Staff & Board

Staff Team
Current Interns
Board of Directors

Encounter’s Staff Team

      • Orren_Arad-Neeman

        Orren Arad-Neeman, Recruitment and Engagement Associate

        Orren joins Encounter after work­ing as a regional campus orga­nizer for J Street U. She grad­u­ated from Pomona College in 2016 with a BA in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. During college, she spent time advo­cat­ing for a two-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Title IX reform to combat campus sexual assault. In her junior year, she spent a semes­ter study­ing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where she helped lead tours in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and volun­teered for the Zionist Union’s pre-elec­tion outreach efforts. Orren grew up in an Israeli-American family in Seattle, Washington and now lives in Brooklyn.

      • Sally_Carroll

        Sally Carroll, Office Manager/Controller

        As a native New Yorker, Sally Carroll had her first expe­ri­ence with inter­na­tional rela­tions during an exchange year in the small Hungarian town, where she lived for a year through the American Field Service program. Inspired by travel, culture and commu­nity, she has contin­ued work­ing with the orga­ni­za­tion as a cultural refer­ence and local coor­di­na­tor. In 2010 after moving to Scotland, she obtained an under­grad­u­ate degree with honors in Philosophy and International Relations, complet­ing a disser­ta­tion on reli­gion and conflict in the Middle East. She then went on to earn an MBA with honors in Human Resource Management from the University of Aberdeen. Most recently, Sally worked as a produc­tion assis­tant for a small theatri­cal scenery company where she was respon­si­ble for creat­ing the human resources depart­ment and help­ing them to develop effi­cient finan­cial and admin­is­tra­tive systems.

      • Melanie Landau

        Rabba Melanie Landau, Director of Leadership Programs

        From Melbourne, Australia, Melanie holds a law degree, an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies and most recently, a PhD present­ing a femi­nist critique of tradi­tional Jewish Marriage (forth­com­ing by Continuum Books). She served for eight years as Lecturer and Community Educator at the Australian Center for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University and has taught Jewish texts in Israel, the US, Australia and New Zealand. In addi­tion, Melanie is prac­ticed at facil­i­tat­ing Jewish ritu­als and serv­ing as a mentor and consul­tant to a wide range of commu­nal orga­ni­za­tions. A past Mandel Jerusalem Fellow, Melanie is both trained and expe­ri­enced in lead­er­ship devel­op­ment, facil­i­ta­tion, and spir­i­tual guid­ance. She grad­u­ated from Yeshivat Maharat in June 2015 and estab­lished Yeshivat Kol Isha, a femi­nist, post-denom­i­na­tional yeshiva based in Jerusalem.


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            Rebecca Lederkramer, Program Coordinator

            Rebecca grad­u­ated from Tulane University in 2017 with a BS in psychol­ogy and linguis­tics. She has been accepted to HUC-JIR’s rabbinic program and is defer­ring to work for Encounter. She interned at Beit Dror, a tempo­rary home for LGBTQ youth in Israel who have either left their homes or were kicked out, where she helped to write grants in English. At Tulane, she worked teach­ing Hebrew and Religious School at Temple Sinai, a reform syna­gogue in New Orleans. As an under­grad­u­ate at Tulane, she interned for New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center, help­ing to compile research on the harm­ful effects of incar­cer­a­tion and deten­tion of juve­nile status offend­ers, as well as research­ing more benev­o­lent, effec­tive, and cost-effi­cient alter­na­tives to deten­tion. Throughout her tenure at Tulane, Rebecca held multi­ple posi­tions on the Undergraduate Student Government as Vice President of Student Life and Freshman Leadership Program Coordinator.

          • Sarah Pollack, Senior Program and Operations Coordinator

            Prior to join­ing Encounter, Sarah spent two years of inten­sive study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish stud­ies. While there, Sarah focused much of her learn­ing on the inter­sec­tion of Jewish Identity, Jewish conflict trans­for­ma­tion tech­niques and Jewish tradi­tion. Sarah grad­u­ated in 2012 from The University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. Her college expe­ri­ence and other immer­sive American Jewish envi­ron­ments have inspired her path toward better prepar­ing America’s lead­ers for more produc­tive paths to peace. Her passion for social justice has also led her to work with The American Jewish World Service and Tivnu.

