Meet The Kallah 2011 Staff
By Kallah 2010 Bloggers on 07/12/2011 @ 08:05 AM
Rabbi Bruce Aft – Jewish Educator Rabbi Bruce Aft loves attending Kallah, He began staffing this very special program in 1985 and all four of his children have attended Kallah, including one who coordinated Kallah in 2002. Being at Kallah is the highlight of his professional year and he particularly enjoys all the interactions which he has with participants. In Pirke Avot, the Ethics of our Fathers, we learn that one learns much from his/her teachers, but even more from his/her students. Each summer, Rabbi Bruce is inspired by the ways in which participants teach him important lessons about how we can enrich our lives and make a difference. Rabbi Bruce and his wife, Sue, attended Kallah together for over 20 years but recently his wife stays in Virginia over the summer where she tutors young people who are in need of support, friendship, and mentoring. Rabbi Bruce is a huge Chicago White Sox baseball fan and two of the highlights of his life were being at a 2005 World Series game with one of his sons and watching the World Championship banner be raised at the home opener in 2006 with another of his sons. Finally, if you are really lucky:-), he will show you pictures of his grandson who is 19 months old!!!
Jason Benkendorf – Curriculum Director Jason Benkendorf is excited to be back at Kallah for the second straight year after four summers staffing CLTC. Jason attended Kallah as a participant more than a decade ago and subsequently served as Grand Aleph Godol for the 2000-2001 program year, during which he helped facilitate BBYO's transition to independence from B'nai B'rith. In real life, Jason works for TCI, a nonprofit organization that supports Jewish programming at non-Jewish private high schools. He previously worked at the Embassy of Israel in Washington and at the Israeli Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Jason lives in Washington, DC. He believes that what happens when you bring smart, passionate teens together with the great Kallah educational staff is pure magic.
Michael Chakoff – Madrich Michael Chakoff is from Miami, Florida and has been in Israel for the past 3 years. The first year, he participated in The Young Judaea Year Course. He was taking classes in Jerusalem through the American Jewish University, volunteering with at-risk youth in the Tel Aviv Area, and basic training in the Israeli Defense Forces. The past 2 years he was studying at the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He enjoys chocolate, Ping Pong, and reading. Michael was a active member of BBYO in high school and is very excited to be spending his 4th summer at Perlman with the Kallah 2011 community!
Bobby Dishell – Teen Coordinator Bobby could not be happier to be the AZA Coordinator for Kallah this year. Bobby has been very involved in BBYO since 9th grade when he founded his chapter. He has since held a variety of positions including Regional Godol and Grand Aleph Shaliach. As Grand Aleph Shaliach Bobby worked to take BBYO’s Judaic education and programming, Israel education, advocacy and programming, and community service to a new level. Bobby’s main ways for doing this were through StandUp! (BBYO’s campaign for advocacy, philanthropy and direct service) and SpeakUp!(BBYO’s campaign for Israel advocacy and education), the latter, he helped launch this year. Bobby is especially excited to be coordinating Kallah as after attending CLTC, ILTC, Kallah and ILSI, Kallah is one of his favorites and he hopes he can change the lives of teens as his was changed the summer he attended. Outside of BBYO, Bobby played varsity water polo (captaining his team this past year and leading them to a fourth place finish) and swimming for 3 years for his high school and was chosen as a delegate to Boys’ State 2010, one of the most selective and respected educational programs of government for U.S. high school students. In the fall, Bobby will be headed off to the University of Michigan to study public policy with a focus on the Middle East. Beyond academics and BBYO, Bobby loves to go to the beach with his friends by his home in Pacific Palisades, eat mac n’ cheese and sushi (separately, not together), and play FIFA.
Nick Ginsberg-Specialist (Media)/Madrich Nick is from New Haven, Connecticut and is currently studying Computer Science and Economics at Johns Hopkins University. Nick was in BBYO for 5 years, and served as Regional Godol of Connecticut Valley Region in addition to several other board positions. He volunteers as an EMT, has a wide array of computer programming and website building background, enjoys golfing and playing tennis. Nick is very excited about working at Kallah, and is looking forward to creating some amazing media projects with the participants.
Sofit Hadad-Specialist (Fine Arts)
Yoni Hadad-Specialist (Fine Arts)
Cecilia Hanono-Specialist (Dance)
David Hoffman-Educator David is thrilled to be returning to Kallah as a Judaic Educator, having been a participant in the program ten years ago. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Dallas where he became an Eagle Scout and an active participant in BBYO, serving as Regional Shaliach and attending Kallah, ILTC, and IC. In 2003, David came to New York for college, studying at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary to earn two Bachelor’s Degrees simultaneously in American Studies and Bible. He has spent time in Israel, through Birthright, studying abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and personal travel. For the past three years, David has been a full-time teacher at Central Synagogue's Religious School in New York City. In the fall, David will be going to NYU for dual master's degrees in Education and Jewish Studies, and Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He has had a life-long passion for music, plays five different instruments, and enjoys traveling and immersing himself in nature.
