Presenters

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Over 80 accomplished, exciting and diverse presenters will be part of Limmud FSU San Francisco.
Anna Abramzon

Anna Abramzon

Artist, Entrepreneur, Lecturer

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 Anna Abramzon was born in Kiev, Ukraine, with a paintbrush in her hand. She immigrated to the United States in 1989.  After graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Anna fulfilled her dream of moving to Israel. It was in Jerusalem, that she painted her first ketubah (Jewish premarital contract) for her own wedding. Since then Anna has built a business creating art for life cycle events. Anna’s work has been shown in galleries all over the United States and Israel. She is also a recurring guest lecturer at Rice University, as well as JCCs nationwide. 
Gregory Asmolov

Gregory Asmolov

Social Scientist, Social Entrepreneur

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Gregory (Grisha) Asmolov is the new media, innovation and literacy expert, Researcher at the Institute of Russia, based at King’s College London. He earned PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His focus – crowdsourcing digital platforms and role of internet in relationships between individuals and governmental organizations. Gregory has consulted on information technology, new media, and social media projects for The World Bank and Internews Network. Gregory is a co-founder of Help Map, a crowdsourcing platform used to coordinate assistance to victims of wildfires in Russia in 2010 and won a Russian National Internet Award for best project in the “State and Society” category. Earlier Gregory worked as a correspondent for Russian media outlets in Israel, and the news editor on Channel 9 in IsraelGregory holds MA in Global Communication from George Washington University (Washington, DC) and BA in Communication and International Affairs from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Vladimir Beider

Vladimir Beider

Journalist, Editor, Writer, TV presenter

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Journalist, editor, writer, TV presenter. Graduated from the Faculty of Journalism in Leningrad. Wrote for newspapers, magazines and documentary films. In Israel since 1995. Former deputy editor of the newspaper “Vesti”, and chief editor of “Master-M,” “Tele-boom,” “Chameleon”.magazines. Author of six books and 16 documentary films. Contributor to “Ogonyok” magazine and “Lechaim” (Moscow), a columnist for Russian-language sites in Russia and Israel. Winner of “Fiddler on the Roof” award (2013).  
Matthew Bronfman

Matthew Bronfman

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

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Matthew Bronfman, a major supporter of Limmud FSU, has been involved with this initiative in a leadership role since 2009. Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Matthew serves as Chairman and CEO of BHB Holdings. Matthew’s philanthropic interests include national chairman, American Jewish Committee’s ACCESS program; chairman, Teamwork Foundation; and member of the board of 92nd Street Y. He received a BA from Williams College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 
Shakti Devi

Shakti Devi

Yoga Instructor, Scientific Researcher

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 Shakti Devi has a Master Degree in Psychology and 20 years of experience of yoga practice, teaching and meditation in Ukraine and Israel. She has been leading international yoga seminars in Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, Thailand and India. Her practice is based on classical Hatha yoga approach with elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa, learned from several famous teachers, like A.Sidersky, A.Zenchenko, A.Lappa, D.Svenson, Guru Devdas from Vrindavan. She loves to share her yoga passion with everyone!  
Alex Furman

Alex Furman

Founder, Engineer, Serial Entrepreneur

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Alex co-founded Invitae (a genetic information company) in 2010 and was part of the team that took it public in 2015. Currently, he’s spearheading Invitae’s people analytics effort, enabling innovation at scale through a reinvented organizational structure and data-informed personnel management. Had somebody told him only a few years ago that he’d be overseeing what’s essentially an HR function at a publicly traded company, he would have laughed in their face. Alex is a software engineer, a photographer, a college dropout, a beekeeper, and many other things. He’s rarely bored.
Asya Gribov

Asya Gribov

Educator, Arts Administrator

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Freelance community organizer and creative educator, Asya splits her time between leading workshops at various museums, running experiential Jewish education programs, and working with the Russian-speaking Jewish community in North America. She spends her free time at galleries, museums, and artist studios delving deep into the art scene wherever she is.
Aviad Hacohen

Aviad Hacohen

Professor, Author, Attorney

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 Professor Aviad Hacohen is the President of The Academic Center for Law and Science; former dean of its Law School, and Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Jewish Law at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the past he has also taught in the Law School of Bar Ilan University and at the School of Social Work of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Hacohen’s current research interests include: Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Communication Law, Religion and State, Human Rights and Jewish Law, the Jerusalem Talmud, the responsa literature, and others. Prof. Hacohen has been written and edited numerous books, articles and research studies, and serves as the editor of a number of periodicals. He founded and heads Mosaica – the Institute for the Study of Religion, Society and State. Prof. Hacohen has been the recipient of many prizes from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Hacohen has practiced law in Israel, and has engaged in trial and appellate litigation in all its courts (more than 120 cases at the Supreme Court of Israel) for the last 25 years.  
Oleg Ivanov

