NEW YORK CITY OFFICE
Co-Director and Director of Strategy & Community Engagement
An alumna of the program, Becky served as a volunteer member of BYFI's Alumni Advisory Board before taking the full-time position of BYFI's Director of Alumni Engagement in 2008. Becky's professional experience includes work in the Corporate Responsibility Group at Ernst & Young LLP. Becky spent several years in Melbourne, Australia, working at a non-profit human resources consultancy, Diversity @ Work. There, she advised public and private sector employers on how to increase the inclusion of diverse workers. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College with a B.A. in American Studies. Her senior thesis explored Jewish identity and involvement in the 1968 New York teachers' strike. Becky serves on the Advisory Board of InterfaithFamily.com and she is a Task Group member on Interfaith Inclusiveness for UJA Federation of NY. In 2009, she facilitated the "Networks of Purpose" track for the international Jewish leadership program, ROI. Becky resides in Brooklyn with her husband, Michael, and her daughter, Miriam.
Rabbi Mishael Zion
Co-Director and Director of Education
Mishael grew up in Jerusalem, also spending time in Silver Spring, Maryland and Cleveland, Ohio. Mishael served in the Israel Defense Forces and studied at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and Hebrew University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He co-authored the celebrated A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices (English, 2007) and the Israeli best-seller HaLaila HaZeh: Haggadah Yisraelit (Hebrew, 2004). With roots in both the Israeli and American Jewish communities, Mishael is dedicated to pluralistic Jewish identity and community building in both Israel and North America. He served as faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, was the Director and National Coach of the Israeli Debating Society, and worked for Israeli TV’s popular Channel Two. In 2008, he moved to New York and later received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, an open Orthodox rabbinical school. Mishael has been a faculty member at the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning and Yeshivat Hadar in New York and in 2010 was invited to serve as a Scholar at NYU School of Law’s Tikvah Center. He has been featured as a scholar-in-residence in diverse North American communities and has written for the NY Jewish Week, the Jerusalem Post and Yedioth Ahronot. Mishael and his wife Elana, a neuroscientist, are committed to furthering inclusivity and broadening women’s roles in synagogue and Jewish life. They have played an active role in partnership minyanim in Jerusalem, New York and Melbourne, Australia. Mishael and Elana live on the Upper West Side with their two daughters.
Senior Program Officer
Naamah Paley (Fellow '02) is excited to join the BYFI team as the new Senior Program Officer. Prior to this role, she worked for two years at the New Israel Fund as the Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. There, she worked to increase the performance of NIF's national and international staff and researched the question of how to engage young Jews with Israel. While at NIF, Naamah was also a member of the BYFI Alumni Advisory Board, serving as the chair of the Events Committee.
Naamah graduated with highest honors in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2008. She studied extensive Arabic, including a semester abroad at the American University in Cairo and a summer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After graduation, Naamah spent a year living in Haifa on a Dorot Fellowship. This summer will be Naamah's seventh or eighth Bronfman summer: she was fortunate to participate in the program as a young child while her father, Rabbi Michael Paley, served as a BYFI faculty member.
Rachel Cohen (Fellow ’05) started working with BYFI as madricha during the 2009 and 2010 summers and recently joined the New York City team after graduating from Penn in May 2011. In addition to working with BYFI, she is currently completing pre-med coursework at City College of New York and volunteering at St. Luke’s Hospital and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Rachel majored in English, spending a semester abroad at Cambridge University and graduating summa cum laude; she wrote an honors thesis about Shakespeare’s Richard II as a Penn Humanities Forum research fellow. Extracurricularly, Rachel pursued an interest in nutrition and public health, working for the Urban Nutrition Initiative and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Rachel was active in Hillel leadership, serving as vice-president, starting a new Shira Chadasha-style minyan, and co-founding a chapter of Moral Voices, a social justice initiative. Originally from Santa Barbara, CA, Rachel now lives in Manhattan.
Ava has been part of the BYFI team since the fall of 1987. Ava serves as the liaison to applicants, Fellows, parents and alumni, and manages the logistics of the BYFI Fellowship and BYFI programs and events. Ava is very proud to say that she personally knows all 623 Bronfmanim. In addition to being BYFI's Administrative Director, Ava served as the executive director for the Capital District Women's Bar Association from 1987 through 2010. Prior to 1987, she was the Training, Safety and EEO Specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Services. She holds her BA in political science and her Masters Degree in Public Administration from the State University of New York at Albany.
Rachel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the College of Saint Rose. She joins us from Empire Vision Centers where she worked as an optical assistant/contact lens assistant. Rachel is a freelance graphic designer and photojournalist, and has also been employed as a videographer. She brings with her a range of web and technical skills as well as a strong customer service background. In addition, in 2007 Rachel participated in the "IsraelExperts" Birthright Israel trip that had a profound impact on her Jewish identity.
Heather has managed all financial operations for the organization both in the US and Israel since 2001. She received her Accounting degree in 1997 and is a Notary Public licensed in New York State. Outside BYFI, Heather serves as the Treasurer of the Battenkill Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Battenkill River where she resides, and does various freelance accounting jobs for local small businesses in the Albany area. She also holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management which she received in 1991.
Director of Amitei Bronfman
Matan lives in Tel Aviv and has a BA and MA from Hebrew University in Jewish Thought and Jewish Studies. Matan has been working in formal and informal education settings for 12 years and is an alumnus of the Revivim Program for enhancing Jewish studies in secular schools in Israel. Matan develops the educational vision and curriculum for the Amitei Broonfman Fellowship and manages the program. In addition, he works to build and strengthen the alumni community. When not working for Amitei Bronfman, Matan creates high school level curriculum.
Amitei Bronfman Office Manager
Klil currently lives in Jerusalem where she is studying for a BA in African Studies and International Relations at the Israeli Open University while working for Amitei Bronfman as office manager. In the months before starting work for Amitei Bronfman, Klil worked as an interviewer for a foreign workers' rights research project funded by the European Union.
Before returning to Israel 6 months ago, Klil lived and worked in Nepal for two years as project coordinator for an Israeli-Jewish NGO, Tevel B'Tzedek. Klil has also worked as a "Youth at Risk" guide for the Nature Protection Society in Netivot.
Daphna Ezrachi (Amitah '05)
Amitei Bronfman Alumni Project Associate
Daphi, an alumna of Amitei Bronfman, was born and raised in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Reform Movement's pre-army Mechina program in Yaffo and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Since returning from travels in South America in September 2010, Daphi has worked for BYFI, first as Office and Communications Manager and currently as Alumni Project Associate. She is in her first year of a BA at Ben Gurion University studying Jewish Studies and History.