Meet the students in our 2012 PT-ROI SocialStart Training Course!
For Benji Lovitt, Jewish summer camp led to his first trip to Israel at the age of 15 and then to a life-changing year in Israel on the Young Judaea Year Course program. His fate was sealed. Benji was destined to live the rest of his life as a committed Zionist and Jew. After earning a degree in psychology from the University of Texas, he worked at several dotcom jobs before realizing that something was missing. He found his calling in the Jewish communal world. Since making aliyah in 2006, Benji has performed stand-up comedy for audiences throughout North America and Israel including Hillels, Birthright Israel, the Jewish Federations General Assembly, and more. His perspectives on aliyah and life in Israel have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in publications such as the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and the Jewish Daily Forward. His blog, videos, and annual Yom Ha'atzmaut list of things he loves about Israel have developed a huge following and he works regularly with Jewish organizations to promote Israel.
Caylee grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, made Aliya in 2008, and has recently returned to Israel after completing her MSc in International Development at the London School of Economics. Over the years, Caylee has worked for various Jewish organisations in a number of countries including serving as National Chairperson of the South Africa Union of Jewish Students, a Goldman Fellow in the American Jewish Committee’s Africa Institute in New York and volunteering with Tevel B’Tzedek in a rural village in Nepal. She also holds a business degree from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and an MA in Israeli Politics from Hebrew University.
Caylee is passionate about international development, social-enterprise and finding market-driven solutions to improving the lives of the 4 billion people who live at “the base of the pyramid” in developing countries. Caylee has been a member of the ROI community since 2007.
Born and raised in Israel, Elad saw himself as an educator and instructor from infancy. Enlisting in the army, Elad served as the chief instructor in the commanders branch of the military medical school. He went on to complete his studies at Beit Berl College in 2009. Elad became a tour guide authorized by the Ministry of Tourism. He established "Derech Eretz Tour Company" in 2010 and worked as a school teacher for Jewish American programs. Elad is currently studying environmental science and Jewish history at Hebrew University.
Evelyn is from Argentina. She was born in Moises Ville, the first Jewish area of settlement in Argentina. Eve led at a Jewish youth movement - Tnúa Hanoar Hatzioni - in Moises Ville; she has taught at Hebrew schools; she is an informal educator and a director of cultural workshops for young adults in community settings. She has volunteered for many projects connected to investigating the AMIA bombing and has been involved in projects relating to the Holocaust in social media. Since 2010, Eve has been developing opportunities for fomal education for young adults, between 25 to 40 years old. She independently manages the projects that are related to corporate social responsibility, aiming to highten Jewish people's awareness of social responsibility issues in Argentina.
Gil was born in central Israel and eventually served in the army in shayetet 13. For the past 6 years he has been involved in American and European capital markets. In 2011, he established a private venture capital market studies program and has been involved in the training and facilitation of private entrepreneurs in different fields.
Hili spent her childhood in the U.S Virgin Islands but has lived the majority of her life in Arad, a small town in the south periphery of Israel. She served in the Air force and graduated Officer Course with Honors. Hili has a B.A in East Asian Studies, Political science and Education, and is majoring in the Chinese language from Tel Aviv University. She is a graduate of UNESCO’s Master in “Social Sciences in Humanitarian Affairs”. Hili is currently writing her thesis in East Asian studies and majoring in the Hindi language. She is a group facilitator in dialogue groups between Israeli’s and Palestinians in Israel and abroad. She is also the Founder and Manager of ‘Afik’ Center for Student Leadership in Israel
Lior Bakalu has lived in Kfar Saba, Israel, for most of his life. After his release from the IDF in which he served as an editor and producer for the IDF radio (Galatz), he began working as a journalist, mostly for web portals but also for newspapers and TV productions. He now works as a managing editor for Calcalist newspaper, Israel's largest financial newspaper and web portal. Lior is a board member and website editor for the Mitpkadot feminist lobby and a co-editor for the Israeli Gay Youth organization (IGY) website. Lior studied political science and western history at Tel Aviv University and plans to pursue an M.B.A. degree.
Moti Taubin was born in Kfar Adumim, a unique village whose inhabitants, both secular and religious, live together. This experience has continued to influence Moti throughout his whole life. After he spent one year in a pre-military study program in the Golan Heights, Moti began his military service in a unit called Maglan. As an officer, he commanded two teams and then discovered his passion for education. After he was released from the army, Moti started to work with youth, both as a volunteer coordinator during the disengagement from Gaza and as a guide to street children in Jerusalem. After finishing his studies at the Hebrew University in bible and history, he worked as a teacher in two high schools in Jerusalem and as a manager of a secular midrasha for volunteers. During 2009 he and Uriel, a friend from his kindergarten, established in Ein Gedi a Pre-Military Academy for underprivileged youth from the social periphery, meant to empower and help them to realize their potential on all levels: personal, social and national. The first year just ended on March 2010 and now Moti is preparing with his staff for the next one. He's married to Yael and they live in Ein Gedi.
Nuphar Schwartz was born in 1984. She has aquired management, operations, and marketing experience from the high-tech industry. She holds a B.A in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center Hertzeliya (IDC). Nuphar graduated the Argov Honors Program for Leadership and Diplomacy. During her studies, she has volunteered in several programs focusing on Israel advocacy. She participated in the Stand With Us Fellowship and in the Model United Nations. Nuphar served as an officer in the IDF Field Intelligence Corps.
Robert J. Saferstein, a graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, specializes in online media, photography, music composition and film production. Since 2010, Saferstein has served as Online Director for Sh’ma Journal, where he has led efforts in audience expansion, social media integration, the introduction of new forms of digital content and partnerships with outside organizations. Robert is very active with the LGBTQ Jewish Community as an organizer and advocate for change and equality. Robert consulted on and designed Broadway websites and was the founding Creative Director of Broadway’s Best Shows.
Now in its fourth year, and attracting over 250 people annually, Robert formed the first LGBTQ Orthodox-friendly megillah reading in NYC in 2009. His newest endeavor, Friday Night Lights, is a series of Shabbat dinners for gay professionals that will highlight different charitable organizations helping the LGBTQ Community.
Shiri is a sociology graduate student. She is active in the Sociology department as editor of the department's journal, producer of a series of lectures and founder of TA's forum and was elected excellent lecturer by the dean of social science. She was recently the winner of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship for excellent students, which allowed her to spend a semester in Karl Franzes University in Austria. Currently, she a research assistant for a few Prof at the Hebrew Uni. active in the international peace education movement CISV .