- Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council
Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council
The Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council brings together a group of high-level and critically thinking Onward Israel alumni, committed to assisting Onward Israel continued growth and development, to advise staff and lay leaders on issues related to Onward Israel programs. Now in its second cohort. the 2020-2021 Council are leaders in the Onward Israel community who help shape the programs future and assure its success.
Joshua Asarnow, Onward Israel Remote, 2020
Josh is a Junior at Tulane University majoring in Finance and History with a minor in Economics. He will graduate in May 2022. He is a member of the TAMID Fund Committee, where he develops his financial skills in an Israeli business context. Josh is also a tour guide for Tulane in the Green Wave Ambassadors program. As a participant in the first Remote Onward Israel cohort, Josh worked at Igul Letova – a non-profit aiming to revolutionize the micro-donation philanthropic platform. While not physically present in Israel, Josh’s connection to the country grew as result of his experiences interacting with a professional organization with Israeli culture and values. Josh grew up in Marietta, Georgia, and in high school he was on the crew team. In his free time, Josh is an avid Olympic weightlifter, goes on long bike rides through New Orleans, and loves his three cats. He hopes to further develop his Jewish identity and inspire future students to participate in the Onward Israel program.
Jakob Bolman, Onward Israel Cleveland, 2019
Jakob is a graduating Junior at The Ohio State University studying Psychology with minors in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Jewish Studies. He is passionate about Jewish communal work. Jakob serves as the legislative coordinator for BUCKiPAC to coordinate lobbying meetings with elected officials, sits on the OSU Chabad Student Board and works at a local Hebrew school as a Teacher’s Assistant. Jakob had the opportunity to intern at LEAD: Israel on Onward Israel Cleveland Summer 2019. There, he worked closely with the Community Outreach team to brand new leadership development programs, conduct donor research and build international partnerships. His Israeli summer included a local gym membership, regular trips to the shuk, and afternoons on Jerusalem Beach. This past summer, Jakob interned at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland where he worked closely with his very own Onward Israel program director. In his free time, Jakob enjoys cooking, cycling, designing, organizing and shopping at Trader Joes. Jakob is looking forward to joining the Alumni Advisory Council and paying it forward to future Onward Israel participants.
Ally Chelst, Onward Israel jInternship ALT Inspired, 2018
Ally is a fellow for the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs in Washington, DC where she facilitates legislative and diplomatic outreach and coordinates logistics for high-level diplomatic events. Ally graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Delaware in May 2019, where she majored Spanish, Italian and Hebrew and minored in Latin American Studies and Jewish Studies. Ally studied abroad in Rome and Tel Aviv, and participated in JInternship’s Alt Inspired 2 in Jerusalem during the summer of 2018. During her summer on JInternship, Ally interned at Daniella’s Den, a rehabilitative day center for youth dealing with eating disorders and mental health issues. Her time in Israel inspired her to pursue a career in the Jewish non-profit sector, and it has made her the unwavering advocate for the Jewish people that she is today. Ally is passionate about engaging Jewish communities both domestically and abroad. She hopes that her cross-cultural experiences will allow her to help expand Onward Israel’s programming to include more participants from all over the world.
Gabriela Cohen, Onward Israel jInternship ALT Inspired, 2018
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of the University at Albany (December 2019) with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Science and Policy. I also completed my minor in Hebrew and Judaic studies. During my time at the University at Albany, I was involved with Chabad on Campus, UAlbany Hillel and our Pro-Israel group, called “Great Danes 4 Israel”. I dedicated my time to improving the Jewish and Israeli presences on campus. As for my studies, I interned through JInternship with the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development based in Jerusalem. My internship focused on working to create more solar energy projects across Africa to provide a better quality of life and access to energy for all. I also traveled to the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil to study how carbon emissions have increased over time. Once I completed my study abroad programs, I then came back to America and interned with the SUNY Center for International Development. During my time at ICID, I worked on creating a guideline book for anyone interested in getting involved with environmental policy and how to work on policy implementation. Overall, my studies and work field experiences have led me to want to pursue a future in both Jewish education and sustainable development. My experience in Israel has pushed me to want to give back. The learning, friendships and experience my 2018 Onward Israel program gave me, was one that words cannot explain. I was provided growth, education and connection, something that I truly believe cannot be found just anywhere. I have become passionate about wanting to help others like myself get the most out of their Israel experience. I hope that with my knowledge and experience gained I will be able to help and have a meaningful impact on others.
