Nic AberyCity Consultant
Carolyn BogushCity Consultant
Dr. Alex BaileyCity Consultant
Ethel BarylkaCity Consultant
Michael CohenCity Consultant
Esther ColmanCity Consultant
Melissa Eidelheit-CukiermanChief Operating Officer and City Consultant
Dassy HalpernChief Community Engagement Officer
Ilana MannEducational Consultant
Nechama RaykoOperations Manager
Rafael SaitChief Financial Officer
Emily ShapiroCity Consultant
Mollie SharfmanCommunications Officer
Dr. Alex SinclairChief Academic Officer and City Consultant
Claire StrausCity Consultant
Joshua SpinnerVice Chair
Nic Abery is a City Consultant.
Having graduated with B’Ed hons Cantab and a diploma in Museum Studies from the Leicester University, Nic has spent the past 20 years working in Jewish and Arts Education with schools and communities in England, USA, Europe and Israel. Her particular specialist approach to integrated education has been used internationally, and she curated the Israel70 Building Artistic Connections.
Nic lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Carolyn Bogush is a City Consultant.
Carolyn graduated with a Psychology degree and then completed a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology at Manchester University. She is a Chartered Organizational Psychologist, with 25 years of experience.
Carolyn has experience working with leaders and individuals both one-on-one and facilitating groups to support their development and growth. Her expertise lies in the field of management and leadership development, change management and personal development. Beyond her professional work, Carolyn is actively involved in communal activities, where she is currently Co-Chair of trustees for Limmud and Vice-Chair of the Union of Jewish Students. She continues to mentor and advise volunteers across the community, and was President of her synagogue and a trustee for World Jewish Relief.
Carolyn lives in London with her husband and three children.
Dr. Alex Bailey
Alex Bailey is a City Consultant.
Alex is a licensed clinical and school psychologist, with a doctorate from Yeshiva University Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology in New York.
He has spent 20 years working in Jewish day schools across the denominational spectrum, in addition to providing private psychotherapy to teenagers, young adults, couples, and families. Most recently, Alex was Assistant Principal at the Fuchs Mizrachi Stark High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked with teachers, administrators, students, parents and lay leaders to effect cultural change through school programming, teacher training, student interaction, and parent education. Alex specializes in the areas of communication and systems psychology, and he uses his expertise in those areas to inform how he approaches his work with schools, families, communities and individual patients.
A recent emigre to Israel along with his family, Alex currently provides coaching to administrators and teachers and maintains a private practice in Jerusalem.
Ethel Barylka is a City Consultant.
Ethel received a B.A. in Hebrew Literature and General Philosophy and an M.A. in Contemporary Judaism from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ethel is also a graduate of the Toanot Rabaniyot (Rabbinical Court Advocate), a project of Ohr Torah Stone.
Ethel has extensive experience in both formal and informal education and advising directors and community leaders. In addition, Ethel has been involved in training teachers, developing curricula and community educational programs. Ethel spent four years as the Director of Jewish Studies in the Ibn Gabirol School in Madrid, Spain, and has worked in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.
She has published many articles on Jewish Education and on Gender and Judaism. Her last book Judaísmo en Femenino” (Judaism in Feminine) was published in 2018 in Spain.
Ethel lives in Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, with her husband and son.
Michael Cohen is a City Consultant.
Michael graduated from Moreshet Yaakov Religious College of Education in Israel and received his M.A. in Education at the University of Hertfordshire.
Michael has extensive experience in teacher training, curriculum development and community engagement. He has held educational leadership posts in Jewish schools in the London area for over 17 years and spent three years in Hong Kong as Director of Judaic Studies at Carmel School Association. In Israel, he coordinated and taught Jewish culture to immigrant teachers from the former USSR.
Michael coaches leaders in education through the change management process. He lives near London, UK with his wife and two daughters.
Esther Colman is a City Consultant.
Esther holds an M.A in Jewish Education, is a qualified Pikuach inspector and a Lookstein fellow, having completed the Bar Ilan Lookstein Leadership Programme.
Esther has been involved in Jewish Education for the last 40 years, since arriving in England from her home town Antwerp in Belgium, both as a teacher of Jewish Studies in a wide range of schools – from the Early Years to Secondary school – and as a Head of Jewish Studies and Deputy Head for 14 years.
Since entering consultancy in 2006, Esther has worked closely with senior leaders and Heads of Jewish Studies to achieve excellence in their schools focusing on professional development for all staff, curriculum development and monitoring as well as teacher training. Esther lectures on the B.A., M.A. and Teacher Training Program at the London School of Jewish Studies and is the Primary Jewish Studies Advisor for PaJes, where she supports teachers in delivering outstanding Jewish Studies lessons.
Esther lives in London with her husband but travels among Manchester, the United States and Israel to spend time with her five children and her many grandchildren.
Melissa Eidelheit-Cukierman is the Chief Operating Officer and City Consultant.
Melissa received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Cornell University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was Executive Editor of the New York University Law Review.
Melissa has over 10 years of experience as a corporate attorney in New York and Tokyo. Her practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances in various industries including telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, media and computers. She also spent eight years as a Docent at Humboldt University of Berlin in the Faculty of Law.
Melissa lives in Berlin, Germany.
Dassy Halpern is the Chief Community Engagement Officer.
