Don't Miss The Upcoming StandWithUs Israel In Focus Conference.
Below is just a sample of the wonderful speakers who will be joining us at this year's conference. The list of speakers is in development, so keep checking this page for more information about the dozens of experts who will be sharing their best practices and strategizing with us.
Hussein Aboubakr was born in 1989 in Cairo, Egypt. He was a self-described reclusive internet nerd, obsessed with comic books and the like. The ultimate villains in the local lore he was steeped in during his youth were the “bloodthirsty Zionists”, so Hussein began to study the supposed enemies of his people. Hussein studied Hebrew at Cairo University, but did not adapt to the curriculum which was the official anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric of the regime. Hussein was persecuted by the Egyptian State Police for being the first visitor to check out books and watching films at the Israeli Academic Center of Cairo. He was surveillanced, harassed, jailed and tortured for his studies of Israel. When the Egyptian Revolution swept in 2011, Hussein became an organizer in Tahrir Square. By 2012 the secret police of Mohammad Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime again began harassing and persecuting Hussein, and he was sent to a military detention facility where he was tortured for his contacts with Israelis and writings expressing hopes for coexistence and peace between the two peoples. He received asylum in the United States in 2014 and now teaches as an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Studies.
Rhode Island State Rep. Mia A. Ackerman has served as a
member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives since first being elected
in November 2012. She is a House Deputy Majority Leader and serves as the
First Vice-Chairwoman of the House Committee on Municipal Government and the
Second Vice-Chairwoman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.
In 2016, she introduced a law that prohibits the state of Rhode Island from investing in or contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of allies and trade partners of the United States, including the state of Israel. In 2014, she authored a law that enables Rhode Island to divest from all companies conducting business with Iran.
A Democrat, she earned a bachelor’s degree in political economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Representative Ackerman and her husband Barry are the parents of two children, Samuel, a senior at Columbia University, and Elicia, a freshman at the University of Tampa.
As a top national college activist, Chelsea went to Israel for the first time with the Israel on Campus Coalition in 2014, followed by the inaugural Philos Leadership Institute in 2015. After graduating from Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, as the Senior Class President and working for a year in Washington, D.C., Chelsea was recruited to Chicago to head the post-trip realm of a Passages trip to Israel. With a growing team, she now focuses on campus engagement as the Director of Campus Relations, which includes: reunion events, national pro-Israel conferences, campus clubs and more.
An experienced public affairs professional and campus organizer, Jacob Baime is an expert on pro-Israel campus affairs. As former National Field Director with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he supervised a team of professional campus organizers, oversaw strategic campus initiatives, and managed AIPAC’s national training platforms for college and high school students. Baime most recently served as Area Director in AIPAC’s New England Region, where he was responsible for political, development and grassroots efforts in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Baime previously served as a political aide and as Campus Coalition Director to the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.
For the past three years Dustin Biton was with the Israeli-American
Council (IAC) in Los Angeles. He served as the Community Engagement and Public Relations
Currently, he is located in the National HQ at IAC and serves as the Mishelanu Sr. Program Manager and is responsible for the IAC Mishelanu South West region.
Prior to this, Dustin worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel as an emissary in the state of Tennessee. He served as Commander Recruits in the IDF logistic unit, after which he worked for the Israeli scouts movement as Director of Guidance and as a project manager in the city of Bat Yam. He graduated from the Open University Of Israel with a BA in Politics and Public Policy and with a certificate in Social Leadership from Beit Berl College.
Jon Bridge (VCU ’13) is the Chief Programming Officer of Alpha Epsilon Pi. In this role, Jon manages AEPi’s professional team in the fraternity’s Jewish & Leadership Program Departments, including AEPi's Israel Department, and oversees the implementation of AEPi’s core program initiatives and leadership conferences. Jon hails from Baltimore, Maryland and attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he combined a Health and Physical Education major with Business Management and Non-profit Management minors, to create his own major: Non-profit Youth Programming. In his free time he currently volunteers as a BBYO adviser in Indianapolis.
