National & Israel Staff
Young Judaea Global Staff
An expert in the fields of experiential Jewish learning and informal Israel education, Simon Klarfeld has served as vice president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, executive director of Hillel at Columbia University and Barnard College, and as founding director of the Genesis program at Brandeis University. Early in his career, he was director of both the British and California Soviet Jewry movements, including serving “hardtime” in the Soviet Union. Simon has consulted with organizations including iCenter, the Joint Distribution Committee and Birthright Israel in communities ranging from Australia to Ukraine on best practices in youth engagement, informal education, Jewish people-hood, and leadership. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Keele in England and his Master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. Simon and his wife, Dara, have four children – Harry, Isaac, Sophie and Charlie.
Jeffrey Sands, CPA, MBA, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Sands was a senior Audit Partner with KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, where he spent his entire 40-year professional career before retiring in 2009. At KPMG, Jeff held many leadership positions in NY, including at various times, Partner-in-Charge of the Middle Market Practice, the Consumer and Industrial Markets Audit Practice, the Northeast Employee Benefits Practice, and CFO of the Metro NY Audit Practice. From 1996 to 2003, he also served as KPMG’s liaison to its member firm in Israel, enabling Jeff to travel to Israel at least twice yearly, often accompanied by his wife and taking the opportunity to tour the country.
Dedicated to giving back to the community, Jeff has been involved with local organizations for more than 30 years. He served on the Board of Directors of the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center from 1980-1998 and as its Treasurer. Jeff has been involved with UJA Federation since the 1990s. Active in the Accountants Division, he chaired the Management Assistance Committee, and served on the Long Island Planning Services Cabinet, the Long Island Council and the Long Island Israel Committee. Jeff has been honored by UJA twice, and by other organizations, including the American Jewish Congress, The American Jewish Committee, Brandeis University, and the March of Dimes.
Jeff and his wife, Rita, have lived in Roslyn since 1977, and are long-time members of Temple Sinai in Roslyn and the Old Westbury Golf & Country Club. Jeff also serves as the CFO of WindoRama, a leading window and door retailer in the tristate area.
Sharon Schoenfeld has worked for Young Judaea for 20 years, the majority of her professional career in a variety of capacities, both programmatic and operational. After completing her Master’s studies in education in 1992, she took on the role of Educational Director of the movement and its Senior Leadership Camp, Tel Yehudah. After moving to Israel in 1996, Sharon worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel and Hillel while mastering the Hebrew language and in 1998 returned to the Movement as the Program Director and assistant Director of Young Judaea’s combination absorption and community center in Jerusalem. After building up a program that included classes, seminars, social activism projects, training for immigrants and potential immigrants, in 2003, she moved into the position as Executive Director, managing the staff and facility. During her final year in Israel, she directed the alumni program for the Mandel Foundation’s Jerusalem Fellowship. Upon returning to the states, Sharon quickly returned once again to Young Judaea as the Director of Operations and was a central figure in guiding the organization through its independence from Hadassah. Since 2013, she has the role of Director of US Programs and is in the is working alongside our teen leaders, alumni and parents nationally and locally to revitalize and strengthen the communities and programs for Young Judaea’s US based operations. She is also an amateur photographer, often finding herself behind the camera at Young Judaea’s amazing programs.
After completing three years of service in the IDF, Moshik Toledano started his career with Young Judaea as a Madrich (counselor) for Year Course 1987-88. He assumed this role again for Year Course 1988-89.
In 1990, Moshik was appointed Coordinator of Year Course Field Activities and as the Coordinator of Summer Programs. Two years later he was promoted to be the Director of Summer Programs, a position he held until 1994. At that time National Hadassah and the Young Judaea leadership offered Moshik a position in New York to serve as the Director of Israel Programs, a position responsible for promoting Israel Summer Programs and Year Course.
