Learning our history
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Yaakov Selavan: Captain Selavan was born to American olim and grew up in Jerusalem’s Old City. During the Second Lebanon War at the age of 18, he founded a nationwide project to support wounded IDF soldiers. After being drafted into the IDF, Yaakov advanced from tank driver to company leader. He eventually became Combat Operations Officer of the 188th Brigade and served under fire in both of his prior capacities. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Yaakov felt the threat that IDF soldiers faced due to open-fire restrictions brought about by false and unchecked media reporting. Following his discharge, after about a decade in uniform, Yaakov founded Slingshot Israel, which aims to educate by offering a unique insider’s look into the IDF. His work centers on combating media bias by connecting facts and theories to personal stories which shed a light on the moral and ethical challenges faced by IDF soldiers on a daily basis.
Laura Ben-David is a marketing and digital media specialist, as well as a professional photographer, writer and author. Laura built the social media profile of Nefesh B’Nefesh including running many campaigns and projects, and is currently Director of Marketing & New Media at Shavei Israel. She coaches people in managing their own social media, and believes that nothing drives a successful social media campaign like passion.
Laura is author of the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, a memoir of her move to Israel, as well as numerous articles published in news outlets internationally.
Laura has given presentations on Social Media, Blogging, Israel and making Aliyah, and sometimes all four together, in the US, Canada, Israel and around the world and is a sought-after expert in her fields.
Israeli statesman Dr. Michael Oren (born in 1955) served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States between 2009 and 2013. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.
Oren has authored best-selling books, articles and papers on the history of the Middle East. He served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, a contributing editor for The New Republic and an analyst of Middle East Affairs for CNN.
Born in New Jersey, USA, Oren first arrived in Israel when he was 15 years old, landing in Kibbutz Gan Shmuel. Ever since, during his high school years, he would return every summer to perform agricultural work on various kibbutzim. He completed his BA and MA at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1978. In 1986 he earned an MA and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He also taught at Harvard University and Yale University as a visiting professor.
Oren immigrated to Israel in 1979. He enlisted in the IDF as a lone soldier and served as a combat soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade, including during the first Lebanon War, during which his unit was ambushed by Syrian soldiers. Oren’s unit sustained numerous casualties in the incident.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Oren was sent by the government to the USSR to help with the Zionist underground activities. During the Rabin government, he worked in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, in the Department of Inter-religious Relationships. During the Gulf War, he served as liaison officer for Israel with the US Sixth Fleet. Oren also served as Maj. (Res) during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, he enlisted again for reserve duty and explained the IDF’s actions to the foreign media.
Oren has been an Israeli citizen since 1979, and with his appointment as Israeli ambassador to the United States in 2009, he waived his American citizenship. In December 2013, he completed his term as ambassador.
In January 2014, Oren was appointed analyst of Middle Eastern Affairs at CNN, but during Operation Protective Edge he chose to waive the exclusive contract with the station so that he could work with all foreign channels to explain Israel’s and the IDF’s actions.
Oren and his wife live in Tel-Aviv. They have three children and a grandson. Their sons served as combat soldiers in elite units.
Oren authored the book Six Days of War: The War that Changed the Face of the Middle East”, a New York Times best seller. His book won the National Jewish Book Award and History Book of the Year from the Los Angeles Times.
Oren’s book “Power, Faith and Fantasy, America in the Middle East 1776-to the Present A History of American Involvement in the Middle East” was published by Norton and became a New York Times bestseller, earning critical acclaim from Newsweek and the Washington Post, in the New York Times Book Section and in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as The Willamette Week.
The prestigious Washington Institute for Near East Policy granted Oren the Top Politician for 2014 award (among the recipients of this award in previous years: Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Dennis Ross, etc.)
Oren serves as Israel’s representative on the Taglit Steering Committee, as an a honorary member of the Executive Committee of the International Joint and as international chair of the Lone Soldiers Association and of Heseg Foundation, which grants scholarships to lone soldiers.
Oren won two gold medals for rowing during the 10th Maccabiah Games (1977).
