MEET THE TEAM
CEO & Director
Alon Futterman is a dynamic social entrepreneur who has founded and directed some of the most innovative initiatives in Israel. Alon’s accomplishments span the worlds of entrepreneurship, government and politics, public education, international partnerships, aviation, and non-profits.
In 2014 Alon was appointed to be the founding CEO of TALMA, a joint endeavor of the Israeli Government, the Schusterman Foundation, and the Steinhardt Foundation. Recognized by “YNET News” as the #1 educational program in Israel, TALMA brings together teachers from all over the world and Israel to provide summer English studies to elementary school students from low-income communities.
In 2011 Alon founded the “El Al Ambassadors” program, at the request of then El Al President, General Eliezer Shkedy. Alon continues to direct this innovative initiative which enables volunteer pilots and flight attendants to speak before audiences abroad and share their personal stories. This program represented the first time that a leading Israeli corporation became actively involved in the country’s diplomatic efforts.
From 2006- 2011 Alon served first as Bureau Chief for MK Shelly Yachimovich and then as Senior Advisor to Minister of Education, Professor Yuli Tamir. He was appointed Secretary of the National Committee on Special Education Policy headed by then Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.
Derech Eretz Ve’Shamayim / By Way of Land and Skies was Alon’s first joint venture with then Commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Eliezer Shkedy in 2008. As national director of this unique educational effort Alon brought high school teachers and IDF commanders together in order to create a program for all 9th-12th graders celebrating Israel’s 60 years of achievements in culture, technology, medicine, music, and the arts.
Alon is a co-founder of the “Yesh Atid” party, and a board member of the “Fighters for Life”- a program enabling discharged IDF soldiers to volunteer in humanitarian projects while backpacking abroad. He was also was chosen to join the European Union – Middle East Young Leaders Forum in Brussels in 2014. He served as a commander in the Nahal combat infantry brigade of the IDF. Recipient of an ISEF scholarship, he earned a BA in Government and Strategy, as well as an MA in Government and Public Policy, from IDC Herzliya.
Deputy Director, Israel
Shay Cherpanov was born in 1984 in the U.S.S.R. In 1990, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, he made Aliya to Israel with his mother and sister.
Shay has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and a graduate degree in Law from Bar Ilan University. In 2008 he entered the political sphere, serving for a brief period at the Prime Minister's Office under Ehud Olmert. He held various positions in the third sector, including Head of Government Relations for Shatil (NIF) and CEO of Israeli Wedding - an organization aimed at promoting civil marriage in Israel.
From 2014 to 2016 Shay served as the parliamentary advisor to the leader of the opposition, M.K. Issac Herzog, and as a legislation advisor to the opposition. From 2017-2020 he served as the leadership program manager at the Berl Katzenelson Center.
Today, Shay serves as TALMA's Deputy Director of Israel, managing relationships within Israel with municipalities, new partners, and stakeholders. If you are looking to bring TALMA to your municipality, or you are a municipality, education department, business, or government agency wishing to launch a teacher training program, English bootcamp, or summer or yearlong English program, email Shay here.
Deputy Director, North America
T’helah Ben-Dan is a TALMA veteran, having served as a Summer Fellow in Jerusalem, then as a pioneering Full Year Fellow in the Negev, and later as a city-wide Pedagogy Coach. She was also a member of the National Pedagogy Team, helping to shape summer program curricula. As the Deputy Director in North America, T'helah oversees TALMA's international recruitment efforts of exceptional teachers for schools in underserved communities in Israel, communications, operations, fundraising and development.
Before joining the TALMA team, T’helah operated a language education business, providing virtual content, instruction, and coaching for both Hebrew learners and language teachers. She has several years of classroom and online teaching experience, and is passionate about making education equitable.
T'helah is originally from Brooklyn, NY, but currently lives in Charlotte, NC. She holds a BA in African & African-American Studies, an MS in Early Childhood Services, and is completing an additional MA in Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Chief of Staff
Born and raised in Ashkelon, Israel, Ido Mahatrzi - now a Tel Avivian - is the glue that holds TALMA's international team together. As TALMA's Chief of Staff, Ido coordinates cross-departmental communications among staff working on complementary projects, while also overseeing TALMA's workforce integration efforts in the Haredi sector and supporting the launch of new initiatives such as TALMA's business English boot camps with Jolt - an effort that seeks to give a leg up to Israelis who lost their job throughout the pandemic.
Ido brings to TALMA a wealth of experience in a range of areas. After his army service at the infantry headquarters of the IDF, Ido studied to become a lawyer at the Management College in Rishon Letziyon and Oxford University in England; however, it was during a two-year stint at Rutgers University as a Campus Israel Fellow with the Jewish Agency Israel that he discovered a passion for public policy. While working with TALMA, Ido completed an Executive Master of Public Policy (EMPP) at Tel Aviv University and he brings his passion for public service to TALMA's efforts of creating education access and opportunity for all.
