Hagit Alush is an occupational therapist specializing in child development, who runs the developmental unit in Yeruham. She was a co-founder and co-manager of the early childhood leisure and community services in Yeruham, leading those activities for the first five years of operation. Hagit is a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit “Parents for a Different Education in Yeruham.” She was also a co-founder of the Shachar track for integrative Montessori education in Yeruham, which was founded in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the local council. Hagit holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, and a master’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Schwartz Program in Early Childhood Studies, with a specialization in early childhood policy and community.
Over the last decade, Ben Arviv has gained extensive experience as a community and social entrepreneur, working on a range of urban projects throughout the Negev. This experience includes coordination of the Open Apartments project; management of the Produce of the Land project in the southern region; Hashula, a second-hand store in Sderot; Tachles, a series of cultural events in Netivot; and MashtelOz, a social gardening center on Kibbutz Nachal Oz. Ben is the chair of the Union of Junior Faculty Members at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and has been a member of the organization’s board of governors for the last five years. He serves as a consultant to Weem, a community real estate project that provides shared living spaces in Beer Sheva. He has gained extensive experience in Jewish advocacy work with Stand With Us, and is an expert in projects to develop community tourism. The latter include the creation of community walking tours in Rahat and the development of an income-generating tourism project for Tevel B’tzdek/Nyavik Sansar in Nepal. He has also coordinated various youth programs in Beer Sheva, including Al-Winn and Jamilla, run by the Israel Authority for Prevention of Violence, Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Ben holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the department of tourism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Tsah Barak is the owner of Lula, a café in the Old City of Beer Sheva dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the Negev. The café provides free culture for all, offering free entry to a diverse range of events including gallery openings, concerts, lectures, boutique shows, Shabbat events, and more. A social activist, Tsah volunteers for Amcha, a nonprofit that supports Holocaust survivors in Israel, where he serves as a content marketing consultant to the director of the Beer Sheva branch, and hosts important events at the café, such as festival meals for lone survivors, and events such as Memory Salon, at which Holocaust survivors tell their stories of survival and rebirth. Tsah is also active in the Sha’ar Shivyon nonprofit, a social-educational and sports initiative, in which capacity he serves as a coach at the Hazon Ovadia school in Beer Sheva.
Moran Buganim Menahem has served as head of the community development department at the Dimona Center for Young Adults since 2018. The Center provides a variety of different services to young adults and demobilized soldiers up to the age of 40. Her work includes creating and developing communities of young adults in Dimona, in order to strengthen the city’s resilience and encourage young adults to participate in social activism. Moran is also responsible for the Center’s culture and leisure activities, and organizes many events throughout the year. She is also a board member of the Forum of Organizations for Young Adults in the Negev. Previously, she was the social engagement coordinator at the Dimona Center for Young Adults. Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and policy from Sapir Academic College.
Shanie Ora Dotan recently returned from serving as a senior emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel, having managed the Israel Engagement department at the Jewish Federation of Montreal for four years. In this capacity, she founded and directed the community’s year-long service program, and worked with volunteers, engaged in content development, and provided support to dozens of the community’s various institutions. Shanie has over a decade’s experience in experiential education. She directed youth leadership activities as part of the partnership between Beer Sheva, the Bnei Shimon regional council, and the Montreal Jewish community, and served as the national coordinator mentor for the international Diller Teen Fellows program. Shanie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and education, and a master’s degree in administration, society, and education, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Khalid El Krinawi leads educational programs and projects, initiates innovative processes in the local education system, and develops talented human capital. Previously, he worked as a teacher and coordinator in both the formal and informal education systems; as the Ministry of Education’s liaison for independent education in the Bedouin sector; as the Rahat community center’s cultural coordinator; and as a committee member in the Rahat education system. Khalid is a member of Friends of Hi-Tech High (HTH) Israel, which works to connect all schools, organizations, and people working to promote education in the spirit of American Hi-Tech High in Israel. He has participated in a Hi-Tech High delegation to San Diego and in national and international conferences on education. Khalid holds a master’s degree in teaching and learning from the Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, and is currently studying for a doctorate in management at the Free International University of Moldova (ULIM).