Michael Dickson is Executive Director of StandWithUs in Israel, an international educational non-profit dedicated to supporting Israel and fighting antisemitism around the world. He leads a dynamic team in Jerusalem, responsible for educational programs, incoming tourism, social media, efforts to combat antisemitism and the hosting of tens of thousands of visitors each year to the StandWithUs Educational Center in Jerusalem.
Michael regularly addresses audiences and broadcasts on issues pertaining to Israel and public diplomacy. He is an accomplished writer, with many published articles and TV appearances. Michael has addressed audiences in global forums, including at the UN, in the Knesset, and in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. He was instrumental in setting up “social media situation rooms” as far back as in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead. Michael has amassed a large following on social media and his personal output reaches a mass audience each month.
Michael is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Communication of Bar Ilan University, is an Honorary member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and in 2015 was appointed to the Spectrum Forum of leading Executive Directors in Israel under the age of 40. In 2016, he was listed as the 14th most influential Jew on Twitter and also named in Channel 13 TV’s “30 Israelis Making a Difference” at a special event at the President’s Residence. Michael was listed in the Top 30 of “The Aliyah 100 List” of British immigrants to Israel as one of the “flag bearers who shape the State of Israel and made a significant contribution”.
In 2019, he was awarded the Bonei Zion (“Builder of Zion”) Prize, recognizing the achievements of outstanding Anglo immigrants and their contribution to the State of Israel, at a ceremony in the Tower of David, Jerusalem. In 2020, he was listed on the Global Jewish 100 – “a celebration of people across the world who are moving Jewish culture forward, selected according to their accomplishments, influence, and impact”. In 2020, he was named among “The Top 40 Global Advocates for Israel Online” by JNS (Jewish News Syndicate).
He is the author of “ISRESILIENCE: What Israelis Can Teach the World”, published in 2020, written together with Dr. Naomi Baum.
Michael made Aliyah from the UK in 2006, and lives in Israel with his wife and five children.
George Deek is an Arab-Israeli diplomat. In 2018, Deek was appointed Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan. He is the first Israeli Arab Christian to become an ambassador. Deek grew up in an Eastern Orthodox Christian family in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, in a building where the other tenants included Muslims, Catholics, Jews and a Catholic priest of Jewish ancestry. His father, who worked as a tax advisor, was one of the leaders of the Christian community in Jaffa who served as chairman of the Orthodox Association, and was considered a well-known and popular figure in the city until in 2015 a square was inaugurated in his memory in Jaffa in the presence of Mayor Ron Huldai. According to Deek, his grandparents fled to Lebanon for safety when the 1947–1949 Palestine war, having been told that the Jews would slaughter them if they remained in their homes, but expecting to return home once Arab armies defeated the Jews. According to Deek, when the war ended, his grandparents felt that they had been “deceived”, and decided to return illegally to their home in Jaffa rather than remaining in Lebanon as refugees. Since reentering the country was illegal, Deek’s grandfather, an electrician, was arrested and jailed.
Deek is a graduate of Radzyner Law School. He also studied at Georgetown University on a Fulbright Fellowship. Deek joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008. He was deputy chief of mission to Nigeria from 2009-2012. Deek was posted to Norway from 2012-2015. In Oslo, he served as deputy ambassador; he was the acting ambassador during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
In 2018, at age 34, Deek was appointed ambassador to Azerbaijan. Deek is the first Israeli Arab Christian to hold ambassadorial rank.
Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post.
Well-connected to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, he has interviewed every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum, has been interviewed by top media on six continents and is a regular analyst on CNN, Al-Jazeera and other news outlets. Called “The most optimistic man in Israel” by Israel Television, Hoffman provides a behind the scenes look at the intrigue and humor in the Israeli political arena.
He was raised in Chicago, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University’s School of Journalism, and wrote for the Miami Herald and Arizona Republic before moving to Israel. A reserve soldier in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, he has lectured in every major English-speaking country in the world, more than half the Canadian provinces, and recently made history in Hawaii by becoming the first speaker to have lectured about Israel in all 50 US states. He lives with his family in Jerusalem.