Oleg Ivanov

Counter-Delegitimization Expert, Writer

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Oleg Ivanov is the Jewish Diplomatic Corps Coordinator and Digital Campaign Manager at the World Jewish Congress. Freelance writer. Pursuing PhD in Comparative Literature at UCLA. Earned M.A.’s in Comparative Literature at UCLA and in Theatre History and Criticism at CUNY Brooklyn. Also worked in theater as a dramaturge, performer, producer, and translator.
Steven Katz

Steven Katz

Historian, Author, Advisor

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 Professor Steven T. Katz holds the Alvin J. And Shirley Slater Chair in Jewish Holocaust Studies at Boston University and is the former Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies.  Prior to coming to Boston he taught at Dartmouth College and then Cornell University where he chaired the Department of Near Eastern Studies.  He is a member and former co-chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Chair of the Holocaust Commission of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and Academic Advisor to the Chair of the 31 countries that belong to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). A prolific author, Steven Katz has published numerous works on the Holocaust and Jewish philosophy. 
Shlomi Kofman

Shlomi Kofman

Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest

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Shlomi Kofman, Consul General of Israel to Pacific North West, born in Georgia, USSR, raised in Israel, has a degree in international relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with his first posting coming in 1998 in Shanghai. After four years there (during which he learned Mandarin and earned an MBA), he transferred to Thailand, serving as deputy ambassador at the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok. After stints as the chief of staff in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and as a diplomat adviser to the Knesset, he was made deputy consul general of Israel at the all-important New York consulate before being posted to San Francisco this summer.
Yelena Kozlova

Yelena Kozlova

Marketer, Yoga Instructor

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 Yelena was born in the Ukraine, raised in San Francisco, by way of Montreal, she now calls all of Bay Area her home.  As a Health tech marketer and yoga instructor, she’s thrilled to inspire health and wellness through her work currently focused on brain training at Lumosity.  At play, you’ll find her dancing, climbing mountains and San Francisco stairs, hanging out in cafes for a bit of creative writing, and of course, taking classes yoga classes!  A student for life, Yelena fell in love with yoga at UC Davis, and after years of classes she did her yoga teacher training at Core Power Yoga 2014.  In 2015 she was fortunate to spend time in India studying pranayama, yoga therapy and philosophy at S-VYASA Yoga University in Bangalore and at the Shivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California.  She continues taking classes (and teaching) wherever she goes.  
Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt

Historian, Author

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 Deborah Esther Lipstadt is an American historian, best known as author of the books Denying the Holocaust(1993), History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (2005) and The Eichmann Trial (2011). She is currently the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Georgia, United States. Lipstadt was a consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 1994 she was appointed by Bill Clinton to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, serving two terms. Actress Rachel Weisz portrayed Lipstadt in Denial (2016), a film based on her 2005 book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, and directed by Mick Jackson. 
Diana Moldavsky

Diana Moldavsky

Angel Investor

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Diana is an angel investor and startup advisor. She was most recently  a partner at 500 Startups responsible for CEE, Russia/CIS and Israel. Prior to that she spent 15 years in operating roles on the business leadership side of consumer internet and mobile companies in Silicon Valley and internationally. She was Chief Revenue Officer at Zeptolab (Cut The Rope game), GM at OLX Russia and CIS (a Naspers co), did business development at Yandex (Russia’s #1 search engine) and worked on the advertising side of Google in Mountain View in the earlier days. Diana holds an MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business. She sits on the Fuqua School of Business Advisory Board and on the Israel Collaboration Network (ICON) Steering Committee as well as advisory boards of several startups. She is an avid world traveler and is trilingual. 
Irena Neduva

Irena Neduva

Scientist, Coach

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 A true Renaissance Woman, Irena has an extensive background in computer science, psychology, art, design, music, education, and social services. She has over 25 years of successful experience in research, teaching, coaching, and development of a vast range of programs and services for diverse groups and individuals in Russia, Israel and US in the field of health, success, self-fulfillment, and well-being. The Founder of the Nova Nation Center for wellness and education on Integrative Holistic Arts in Palo Alto, Irena is a dedicated scholar of quantum physics, quantum energy teachings, and bio-info-energy work. Irena has explored over 80 world-renowned and rare techniques for healing and energy balancing, and engaged in in-depth study and practice of 14 modalities, including informational therapeutic Qi Gong, theta healing, and quantum energy medicine. She is involved in development projects and research work on cutting-edge, non-invasive technology in the field of diagnostics, preventative medicine and quantum energy. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Foundation For Mind-Being Research. Besides her work in science and holistic arts, Irena is a theatrical art director, costume and stage Designer, working in ballet, theater and film productions.
Yoel Rappel

