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Mark Shinar


Dr. Mark Shinar, Head of School


Dr. Mark Shinar earned his BA from Yeshiva University with an English Literature and Theater degree. Mark also completed a Masters degree in Private School Administration from Columbia University Teachers’ College. From 1999-2003, Mark taught General Studies and English Literature in SAR Academy’s elementary and middle schools. He then became Head of School at Oakland Hebrew Day School in Oakland, CA. Mark earned an Ed. D in School Leadership from Mills College in Oakland. His dissertation topic was on the role fiction and narrative can play in educational leadership preparation. Mark returned to NY in 2009 to serve as the Director of General Studies at SAR High School for eight years, where he also taught English Literature, before making Aliyah with his wife and four sons in the summer of 2017. Prior to joining AMHSI, Mark was the founding principal of Zarkor, an independent, bilingual school located in the center of Israel.




Orit Rome, Chief Operating Officer


Orit Rome is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a BA degree in Accounting and Economics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Although she was born in Israel, she spent her teens in Australia. While studying, Orit was active in the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), where she also served as regional president. Since returning to Israel in 1996, Orit has gained deep financial and managerial experience. Prior to joining AMHSI, Orit was an auditor for Price Waterhouse Coopers and a Financial Director in the high-tech and industrial arena.






Rachelle Sevitt, Dean of General Studies


Originally from the UK, Rachelle has been working at AMHSI as a part of the academic staff since 1997 teaching chemistry and math. She received her BSc and MSc in Chemistry from Kings College, University of London. She is now serving as the Dean of General Studies.


Hila Naftalovich, Dean of Education

Hila Naftalovich graduated from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she earned a BA in education and sociology.  Her decision to enter the world of education was a direct result of her military service wherein she served as a commander of the officers’ course and as company commander. Upon completing her education, Hila worked in Jerusalem’s School of Excellence high school as a resident advisor and counselor, as a guidance counselor at Bar-Ilan College in Ashkelon, and later managed the registrar at Emek Yezreel College. In 1998, Hila moved with her family to the United States, where for eleven years she led the Hebrew Department at the SAR High School in Riverdale, New York.  Hila studied second language teaching and acquisition at Hebrew College in Boston. Hila mentored teachers in many schools in New Jersey teaching Hebrew as a second language. In 2016, Hila returned with her husband and five children to Israel and before joining the AMHSI family as the Dean of Education, was the founding Associate Principal of Zarkor, the first private, English immersion school in the country.



Polly Hyams Sherman, Dean of Students


Polly was born and raised in Bristol, England. She has a BSN in nursing and is a registered Nurse and midwife. She is qualified in group leadership and facilitation with an emphasis on working with teenagers, sexual health and communication dilemmas in social settings. 


Polly made Aliyah 25 years ago and has been working in the field of nursing and midwifery continuously, with the addition of group work, youth leadership, counselling and facilitating various support groups relating to emotional and physical health of all ages.


Polly loves working with young people. She considers her role to be multi-faceted. Working very closely with and supervising the director of informal education, training counselors to work with teens and also coordinating health and wellness services which include supervision and close communication with the campus nurse. She sees her office as a safe haven where all students can come and talk and receive emotional support as well as a vibrant energetic place to talk through dilemmas and ideas with counselors regarding their work with the students. 


Polly is married to Marc and lives in Modi’in with their two boys and various animals.





 Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, Executive Director, Recruitment and Partnerships


 Rabbi Greg Litcofsky was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in History, after which he received his M.A. in Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR and served as a congregational rabbi prior to joining AMHSI-JNF. He is an AMHSI alumnus from 1992. He began his career with JNF in 1999 before studying to be a rabbi and is proud to be back with the JNF family since June of 2017 as National Director of Recruitment for AMHSI-JNF. He travels around the country speaking about AMHSI-JNF and Israel. He loves golf and Philadelphia sports teams and lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and three children. 




Alex Lasky, National Director of Admissions 


 Alex Lasky is originally from South Florida. Alex moved to Israel after completing her B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University and decided to make Aliyah. Shortly after completing her M.A. in Middle East Studies from Tel Aviv University, she found herself working for AMHSI as a math teacher and Director of Enrollment before developing into her current position. Alex lived in Israel for about six years before moving back to Miami to continue her work with the AMHSI Admissions team. She is happy to be part of the AMHSI-JNF family and looking forward to working with teens to come to Israel!


She is an avid traveler and food enthusiast exploring new restaurants with her husband in Miami and across the US.






