Orit Rome, Co-Executive Director
Orit Rome is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a BA degree in Accounting and Economics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Although she was born in Israel, she spent her teens in Australia. While studying, Orit was active in the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), where she also served as regional president. Since returning to Israel in 1996, Orit has gained deep financial and managerial experience. Prior to joining AMHSI, Orit was an auditor for Price Waterhouse Coopers and a Financial Director in the high-tech and industrial arena.
Rabbi Leor Sinai, Co-Executive Director
Originally from New York, Rabbi Leor Sinai made aliyah, moving with his family to Israel in June 2011. As a young adult, he was involved in NYC's
Head of School
Mordechai Cohen, Head of School
Mordechai Cohen loves teaching and loves to see his students excited by their Jewish heritage. Mordechai brings with him a rich and qualified background in leadership and Jewish/Israel education, having worked extensively with youth in a number of settings. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations, Mordechai went on to study at different yeshivot in Israel. He served as a coordinator for the Livnot U’Lehibanot program in both Tzfat and Jerusalem. He also studied
David Mitchell, Dean of Israel Studies
David Mitchell was born and raised in Northern California. He completed a double BA in History and Hebrew Texts at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He then received an MA with honors in
In 1984, David became a teacher at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. During that time, he also served as an Israel emissary for the Youth and Hechalutz Department of the Jewish Agency to the Pacific Southwest Region of USY. In addition to teaching history, he has also traveled to the US with AMHSI to train Philadelphia-based Jewish
David Bitan, Dean of Israel Studies
David Bitan is a professional educator and community outreach leader with a passion for Israel advocacy, "Hasbarah" and sports. David worked as a High School Principal in Kiriyat Malachi and a Pedagogical Supervisor for the Educational Network in Israel. During his time at the Educational Network, he spent a period of time in the Ivory Coast working on establishing and building a school.
David served as the Director of the Israel Center and a former community Shaliach (Israel Emmisary) for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. David served on the Arizona AIPAC committee during his
David is currently pursuing his
Rachelle Sevitt, Dean of General Studies
Originally from the UK, Rachelle has been working at AMHSI as a part of the academic staff since 1997 teaching chemistry and math. She received her BS and MSc in Chemistry from Kings College, University of London. She is now serving as the Acting Dean of General Studies.
Polly Hyams Sherman, Dean of Students
Polly was born and raised in Bristol, England. She has a BSN in nursing and is a
Polly made Aliyah 25 years ago and has been working in the field of nursing and midwifery continuously, with the addition of group work, youth leadership,
Polly loves working with young people. She considers her role to be multi-faceted. Working very closely with and supervising the director of informal education, training
Polly is married to Marc and lives in Modi’in with their two boys and various animals.
Amit Barkin, Hadracha Coordinator
Amit was born in Jerusalem to
Felice Berk, Executive Assistant
Felice was born and raised in Queens, New York and then made her way to New Jersey with her husband after they were married. She holds an MS in Audiology from Hunter College and worked in the field for several years before leaving to have her four children. For the six years prior to making Aliyah in 2018, Felice worked in Administration for two different Jewish organizations. She loves living in Israel, especially to be closer to her daughter who is serving in the IDF. Felice joined the AMHSI family in March of 2019 as Executive Assistant to Co-CEO Leor Sinai.
Felice lives with her family in Elkana. They enjoy
Dafna Eisenberg, Logistics Coordinator
Dafna has been working at AMHSI since 2011 as a logistics coordinator.
She was born in Israel and grew up in the nearby city of Herzeliya. During the army, Dafna served in the Air Force and then studied at the Open University. Before joining AMHSI, Dafna worked at Rimon Tours - a tourism company.
Dafna currently lives in Kfar Saba with her husband and two boys.
Shelly Hanan, Logistics Coordinator
Born in Israel, as a young girl Shelly was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). Shelly has strong ties to AMHSI as she attended
Today, Shelly lives in Hod HaSharon with her husband, Yossi, and three children, Shirel, Gal and Yuval.
Elana Lubka, Campus Communications and Student Liaison
Elana holds an MA in Educational Leadership and Management from Tel Aviv University and a BA in Religious Studies and Hebrew and Arabic Language Studies from Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon making Aliyah to Israel in 2014, Elana worked at Beit Daniel as the External Relations Coordinator and served as the Community Outreach Coordinator for
A native of Wisconsin, Elana loves the outdoors, running, and exploring Israel.