Lindsey Clark has worked for the Human Rights Campaign since
2013 and now serves as a Senior Regional Field Organizer based in HRC's
Northeast/Midwest region. As an SRFO, Lindsey engages volunteer leaders, allies,
and partner organizations around political strategies to protect freedoms for LGBT
people at the federal, state, and local levels. Based in Ohio, Lindsey has served
all over the country with campaigns stretching from California to Maine and most
states in between.
Lindsey will address intersectionality as it relates to Zionism as a movement.
Micha “Mitch” Danzig is a partner of the Mintz Levin firm in the firm’s San Diego office and is a member of the firm’s litigation, employment, and Israel business practice departments. Micha served in the IDF and was also a police officer in the NYPD. Micha is the President of the advisory board for StandWithUs in San Diego, he chairs StandWithUs’s national legal committee, and he is active with T.E.A.M., FIDF, and AIPAC. Micha is a regular guest on The Tipping Point on the One America News Network on matters related to Israel, the Middle East and Anti-Semitism. Micha also frequently writes for the Times of Israel blog as well as other publications, including The Forward and Frontpage Magazine. He has written a number of articles regarding anti-Zionism and how it is a proxy for Anti-Semitism and his article “Anti-Semitism in America is Nothing New. Don’t Deny Jewish History and Culture by Calling Us ‘White’” was the number one read and downloaded article for the Forward’s Scribe publication in 2016. Micha also recently led a team of pro-bono lawyers from his office at Mintz Levin in defense of a civil harassment complaint and motion for a restraining order filed against Jewish community activists who were peacefully protesting outside an Oakland bakery that had decided to laud convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh with large mural in her honor. Due to the efforts of Micha and his team, the entire civil harassment complaint was dismissed and no restraining order was ever issued.
Israeli activist attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has been leading the legal fight
against terror financing, the anti-Israel boycott campaigns (BDS) and combating the
multitude of lawfare tactics utilized against the Jewish State by its enemies.
As the president of the Israel based civil rights organization, Shurat HaDin–Israel
Law Center, she has represented hundreds of terror victims in legal actions against
terror organizations and their supporters. Ms. Darshan-Leitner has successfully
recovered more than two hundred million dollars in compensation on their behalf.
In recent years, Ms. Darshan-Leitner initiated a legal campaign to deprive terrorists
of social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which they use to
incite violence against Jews and promote terror attacks.
In her efforts to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activities, Ms.
Darshan-Leitner assisted in blocking the Gaza Flotilla, terminated efforts to indict IDF
soldiers for war crimes, and filed legal actions against those who boycott Israeli
academics and companies in violation of the law.
Staffed by some of Israel's leading activist attorneys, Shurat HaDin–Israel Law Center follows the model of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the famed American civil rights organization dedicated to bankrupting the KKK and other neo-Nazi groups in the United States with the goal to economically destroy the hate groups in the Middle East. Thus, the organization's motto: "Bankrupting Terrorism – One Lawsuit at a Time!" She and her associates specialize in tracking the assets and bank accounts of terror groups and legally obstructing and restraining their funds. They have become known by banks, legal organizations and outlaw regimes around the world as the leading authority and resource on stopping the movement of global terror financing. Today they represent hundreds of terror victims in lawsuits against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO, The Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, UBS, and the Lebanese Canadian Bank. The cases, being litigated in Israeli, American, Canadian and European courts, allow the victims of terrorism to fight back.
In 2016, Ms. Darshan-Leitner was chosen as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, and named by the Israeli Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most influential Israeli women. A mother of six, including triplets, Ms. Darshan-Leitner is a graduate of the Bar-Ilan University Law Faculty and holds an MBA from Manchester University.
Craig Dershowitz is the Executive Director of Artists 4 Israel, a
humanitarian and creative strategist. Mr. Dershowitz has worked with over 5,000 artists
representing more than 23 countries on 4 continents showing the power of avant-garde as a tool
for social change. For his work he was presented the Shomer Yisrael award, been honored by
Prime Minister Netanyahu and has had the Ministry of Public Diplomacy say that Craig is
“changing our perceptions of PR and having an impact on our policy and style.” His most proud
accomplishment was receiving the key to the city of Sderot for his work during wartime.
Heavily tattooed and unapologetically honest, Craig has a unique background. He was the Editor in Chief for an internationally distributed graffiti magazine as well as a special designer for name brand clothing and sneaker companies. In the private sector, Mr. Dershowitz worked as a special projects manager at Morgan Stanley in the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing prevention group.