Yoel Rappel

Professor, Radio Host

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Dr. Yoel Rappel is the founder and former director of the Elie Wiesel Archive at Boston University.  Rappel is the author of 32 books and was very close to Elie Wiesel. For more than 45 years he has been running a weekly Radio program on Israel National Radio station.
Hemi Rudner

Hemi Rudner

Lead Singer, Producer, Mentor

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 The past lead singer of “Eifo HaYeled”: one of the most important and successful rock bands in Israel. Hemi Rudner comes to a show full of energy. Rodney’s concert presents the greatest hits of “Eifo HaYeled” and hits from his solo albums. An energetic performance tuned to one place — the heart. 
Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky

Human Rights Activist, Politician, Author

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One of the most famous former Soviet Refuseniks and an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist. English interpreter for Andrei Sakharov. Sharansky became the first political prisoner ever released by Mikhail Gorbachev due to intense political pressure from Ronald Reagan and the United States. In Israel, Sharansky founded new party, served as Minister of Industry and Trade, Minister of Housing, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of The Jewish Agency.
Lori Starr

Lori Starr

Museum Executive, Art Historian

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Lori Starr joined The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) as Executive Director in June 2013. In her decades as a leader in the arts, Starr has been recognized for her commitment to engaging diverse audiences with innovative exhibitions and interdisciplinary public programming. Prior to her appointment, she was Executive Director of the Koffler Centre of the Arts in Toronto, Canada’s only multidisciplinary, contemporary Jewish cultural institution offering cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions, music, dance, film, literary, theater, and other programs. Starr also served as Vice President for Culture for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto; Senior Vice President and Museum Director of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; and Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the J. Paul Getty Trust and J. Paul Getty Museum. Additionally, she has held key management and education positions in the School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Starr holds an M.A. in Art History from University of Virginia, and a B.A. in Art History from Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She was a Rockefeller Fellow in Museum Education and Community Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Undervud

Undervud

Band

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 Undervud (Russian: Ундервуд, Russian spelling of Underwood) is a Russian and Ukrainian musical group (alternative rock, indie rock style) established by Maksim Kucherenko (Максим Кучеренко) and Vladimir Tkachenko (Владимир Ткаченко), two medical students from the Crimea. The group locates in Moscow and has the reputation of being loved all around the former Soviet Union. The soundtracks of the group are used in several films, cartoons and theatrical performances. The band’s songs are present in the charts of radio stations in Russia and other post-Soviet countries and are also aired by some overseas stations (Israel, United States). 
Cory Weiss

Cory Weiss

Counter-Delegitimization Expert

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 Cory Weiss serves as Special Projects Coordinator for the Programs Department of World Jewish Congress. He is a member of the WJC’s Counter-Delegitimization Unit. Cory joined WJC in 2014 after having interned with the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 2013 he graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in Political Science with minors in Political Communication and Jewish Studies
Elena Zusmanovich

Elena Zusmanovich

Educator

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Elena has designed, organized and led Jewish educational programs, lectures, and tours in the USA, Israel, and Russia. She works in the Jewish institutions of the Bay Area since 1997. Elena is a recipient of the 2010 Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She holds MS Information Science, BA Art History and is an alumna of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute.
Ophir Akunis

Ophir Akunis

Minister of Science, Technology and Space

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Minister of Science, Technology and Space in Israeli Cabinet, Ophir Akunis has many years of experience in Israeli politics. Having served as Deputy Environment Minister prior to current post, he also held posts of deputy media adviser to Prime Minister, Likud party spokesperson, spokesperson to the ministers and many other posts through the years.  
Dmitry Astrakhan

Dmitry Astrakhan

Film and Theater Director, Actor

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 Dmitry Astrakhan was born in St. Petersburg and graduated from Saint Petersburg State Theater Arts Academy (workshop of A.Muzilja). He started his career in 1981 as the director of the Theater for Young People in Yekaterinburg, where he worked for 6 years. From 1990-1995, Dmitry was the art director of Akimov’s Comedy Theater in St. Petersburg. During his theatre career , which spanned the years 1981- 1996 he had already staged more than 40 performances at different theatres. The most well known included- “Duck Hunting”, “Lucrative post”, “Greenhorn” (the Yekaterinburg Theater for Young People), “the Marriage of Balzaminova” (Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theater), “These Free Butterflies” (Theater of Komissarzhevsky), “One day Lady”, “Travelers in the Night” (the Moscow Theater of Pushkin), «All Passes» and «Family Idyll» («Alexander Abdulov’s Enterprise»). Since 1990 Dmitry is working exclusively in the film business. All films directed by Dmitry Astrakhan, are created together with his permanent partner, scriptwriter Oleg Danilov. 
Julius Berman