Director of Full Year Programs
As Full Year Director, Adi Daniel oversees TALMA's Full Year Fellowship communities, which span the country. In her role, Adi supports Full Year Fellows with their personal and professional development as they integrate into the Israeli education system, and learn to navigate their new school and community. Adi also works closely with TALMA's partner schools, municipalities, and community partners to ensure the program’s success.
Born and raised in Kfar Vradim, Adi served as a commander in an education unit in the army, work that was challenging yet fulfilling. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences with a Specialization in Sociology, and an MA in Art Therapy. Adi was drawn to art as a medium for expressing feelings without judgment, and she also enjoys helping people process their thoughts and emotions as a Group Facilitator.
Adi has extensive experience in informal educational programs, especially in youth mentoring. She believes education is the key to making our society a better place, and is passionate about mentoring and guiding young people, and modeling the way she wants her children to grow up, as involved and caring Israelis.
Before coming to TALMA, Adi and her family lived in Los Angeles for two years as Jewish Agency emissaries, and she worked as the Shinshinim Program Director in Southern California. Working with the Jewish community abroad helped her better understand and value the unique connection between Israel and Jewish communities abroad.
Chief Financial Officer
Olga Rivkin was born in Russia and made her Aliya to Israel in 1999. Olga holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics and Management as well as CPA licensure. Olga brings a wealth of knowledge from her work at NGOs in the financial management sector.
Prior to joining TALMA's team in 2021, Olga served as a lead accountant for the prestigious Shalom Hartman Institute. She also serves as CFO of the Haruv Institute. At her job she was responsible for preparing the financial statements of the Israeli and North American branches of the company.
Olga has significant experience in preparing and managing organizational budgets, cash flow and payroll. In her previous jobs she was responsible for the government and donor's grands, including the financial report for them. She has extensive knowledge in Israeli law in the areas of payroll and NGOs. She is excited to bring her knowledge and expertise to the TALMA team and its important work in the realm of education.
Stacey Aruch is a longtime member of the TALMA community and is the essence of 'a product of TALMA.' She began her journey with TALMA as 2015 Teaching Fellow in the North of Israel. Following a second summer with TALMA in 2016, Stacey returned to Israel in 2017 to pioneer first cohort of TALMA's full year fellowship in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel.
At the completion of a memorable year in the Negev, Stacey made the bold decision not to return to her home in New York, but to join yet another new TALMA initiative - Morim Olim: teachers making Aliyah. As a new citizen of Israel, Stacey chose TALMA's partner city of Ashkelon as her new home, and - with the support of TALMA and Nefesh B'Nefesh, she threw herself into immersing into her new home.
While attending Ulpan and building her community, Stacey joined TALMA's team as an instructor for our first 'workforce integration' initiative at Ampersand in B'nei Brak - a unique Co-working project that 'started from two orthodox initiators who had a dream to bring work spaces that in terms of design and concept bring Manhattan to Bnei Brak.' Here, Stacey took on the role of lead instructor for an English accelerator for Haredi women seeking introductory or business level English classes in order to enter the workforce, or climb the ladder in Israeli high-tech. Eventually, her teaching grew in demand - and in 2020, Stacey became a full-time team member of TALMA, co-leading TALMA's pedagogy team.
Today, Stacey is the TALMA Pedagogical Director, managing all TALMA Plus initiatives, being the line of communication between TALMA and the businesses and organizations for which we are creating programs, developing curriculum and programming for TALMA's teacher training programs and English bootcamps, while also continuing to serve as a lead- and in-demand instructor.
Full-Year Fellow Coordinator, Eilat
Dawn Lor Siri was born in Safed and raised and educated in Eilat where she currently resides with her two daughters and wonderful husband. Rotem.
Dawn holds a BA in Humanities & Social Sciences from BGU of Eilat and a teaching diploma in literature. Over the past four years, Dawn has served as an English teacher in elementary schools across Eilat.
In the summer of 2020, TALMA launched its first full year fellowship program in Israel's southernmost city of Eilat. With a firsthand knowledge of Eilat, an understanding of the local education system, and a wealth of connections to anyone and everyone in the city - Dawn became the on-the-ground coordinator for TALMA's largest full-year fellowship site.
Throughout the year, Dawn supports programming and logistics for TALMA's ten Eilat-based Full-Year Fellows, and is an incredible liason connecting fellows to community projects, social events, and ensuring their successful integration into the community. With her support, it's no wonder fellows are already throwing their name in the hat for yet another year teaching with TALMA in Eilat.
Beyond her work with TALMA and the education sector, Dawn is a passionate musician and singer, gracing stages across Israel with her husband, Rotem - a fellow musician and music educator in Eilat.
Leila is an experienced international educator and coordinator, who began her career teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools, and has since taught for several years in Central America. Leila also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, teaching English and providing mentoring and training for Nicaraguan English language teachers. In recent years, she has also worked in an administrative capacity for a bilingual school in Costa Rica. Leila is enthusiastic about creating positive and productive learning environments for underserved youth.
