Our Team

Aliza Goodman

Aliza Goodman

Anne Lanski

Anne Lanski

Ari Berkowicz

Ari Berkowicz

Ari Feinstein

Ari Feinstein

Ayal Weiner-Kaplow

Ayal Weiner-Kaplow

Binnie Swislow

Binnie Swislow

Cari Schulman

Cari Schulman

Carl Schrag

Carl Schrag

Carolyn Kraus

Carolyn Kraus

Dan Tatar

Dan Tatar

Elana Weiner-Kaplow

Elana Weiner-Kaplow

Elisheva Lanzkron-Vachman

Elisheva Lanzkron-Vachman

Emily Rothstein

Emily Rothstein

Erika Vogel

Erika Vogel

Kristy Scher

Kristy Scher

Lori Sagarin

Lori Sagarin

Michael Soberman

Michael Soberman

Michal Peles-Almagor

Michal Peles-Almagor

Mitch Cohen

Mitch Cohen

Natalie Blitt

Natalie Blitt

Rachel See

Rachel See

Shalom Orzach

Shalom Orzach

Yehudit Werchow

Yehudit Werchow

Aliza Goodman

aliza@theicenter.org

Aliza Goodman has proudly been with The iCenter growing the field of Israel education for over 10 years. She currently leads the design and implementation of The iCenter’s professional development initiatives for Jewish educators across North America. In this role, she is building a team that experiments with ways to help educators infuse Israel throughout their settings, grounded in personal relationship building with Israel and Israelis. Most recently, her focus has been on developing criteria by which to measure success and articulating best practices in Israel education for educators in the field. Her commitment to and passion for Israel was ignited during childhood family trips to Israel from her home in Toronto. Aliza holds an MBA in Social Policy and Management and an M.A. in Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University.

Tell us about your name:

The story of my name goes something like this: I was born only a couple of weeks after Aliza Begin, Menachem Begin’s wife, passed away. My parents had yet to pick out a name they liked, and as my mom was watching the news of Aliza’s death, she decided she liked the name. That, coupled with my birthdate of November 29th, makes me destined to be in this field of work.

Israel Resource Cards

English עברית English A deck of cards is one of the oldest forms of entertainment around. Hundreds of games and activities have been created using just a single deck. These cards have been used extensively ...


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The Story of a Vote: 11.29.1947

By capturing the personal testimonies of Jews living during the establishment of the State of Israel, Toldot Yisrael offers authentic video materials designed to enhance personal connections to Israel through momentous events in Israeli history. November 29, ...


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Anne Lanski

anne@theicenter.org

Anne Lanski currently serves as the Founding CEO of The iCenter. Israel education has been Anne’s personal and professional passion for three decades. As a pioneer in crosscultural education and teen travel to Eastern Europe and Israel, Anne is Founder and former Executive Director of Shorashim, a nationally-recognized Israel education organization. She is regarded as the seminal figure in making the “mifgash” an essential component of Israel educational programs, and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for her pioneering work in this field. Anne received her M.A. from the Steinhardt School of Education at NYU, and is a graduate of the Senior Educator Program at the Melton Centre of Hebrew University. Anne currently resides in Chicago with her husband Barry and their three children.

Eich Atem Margishim Hayom Mood Posters

HOW YA DOIN? or MAH NISHMAH? English עברית English It’s one of the most basic questions people ask each other: “How are you?” “How are you feeling?” “What’s new?” It's no different in Hebrew. It's easy ...


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Maps as Narratives

Every map tells a story. Whenever we choose a map, whether or not we are conscious of it, we are choosing a particular narrative and perspective. No map is perfectly accurate. Every map is the ...


