Meet the Yahel Team
Born in England and raised in the Netherlands and Israel, Dana has over 15 years of experience working in the fields of experiential education and service learning. She started her career as a tour-guide in Israel in Hebrew, English and Dutch. After working for several years as a tour guide throughout Israel, Dana moved to the United States and continued her involvement in Jewish education. She was an educator at the Teva Learning Alliance and a teacher at the Florence Melton School. In 2002, Dana led her first service learning trip to Honduras and the Ukraine with American Jewish World Service (AJWS). For the next few years, she continued leading service learning programs for Jewish college students. In 2005, she joined the AJWS staff and was responsible for hiring, training and managing group leaders for service-learning trips to Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2007 Dana returned to Israel with her family and soon after, founded Yahel – Israel Service Learning. Dana holds a B.A. in Israel studies from Bar-Ilan University and an M.S.W. with a focus on community organizing and group work from the University of North Carolina. Dana loves living in Zichron Ya’akov with her husband and three children. She currently serves on the board of Atzum – Justice Works as well as the Keshet Pluralistic and Democratic School in Zichron Yaakov.
Director of Operations and Projects
Boyanna is originally from Bosnia and Hercegovina and currently lives in Tel Aviv. For the past 10 years, she has been involved in community mobilizing and development. During this period she has initiated and implemented numerous programs addressing issues of identity, peoplehood, belonging, and self-determination. Boyanna has guided grassroots projects that reinforce individual leadership and self-sustainable community-building, underscored by a strong sense of change and civil activism. Boyanna has been involved in the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation/JDC International Jewish Summer Camp in Eastern Hungary as a unit head in educational program development. She served as an Israel Hillel Fellow at Baruch College, in NY from 2009 to 2011 and work for Hillel Israel until 2015. She has been involved in a Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative in Europe, Schusterman Connection Points and professional development programs in the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies initiated by Nadav Foundation. Boyanna holds a BA in Jewish philosophy and Multidisciplinary Arts Program at Tel Aviv University and is currently working on her M.A in the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at Haifa University.
Director of Development
Tamara has been involved in informal education and social-change work for over ten years. After spending several years leading educational programs for youth students and adults from English speaking countries in Israel, Tamara became involved in Jewish-Arab dialogue work, facilitating Israeli-Palestinian encounter groups at YMCA Jerusalem and Givat Haviva. In 2011 Tamara started working as a project manager at Appleseeds Academy, managing technology-based educational programs in disadvantaged communities in Israel. Tamara holds a B.A. in Middle East Studies from Ben Gurion University and an M.A. in Middle East Studies from Hebrew University where she focused her thesis on Religious Zionism. Tamara also holds a group facilitation certificate from Kollot Banegev at Sapir College. Born in New York and raised in Jerusalem, she now lives in the Western Negev with her husband and three children.
Director of Finance
Maya graduated from the Faculty of Economics academic track and Accounting (B.A) at Ruppin College, with honors. Maya provides several Economics and Accounting services to governmental bodies and business companies in Israel. Maya lives in Karkur, is married with four children and loves to dance.
Yahel Social Change Fellowship City Coordinator in Lod
Born and raised in Shoham, a small city about ten minutes from Lod, Dvir served as a commander in the Givati Infantry unit of the Israel Defence Forces. Upon finishing his army service, Dvir volunteered for a year with the Jewish community in schools and community projects in Australia, through Torah MiZion. Dvir has a passion for logistics and community service- a student of logistics and management at Bar Ilan University, he has also previously worked as a coordinator for Birthright through Masa Jewish Journey and Diller Fellows. Currently Dvir is living in Lod as a member of the Ayalim student community and is very happy to be getting involved with the community through the student union and Yahel.
Grace earned her B.A. in Psychology at Barnard College, where she focused her studies on community health outreach and child development. In college, Grace worked in psychiatric research focusing on mood disorders, and served as a client advocate in New York City hospitals to increase patient connection to social services. After graduating, Grace worked in a preschool classroom in Boston, Massachusetts, where she focused on social emotional development and resilency.
Grace first came to Israel as a Yahel Social Change Fellow in Lod during the 2018-19 cohort. She is delighted to be continuing with Yahel as the Recruitment Coordinator, as she sees Yahel's work in Israel as an opportunity for foreign volunteers to engage creatively and empathetically with complex social issues. Grace is especially passionate about sustainable initiatives for promoting and maintaining relationships between communities in tension, and has continued work in Lod with the mixed Arab-Jewish Chicago Community Center. She currently lives in Tel Aviv and is happiest being in the outdoors, reading about psychology and sociology, and trying new delicious vegetarian foods.