Pnina is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel Milwaukee, in charge of
the entire Israel field including Israel's engagement, education and experiences. She joined
Hillel Milwaukee's staff as part of the Israel Fellows program, a collaboration between Hillel
International and the Jewish Agency for Israel that places outstanding young Israeli
professionals on key North American campuses to serve as peer ambassadors to the campus
Pnina was born and raised in Ness-Ziona, a small town in the center of Israel, and spent the past few years in Jerusalem.
Pnina served in the IDF as an Infantry instructure as well as program developer, and is still serving in the IDF reserves.
After completing her IDF service she arrived to New Orleans, where she did her first Shlichut (emissary position), in the summer of 2011. As she returned to Israel she co-managed a youth movement and dedicated her time working and empowering young people in leadership and advocacy.
Pnina has a B.A. in International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology from the Hebrew university in Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem she found herself connecting to the community, taking part in social movements and student advocacy initiatives, as well as working with tourists in the city. After taking a short break from school, she is now earning her M.A. in Jewish Studies with an educational focus, through the Jewish Agency for Israel.
While having experience in a variety of fields from education to communication and tourism, Pnina feels that working with the Jewish community and especially the students, is the most amazing experience she had, as she is going through a personal journey to re-discover her Jewish and Israel’s identity.
Ethan Felson is Executive Director of the Israel Action Network, a strategic initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America to build a broad base of support for Israel and to counter anti-Israel activity. He has worked to counter BDS in mainline protestant churches since 2004 – and has attended every Presbyterian and Methodist convention for well over a decade. Last year, the teams he works with defeated every BDS resolution at the Methodist convention and helped secure adoption of language at the Presbyterian convention recognizing the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in Israel – a first. He founded Interfaith Partners for Peace which brings rabbis and ministers together for study and travel to Israel. Prior to joining IAN in 2016, Ethan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs which he joined in 2001. At JCPA he formed several national dialogues with Christian leaders and guided a groundbreaking national initiative to restore civility in Jewish life. He is the author of chapters in several books including Uneasy Allies: Evangelical Jewish Relations and the American Jewish Yearbook (2006-2015), as well as articles in Sh’ma, JTA, and other journals and periodicals. He and his husband Daniel reside in New York City with their twins Hannah and Seth.
Nelson France is the Director of Campus and High School Affairs at Jewish National Fund (JNF). He manages the JNF on Campus trips to Israel, speaker tours, partnerships, national conference and fellowship program. Nelson has worked in pro-Israel campus affairs for over six years. He most recently served as Director of National Initiatives at Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC). Nelson France is a leader in the global Jewish community, having chaired the AJC Access and JDC Entwine chapters in Washington, D.C. A native of New York City, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration degree from West Virginia University. Nelson lives in D.C. with his wife Lauren and dog Jerry.
Carly F. Gammill serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ, focusing on First Amendment and related issues in courts throughout the country. She has been involved in numerous trial and appellate level cases, both state and federal, including presenting oral argument before the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. A graduate of Regent University School of Law, Carly joined the ACLJ as a law clerk in 2005 and as a full-time litigator in 2007. She has represented clients in a variety of contexts, including individual private citizens and nonprofit organizations in free speech and discrimination cases, as well as public school boards and other local government bodies in Establishment Clause litigation. She has been actively involved in pro-life matters, litigating cases against Planned Parenthood and defending the right of medical professionals to refuse to violate their consciences by participating in abortion and other life-ending procedures. Her experience also includes litigation under the federal False Claims Act. A former educator, Carly has a special interest in constitutional and other legal matters affecting the nation’s school campuses.
Fay is the Managing Director for Hasbara Fellowships, a leading pro-Israel advocacy campus organization. From 2014-2016, Fay was the East Coast Regional Advisor for Hasbara. Prior to that, while on campus, Fay served as the president of her campus Israel club, as the social media manager for a student government political party, and as the Honor's College representative to the university's Board of Trustees. Fay graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Florida International University with an honors degree in International Relations, and minors in Political Science and Digital Media. She has since worked with 95+ campuses, led 25+ advocacy delegations to Israel, and has spoken in multiple forums on Israel, including high-schools, universities, conferences, and most recently, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Rabbi Evan Goodman is the Executive Director of
Santa Barbara Hillel. He loves working with college students and Santa
Barbara Hillel supporters to create a dynamic “Jewish home away from
home” where we explore Judaism, engage our Jewish values in the
community around us, and enrich the lives of our students. He is
proactive in standing up for SB Hillel’s students, building bridges,
and fostering a positive campus climate.
