STAFF

Mimi Laks

Director of Kol Ami

Mimi has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Organization and Management of Educational Systems.
For 10 years, she ran MASA programs for participants aged 18-30 from Australia and the United States.
Mimi Initiated and founded the "Kol Ami" preparatory program in the belief that a meaningful encounter between Jewish youth from all over the world
Is powerful and has the potential to bring about a significant change in global Jewish leadership in the future.
Mimi has been serving as chair of the Alon communit for several years.

Mimi is also a life coach, mother to 4 and grandmother to her  cute granddaughter.

Gabi Grabin

Director  of Education

Gabi lives in Jerusalem, is married and had two children.

He has been in the field of Jewish leadership for nine years. He began his career as an instructor in the IBC Youth Program for Australian teens and subsequently coordinated and directed the program. He is one of the founders of Kol Ami and is also responsible for the IDF's preparatory programs for new immigrants and overseas volunteers (Mahal).
He is a lecturer of Bible Leadership in Kol Ami and other Mechinot.

He studied for a bachelor's degree in political science and communications at Bar-Ilan University and served in the IDF as an infantry and engineering officer in the Golani Brigade and today as an officer in the reserves.
He is a graduate of the religious kibbutz yeshiva in Maale Gilboa.

Gilad Shoham

Director  

Olim and Post Army Programs

Gilad, born & raised in Jerusalem, married and father to three daughters

He has a master's degree in Management of Educational Institutions from the Hebrew University

Previously an English and History high school teacher.

He served as a Jewish Agency Shaliach to the United States and South Africa.

In the IDF He served in an Infantry Special Forces unit and currently serves as an infantry officer in the reserves.

He believes in setting challenges and overcoming them, because every challenge is an educational opportunity.

Jonny Whine

Director

Carmiel

Jonny, made aliyah from London and now lives on Kibbutz Hannaton, a pluralist religious community in the Galil with his wife and three children.

He has a BA in History and Philosophy and served in the "Shlav Bet"  IDF course for new Olim.

Previously Jonny was the Director of NOAM in London and head of long-term Israel programs at Netzer Olami.

Jonny lived in Brazil and France before fulfilling his dream of making aliyah and helping to establish a new pluralist Jewish community.

Yarden Freimann

Director of Educational

Activities in Israel

Yarden lives in Natur, a mixed religious-secular moshav in the Golan Heights.
He is married with three children.

He is a graduate of Mehinat "Ein Prat", has a BA in Philosophy & Psychology and is studying for an MA in American Jewish Studies.
Previously he led the IBC program and directed educational programs in a secular school before co-founding Kol Ami.
He served as tank officer in the IDF and is currently an officer in the reserves.
He believes in action on behalf of the Zionist vision and the Jewish people.

Yaara  Salamon Michael

Director  

Yaara grew up in the Jezreel Valley. After completing Mehinat Galil Elyon, she served as a non-commissioned officer.
She has a BA in History, an MA in Non-Profit Management and is a graduate of the The Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies. Yaara, an educator and content expert, has been working passionately for years in the "Jewish content world" - learning and teaching Jewish thought, formulating programs that deal with Jewish culture and Identity.
She lives in Kiryat Tivon with her husband and three children where she promotes community projects and leads local educational initiatives.

Arik Speaker

Director  

Migdal Oz

Arik grew-up in Antwerp.  After graduating 12 active years in Bnei Akiva, he made Aliya and enrolled in the “Machal Hesder" program at the Maale Adumim Yeshiva. He has BA in Law from the Bar Ilan University, combined with torah-studies at the university's Kollel and an MA in American Jewish studies from the University of Haifa. 

He coordinated the "Kfar Haroe" high school program in Israel for youngsters from the U.S., South Africa and Australia.
After absorbing the Amiel training program before shlichut and obtaining his Smicha from Rabbi Riskin, Arik served as a shaliach for 4 years as the assistant Rabbi of the ICZ, (the unified Jewish community of Zurich) together with his wife Efrat who served as Switzerland's Bnei Akiva Shlicha.

For the last 6 years Arik worked at Torah MiTzion both as the founder and manager of lilmod.org - an online platform offering video-conference courses in Russian, French and German - as well as the head of the European Desk.

Arik speaks Hebrew, English, French, German and Dutch. He lives in Tekoa, Gush Etzion, with his wife and 4 children.

Elkana Bar Eitan

N. America Representative 

Elkana was born and raised in Jerusalem to parents who grew up in America.

After completing his army service, he obtained an undergraduate degree in Social work and a graduate degree in diplomacy.

An educator at heart, he began his career as a tour guide, sharing his passion for Israel with travelers of all ages and backgrounds. After spending five years on the road, Elkana took on the new challenges, directing the IBC gap year program and leading new business venture.

Elkana currently resides in Rockville MD with his wife and two daughters. Enjoys hiking, swimming and running.

Ariella Poni Kronish

Director

Kiriat Anavim

Ariella lives in Jerusalem, is married to Amit and has three wonderful girls.

As part of the Noam youth movement, she did a year of pre-army volunteer work. She served in the army as a Commander and Hebrew teacher in Basic training for new immigrants. In addition, she was the commander of a course that trains teachers and prepares them to be commanders and Hebrew teachers.

Ariella graduated with honors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2005 with a BA in Jewish and General History. She has a teacher's certificate from Machon Kerem, which trains teachers for Jewish education according to the principles of Humanistic education, and an MA in Jewish Studies from the Schechter Institute (graduated with honors).

Ariella worked for 16 years at the NFTY EIE High School in Israel, in the last four years as the director of Jewish life and learning, and feels that the encounter between Jews from Israel and the diaspora is crucial and enriching. An active member of Kehilat Zion in Jerusalem, she believes in the importance of belonging to a community and leading a pluralistic Jewish lifestyle.

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