Felice Berk, Executive Assistant


Felice was born and raised in Queens, New York and then made her way to New Jersey with her husband after they were married. She holds an MS in Audiology from Hunter College and worked in the field for several years before leaving to have her four children. For the six years prior to making Aliyah in 2018, Felice worked in Administration for two different Jewish organizations. She loves living in Israel, especially to be closer to her daughter who is serving in the IDF. Felice joined the AMHSI family in March of 2019 as Executive Assistant to Co-CEO Leor Sinai.


Felice lives with her family in Elkana. They enjoy tiyulim in the many beautiful parks around Israel, visits to museums and relaxing on the beach. They couldn’t be happier to call Israel home.




Jacob Leibowitz, Director of Programming & Logistics


Jacob grew up in Jerusalem after his family made Aliyah when he was five years old. Upon completing his IDF service in 2013 he worked as a madrich at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Jacob trained to be a licensed tour guide at Beit Berl College where he also completed his bachelor’s degree in Education with majors in History and Israel Studies. At the moment, he is in the midst of completing his Master’s degree in American Jewish studies as part of the Ruderman program at the University of Haifa.

Jacob began working as an Israel studies teacher at AMHSI in 2017 while also working as a tour guide with a number of other organizations including: Birthright, Tel Aviv University’s school of management, Routes travel agency and more. Currently, Jacob is working as the Director of Programming & Logistics at AMHSI where he is constantly working on innovating the Israel studies program itinerary and making sure it is as relevant and as engaging as possible.





Dafna Eisenberg, Logistics Coordinator


Dafna has been working at AMHSI since 2011 as a logistics coordinator. 


She was born in Israel and grew up in the nearby city of Herzeliya.   During the army, Dafna served in the Air Force and then studied at the Open University. Before joining AMHSI, Dafna worked at Rimon Tours - a tourism company.


 Dafna currently lives in Kfar Saba with her husband and two boys.




Shelly Hanan, Logistics Coordinator


Born in Israel, as a young girl Shelly was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). Shelly has strong ties to AMHSI as she attended Mosenson High School in Hod HaSharon (the sister school which co-shares AMHSI's campus), where she met her husband-to-be. After studying commerce in Tel Aviv, Shelly joined the AMHSI staff in 1994. As Logistics Coordinator, Shelly oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of organizing every aspect of the students' excursions around the country.


 Today, Shelly lives in Hod HaSharon with her husband, Yossi, and three children, Shirel, Gal and Yuval. 



Anna Brafmann, Logistics Coordinator


Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil to a family of Jewish Immigrants from Russia and Poland who fled to South America in the early 1920s, Anna lived in England and Israel as a child but mostly in Brazil where she attended a Jewish school and learned Hebrew as her third language but embarrassingly enough can’t speak a word anymore.


 She received her MA in Business Administration from the University of Sao Paulo. Her passion for traveling, getting to know other cultures and people drove her to work for an American airline for over 12 years where in a managerial position she gained a lot of experience in what she is most passionate about, helping people do great things! She moved to the USA to pursue her second degree in Psychology from the University of Wyoming and has lived in four States in 20 years.


 She joined AMHSI in the NY office in 2019 and is driven by the desire to help young adults become proud Israel supporters while having life changing experiences!





Ayela MeroodyDirector of Community Relations


 Ayela Meroody was born in Israel and grew up in Australia.  Ayela returned to Israel in her teenage years and served in the Israeli Air Force.  Upon completing a BA in Government at the IDC, Herzliya, Ayela worked as the Program Manager for the Argov Fellows Program in Leadership and Diplomacy (she is also an alumna of the program). Ayela has also worked in different administrative positions in the hi-tech and medical device industries. Ayela joined the AMHSI family in 2015 as an Executive Assistant and today manages human resources on campus.  Ayela also studied Human Resource Management at Bar Ilan University. Ayela lives in Hod Hasharon with her husband, Oren and two children, Zoe and Kai. 


Sammy Headshot


Sammy Schaechter, Director of Student Engagement and Communication


Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Sammy grew up very involved with many different organizations and youth groups and later became an active leader in those same groups. After high school, Sammy studied in Israel for a year and a half and then attended Yeshiva University, where he got his BA in Psychology and Judaic Studies. Sammy has always loved the land of Israel and finally made Aliyah to Jerusalem in 2016, where he has been living since. Sammy has spent most of his career in both formal and informal education settings, including Bnei Akiva, Yachad, Sinai Schools, Moshava, Camp Lavi and most recently, at Shalva National Center in Jerusalem. His energetic excitement and passion helps him teach and inspire students in his own unique and creative way. Sammy is so excited to be the Director of Student Engagement and Communication and a member of the AHMSI team!