Noam is a teacher and educator who serves as the rabbi of the AMIT Oriya religious girls’ high school in Beer Sheva. Previously, he headed a beit midrash (religious studies program) for men and a parallel program for women students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and was a homeroom teacher at the Or Otniel yeshiva high school. In recent years, Noam has been researching the halakhic and philosophical writings of North African rabbis in modern times, and has been active in the social aspect of rabbinical work. He is a graduate of the hesder program at Yeshivat Or Etzion, the kollel program at Beit Moriah, and the Merchav program at Memizrach Shemesh. Noam holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Hemdat Hadarom Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Hadas Levi Billig is the head of programs at the Cyber Education Center. The programs she leads serve youth from Israel’s geosocial periphery (the Magshimim program and the Startech program), and include programs designed especially for young women (the Mamriot and Cyber Club programs). As part of her work, Hadas is developing an organization for graduates of these programs. Previously, she directed the Magshimim and Startech programs from their launch until they were well established. Hadas holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Mandel Social Leadership track at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Shir Luzzatto is an account manager for strategic clients in the corporate division of El Al Airlines, where she is responsible for developing and managing business strategy, managing profit-and-loss units, business development, and innovation. She is a co-founder of the Street in Her Name initiative, which works to counter the marginalization of women in Israel’s public space, and of Eden 19, an accelerator for emerging professions in the Western Negev. She is also an active volunteer in resource development and profit-oriented business strategy for the Eden home for girls at risk in Kibbutz Karmia. Shir holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Tel Aviv University.
Adir Matityahu is the director of a unique community center that specializes particularly in early childhood education. Previously, he was the head of leadership programs for the city of Beer Sheva, ran the municipal student council, and managed the city’s team of young counselors, under the auspices of the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal corporation for recreation and leisure. Adir holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching diploma in science and technology from the Hemdat Hadarom Academic College of Education.
Gal Misholy develops and leads educational projects. She founded the unit for 18-21 year-olds in the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal organization for recreation and culture in Beer Sheva. Gal is a graduate of the Kibbutz Movement’s Shvilim program for Zionism and social justice; she also plays an active role in the Yahav program for humanities studies offered as part of the movement’s civic service year program. Gal is the commander of a reserve company in the IDF Education and Youth Corps, and is a graduate of the Nachshon and Lachish pre-military academies, where she was both a student and a counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish philosophy and State of Israel studies (cum laude) from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Ofir Naftaly Natan is the coordinator of youth movements and organizations for the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal corporation for recreation and culture in Beer Sheva. Previously, he was chair of the student union at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He served for three years as a member of the board of directors of the National Union of Israeli Students, and participated in various forums and committees at Ben-Gurion University and in the city of Beer Sheva. For two years, Ofir was head of social engagement at the Ben-Gurion University Student Union, in which capacity he worked to involve students in the Beer Sheva community during and after their studies. He has a diverse background in informal education, and completed a year of civic service on behalf of the Tzofim (Israel Scouts) movement. Ofir holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, anthropology, and State of Israel studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Sahar Rimer is an animal rights activist who was formerly the activities coordinator for the Vegan Students’ Association at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is an account manager for a software company that specializes in the management of small and medium businesses. Her academic studies have focused on theories of social movements and on social change organizations, particularly animal rights organizations. Sahar holds a bachelor’s degree in management, sociology, and anthropology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she is currently completing a master’s degree in sociology and anthropology, with a specialization in organizational sociology.
