Shai Ben-Tal, Director of Programs for Visiting Groups
former CEO and initiator of ‘Hevruta-at-the-Workplace’ project for encounter and study on the job, has his BA (organizational psychology) and MA (Jewish Studies) from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Born and raised in Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh, and current resident of Yeroham, Shai studied at the Midrasha in Oranim and other frameworks, and has rich experience in group dynamics and facilitation and a secular perspective on Jewish tradition. Recipient of prestigious Avi Chai study-sabbatical fellowship (2007/8), he is working on his PhD on Kabbalah and modern psychology and facilitates various programs as well.
has BAs from University of Illinois and Spertus College of Judaica, and an MA from Touro College. American-born, Debbie made Aliyah in 1972, worked as a freelance researcher, writer, editor, and teacher, and developed curriculum materials on Jewish values for secular schools at the David Schoen Institute for Creative Jewish Education. Debbie was Projects Coordinator of the Negev Center for Regional Development (1993-2000) and co-founder of the Midreshet Beyahad Seminar Center and the Teudat Zehut community documentation project, both in Yeroham, where she has resided with her family since 1987. Debbie received the New Israel Fund Fellowship for Leadership in Religious Pluralism (1987), Avi Chai Study-Sabbatical (2000), Liebhaber Prize for Encouraging Religious Pluralism and Cultural Openness in Israel (2006), Ministry of Education’s Torah Culture Department Citation of Excellence (2009), and lit a torch at Mt. Herzl on Israel Independence Day (1988).
Director of Atid Bamidbar programs
is also Coordinator of the New Impulse in Israel, “Children of the War”; and “Jew as Hero” projects, and of the National Forum on Jewish Identity for Russian-Speakers. Irena made Aliyah from the Ukraine in 1992 and has worked extensively with FSU immigrant youth. Irena teaches creative thinking and is a school psychologist at the Impulse School, and founder and facilitator of the “Parents’ School," providing workshops and mentoring for Russian-speaking immigrant parents. She has an MA in educational psychology from Seminar Hakibbutzim and maintains a Russian blog on education and parenting.
was born in Morocco and made Aliyah to Yeroham as a child in 1963. Raised and educated in Yeroham, Shula contributes to Atid Bamidbar programming from her religiously traditional, “native” Yerohamite perspective and invaluable connections to veteran residents. She leads the “Israel Revealed” project in Yeroham with Orly Reicher.
Orly Reicher, Coordinator of Identity & Community-Building Programs & Events
is a veteran teacher, group facilitator, and certified mediator. A resident of Yeroham for the past three years, Orly, secular, has lived in Midreshet Ben-Gurion and Dimona, and has an M.A. in Educational Administration, a B.A. in Behavioral Sciences, as well as teaching certification. Orly brings rich experience in project organization and management and facilitates the “Raananim” Golden Age Beit Midrash and other programs. She is coordinator of the “Israel Revealed” communal documentation project, and runs the “Yeroham Teudat Zehut (Identity Card)” Community Archives. Orly is production assistant of the annual Piyut Festival “Pa’amei Midbar” and coordinates the newly-established Atid Bamidbar Intentional Community.
Yoav Samuchy, CEO
joined Atid Bamidbar in July 2016. Yoav is a co-founder of the Kama intentional community in Beer Sheva, and co-founder and former Chairman of the Tor Hamidbar (now EretzIr) NPO. Yoav has a proven track-record in financial administration from his previous position as deputy-director of the Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute, and an in-depth knowledge of the nonprofit world, social businesses, educational tourism, and Zionism. He also guides educational trips to Poland. In addition, Yoav brings invaluable experience in intentional communities. Secular in life style, Yoav lives with his family in Beer Sheva.
Yael Agmon, Coordinator of Atid Bamidbar’s “Shared Society” Programs and the Incubator for Bedouin-Jewish Initiatives
co-founded Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, filled central roles in the Kibbutz, including Economic Coordinator and Secretary-General, and is active in the Kibbutz Ha’artzi Movement, helping new kibbutzim to become economically and socially stable. Former CEO of Tehilah, a non-profit providing support for parents of LGBT youth, Yael studied business management at Sapir College. Yael works in Jewish-Arab collaboration. Yael moved to Yeroham in 2010 and joined the Mirkam Azori Citizens’ Group that works with neighboring Bedouin in the village of Rahma, to promote education, employment, encounters, and official recognition of the town.