Liat Raibi Meiraz, Campus Nurse


Liat was born in Petah Tikva to an Israeli born father and a holocaust survivor mother.


Liat was in charge of operations in the air force during her army service, she has a BA in Business Management and Funding and an MBA which included Human Recourses.


Liat worked in a number of administrative positions in the medical field for 20 years and in the last few years decided to reinvent herself and became a nurse working  in Intensive Care for premature infants as well as operating rooms.


Liat lives with her beautiful family in Matan and she is more than happy to join her new AMHSI family and to take care of the young adults on our program from all around the world.


Aviv Jerbi, Madrichim Coordinator

Aviv grew up in an Orthodox community in the North of Israel, majored in Sociology and Psychology in high school, and was active in the Bnei Akiva youth movement.  Aviv attended a pre-army gap year program through the Jewish Agency and was a counselor in the Habonim Dror Summer Camp in Massachusetts. In the IDF, Aviv served as a commander in a preparatory officer’s course and following his discharge, joined AMHSI as a Madrich for three consecutive sessions. Today, Aviv is excited to delve into informal education on a deeper level working with the Dean of Students as the AMHSI Madrich Coordinator. 





Menashe Mor, Head of Maintenance


Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel, as a youngster Menashe was very active in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement (The Federation of Working and Studying Youth). After completing his army service, Menashe worked for many years in building and construction. He joined AMHSI in 1993. As Maintenance Manager, Menashe oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the school. He lives in Hod HaSharon with his wife, and is the proud father of three and grandfather of two. 


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  Amanda Naftaly, Executive Assistant


Amanda is a Queens, New York native and made Aliyah in January 2017. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication and Event Planning from SUNY Oneonta. Amanda came to Israel through a Masa internship program and interned at a conference planning company. Amanda then worked in a nonprofit organization in New Jersey helping to place volunteers with various volunteer opportunities before returning to Israel to make Aliyah. After making Aliyah Amanda studied Hebrew through the Misrad HaKlita and worked at a gan. Amanda is very excited to start a new chapter at AMHSI.




Ilanit Yurman, Bookkeeper


Ilanit Yurman has been working at AMHSI since 2002.  She is originally from Rosh HaAyin.  Ilanit has previously worked as a bookkeeper at other companies.  She presently lives in Rosh HaAyin with her twin boys.



Israel Studies Teachers




Benjy Behrman, Israel Studies Educator 


Benjy grew up in Sunderland in the North East of England and was a dedicated member of Bnei Akiva. After graduating from school he spent two years studying in Yeshiva in Israel, he returned to England and completed a BA in archaeology and MA in Jewish history. During this time he served as National Director of Bnei Akiva UK.


Benjy made Aliyah with his wife in 2005 and since then has been working as an educator on various programs including the Machon L’Madrichei Chutz Laaretz, Rammah Israel and Young Judaea Year Course. He is also an educator at Yad Vashem.


Benjy lives with his wife, Emma, and three children Noa, Adi and Nadav in Modi’in.




Lisa Biton, Israel Studies Educator 


Lisa Biton was born and raised in Northern California.  She holds a BA in Classical Studies and European History from Santa Clara University and a MAT from USC.  Lisa studied abroad at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in 2005 and fell in love with the land of Israel- and her Israeli husband.  She made aliyah in 2009 to the southern city of Kiryat Gat. Lisa has worked for AMHSI since 2010, as both a general studies teacher and an Israel Studies teacher, and at both the Hod Hasharon campus and Eshel Hanasi Campus.  Lisa and her husband have three children, and they love living in the Negev.




Elhanan Brown, Israel Studies Educator


Elhanan Brown made aliya with his family at the age of 6. He grew up in Jerusalem in the fun-loving neighborhood of French Hill. Elhanan spent his summers at Ramah Poconos as a camper and on staff. In 2003, Elhanan came to work for AMHSI as a madrich.  While completing his degree in Informal Education, Israel Studies and the Tour Guiding course at Beit Berl College, he returned to AMHSI and has been teaching here since 2007.




