Dr. Eilon Schwartz—Director
Dr. Schwartz's biography for speaking engagements can be found here.
Before founding Shaharit, Dr. Eilon Schwartz was among the founders of the Heschel Center for Sustainability. In addition to his work at Shaharit, Eilon is a faculty member at the Melton Center for Jewish Education at Hebrew where he teaches graduate courses in cultural criticism, social-environmental politics, and education. Over the years, he has written many scholarly and popular articles on a variety of subjects, and his book At Home in the World: Human Nature, Ecological Thought & Education after Darwin was published by SUNY Press in 2010. Eilon has served on the boards of many environmental organizations, including as the chairman of Life and Environment, the umbrella organization of Israel’s environmental movement.He has published extensively both academically and in the popular press, including major essays in publications including Ha’aretz, the Times of Israel, and Makor Rishon. Eilon lives in Tel Aviv with his wife Rachel and their children: Ayelet, Chen, and Eden.
Laura Talinovsky – Deputy CEO
Laura served as the Head of Mechinat Rabin, an educational institution for young leaders. Laura is a lecturer on Israeli society, partnership between communities, economics, gender, politics, and about Russian speakers in Israel.
Served as a Parliamentary Advisor to the Chairperson of
the Opposition in the Knesset, in the legislative, political and media consulting areas.
Made Aliya to Israel at the age of 6 from Ukraine and is one of the founders of the “Generation 1.5” group - young Russian-speaking Israelis.
Laura graduated with honors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with an MA in Public Policy, and a BA in Political Science and Sociology. She was a fellow in the Paths to Peace Fellowship in NYU. Laura is also a graduate of the 120 program of Shaharit.
Heli Tabibi Barkat —Program Head, "120"
Director of the DAYBREAK emergency grants program and Director of Shaharit’s leadership program for public opinion-makers. In addition Heli chairs the Heritage Research section of the Israeli Council of Culture and Art.
A resident of Jerusalem, she previously founded the national initiatives “the Hebrew Calendar” and “Voices of the East.” She served as chairperson of Reshut HaRabim, an umbrella forum for organizations dealing with Israeli Jewish identity, and as a board member of several social organizations. Earlier in her career she directed Hillel in Jerusalem, founded the Beit Midrash for Israeli Singers, and served on the Society and Culture committee of the Jerusalem municipality. She lectures on connecting sectors to advance shared interests, as well as on management and social entrepreneurship, and is a strategic consultant and coach for senior civic, public, and private sector leaders.
Dr. Yaffa Gieser - co-Director of Shaharit’s Program in the Religious Zionist Community
Yaffa is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and grew up in Bat Yam, a struggling city outside of Tel Aviv. She is a founder of Yesodot, promoting democratic values in the religious school system. She is also a founder of the first program for absorption of Ethiopian girls into public schools. Yaffa serves as a lecturer at the Herzog College, and serves on numerous public boards of NGOs. She has Bachelor Degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a Masters in Jewish Thought and a Doctorate in Talmudic Studies, all from the Hebrew University. She is also a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. Yaffa lives in Ofra, is married to Avi, the Rabbi of the community, is a mother of 4, grandmother of 10, and still counting.
Wesam Ganayem – Co-Director, Arkan Program for Arab Leadership
Wesam is active in local politics in Sakhnin and in national politics through the Islamic movement and the Ra'am party. He serves as legal and political advisor to the Ra'am party, and previously worked as parliamentary advisor to Members of Knesset Mansour Abbas and Mazen Ghnaim. He is a lawyer by profession and holds an LL.M. in Administrative and Public Law from Hebrew University. Wesam served as a member of the board of directors of the Sahknin economic corporation and as chairperson of the Arab students' association at Hebrew University. He is the founder and chairperson of the Sakhnin youth association and its soccer club. He is also a graduate of Shaharit's 120 Program.
Malki Rotner - Director of the Ve’Haguta Program for Haredi Leadership
Manager of the the “Petach Merkhav” Center in Ashdod, for the Professional Inclusion of the Haredi Sector. She writes in a weekly opinion column in the local Ashdod newspaper, in which she deals with the boundaries and divisions between Haredim and Israeli society. A social activist in projects that deal with the creation of a common, cross-sectoral leadership in Israel, she is a student of the Department of History and Sociology at Open University and has previously worked as the Community Relations Coordinator of “Shorashim”, the Center for Jewish Culture in Tel Aviv.