Julius Berman

Rabbi, Communal Leader, Litigator

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 Julius Berman has been Chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany since 2002. Prior to leading the organization, he served as its pro bono Counsel. Mr. Berman has headed many national Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and the American Zionist Youth Foundation. As a confidant of the renowned Jewish scholar Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Mr. Berman has been instrumental in publishing Rabbi Soloveitchik’s works. Mr. Berman is also Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of its affiliate, Yeshiva University. Mr. Berman is past President and currently honorary President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Mr. Berman received his bachelor’s degree from YU in 1956, Rabbinical ordination from RIETS in 1959, and his law degree from New York University, graduating first in his class. Mr. Berman received an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University in 1995. Mr. Berman is currently Special Counsel in the Litigation/Antitrust Department and in the Real Estate Litigation practice group at the law firm Kaye Scholer LLP, where he has been involved in the litigation practice for more than 40 years.  
Gleb Budman

Gleb Budman

CEO and Entrepreneurial Executive, Engineer

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Gleb Budman is CEO and co-founder of Backblaze. Along with his team, Gleb bootstrapped Backblaze to millions in revenue and profitability. The company won the SIIA CODiE for Best Cloud Storage and secured a spot on Deloitte’s Fast 500 fastest growing technology companies as a result of its 917% five-year revenue growth. Previously, Gleb led the product teams from pre-funding through acquisition at Kendara and MailFrontier, and founded three prior companies. He received his MBA from Berkeley’s Haas School, has been a speaker at events including GigaOm Structure, Massive Storage Systems and Technology, and SNIA; profiled by Inc. and Forbes; and holds 5 patents on security.
Natalia Feduschak

Natalia Feduschak

International Journalist, Social Activist

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 Natalia A. Feduschak has been Director of Communications for Ukrainian Jewish Encounter since October 2013. With more than twenty years of international journalism experience, she has spent much of her career covering the former Soviet Union, from the empire’s breakup to the challenges faced by newly independent states. She has written for leading publications in Europe and North America, including the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Washington Times, the Denver Post, and the Kyiv Post. She was a Fulbright Scholar, as well as an International Health Fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Ukraine, and a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC. Feduschak holds a Bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. 
Izabela Galperin

Izabela Galperin

Stand-up Comedian, Poet

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 A sociologist, an actress, and a poet bump into one another on the street. The Sociologist says: I will observe people! The Actress: And I will talk about them from  stage! The Poet: You guys are just ridiculous….The Stand-up Comedian rises up and says: Well, now we got a show!  Izabela Galperin is all of these in one. She has been writing poetry since her early youth in Vilnius, Lithuania, where she  was born and raised. At 17 years old, she moved to Israel, where graduated from the University of Haifa with a Sociology major. She spent 10 years on late-night Russian-speaking comedy competition television show KVN, and, finally, got married!   In 2011, Izabela moved to California, where became a mother, a kid’s poetry writer and stand-up comedian.  
Stella Grizont

Stella Grizont

Positive Psychologist, Entrepreneur

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Stella Grizont is the Founder and CEO of WOOPAAH, which companies like Google, Genentech and Johnson & Johnson employ for programs in work place culture design, engagement and well-being. In the past 12 years, Stella has coached over 1,300 high performers in 17 countries. Grizont was one of the first 150 people in the world to receive a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a regular contributor in many TV and print media outlets and has lectured for several universities including NYU, MIT, Rutgers..  
Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Pro-Israel Advocate, AIPAC Executive

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Adam Harris is the Regional Director of AIPAC – America’s Pro-Israel Lobby. The AIPAC Pacific Northwest Regional Office serves Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Northern Nevada and Alaska. Through their professional staff located in the area and active lay leaders, AIPAC in the Pacific Northwest organizes events and services as a resource for establishing relationships with members of Congress and strengthening the bond between the U.S.-Israel relationship in our community.
Audrey Jacobs

Audrey Jacobs

Entrepreneur Advocate, Community Builder

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 Audrey Jacobs, founding Partner at OurCrowd, is a passionate entrepreneur advocate, public speaker and global community builder. Through her lectures at investment conferences, startup incubators and universities, she educates investors about the risk and reward of investing in early stage companies and entrepreneurs on how to raise capital. Prior to OurCrowd, Audrey spent two decades building brands for technology companies with leading global public relations firms such as Porter Novelli. Audrey launched the US Israel Startup Nations Series to create partnerships and educate about the opportunities of investing in Israeli innovation. Audrey has been a Limmudnik for over 10 years and has spoken at Limmud conferences worldwide. Audrey enjoys making connections in the Jewish Community and is the Founder of Audrey’s Tent, a free gathering place for Jews to find love, community, and friendship. 
Yelena Khanga

