MEET TEAM TALMA:

The National Team

Alon Futterman, Director and CEO

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.

Debra Feinberg, Deputy Director

When Debra first started in education as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte, North Carolina, she had no idea her journey would eventually take her to Israel, Uganda, India, Kenya, and beyond. Through a Schusterman Foundation education leadership initiative called REALITY, Debra traveled to Israel where she experienced an education system trying to serve a melting pot of cultures. This experience inspired Debra to explore other education systems around the world, beginning as a Teaching Fellow with the Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps in Mumbai, India. From there, she traveled to Eastern Africa volunteering, teaching, and working with various ed and health initiatives along the way. Finally, her journey came full circle; she was back in Israel teaching as a TALMA fellow. After two years as TALMA's Recruitment Director, today, Debra serves as TALMA's Deputy Director, coordinating TALMA's recruitment and expansion.

 

Debra has a Master of Arts in Teaching from UNC Charlotte and is a recipient of the Warren Buffett & Fairholme Foundation’s Inspirational Teacher Award, as well as a recipient of Teach For America’s Second Year Teacher Leadership Award for classroom innovation. 

Ido Mahatzri, Assistant Director

Born and raised in Ashkelon, Israel, Ido recently returned from two years as the Israel Fellow at Rutgers University and settled in Tel Aviv. Ido has managed many important projects, including overseeing the Israel programs on campus. 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 at Oxford University in England. 

Yoav Donyets, COO

Yoav grew up in the Negev desert. His parents were among the founders of Sde Boker College in the Negev.

Yoav served as co-director of the training program for the senior civil service staff of the Civil Service Commission, the Ministry of the Interior and JDC Israel, and led the Forum of Heads of Local Authorities in Israel. Yoav also headed the "Gal" Leadership Center at the pre-military preparatory program "Mechinat Hanegev" in Sde Boker. In addition, he served as CEO of the "Green Network" for Sustainability Education, which operates in hundreds of educational institutions throughout the country.


In recent years, Yoav founded and headed the Education, Welfare and Community Services of the Mitzpe Ramon Local Council. Yoav holds a BA in Political Science and Environmental Development from Ben Gurion University, and an MA in Educational Leadership, Administration and Educational Policy from the Tel Aviv University Management Program.

Yoav lives in Sde Boker, married to Hilla and father to Itamar, Michal, Yael and Avigail.

Rachel Morrison, Recruitment Director

A four summer TALMA veteran and four year TALMA Recruitment Director, Rachel Morrison is in her eighth year as an educator at Southbury Elementary in Oswego, Illinois.  Rachel holds a Master of Curriculum and Instruction, ESL Endorsement from Concordia University in Chicago and currently puts her degree to work as a second grade teacher. In addition to her work as Recruitment Director, Rachel serves as TALMA's Pedagogy Coach, supporting TALMA Fellows in their classrooms across Israel.

 

Rachel has provided training for the Words Their Way program to teachers around her district and serves on various school improvement committees.

Here are a few of her own words and thoughts about the upcoming recruitment challenge:

“It is my hope to bring over teachers who are not only passionate about education (both academically and emotionally), but also who are life-long learners. The TALMA program is unique in the sense that we not only have the opportunity to teach Israeli children, but also learn from a variety of different Medias. To receive the most benefit from the program, a person who has a love for learning new information would be the best match. "

 

"The open-mindedness to experience new opportunities to enhance one’s professional and personal life is essential to success in a program such as TALMA. It’s absolutely important for each TALMA teacher to be willing to seek opportunities for both professional and personal growth."

Irit Koskas, Director of Full Year Programs

Irit is a trained educator and certified teacher who shifted to program management. She spent the past 8 years working with Destination Israel overseeing and directing programs for hundreds of teaching assistants that elected to live and teach in Israel for an entire school year.

 

Irit served as an officer in the Israeli Air Force. She studied psychology and education for her undergrad, as well as organizational consulting for her Masters degree - all at Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva.

