Eman Abu Galion works at the Abu Obeida primary school in Rahat as the coordinator of the Amirim program for excellence, as an integration coordinator, and as a teacher of Hebrew and science. During the past three years, she has been an instructor for Tec4Schools, a multicultural learning program that brings together fifth-grade classes from all over Israel for joint online study. Tec4Schools is a project of the TEC Center (Technology, Education, and Cultural Diversity) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts; its goal is to create trust among the various sectors of Israeli society in order to build a better society. Previously, Eman worked as a pedagogic mentor for Hebrew language instruction at the Kaye Academic College of Education in Beer Sheva. She was also the coordinator of a program designed to encourage graduates to go into teaching, as part of a project of the Ministry of Defense in partnership with the Ministry of Education. Eman holds a bachelor’s degree in science instruction and a master’s degree in technology and information processing from the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda. She is a graduate of the school principals’ course of Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership, and lives in Rahat.
Saad Abu Ghanam is a poet, editor, and facilitator of creative-writing workshops for children and educators. He is also a teacher of history and Arabic at the Abu Wadi School in Kseife. A collection of Saad’s poems in Arabic, titled Yellow Evening, was published in Egypt in 2015, and several of his Hebrew poems have appeared in Haaretz. Saad holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish history and in political science, government, and Middle Eastern studies, and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was born and lives in Kseife.
Yaacov Bitton is a poet and lecturer who has published three books of poetry, the most recent of which is titled Zohar Sister (Achoti BaZohar). A native of Beer Sheva, Yaacov lectures at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and at Sapir Academic College, where he teaches introductory courses on the epistemology of the Hebrew prophets and on the Buddhist forest monks.
Isaac Cohen is a poet, performing artist, producer, and facilitator of writing and spoken word workshop. As part of a program for newly demobilized soldiers, he works for the Zionist social-education organization HaShomer HaChadash as coordinator of content and recruitment and as a group facilitator. Isaac previously worked for Masa Israel Journey and volunteered at Retorno, a therapeutic community for rehabilitation from drug addiction. Isaac is a graduate of the Mizmor Music School, and his first book of poems, Almost Very Good (Pardes Publishing) was recently published. Isaac lives in Shuva, a moshav in the Western Negev.
Aviva Freedman is an architect and social activist who was a founder of the Zarta Studio, an architecture firm dedicated to building in the Negev, as an expression of a vision to promote high-quality, advanced, original, and local construction. The studio works to raise awareness of the importance of planning physical space based on an understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the place and the spirit, and does this by initiating and running cultural events in the Western Negev. Aviva is active in research and planning of social-residence projects, communal neighborhoods, public buildings, education, construction plans, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and lives on Moshav Klahim.
Oded Harush is a member of the city council of Dimona, a publicist, and a media personality, who runs nationwide projects for strengthening Jewish identity, as part of the activities of the Ministry of Education’s Jewish culture department. During the course of his studies for a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Oded ran the Dimona Cinemathèque and was a founder of Ruah Midbar, a beit midrash for young people in Dimona, which he directs to this day. While studying for a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Ben-Gurion University, he directed Dimona’s municipal department for Jewish culture. In 2016, he started running nationwide programs for Jewish identity and began working as a writer and presenter for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation’s Channel 11 (Kan 11). In October 2019, Oded was elected to the Dimona city council.
Tamar Herzberg-Shoseyov is the head of pedagogy at the From Holocaust to Revival Museum on Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. In this capacity, she develops and directs the museum’s educational programs, and is responsible for staff training, cultural events, and day-long seminars. Tamar is also responsible for coordinating the national service volunteers working for the Society for the Preservation of Heritage Sites in Israel in the southern district. Previously, she served as the coordinator of recruitment and selection for the Revivim program for outstanding Jewish educators at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Tamar worked for the Movement for the Future of the Western Negev as a member of its planning teams and as a representative of the movement, and led tours of the Western Negev under its auspices. A former teacher of Bible, history, and Jewish philosophy at the middle-school and high-school levels, Tamar holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Jewish studies from the Revivim program of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her studies, she volunteered as a coordinator of courses at The Social Economic Academy (SEA). Tamar is an amateur photographer.
Uvit Kabada facilitates parents' groups for Fidel, a nonprofit that aims to integrate Ethiopian-Israelis fully into Israeli society. She also works as an educational mediator in kindergartens and schools in Kiryat Gat, is a personal trainer, and serves as a pedagogical education assistant in a special education class for children with communications disorders. Uvit has extensive experience in directing social and community projects in Ethiopian-Israeli society. She was among the founders of Addis, a non-profit organization for the advancement of social activities for the Ethiopian immigrant community, where she coordinated the community garden project and a project for preserving and strengthening the heritage of the Ethiopian-Israeli community. Uvit holds certification in learning strategies and remedial instruction from Ashkelon Academic College as well as certification in group facilitation from Sapir Academic College, and is a graduate of the Community Management and Coordination program of Beit Berl College. She lives in Kiryat Gat.
