MEET THE TEAM
CEO & Executive Director
Ido Mahatzri is a seasoned executive who has contributed to the growth and development of one of Israel’s most innovative and impactful educational programs - TALMA. Having grown up in Ashkelon, Ido understands the challenges of Israel’s periphery, and focuses on ways to strengthen underserved populations and integrate them within the workforce. His track record in Israel and abroad touches on a range of spheres, from education, to employment, to creating opportunities, to connecting young professionals in the diaspora to Israel and its people.
As CEO and Executive Director, Ido manages TALMA’s overall operations to ensure the organization’s continued growth and success. He leads a team of 10+ and oversees organizational strategy, development, communications, and other departments. Ido’s prior role as TALMA’s Chief of Staff gave him valuable insights into every facet of the organization, and he is honored to be able to build upon those four years as CEO.
Before joining TALMA, Ido served as a Jewish Agency Regional Manager in their Jerusalem headquarters, where he implemented an organizational development process, led training seminars and events, and cultivated and established strategic partnerships with various stakeholders. As part of his work with the Jewish Agency, Ido was also an Israel Fellow at Rutgers University for two years, where he served the university as well as several Jewish communities in the area.
As part of his own social responsibility, Ido is a member of JDC Entwine, which aims to connect with and between Jewish communities across the globe. He took part in the first groundbreaking missions to the UAE and Morocco.
Ido served as a Qualifications Coordinator for the Israel Defense Forces’ Tactics Division. He holds an MA in Public Policy (EMPP) from Tel Aviv University, and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the College of Management in Rishon Letzion.
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 aliyah 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 nonprofit 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. Email him at the address above if you are looking to bring TALMA to your municipality, or if you are a municipality, education department, business, or government agency wishing to launch a teacher training program, English bootcamp, or summer or year long English program.
Deputy Director, North America
T’helah Ben-Dan is a TALMA veteran, having served as a Summer Fellow in Jerusalem, a pioneering Full Year Fellow in the Negev, and a city-wide Pedagogy Coach in Jerusalem. She was also a member of TALMA’s Pedagogy Team, helping to shape summer program curricula.
As the Deputy Director in North America, T'helah administers the TALMA Summer Fellowship, and directs international recruitment efforts for both the summer and year long programs. She also oversees communications, operations, reporting, and development.
T'helah spent the summer of 2009 teaching English to Ethiopian-Israeli students in Haifa, and this experience sparked her love of Israel and the Hebrew language. A second trip via Taglit Birthright solidified her commitment, and later introduced her to the TALMA, where she is able to do meaningful work that combines her passions for education, language learning, and Israel.
T’helah has several years of teaching and coaching experience, and holds an MA in Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language, an MS in Early Childhood Services, and a BA in African & African-American Studies. In addition to her full-time responsibilities with TALMA, T’helah creates educational resources for Hebrew language learners and teachers, and coaches college students and adults on improving their executive functioning skills.
In his role as TALMA's Assistant Director, Yuval plays a pivotal role in driving strategic initiatives and operational excellence. Yuval brings a dynamic approach to problem-solving and impactful project management. Yuval's leadership background and unwavering dedication to empathy and justice position him as a driving force in advancing lasting change, in alignment with TALMA’s mission.
Yuval’s deep belief in the importance of civic engagement is evidenced in his involvement in substantial social initiatives, including leading fundraising efforts and spearheading strategic endeavors, such as the Student Struggle Headquarters. Yuval co-founded SSH in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the organization worked tirelessly to secure financial relief for students affected by the crisis. In collaboration with the administration of Reichman University, he led a collaborative think tank to formulate and design support measures for students. Additionally, he organized a political conference aimed at strengthening democracy in Israel.
Born in Tel Aviv, Yuval holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, and is a graduate of The Argov Honors Program in Leadership. During his military service, Yuval served in the Operational Intelligence department of the Air Force, where he was part of a team that initiated and led several special operations that were recognized by senior IDF officials, managed complex projects, and took part in leading cross-organizational processes in Israel's defense system.
Pedagogical Director, North America
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 the 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.
Interim Pedagogical Director
Etelle was born in Hong Kong, and as a child made aliyah with her family to Jerusalem, where she also lives today with her husband and energetic daughter, Ruth.
She holds a B.A. in History and Education and an M.A. in Medieval History, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She acquired her teaching certificates in History and English from Kerem Institute and David Yellin College of Education, respectively. While studying for her degrees, she volunteered in NGOs dealing with underprivileged sectors, such as at-risk teens in youth homes, trafficking survivors and young adults who left their ultra-orthodox communities. During her master’s degree, she was a fellow in an ERC research group, working with an international group of historians who sought to understand how marginalized groups lived their everyday lives in medieval Europe.