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Ari Berkowicz

ari@theicenter.org

Ari’s love for Israel started as early as watching Rechov Sum Sum and Shalom Sesame. His passion for Israel only grew through his familial connections to Israel and through his Jewish education in Chicago. After completing a BS in Psychology from the University of Maryland, he studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem where he began his journey as a Jewish professional. Upon his return to the States, he studied at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in their Beit Midrash and then pursued an MPA-MA dual degree at New York University in nonprofit management and Hebrew and Judaic studies. Before joining The iCenter team in 2015, Ari worked as a Program Executive at UJA-Federation of New York in their Leadership Engagement Department.

Tell us about your name:

It’s only a half joke in Ari’s family that his name was inspired by the fictional character in Exodus by Leon Uris. There is a Berkowicz family tradition to insert the name of God within family names. Ari’s full name is Ariel (אריאל); his father’s name is Yechiel (יחיאל), his father’s name was Israel (ישראל), his father’s name was Nehemiah (נחמיה), and so on. Ari has carried on this tradition with his own children, Judah (יהודה) and Priya (פריה).

The Aleph Bet of #IsraelEd Podcasts

We asked Israel educators throughout North America which podcasts they enjoy, to further connect with Israel and Israelis. Here are some of their top picks. Have one to add to this list? Let us know! ISRAEL ...


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Values in Tension

Often when we disagree with others, we may assume that we do not have shared values. This activity illustrates that we often do have shared values—and our differences lie in the way we prioritize them. ...


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Ari enjoys having Israel at the center of his work at The iCenter. A Midwest native and a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers, Ari lived in Israel on three different year-long programs: Young Judaea Year Course, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, and at Hebrew Union College, where he earned a Masters in Jewish Education. As an educator, he experienced the impact educational travel can have during the two summers he guided high school trips through Europe and Israel. Before joining The iCenter, Ari directed the Marin/San Francisco Jewish Teen Foundation, where he learned about the power of education through Jewish philanthropy and social justice.

What’s one of your favorite books?

One of my favorite books is On the Road by Jack Kerouac. The thrill of adventure and search for meaning Kerouac writes about in some way influenced my decision to live in Israel for a year after high school. That year impacted me in so many ways, and I have Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise to thank (in part) for the inspiration.

Poster Tales For Yom Ha’atzmaut

Poster Tales is a series of Israeli-made posters that originated with the founding of the Jewish State. Each year, Israeli artists submit their posters and designs in the hope that one will be featured as ...


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Israeli ‘Mad Libs’

ISRAELI MAD LIBS®-STYLE GAMES English עברית English With these 12 Mad Libs®-style game sheets, Israel comes alive as participants get creative and take turns offering words that help shape hilarious stories. But these are no ...


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Ayal Weiner-Kaplow

ayal@theicenter.org

Ayal’s passion for Israel was cultivated early on and quickly became a major guiding influence throughout his life. He has previously lived in Israel and Nepal working in youth leadership development, and has also traveled extensively internationally. He is an experienced songleader, trip leader, and facilitator who loves photography, spicy shakshuka, and being outdoors—and likes these things even more so in Hebrew and while in Israel. Ayal is excited to bring his skills, optimism, and humor back to The iCenter after completing his MPA at UW-Madison. He also holds a BA from Brandeis University in Environmental Studies and International Studies, and a minor in Hebrew Language.

Tell us about your name:

My name, Ayal, means “deer” ? in Hebrew. I love that my name connects me to Israel, no matter where I am. Interestingly, Israel is the place where my name causes the most confusion, as many Israelis mix it up with a more common, similar sounding name, Eyal, which means “strength.” Also, during travel, I learned that Ayal means ‘woman’ in the Kyrgyz language!

Israel Trivia Relay Race

Make new friends and get excited about your upcoming Israel trip with an interactive trivia and riddle competition! Participants of all backgrounds will enjoy solving riddles and learning about modern and historical sites, influential people, ...


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The Jewish Lens

Through the universal medium of photography, the Jewish Lens engages Jewish youth in an exploration of identity, values, and peoplehood. This resources allows learners to explore their own lenses, their Jewish identity, and their personal ...