Menashe Mor, Head of Maintenance
Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel, as a youngster Menashe was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). After completing his army service, Menashe worked for many years in building and construction. He joined AMHSI in 1993. As Maintenance Manager, Menashe oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the school. He lives in Hod HaSharon with his
Amanda Naftaly, Assistant to the Deans and HoS
Amanda is a Queens, New York native and made Aliyah in January 2017. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication and Event Planning from SUNY Oneonta. Amanda came to Israel through a Masa internship program and interned at a conference planning company. Amanda then worked in a nonprofit organization in New Jersey helping to place volunteers with various volunteer opportunities before returning to Israel to make Aliyah. After making Aliyah Amanda studied Hebrew through the Misrad HaKlita and worked at a gan. Amanda is very excited to start a new chapter at AMHSI.
Ilanit Yurman, Bookkeeper
Ilanit Yurman has been working at AMHSI since 2002. She is originally from Rosh HaAyin. Ilanit has previously worked as a bookkeeper at other companies. She presently lives in Rosh HaAyin with her twin boys.
Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, National Director of Recruitment
Rabbi Greg Litcofsky was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in History, after which he received his M.A. in Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR and served as a congregational rabbi prior to joining AMHSI-JNF. He is an AMHSI alumnus from 1992. He began his career with JNF in 1999 before studying to be a rabbi and is proud to be back with the JNF family since June of 2017 as National Director of Recruitment for AMHSI-JNF. He travels around the country speaking about AMHSI-JNF and Israel. He loves golf and Philadelphia sports teams and lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and three children.
Alex Lasky, Director of Enrollment & Admissions
Alex Lasky is originally from South Florida. Alex moved to Israel after completing her B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University and decided to make Aliyah. Shortly after completing her M.A. in Middle East Studies from Tel Aviv University, she found herself working for AMHSI as a math teacher and Director of Enrollment before developing into her current position. Alex lived in Israel for about six years before moving back to Miami to continue her work with the AMHSI Admissions team. She is happy to be part of the AMHSI-JNF family and looking forward to working with teens to come to Israel!
She is an avid traveler and food enthusiast exploring new restaurants with her husband in Miami and across the US.
Israel Studies Teachers
Benjy Behrman, Israel Studies Educator
Benjy grew up in Sunderland in the North East of England and was a dedicated member of Bnei Akiva. After graduating from school he spent two years studying in Yeshiva in Israel, he returned to England and completed a BA in archaeology and MA in Jewish history. During this time he served as National Director of Bnei Akiva UK.
Benjy made Aliyah with his wife in 2005 and since then has been working as an educator on various programs including the Machon L’Madrichei Chutz Laaretz, Rammah Israel and Young Judaea Year Course. He is also an educator at Yad Vashem.
Benjy lives with his wife, Emma, and three children Noa, Adi and Nadav in Modi’in.
Lisa Biton, Israel Studies Educator
Lisa Biton was born and raised in Northern California. She holds a BA in Classical Studies and European History from Santa Clara University and a MAT from USC. Lisa studied abroad at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in 2005 and fell in love with the land of Israel- and her Israeli husband. She made aliyah in 2009 to the southern city of Kiryat Gat. Lisa has worked for AMHSI since 2010, as both a general studies teacher and an Israel Studies teacher, and at both the Hod Hasharon campus and Eshel Hanasi Campus. Lisa and her husband have three children, and they love living in the Negev.
Elhanan Brown, Israel Studies Educator
Elhanan Brown made aliya with his family at the age of 6. He grew up in Jerusalem in the fun-loving neighborhood of French Hill. Elhanan spent his summers at Ramah Poconos as a camper and on staff. In 2003, Elhanan came to work for AMHSI as a
Akiva Gersh, Israel Studies Educator
Akiva Gersh is originally from New York and made aliyah to Israel in 2004. Since 2007, he has been teaching Jewish History and Modern Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, where he guides visiting high school students through the story of the Jewish people, mainly through
Michael Glassman, Israel Studies Educator
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Michael moved to Israel with his wife, Julie, in 2010. Their daughter, Tiferet, was born in
Michael was a student at AMHSI in the Spring of 1998 and is honored to return to AMHSI to teach. He studied for his BA in Classical Studies and Ancient History at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Between college and moving to Israel, Michael spent 5 years in the Washington, D.C. area working in politics for AIPAC’s Leadership Development Department, and another 2 years in Israel, studying in Yeshivat Darche Noam and living/working on Kibbutz Beerot Yitzchak.
Before becoming a Licensed Tour Guide in Israel in 2015, Michael spent several years guiding in Jerusalem at the City of David, Western Wall Tunnels, and Southern Wall Excavations. Michael has guided numerous groups on their summer Israel trips, including Ramah Seminar.