Before joining TALMA, and over the past five years, Etelle has been a founding team member of the Tevel School in Jerusalem, a middle- and high-school whose mission is to provide personalized learning environments for each child. She was a homeroom teacher, taught History and English, and coordinated programs for gifted and excellent students.
Having grown up in an ultra-orthodox community in Israel as a child, and from her experiences in the educational and academic fields, she has gained an understanding for the marked inequalities within Israel’s fragmented school systems. Now, she seeks to do her part to provide Israeli students and adults the empowering learning experience she believes they all need and deserve.
Etelle is serving as the Interim Pedagogical Director, covering for Stacey Aruch during her leave.
Full Year Director
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.
Interim Full Year Director
Mai has been involved in education and social work for the majority of her career. In the military, she served as an educational coordinator dealing with ethical issues in Israeli society, and then later joined Israel Hofsheet, a nonprofit organization striving for a culturally and religiously pluralistic Israeli society.
Mai studied Economics and Political Science at Ben Gurion University. She then moved to Washington, DC, where she served as the Israel Program Director of Hillel at The George Washington University. After several years in the private sector, Mai returned to Israel and joined TALMA as the Interim Full Year Director, covering for Adi Daniel during her leave.
In her free time, Mai finds joy and peace in hiking with friends, reading, practicing aerial yoga, and spending time with family.
Full Year 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 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 Eilat Full Year Fellows, and is an incredible liaison connecting fellows to community projects, social events, and ensuring their successful integration into the community.
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.
Chief Financial Officer
Olga Rivkin was born in Russia and made aliyah 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 the TALMA 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 both the Israeli and North American branches of the company.
Olga has significant experience in preparing and managing organizational budgets, cash flow and payroll. In previous roles, she was responsible for government and donor grants, including financial reporting. She has extensive knowledge of 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.
Tamar was born in the Yeffe Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, and grew up in Gilo. After high school, she did a year of national service in education and welfare. After earning certificates in various fields, she completed her Bachelor's degree at age 40, proving it's never too late to pursue higher education!
Tamar oversees payroll and disbursements as part of TALMA's Finance Department. She works closely with the CFO on budgeting, financial planning, bookkeeping, and other accounting-related responsibilities.
Tamar and her husband have 5 wonderful children, and live in Nofei Mamre, a new neighborhood in Kiryat Arba, south of Jerusalem. She enjoys dancing at women-only events, singing, and collecting kettles.
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.
CEO, Keren HaYesod - UIA
Alon Futterman, announced by Globes Magazine as one of Israel's most promising and influential "40 under 40", and twice by Yediot Aharonot Newspaper as one of Israel's most inspirational "People of the State", is a dynamic social entrepreneur who has founded and directed some of the most innovative initiatives in the country.
Alon's accomplishments span the worlds of entrepreneurship, government, 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 as the #1 educational program in Israel, TALMA brings together teachers from all over the world and Israel to provide English study programs for students at all ages, of all affiliations, from low-income communities. The programs operate in the education system and in the biggest companies in the Israeli business and start-up industries. Alon held this role for eight years, and in 2022 became the CEO of Keren HaYesod - United Israel Appeal.
In 2011 Alon founded the "El Al Ambassadors" program, at the request of then El Al President, General Eliezer Shkedy. This innovative initiative 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.
Alon served in various advisory roles from 2006-2011 across different sectors. He was then appointed Secretary of the National Committee on Special Education Policy headed by then Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.
Alon lectures at universities and leadership programs around the world, as well as IDF and Mossad commander trainings, mostly about "educational leadership". Alon recently published his first book "Mikol Melamday" (I have learned from all my teachers)- a book of interviews with the most inspirational educators in the country, and was requested by President Rivlin to bestow him a copy of the first edition at his presidential residence in Jerusalem.
His podcast “Ben Shel | Bat Shel” (son of | daughter of) has reached thousands of listeners per episode, and he was recently awarded with the Ray of Hope award by the Elem for youth at risk organization.
He is married to Meital, a Teach 1st Israel (Hotam) teacher, and they are both parents of Omer and Rotem.
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 Master's degree in Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language from Middlebury College, and 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.
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.
Financial Comptroller, Schusterman Family Philanthropies – Israel and ROI Community
Elon is the Financial Comptroller Schusterman Family Philanthropies – Israel and ROI Community.
Before this role, Elon worked for two years as Financial Controller at Hadasit Medical Research Services & Development and as a Manager at Ernst & Young Israel – Kost Forer Gabbay & Kasierer, where he was responsible for a variety of companies and associations. Elon teaches accounting, finance, statistics and econometrics to economics and accounting students. He focuses on work-related skills and performing statistical analyses using advanced tools and software.
Elon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Accounting, major in Accounting at Ruppin Academic Center, and has been certified as a CPA by the Israeli CPA Board.