Racheli Ibenboim - Head of Shaharit's Haredi Program
In addition to coordinating Shaharit’s work in the Haredi community, Racheli is a senior advisor to the TELEM organization, which works to integrate the Ultraorthodox into Israel’s economy. Racheli is a social entrepreneur dedicated to improving the status of Haredi women and integrating the community into Israeli society. She is the founder and chair of Movilot, which works to empower and improve the employment prospects of college-educated Haredi women. She sits on the board of the “New Spirit” organization, and previously served as CEO of the Meir Panim welfare organization. A resident of Jerusalem, she holds a bachelors degree in communication and sociology from the Open University and an MA in the history and sociology of Israel from Haifa University.
Nazier Magally - Head of Research of Arab Society
Nazier Magally is a writer and journalist who lives and works in Nazareth. He served as editor-in-chief of Al-Ittihad, Israel's only Arabic-language daily, and taught at Ben Gurion University. He presently is a columnist on matters concerning Israel for the London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat, and frequently appears on Arab-language TV to discuss Israel and its relationship with the Arab world. He is a long-time activist in matters concerning the relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel and the region. In 2003, together with Father Emile Shofani, he led a delegation of Arab and Jewish notables to Auschwitz.
Dr. Ofer Sitbon - Head of Program in Economics and Society
Dr. Ofer Sitbon heads the Corporations and Society Clinic in the College of Law and Business, and is a lecturer in law, society and social change. He holds a Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Law. His dissertation focused on an attempt to include corporate social responsibility considerations during the recent Company Law Reform in England. Sitbon holds a first degree (magna cum laude) in law and philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an LLM (summa cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. He was the editor (2007-2012) of the academic journal Ma’asei Mishpat, which he co-founded. Since January 2018 he has served as co-director, together with Prof. Dani Filc and Dr. Eilon Schwartz, of a joint research project of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Shaharit entitled “Towards a Popular Classes-Based Political Economy."
Adi Ziskind – Project Manager
Adi was most recently the director of the Jaffa Women's Courtyard, where she counseled and supported a group of women, managed the organization's social network activities, and initiated fundraising projects. She has also volunteered on a 24/7-basis for the HALEV organization, counseling youth victims of commercial sexual exploitation. She began her career as a high school literature teacher, where she built unique connections with the students of various backgrounds.
Dr. Merav Nakar-Sadi - KiTov Co-Director
Dr. Adam Tzachi - KiTov Co-Director
Ph.D. in Communications and a lecturer in film at the Herzog College in Gush Etzion. His doctoral dissertation focused on representations of PTSD in Israeli documentary film. He is also an author, poet, musician, screenwriter, and creator. He previously served as the spokesperson for the Gush Etzion Regional Council, and worked as an educator at the Reishit school. He is a council member of Israel's commercial television and radio authority. A resident of Tekoa, he is married and the father of four.
Yitzhak Ben-Gad – Project Manager
Social issues are close to Yitzhak's heart. He has served in management and coordination roles in various social organizations, including Chaim BePlus, Gesher, and Yedidim. For the latter, he led its IDF preparatory program. He is a lawyer and maintains a private legal practice. He previously worked in the Legal Counsel and Legislative Affairs department in the Justice Ministry. He also works in informal education.
Surafel Almo - Community Organizer
Surafel is a Social Activist who works for the rights of the Ethiopian sector. Surafel immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of 12. He is a graduate of the AISEF Foundation for Education Program for Leadership, which aims to reduce social inequality in higher education. Lives in Haifa.
Alison Kanefsky – Resource Development
Alison is originally from Long Island, New York. She graduated Barnard College of Columbia University this past year, 2022, with a degree in Political Science.
Alison made aliyah to Israel. Previously, she has interned at the Kohelet Policy Forum, worked for her state senator in New York and interned with Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the United Nations. Her other activities include mentoring at-risk students and working with individuals with disabilities.
Ben Bornstein - Project Manager
A political and cultural sociologist, he recently completed a doctorate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. His areas of research are political violence and conflicts, cultural diversity and Israeli society.
He previously worked at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Studies, as well as in consulting and research for public and social institutions.
Ben is 36 years old, married to Adi and father of Daniel. Originally from Haifa, he is a devout Jerusalemite since 2010. He manages the "Challenge of Living Together" joint project of the Shaharit Institute and the Van Leer Institute.
Andrew Mark Bennett - Director of Resource Development
Andrew Mark Bennett leads resource development and international relations at Shaharit. He previously worked in the areas of Israel-Diaspora relations and writes on antisemitism. He is an attorney licensed in the United States with an A.B. in Economics from Vassar College and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. He lives on the Golan Heights.
Noa Cohen-Office Manager
Noa lives in Givataym and is the mother of two children. She has more than 10 years of experience as a law firm office manager.