 

Presently, Irit lives on Kibbutz Negba with her husband and 3 beautiful daughters.

irit@talmaisrael.com

Naama Wrightman, Pedagogy Leader & Relay Liason

Dr. Naama Wrightman, Assistant Professor of Practice at Relay Graduate School of Education, leads our Pedagogy team which is in charge of designing the English immersion curriculum that is used as a guide for our TALMA Fellows. Naama leads training sessions for TALMA Fellows, runs classroom observations, and provides our educators with virtual and in-person support to further cultivate their teacher talents.

nwrightman@relay.edu

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THE ADVISORY BOARD

Tova Dorfman, Director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel

Tova Dorfman is the Director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel. In that capacity, she oversees the provision of assistance to a variety of nonprofits operating in the area of children and youth at risk and has forged significant partnerships among other philanthropic foundations, public agencies and nonprofits in a number of far-reaching educational and social ventures. From 2008-2011 she served as the co-chair of the Forum of Foundations in Israel, a professional network of over 100 philanthropic foundations operating in Israel. Among the projects in which Tova has played a leading role in establishing and steering is Birthright Excel.  Previously, Tova directed the Israel and Overseas Department of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, based in Israel. In her years of representing the Detroit Jewish community in Israel, she has initiated a variety of projects and programs to foster relationships between Detroit Jews and Israelis, culminating in the pivotal role she played in shaping that community's relationship with the Central Galilee in the context of Partnership 2000. Currently, she advises the Federation leadership on special projects.

Raised in Oak Park, MI, Tova pursued her undergraduate and graduate education in Los Angles, receiving a BA in International Relations from UCLA and an MA in Jewish Education from the University of Judaism. She settled in Israel in 1984 and worked until 1993 for “Melitz” – The Centers for Jewish Zionist Education in Jerusalem.

Throughout her professional career, Tova has always been at the forefront of innovative, creative programming and has been singularly successful in bringing around the table of all of these programs key individuals and institutions that provide to them an invaluable synergy.

Tova lives with her husband Raviv Schwartz and their two sons, Matan and Yaniv outside of Tel Aviv.

Eliezer Shkedy, Retired Commander of the Israeli Air Force; former CEO of El Al

Eliezer Shkedy is a retired general in the Israel Defense Forces, 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, he is the chairman of Heroes for lifean international NGO for volunteer work at orphanages and other frameworks of need in Third World world countries, and Yedidim, an organization that supports wounded soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.

Justin Korda, Executive Director of ROI Community

Justin 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 can truly be instruments for change, thereby setting the stage for a life of Jewish activism.

In 1999, he led the first Taglit-Birthright Israel trip from Canada. Justin 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.

Yuli Tamir, President of the 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, and as Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Education, as well as the deputy speaker of the Knesset and a member of the Finance committee, the Education committee and the Security and Foreign Affairs committee. Since 2010 she has been President of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Since 2015 she is an adjunct professor and the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford.

Noa Gorlin, Associate Executive Director of 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 increase 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. 

Shlomit Amichai, Founder of 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 challenged schools and nurture them so that they 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 between 2007 and 2009. Shlomit 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.

Yehudit Kadesh, Former Director of the Department of Elementary Education, Ministry of Education

Yehudit Kadesh is the former Director of the Department of Elementary Education in the Ministry of Education and founder of the School of Great Freedom in Israel.

 

She spent 36 years in the education system holding number of senior positions, including Deputy Director of the Nof Yam School, Beit Yehezkel School, and the Lachish Region Regional School. She was also the Supervisor of Education in Ashdod and Sderot, and the Director of the Division of Elementary Education. She lived all her life in Ashkelon and raised three children and four grandchildren, all residents of the city.

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OUR FOUNDERS

 

OUR PARTNERS

Introducing our generous benefactors:

Special thanks to these organizations for serving as our partners for recruitment, retention and/or expansion.

The Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and

The Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel are the co-founders of TALMA, an ROI Community Project (RA). These insightful foundations recognized the increasing importance of English for Israeli students and professionals, on the one hand, and the growing need for an authentic educational service project in Israel for young, international Jewishly-connected educators, on the other. The two foundations partnered with the Israeli Government and the Ministry of Education to create a unique new program on Israel’s

educational landscape: TALMA.

Shari & Jeff Aronson

and their children

Tammy & Jay Levine 

and their children

OUR PARTNER MUNICIPALITIES