Yitzhak Ross is the Ministry of Education’s supervisor of Land of Israel studies and chair of the field trip committee in Israel’s southern region. In this capacity, he promotes the teaching of Land of Israel studies, advances young leadership in this field, and is responsible for all school field trips in the region. Previously, Yizhak was a teacher, guide, and member of national staff teams in the field of Land of Israel studies. He has led youth delegations to Poland and Germany, and taught Land of Israel studies for three years at the Tarbut School in Mexico as an emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He was also a basketball referee, and served as a volunteer referee at basketball tournaments to commemorate fallen soldiers, and promoted social and educational goals in the community on a voluntary basis. Yitzhak holds a bachelor’s degree and a teaching diploma in geography and Bible, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Yael Sherby Hurwitz is a resource and content developer for Ohr Torah Stone, a modern Orthodox network of 27 institutions. As part of her work, she assists women whose husbands refuse to grant them a get (religious divorce settlement) and promotes programs for women that combine Torah study and enlistment in the IDF. Yael is a member of Be’erot, a cooperative religious community that combines the observance of Jewish law with values of feminism and equality. In the past, she worked in resource development for various organizations in the Negev, including the Eden nonprofit and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Yael holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in publishing from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Iris Tuvia is a social worker who directs the activities of ELAH, a nonprofit that provides social and emotional support, in Southern Israel. Previously, she was the director of ELAH’s center for families coping with loss following a violent death, and has remained active on this issue, helping families on a volunteer basis. Iris is also an active volunteer for One of My Own, a nonprofit that supports lone soldiers after they complete their IDF service, and is involved in several other volunteering initiatives in the Negev. Previously, she was involved in community work at Midreshet Ben-Gurion, the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council, and the High School for Environmental Studies in Sde Boker. Iris holds a diploma in family and couples therapy from the TELEM Institute and is an expert in bereavement and loss counseling. She has over three decades of experience in therapy, counseling, group facilitation, and support for families and professional staffs. Iris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Tel Aviv University.
Michael Van Straten is the director of the herd health and epidemiology department at Hachaklait, a cooperative association providing veterinary services. His work involves data analysis and consulting to cattle farms, investigating outbreaks in livestock, and providing consulting and training to veterinarians and cattle-breeders in Israel and around the world. Michael founded and ran a mobile clinic that provides veterinary services for camels, goats, and sheep to the Bedouin community of the Negev. He teaches at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and volunteers for the Israel Camel Breeders Association as coordinator of veterinary and scientific activities. Michael holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and a doctorate in epidemiology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Idan Avisar is the founder and manager of the Beer Sheva Fringe Theater. After graduating from the Goodman Acting School in Beer Sheva, he managed Beer Sheva’s Center for Excellence in Theater and acted for two seasons in the Beer Sheva Theater. In the past, he worked in informal education in the Tzofim (Scouts) movement, where he served in educational administration positions and set up the Akko scouts troop. In addition to managing the Beer Sheva Fringe Theater, he is actively involved in the creative process (writing, acting, directing). He is also involved in forums to promote culture and education in the Negev Development Authority and in Shatil.
Shlomi Barat, married with one daughter, was born and raised in Beit Shemesh and attended the IAF Technological College (the Techni). He is a student of the Hebrew language. After four years of service in the standing army, Shlomi began working with youth in need of guidance, mentoring and care. Currently, he runs the Meytar day center for at-risk youth (run under the auspices of HaOgen HaKehilati - the Community Anchor - youth village.). He firmly believes that we should focus on the good and work to benefit others and to achieve solidarity and tolerance.
Yehonatan Ben Yosef was born and raised in Netanya and now lives in Merhav Am. In between, he studied and taught in Tel Aviv, Dimona and elsewhere. He served in the standing army and is still active as a reserve officer. Yehonatan studied and continues to study in various Torah frameworks, among them Machon Meir and Orot Aviv, where he is working toward obtaining rabbinic ordination. As a certified coach, he works with individuals and groups and is also a tour guide. Previously, he founded and ran a club for at-risk youth and ran the Ru’ah Bamidbar Beit Midrash in Dimona. His motto is “be the change you are hoping for.”
Hani Briga, a political and social activist, runs a center for volunteerism and civic society in Yeruham. She heads the town’s parents’ committee and coordinates the residents’ forum for fair and equal social justice. She is among the founders of the first food cooperative in Yeruham. Hani is completing a BA in public policy and administration.