During the three years serving as the Director of the Israel Programs department in New York (1994-1997), Moshik led Young Judaea to become the largest provider of Israel Programs in the world, providing services to thousands of young people around the world, in addition, providing services to many Jewish communities and Federations across USA. In 1997, Young Judaea brought 1200 teens and college students to Israel on various summer programs and 130 high school graduates on Year Course.
Upon returning to Israel, Moshik was appointed as the Director of Short Term Programs & Administration for Young Judaea Israel. In late 2002, during a critical time in the movement, Moshik was requested to serve for one year as the Interim National Director of Young Judaea.
In 2004, Moshik was appointed as the Deputy Director of Young Judaea Israel and in January 2013 Moshik was appointed as the Executive Director of Young Judaea Israel. He is a board member of Atid, an international partnership of pluralistic youth movements and is also a board member of The World Zionist Youth Movements council.
Moshik graduated from Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a degree in International Relations. He resides in Tel Aviv, where he enjoy his passion for the beach, arts, fine dining and urban life.
Andrea Cure has been working with Young Judaea Global since December 2013, where she has focused on building relationships with alumni across the country and in Israel. Since December 2013 she has facilitated over 20 alumni gatherings for cohorts of Judeans coming together regionally or for class reunions. Previously, from 2010 to 2013, she was an Associate with DRG Executive Search Consultants. Prior to joining DRG, Andrea spent more than ten years in the nonprofit sector, holding a number of director-level positions at agencies including The Jerusalem Foundation and FIDF, where she worked closely with a variety of lay leaders and their communities in ensuring their philanthropic goals are met.
Andrea received her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and holds a master’s degree in non-profit management from New School University’s Milano School of Management and Urban Policy.
Dafna Laskin is excited to once again join the Young Judaea team! Most recently serving as Project Manager and Secretary to the Genesis Prize Committees at the Genesis Prize Foundation, Dafna previously worked in communications for Jewish Teen Funders Network, Young Judaea, and the Union for Reform Judaism. As a journalist, Dafna has been published in The Hartford Courant, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, The Times of Israel, and the New Haven Register, filing stories on the arts, science, politics, and religion. Dafna also served as Blog Editor for Omanoot.com, a Tel Aviv-based arts and culture website, where she helped build a base of artist profiles, focusing on Israeli musicians, in its start-up phase. Dafna graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Master of Arts in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Culture, taking part in excavations at Tel Azekah in the Judean foothills. She received a Bachelor of Arts with a dual major in history and journalism from the University of Connecticut.
Born and raised in New York, Dean Pinnock has been staff accountant at Young Judaea Global Inc. for nearly three years. Currently a student at Hunter College in New York City pursing a degree in Certified Public Accountanting, Dean is a graduate of Borough Manhattan Community College with an Accounting Degree, Dean managed part of the daily accounting operations with the finance team based on accounting principles. He also collects, analyzes and summarizes YJG’s data. Previously, Dean provided customer service and assistance with daily operations for Starbucks Company Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys working on cars as a hobby.
Ari Moore was born to two Israeli parents and grew up in South Florida. Although he spent most of his younger life in Boca Raton, he also spent two years living in Israel as a kid. Ari is a Young Judaea alumnus who started his Young Judaea days as a camper at Camp Judaea in North Carolina. After five summers as a staff member at Camp Judaea and graduating from Florida State University, Ari joined the YJ Team in Israel for a year to staff the 2013-2014 Year Course group. Ari has worked in the Jewish community since college graduation. After two years working for Hillel at Florida Atlantic University, he came back to his YJ roots to help grow Young Judaea Israel Programs.
Bob spent his formative years as an “Air Force Brat” traveling to and living in several places around the country and abroad, which afforded him the opportunity to experience many cultures and people. He has tried to bring those experiences to play in all that he does. He has been with Young Judaea since April 2010 and is happy to be part of a dedicated team of energetic, passionate, creative, fun and smart people. After moving to New York, he worked at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis as a counselor and developed an Acupuncture Clinic for Stress Reduction. His love for cooking and baking is widely known (“Chef Bob” at Broadway U.C.C. on the Upper West Side for many years) and his talent for awesome baking has won both praise from many a sweet-toothed friend and scorn from many calorie counters.