Jacob Cohen, Onward Israel Cleveland, 2018
Jacob is currently a Senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Health and Societies with a concentration in Healthcare Markets and Finance and a minor in Survey Research and Data Analytics. Outside of the classroom at Penn, Jacob is the past president of both Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and the Penn-Israel Public Affairs Committee (PIPAC), the leading pro-Israel group on campus. Jacob first traveled to Israel for his Bar Mitzvah in 2010. He has been back five times since for family trips, the ‘Write on for Israel’ program, and Birthright. Jacob interned at Maverick Ventures Israel, a small venture capital firm investing in Israeli startups. Jacob has remained in close contact with his bosses from Maverick and set them up with an Onward Israel intern for the summer of 2019. After returning to campus Jacob worked to encourage other students to spend a summer in Israel by hosting a panel highlighting the experiences of several Penn students who spent the summer in Israel. Outside of the class Jacob loves cheering on the Cleveland sports teams and the Penn Quakers Basketball team, traveling to exotic locations and trying new restaurants. After graduation, Jacob will be moving to Chicago to work as an Associate Consultant for Bain & Company.
Shanie Elkarif, Onward Israel South Palm Beach, 2018
Shanie is a Senior at the University of Florida studying Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a Disabilities in Society minor. Upon graduation, Shanie will continue her studies, completing a two-year master’s program (hopefully in NYC!) to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. By continuing her academic journey in New York City, Shanie hopes to gain new perspectives by fulfilling her dreams of experiencing life in a big city. At UF, she is the Chabad Student Body President, a Hasbara Fellow, the Mishelanu Co-Founder, a Gift of Life Intern, an Israel21c Influencer, serves on the Executive Board of her sorority (Delta Phi Epsilon), the LEAP Mentorship Program Executive Director, and is currently completing her Senior Honors Thesis – talk about involvement! In her Thesis, her research focuses on patients with swallowing disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Shanie has spent the past few summers traveling, adding to her ever-growing list of 25 states and 17 countries she’s visited, as she studied abroad in Italy as well as participated in Onward Israel. The Onward Israel program has propelled Shanie’s passion for not only trying every hummus she finds but also for becoming a Jewish Leader in her community and beyond, as Shanie’s experiences expanded her perspectives on Israel. Her internship at Gan Dagim in Tel Aviv has led her to explore her career goals, furthering her passion and drive for the career of her dreams. In Shanie’s free time, she enjoys traveling, forming friendships, watching Gator football (go Gators!), cooking, and volunteering in her local community.
Caleb Esrig, Onward Israel Boston Tel Aviv, 2018
Caleb is a senior at Harvard College studying economics. Originally from New Rochelle, NY, he is a graduate of Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, where he served as student body president. At Harvard, Caleb focuses on American economic policy and on the impact of taxation on business formation. He saw the importance of sound economic policy during the summer of 2017, when he worked for the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies through Onward Israel Boston Tel Aviv. There, he studied and published work on the challenges facing the Jordanian economy. He also relished the chance to live on the corner of Allenby Street and Rothschild Boulevard, to practice his Hebrew, and to experience life in Tel Aviv. Outside of the classroom, at Harvard, Caleb leads the First-Year Outdoor Program and serves on the editorial board of The Harvard Crimson. He loves hiking, reading, and finding the best hummus. Last summer, he worked at Goldman Sachs in global investment research, in the tech, media, and telecom sector. He will graduate from Harvard in May 2020 and will join Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant in its New York City office.
Lucas Frenck, Onward Israel Latin America Hillel, 2019
Lucas is currently a senior technology consultant at a London-based company called Parser Digital. He graduated as an industrial engineer in Argentina. Lucas lived for a year in Israel participating in a Masa program called Netivot before starting university in 2010. After graduating in 2017, he moved to Sydney, Australia when he found out about Onward Israel Experience and signed up and loved it right away. Lucas was part of Hillel Onward Israel’s Latin American cohort in 2019, where he had the opportunity to live in central Tel Aviv and work at a leading venture capital firm called iAngels. He loves traveling and meeting new people, as well as playing sports with friends and riding his bike in the mountains.