          • Heidi Rosbe

            Heidi Rosbe, Deputy Director

            Heidi holds a Master of International Affairs degree (2010), focused on Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Policy, from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She previ­ously served as the Associate Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a non-profit family services and cultural center for Arab immi­grants. Heidi has spent many years design­ing and facil­i­tat­ing youth and adult programs in the United States, Canada, Cyprus, Syria and the West Bank for vari­ous orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing the United Nations Development Programme. She has also worked inter­na­tion­ally on research projects includ­ing conflict assess­ments of Jordan and Sri Lanka, and for the Women’s Refugee Commission, devel­op­ing voca­tional train­ing mate­ri­als for programs in Liberia. Heidi is a trained medi­a­tor and speaks some Arabic, French, and Spanish.

        • Yona Shem-Tov

          Yona Shem-Tov, Executive Director

          Yona has worked as a Jewish educa­tor for over 20 years, in a vari­ety of contexts, includ­ing summer camps and youth move­ments, educa­tional travel, Jewish day and supple­men­tary schools and in inter­faith program­ming. Prior to join­ing Encounter in 2011, Yona pursued grad­u­ate stud­ies at The Hebrew University and doctoral research in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. While at NYU, she co-founded a national program link­ing schol­ars and prac­tion­ers of Jewish History Education, and helped launch the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, an initia­tive of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation link­ing Muslim and Jewish social entre­pre­neurs from France, the UK and the USA.
        • Leah Solomon

          Leah Solomon, Regional Director

          Leah Solomon has worked since 1997 in the field of expe­ri­en­tial plural­is­tic Jewish educa­tion. She served most recently as Associate Director of the Nesiya Institute for a decade, where she helped culti­vate mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships among diverse Jewish partic­i­pants, and devel­oped and facil­i­tated programs which explored the complex­ity of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She worked previ­ously at Genesis at Brandeis University and Gann Academy in Boston. Leah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, and completed advanced stud­ies at the Conservative Yeshiva, Pardes, and the Hartman Institute. She is editor and publisher of the Anim Zemirot bencher and a contribut­ing writer at Jewschool on topics relat­ing to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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        Encounter’s Current Interns and Volunteers


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      Board of Directors

        • Martin Bresler

          Martin I. Bresler

          Martin I. Bresler has for fifteen years been a member, and is the imme­di­ate past Chair, of Americans for Peace Now. For many years he was actively involved with The American Jewish Committee, serv­ing as President of the New York Chapter; as a member of the National Board of Governors, as a National Vice President and on many commit­tees and boards. He served for many years on the Board of the Park East Day School, affil­i­ated with the Park East Synagogue. Martin is currently also a member of the Boards of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center.

          Martin has lived in New York City all his life. He earned a busi­ness degree from City College of New York (Baruch School) and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He was a corpo­rate lawyer for almost forty years, the last sixteen as a part­ner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. He and his wife of 54 years have two daugh­ters, five grand­chil­dren and two grand-dogs. He has trav­eled to Israel perhaps twenty times since his first visit there in 1957, both on orga­ni­za­tional busi­ness and to visit with his many family members living there.

        • Phyllis Teicher Goldman

          Phyllis Teicher Goldman, Secretary

          Phyllis has dedi­cated both her profes­sional career and volun­teer work to help­ing non-profit orga­ni­za­tions thrive. In her current role as a prin­ci­pal of G&S Consulting she assists orga­ni­za­tions achieve sustain­able growth through the imple­men­ta­tion of best prac­tices in devel­op­ment, commu­ni­ca­tions, and gover­nance. Previously, Phyllis was the vice pres­i­dent for exter­nal affairs at the American Jewish World Service and prior to that was the senior devel­op­ment exec­u­tive at the New Israel Fund. She was the direc­tor of the Westchester Holocaust Commission and has also worked in polit­i­cal fundrais­ing. Phyllis served on the board of direc­tors of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, the Jewish Community Center of Mid- Westchester and many other national and commu­nity based orga­ni­za­tions. In addi­tion, she was the President of the American Jewish Committee’s Westchester Chapter; and has chaired a number of capi­tal campaigns, both at her syna­gogue, Bet Am Shalom in White Plains and at the Solomon Schechter School. She holds an MA from the Columbia University School of Social Work and a B.A. from New York University. Phyllis partic­i­pated in her first Encounter Program in June 2014.

