VOLUNTEER IN ISRAEL FROM HOME!
SKILLED VOLUNTEERS FOR ISRAEL
MEET OUR STAFF
Jill Suskind, Director of Volunteer & Outreach Activities
Jill joined the EBY staff in 2021 with a background of 30 years as a public school teacher in Maryland and Massachusetts and now, as a freelance grant writer and nonprofit business development consultant for nonprofits working in Israel and the US. She holds degrees in Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Cambridge College of Boston, MA.
Having spent her youth and early adulthood as a leader in the Young Judaea Zionist Youth Movement, she found her home neatly in the mission and work of English B'Yachad.
Jill works to strengthen EBY's infrastructure, design materials for EBY's outreach efforts, secure funding for our work, and manage teams of volunteers working on special projects.
Jill lives in Andover, MA.
Dr. Minna Wolf, Co-Founder, Director, English B'Yachad
Minna Wolf secures and maintains partnerships with Israeli organizations that work on improving the lives and socio-economic status of Ethiopian Israelis and other populations living in Israel’s periphery. Minna works to ensure effective participation and builds supplemental programmatic facets (e.g., improving the English CV and English interview preparation) to further enhance program impact. Through the application and interview process, she deliberately matches students and volunteers and works to ensure successful outcomes through evaluation and monitoring.
Minna holds a Ph.D. in Education from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Minna resides in Tel Aviv-Yafo with her daughter, Ma’ayan.
Marla Gamoran, Founder, CEO,
Skilled Volunteers for Israel
Marla completed a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Illinois, Champaign and a Masters in Business Administration from DePaul University.
Following a career in non-profit management and workforce development, Marla identified the need for an organization dedicated to serving Jewish baby boomers who wanted to contribute to Israel by volunteering using their skills and experience. Marla completed the PresenTense Global Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs in 2010 and soon after ignited her lifelong passion for Israel by establishing Skilled Volunteers for Israel where she serves as Executive Director.
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Allen Poteshman, Treasurer, New York, NY
Senior Vice President at the D.E. Shaw group in New York City where he specializes in the quantitative analysis of data in the financial markets. Prior to joining D.E. Shaw, Allen was a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his research focused on the option market and the interaction between the option and the stock market. He holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Chicago, a Ph.D. in philosophy and a masters degree in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelors degree in physics and philosophy from Yale University. Allen brings his expertise in the collection and analysis of data to provide strategic and financial insight to Skilled Volunteers for Israel.
Judy Kleppel, President, Philadelphia, PA
As an American trained physician, Dr. Kleppel has 10 years of experience volunteering in Israel in the areas of health and trauma. Judy brings hands on experience in negotiating and carrying out volunteer opportunities in Israel to the Skilled Volunteers for Israel Board of Directors. She performed community based fundraising for Israeli nonprofits from the USA, based on her personal knowledge and enthusiasm for their mission.
Marla N Gamoran, Secretary & Executive Director, Founder, New York, NY
Marla divides her time between New York City and Jerusalem. Following a career in non-profit management and workforce development, Marla completed the PresenTense Global Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs in 2010, and soon after, ignited her lifelong passion for Israel by establishing Skilled Volunteers for Israel where she serves as Executive Director.
Marla has volunteered for her synagogue, served as the President of the Madison Wisconsin chapter of Hadassah, serves on the University of Wisconsin Madison Hillel Board and the American Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) Board, and is an ARZA delegate to the American Zionists of America board.
Ron Hoffman, Toronto Canada/Miami, FL
Ron served as for 24 years as Vice President of Emerging Markets for Gamma-Dynacare Laboratories and led the organization in its drive to develop new or enhanced uninsured revenue strategies through the identification and sale of new tests, new product offerings and new business relationships. Ron is an active Jewish communal leader and has served as President and Vice President of JNF Toronto/JNF Canada; President of the Reena Foundation; President of the Canadian Foundation For Masorti Judaism in Israel; Vice President of the Kolel Legacy Fund, through which it sponsors educational programs presented by the Prosserman JCC in particular, Member of Toronto’s advisory committee for the Melton Educational Programme; Vice Chair of Facing History And Ourselves, Canada, the Canadian version of a U.S. parent entity.