An Awarding-winning journalist and TV producer who covers Palestinian affairs for The Jerusalem Post. He previously worked as a senior producer for NBC in the Middle East and has reported on events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for several media outlets.
Avraham Neguise was born in 5718, 1958, and immigrated to Israel from Gondar, Ethiopia in 1985. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from Sussex University in England, a BA and MA in Social Work from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a MA in Initiatives and Renewal from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne Australia, and a LLB from the Sha`arei Mishpat Academic Center. He is a social worker and jurist by trade, and served as Director General of ‘South Wing to Zion’ – an association promoting the immigration and absorption of Ethiopian Jews.
Neguise was elected to the 20th Knesset on behalf of Likud. He chaired the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, and was a member of the House Committee, State Control Committee, the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, the Subcommittee on the Status of the Elderly and the Subcommittee to Care for Homeless Youngsters.
Neguise chaired the Lobby for US-Israel Relations, the Lobby for Relations between Israel and Africa, the Lobby for Improving the Knesset’s Status and the Lobby for the Advancement of Youths. He was also a member of the Lobby for Eretz Israel in the Knesset, the Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish World, the Lobby for the Promotion of Sports and an Athletic Lifestyle, the Lobby for Fair Pension, the Lobby for the Negev, the Lobby for Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Israel, the Lobby for the Struggle Against Delegitimization of the State of Israel and the Lobby for the Fight against Bureaucracy and for Reform in Public Administration.
Neguise headed the Israel-Ethiopia, Israel-Ghana, Israel-Ivory Coast and Israel-Rwanda Parliamentary Friendship Groups.
B. Daniel Diker (born in New York), is a former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), an umbrella group representing Jewish communities and organizations in nearly 100 countries around the world.
Prior to becoming WJC secretary general, Diker had served as the WJC’s director for Strategic Affairs, and as WJC Middle East adviser on policy and diplomacy. He succeeded Michael Schneider, who served as the organization’s secretary general since 2007.
Diker is a respected foreign affairs analyst and Middle East expert. From 2006 to 2010, he served as director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, where he was also senior foreign policy analyst since 2002. Today, Diker is a Fellow and senior project director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he heads the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS.
Diker also served as an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington and currently serves as a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the IDC Herziliya and a foreign policy fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Diker has authored several books on the global BDS movements for the JCPA including: “BDS Unmasked: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends”(2016), “Students for Justice in Palestine, Unmasked” (2017) and “Defeating Denormalization: Shared Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives on a New Path to Peace” (2018).
Diker often appears as a commentator and analyst on Israeli and Middle Eastern affairs on a variety of news networks, including CNN, Russia Today, BBC, ABC News, Fox News, and Al Jazeera news channels and as a Middle East Affairs commentator for Israel’s IBA English News. His articles have appeared in the New York Sun, The Jerusalem Post, Makor Rishon, as well as the academic journals Middle East Quarterly and Azure.
Sarah Zoabi describes herself as a “proud Arab, Muslim, Zionist Israeli” from the northern city of Nazareth. In October of this year, Mrs. Zoabi addressed the Knesset, expressing her support of the Jewish People, and the right of the Jewish State of Israel to exist. She has called on other Arabs and Arab Israeli citizens to “wake up,” stating that, “We live in paradise. Compared to other countries, to Arab countries – we live in paradise.” Mrs. Zoabi proudly expressed her views on national television as a contestant on the popular cooking show, Master Chef Israel.
Sarah Zoabi was noted for speaking out on social media against the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenage boys in the summer of 2014 in support of her son, Muhammad Zoabi, who earned Internet fame through his viral video. In the video, Muhammad proclaimed his support, pride and loyalty to the State of Israel, and admonishing Hamas for the kidnapping. Mrs. Zoabi’s condemnation of the kidnapping also stood in stark contrast to those of her notable relative, MK Haneen Zoabi, who was investigated for statements praising that kidnapping, and is currently under investigation for inciting the current wave of violence.