Mordechai Cohen, Israel Studies Educator

Mordechai Cohen loves teaching and loves to see his students excited by their Jewish heritage. Mordechai brings with him a rich background in leadership and Jewish/Israel education, having worked extensively with youth in a number of settings. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations, Mordechai went on to study at different yeshivot in Israel. He served as a coordinator for the Livnot U’Lehibanot program in both Tzfat and Jerusalem. He also studied on the Pardes Educators Program and did post-graduate study at Hebrew University’s Melton Center. He went on to teach at New Jewish Community High School in Los Angeles.


Mordechai then returned to Israel and worked as a pedagogy instructor for the teacher training program at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Mordechai also worked as a tour operator for the Israel Experience Ltd. In 2009, Mordechai returned to North America and served as the Jewish Studies Principal for the Danilack Middle School of Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto, North America’s oldest and largest day school. In 2013, he once again returned to Israel and is now an educator at AMHSI. 





Michael Glassman, Israel Studies Educator


Originally from Atlanta, GA, Michael moved to Israel with his wife, Julie, in 2010. Their daughter, Tiferet, was born in March, 2014, and she is a first generation Jerusalemite.


Michael was a student at AMHSI in the Spring of 1998 and is honored to return to AMHSI to teach. He studied for his BA in Classical Studies and Ancient History at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Between college and moving to Israel, Michael spent 5 years in the Washington, D.C. area working in politics for AIPAC’s Leadership Development Department, and another 2 years in Israel, studying in Yeshivat Darche Noam and living/working on Kibbutz Beerot Yitzchak.


Before becoming a Licensed Tour Guide in Israel in 2015, Michael spent several years guiding in Jerusalem at the City of David, Western Wall Tunnels, and Southern Wall Excavations. Michael has guided numerous groups on their summer Israel trips, including Ramah Seminar.





Aubrey Isaacs, Israel Studies Educator


Born and bred in bonny Scotland, Aubrey made aliya as soon as he finished high school. He studied in yeshivot in Jerusalem and in Gush Etzion, served in the tank corps of the IDF, received a BA in Jewish History and at Bar Ilan University, rabbinical qualifications and an MA in Jewish Thought from Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva.


Aubrey served as Director of Jewish Education in Glasgow, Scotland and then for 11 years as Rabbi and then, Director of the WUJS Institute in Arad. Aubrey joined AMHSI as an educator in 2004 and in 2011 became director of the school’s new Negev Campus at Eshel HaNassi. Aubrey has a special love for the desert and lives in the northern Negev town of Arad.




Doni Kandel, Israel Studies Educator


  Doni Kandel was born and raised in Los Angeles. After high school, he came to Israel for a year and a half of yeshiva and decided to stay for good. He spent many years in informal education, as a participant, and later, West Coast Director, of the Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva. He was also a camper, counselor and Assistant Director of Camp Moshava Wild Rose in Wisconsin. He holds a BA in Political Science and Military Strategy from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya. He has worked as a journalist for both Israeli and American publications, and, after a brief stint in the high-tech scene, found his passion for teaching, as a general studies teacher at AMHSI. He taught History, English Literature, Sociology and Psychology. In 2016 he was added to the Israel Studies staff and is thrilled to share his passion for the people and the land of Israel with his students.


 He currently lives in Mazkeret Batya with his wife and daughter. 




Gavriel Porten, Israel Studies Educator 


Gavriel has been pursuing his passion, educating adults and youth about Judaism and Israel, for over 20 years, both as a guide in the field and senior educator in the classroom.


Born in the US, having made Aliyah with his parents, Gavriel grew up in Jerusalem, while spending his summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. He attended the Har-Etzion Hesder yeshiva for six years, combining Jewish learning with army duty. He earned his BA in Psychology and Jewish History at Hebrew University, and his law degree from Bar Ilan University.


Gavriel’s diverse cultural and religious background brings to the table a rich and deep picture of the beautiful land of Israel. He has guided youth and adults, families and communities, educators and academics of various denominations and faiths, and is always looking forward to encountering new and different worlds from his own.




Reuven Spero, Israel Studies Educator


  Reuven earned his BA in Linguistics, holds graduate degrees in International Law and Education, and has studied at Hebrew Union College and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Before joining the staff at AMHSI, Reuven was the Director of Jewish Education in Columbus, Ohio, and worked at Hebrew University and the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel.




Danny Stein, Israel Studies Educator


Danny Stein grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attended the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) for middle and high school. In 11th grade, he came to AMHSI with his class for 4 months. It was then that Danny’s tenure with AMHSI began. 