Galit Cohen holds a master’s degree in social work from Tel Aviv University, specializing in group facilitation. Until recently, she managed the Tor BaMidbar organization’s Center for Local Sustainability in Beer Sheva. A social activist since 1999, she has led social programs and projects in the public and nonprofit sectors. As a community social worker, Galit integrates approaches highlighting the need to act to promote the individual and the need for community development and working to influence policy. Among her previous positions, she managed the Hesegim program for making higher education accessible, managed the national Shaham program for the Ethiopian community, headed an employment program for women and mentored community social work students.
Yehonathan Dvir was born in Safed and grew up in Kfar Rafael, which his parents helped found. After his military service, he studied in Switzerland and was certified as a Waldorf method teacher (anthroposophy). In 2001, he established the first anthroposophic kindergarten in Beer Sheva. In 2005, he began the founding of the Janusz Korczak School and was the teacher of the first graduating class, from grade one through grade eight, continuously. Currently, he is involved in setting up a Waldorf track to be integrated into the regular high school program at the Eshel Hanassi High School. He is also involved in social projects and active in combatting the worldwide bee crisis.
Ravit Greenberg, who lives in Beer Sheva with her partner and their two daughters, is originally from upstate New York and considers herself an Israeli-American. Currently, she runs the Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go South program. Ravit earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and gender studies from Rutgers University and a master’s in business administration from Ben-Gurion University. Previously, she worked at Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Donor and Associates Affairs. A founder of the Be’erot community, Ravit is establishing roots in the Negev, is committed to the future development of the region and sees the Negev as a place of economic and communal opportunity.
Omar Hija, married with two daughters, was born in the Galilee town of Kaukab abu al Hija and lives in Beer Sheva. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in guidance counseling. He is a physical education teacher and guidance counselor at the Atid Al Nur High School in Hura and created a sports and recreation company that works in all sectors, but primarily in the Bedouin community.
Gal Horev, married and a father of five, lives in the Western Negev, near Gaza. For the last 26 years he served as a fighter and commander in the Ministry of Defense and in the IDF. He recently retired from the standing army and serves as a reserve infantry battalion commander. He holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and Middle East studies and a master’s degree in law. Currently, as part of his quest for new challenges in educational and social endeavors, he is studying for a teaching degree and gaining experience in local social and communal projects.
Veronika Jeryshalmi, married with two children, was born in St. Petersburg, immigrated to Israel at the age of 12, and has since lived in Arad. She served in the navy and participated in the Mount Herzl ceremony marking the state’s 50th year of independence. She holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences, management and economics. She prefers to work in jobs with a mission. Previously, she was among the founders of the Youth and Human Capital Center in Arad. She is involved in local projects such as the creation of an extension of the Open University and the local parents’ committees. She is also an environmental activist on the issue of phosphate mining at Mount Barir. She firmly believes that “bad things happen when good people sit at home” and tries to live accordingly.
Adi was born in Yeruham, where she currently resides. She is married and has a daughter. For the past several years is deputy CEO of the Beer-Sheva Foundation that initiates and develops projects for the welfare of Beer Sheva residents. Adi earned a bachelor’s degree in politics & government and Israel studies from Ben-Gurion University, and an M.A. from Bar-Ilan University. In the past Adi worked in the field of law and public diplomacy, and headed a delegation of volunteers in Africa. She volunteers in diverse settings and is interested in advancing early childhood education.
Shamseh Msaed was born in Jatt, a village in the Triangle. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master's in technology in education from the Kibbutzim College of Education. A teacher and mathematics coordinator at the Ahad school in Hura, she has been involved in educational endeavors for over 16 years. Shamseh believes that real change comes from within, and not externally, and would like to establish a girls’ school for sciences and arts in the Negev.
Snir Peleg holds a bachelor’s degree in education and design form the Wizo Canada College of Design in Haifa and is a certified teacher. He worked at various newspapers as a designer, and as an art director and studio manager at advertising agencies. He was also an art and art history teacher and a lecturer in design at various colleges. In recent years, he has focused on informal education at the Ramon Foundation’s Aviators Club, which is a leadership and empowerment program for kids, and as a faculty member of the Democratic School in Arad.