David Weinstein started in Young Judaea as a camper at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake the year it opened in 1976. He was a camper, kitchen boy, madrich and merakez at Camp Tel Yehudah as well as the former National Administrative Vice President and Education Director of Young Judaea. He attended Young Judaea Year Course 1982-83. During his 17 year “vacation” from YJ, David was a high school teacher, family educator, curriculum developer and educational consultant. He graduated from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) with a degree in Judaic Studies and Political Science and has a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also studied Jewish texts at Machon Pardes in Jerusalem. David met his wife, Amy, at Sprout Lake in 1976 and their two children, Mikaela and Kira, are now Judaeans as well. David returned as Director of Tel Yehudah in 2007 and is a graduate of the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Executive Leadership Institute as well as a recipient of the Innovator Award from the Legacy Heritage Fund. He also serves on the education committee of Bnai Keshet in Montclair, NJ.
Frank Silberlicht, Director, Camp Young Judaea Texas
Since coming on as Director in 1998, Frank has overseen significant growth at Camp Young Judaea-Texas and its Retreat Center in Wimberley, TX. He considers the Jewish camp experience a life-changing opportunity, a unique setting to learn and grow in life’s most important areas—in character, in health, and in relationship. He’s committed to providing that experience with excellence, by emphasizing a mix of community, Zionism, Judaism, and—in true Texas tradition—cattle rustling!
Prior to CYJ-TX, Frank worked for Camp Tel-Yehuda, Taco Bell Corp, and Trails End Camp. While serving as Camp Director (and chief bottle-washer), Frank and his wife Simone, have grown their family with their children Elan, Jacob, and Rebecca and their dog, Coco.
Helene Drobenare, Director, Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake
Helene Drobenare, MSW, MA, holds a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University and Master of Administration in Organizational Change Management from the New School of Social Research. Helene has been working with youth for 20 years. Helene grew up in BBYO and went on to work in their leadership camp programs at Perlman and Beber camps. She has also served as the coordinator for the March of the Living program, and the director of programs for Masada Israel Summer Programs. She lived in Israel for four years where she worked for TRACKS Adventures as Director of Youth Programs & Marketing. Helene has spent years committed to improving the lives of children in Africa through her volunteer work in South Africa and Tanzania. Helene has served as the director of CYJ Sprout Lake since September 1999.
Robin Anderson, Director, Camp Young Judaea Midwest
Robin Anderson held a number of positions, including counselor, unit head, program director and associate director before assuming the position of director in December 2015. She has a BA in Jewish Studies and Sociology from Indiana University and an MA in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. Additionally, Robin completed the first cohort of the Yitro Leadership Program for assistant and associate directors, funded by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Robin is married to Michael and they have three children, Yoni, Noah and Lital, who are eagerly awaiting their time to attend camp.
Walter Synalovski, Director, Camp Judaea
Walter Synalovski has 25 years of experience in running camp and providing CJ campers with a phenomenal camp experience. Walter started his Camp Judaea journey as an eight-year-old camper and continued through his years as a staff member, even serving as Camp Director from 1992-1995. He worked for 14 years as the Director of Cedar Lake Camp and seven years as the Director of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac.
Walter was born in Puerto Rico and received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida International University. After attending Year Course and graduating from FIU, he worked in Miami as a Young Judaea Regional Director. He is fluent in English and Spanish and has two daughters, Lizzy and Rachel.