After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in History and a BA in Psychology and spending time in different corners of the world, Danny returned to Israel as a counselor (madrich) at AMHSI. It was then that he met his wife, Chana, who was his co-counselor. After a year at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Danny came back to AMHSI in 2008 a third time – as an educator.  Danny and Chana lived on campus where Danny was also the Director of Dormitory Life and Spirituality.  Today, they live in Moshav Mevo Modiim and are proud parents to Adva, Neve Chaim and a new baby girl. 




Michael Sunshine, Israel Studies Educator 


 After graduating with a B.A. in History, Michael quickly came to Israel and spent many years studying at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, where he received rabbinic ordination.


 Over the past eight years, Michael has been the Director of Jewish Student Connection in Denver, CO involved in Jewish education in both formal and informal capacities. He is passionate about helping people develop their own personal connections to Judaism, the Jewish people, and Israel.


During his years in Israel, Michael met Ariella, raised in South Africa and Australia. Where else would a Jewish guy and girl from different continents meet? Michael and Ariella have four children - 3 boys and a girl - who were born in Israel, Texas, and Colorado.


 While they had enjoyed living in Colorado, the Sunshines are thrilled to have returned to Israel in August of 2018 and Michael is excited to continue his passion for Jewish education and connection at AMHSI.




Reuven Arye Weisberg, Israel Studies Educator


Reuven lives in Moshav Aviel with his wife, Shoshana and their 3 children. Before becoming a licensed Israel Guide, Reuven Arye was a yeshiva student, musician, counselor and mentor for young men, a husband and father, combat medic in the Israeli 101st Airborne, a sourdough bread baker and baking teacher, a goatherd in the Judean hill country, fieldworker in the organic farms and vineyards of the coastal plain, and a student in the Land of Israel Studies Dept. at Haifa University. As a guide and teacher he strives to integrate his skills and experiences such as musical performance, drama, storytelling, textual study, meditation and more. His goal is to educate and to facilitate personal connection. “I can’t know what detail or experience will be the one that touches the heart or expands one’s mind, but my hope and prayer is that within the kaleidoscope of studies and experiences during one’s time in the Land of Israel there will be those brilliant moments of understanding, connection, and identity building.” Reuven is continuously challenged and uplifted by life in Israel and welcomes everyone to “walk this land” in order to make it a part of them. 




Tracy Weisberger, Israel Studies Educator 


Tracy made Aliya in 2012 to Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel with her husband and four daughters. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tracy received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Cincinnati in Jewish studies and a Masters in Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary.


Tracy has spent most of her career in a variety of Jewish educational settings including as a Jewish day school teacher, adjunct profession of religious studies and director of education for a Conservative Synagogue. She is a life-long learner and lover of Israel and Jewish culture and believes strongly in encouraging students to explore, question and find real meaning in their Jewish identity and connection with Israel. 




General Studies Teachers 




Hepzibah Alon, General Studies Teacher, English, History

Hepzibah Alon received her Masters degree in English literature from Bar Ilan University and her Bachelors degree in English Literature and Linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been a teacher for 14 years, having taught middle school, high school and college classes. She loves to learn and to teach and finds joy in creating a student centered environment that encourages critical thinking skills. Along with teaching at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, she is also a Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves where she mentors teachers, and provides professional development for Jewish Day Schools in the United States.  She grounds her classroom  in the idea that academic rigor goes hand in hand with ethical reflection and emotional engagement in a safe classroom environment.




Michele Annis, General Studies Teacher, English


Michele Annis is from Manchester in the north of the United Kingdom. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from Leeds university followed by a Teaching certificate. She also holds LAMDA qualifications as a Drama teacher. Before making Aliyah, Michele taught in Lubavitch Girls School in Mancheste. Michele lives in the neighboring city of Raanana with her husband and two daughters. She has an elder son still living in the UK. In her spare time Michele enjoys going to the Theatre and finds plenty of interesting productions to see in Tel Aviv! 


Ruti Barak, General Studies Teacher




Dalia Ben Ari, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew

Dalia Ben Ari holds a BEd and Teacher's License from Beit Berl College in Israel.  She has over thirty years of experience in teaching Hebrew Language. 




Adee Benartzy, General Studies Teacher, English, Psychology & History


Adee Benartzy is a true mix of Israeli and American. Raised in Tel Aviv, Adee moved to the United States at age 8. Since then, she had the incredible opportunity to experience living in all corners of the country - from Miami to New York to Los Angeles to New Orleans to Denver! Adee made aliyah as “Katin Chozer” last year and now lives in Tel Aviv.