Kobi Revivo, married and a father of four, is an educator. He grew up in Beer Sheva and is a product of the local religious education system. He attended the hesder yeshiva in Karnei Shomron and later returned to the South out of a desire to develop the Negev. Among the founders of the community of Shlomit in the Eshkol Regional Council, he is a member of the community board and its spokesman. He is also a member of the Eshkol Regional Council and vice principal of the Amit Technology School in Beer Sheva. As a musician who plays several instruments, he integrates music into his educational and administrative work. He hopes to continue developing the Negev and its educational and communal activities.
Yafit Savir is a native of Beer Sheva and now resides in Kibbutz Beit Kama. She is a homeroom, language, grammar and physical education teacher, and the social and community coordinator and a senior staff member at the Mevo’ot Negev School in Kibbutz Shoval. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew language and physical education and a master’s degree in educational systems administration. She is involved in public affairs within the kibbutz and is spearheading educational programs in her school. She studies and often engages in sports and yoga. Yafit believes that every person adds something special to the world and that the ability to effect meaningful change and create an enlightened and healthy society stems from a deep understanding of this message and love for the other.
Yasmin Sax Fridman, married with one son, is a Beer Sheva native. Currently a city council member, she is a pioneer of the animal rights movement in the city and a leader of the campaign to obtain public housing. Previously, she served as the marketing director of a performing arts center and director of the Yesh Atid party’s Beer Sheva district. She is completing a bachelor’s degree in public administration at the Open University and recently began working at the Tor HaMidbar NGO as the marketing and fundraising director. She loves people and animals and fights on their behalf.
Netta Schramm, married with two children, lives in Beer Sheva. She combines two seemingly diverse areas of study in her life: physics and Jewish philosophy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and is studying toward a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy. She teaches physics at the girls high school in Yeruham, is a teaching assistant in the department of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is involved in research projects at the Yeruham Science Center. She hopes to complete a doctorate in Jewish philosophy and to continue working in education.
Tamar Shimi was born in and continues to live in Beer Sheva. For more than eight years she has been a science and home room teacher. She holds a master’s degree in educational policy, society and administration from Ben Gurion University. She is a mediator and coordinates the fundamentals of mediation project at the Etz Hayim School. She was among the founders of the Ayala association which assists people with adrenal gland syndromes. Tamar is interested in the process of identity development and in the connection between reality and vision, theory and practice. She firmly believes in the fundamental element of the good and the positive in people and in our obligation as educators to find or instill this fundamental element in each person.
Anna Tal, a Beer Sheva resident for over 25 years, was born in Latvia and lived there for three years. Even after numerous trips all over Israel and around the world, she feels that Beer Sheva is her home and center of her life. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle East studies and politics and government and a master’s degree in Middle East studies – studies that changed the course of her life. Currently she works in a startup center and for the Montreal Federation and is striving to create dialogue among different groups in Israeli society (and beyond it) based on equality, acceptance and mutual respect.
Eti Tepper, born in Beer Sheva, is married and a mother of five. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education and Hebrew language and a master’s degree in Jewish education, with a specialization in family studies. For over 14 years has managed the Fanny Kaplan Community Center in Beer Sheva. Under the auspices of the community center, she develops and launches social and community projects and initiatives, classes, cultural events and more. In the past, she was the national and district educational coordinator of a youth movement and a counselor at a children’s home. Her favorite motto is “as long as the candle is still burning, it is possible to work and repair.”
Hila Yeshaiahu, an Arad native and now a resident of Beer Sheva, is the coordinator of the theater program at the Rabin Comprehensive School in Beer Sheva. She holds a BA in politics, government and geography from Ben Gurion University and a degree in theater directing and studies from Kibbutzim College. For more than a decade Hila has been teaching theater and working with at-risk youth. She believes in the power of art and creativity as tools for generating a sense of capability, empowerment and personal development.
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