Meet the Yahel Team
Shelly Mitchell lives in Manhattan with her husband, Neil, and their 3 children. Erica, their oldest child, participated in the Yahel Program in Gedera in 2013.
Shelly serves on the Board of Central Synagogue, a large Reform Congregation in NYC. She heads a Social Justice Initiative that the Synagogue does with the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side. Central Synagogue sends volunteers to a Head Start Program twice a month to work with children in an underserved school. She also serves on the Board and Grants Committee of The Jewish Women's Foundation of New York, which awards grants to programs that help Jewish women and girls in Israel and the New York Metropolitan Area.
Shelly and Neil sponsor 1st and 2nd Graders through the I Have A Dream Foundation in East Harlem, New York. The aim is to motivate children from low - income neighborhoods to reach their education and career goals by providing mentoring, tutoring, and tuition assistance for higher education.
In her spare time, Shelly enjoys reading, going to the theater, and collecting contemporary art.
Lee I. Sherman became President/CEO of the National Human Services Assembly (“National Assembly”) in June, 2016. The National Assembly is a Washington, D.C. based association of over 75 of the largest national nonprofit human services organizations. Members and their affiliates and local service networks collectively touch nearly every household in America – as consumers, donors, volunteers, and staff. The mission of the National Assembly is to ensure that all people in the United States have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Previously, Lee was President/CEO of the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies (AJFCA) from March, 2009, through June, 2016, a network of over 125 human service providers in the U.S. and Canada. Lee came to AJFCA from Associated Catholic Charities in Baltimore, Maryland, the largest human services agency in the state, where he served as Director of Strategic Development in the Community Services Division.
Prior to working at Associated Catholic Charities, Lee was the President and COO of American Sports Classics, Inc., an archival-quality sports memorabilia and collectibles company with retail locations in Baltimore and Denver, Colorado, that he co-founded in 1991. Lee is an attorney and a Past Chair of the AJFCA Board of Directors. He has served in various leadership roles in the community over the years, including President of the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Central Maryland (2002-2004), founding Board Member of Jewish Community Services in Baltimore, Maryland (2007 – 2009), Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore, Maryland (2005 – 2011), Member of the National Assembly Board of Directors (2014-2016), and Member of the Board of Directors of THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore (2002 – 2004; 2007 – present). Lee is also currently Board Chair of the international NGO, Yahel, a service learning program in Israel, and a Board Member of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
Lee has given presentations at national conferences and workshops on capacity building in health and human services agencies, social justice, and moving organizations toward an “outcomes-oriented” model. Lee provides consultation on a number of topics, including strategic planning, community partnerships and collaborations, and executive search. Lee has a B.A. and M.A. from The University of Virginia and a J.D. from The College of William & Mary School of Law.
Susan Abravanel is the President of Susan Abravanel Consulting, LLC, a Washington, DC-based company she formed in January, 2014. As an educational consultant, she works with school districts providing professional development and coaching in service-learning and project-based learning. Born and raised in Canada, she holds a BA and MA in History and Literature from York University (Toronto), and an Ed.M. in Education and Social Policy Analysis from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Abravanel and her husband lived for more than 30 years in Portland, Oregon, where she worked as Education Director within several nonprofit community-based organizations and developed a nationally-recognized service-learning program. She was recruited to DC in 2009 as Vice-President of Education at Youth Service America.
A long-time participant within the Jewish community, Abravanel has served on a number of professional and community boards and advisory councils. She served as the professional director of the American Jewish Committee in Portland, later becoming a lay leader and president of AJC’s Portland Chapter. She was also the Portland Federation’s JCRC Chair. Nationally, Abravanel has been a Vice-Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and a member of the AJC Board of Governors for ten years, leading its Engaging America and Advocacy Task Forces. She is currently a member of AJC’s Washington Regional Office Board of Directors.
Neil S. Mitchell
Neil Mitchell has 30 years of experience providing financial advice to families and individuals with significant wealth. Neil and his team provide access to a full complement of Family Office services, including Cash Management, Lending, Investments, Trust and Estate Planning, Philanthropy Management and more. In recognition of his extensive experience working with athletes, entertainers and top professionals in the sports and entertainment industry, Neil was designated as a Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment Director. He is also an Alternative Investments Director, acknowledging his expertise in hedge fund and private equity investing.
In 2016, Neil was named to Barron’s list of Top 1,200 Financial Advisors, and to The Financial Times’ Top 400 Financial Advisors list. Every year since 2014, he has also been named to Morgan Stanley’s prestigious Chairman’s Club, an elite group composed of the firm’s top Financial Advisors.
Neil graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. from the School of Business and Economics. He is a member of the NYU Stern Family Office Council and supports a variety of other philanthropic organizations in the areas of poverty, homelessness and education.
Neil and his wife are sponsors of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which provides after-school mentoring, tutoring and financial assistance for higher education to roughly 100 students of P.S. 7 in East Harlem, New York. He is also the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Project Renewal, a leading homeless organization in New York City, and serves on the Board of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. Neil and his wife Shelly live in New York City and Pound Ridge, NY. They have three adult children and a very demanding English Bulldog. When Neil is not at work, you can find him rooting for the New York Jets and Rangers, taking a spin class or going to the theater with Shelly.