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Binnie Swislow

binnie@theicenter.org

Binnie has made being an Israel and Hebrew educator her life passion and profession. Binnie taught and directed at congregational schools, day schools, summer camps, public high schools and adult Hebrew Education. Binnie's experience as a volunteer interpreter for Israeli patients who came to America for open heart surgery with Dr. Dudly Johnson, was one of the quintessential highlights of being bilingual. She was the Director for The Kohl Childrens' Museum Teacher Center. She is a founding member of The Hebrew Council and The National Association for Teachers of Hebrew. Binnie is a board member for The Illinois Council for Teachers of Foreign Language and through the iCenter has offered Hebrew Language Professional Development opportunities. Binnie received her BS degree in Bilingual Education and Linguistics and a Masters Degree in Administrative Leadership from The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Binnie is a strong believer in immersive and experiential education. Binnie's family moved to Israel with little Hebrew knowledge and within one year of attending Israeli high school, became comfortably fluent both in language and culture. Binnie taught English for Bagrut at Geula High School in Shuk HaCarmel in Tel-Aviv. Binnie believes that Hebrew fluency allowed her to become part of her students' world. They studied together because they were making the effort to communicate in each other's language.

What connects you to Israel?

My heart and soul connect me to Israel. I yearn to feel the heat coming up from the Tel-Aviv balatot (street tiles) as I walk the familiar side streets. I miss hearing the conversations that sound more like arguments through the open apartment windows. I can taste the flavor of freshly squeezed eshkoliot (grapefruit juice) quenching my thirst. Most of all, the people of Israel connect me to Israel.

Hebrew Slang

English עברית English Hebrew is more than just a spoken language. It's an expression of culture, history, and identities. Modern Hebrew is one of the core Aleph Bet principles, and Hebrew slang deepens our connection to ...


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Lights! Camera! Action!

ISRAEL IN SHORTS Israeli short films are a wonderful and engaging visual medium. They offer insight into aspects of Israeli culture through various themes and values, including: intergenerational relationships, empathy, social issues, religious identity, immigration, ...


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Cari Schulman

cari@theicenter.org

Cari Schulman is a founding team member of The iCenter and leads teams focused on operational excellence and culture building. Her work lives at the intersection of talent, systems, vision, and values to animate an environment that is grounded in, and motivated by, relationships. Cari’s passion for Israel was cultivated in the home, where she was raised with Israel infused into everyday life. She is an Insights Discovery Practitioner, and holds an MBA from Loyola University and a BA in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

My happy place is definitely at the beach, preferably in Tel Aviv, but Lake Michigan also does the trick.

Israel Resource Cards

English עברית English A deck of cards is one of the oldest forms of entertainment around. Hundreds of games and activities have been created using just a single deck. These cards have been used extensively ...


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Golda’s Kitchen Cabinet

English עברית English Whether you daydream about devouring a plate of rich, creamy hummus in the Shuk or drinking a robust cup of “upside-down coffee” at Aroma or any of many cafes, food has a ...


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Carl Schrag

carl@theicenter.org

Carl Schrag is a journalist and educator who formerly served as the Editor of The Jerusalem Post, Carl uses the lens of journalism to encourage learners of all ages to engage with Israel in multi-faceted ways. He teaches weekly current events classes for adults and serves as Program Director of Write On for Israel, a competitive Israel education and advocacy training program for high school students in Chicago.

What's one of your favorite books?

Anything by AB Yehoshua. When I interviewed him in his Haifa writing studio many years ago, I told him I read Hebrew literature in translation, and he said it was time to try the original. He gave me a copy of The Lover, in Hebrew, and inscribed it “In hopes that you’ll read it to the end.” I did.

Encountering Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Israel’s Declaration of Independence, formally the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, is a rich document that enables exploration of core values and aspirations of the founders of the Jewish state in 1948. ...


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Shalom / Salaam / Shalem: New Beginnings, Ancient Values

The Abraham Accord, brokered by the US in August, promises normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a country with which many of us may not have been familiar before we heard the news. ...