Yelena Khanga

Journalist, TV Personality, Author

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Russian journalist of African/Jewish/African-American ancestry raised in Moscow, USSR, who came to the USA in 1990 to write Soul to Soul: The Story of a Black Russian American Family: 1865–1992. Khanga was the moderator of the Russian television talk show The Domino Effect. She also moderated Russia’s first talk show about sex, called About That.
Grisha Kotlyar

Grisha Kotlyar

Chess Master, Social Entrepreneur

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 Grish Kotlyar came to USA in 1987 from the USSR, where he was a chess master and the champion of Moscow. After arriving in USA, he became the USA Amateur champion in 1988 and his current rating is still one of the top ones in California. He runs Chess Academy for kids. Grisha is also the main organizer of KSP, the biggest Russian Music and Arts Festival in USA, that draws more than 2,000 people attending it every year.
Oleg Kuvaev

Oleg Kuvaev

Artist, Designer, Animator

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Creator of famous Masyanya animated internet series, that originated in 2001. St. Petersburg native, Kuvaev has been a painter and sculptor during 1987-1997 period, but since 1997 he turned to computer graphics, working as designer and developer at some studios. In 2001, he founded Mult.ru studio and has fought for copyrights on his own creation – Masyanya brand. In 2006, Kuvaev moved to Israel.
Natan Meir

Natan Meir

Historian, Author

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Natan Meir is a Chair of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University. Dr. Meir’s area of academic specialization is Jewish social and cultural history in Eastern Europe, as well as modern European Jewish history.  He is the author of Kiev: Jewish Metropolis, 1861-1914 and co-editor of Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History.  His forthcoming work-in-progress is Republic of Beggars: The Jewish Destitute, Disabled and Dispossessed in Tsarist Russia. Dr. Meir was recently named as a Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Jeff Morgan

Jeff Morgan

Winemaker, Author

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Jeff Morgan is an American winemaker, writer, cookbook author, and co-founder of Covenant Wines. The former West Coast editor of Wine Spectator magazine, Morgan began his wine career in his mid-30’s after working as a professional saxophonist in Europe (eventually as bandleader at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo) and in New York. In 2003 he co-founded Covenant Winery—dedicated to making “highly regarded” kosher Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon among other wine varietals. In 2000, Morgan was hired by specialty food purveyor Dean & DeLuca as Wine Director. During this time, he wrote his first cookbook—Dean & DeLuca, The Food and Wine Cookbook. He has written an additional 7 cookbooks since, collaborating with his wife, Jodie Morgan. In addition to his roles as winemaker and cookbook author, Morgan was a founding instructor at the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America, Napa Valley. 
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

Composer, Performer

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Josh Nelson brings his extraordinary message of hope, unity and spirituality to concert stages and worship services across the globe. Josh is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps and communities around the world. Recently hailed by Time Magazine as a “star of the New Jewish Music,” Josh is the music director for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial Convention, faculty for the Hava Nashira Music Institute, and a musical artist in residence for the JCC Maccabi Artsfest. In 2014, Josh was cast in the starring role of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for the NYC off-Broadway revival of Soul Doctor.
Garrett Reisman

Garrett Reisman

Astronaut, Engineer

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American engineer and former NASA astronaut. Currently – director of crew operations at SpaceX. He was a backup crew member for NASA Expedition 15 and joined Expedition 16 aboard the International Space Station for a short time before becoming a member of Expedition 17. He returned to Earth on June 14, 2008 on board STS-124 on Space Shuttle Discovery. He was a member of the STS-132 mission that traveled to the International Space Station aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from May 14 to 26, 2010.
Gabriel Sassoon

Gabriel Sassoon

New Media Expert, Political Advisor

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Gabriel Sassoon grew up in Sydney, Australia, graduating with a BA from Sydney University and a dual Commerce and Law degree from the University of New South Wales. He worked in public affairs in New York from 2009, where he set up a human rights group alongside the founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein. From 2012-2015, he worked in Tel Aviv, runningthe English campaign for the Israeli Labor Party at two national elections, and Isaac Herzog’s primary for the Opposition leadership. He also served as Deputy Knesset Speaker Hilik Bar MP’s Foreign Media Advisor for 3 years and consulted for Unik Public Image, a Tel Aviv-based PR firm. Since 2015, Gabe has worked for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of New Media at the New York consulate.
Lilia Shirman

Lilia Shirman

Tech Executive, Investor, Advisor, Author

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 Lilia Shirman is a technology industry executive, investor, advisor, and author. She is Managing Director and Silicon Valley Ecosystem Lead at Golden Seeds, one of the largest and most active nation-wide angel investor networks, and is a founding member of JAngels. Lilia is also CEO of The Shirman Group, which she founded in 2004 to help B2B technology companies innovate and grow revenue through greater customer relevance. She also currently serves on several startup advisory boards. Lilia is the author of 42 Rules for Growing Enterprise Revenue and is a mentor in Stanford University’s Global Entrepreneurial Marketing Program. She has also taught entrepreneurs at Chalmers University’s Center for Business Innovation. Lilia has served on the Board of Governors of Jewish LearningWorks. She holds a B.S. in Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, and an M.S. in Management Science from Stanford University.  
Abby Stein

Abby Stein

Transgender Activist, Speaker

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Abby Stein is an American transgender activist, blogger, and speaker. She is the first openly transgender woman raised in a Hasidic community, and is a direct descendant of Hasidic Judaism’s founder the Baal Shem Tov. In 2015, she founded the first support group nationwide for trans people of Orthodox background.