Max Goldner, Onward Israel Arts & Culture, 2017
Max (he/him) a Dean’s Scholar recipient at Columbia University pursuing dual degrees with a Master of Architecture and M.S. in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices. He holds a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia as well, graduating in 2019. He is originally from South Orange, New Jersey and currently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In the summer of 2017, Max participated in Onward Israel’s Arts and Culture program in Jerusalem, where he worked at the Jerusalem Foundation surveying over 50 of the city’s public parks. Max is passionate about performance, critical theory, and Judaism. As a former dancer, Max choreographed for numerous groups throughout his undergraduate career, finding interests in set and lighting design along the way. Max is an avid Foucauldian and is always looking to read more in the realms of biopolitics, memory, archives, and participatory practices. Max is also a Hebrew School teacher on the Upper West Side to some lovely elementary school students, and is always looking to grow as a Jewish educator via discourse and practice.
Ariella Golish, Onward Israel Northern New Jersey, 2018
Ariella was a participant of Onward Israel New Jersey’s summer program in 2018. She graduated from the University of Maryland over ZOOM last May with a degree in Finance and Real Estate Development.
Now Ariella is working full time as a financial advisor helping individuals secure their financial future and protect the people they love.
Michal Kaplunovsky, Onward Israel Bay Area, 2018
Michal was part of the Bay Area Onward Israel program in the summer of 2018, where she was living and interning in Tel Aviv as a recruitment assistant at an English speaking staffing company. Shortly after her internship, she was part of Onward Israel’s Alumni Interview Committee through which she enjoyed helping individuals go through the interview process and share her experiences. She continued her pursuit to be involved in the Jewish community by staffing Birthright trips. She is excited to be part of the Onward Israel team again! Michal graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology in the spring of 2019. She briefly moved back home to San Jose, California before making the move down to Los Angeles. Michal was born in Israel and grew up with Russian parents in the heart of the silicon valley in a home that spoke three languages. She enjoys traveling, attending concerts, trying new food places, and bad dad jokes.
Erica Kleeman, Onward Israel Baltimore, 2019
Erica is currently a Senior at Ithaca College studying Communication Management and Design. Outside the classroom, she is the Head of Communication for Ithaca College’s Hillel, and has been involved throughout her college career. Over the Summer, she was a Sales Intern at an Insurance Company, and took a finance course to further her passion for economics. Along with this, She was Jewish Changemakers Fellow through The Jewish Federations of North America. In Summer 2019, she participated in Onward Israel with the Baltimore Cohort. Erica lived in Jaffa and interned as a Marketing and Communications intern at the Tel Aviv Foundation in Tel Aviv City Hall. She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and this where she found a passion for Jewish advocacy. Last semester, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy and loves to travel. She plans on spending a gap year in Tel Aviv once she graduates from Ithaca College.
Julie Kromash, Onward Israel jInternship ALT, 2019
Julie is currently living in Johnson City, Tennessee where she is working in the Dietary Department of the local hospital. She recently graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence with a Bachelors of Science is Culinary Nutrition with a focus in Dietetics and is planning on going to graduate school next year to become a Registered Dietitian. Julie grew up in Rockville, Maryland and went to Camp Louise in Cascade, Maryland and also was a staff member for 3 summers. Growing up, Julie was also involved in United Synagogue Youth (USY) and still is a staff member for Seaboard Region. In 2019, she was fortunate enough to go on Onward Israel’s jInternship Academy of Life Training (ALT) Program where she interned at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. This past summer she participated in The Jewish Federation of North America’s Jewish Changemakers Fellowship. Julie is so excited to share her love for Judaism, Israel and travel while being a part of the Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council.
Orly Lasky, Onward Israel Mexico, 2016
Orly is a graphic designer and photographer currently based in Tel aviv Israel. She is 28 years old and graduated as a graphic designer in 2015 from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She attended Onward on the summer of 2016 and since then her trajectory has taken her to live in Los Angeles for almost two years before eventually moving to Israel. She will be completing her second year since she moved there on November 27th.