Adee joined the AMHSI family in December of 2018. Adee holds an undergraduate dual degree in Literature and Art from the University of Central Florida and a graduate degree in History of Art from Tulane University, as well as two research fellowships at Yale University and University of California, Irvine. She is currently in her last year of a second graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (specialization in Art Therapy) at Lesley University, Boston. At AMHSI, Adee teaches English, Psychology and History.


When she’s not teaching, Adee is conducting degree-related research and working as a therapist in the south of Israel at a resilience center for war-zone related trauma and anxiety victims, as well as group therapy for holocaust survivors. When she’s not doing THAT, she’s living a sweet life filled with beautiful relationships, ocean waves, and good music.





 Matan Bouganim, General Studies Teacher, History


 Matan Bouganim is originally from Agoura Hills, California. He moved to Israel as a lone soldier and after his military service, studied at IDC Hertzliya. He holds a degree in government, diplomacy, and strategy with dual specialization in global affairs-conflict resolution & counterterrorism-homeland security. He now teaches World History at AMHSI.



Noa Cooper-Hlebas, General Studies Teacher, History, English

Noa Cooper holds a BA in the Humanities and an MA in Modern Jewish History from Touro College.




Tasha Elliston, General Studies Teacher, Math 


Tasha Elliston is a mathematics teacher with over 15 years experience in teaching both primary and high school mathematics. Tasha is married with 3 girls and lives in Ra'anana. Tasha enjoys a good netflix binge but can also be found in CrossFit lifting heavy weights




Esther Fellman, General Studies Teacher, Spanish


Esther Fellman holds a BA in Political Science from Hillside College. 

 Esther came to Israel in June 1983 from Guatemala, along with her husband and at the time, three children.  She now has five children and eight grandchildren.  In Guatemala, Esther taught English and Jewish Studies at the local Jewish day school, and English and Social Studies at The American School and at a secretarial school.


Esther believes that teaching at Alexander Muss High School has been a very fulfilling job.  It not only touches the students’ hearts and minds with Judaism and Zionism, but also makes them commit themselves to those ideals as well and they become involved in their communities and in Israel for life. 




Brian Frank, General Studies Teacher, Math


Brian Frank holds a BSc in Math and Physics from the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and a BEd from University of South Africa.


He enjoyed many years as science and mathematics teacher and Deputy Headmaster at Northcliff High School in Johannesburg, South Africa.   He spent some time as manager of South African Expo for Young Scientists, the national science fair.   As headmaster of Yeshiva College in Johannesburg, he participated in a number of courses in Israel, and decided to make aliyah. 




Rina Friedman, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew


Rina Friedman holds a BA in Social Science.


She has previously lived in Atlanta, GA and taught Hebrew at a local Jewish day school.  She also teaches Hebrew at the International Ulpan in Netanya, Israel. 




Shoshana Gertz, General Studies Teacher




Sara Goldstein, General Studies Teacher, Chemistry & Mathematics


Sara Goldstein is a Chicago native who holds a BSc in Computer Science and a BSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois. She joined AMHSI in 2018 and works to give over her passion for chemistry and the maths to her students. Sara made Aliyah in 2016 and resides in Beit Shemesh with her husband and three children. 





Giselle Gross, General Studies Teacher, French, Spanish


Giselle Gross holds a BA in Political Science from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.




Sandra Guner, General Studies Teacher, Math 


Sandra Guner graduated from Secondary School Mathematics Education and Mathematics Teaching Department and received an integrated BS-MS. She has been teaching math for over 10 years.


Sandra's philosophy as an educator is to get the students inspired by math. She wants her students to love math and use math as a powerful implementation to help them critically. She believes that success in education is about building relationships.


Nomi Hakim, General Studies Teacher 




Gary Herman, General Studies Teacher, Mathematics and Chemistry


Born in Australia Gary taught mathematics before moving to Israel in 1979.  In Israel he lived on kibbutz, served in the army and later completed an MSc at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Quantum Chemistry and a PhD in Space Physics at the Tel-Aviv University. Gary later studied at JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs), NASA, California working on the comet Halley rendezvous mission.


 Over the years Gary worked in a number of Hi-Tec companies including LUZ (solar energy) and NDS an early Israeli start-up which provided encryption services for broadband and broadcast content.  Gary also worked in the fields of oceanography writing papers on computational circulation models for lake Kinneret as well as at the Israel Aerospace Industries where he was a senior engineer working on mission control algorithms for both military and commercial satellites.