 

Stein is also the first openly transgender woman to have been ordained by an Orthodox institution, having received her rabbinical degree in 2011, from an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic school. To date, she is also the only female rabbi to have been ordained by an Ultra-Orthodox institution. However, she was ordained before coming out as transgender, and is not working as a rabbi as of 2016.

Maya Vardi Shoshani

Maya Vardi Shoshani

Business Matchmaker

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Ms. Maya Vardi Shoshani manages the West Coast operations of the BIRD Foundation. The BIRD Foundation (www.birdf.com) was established in 1977 by the U.S. and Israeli governments to develop and fund industrial Research & Development partnerships between companies from both countries on a project specific basis. The BIRD Foundation supports selected collaborations and provides them with non-dilutive funding of up to 50% of their combined R&D budget associated with the joint project (up to $1M per project), without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the project itself. Located in the Silicon Valley, Ms. Vardi Shoshani is responsible for initiating business matchmaking activities between Israeli and American companies, business development and relationship management with West Coast high-tech companies, as well as strategic growth initiatives. Before joining the BIRD Foundation, Ms. Vardi Shoshani worked as an attorney focusing on litigation, negotiations, commercial and constitutional law. Ms. Vardi Shoshani was an interviewer in the Israeli Defense Force and holds an LLB degree from Tel-Aviv University. 
Yonatan Winetraub

Yonatan Winetraub

Co-founder, CTO of SpaceIL

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Presently a biophysics PhD student at Stanford University, Yonatan Winetraub is also a Co-founder and CTO of SpaceIL, an Israeli contender in the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Along with two friends, Yariv Bash and Kfir Damari, Yonatan conceived their mission in a pub in 2010, and filed their paperwork with the XPRIZE Foundation mere minutes before the entry deadline. If all goes well, its 500-kilogram spacecraft—informally dubbed “Sparrow”—will hitch a ride to the moon sometime in 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket chartered through private aerospace company Spaceflight Industries. 
Tatiana Amirova

Tatiana Amirova

Award-winning Singer, Songwriter

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Odessa native. “Voice of Ukraine” contestant. Unique side of Tatiana’s versatile repertoire are Jewish songs, gently seasoned with Soul, Funk and Jazz, and her own lyrical compositions. Tatiana won her first music competition “Morning Star” at 3 years of age, in Ukraine. Later on – win at Hungarian festival “Vesprem games” in 2003, in 2004, she conquered an Italian contest “the Golden Vine,” followed by contests in Paris and Cannes. Her shows envelop with a wave of charm, charisma and natural magnetism.
Ilana Baird

Ilana Baird

Rabbi, Educator, Community Organizer

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 Rabbi Ilana Baird  is proud to be the third female Russian-speaking ordained rabbi in Israel, currently lives and works in the Bay Area, in Silicon Valley, California. She works at the APJCC in Los Gatos organizing and planning Russian Language Jewish Programs, promoting and leading events and ongoing programs in various community groups and congregations, striving to build a community that has a strong Jewish identity and sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Previously, she established a Congregation Shirat HaYam Carmel, a new Reform congregation for young Russian speaking Jewish families in Haifa, the only RSJ Reform congregation in Israel.  
Eli Block

Eli Block

Orgasmic Coach, Speaker

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 Eli Block is a senior faculty member and director of the Men’s Program at OneTaste. Eli began studying Orgasm in 2008 and has been on a path that has taken him around the world as the director of OneTaste operations in multiple cities including Boulder, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, and eventually Los Angeles where he currently resides. He is a prolific speaker having been invited as a guest lecturer for Tony Robbins’ coaching staff at their annual retreat, is a regular at Mama Gena’s School for the Womanly Arts Creation Program, Jaiya Ma’s VIP Program, as well as Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Podcast. Eli received his B.A. in Psychology from Whitman College where he played lacrosse as an honorable mention All American. A deep lover of the feminine and the teacher trainer for the OneTaste’s Coaching Program, Eli is passionate about realigning our understanding of gender, sexuality, and Orgasm with nature. 
Sandra Cahn

