Erika Barr Dahan, OTZMA Israel Director
Erika was a participant of OTZMA 17 in 2002-2003 and has worked for OTZMA since the program’s 22nd cohort. Erika has served OTZMA as the first in-house education program coordinator, logistics, program and the Israel Teaching Fellowship coordinator. Following OTZMA, Erika made Aliyah to Israel and currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Gadi and their children, Stavi and Shaked.
Betty Nahum, Office Manager and P2K Coordinator
Betty has been with Otzma for over sixteen years. She is currently the office manager as well as the Part 2 (partnership city) coordinator. She has two beautiful sons Nir and Guy. Betty has an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences from the Israeli Open University.
Yael Shapira, Participant Coordinator
Yael was born and raised in Jerusalem, as a tenth generation Israeli. After serving in the IDF, she moved to the US to get a B.A. in International Relations at Boston University. During this time she worked for the Jewish Agency Israel Program Center, promoting short term programs in Israel around campuses in Northeast USA and led a number of trips to Israel for young Jewish leaders. She also managed to find the time to study abroad and spent one semester in Switzerland and one semester in Niger (West Africa). After graduating in 2009, Yael participated in the LIFE Program which took her to India and then back to Jerusalem to intern with organizations that provide education to marginalized populations. The work inspired her to get a Master's degree in International Education, which she did at the George Washington University, graduating in May 2012. Since she hasn't seen enough of the world, Yael moved to Ethiopia after graduation and acted as the first Project Coordinator of the T.E.N. Program, a new Tikkun Olam initiative of the Jewish Agency.
Besides hopping around the world, Yael enjoys learning languages (and is looking for someone to practice her Hausa and Amharic with!), entering photo contests, and playing the djembe.
Yael got involved with Otzma years ago, as her family was an Otzma host family for 6 years, and she is thrilled to once again be a part of this program!
Sarah Cohen, Program Coordinator
Straight to Jerusalem from the flat back roads of Mississippi, Sarah made aliyah in 2009 after spending a year in Israel as a participant on OTZMA 22. She holds a BA in Sociology and Jewish Studies from Indiana University and is currently working on a Master’s degree in Communications at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Sarah has been a part of the OTZMA professional team for the past three years and is thrilled to be continuing with OTZMA 27. In her free time, you can find Sarah reading books, telling bad jokes, exploring every little nook and cranny of Jerusalem, and (of course) talking about OTZMA.
Eli Ilan, Program Coordinator
Eli was born and raised in Jerusalem. In high school he studied Arabic and Theater, and kept his interest in Arabic and Middle East affairs in his army service, when he served in the IDF Intelligence Force for 3.5 years (he could tell you about it, but he’d have to kill you after…). After six months of traveling in South America (Hablo poco espanol) he returned to Israel and moved to the desert town of Be’er Sheva, where he got his degree in Business Management and Sociology. Eli has just returned to Israel after spending a year working for Hillel at San Diego State University where he worked with Jewish students to bring them closer to Israel and bring Israel to campus. Some of Eli’s likes: ISRAEL, playing guitar, the lion king, avocado, dogs, The Simpsons, hiking etc.. One major dislike: cottage cheese. Eli is thrilled to lead you through the amazing experience that awaits you this year with OTZMA!
Shira Moldoff, Recruiter
From the Garden State to the Holy Land, Shira Moldoff was born and raised in Cherry Hill, NJ. Shira is a proud OTZMA 18 alumna (03-04), and staffed 15 Taglit-birthright Israel trips over the past eight years before taking the plunge and making Aliyah in December 2012. Prior to making Aliyah, Shira lived in Los Angeles, CA for several years. During that time, she was the Assistant Director of USC Hillel for four years where she handled management and overseas volunteer trips. Prior to that, she worked at the Jewish Federation of Long Beach, Hillel of Milwaukee, WI, and the Jewish Federation of South Jersey.
Shira received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Towson University in Towson, MD in 2002 and her MBA in Non-Profit Management from American Jewish University in Bel Air, CA in 2007.
Shira's hobbies include traveling the world, jogging, yoga, snowboarding, camping and hiking - basically anything involving the outdoors. She also loves spending time with friends here in Israel and keeping in touch with friends and family abroad. Shira has a slight obsession with Aroma Café and also admittedly watched way too much reality TV before making Aliyah. If you were to scan her DVR, you would find any show on BRAVO, TLC, and let's not forget MTV's Jersey Shore, and ABC's The Bachelor just to name a few…
Shira is so excited to be a part of the OTZMA team and looks forward to recruiting future OTZMAnikim!
Sandy Schlenoff, North American Director OTZMA
Originally from New Jersey, Sandy Schlenoff was a participant on OTZMA XXI (2006-2007). Sandy holds a B.A. in Human Services and Judaic Studies from the University of Hartford and an M.A. in Community Leadership and Philanthropic Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before joining the OTZMA team, Sandy was involved with a number of Jewish communal service organizations including the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), The Israel Project, AIPAC, and The Avi Chai Foundation.