Dr. Seth J. Frantzman is the Middle East affairs correspondent and Oped Editor at The Jerusalem Post. He has lived in Israel since 2004 and has covered five Israeli elections, the Disengagement from Gaza, and three Gaza wars. He is the author of After ISIS: America, Israel and the Struggle for the Middle East (Gefen, 2019), and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. He has reported from and conducted research in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the UAE. A former lecturer at Al-Quds University on US foreign policy, he has a PhD from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Frantzman was born in Maine and received his B.A from the University of Arizona. Follow him on Twitter @Sfrantzman.
Steve Gar was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a traditional Jewish family. He started becoming observant in 10th grade and was active in Bnei Akiva, a religious youth movement. Steve began his tertiary education by studying a Bcom, majoring in Accountancy and Industrial Psychology, while interning at an accounting firm. During this time, he joined a communal counter-terrorism reaction unit and was part of the protective detail for the Chief Rabbi of SA. Steve then became the head co-coordinator for the Department of Informal Jewish Education (DIJE).
At the age of 22 he made Aliyah, joining the religious Hesder program, combining Yeshiva learning with military service. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and served in the Golani infantry unit, Battalion 13 – specializing in the Negev (Sub-machine gun) and received an award for ‘soldier of excellence’. In 2002, he married Natalie Pakes in Jerusalem, and the couple moved to Sydney Australia for 5 years where he worked as the Shaliach for Bnei Akiva and Natalie completed her PhD,in Clinical Psychology. Upon returning to Israel, Steve assisted in starting a Yeshiva High school for English speaking Olim (Yerushalayim Torah Academy – YTA). Soon afterwards, Steve was invited by Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Riskin (Chief Rabbi of Efrat) to join the Kollel at the Joseph & Gwendolyn Straus Rabbinical Seminary and began studying for the Rabbinate. At the same time, he completed his training as a combat Instructor, specializing in counter-terrorism, and is now responsible for training military units through the Central command of the Gush Etzion. He currently serves as a soldier on a counter-terrorist unit while completing his Rabbinical studies. In addition, Steve is one of the directors of a special needs program, Yeshivat Darkaynu. Steve and Natalie have 5 children and live in Elazar in the Gush Etzion.
Leah Kaufman is a survivor of the Holocaust who bravely shares her unbelievable and inspiring story. Mrs. Kaufman is a living witness to the most horrific of human events and a glorious testament to what people can become.
Dov Lipman served as a member of the 19th Knesset with the Yesh Atid party. He currently serves as the Director of the Department for Zionist Operations and Director of Public Diplomacy for the World Zionist Organization. Dov is an educator, author, and community activist in Bet Shemesh where he lives with his wife and four children. Rabbi Lipman has rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. He has been at the forefront of combating religious extremism in Israel and is a leader in efforts to create Jewish unity both in Israel and around the world.
(born January 18, 1982), dubbed by Sports Illustrated magazine as the “Jewish Jordan”, is a retired Orthodox Jewish basketball player.
Goodman grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, in an Orthodox Jewish family with six brothers and two sisters. He began playing basketball at five years of age, but he first garnered national attention as a junior in high school, averaging 35.4 points per game for the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore. He earned recognition in Sports Illustrated and was interviewed by ESPN, 60 Minutes and Fox Sports. In 11th grade, he was ranked the 25th-best high school player in the country. He was dubbed the “Jewish Jordan”, nicknamed JJ, a title he said he has been trying to downplay ever since.
Goodman received a scholarship to the University of Maryland, which had one of the top-ranked basketball teams in the country. He said that the news of his plans to go to Maryland attracted over 700 media requests that week. The team’s schedule of practices and games meant having to play on Friday nights and Saturdays, against the rules of Orthodox Judaism, so he declined Maryland’s offer.
Goodman then accepted a scholarship from nearby Towson University. After averaging 6 points, 4 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game in his freshman year in 2000–2001, Goodman continued at Towson for his sophomore campaign until December 2001, when he filed a complaint about his coach and left the team.