A proven international development specialist, Joanne Moore has more than 20 years of business development and USAID-funded project management experience in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti. As managing director of JoMoConsult LLC, she provides strategic business development support to international development companies and NGOs including developing approaches and strategies for new programs. She also partnered with creator of the Pratt Pouch to expand access to prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV medications. As Chemonics International’s Senior Vice President, Africa and Haiti Region Ms. Moore led and managed a team of 85 people in Washington and more than 300 people overseas with a budget of $150 million. She was responsible for providing vision, leadership, staffing, and management to the region, including home-office and overseas operations, developing and managing annual business strategy and budget for quality results and growth, creating a work environment that motivated staff and promoted teamwork, and contributing to the successful operation, management, and industry reputation of the company as a whole.
Ms. Moore is on the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Associates of Ben Gurion University (AABGU). She is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship, AABGU Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program, the Jewish Leadership Institute (Washington, D.C.), and The Florence Melton Adult Mini School. She is a former chair of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Young Leadership Program and is a former board member of the American Jewish World Service, the JFNA, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
Amy is originally from Boston and is currently based in Washington, DC where she works for OLAM, an organization that brings together Jewish and Israeli nonprofits focused on Global Jewish Service, Humanitarian Aid and International Development. She has worked in experiential and informal Jewish Education for 13 years, focused on service learning and social justice programming. Amy has worked extensively with global Jewish and service learning organizations during her 9 year tenure at Maryland Hillel.
She earned her BA in Political Science from The George Washington University, a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Communal Service from The Baltimore Hebrew Institute and spent two years studying at The Pardes Institute of Studies in Jerusalem.
Board Member |
Becca Garfinkel was raised in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
for both undergrad and law school (go blue!). In law school, she was a leader in the Jewish
graduate student community and was a student attorney for the International Refugee
Assistance Project. After completing her law degree, she moved to Jerusalem and now works
for the Legal Aid Center for Olim, which assists vulnerable immigrants in obtaining status in
Israel. Becca is a current applicant to the New York Bar and plans to pursue licensure as an
attorney in Israel.
Becca was a Yahel Social Change Fellow in 2015-2016, where she was proud to be a member
of the first Lod cohort. She taught English at Gnei Aviv Primary School and spent her afternoons alternating between an English book club for high schoolers at the library, a community garden in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood, and an after school program in Gnei Aviv. During her time in Israel, Becca also trained the Israeli Women’s National and Girls’ Junior National softball teams.
Moshiko (Moshe) Emmer has over 15 years of experience in the High-Tech industry, working at Intel Corporation in various managerial and technical roles around Hardware Engineering. He currently serves as a manager of a large design engineering group at Intel’s Client CPU development organization, which introduces the company’s leading processors that are fueling computing technology worldwide. Moshiko has vast experience with handling both managerial and technological challenges, by leading the development of multiple products in parallel (with different schedule and specs), in multiple teams and different locations around the world. He also highly contributes to some global initiatives, such as technical leads development and improving Intel’s hiring process in Israel.
Moshiko hold BSc. and MSc. in Electrical Engineering, both from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.
Moshiko was born in Israel and raised in Metulla, a small village near the Lebanese border. He currently lives in Paradesiya with his wife and 3 children. He is a member of the parents’ leadership board in Pardesiya elementary school “Tapuz”, where he also serves as the chairman of the technology committee. In his past, Moshiko had been involved in non-formal education activities for many years, including leading youth camps in a youth movement in Metulla.
Samantha L. Sisisky
Board Member |
Samantha is the Director of Development for Capital Camps & Retreat Center, a Jewish summer camp and retreat center in the Greater Washington community. Before Capital Camps, Samantha worked at BBYO overseeing financial advancement across seven states for over 3,200 teen members. Samantha grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University. Samantha served as a fellow for Yahel in 2013-2014 in Gedera working in a local non-profit office, at a local elementary school, and tutoring students in their homes.
Samantha has served as a lay leader with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, including Executive Vice President of the Next Gen division. Samantha has a passion for Jewish community and supporting youth and adolescents in their Jewish identity-building. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and daughter.
Lior Benisty is a resident of the city of Lod, Israel where he lives with his wife and two young daughters. Lior received his bachelor's degree in history and education at Oranim College near Haifa. He later completed his master's degree in general history at Tel Aviv University.
Lior has been a partner in the establishment of several social organizations in Lod in the fields of education and the environment. Most recently, he founded and managed the youth center of Lod and was also the chairman of the network of youth centers in Israel. The Young Adults Center is a thriving cultural and community center that provides young adults with tools to support their development and future success. It offers employment counseling, vocational training, career planning, and guidance in choosing a career or employment path.
Lior recently stepped away from his work at the youth center to direct his focus on a new initiative. Together with a few partners, he initiated a program to incentivize Jews and Arabs in Lod to open new businesses together. Their goal is to create an alternative narrative that places connection through common business interests over separation through dead-end politics.