Valerie Issembert-Specialist (Drama)
Nikki Jenner-Madricha Nikki Jenner is from Columbia, MD and is entering her sophomore year at Boston University. She is studying Hospitality Administration and hopes to find a career in Hotel Management. She is an alumna of Oseh Shalom BBYO in NRE -- DC Council, where she served numerous board positions on both the chapter and council level. Nikki had an extraordinary three weeks at International Kallah in 2009, and hopes everyone gets the same wonderful experience this summer. She loves animals, going to concerts, cooking, and traveling!
Ian Kandel-Madrichim Team Lead, Educator
Rachel Krueger-Assistant Curriculum Director, Educator
Alex Langer-Logistics Manager
Samantha Levinson-Teen Coordinator After months of planning, Facebook posting, and video spamming, Sam Levinson could not be more excited to be at Kallah 2011. Sam comes from a military family and by the time she was 8 years old had lived in 8 different homes. She lived in Panama during her early childhood and is fluent in Spanish. Sam spent her teen years living in Northern Virginia, where she attended Jewish Day School for 5 years and public high school following that. Sam joined BBYO as soon as she could, her second semester 8th grade year, and hasn't looked back since. Sam served as MIT Mom, S'ganit, and N'siah on the chapter level in her heart and home Lahat BBG #0339. Sam has served as NoVA Council S'ganit and this past year served as NoVA Council N'siah and International Sh'licha. Sam is overjoyed to be coordinating Kallah with Bobby Dishell who she was IC 2010 administrative assistant with. After CLTC, ILTC, Kallah, and ILSI, Sam is so excited to be ending her BBYO summer program experience at Kallah 2011 alongside her best friend. Outside of BBYO Sam ran Cross Country and Distance track, played Basketball, and wrestled for her high school. Sam was also a member of her school's DECA chapter and competed in numerous marketing competitions. In her free time you can find Sam tro ridin', partaking in tackle sports, listening to indie music, hanging out with friends, and putting on chap stick. Next year, Sam will be deferring from Indiana University to be BBYO's International N'siah. Sam is most excited to see the Kallah participants grow, learn, interact with each other and become a Kehilah Kedoshah.
Alon Mazor-Office Manager
Jill Pottel-Director Jill is originally from Montreal, Canada, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is her third year directing International Kallah and is thrilled to be back. Jill is the Senior Program Director for BBYO, Central Region West. Jill has been with BBYO for over four years in California, and two more back in Montreal; she is also a BBG alumna. Jill attended McGill University; before BBYO, she ran a Holocaust & Human Rights Studies Program, and taught 6th grade Jewish Ethics for a supplementary school program. Jill loves Kallah because she believes in the power of coming together to learn as a community – about ourselves as individuals and as a people. Jill also loves cooking, improv comedy (well, really any comedy), and great live music. She is looking forward to the next four weeks, and to the four weeks after camp at the end of which, she will be getting married!
Rabbi Allen Saks-Jewish Educator Rabbi Allen is returning to Kallah with Annette for his second summer. Rabbi Allen hails from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, and you will see him wearing everyday another t-shirt supporting his true love of the Philadelphia sports teams. During the year, Rabbi Allen teaches at the local Jewish Day School in Hollywood, FL. Each morning, his favorite thing to do is to join others at 5:30AM to learn one page of Talmud daily. By next summer, Rabbi Allen will have completed the entire Talmud. He looks forward to meeting all of the participants and learning from each other this summer.
Annette Saks-Specialist (Cooking) Annettte Saks, cooking specialist, is thrilled to be at Kallah for her second year. Born in Philadelphia, she met Rabbi Allen working at a camp down the road from Perlman. She is a second grade general studies teacher at Toras Emes Academy of Miami. Annette has taught all grade levels and especially enjoys teaching and sharing ideas with the Kallah participants. She and Rabbi Allen live in Hollywood, FL and have one married son and two daughters. Annette is inspired by the passion and interest of the teens at Kallah. She is excited to be part of the Kallah learning community.
Suzie Schwartz-Educator Suzie is entering her third year of rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston. Prior to rabbinical school, she received a MA in Jewish Thought from the University of Chicago Divinity School, a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA in American history from Columbia University. When she is not busy with her studies, Suzie works as an educator at several local synagogues and is active in numerous local Jewish organizations, including Keshet, a grassroots organization dedicated to creating a fully inclusive Jewish community for GLBTQ Jews. This past year, she organized and facilitated Keshet's transgender and queer Beit Midrash and serves as Shabbat service coordinator, creating a safe, welcoming prayer community for local GLBT Jews. Suzie is passionate about Torah, making art, spinning poi, jam bands and recycling.
Zach Singer-Speciailst (Music)