Omri Keren Lapidot is a professional photographer and active artist. He has had several solo exhibitions in recent years and has participated in group exhibitions throughout Israel. Omri teaches photography in various formal and informal settings, including the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, the Jusidman Science Center for Youth at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Zilum Ba’am photography school, and other educational settings with short-term programs. He is the director of professional content at Israel’s oldest photography store, where he is responsible for the dissemination of professional knowledge both within the organization and to the public, and manages its social media. Previously, Omri participated in the residency program of the RedLine art center in Beer Sheva and the residency program of the HaAgaf art gallery in Haifa. Omri holds a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in photography and education from the WIZO Haifa Academy of Design and Education. He lives on Kibbutz Hatzerim.
Nadav Mishali is a filmmaker, cultural entrepreneur, director, and screenwriter. He is also a member of the artistic committee of the Midarom (“From the South”) Festival, the director of the Ofakim Cinemathèque, and a film distributor. During his cinema studies, Nadav made short films that were screened at many festivals all over the world. Prominent among them is “Longing” (2014), which received excellent reviews and won many awards. Nadav is active in culture and cinema in the city of Ofakim. It was there that he began his work in cinema in 2011 by leading “Moving Pictures,” a project designed to make cinema accessible to new areas in Israel, and where he founded the Ofakim Cinemathèque in 2016. Nadav holds a bachelor’s degree in film and television, and is near the completion of a master’s degree in film studies and production at Sapir Academic College. He was born and raised in Ofakim.
Buzi Raviv is the founder and director of the online broadcasts of BGU Radio, the radio station of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is a graduate of a program for making culture accessible to the blind and visually impaired via voice description, which is offered under the auspices of the Central Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Handicapped; the National Insurance Institute; and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services. Buzi served as chairman of the student council of the Sede Boqer Campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he also founded the doctoral candidates’ forum. He holds a doctorate in desert studies from the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, one of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives in Midreshet Ben-Gurion.
Tamar Roded Shabtay is a fine artist who has been an “Artist in the Community” in the city of Arad for the last two years, as part of a fellowship program of the Ministry of Culture and Sport. In this capacity, she established a group for teens interested in the arts and ran the Arad Art and Architecture residency program. Among other places, her art has been exhibited in the following exhibitions: the artists’ greenhouse at the Fresh Paint Art Fair (2018); “Fluid Species,” a solo exhibition at the Minshar Art Gallery (2017); “Trails” at the Glo’Art Gallery in Lanaken, Belgium (2018); and “Cat-Cow,” a solo exhibition at the Gallery of Israeli Art at the Tivon Memorial Center. Tamar teaches continuing-education courses for art teachers, served as assistant curator and head of education at the Arad Contemporary Art Center in Arad, and taught a course in the art department of Sapir Academic College. She has served as artist-in-residence in several prestigious programs throughout the world, including Glo’Art (Belgium, 2018); LindArt (Slovenia, 2014); and Creative in Residence (China, 2012). Tamar holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and art education from Beit Berl College, and lives in Arad.
Eran Tzelgov is a Hebrew poet, translator, and scholar who is interested in cultural activism and sees literary works as social agents. His interests include translation and gender studies, postcolonial theory, and contemporary Israeli poetry. In 2012 he founded “Raav,” an independent press that challenges what he sees as the "overly homogenized" nature of the Israeli canon. He held teaching position at Ben-Gurion University, the Open University of Israel, Minshar College of Art, Bina – The Secular Yeshiva, New York University, and Northwestern University. Eran lives and writes in Beer-Sheva.
Yogev Vanounou is a photographer, artist, and producer at Homa, a nonprofit association of artists in the Negev. Previously, he was one of the founders of the Negev Artists’ House in the Old City of Beer Sheva, which became Homa, a collaborative of artists who work together to advance art in the Negev and to establish an artistic, creative, and cultural space. Among the projects that he has initiated and produced are the B7 Art Experience; documentary photography tours for groups of youth from Beer Sheva who are interested in art; production and facilitation of social photography workshops at Sapir Academic College and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and production of a boulevard of plastic art, the first of its kind, at the 2018 Smilansky Street Festival. Yogev holds a practical engineering degree in photography and digital media from Sapir Academic College. He lives in Beer Sheva.
Moshe Yohananov is a filmmaker who is also the artistic director of the Huna Theater, which is operated by Ami, a non-profit association dedicated to the advancement of culture in Israel’s Caucasian community. Moshe has written, filmed, and directed movies on topics related to the Caucasian-Israeli community, and runs “Family Quiz” projects for MiDor LeDor, a non-profit association dedicated to young people descended from the mountainous Jewish communities of Caucasus. Moshe holds a degree in filmmaking from the School of Audio and Visual Arts at Sapir Academic College. He lives in Beer Sheva.
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.
Dina Reznik is a counselor for new immigrant families as part of the Klita Meitiva support program run by Pa’amonim, a leading social organization working to help households manage their financial situation. The project is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Previously, Dina worked in the engine parts industry and was an account manager in international markets. While an undergraduate student, she worked as a branch manager for a major retail chain in the Negev, and during her military service she taught infantry soldiers how to drive Hummer trucks. Dina holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and is a qualified NLP therapist.
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.
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