        • Sally Gottesman

          Sally Gottesman, Chair

          In 2014, after a seven month sabbat­i­cal in Israel during which Sally partic­i­pated in several Encounter programs, she decided to join the Board of Encounter. A grad­u­ate of Wellesley College and the Yale School of Management, Sally is an active lay-leader, writer, and consul­tant in the Jewish commu­nity. She is the Co-Founder and Chair of Moving Traditions, an orga­ni­za­tion that makes Judaism a force for good in people’s lives using a gender lens to explore Jewish learn­ing, ritual and iden­tity among teens. Sally also currently serves on the Board of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City and has previ­ously been on the Boards of the Jewish Funders Network, American Jewish World Service, and The Jewish Women’s Archive. Sally’s arti­cles on phil­an­thropy, Judaism, femi­nism, and class have been published in a vari­ety of books and news­pa­pers. For nearly two decades Sally consulted to not-for-profit orga­ni­za­tions, work­ing both at KPMG Peat Marwick and then with her own firm. She served as the first NY/Tri-State Regional Director of the New Israel Fund, and was the first employee of the Israel Women’s Network in Jerusalem. Sally is also commit­ted to research in Neurofibromatosis (NF-1) and is involved with N-TAP, the Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program at Johns Hopkins, as well as the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Sally lives on the Upper West Side with her three young chil­dren.

        • Steven Jacobson

          Steven M. Jacobson

          Raised in a Chicago suburb, Steven M. Jacobson holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Brandeis University and was a Fellow of the Melton Center for Diaspora Jewish Education at Hebrew University where he had the priv­i­lege of being in the last class of renowned Torah educa­tor Nechama Leibowitz, just prior to her death.

          Steve has been Director of the University of Kansas Hillel Foundation, Project Director for a curric­u­lar initia­tive of the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University and has been at the Dorot Foundation since 1999, where he is Vice President for Strategy and Director of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. Additionally, Steve has been a consul­tant to a vari­ety of Jewish orga­ni­za­tions and nascent-stage Jewish initia­tives and frequently teaches about the American Jewish insti­tu­tional infra­struc­ture.

          Steve lives in Providence with his wife and two daugh­ters.

        • David Karnovsky

          David Karnovsky, Treasurer

          David Karnovsky is a member of the Real Estate Department of Fried Frank Harris Jacobson & Shriver in New York, with a prac­tice that focuses on land use, zoning and real estate devel­op­ment. Prior to join­ing Fried Frank, David Karnovsky served in several capac­i­ties in New York City govern­ment, includ­ing as general coun­sel to the New York City Department of City Planning from 1999 to 2014. At City Planning, he was closely involved in many of the major land use and devel­op­ment initia­tives of the Bloomberg Administration, includ­ing the Hudson Yards rede­vel­op­ment plan and the High Line.

          David is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Free Loan Society and served as President from 2011–2014. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan. In the fall of 2011, while a fellow of the American Academy in Jerusalem, David partic­i­pated in an Encounter trip to Bethlehem, which he consid­ers a forma­tive expe­ri­ence in his under­stand­ing of the conflict.

        • Marion Lev-Cohen

          Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen

          As Rabbi for Communal Engagement at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Lev-Cohen teaches classes in Jewish learn­ing for adults, leads pastoral groups, as well as affin­ity groups. Her work aims at build­ing and deep­en­ing networks of friend­ships and commu­nity within the congre­ga­tion. This past year, together with Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Rabbi Lev-Cohen started a pilot group at Central Synagogue called “Wise Aging.”