Ryan Higgins, General Studies Teacher, History 


 Ryan comes from a family of teachers: he loves teaching and helping people grow in their knowledge and identity.  Ryan has a rich and varied background in education and youth leadership.  He finished his MA in History and Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal in 2008 and finished his training in university teaching, during which he worked as a TA in the university and a replacement teacher in Dawson College.   In 2010 he moved to Israel and began working as an English teacher in Branco Weiss High School and also worked in adult learning centers in the evenings.  Ryan started teaching history at AMHSI in 2014 and enjoys making history relevant to today’s generation.




Shula Ilan, General Studies Teacher, English


Shulamit (Shula) Ilan was born in Israel and is a native Hebrew speaker. She has a B.ED degree in ESL teaching from Seminar Hakibbutsim in Tel Aviv.


She worked as an English teacher and later, spent 14 years teaching in the Ulpan.


For the past 10 years, Shula has worked as a tutor teaching "Hebrew in Israel" for foreign Ambassadors and Diplomats along with teaching Hebrew at AMHSI.




Ronit Koblenz, General Studies Teacher, Hebrew


Ronit Koblenz holds a BEd from the American Jewish University and a BEd from the Seminar Kibbutzim. 




Monica Krebs, General Studies Teacher, Spanish Psychology


 Monica Krebs holds a BA in Social Work from Tel Aviv University.  Monica received her MA in Translation from the University of Buenos Aires and her MSc from Bolton University in Critical Psychology.


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Caitlin Levy, General Studies Instructor, History


Caitlin Levy received her B.A. from Clark University and teaches US History at AMHSI. She focused much of her working life on issues of social responsibility and housing. She developed social housing in Toronto, oversaw new housing policy, was a researcher at the UN Center for Human Settlements and has worked with a family owned crafted organic tea business.


She is currently working on her M.A. in US history and is the mother to four children.




Jeanne Lumbroso, General Studies Teacher, French 


Jeanne Lumbroso holds a BA in English Literature from the Sorbonne in Paris.


 Orit Milo, General Studies Teacher




Dr. Debby Mir, General Studies Teacher, Science


Dr. Debby Mir is an environmentalist and life-time learner teaching biology, chemistry and environmental studies at AMHSI, while completing a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.Sc.Ed) at the Technion.  She was a professor in Environmental Studies before moving to Israel, and currently works as an adjunct professor at several Israeli academic institutions, supervises theses and engages in research with academic and government partners. 




Sima Oberlander, General Studies Teacher, Science

Sima taught science for 25 years at Ladue High School in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, where she and her husband raised their four children. Their two oldest children immigrated to Israel, and in 2019 the rest of the family followed. Now they live in Raanana and are working on transitioning from life in the Midwest to life in the Middle East.  Sima holds an A.B. from the University of Chicago and a M.A.T. from Northwestern University, and is thrilled to be teaching at AMHSI.




Ronit Ofir, General Studies Teacher, Lab Director, Chemistry & Biology


Ronit Ofir holds a BSc in Chemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.



Yocheved Rabhan, General Studies Teacher




Esti Rodikli, General Studies Teacher, Mathematics 


Esti Rodikli is from Istanbul, Turkey. She made Aliyah in August 2018 and has been working as a Mathematics teacher for 30 years. She has taught mathematics at different levels, including Algebra, Geometry, Pre-calculus, AP Calculus AB & BC, AP Statistics, IB Standard Level and High Level Mathematics. Before coming to Israel, she worked at a very prestigious high school in Istanbul as a mathematics teacher and as the head of the math department for 18 years. In addition, she has also been working as an IB examiner for almost 10 years.  




Rolly Schnur, General Studies Teacher, French


Rolly Schnur was born in Belgium and has a diploma in Special Education. She made Aliyah in 1983 with her husband and children and currently resides in Tsofit, a moshav by Kfar Saba.


Rolly has been teaching French at AMHSI for more than 20 years and enjoys the one on one teaching style and personal relationships with the students. Prior to AMHSI, she worked at the American International School.





Pia Schalimtzek, General Studies Teacher, Latin


Pia Schalimtzek holds a BA in English and a BA in Latin from Teacher Training College at the Jonstrup Seminar in Denmark.


 Pia teaches at the international American School in Even Yehuda.  She also teaches Danish at a school for Nordic languages in Tel Aviv.


Pia made aliyah from Denmark and is the happy grandmother of seven grandchildren! 




Jacob Scharf, General Studies Teacher, Math


Jacob Scharf holds a MA, and PhD in Electrical Engineering.   He has served as a Special Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Teaching Fellow at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey where he taught courses in math, science, and engineering.