Rabbi Alan Iser, Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Iser is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology at St. Joseph’s and Villanova University. He also teaches summers at the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem. He is a former pulpit rabbi and Hillel Director. He received his rabbinic ordination from J. T. S. and holds a Masters degree from the Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard and a B. A. from Washington University in St. Louis.
Howard Mednick, Toronto, Canada
Howard Mednick is a Skilled Volunteers for Israel alumni and volunteered in 2019 putting his classical music expertise and technical skills together as a Classical Music DJ.
Howard retired from his occupation as a computer systems consultant after some 45 years experience. He worked with computers starting from punch cards through to hand held mobile applications, but have basically specialized in large scale database management and reporting applications over the last few years.
OUR NEW PROGRAM: ENGLISH B'YACHAD
Skilled Volunteers for Israel (SVFI) promotes connection to Israel for Jewish adults through volunteerism and service. Our flagship program, English B’Yachad (English Together), offers one-on-one online English language tutoring to Israeli young adults.
Join the hundreds of volunteer tutors from diverse professional backgrounds who are transforming the lives of Israelis through English tutoring.
WHO CAN TUTOR?
Thanks to today’s technology, it’s easy to share your lifetime of skills and experience with a young adult from an underserved community in Israel.
With your commitment of only one to two hours a week, you can help a student gain English fluency and the confidence to qualify for a professional career.
Most of our students speak basic English and want to focus on practicing conversation, so you don’t need to speak Hebrew or have teaching experience.
As a weekly conversation partner and lesson tutor, you’ll serve as a tutor, coach, friend, and mentor.
WE CAREFULLY MATCH STUDENTS AND TUTORS
Students and tutors are interviewed to match individuals based on language abilities, student goals, tutoring experience, and professional background. We provide start up resources, but this program is not built upon a set curriculum, as tutoring session content is customized to each student’s needs and goals.
I have grown to feel a real bond between us – she is somewhere between a friend and a third daughter. I am looking forward to being able to travel to Israel to meet R in person, to meet her family and to introduce her to my daughter who lives in Tel Aviv.
Thank you to Marla and Minna for creating this wonderful program. May it grow and expand to help many more young Israelis in the future!! ---Jan, New Jersey
Our students are Israeli young adults from the social and geographic periphery who seek to better compete for promising positions in the Israeli job market.
Most of our students are from the Ethiopian Israeli community, and we are expanding our services to other communities in Israel.
My student, Sapir, has passed round 1 for a programming job. Round 2 is coming up. I am helping her prepare for the interview, which will be conducted in English. I hope, I hope, I hope - this would be such a huge step forward for her. (Julie, San Francisco, CA).
MEET OUR ISRAELI PARTNERS
"The Israeli tech sector is largely considered to be the backbone for the country’s economy, accounting for some 40 percent of Israel’s total exports annually and employing about eight percent of the working population.
For many Israelis from the Ethiopian community, however, the high-tech industry remains largely out of reach due to several factors including educational gaps, socio-economic hardships, and systematic discrimination."
EBY's success is largely credited to our Israel partnerships. We provide the English tutoring for well-established partners who are organized to provide multi-faceted career support to young adult Israelis from communities on the periphery of society.
"Tech-Career strives to break the employment barriers with which young Ethiopian Israelis are confronted and open a window of opportunity for socio-economic mobility, by paving the way into the competitive and lucrative high-tech industry. Our graduates acquire the skills and tools that enable them to attain high-level employment, manage professional careers with above average salaries and climb the socio-economic ladder."
LaMerhak (“Far and Away”) is a program focused on employment promotion for Israelis of Ethiopian descent. The program’s objective is to help members of the community to be employed in jobs that take full advantage of their educational attainments and skills. The program started in 2014, and since 2019 it is being implemented by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs.
EMPOWERING ETHIOPIAN WOMEN
Empowering Ethiopian Women (EEW) is a new Israeli NGO established in 2020 by and for Ethiopian Israeli women. The organization provides support and encouragement in urgently needed areas such as higher education, professional training, business development, and assistance with core women's issues. The NGO grew out of a grassroots social media community platform of over 16,000 members that was created in 2017 with the aim of empowering Ethiopian Israeli women, and it is already making an impact on Israel's economic and social fabric.