Aubrey Isaacs, Israel Studies Educator
Born and bred in bonny Scotland, Aubrey made aliya as soon as he finished high school. He studied in yeshivot in Jerusalem and in Gush Etzion, served in the tank corps of the IDF, received a BA in Jewish History and at Bar Ilan University, rabbinical qualifications and an MA in Jewish Thought from Ben-Gurion University in
Aubrey served as Director of Jewish Education in Glasgow, Scotland and then for 11 years as Rabbi and then, Director of the WUJS Institute in Arad. Aubrey joined AMHSI as an educator in 2004 and in 2011 became director of the school’s new Negev Campus at Eshel HaNassi. Aubrey has a special love for the desert and lives in the northern Negev town of Arad.
Doni Kandel, Israel Studies Educator
Doni Kandel was born and raised in Los Angeles. After high school, he came to Israel for a year and a half of yeshiva and decided to stay for good. He spent many years in informal education, as a participant, and later, West Coast Director, of the Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva. He was also a camper, counselor and Assistant Director of Camp Moshava Wild Rose in Wisconsin. He holds a BA in Political Science and Military Strategy from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya. He has worked as a journalist for both Israeli and American publications, and, after a brief stint in the high-tech scene, found his passion for teaching, as a general studies teacher at AMHSI. He taught History, English Literature, Sociology and Psychology. In 2016 he was added to the Israel Studies staff and is thrilled to share his passion for the people and the land of Israel with his students.
He currently lives in Mazkeret Batya with his wife and daughter.
Jacob Leibowitz, Israel Studies Educator
Jacob grew up in the German colony in Jerusalem after his family made Aliyah from New York at five years old.
Jacob fell in love with the world of education as a teenager while working at a sports camp in Jerusalem.
Since then he spent multiple summers working as a camp counselor in the USA, and also three years as a girls basketball coach in Israel.
Jacob first started working at AMHSI as a
Jacob is a licensed tour guide through Beit Berl
Jacob believes in teaching young students how to ask questions and think, with the hope of inspiring students to explore their Jewish identity and strengthen their connection with Israel.
Gavriel Porten, Israel Studies Educator
Gavriel has been pursuing his passion, educating adults and youth about Judaism and Israel, for over 20 years, both as a guide in the field and senior educator in the classroom.
Born in the US, having made Aliyah with his parents, Gavriel grew up in Jerusalem, while spending his summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. He attended the Har-Etzion Hesder yeshiva for six years, combining Jewish learning with army duty. He earned his BA in Psychology and Jewish History at Hebrew University, and his law degree from Bar Ilan University.
Gavriel’s diverse cultural and religious background brings to the table a rich and deep picture of the beautiful land of Israel. He has guided youth and adults, families and communities, educators and academics of various denominations and faiths, and is always looking forward to encountering new and different worlds from his own.
Reuven Spero, Israel Studies Educator
Reuven earned his BA in Linguistics, holds graduate degrees in International Law and Education, and has studied at Hebrew Union College and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Before joining the staff at AMHSI, Reuven was the Director of Jewish Education in Columbus, Ohio, and worked at Hebrew University and the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel.
Danny Stein, Israel Studies Educator
Danny Stein grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attended the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) for middle and high school. In 11th grade, he came to AMHSI with his class for 4 months. It was then that Danny’s tenure with AMHSI began.
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in History and a BA in Psychology and spending time in different corners of the world, Danny returned to Israel as a counselor (
Michael Sunshine, Israel Studies Educator
After graduating with a B.A. in History, Michael quickly came to Israel and spent many years studying at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, where he received rabbinic ordination.
Over the past eight years, Michael has been the Director of Jewish Student Connection in Denver, CO involved in Jewish education in both formal and informal capacities. He is passionate about helping people develop their own personal connections to Judaism, the Jewish people, and Israel.
During his years in Israel, Michael met Ariella, raised in South Africa and Australia. Where else would a Jewish guy and girl from different continents meet? Michael and Ariella have four children - 3 boys and a girl - who were born in Israel, Texas, and Colorado.
While they had enjoyed living in Colorado, the Sunshines are thrilled to have returned to Israel in August of 2018 and Michael is excited to continue his passion for Jewish education and connection at AMHSI.