Before arriving at Santa Barbara Hillel in July 2009, Rabbi Evan served for 16 years as a congregational rabbi in San Francisco and San Mateo, California, and in New Rochelle, New York.
Rabbi Goodman’s honors include Hillel International’s 2015 Richard M. Joel “Exemplar of Excellence Award” and AIPAC’s 2014 “Ally of the Year” award for his “Accomplishments on Behalf of the U.S.-Israel Relationship on Campus.”
Rabbi Goodman currently serves as Treasurer of the Executive Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, a member of the Regional Advisory Board of Santa Barbara ADL, and a member of the Taubman Symposia Program Committee.
A graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio, Rabbi Evan was ordained in 1993. He received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters from HUC-JIR in 1991, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988.
Or Greenwald is a Senior Israel Fellow to Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. Or became a Jewish leader through his involvement with AEPi and the collaborations he hosted with his local Hillel club and student government at the interdisciplinary center, Herzliya. He served for three years in a special unit in the Israeli navy and was released from service with a certificate of excellence. For the past two years Or has focused in building of Jewish leadership through Israel education and engagement at his Hillel and studying for his Masters of Jewish studies and education.
Hali Haber is the Director of Campus Programming and Strategic Relationships
for CAMERA. A South Florida native, Hali received her B.A. in Cinema Studies and a minor in Mass
Communications at the University of Central Florida. During her years in college, she became
increasingly involved in Israel advocacy and later became President of CAMERA-supported group
Knights for Israel, UCF's only pro-Israel organization. Hali spent the summers of 2014 and 2015
in Israel teaching video editing to American students and expanding their knowledge of the
country and the conflict.
Hali manages the CAMERA on Campus team in the US, and works to advise and educate students. She loves presenting on hands-on techniques to help students have successful Israel groups on campus.
Executive Director & Founder of JLens. Julie is inspired
by the use of investment capital and business as a force for good in the world.
She oversees JLens educational, advocacy, and advisory services.
Julie began her career nineteen years ago in investment banking on Wall Street,
and later served as an investment advisor at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch.
She was on the founding team of a for-profit social enterprise focused on
women's health. Most recently Julie was the Impact Investment Strategist at
a multi-family office where she implemented customized impact portfolios.
Julie received her MBA from Harvard Business School, her BA in Economics from Tufts University, and she holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Julie is a Wexner Foundation Jewish Heritage alum, an UpStart incubator graduate, a Cordes fellow, and has served on the boards of the Federation, ADL, and the Jewish Community Relations Council.
MK Haskel is the youngest member Member of the Knesset for the Likud party. She speaks fluent French, English and Hebrew. MK Haskel was born in Toronto, Canada to a Moroccan mother and Israeli father and her family immigrated to Israel a year after her birth. At the age of 18, Haskel served in the Israel Defense Forces where she was a combat soldier during the second intifada. She is active on environmental and animal rights issues, with a particular focus on water pollution coming out of areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority. MK Haskel supports decriminalization of cannabis, and is an advocate for medical cannabis usage.
Joe Hyams is London born and educated, with a background in Media & Marketing Communications. He is a former Strategic Planner for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Tel Aviv serving international clients including Ford, Ikea and Proctor & Gamble. Connecting his media know-how to a desire to improve Israel’s image abroad, Joe made Aliyah, joining HonestReporting in 2005. He trains Israel supporters the world over in the identification of media bias and effective responses in the digital age and directs the organization’s growth and operations from Jerusalem. He is a regular guest speaker for Israel Mission delegations, student groups and community leadership seminars. He has lectured to Jewish Federations, AIPAC National Policy Conference, Jewish National Fund (JNF), the Annual Herzliya Conference, as well as school and community events across the USA, South America, Australia, Hong Kong as well as from home base – the Jerusalem Headquarters of HonestReporting. Joe holds a Masters degree and an MBA in non-profit management from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program & The Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
As State Representative for the 61st District,
Phil King represents the people of Parker and Wise counties in the Texas
Legislature. He has earned a reputation as a principle-driven conservative
who consistently provides key leadership in passing some of Texas’ most
sweeping public policy legislation.