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Northbrook IL 60062

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Carolyn Kraus

carolyn@theicenter.org

Carolyn’s passion for Israel started when she went to the University of Illinois—Chicago and has continued throughout her career in the Jewish Community. Carolyn comes to The iCenter after working at Pardes Jewish Day School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, IL, and the Jewish United Fund in Chicago, IL. She is fortunate to have lived and worked in Israel in addition to having visited many times. Carolyn is so excited to work at The iCenter and combine two of her passions—Israel and education.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

I am happiest when I am with family or friends. I love spending time cooking and sharing meals. One of the things I love most is travelling and can’t wait until my next trip. And as you can see from my picture, Starbucks is my drink of choice.

What Does Better Look Like?

Shark Tank is a hit ABC TV show that features a panel of five wealthy investors called “sharks” who consider offers from entrepreneurs seeking investors for their business. Based off of this hit TV show, ...


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Money Talks: The Story of Israel as Told by Banknotes

We handle money nearly every day. But how much do we really know about our banknotes? Which president is on the $50 bill? Which banknote showcases the White House? Which one includes the Statue of ...


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Northbrook IL 60062

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Dan Tatar

dan@theicenter.org

Dan’s experience in relational engagement is rooted in his own teen Israel experience (led by his then-teacher, Anne Lanski). His time as a professional in the field has focused on fostering meaningful relationships and building creative experiences. Dan’s background as a stage and television actor and curiosity for educational technology offers a unique perspective on Israel education. With a love for facilitating various experiences, Dan's passion lies in connecting, building relationships within The iCenter's extended family and forging new partnerships. He received certification from SIT in Innovative Strategies and is currently working toward his Master’s Degree in Israel Education at The George Washington University. While Dan has run a marathon, he much prefers Ragnar and mud runs. (Personal pronouns: he/him/his)

What is your favorite Hebrew word or phrase?

Chok chinuch chovah chinam (חוק חינוך חובה חינם, “compulsory free education law”). I heard it on the news once and loved the alliteration of the letter chet. I love learning words, exploring sounds, and unpacking roots. I’ve moved from being afraid to speak if I didn’t have everything conjugated correctly to just getting it out and trying. It may not always be right, but I’m connecting and learning in the process.

Israeli Music Playlists

“Today’s Israel is a vibrant kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, tastes, ideas, people, and cultures. Often when teaching Israel, we focus on facts and events, ignoring the dynamic and intense life that is lived. By engaging ...


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SpaceIL Resources

English עברית English The iCenter is proud to be the North American partner of SpaceIL, whose ingenuity and perseverence made Israel the seventh country to get to the Moon, and the fourth country to reach the ...


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Elana Weiner-Kaplow

elana@theicenter.org

Elana is the coordinator for Chicago’s shinshinim hub, a program that brings young Israelis to North America to volunteer, teach, and enrich our Jewish communities. Growing up, she spent her summers at the URJ OSRUI summer camp, where Israel and Hebrew became a central part of her identity. Elana lived in Israel for a number of years as well, and went on to serve in the Israel Defense Force’s Education Corps. Before joining The iCenter, Elana worked as a Jewish educator with numerous organizations in Israel and the Chicagoland area, as well as in Chicago’s theatre scene as an actor and writer. Elana holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

I’m happiest experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen! I love the puzzle of figuring out complicated pastries and I’m on an ongoing mission to train for the day that The Great British Bake Off accepts American contestants.

Homemade Jam

Hang out and cook with Israeli farmer and chef, Hedai Offaim, as he hosts some renowned Israeli musicians in his kitchen. Together, we will explore the flavors and soundtrack that makes us who we are. ...


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A Bit of Culture

Our new series, Ktzat Tarbut (קצת תרבות, “A Bit of Culture”), offers entry points for exploring the exciting and vibrant world of Israeli arts and culture. Each issue considers a new theme and modality. Last ...