Leila was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She first traveled to Israel on a Taglit Birthright trip after graduating college. Her connection to Israel solidified when she joined the TALMA Community as a Summer Teaching Fellow, living and co-teaching English in Ashkelon. Through this experience, Leila fell in love with TALMA's mission and purpose.
As the Alumni Coordinator, she engages alumni of TALMA's summer and full year fellowship programs by facilitating alumni events, managing regional alumni chapters, and writing and publishing alumni communications.
Leila holds a BA in Psychology, and an MAT in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, with an endorsement in English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Program Director, Steinhardt Family Foundation
Anat Einstein has been Program Director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel for over 15 years.
As part of her role, she engages with various organizations working in the areas of children and youth in distress, reducing disparities and education.
Since 2017, Anat has also been a representative in Israel of Hebrew Public, a network of public charter schools in the US where children from diverse backgrounds learn Hebrew language and Israeli culture. Within this context, she also champions the Arbel Fellowship, a program that sends Israeli Hebrew teachers to the US to teach within the network.
Anat holds a master's degree in conflict resolution from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a certification in Language Editing. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, currently lives in Modi'in,
and is raising six children together with her partner Yoni.
Retired Commander, Israeli Air Force and Former CEO, El Al Israel Airlines
Eliezer Shkedy is a retired Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general who served as Commander of the Israeli Air Force from 4 April 2004 until 13 May 2008. He is also a former CEO of El Al, the flag carrier of Israel.
In addition to sitting on the board of TALMA, Eliezer is the chairman of Heroes for Life, an international NGO for volunteer work at orphanages and other institutions serving vulnerable populations in developing countries. He is also chairman of Yedidim, an organization that supports wounded IDF soldiers.
Executive Director, ROI Community
Justin Korda is the Executive Director of ROI Community and has been with ROI since its inception in 2005. Growing up in Montreal, Canada, he saw how young people could truly be instruments for change, and this set the stage for a life of Jewish activism.
In 1999, Justin led the first Taglit-Birthright Israel trip from Canada. He went on to serve in a number of positions at the Canada-Israel Experience, where he was instrumental in implementing Taglit-Birthright Israel for the initial 5,000 Canadian participants.
Justin holds an MBA from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and a BA in political science from McGill University. He and his wife Yael live in California with their three children.
President, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design
Yuli Tamir is an Israeli academic and former politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party between 2003 and 2010; as Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Education; as the deputy speaker of the Knesset; and as a member of the Finance, Education, and Security and Foreign Affairs committees.
Since 2010, Yuli has been President of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, and has been an adjunct professor at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford since 2015.
Associate Executive Director, ROI Community
As Associate Executive Director of ROI Community, No’a is responsible for supporting and developing ROI membership, enhancing the leadership development of its members, and all grantmaking within the ROI Community.
No’a began her career as a marketing professional in the Israeli high-tech industry, and later, seeking to add meaning to her life while impacting the Jewish world, transitioned into the non-profit sector. As Associate Director at Kolot, she worked to strengthen Jewish identity among secular Israelis through text study, and at the Chais Family Foundation, she allocated philanthropic funding to deepen Jewish identity as well as advance excellence in education.
No’a holds an MBA and a BA in Psychology, both from the Hebrew University. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and four amazing children.
Founder, Teach First Israel
Shlomit Amichai has dedicated her career to improving the quality of education for pupils in Israel. When Shlomit completed her service in 2009 as the Director General of Israel's Ministry of Education, she decided to cross over from central government to the third sector, and try to generate change in the system by creating a new initiative: Teach First Israel. Teach First Israel seeks to bring excellent students from Israel’s top universities, train them to be teachers in challenging schools, and nurture them to become Israel’s future social leaders.
Shlomit previously served as Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Education from 1999 to 2001 and was called in to serve in this role for a second time from 2007-2009. She returned to the Ministry of Education after six years with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) ,where she served as Director of JDC-Israel's Division for Voluntarism, Philanthropy and ELKA: JDC's training center for senior executives who provide social services for various communities in Israel. While at the JDC, Shlomit oversaw the training of director-generals of Israel government ministries, mayors and senior personnel from the public and nonprofit sector fields of health, education and welfare. She also directed programs to promote voluntarism in Israel as well as programs for the Israeli-Arab sector. Among her many current activities, Shlomit assists the Israel Center for Excellence through Education in Jerusalem.
Former Director, Department of Elementary Education
Yehudit Kadesh is the former Director of the Ministry of Education's Department of Elementary Education, and founder of the School of Great Freedom in Israel.
Yehudit spent 36 years in the education system, holding a number of senior positions, including Deputy Director of the Nof Yam School, Beit Yehezkel School, and the Lachish Region Regional School, and Education Supervisor in Ashdod and Sderot.
She's lived in Ashkelon all her life, and raised three children and four grandchildren, all residents of the city.