King serves on the National Board of Directors for the American Legislative Exchange Council and was the 2015 National Chair. He also chairs ALEC’s Center for Innovation and Technology and is the Public Sector Chair for the Task Force on Homeland Security. King also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. In the Texas House, King chairs the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee and serves on the Energy Resources Committee.
Phil was a police officer for 15 years and continues to serve in the Texas State Guard. He is a practicing attorney and small business owner. Representative King and his family have been active members of Trinity Bible Church since 1984. Phil and his wife Terry are the proud parents of six children, eight granddaughters and five grandsons.
Neil Lazarus is an internationally acclaimed expert in the fields of
Middle East politics, Public Diplomacy and Effective Communication Training.
He is one of Israel's leading keynote speakers. His presentations are motivating,
informative and challenging. Neil speaks to over 30,000 people a year and his
presentations are causing an international sensation.
He is a favored speaker for Jewish Federations, Community Leadership as well as student leadership groups. He is a welcomed guest at many Christian Friends of Israel organizations. Neil Lazarus has helped train a new generation of Israeli diplomats and spokespeople. He is the author of "The New 5 Rules of Effective Israel Advocacy".
His client list is extensive and has included: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Israeli Ministry of Tourism, Jewish Federations, JCRCs, Sky TV, Russian English TV, Keshet Television, Yad Vashem, Hillel, Hadassah, Birthright, The Jewish Agency of Israel, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and many more.
Avi Liberman's quirky style has made him a favorite
in comedy clubs from Los Angeles to New York. Born in Israel, raised in
Texas, having gone to college in New York, and now living in
Los Angeles, his style is a winning combination of life experiences
and topical issues told through a varied blend of characters and voices
with worldwide expertise.
Avi has performed stand-up comedy on CBS's "Late Late Show" with Craig Ferguson on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and "Make Me Laugh" as well as NBC's "Friday Night!" His acting credits include "Dave's World" CBS, "Boston Common" NBC and "Andytown U.S.A." Comedy Central. Avi can be seen regularly on E! as one of their frequent guests on their very popular countdown series. He has also guest starred on "Movies At Our House," as well as having shot a pilot titled "Through the Keyhole" both on AMC. He has also been heard on radio stations across the country.
A successful commercial actor, Avi has appeared in spots for "Mercedes," "L.A. Cellular," "Miller Lite" and most recently "Starbucks" and "Net Zero." He has appeared at the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival.Since 2001, Avi has successfully arranged widely acclaimed stand-up comedy tours in Israel to help boost morale while donating all of the proceeds to a charity. The successful "Comedy For Koby" tour is now a bi-annual event, benefiting the Koby Mandell Foundation.
Rabbi Dov Lipman was elected to the 19th Knesset in January 2013 with
the Yesh Atid party, making him the first American born MK in nearly 30 years.
He rose to national and international prominence for his role in combating religious
extremism in Bet Shemesh. The author of seven books about Judaism and Israel,
Rabbi Lipman holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a
Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He moved to Israel from Silver
Spring, MD in July 2004 with his wife, Dena, and four children.
Since 2015, former MK Lipman has focused on Israel Advocacy both in Israel and abroad, has been a political commentator for i24 News and ILTV, and a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel. He has recently joined the executive team of Innovation Africa, an organization that uses Israeli technology to bring water and electricity to African villages, where he directs government and media relations, as well as outreach to Christian communities.
Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
is one of the foremost authorities on Palestinian media and policy. Since 1996,
PMW has studied Palestinian society by monitoring and analyzing its media and schoolbooks.
PMW’s focus is on the messages Palestinian leaders send to the population through the
institutions and infrastructures they control.