Netta was born and raised in Jerusalem and spent the past five years in Beer Sheva, where she graduated from Ben Gurion University with a BA in Social Work (specializing in work with youth and young adults). In addition to her academic training and work in that field, Netta has been involved in informal education and group facilitation for more than ten years. Netta has held several education-based roles in various communities and contexts throughout Israel, Europe and North America. Most recently, over the last two years, Netta was the Head Social Worker at a facility for youth at risk and those with criminal records, where she was directly responsible for designing and implementing the therapeutic systems and treatment plans pertaining to the social and emotional well-being of all youth and staff in the facility. Netta believes deeply in equal opportunities, empowerment of individuals and groups, social justice and honest, open communication. Today, Netta lives in Haifa with her partner and is enjoying the recent sea change and having her new ceramics studio in walking distance.
Yahel Social Change Fellowship City Coordinator in Rishon LeZion
Yohannes Azanaw moved to Israel from Ethiopia with his family when he was six years old and has been working to make Israel a more equal society since. In 2009, Yohannes opened the first dark-skinned talent agency in Israel, which has worked with Ethiopian stars such as musician Ester Rada. Yohannes has recently spent a lot of time traveling in Ethiopia as he is working on writing a book documenting the early roots of music in Ethiopia until 1980. Yohannes is passionate about social change and very excited to work with Yahel fellows in Ramat Eliyahu.
Rabbi Levi D. Lauer
Rabbi Levi D. Lauer is the Founder and Executive Director of ATZUM (Avodot TZdaka U’Mishpat) Justice Works. His professional background includes Hillel Director at the University of Missouri; 18 years as Executive Director of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies; Dean of the Brandeis-Bardin Camp Institute; and Director of Rabbinic Enrichment at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Rabbi Lauer is a pioneer educator and social activist bringing contemporary social concerns to synthesis with traditional Jewish practice and study. His commitment to make social justice a priority of Jewish devotion led him to found ATZUM-Justice Works in 2002 to address glaring social injustice and bring assistance to Israelis disadvantaged by inadequate access to public and private protection.
Under his leadership, ATZUM developed and implemented the following projects: the Roberta Project for Survivors of Terror to provide educational and other practical assistance to terror survivors/victims and their families; the Righteous among the Nations Project to assist the rescuers of Jewish lives during the Shoah who made their home in Israel; Project Abrah, an innovative oral history film project documenting testimonies of Ethiopian “Prisoners of Zion” as recorded by Israeli high schoolers; Beit Midrash TAKUM marrying Jewish learning with activist engagement; the Project for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (ATZRAS) which supports single mother asylum seeker families in Israel; and The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution (TFHT) which recently made substantial progress combating sex slavery in Israel by securing Knesset passage of Nordic Law legislation criminalizing the purchase of sexual services and rehabilitating the prostituted person.
Rabbi Lauer is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and has lived in Israel since 1976 with his wife, Chaya; two daughters, Amira and Anya; and two grandchildren. He served 11 years in a reserve, combat, artillery unit of the IDF.
Director of the Yahel Social Change Fellowship
Tiferet Bassel was born to American immigrants to Israel and raised in Jerusalem. She currently resides in Jaffa with her partner and their giant brown dog, Miso. Tiferet holds a BA in Eastern Asian and Interdisciplinary studies from Tel Aviv University and a MA in Cultural Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prior to working at Yahel she has taught Hebrew extensively, coordinated Israel discovery trips and conducted academic research in Cultural Studies with a particular focus on postcolonialism and conflicting narratives of world history. In addition, she has worked at an antiques auction house, researching and writing about artefacts important to Jewish culture and Israeli history. As a very curious person, she is constantly driven to explore radical ideas and social movements, ask challenging questions and help other pursue their own inquiries. Tiferet is passionate about people and change and is thrilled to be involved in the Yahel Social Change Fellowship.
Maayan Sharet was born and raised in the city of Jaffa and currently resides there. Her Hebrew journey started during her military service, where she served as a teacher for Brazilian immigrants. She later worked at a private ulpan in Tel-Aviv as a teacher didactic supervisor and head of the distant-learning unit. Maayan is currently developing her own Hebrew-learning books, wishing to help people connect to the beautiful Hebrew language as well as to its added spiritual and philosophical values.
Maayan holds a BA in filmmaking and scriptwriting from Tel-Aviv University, and is a graduate student in the program of Spanish and Latin-American studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has great interest in the arts, feminism, diverse methods of education, Buddhist practices and languages, and is deeply invested in exploring innovative and diverse approaches to multidisciplinary research, as well as developing tools and systems that may broaden and deepen fields and communities of knowledge.