Dassy holds a degree in Psychology and Counseling and is a qualified teacher. She is the Director of Eishet Chayil, a leading professional development and support network to empower Rebbetzins and women in leadership positions in Central and Western Europe.
Since 2010, Dassy has lived in Berlin, Germany with her husband and children.
Ilana Mann is an Educational Consultant.
Ilana graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Psychology and earned a dual M.S. in General Education and Special Education from Hunter College. She received certifications in numerous sub-specialty areas including second language instruction and numerous special education instructional techniques. She is now completing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Yeshiva University.
Ilana has worked extensively in education in grades 1-12 as a teacher, a learning specialist, a mentor and a school leader both in the United States and in Israel. Before making Aliyah, she also served as an adjunct professor for students earning their B.A./M.A. in Special Education. Along with Ilana’s roles in formal education, she has been creating and running informal educational programming for over two decades.
Isaac Mashiah is the Comptroller.
Isaac received his higher education from Brooklyn College. He completed his academics with an undergraduate accounting degree, graduating with honors at the top of his class.
He brings a collection of entrepreneurial and financial organization skills to his position with EFI. His professional experience includes owning and operating a toy importing business for several years, and ensuring data accuracy for high-transaction non-profit organizations.
Isaac lives in the hills of Beit Shemesh, Israel with his wife and children.
Nechama Rayko is the Operations Manager.
Nechama studied Hotel Administration and Tourist Management at Moscow University.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Nechama has also lived in Israel and Germany. She worked as a counselor and event manager for multiple Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Agency, Am Echad/Lauder Yeshurun, and ZWST.
For the last seven years, she has served as a board member of Kahal Adass Jisroel, a young modern Orthodox community in Berlin, Germany, where she lives with her three children.
Rafael Sait is the Chief Financial Officer.
Rafael has been involved in the world of Jewish philanthropy for 15 years. As the Israel Trips Director for Olami, he oversaw grants to thousands of college students looking to learn more about their heritage and partnerships with the Governments of Israel and beyond.
After being raised and educated in New York, Rafael, his wife Pearly, and their five children have lived in Israel since 2001.
Emily Shapiro is a City Consultant.
Emily has over 20 years of experience as a Jewish educator in Israel and the United States. She holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Visual Arts from Yeshiva University and an M.A. in Bible Studies from Touro College.
She was a Bruriah Fellow at Midreshet Lindenbaum and a Melton Senior Educator at Hebrew University and has worked at Ben Gurion University and the Pardes Institute. Emily is also the author of the teacher’s guide to the popular G-dcast video series.
Emily lives in Beer Sheva with her husband and four children, where she runs a Judaic Arts enrichment program for local elementary schools.
Mollie Sharfman is the Communications Officer.
Mollie studied English Literature and Jewish Studies at Stern College, Yeshiva University, and received a Master’s degree in Experiential Jewish Education from the Davidson School of Jewish Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Mollie has worked on Jewish educational programming initiatives worldwide. Most recently at GatherDC in Washington, D.C., she fostered local Jewish communal life for young adults. Prior to this, Mollie was a Program Coordinator at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and spent summers on the leadership team of The Am Echad-Lauder Yeshurun summer camps, empowering Jewish youth from all across Germany. Mollie serves as the founding Director of Programming for the Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Coalition and was the American Joint Distribution Committee’s 2015 Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship finalist in Global Jewish Leadership.
Mollie is based in Berlin, Germany.
Dr. Alex Sinclair
Dr. Alex Sinclair is the Chief Academic Officer and City Consultant.
Alex grew up in London, England, and received an M.A., (Oxon) in Hebrew Studies from Balliol College, University of Oxford and a Ph.D. in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Alex was a member of faculty at the Davidson School of Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary between 2002 and 2019, and remains a Consultant for JTS’s Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute, in which role he has coached instructional leaders in Jewish Day Schools throughout North America. He has taught or run programs for the Hartman Institute, the Schechter Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hebrew Union College, and the Jewish Agency. He has published many academic articles on Jewish education and his book, “Loving the Real Israel: An Educational Agenda for Liberal Zionism”, was published in 2013.
Alex lives in Modiin, Israel with his wife and three children.
Claire Straus is a City Consultant.
Claire studied Politics and Economics at Warwick University, gained her Diploma in Psychology with the Open University and then received her MSc in Career Management and Coaching from Birkbeck, University of London.
Claire works with groups and individuals to identify and articulate their objectives and supports them in mapping out how to best achieve them. She is also a qualified Career Coach. Outside of work, Claire is a secondary school Governor at the Archer Academy, chairs her synagogue’s Tzedakah Committee and trains and mentors young leaders.
Claire lives in London with her husband and four children.
Josh Spinner is Vice Chair of EFI and Executive Vice President and CEO of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation.
Born in the United States, Josh has also lived in Canada, Israel, Belarus, and Germany. He founded Lauder Yeshurun, a leading provider of Jewish education and outreach in Germany today, and led the reestablishment of the legendary pre-war “Hildesheimers” Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin.
Today, Josh is active in the fields of collaborative philanthropy, strategic thinking for Jewish communities and schools, and security for Jewish educational institutions in Europe. Josh is an ordained Rabbi and lives in Berlin, Germany, with his wife, Joelle, and three daughters.