Reuven Arye Weisberg, Israel Studies Educator
Reuven lives in Moshav Aviel with his wife, Shoshana and their 3 children. Before becoming a licensed Israel Guide, Reuven Arye was a yeshiva student, musician, counselor and mentor for young men, a husband and father, combat medic in the Israeli 101st Airborne, a sourdough bread baker and baking teacher, a goatherd in the Judean hill country, fieldworker in the organic farms and vineyards of the coastal plain, and a student in the Land of Israel Studies Dept. at Haifa University. As a guide and
Tracy Weisberger, Israel Studies Educator
Tracy made Aliya in 2012 to Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel with her husband and four daughters. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tracy received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Cincinnati in Jewish studies and a Masters in Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Tracy has spent most of her career in a variety of Jewish educational settings including as a Jewish day school teacher,
General Studies Teachers
Hepzibah Alon, General Studies Teacher, English, History
Hepzibah Alon received her
Michele Annis, General Studies Teacher, English
Michele Annis is from Manchester in the north of the United Kingdom. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from Leeds university followed by a Teaching certificate. She also holds LAMDA qualifications as a Drama teacher. Before making Aliyah, Michele taught in Lubavitch Girls School in
Ruti Barak, General Studies Teacher
Dalia Ben Ari, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
Dalia Ben Ari holds a BEd and Teacher's License from Beit Berl College in Israel. She has over thirty years of experience in teaching
Adi Benartzy, General Studies Teacher
Matan Bouganim, General Studies Teacher, History
Matan Bouganim is originally from Agoura Hills, California. He moved to Israel as a lone soldier and after his military service, studied at IDC Hertzliya. He holds a degree in government, diplomacy, and strategy with dual specialization in global affairs-conflict resolution & counterterrorism-homeland security. He now teaches World History at AMHSI.
Noa Cooper-Hlebas, General Studies Teacher, History, English
Noa Cooper holds a BA in the Humanities and an MA in Modern Jewish History from Touro College.
Tasha Elliston, General Studies Teacher, Math
Esther Fellman, General Studies Teacher, Spanish
Esther Fellman holds a BA in Political Science from Hillside College.
Esther came to Israel in June 1983 from Guatemala, along with her husband and at the time, three children. She now has five children and eight grandchildren. In Guatemala, Esther taught English and Jewish Studies at the local Jewish day school, and English and Social Studies at The American School and at a secretarial school.
Esther believes that teaching at Alexander Muss High School has been a very fulfilling job. It not only touches the students’ hearts and minds with Judaism and
Brian Frank, General Studies Teacher, Math
Brian Frank holds a BSc in Math and Physics from the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and a BEd from
He enjoyed many years as
Rina Friedman, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
Rina Friedman holds a BA in Social Science.
She has previously lived in Atlanta, GA and taught Hebrew at a local Jewish day school. She also teaches Hebrew at the International Ulpan in Netanya, Israel.
Shoshana Gertz, General Studies Teacher
Sara Goldstein, General Studies Teacher
Giselle Gross, General Studies Teacher, French, Spanish
Giselle Gross holds a BA in Political Science from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.
Sandra Guner, General Studies Teacher, Math
Sandra Guner graduated from Secondary School Mathematics Education and Mathematics Teaching Department and received an integrated BS-MS. She has been teaching math for over 10 years.
Sandra's philosophy as an educator is to get the students inspired by math. She wants her students to love math and use math as a powerful implementation to help them critically. She believes that success in education is about building relationships.
Nomi Hakim, General Studies Teacher
Gary Herman, General Studies Teacher, Mathematics and Chemistry
Born in Australia Gary taught mathematics before moving to Israel in 1979. In
Over the years Gary worked in a number of Hi-Tec companies including LUZ (solar energy) and NDS an early Israeli start-up
Ryan Higgins, General Studies Teacher, History
Ryan comes from a family of teachers: he loves teaching and helping people grow in their knowledge and identity. Ryan has a rich and varied background in education and youth leadership. He finished his MA in History and Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal in 2008 and finished his training in university teaching, during which he worked as a TA in the university and a replacement teacher
Shula Ilan, General Studies Teacher, English
Shulamit (Shula) Ilan was born in Israel and is a native Hebrew speaker. She has a B.ED degree in ESL teaching from Seminar Hakibbutsim in Tel Aviv.
She worked as an English teacher and later, spent 14 years teaching in the Ulpan.
For the past 10 years, Shula has worked as a tutor teaching "Hebrew in Israel" for foreign Ambassadors and Diplomats along with teaching Hebrew at AMHSI.
Ronit Koblenz, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew
Ronit Koblenz holds a BEd from the American Jewish University and a BEd from the Seminar Kibbutzim.