Goodman then fulfilled a dream of his by moving to Israel and signing a 3-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv on July 22, 2002. To get more playing time, he was loaned to Giv’at Shmuel for the 2002–03 season, but he never got the playing time he expected, failing to meet the high expectations fans had for him. He then played in a lower league for Elitzur Kiryat Ata in the 2003–04 season.
Goodman went on to serve in the Israeli Defense Force, a requirement for all Israeli citizens. He suffered a knee injury that required surgery. After nine months of physical therapy, he went back to Giva’t Shmuel to fulfill his contract for the 2005–06 season. He averaged just under seven minutes a game.
Goodman then dropped down to Liga Leumit to play for Maccabi Shoham. In his first two games, he played more than 20 minutes and scored close to 20 points a game. But in December 2006, Goodman’s left knee gave out again and his doctors ordered him to undergo weeks of physical therapy. He did not get to play again until March 2007. In late 2007, Goodman moved back to Maryland to play for the Maryland Nighthawks of the newly formed Premier Basketball League (the league began play in January 2008). In his first game he broke his finger and that was his last game with the Nighthawks.
In July 2008, Goodman signed with Maccabi Haifa.
On September 16, 2009 Goodman announced at a press conference that he is retiring from playing basketball. He is devoting his time to the Haifa Hoops For Kids program, which raises money to help disadvantaged children in Israel attend basketball games.
Goodman is currently the coach of the boys junior varsity and girls basketball teams at The Agnon School, a Jewish day school in Beachwood, Ohio. He also holds several clinics at the school. He is a speaker at Jewish day schools, around America, motivating Jewish students to try their best to fulfill their dreams, but also remain steadfast to their religion.Goodman is featured in The First Basket, a movie about the significance of Jewish basketball players throughout its history. Goodman is married and the father of four.
Article from: http://www.jewage.org/wiki/en/Article:Tamir_Goodman_-_Biography
Every Spring-semester we conduct a student mission to Poland for the overseas students studying at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University. Our student mission is led by one of the premier educators of Yad Vashem, Ms. Hazy Flint. The four day mission includes traveling to several of the Concentration Camps including Treblinka, Majdanek & Auschwitz. Shabbat is in Krakow enabling the students to see a once vibrant city that was filled with Jewish life and is now desolate.
Throughout the semester we arrange small group learning sessions and one-on-one learning sessions on a variety of topics to give the students an opportunity to learn concepts and texts they were not exposed to in the past.
We host Football watching parties with pizza and beer on Sunday Nights and throughout the NFL Playoffs.
Each Monday night we host a women’s program, including a lecture series, one-on-one learning sessions and a variety of programs geared to women including challah baking, zumba classes, mikveh tour and more.
Every Shabbat we host dinner at our student Center giving students an opportunity to socialize and experience an authentic Shabbat experience.
Super bowl party – Our annual late night Super Bowl Party on 2 big screens is the place to be to watch the Big Game.
As part of our women’s programming, each semester we have a shabbaton with programming specifically geared to women including trips and information about “women in Judaism”.
Gan Sacher in Jerusalem is the place to be on Yom Haatzmaut and our BBQ is the largest in Gan Sacher with over 300 attendees.
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Launched in August 2015 as a response to the rising tide of global anti-Semitism in University campuses, our advocacy program is giving students the tools to combat BDS, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups upon return to their home Universities.
During the fall academic semester, we conducted a Shabbaton in Prague for 26 students from our 3 University Centers. Our three day Shabbaton combines the Jewish Historical sites such as the Maharal Synagogue and the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Concentration Camps, as well as the Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge.
Each semester we host an open house BBQ at our Center to welcome the new students, introduce them to the numerous Jeff Seidel Student Programs, and kick-off the semester.
Our South American students love soccer, and we host them for dinner and all the Champions League games throughout the European season.
If you would like to make a donation by check, please make out to “Ohel Avraham” and mail to:
Ohel Avraham- Jewish Student Info Centers
P.O. Box 95016
Palatine, IL, 60095-0016
Our 501(c) tax ID: 36-3352340