Sandra Cahn

Limmud FSU Co-Founder, Philanthropist

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Sandra was instrumental in enlisting crucial support for organization’s creation and has been active in promoting Limmud FSU activities and in its fundraising efforts ever since. She has long been involved in fundraising for major organizations: co-founded UJA-Federation of New York’s Women’s Executive Circle. She also serves on the boards of the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, UJA-Federation of New York and is a past president of the Queens College Hillel. 
Yishai Fleisher

Yishai Fleisher

Hebron Community Spokesperson

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Yishai Fleisher is the International Spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron. Yishai is also an Israeli broadcaster and a frequent columnist for major news websites and media outlets. He holds a JD from Cardozo Law and rabbinic ordination from Kollel Agudat Achim. Yishai is a paratrooper in the IDF reserves and lives with his family on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem.
Anton Ginzburg

Anton Ginzburg

Artist, Filmmaker, Mentor

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 Anton Ginzburg is a New York–based artist and filmmaker who uses an array of historical and cultural references as starting points for his investigations into art’s capacity to penetrate layers of the past and reflect on the contemporary experience. Born in 1974 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Ginzburg received a classical arts education before immigrating to the United States in 1990. He earned a BFA from Parsons The New School for Social Research in 1997 and MFA degree from Bard College, Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. His art has been shown at the fifty-fourth Venice Biennale, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, White Columns in New York, Lille3000 in Euralille, France, the first and second Moscow Biennales, and the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. 
Danny Grossman

Danny Grossman

Head of SF Jewish Federation

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Current CEO of Jewish Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, Danny Grossman is a native of San Francisco, a successful business owner, entrepreneur and diplomat. He has decades of experience as a volunteer and leader in the Bay Area’s Jewish and civic communities, and many years of business and public sector leadership. Fun fact, Danny Grossman served as a diplomat in USSR during Reagan administration years, actively supporting the Soviet Jewry movement.
Ami Horowitz

Ami Horowitz

Documentary Filmmaker, TV Personality

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Writer, producer, and director of Ami on the Streets, a satirical short film series made for Fox News. Horowitz co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the 2012 documentary U.N. Me, a critical examination of the United Nations. Prior to that, he worked in political campaigning and then spent sixteen years in the investment banking, including at Lehman Brothers.
Leonid Kaganov

Leonid Kaganov

Literary Author, Poet, Humorist

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Futurist writer, poet, humorist, screenplay and song writer. Award winning book author.
Benzion Klatzko

Benzion Klatzko

Rabbi, Social Entrepreneur

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One of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” per Jewish Forward magazine. Founder of Shabbat.com and many other Jewish social websites and apps. Jewish thought teacher to Hollywood producers, actors, directors. Formerly, campus rabbi at UCLA and congregation rabbi in New Jersey.
Roman Kogan

Roman Kogan

Executive Director, Limmud FSU

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Roman Kogan was born in Tallinn, Estonia, Roman emigrated to Israel in 1991. A graduate of Hebrew University’s Department of International Relations and Journalism, Roman was a press attaché in the Knesset, headed the press service of the Jewish Agency in St. Petersburg, and represented the Department of Education of the Jewish Agency in the Baltic states. Proficient in Hebrew, Russian, and English, Roman joined Limmud FSU in 2010 as chief operations officer and was promoted in 2014 to executive director. 
Naya Lekht

Naya Lekht

Professor, Researcher, Writer

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 Naya Lekht was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated with her family to Los Angeles in 1989. After obtaining her PhD from UCLA in Russian Jewish literature, Naya has been teaching at UCLA, as well as researching on Russian Jewry. In addition to her research, Naya publishes her fiction.
Masha Merkulova

Masha Merkulova

Jewish Educator, Activist

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 Masha founded Club Z to answer the communal need to strengthen Jewish identity of today’s teens by connecting it to Israel and Zionism. Before starting Club Z Masha spent more than 10 year as Bay Area communal activist. She has spearheaded and organized a large number of educational and social events that address modern day campus anti-semitism, Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism, Israel advocacy and more.  
Wolf Moscovich

Wolf Moscovich

Historian

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Wolf Moskovich is Professor Emeritus and formerly Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His main fields of interest include Slavic studies (Ukrainian studies in particular), Jewish culture and history in Eastern and Central Europe (Yiddish studies in particular), interrelations between Jews and Christians, and languages and cultures in contact. He has been Visiting Professor at the universities of London, Oxford, Cornell, Pennsylvania, Rome, and Bratislava. He is editor-in-chief of the book series Jews and Slavs (volumes 1-25, Jerusalem) since 1993. He is President of the Israeli Committee of Slavists and a member of the International Committee of Slavists. Honours received include: Foreign Member of the National Academies of Sciences of Ukraine and Slovenia; and the V. Zhabotinsky Gold Medal of the Ukraine-Israel Friendship Society (Kyiv) for promoting mutual understanding among nations. He is a board member of Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.
Yulia Patrakova