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Northbrook IL 60062

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Elisheva Lanzkron-Vachman

elisheva@theicenter.org

Born and raised in Israel, Elisheva developed strong Jewish and Israeli identities. Elisheva got her Bachelor in Social Work from Bar Ilan University, and her Master in Nonprofit Management from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and practiced different managerial positions in various organizations in Israel such as Kesher (a center for families of children with special needs), Gvanim (a rehabilitation center for adults with mental disabilities), the JDC, and the Israeli Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science. Elisheva is excited to work with The iCenter as an Educational Experience Producer and combine two of her passions—Israel and high-end productions. Elisheva lives in Deerfield with her husband and their four children.

What is your favorite Hebrew quote?

I love the verse ״הודו ל-ה׳ כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו״ (“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness endures forever”, Psalms 136). This optimistic verse is what my dear father always replies when asked how he is. Although he has gone through a lot in his life, he manages to remain grateful and cheerful. Following my father’s example, I try to always be grateful and maintain a positive outlook!

Home and Homeland: What Makes a Home?

When Israel contemplates changing the status of parts of the West Bank—some call it annexation, while others speak of extending Israeli law or sovereignty over parts of the territory—it provides an opportunity to pause, deepen our ...


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Stories that Portraits Tell: Ilan Ramon

WHAT ARE WE MADE OF? Art can be a powerful tool in telling stories, sharing specific narratives and insights of a person or place. The reflections help  build awareness of not only what stories are ...


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Emily Rothstein

emily@theicenter.org

Emily Rothstein joined The iCenter team in July 2019 after completing a dual-degree master's in Jewish Nonprofit Management from HUC-JIR and Public Administration from the University of Southern California, as a Nachshon Project Graduate Fellow. Emily spent her summers at URJ OSRUI, where at a young age, Israel became a very important part of her identity. After obtaining her BS in Community and Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Emily moved to Los Angeles where she served as the LA Teen Coordinator for Challah for Hunger. During her graduate studies, she worked as an Advocacy and Community Engagement Intern at NCJW/LA and a Development Intern at MAZON. Emily focuses on development and internal operations as part of The iCenter team, and is thrilled to be putting Israel at the forefront of her work.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

I am happiest when surrounded by friends exploring Chicago, checking out a new restaurant, or finding a nice patio to enjoy the sun (when it’s not freezing out). When at home, you can find me watching the latest trending TV show, riding with my favorite Peloton instructors, hosting friends (when not in a global pandemic), or rooting on all things Wisconsin Badgers.

Maps as Narratives

Every map tells a story. Whenever we choose a map, whether or not we are conscious of it, we are choosing a particular narrative and perspective. No map is perfectly accurate. Every map is the ...


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Binge Watch Israel: Cultural Diversity

    Return to Binge Watch Israel Home Page NEXT: How to “Read” a TV Series CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN ISRAELI SOCIETY There is no such thing as a typical Israeli! There might be typical Israeli food, ...


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Northbrook IL 60062

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Erika Vogel

erika@theicenter.org

Israel has been central to Erika’s identities for almost as long as she can remember. Since 2015, she’s had the good fortune of being a member of The iCenter team lending her talents to multiple facets of the organization, from publication production, to data management, financial development, and program management. Currently, Erika serves as the Program Director for The iCenter’s Graduate Degree in Israel Education in partnership with The George Washington University where she has the opportunity to work daily with the current and future movers and shapers of Israel education.

Erika has extensive nonprofit experience with expertise in the areas of strategic development, program management, and communication. Previously, she served as the Director of the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts (AIDA) at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Prior, Erika served as a Program Manager at Heartland International, an international development organization and she began her career as a Research Assistant at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. She received her MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and her BA in Middle Eastern and International Studies with a minor in Hebrew from Emory University.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

You’ll find me on the tennis court or watching competitive cooking shows on Netflix with my kids, Lucy and Milo, and husband Jon.