Jonah Platovsky, Onward Israel jInternship Aish, 2019
Jonah is a junior at the University of Florida majoring in finance and expects to graduate in May 2021. In Summer 2019, he participated in the jInternship Aish Program, where he had an incredible experience interning at HLC Equity and living and learning in the Old City in Jerusalem. His time in Israel helped strengthen his relationship with the country and further develop his Jewish identity, and he hopes to help future students have the same experience by serving as a member of the Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council. Next summer, Jonah will be interning in the Global Investment Banking division at RBC Capital Markets in New York City, where he hopes to return to full-time after he graduates. Outside school, he enjoys fitness, traveling, and following Florida Gators sports.
Julia Pratt, Onward Israel South Palm Beach, 2018
Julia is from Boca Raton, Florida. She is studying at Tulane University in New Orleans and expecting to graduate in May 2021 with a double major in Jewish Studies and Political Science. She is passionate about pro-Israel advocacy and activism as well as nonprofit work. She has lived in Israel the past three summers and participated in various internship programs, however Onward Israel was by far her most rewarding experience. She interned at The Tel Aviv Foundation in Tel Aviv City Hall under Mayor Ron Huldai’s leadership. In previous summers she also interned for The Jewish Federation of New York-Tel Aviv and The Israel Innovation Fund. At Tulane, she is a Chabad Student Board Member, Kappa Kappa Gamma Executive Board Member, Hillel Tulane Jewish Leader, Tulane Israel Public Affairs Committee Activist, Co-Founder of TAMID Group, and Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society Member. Additionally, She was the StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, and currently a Jewish National Fund (JNF) Campus Liaison and Israel21c Digital Ambassador. She is currently studying abroad in England at King’s College London. She enjoys rewatching Disney+ shows, traveling, Zumba, and hanging with friends. Onward Israel has shaped me into the proud Jewish person I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. I’m very excited to be a member of the Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council and looking forward to all that we will achieve!
Jacob Richman, Onward Israel jInternship Meor Mens, 2017
Jacob is currently a Software Developer for IBM in New York City. He graduated from Binghamton University in May 2020 where he studied Computer Engineering. At Binghamton, Jacob served in several leadership roles primarily within the Jewish community including on the Executive Board of Chabad, as a Student Representative on Hillel’s Board of Directors, and as President of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish Fraternity. Jacob has interned in Israel during three separate summers, but his experience on Onward Israel jInternship Meor in 2017 was the most meaningful. He deeply enjoyed being able to grow both spiritually and intellectually while furthering his connection to Israel and its culture. Jacob is originally from Hawthorne, NY and attended Schechter Westchester where he fostered his love for Israel. In his free time he enjoys playing sports, making videos, coding apps, and building Jewish Community. Jacob is thrilled to be part of the Advisory Council and looks forward to contributing to Onward Israel’s future.
Nathan Schachter, Onward Israel Arts & Culture, 2017
Nathan is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication in May 2019. He was an active member of UConn Hillel, having served for two consecutive years on the Student Board before being elected to the Hillel International Student Cabinet his senior year. Nathan was a participant of Onward Israel in 2017, a personal and professional life-changing experience, where he interned in The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shlichut Unit – a position he continued remotely for the remainder of college. In light of his positive experience on Onward, he was a member of the Alumni Interview Committee in his senior year, helping to grow Onward and make this immersive Israel experience accessible to more students like himself. Nathan is also a fellow of The Nachshon Project, an elite cohort of future professional Jewish leaders, and studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem during his junior year. Upon graduation, Nathan fulfilled his dream of making Aliyah to Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of many in his family. Thanks to his experience on Onward Israel and the network he gained at The Jewish Agency, Nathan is currently a Donor Relations Manager in the organization’s Financial Resource Development Unit. What he loves most about his work is creating organization-wide relationships, as well as helping to create an impact on a global scale. Nathan looks forward to bringing his past experiences and immense passion for the Jewish people to the Alumni Advisory Council in helping to better the organization and participant experience for many more years to come.