His 2011 book “Deception” which chronicles incitement against Israel in Palestinian media was utilized by the Israeli delegation in their negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and Marcus was appointed by the Israeli government to represent Israel in peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) on incitement. He has presented analyses of Palestinian media in academic, cultural, and government frameworks, including hearings, lectures, and briefings to members of the U.S. Congress and Senate; the Canadian, British, French, German, Norwegian, Swiss, Italian, and Australian Parliaments; and the European Parliament.
Marcus’ reports on how foreign aid is misused by the PA for the promotion of hate and terror have led to changes in U.S. legislation and U.S. funding procedures. He has lectured at conferences and universities and to senior security officials worldwide and provided analyses on CNN, Fox News, the BBC, among many other international outlets. http://palwatch.org/
Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Director of Israel Engagement, Julian Ross Markowitz,
is an expert in Israel affairs, counter-BDS tactics, field management, and campus marketing.
Julian’s diverse professional experience has contributed to his unique and varied skill set.
In 2013, Julian moved from his native Canada to Los Angeles to serve in StandWithUs’ International Headquarters. At StandWithUs, Julian distinguished himself, attaining three increasingly senior roles in his three years of service. In his ultimate role, as strategist, Julian created and executed avant-garde experiential marketing campaigns across the continent. Julian also personally directed StandWithUs’ first successful foray into Central America, conducting a weeklong speaking tour in Panama.
In 2016, Julian was recruited to join the Israel Action Network (the Israel affairs arm of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs), as Senior Associate for Community Strategy.
During the recent presidential election, Julian worked as the Victory Events Coordinator in the swing state of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining the AEPi team, Julian managed his marketing and public relations consultancy, Julian Ross Strategies, with notable clients such as Prager University.
In the volunteer and philanthropic realm, Julian previously served as a director on the board directors of the NSS Foundation, a Toronto-based educational non-profit, and as a member of the Winston Churchill Society for Parliamentary Democracy. In 2011, Julian was the sole recipient of the annual University of Toronto M.P. Churchill Award. Julian is the author of the acclaimed essay “Partners for Peace”, which was published in the Journal of International Affairs, the Canadian foreign interest periodical released once annually by the University of British Columbia International Relations Society.
Luke Moon is the Deputy Director of the Philos Project. Prior to that, Luke served as business manager for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, and, before that, as a missionary with Youth with a Mission for 12 years. Luke has lived, worked, and taught in over 45 countries, and has advocated on a number of human rights issues along the way. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from the University of the Nations and an MA in Global Politics from Regent University. Luke is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
Judea Pearl is a Chancellor Professor of computer science and the director
of the UCLA Cognitive Systems Laboratory. He is known internationally for his contributions
to artificial intelligence, human reasoning and philosophy of science. Pearl is a member of
the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of numerous scientific awards, including the
2012 Alan Turing Award.
Dr. Pearl is the father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation www.danielpearl.org. With his wife, Ruth, he co-edited the book "I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl", winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award.
Pearl writes a regular column in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, focusing on Zionophobia, the Middle East conflict, and Israel's image on campus.
Hadas was born and raised in Israel and just moved to the US. She
finished her bachelor's degree in Cinematography & Film Production in the Sapir college in
Sderot, Israel. During her studies Hadas worked as a student coordinator for Sapir collage
at the Café Gute project- a project that combines work with at risk youth and students.
This project eventually helped the young adults make a change in their careers and their emotional state.
Today, Hadas is the Israel Fellow at Santa Cruz Hillel. Hadas brings her passion for Israel and Zionism wherever she goes and tends to show everyone how amazing it is to be jewish and connected with Israel.
Inbal is currently the Israel Fellow at Penn Hillel where she serves as a
resource and representative of Israel for all students at Penn, offering a personal dimension
to the Israel conversation. In addition to building relationships with individual students
over coffee and advising the student Israel groups, she also initiates new initiatives for
the broader campus community that allow all people to explore and learn more about Israeli
life and culture for themselves.
Inbal was raised in Tel Aviv. She received her BA in Political Science, Strategy and Diplomacy from IDC Herzliya. As a part of her undergraduate degree, she spent a semester in Bordeaux, France, where she studied French and Political Science at Science Po University and fell in love with cheese, wine and French culture.
Inbal served as an N.C.O in the Foreign Affairs Unit in the IDF's Israeli National Defense College and also participated, as an IDF soldier, in a Taglit trip.
