serves as a liaison to the Jewish community, media and government on issues such as global anti-Semitism, Israeli-Arab relations, U.S.- Israel relations and efforts to delegitimize Israel. Ms. Heller Pinto joined ADL in 1993. She has written numerous publications for ADL, including “Israel: A Guide for Activists” as well as comprehensive analyses of the Arab-Israeli conflict and peace process, global anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, and other international issues. These reports have been widely distributed to the media, Congress, public officials and throughout the Jewish community. Ms. Heller Pinto received a Masters of International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she also earned a certificate from the Middle East Institute. A native of Toronto, Ms. Heller Pinto holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto, where she studied history and political science. She lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two children.
Sara Zebovitz currently serves as the Mazkira Klalit (loosely translated as Director) of Habonim Dror North America. A Philadelphia-area native, she spent time as an English for Speakers of Other Languages tutor for the School District of Philadelphia and was the Director of Habonim Dror’s Philadelphia chapter for two years. She lives in a Jewish collective, GariNYC, in Brooklyn with 7 other Habonim Dror alumni. Resetting the Table seems like a great place to start bringing the Zionist Youth Movements in North America together for dialogue.
Zvi is the Mazkir Artzi (National Programming Coordinaor) of Bnei Akiva of the US and Canada. He recently graduated from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business with a major in Management. Throughout college Zvi was involved with Bnei Akiva, whether by serving on their ideological board or working part-time for the New York division. He spent many summers as both a camper and a staff member in Bnei Akiva camps as well. Before starting Yeshiva University, Zvi studied in Maaleh Adumim, Israel for a gap year program. He is originally from Toronto, Canada where he went to Yeshivat Or Chaim for high school. Bnei Akiva is constantly running events surrounding conversations about Israel, so by being a convener Zvi is hoping to learn new ways to spark the conversation in his community and network with those from other Jewish communities.