Brooke Steinman, Onward Israel Camp Counselor, 2017
Brooke will be graduating in May of 2020 from Syracuse University with majors in Citizenship & Civic Engagement, and Communication & Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Jewish Education. After graduation, she is looking to work in the Jewish not-for-profit field. She has developed a strong connection to Israel, a confident Jewish identity, and a desire to contribute to programs and organizations, She has worked in different capacities for many Jewish non-profits in the past including BBYO, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Camp Tevya, Temple Adath of Syracuse, Temple Concord of Syracuse, and Next Generations. Brooke has an online shopping addiction, uses way too many emojis, could spend all day at Trader Joes, and broke her finger flushing the toilet once. She grew up in South Florida but her family roots are in Boston. She is high energy, optimistic, and LOVES to travel (Copenhagen has been her favorite travel spot so far- besides Israel). She is eager to be a part of Onward Israel’s first Alumni Advisory Council and enthusiastic to contribute to an organization that played a role in my development as a Jewish leader.
Raquel Szomstein, Onward Israel Government & Politics, 2017
Raquel’s Onward Israel experience propelled her into the world of government and politics, where since she has evaluated governance and development at the international, national, and local level. She comes from an interdisciplinary background, as her studies focused on the intersection of international relations, urban policy, and development. Last year, Raquel worked as an intern at the Women’s Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia, a nonprofit that promotes economic self-sufficiency for women and minorities. Last summer, she interned in Washington D.C. at the Partnership for Public Service, where as part of the Government Affairs team she worked with many stakeholders in issues related to government effectiveness. While studying abroad in Spain, she assisted in research on foreign policy stances of smaller European Union states. Raquel is proudly from Miami, Florida. She enjoys traveling, visiting museums of any kind, and playing with her dog and cats. She looks forward to being on the Council to provide perspective and give back to the Onward Israel community.
Former Alumni Advisory Council Members
Alexa (Lexi) Goldstein, Onward Israel Hillel North America, 2016
Alexa recently made Aliyah to the South of Israel and is working in Resource Development for NGOs based in the Negev. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in International and Global Studies with a regional focus on the Middle East-North Africa. Alexa was participating in the Hillel International Onward Israel program in 2016, where she learned about the unique ecosystem of civil society work in Israel. Alexa grew up in South Florida, not far from Fort Lauderdale, where Jewish youth groups helped her to understand how to be a leader within and outside the Jewish community. During her time as a student in Oralndo, she was involved in the Jewish community through Central Florida Hillel, the Hillel International Student Cabinet, the Jewish National Fund, and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. After her Onward experience, Alexa decided to make Aliyah to fulfill her dream of working abroad in peacebuilding and capacity building in Israel. She chose to move to Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, where she studied Ulpan at Ben Gurion University and began work for a Bedouin-Jewish NGO in the Bedouin city of Rahat. Until her next degree, Alexa will be focusing on making the desert bloom, becoming fluent in Hebrew, and learning how to “adult” in the Middle East.
Gonzalo Heredia Edelstein, Onward Israel Latin America Hillel, 2018
Gonzalo is an entrepreneur and economics science student from Argentina. He is currently attending an innovation accelerator course at the University of California Berkeley and will be staying in the Bay Area until May 2020. He was part of the 6th Latin American Hillel Onward Israel cohort in January and February 2019. By the end of 2020, he will be finishing his bachelor’s degree in Argentina after which he is planning to do a master’s in data science. He is passionate about sports. Lately, he has been dedicated to running; Tel Aviv’s marathon was the last marathon he ran!
Sam Perlen, Onward Israel Chicago, 2017
Sam is currently a Human Resources Associate at FedEx Services in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs, majoring in Management from Indiana University in May of 2019. Sam took part in the 2017 Onward Israel Chicago program where he got to live in the center of Tel Aviv and work at Star TAU, a leading entrepreneurship center at Tel Aviv University. Sam is originally from Nashville, Tennessee where he grew a passion for the global Jewish community and the state of Israel. His first trip was as a rising senior with Nashville community members and since then, Sam has been back to Israel four times. Sam is an avid traveler, having been to over 30 states with hopefully more to come in the near future.