Inbal has had a diverse cultural Jewish upbringing, with an American father and Israeli mother. Inbal has visited the United States numerous times growing up and has participated in the BIMA and GENESIS summer programs at Brandeis University.
She worked as the Israeli Culture Guide at Surprise Lake Camp, in upstate New York, and later served as a counselor in the RRIS International School at IDC Herzliya, as well as the translator of IDC Herzliya Student Union.
With fifteen years at the helm of one of the world’s largest music
publishing companies, Universal Music Publishing Group, and now as Chairman & CEO of one of
the world’s leading independent music publishing companies, Spirit Music Group, David Renzer
possesses the best of major and indie music publishing experience.
As Chairman of Spirit Music Group, Renzer oversees the company’s global music publishing activities, aggressive expansion plans, and its 75,000 song catalog spanning seven decades across every musical genre.
Prior to joining Spirit Music Group, Renzer was Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, responsible for overseeing the activities of the company’s 57 offices in 47 countries.
Major signings/renewals and deals under Renzer include: the catalogues of Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, U2, Justin Timberlake, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys, Jimi Hendrix, and more.
Michelle Rojas-Tal is the central Shlicha to Hillel International and
Director of the Israel Fellows Program. Michelle grew up in a very different environment
than many in the Jewish world. She is the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Hispanic father.
Michelle had very little connection to the Jewish world. After the tragic events of
September 11, 2001, she felt a greater need to understand Israel and her own personal
connection. During the next few years, she would begin devoting her life to Israel and
the Jewish people. Michelle is a Jerry Seinfeld Family Scholar.
Michelle traveled to Israel for the first time in January of 2004, with Taglit-Birthright Israel and began her work at StandWithUs in the spring of 2005 in Israel, while studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taking part in a student leadership course at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That summer, she returned to New York to serve for 2 years as the StandWithUs Community Outreach Liaison. Michelle made Aliyah in July of 2007, joining the StandWithUs International team as Diaspora Education Director.
In her position, Michelle established the department for Diaspora Education. Michelle has traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, Turkey, Greece, North America and Australia in her position being featured as a keynote speaker in numerous conferences and forums. In May of 2013, Michelle was featured as part of the Jerusalem Post's List of Influential Jews, being included as part of the 6 "Women to Watch" in the Jewish world. She is also a proud member of the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI community for global Jewish leaders. Michelle along with her husband and two daughters relocated this past summer to Washington D.C. from Jerusalem.
Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director
of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also
a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor [Affiliate] at
the University of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he
holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's
College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of
the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle
East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.
Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief.
Roz Rothstein is the co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, a 15-year-old Israel education organization, which now has 18 offices and programs on five continents, including Australia, South Africa and China. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Rothstein and her husband Jerry, along with community leader Esther Renzer, sought to strengthen Israel’s image by empowering Israel’s supporters worldwide with innovative educational materials, conferences, fellowships, campaigns, missions to Israel, social media, educational videos, and programs. All the programs of StandWithUs have grown exponentially. Since the inception of StandWithUs, the Forward has twice named Rothstein one of the 50 most influential Jews in America, and the Jerusalem Post has twice named her one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.
Erin Schrode is a citizen activist, social entrepreneur and writer. This leading voice on sustainability, social impact and millennials and vocal advocate for environmental action, public health and equal justice just ran an unprecedented campaign for US Congress in California – to redefine civic engagement and reinvigorate a culture of public service. Since co-founding Turning Green in 2005, she has developed eco education and action platforms to inspire, educate, and mobilize millions of students and global masses with this non-profit and beyond. Erin was on air with ABC for the election season, speaks internationally, consults with corporations, organizations and governments, and writes for Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery29, among others. She is frequently tapped as an expert for and featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, CNN, NBC, FOX, Seventeen, Forbes, and various media outlets. As The White House said, Erin “is a dynamic, passionate and ambitious young woman committed to creating big change everywhere she goes.” This community organizer champions civic leadership, conscious living, and environmental stewardship worldwide, launching a youth education project in Haiti, writing curriculum for an eco center for Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian students, developing recycling infrastructure in Ghana, and telling the stories of Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees in the Mediterranean and Middle East, as well as Native Americans at Standing Rock while working in solidarity on the ground. Currently, Erin is leading #ChefsForPuertoRico with Chef José Andrés, as COO of the largest feeding program in Puerto Rico, having served over 3 million hot meals to those in need since Hurricane Maria. From her hometown in Marin County, California to New York University to eighty nations, this bold innovator is on a lifelong journey to inspire and mobilize people to discover and activate passion for social impact and policy change — that ensures a just, safe, thriving world for future generations.