In Israel, Jacob has taught math and science at the high school level and in the Israeli army.  Jacob has also worked as a professional and development engineer at hi tech companies. 


He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren. 




Dr. Michael Shterenshis, General Studies Teacher,  Chemistry & Biology


Dr. Michael Shterenshis holds an MD from Tashkent State Biomedical University.  He specialized in the History of the Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and in the History of the Sciences at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 


Michael has lectured at the Midreshet Yerushalaim University and worked at the Uzbekistan Embassy. He has taught all levels of biology, anatomy and physiology, forensics, environmental sciences, and chemistry up to AP.  Michael also teaches various historical subjects. 


In 2003, Michael occupied the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Isradon Publ., Ltd. He is the author of 22 books. 


In 2003, Michael occupied the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Isradon Publ., Ltd. He is the author of 22 books.




Philip Shilco, General Studies Teacher, Science


Phillip Shilco was born in Manchester, UK and was a member for four years and a madrich for Habonim. He has his B.Sc in Biochemistry from Kings College in London, his M.Sc in Food Science from University of Reading and his B.D.S in Dentistry from University of Sheffield.


While studying for his first degree, he served as the Chairman of U.C.S.J.- The Universities Comittee for Soviet Jewry. Phillip made Aliyah in 1976 and again in 1985. He served in the IDF (the Air Force) as a dentist. Following his service, Phillip worked as a general dentist, and English teacher and as a science teacher. As a science teacher, he has worked at AMHSI teaching Psychology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology.


Phillip is a proud father of four children and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys Israeli folk dancing.





Monica Singer, General Studies Teacher, Math and German

Monica Singer holds a MA in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest in Romania. 

Monica has taught Mathematics ta the German School in Bucharest.  She was also an assistant teacher for special mathematics at the Polytechnical Institute of Bucharest and a teacher at Israeli high schools, largely in the Herzliya area.  


Monica has collaborated in the compilation of several excercise books in elementary Geometry, Algebra and Trigonometry. 


Monica is a native Romanian speaker and speaks English, German, French and Hebrew fluently.  She is married with three children. 




Sydney Taksar-Silverman, General Studies Teacher


Sydney Taksar-Silverman (B.A. Legal Studies, B.A. Psychology, M.A. Elementary & Secondary Science Teaching) is a graduate of the University of California. A specialist in cross-cultural instruction, she has found her niche in study abroad education over the last decade. Students in her classroom can expect to encounter project-based learning, interdisciplinary lessons, and groan-worthy puns. Outside of the classroom Sydney enjoys dabbling in herbalism and fighting the patriarchy.



  Talia Wessish, General Studies Teacher



Dr Yeshayahu Ya’akovi, General Studies Teacher, Science  


Dr. Yeshayahu Ya’akovi holds an MSc and PhD in Radiation Chemistry and Radiation Biology from the University of Manchester in the UK, as well as a BA in Pharmacy.   


Yeshayahu serves as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry in drug development and also lectures both in Israel and abroad in pharmaceutical industry forums.  He has published more than seventy scientific publications and serves on a number of government committees.


Yeshayahu made aliyah in 1974 with his wife and they now have four children and live in Jerusalem.  He is a captain (retired) inthe Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. 




Pam Zaidel, General Studies Teacher, Math


Pam Zaidel is currently teaching Precalculus at HSI. 


She was born in South Africa and made aliyah 21 years ago. While in South Africa, Pam taught and served as head of the department of mathematics at Yeshiva College Johannesburg.  After arriving in Israel, Pam taught all levels of High school mathematics at the American International School based in Evan Yehuda for a period of 14 years. 


Her hobbies include reading, gardening, walking in moshav Bet Gamliel where she lives, and also enjoying time with her children and grandchildren (all of whom live in Israel).





 Denise Zaidman, General Studies Teacher, Spanish


Denise Zaidman is from Venezuela and has a university degree in modern languages and a postgraduate degree in education. She has worked as a teacher for more that 15 years. In Venezuela, Denise worked as an  IB Spanish teacher at Escuela Campo Alegre (an American international school) for 9 years and in Colombia worked at Colegio Nueva Granada (also an American school) for 7 years teaching AP and regular Spanish classes. Denise made Alyiah during the summer of 2018 and since then, has worked at AMHSI.




Lauren Ziv, General Studies Teacher, History and Latin 


Lauren Ziv holds a BA in History with Social Studies Certification and has completed graduate work in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.