Voices from Within: Poetry

Our newly-published anthology of Hebrew poetry is, at its core, a book about Israel. It tells the story of Israel through the presentation of a collection of poems from the early 1900s until today. While the story of ...


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Encountering Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Israel’s Declaration of Independence, formally the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, is a rich document that enables exploration of core values and aspirations of the founders of the Jewish state in 1948. ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Kristy Scher

kristy@theicenter.org

Kristy Scher joins The iCenter team as the graphic designer. She studied painting and sculpture at Illinois Wesleyan University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Kristy then attended Rhode Island School of Design and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching that focused on art and design education. She thinks graphic design is the perfect career for her as it perfectly marries her meticulous self to her creative self.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

Kristy spends her free time with her husband, son, and dogs. Her non-creative hobbies reflect her simpler side. She is happiest when going on long walks with the family, drinking coffee, and reading.

The Piven Workshop

English עברית English Hanoch Piven is a leading contemporary Israeli artist whose whimsical portraits tell stories with surprising depth and complexity. His work depicting prominent people, from Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs to Barack Obama ...


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Eich Atem Margishim Hayom Mood Posters

HOW YA DOIN? or MAH NISHMAH? English עברית English It’s one of the most basic questions people ask each other: “How are you?” “How are you feeling?” “What’s new?” It's no different in Hebrew. It's easy ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Lori Sagarin

lori@theicenter.org

Lori B Sagarin RJE has served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Illinois, since 1995. She is the former president of the National Association of Temple Educators (now ARJE), and is also the past president of the Chicago Association of Reform Jewish Educators. In addition to formerly serving on the advisory boards for for NEXTBOOK and Project Esther, Lori has served on the faculty of OSRUI since 1993. Lori completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin and a Masters degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College. In 2009, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Jewish Religious Education for 25 years of dedicated service in Jewish education.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

You can find me baking sourdough bread, throwing tennis balls to my Boston Terrier, Solomon, and reading, always reading. Looking for a good book recommendation? I am always happy to make one.

Binge Watch Israel: Humor and Satire

   Return to Binge Watch Israel Home Page  How to “Read” a TV Series HUMOR AND SATIRE IN ISRAEL For decades, Israeli humor has been compared to their coffee: strong and black. Humor and satire ...


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The Things We Carry: Traditions

Our family traditions stay with us no matter where we go. Israel's cultural fabric has been enriched by these Jewish holidays and customs that may seem unfamiliar in the North American Jewish community. “My parents ...


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Michael Soberman

michael@theicenter.org

Michael is a Senior Educational Consultant with The iCenter. Prior to that, Michael was the Vice President of Canada Israel Experience and Next Generation Initiatives at the Jewish Federations of Canada–UIA. In that role, Michael maximized the number of Canadian teenagers and young adults traveling to Israel on programs such as Birthright Israel, the March of the Living and high school/youth movement programs. Michael has been invited to speak all over the world on topics of the Israel experience, Birthright Israel, Israel and experiential education. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts from York University, a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, and an Executive Master's of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Michael is married to Rebecca, and they have a daughter named Jordyn and son named Joshua. In his spare time, Michael is studying Shotokan Karate and working towards earning his Black Belt. Stay tuned for updates.

Israel Resource Cards

English עברית English A deck of cards is one of the oldest forms of entertainment around. Hundreds of games and activities have been created using just a single deck. These cards have been used extensively ...


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Values in Tension

Often when we disagree with others, we may assume that we do not have shared values. This activity illustrates that we often do have shared values—and our differences lie in the way we prioritize them. ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Michal Peles-Almagor

michal@theicenter.org

Dr. Michal Peles-Almagor is a consultant at The iCenter and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Michal received her PhD in comparative literature at the University of Chicago, specializing in modern Hebrew and German-Jewish literature, modern theater, and Jewish cultural history. She holds an MA in Hebrew literature from Ben-Gurion University and a BA in Comparative Literature and Theater Arts from Tel Aviv University. Her work has been supported by the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, The UC-Mellon Foundation, and the Franz Rosenzweig-Minerva Center for German-Jewish History and Culture. Previously, she worked in the Israeli theater and at the Beit Bialik Museum, where she served as a Museum Docent and developed educational programming.