Educated at the University of Michigan,
Stein earned awards at Emory for excellence in teaching and
life-long mentorship of students. At Emory his undergraduate class,
“History, Politics, and Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict” is
one of college’s most popular classes. He is the founding Director
of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, the oldest
such Israel Study Center in the United States. Emory University is
honoring Ken’s 20 years of scholarly diligence and commitment to
teaching by establishing an endowed professorship in his name, www.ismi.emory.edu
In the 1980s Ken was the Executive Producer and Moderator of a bi-weekly Atlanta based PBS program, World In Review. He was the first Director of the Carter Center in 1983, and in 2007, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s coveted Ross Award for his courage in speaking out against the falsehoods in Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel and the Palestinians. Ken is a pioneer in Israel education, establishing the Center for Israel Education in 2008; the Center has helped educate 2500 Jewish teachers in North America and they in turn have touched more than 350,000 Jewish students in day schools and congregational schools. The Center’s website, heavy with rich content, www.israeled.org is considered by users to be the most reliable and innovative source for learning about modern Israel.
Evon Sworesho is an analyst on Middle Eastern
affairs with specialization on Minority Rights and Displacement
Politics. He currently holds three degrees, Bachelor of Arts – double
major history and political science from McMaster University, Bachelor
of Education from Western University and Master of Arts from McMaster
He currently teaches in his hometown of Hamilton Ontario, Canada where he is the first in Canada to initiate and teach a credit course Assyrian Neo-Aramaic course as part of the school board curriculum.
Evon is an alumnus of the philos leadership institute having been selected to participate in Philos Project’s annual institute which sees young Christians engage with Middle Eastern related topics through an immersive month-long trip. The following year he led a bus of Assyrians to Israel through Passages Israel in order to enhance their understanding of their faith as well as the complexities of the region.
Raz was born and raised in Kibbutz Dvir, which is located right next to the
city of Be’er Sheva. As a child, she got the chance to experience the real kibbutz life.
When Raz was 9 years old, she moved to Paris with her family since her father got a job as an
Israeli emissary. They lived there for 3 years. During that time, Raz was exposed to the
Jewish culture and life outside of Israel, which brought her to eventually become a shlicha as
In 2005, Raz joined the IDF as a border observant along the boundaries of the Gaza strip and Israel. She finished her service in 2007 and has since spent the majority of her time involved in the informal education world.
In 2012, Raz started her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communication at Sapir College (near Sderot). While she was in college, she volunteered at the local Hillel. Being involved with Hillel in College helped Raz decide that she wanted to become a Shlicha/Israel Fellow, where she has been since 2015 at Hillel in Montreal.
Gur Yalon, 29, is the Co-founder of ACT.IL - online community for Israel, where he oversees Training & External-relations. He served in the I.D.F as a combat-fighter and commander in the "Egoz" infantry unit. Prior to his army service, he volunteered for a "Shnat-shiryut" under the Israeli Scouts. Gur is an IDC Herzliya Cum Laude Graduate, holding a B.A from the honors track for Strategy-Planning and Decision-Making in Government. Gur was a competitive sailor & coach representing Israel and an overall die-hard sports fan.
Liel Zahavi-Asa, Director of Jewish Student Life and Israel Engagement at
Liel made Aliyah from California with her family and was raised in Efrat, Israel.
She holds a BS in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University and an MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. She is currently in the 7th cohort of the ICenter's Masters of Concentration in Israel Education. She has extensive experience working as a formal and informal Jewish educator at summer camps, Hebrew schools, and Jewish communities across America. She is also an alumni of the Pardes summer learning program and the Brandeis Collegiate Institute summer program. Liel has staffed approximately 15 Birthright trips, is a graduate of the Sudbury Democratic school system, and is the youngest theater director in Jerusalem to date.