          Over the past decade, Rabbi Lev-Cohen served on numer­ous boards and chaired commit­tees, includ­ing UJA/Federation, the Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and American Jewish World Service. She currently serves on the boards of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, and the Israel Policy Forum.

          A psychother­a­pist by profes­sion, Rabbi Lev-Cohen ran the grad­u­ate train­ing program for social work students at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and was an instruc­tor at the B.U. School of Social Work. She is a grad­u­ate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation program. A mother of two, she resides with her husband Steven M. Cohen in New York and Jerusalem.

        • Jonathan Levisohn

          Jon A. Levisohn

          Jon A. Levisohn holds the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis University, where he directs the Jack, Joseph and Mortan Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. A philoso­pher of educa­tion, he is the editor or author of the recent or forth­com­ing books, Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts, The Interpretive Virtues: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Teaching and Learning of Historical Narratives, Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education, and Beyond Jewish Identity. He holds degrees from Harvard College and Stanford University, and has also stud­ied at Yeshivat Sha’alvim, the Hebrew University, and the Shalom Hartman Institute. He is an alum­nus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and is currently co-chair of the Wexner Fellowship Community Coordinating Committee. He also served for several years as a trustee of JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School. He lives with his wife and three teenage chil­dren in Newton, MA, where they are members of Congregation Shaarei Tefilah and Minyan Yedid Nefesh.

        • Jonathan Lopatin

          Jonathan Lopatin

          Jonathan Lopatin is a former Partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and is the founder of not-so-simple-produc­tions. He is the producer of Eyes Wide Open (2008), a docu­men­tary about the expe­ri­ences of American Jewish visi­tors to Israel, as well as of Fringes: New Adventures in Jewish Living, which premiered at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival in 2012. He retired from Goldman Sachs in November of 2000, after sixteen years with the Firm, where he was one of the managers of the foreign exchange sales and trad­ing busi­ness. He holds a Masters Degree in International Economics from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University, as well as an MA in Talmud, which he earned from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2009. He is imme­di­ate past-pres­i­dent of the Board of Directors of Mechon Hadar and former President of the Nesiya Institute. Jonathan is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was formerly Secretary of the Board of Directors of the New Israel Fund, where he contin­ues to be active with the Fund’s work promot­ing Jewish plural­ism in Israel. He is married and is the father of two.

        • Daniel Septimus

          Daniel Septimus

          Daniel Septimus is Executive Director of The Sefaria Project, an orga­ni­za­tion launched in 2013 to create digi­tal infra­struc­ture for the future of Jewish text study, commen­tary, and conver­sa­tion. Previously, he served as CEO of MyJewishLearning, Inc., publisher of MyJewishLearning​.com, Kveller​.com, and Jewniverse. Daniel was a co-founder of Altshul, an inde­pen­dent minyan in Brooklyn, and is on the Board of Directors of The Luria Academy of Brooklyn. Daniel has stud­ied at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Manchester, and Yeshivat Har Etzion.

        • Julie Shaffer

          Julie Shaffer

          Julie Shaffer is the Executive Director of the Oreg Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. She has been involved in Colorado’s non-profit world as a profes­sional and lay leader for 20 years. Julie is the Chair of the Board of Joshua Venture Group and a member of the Board of Directors at Judaism Your Way. She also serves on the Building and Capital Campaign Committees of the Boulder JCC and the Advisory Committee of Post Holocaust American Judaism at the University of Colorado, and is active as a part­ner in Social Venture Partners of Boulder County. Julie was a found­ing board member of the Boulder Jewish Community Foundation and was honored by them for her dedi­ca­tion and extra­or­di­nary work in the Boulder Jewish Community. Julie and her husband, Bruce, raised their three kids in Boulder and now spend time in both their Boulder and Jerusalem homes.


Our Mission

Encounter is an edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be construc­tive agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moti­vated by the relent­less Jew­ish pur­suit of hokhma (wis­dom) and binah (under­stand­ing), Encounter cul­ti­vates informed Jew­ish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict by bring­ing...

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