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

Living in Tel Aviv, I enjoy running by the beach, traveling, and exploring new places. My favorite thing is to stroll around cities—both familiar and unfamiliar—finding hidden corners and sit in local cafés while talking to people and sharing stories.

Voices from Within: Poetry

Our newly-published anthology of Hebrew poetry is, at its core, a book about Israel. It tells the story of Israel through the presentation of a collection of poems from the early 1900s until today. While the story of ...


LEARN MORE

A Bit of Culture

Our new series, Ktzat Tarbut (קצת תרבות, “A Bit of Culture”), offers entry points for exploring the exciting and vibrant world of Israeli arts and culture. Each issue considers a new theme and modality. Last ...


LEARN MORE
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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Mitch Cohen

mitch@theicenter.org

Mitch joins The iCenter with a wealth of professional communications experience, having started his own content creation company while still in high school. His love for Israel began with Birthright Israel and continued as a Nachshon Fellow, spending a semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Mitch graduated from UT Austin’s College of Radio-Television-Film, and has worked with various Jewish organizations to tell their unique stories. Following an internship at CBS News, where he worked the National News Desk as well as created video content for their online division, Mitch’s passion for both storytelling and Israel is now fully realized with The iCenter's communication team.

What’s your favorite Israeli TV show?

I loved watching HBO’s Valley of Tears as it told the story of the Yom Kippur War through the perspective of various soldiers. It’s a war I knew little about at the time, and I felt like they could have been my own brothers and friends.

Shalom / Salaam / Shalem: New Beginnings, Ancient Values

The Abraham Accord, brokered by the US in August, promises normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a country with which many of us may not have been familiar before we heard the news. ...


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Crash Test World: Israel

Crash Test World, a web series from Project Explorer, recently turned the camera on Israel. The four short videos in the series each view Israel through a different lens, including efforts at coexistence; inroads in ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

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Natalie Blitt

natalie@theicenter.org

Natalie Blitt is an educator and the author of two young-adult novels and three middle-grade novels. While Natalie claims that everything she knows in life she learned as a result of reading children’s books, she does understand that there are many ways to educate and inspire connections. A graduate of McGill University, she also has a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College in Halifax, and is now pursuing a master's degree at The George Washington University in Israel Education. While she'll proudly fly the Canadian flag at any opportunity, she currently lives in Skokie, IL, with her husband, Rabbi Josh Feigelson, and their three sons.

What are your secret talents?

I’m a serial crafter. At any given time, I could be sewing, knitting, embroidering, creating a mosaic, or flitting between all of them. One day I hope to get back to creating stained glass windows…

Mixtape Companion: Part 1

Music and song play a central role in Israel’s culture. From the early pioneers, who adapted their songs to their new homeland, to the contemporary sound and verse of today’s poets and lyricists – the ...


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Binge Watch Israel: Humor and Satire

   Return to Binge Watch Israel Home Page  How to “Read” a TV Series HUMOR AND SATIRE IN ISRAEL For decades, Israeli humor has been compared to their coffee: strong and black. Humor and satire ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Rachel See started realizing Israel was going to be a central part of her life after her first Israel experience at the age of eighteen. Her relationship with Israel led her to the world of Jewish education and to The iCenter as a participant in the first cohort of the Master's Concentration in Israel Education (iFellows). Rachel holds an M.A. in Jewish Education and an M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management from HUC-LA, and is honored to have graduated as part of the first cohort of The iCenter's Masters in Israel Education at The George Washington University. Originally from Los Angeles, she now resides in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, son, and dog (named Theo, as in Theodor Herzl).

What are you happiest doing outside of work?