Israel Program Directors
Adam Jenshil is a long-serving member of the Young Judaea team. Adam brings two decades of cumulative involvement in Young Judaea and a successful history in growing programs to his position as Director of Year Course. Adam has held senior positions at the Federation of Zionist Youth (Young Judaea’s sister program in the UK), the Northeast region of Young Judaea in New Jersey, Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake and other departments. His international knowledge and experience in addition to his Zionist passion continues to invigorate a new era of creativity and teamwork, as Young Judaea looks to the future. From 2006-2009, Adam was the director of the Short-Term Programs Department, overseeing high school age summer programs, Amirim and the Birthright track. He is married to former Year Course counselor, Dganit, they have 13 year old twins, Lee and Maya who are big sister and brother to three year old Ari and they live in Tzur Hadassah.
Kate Nachman grew up in the New England region of Young Judaea. After programming for her club in Nashua, NH, she was regional Ofie/Tsofie programmer for the New England region.
Kate worked at Camp Sprout Lake and attended Camp Tel Yehudah before going on Year Course in 1990-91. She spent her junior year abroad from Cornell University studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and interning for Young Judaea. After graduation, she worked as Year Course madricha (counselor) in 1995-96 before making Aliyah and founding Center Stage Theatre at Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah in Jerusalem, which she ran for 9 years. Kate was working as the Director of Admissions for Hebrew College until returning to Israel and to the Young Judaea professional family. Kate has 3 daughters who are 5th generation Hadassah life members. Kate and her family live in Jerusalem.
Nadav Ben Gal, Director, Short Term & Post-College Israel Programs
Nadav joined the Young Judaea family in 2006 as a tour guide for the Teen Summer Programs. Since then, he worked in various positions in the movement, such as a tour guide for different programs and a young Shaliach to the West Coast. Two years ago, Nadav took a full time position, first, as the Teen Summer Programs manager and today he is the director of the Teen, Students and WUJS programs.
In his free time, he likes hiking, cooking and reading. Nadav is married to Neta, and is the very proud father of Noga and Yoav. Together they live happily in the city of Petach Tikvah.
Dr. Avi Rose was born in New York and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. A second generation Jewish educator, Avi’s parents and brothers are Rabbis and teachers. Avi holds a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Toronto. Over the past twenty years he has served as a Jewish educator in Canada and Israel, teaching all age groups in formal and informal settings. In 2002 Avi participated in the Mandel School’s
Jerusalem Fellows program, where he developed the concept of an arts-based Zionist Education. Since making aliyah in 2003, Avi has been a member of the Year Course staff and faculty. An author, lecturer and visual artist, Avi has participated in several group exhibitions, including at the Hadassah Art Gallery in November of 2009. He specializes in arts-based education and has been responsible for creating courses related to Jewish Art and Zionist/Hebrew culture. Avi is married to Binyamin, a psychotherapist, and lives in Jerusalem.
Paul Gladstone was born and bred in Glasgow, Scotland. After spending a year in Israel on FZY/YJ Year Course, After studying in Manchester, he continued to move South and spent 6 years living in London, including a year working full-time for FZY as the Short Term programs Director. Paul made Aliya in December 2002 and after building and selling his own digital Marketing company, he returned to my routes of Jewish organisations and bringing people to Israel. Paul live in Tzur Yigal with his wife Yael, 3 children (Matan, Yoav and Noa) and Whisky the dog. When not teaching his kids to speak English with a Scottish accent or working, you can find Paul either watching Glasgow Rangers (football/soccer) or out training for his next marathon or ultra marathon.
Rabbi Adam Drucker is the Jewish Life Educator for Young Judaea in Israel. Before making Aliyah, Rabbi Adam worked as a teacher in the UK and acquiring a wealth of experience in formal and informal educational programming. After making Aliyah in 2015, he began teaching for numerous educational institutions, as well as writing materials for schools around the world. Since joining Young Judaea, Rabbi Adam has developed programming that facilitate Jewish life, which have become incredibly popular among Year Course participants. Rabbi Adam lives in Modiin with his wife and four children.