Monica Krebs, General Studies Teacher, Spanish Psychology
Monica Krebs holds a BA in Social Work from Tel Aviv University. Monica received her MA in Translation from the University of Buenos Aires and her MSc from Bolton University in Critical Psychology.
Caitlin Levy, General Studies Instructor
Jeanne Lumbroso, General Studies Teacher, French
Jeanne Lumbroso holds a BA in English Literature from the Sorbonne in Paris.
Orit Milo, General Studies Teacher
Dr. Debby Mir, General Studies Teacher, Science
Dr. Debby Mir is an environmentalist and life-time learner teaching biology, chemistry and environmental studies at AMHSI, while completing a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.Sc.Ed) at the Technion. She was a professor in Environmental Studies before moving to Israel, and currently works as an adjunct professor at several Israeli academic institutions, supervises theses and engages in research with academic and government partners.
Sima Oberlander, General Studies Teacher
Ronit Ofir, General Studies Teacher, Lab Director, Chemistry & Biology
Ronit Ofir holds a BSc in Chemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Yocheved Rabhan, General Studies Teacher
Esti Rodikli, General Studies Teacher
Rolly Rubenstein, General Studies Teacher
Pia Schalimtzek, General Studies Teacher, Latin
Pia Schalimtzek holds a BA in English and a BA in Latin from Teacher Training College at the Jonstrup Seminar in Denmark.
Pia teaches at the international American School in Even Yehuda. She also teaches Danish at a school for Nordic languages in Tel Aviv.
Pia made aliyah from Denmark and is the happy grandmother of seven grandchildren!
Jacob Scharf, General Studies Teacher, Math
Jacob Scharf holds
In Israel, Jacob has taught math and science at the high school level and in the Israeli army. Jacob has also worked as a professional and development engineer at
He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.
Dr. Michael Shterenshis, General Studies Teacher, Chemistry & Biology
Dr. Michael Shterenshis holds an MD from Tashkent State Biomedical University. He specialized in the History of the Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and in the History of the Sciences at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Michael has lectured at the Midreshet Yerushalaim University and worked at the Uzbekistan Embassy. He has taught all levels of biology, anatomy
In 2003, Michael occupied the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Isradon Publ., Ltd. He is the author of 22 books.
In 2003, Michael occupied the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Isradon Publ., Ltd. He is the author of 22 books.
Philip Shilco, General Studies Teacher
Monica Singer, General Studies Teacher, Math
Monica Singer holds
Monica has taught Mathematics ta the German School in Bucharest. She was also an assistant teacher for special mathematics at the Polytechnical Institute of Bucharest and a teacher at Israeli high schools, largely in the Herzliya area.
Monica has collaborated in the compilation of several
Monica is a native Romanian speaker and speaks English, German, French and Hebrew fluently. She is married with three children.
Sydney Taksar-Silverman, General Studies Teacher
Sydney Taksar-Silverman (B.A. Legal Studies, B.A. Psychology, M.A. Elementary & Secondary Science Teaching) is a graduate of the University of California. A specialist in cross-cultural instruction, she has found her niche in study abroad education over the last decade. Students in her classroom can expect to encounter project-based learning, interdisciplinary lessons, and groan-worthy puns. Outside of the classroom Sydney enjoys dabbling in herbalism and fighting the patriarchy.
Talia Wessish, General Studies Teacher
Dr. Yeshayahu Ya’akovi holds an MSc and
Yeshayahu serves as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry in drug development and also lectures both in Israel and abroad in pharmaceutical industry forums. He has published more than seventy scientific publications and serves on a number of government committees.
Yeshayahu made aliyah in 1974 with his wife and they now have four children and live in Jerusalem. He is a captain (retired)
Pam Zaidel, General Studies Teacher, Math
Pam Zaidel is currently teaching Precalculus at HSI.
She was born in South Africa and made aliyah 21 years ago. While in South Africa, Pam taught and served as head of the department of mathematics at Yeshiva College Johannesburg. After arriving in Israel, Pam taught all levels of High school mathematics at the American International School based in Evan Yehuda for a period of 14 years.
Her hobbies include reading, gardening, walking in moshav Bet Gamliel where she lives, and also enjoying time with her children and grandchildren (all of whom live in Israel).
Denise Zaidman, General Studies Teacher, Spanish
Denise Zaidman is from Venezuela and has a university degree in modern languages and a postgraduate degree in education. She has worked as a teacher for more
Lauren Ziv, General Studies Teacher, History and Latin
Lauren Ziv holds a BA in History with Social Studies Certification and