I’m happiest running, doing yoga, or hiking alongside an ocean, sea, or lake in any of three places I call home–Israel, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Homemade Jam

Hang out and cook with Israeli farmer and chef, Hedai Offaim, as he hosts some renowned Israeli musicians in his kitchen. Together, we will explore the flavors and soundtrack that makes us who we are. ...


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On The Map

Knowledge and appreciation of historic and current events and their complexity are important aspects of understanding and engaging with Israel. Maps are among the most effective visual tools for introducing the history and complex reality ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
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Shalom Orzach

shalom@theicenter.org

Shalom is a senior educator with The iCenter, and serves on faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Prior, he served as the AVI CHAI Project Director for the training of staff returning to summer camps in North America, and Director of Education in the Shlichut and Israel Fellows unit for the Jewish Agency. He is a member of the International Education Committee of Taglit-Birthright, has served as a consultant for the Jim Joseph Foundation, JUF Ta’am Yisrael and the Jewish Peoplehood Committee and teaches a course in experiential education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Shalom was the Central Shaliach for USY from 1992 -1995. He was also a scholar on the prestigious Jerusalem Fellows Program, following which he was the Executive Director for Jewish Renewal at the UJIA in England. Shalom is an acclaimed public speaker on contemporary Israel who brings extensive knowledge, humor and passion. He recently served as a month-long scholar for United Synagogue in Chicago and at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. He has published articles on Israel and Jewish education in The Times of Israel and eJewishPhilanthropy, and delivered an ELI Talk.

Shalom is still in awe of the fact that we can speak about the ‘State’ of the Jews! He is the son of a Holocaust survivor who grew up in the company of aunts and uncles of the closest type albeit not family. Their experiences, Yiddish banter, humor and optimism very much shaped who he is.

Tell us about your name:

I am named after my grandfather, Sholem, who was a sofer stam, a scribe who wrote Torah scrolls. I try in different ways to sustain that beautiful tradition of ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת ולמדה את בני ישראל שימה בפיהם למען תהיה לי השירה הזאת לעד בבני ישראל: “and now, write for yourselves this song, and teach it to the Children of Israel. Place it into their mouths, in order that this song will be for Me as a witness for the children of Israel.” (Devarim 31:19)

What’s In a Name? (Shavuot)

Shakespeare would claim that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Does the same hold true for names in Hebrew? In Kabbalah (mysticism), the letters of a name spell out a spiritual ...


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Receiving the Torah: Contemporary Resources for Shavuot

Shavuot is also known as Chag Matan Torah, the holiday of receiving the Torah. Traditionally, the Written Law and Oral Law were seen as one, but in the modern age, the prominence of the Oral ...


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95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
*

Yehudit Werchow

yehudit@theicenter.org

Rabbi Yehudit Werchow was born in Argentina and grew up in Israel. She holds a BA in Political Science and Literature from the Hebrew University and a M.A. in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York. She was ordained at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. Previously, Yehudit served as the Director of Israel Engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) in North America, as the Jewish Agency’s Senior Shlicha for the Reform Movement in North America and the UK, and as the Director of Education for MASA.

What would be your personal motto?

A line from Meir Ariel’s song “Modeh Ani” (inspired by the liturgy for the morning blessings) states: “יִהְיֶה לָנוּ טוֹב, טוֹב מִטּוּב” which means “It will be good for us, better than good.” This line has become one of my favourite blessings.

Voices from Within: Poetry

Our newly-published anthology of Hebrew poetry is, at its core, a book about Israel. It tells the story of Israel through the presentation of a collection of poems from the early 1900s until today. While the story of ...


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Homemade Jam

Hang out and cook with Israeli farmer and chef, Hedai Offaim, as he hosts some renowned Israeli musicians in his kitchen. Together, we will explore the flavors and soundtrack that makes us who we are. ...


LEARN MORE
footer-logo

95 Revere Dr., Suite D
Northbrook IL 60062

847.418.8336
*