Yulia Patrakova

Art, Literature Historian

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Yuliya Patrakova is a teacher. She was born and lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In the past Yulia taught Russian language and literature, but lately she has been teaching Hebrew, and authored and led Jewish culture education projects. Her interests lie in the literature in general, and children’s literature more specifically, Jewish artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the history of Saint Petersburg. Her motto: I love everything that flows.
Alti Rodal

Alti Rodal

Historian, Writer

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Alti Rodal is a historian, writer, former professor of Jewish history, and advisor to the Government of Canada. She is currently the Co-Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative. Born in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) in western Ukraine, she received her early schooling in Israel, and was educated at McGill, Oxford and Hebrew universities in the fields of history, religion and literature. Her professional experience includes eight years of full-time teaching on aspects of medieval and modern Jewish history at universities in Montreal and Ottawa, and twenty-five years of senior advisory and management experience in government in Canada, including as Director of Research for the Commission of Inquiry on Nazi War Criminals in Canada.
Morey Schapira

Morey Schapira

Human Rights Activist, Entrepreneur

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 Morey Schapira is a Silicon Valley High Tech executive and Soviet Jewry activist leader. He was national president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, president of the local Bay Area Council for Soviet Jewry, and a national v.p. of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Schapira graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics cum laude. In 1977, he received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has worked in multiple start ups in High Tech and in the Jewish Community. In a lecture at Stanford University in 2004, Natan Sharansky referred to Schapira as a “Five-Star General in the Army of Students and Housewives.” He currently is a co-chair of Club Z youth movement. 
Zhanna Shpits

Zhanna Shpits

Singer, Songwriter, Inspirational Speaker

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 Zhanna Shpits is an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter and an award-winning performing artist who creates magic using music, stories and motivation. Her mission is to bring light into the hearts of everyone she touches. Gracing the transformational stages of luminaries including Bill Baren, Alina Vincent, WPN and others, Zhanna’s keynote performances combine inspiring personal stories and heart-touching songs to create distinct, memorable, and transformational experiences. Audiences are inspired by her stories and her music. They are enchanted by her beautiful and sultry voice, whether she is singing an original, the classic standards, or traditional Russian Bards sung in her native language. 
Irina Strigo

Irina Strigo

Neurophysiologist, Academic Researcher

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 Irina is a human pain neurophysiologist and academic, who uses psychophysical and brain imaging techniques to investigate brain networks that process pain and emotion in individuals with depressive and anxiety disorders, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and other related conditions. The goal of her federally funded research is to understand how individual differences in pain response relate to pain chronification, co-morbidity between pain and psychopathology, as well as opioid tolerance and addiction. 
Raphi Walden

Raphi Walden

Doctor, Humanitarian

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 Prof. Raphi Walden is the Deputy Director of the Sheba Medical Center. He was born in France and made aliyah in 1951. He completed his medical studies in Jerusalem. He is currently Professor of Vascular Surgery and Deputy Director of the Sheba Medical Center, Lieutenant-Colonel (reserve) in the IDF, and Chairman of Physicians for Human Rights. 
Yossi Yonah

Yossi Yonah

Knesset Member, Professor, Author

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Prof. Yossi Yonah is a member of the Knesset from Zionis Union list. Born in Israel to the parents who made aliyah from Iraq, he attended vocational school before serving in IDF. After leaving the army in 1974, he obtained a Bagrut matriculation certificate and attended the University of Haifa, studying philosophy, history and art. Whilst at university he joined the Left Camp of Israel party. After graduating in 1979, he began studying for a PhD, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He subsequently joined the Education Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He went on to become a Professor of philosophy of education at Ben-Gurion University, and a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He was amongst the founders of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition, and one of the leaders of the Geneva Initiative. Prof. Yonah published and edited numerous books and articles on the concept of multiculturalism and its relevancy in Israeli society and its political structure. 
Mikhail Appak

Mikhail Appak

Krav Maga Instructor, Black Belt Candidate

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Mikhail was born in Odessa, Ukraine and moved to US in 1991.  He is Krav Maga instructor and a black belt candidate.  He has been a student and a teacher of Krav Maga for over 15 years.  Hi is currently working for an Israeli start up, managing customer support and product implementations.
Jars Balan

Jars Balan

Author, Editor, Literary Translator

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Jars Balan is an author, editor, and literary translator who has published numerous scholarly and journalistic works on Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian themes. Since 2000 he has served as the Coordinator of the Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Center, for the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. His areas of academic specialty are Ukrainian-Canadian history, literature and theatre. In this capacity, over the years he has written works on a number of Ukrainian-Jewish themes, including an essay on the anarchist Makhnovist movement and most recently an article for the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE) about the friendship between the renowned painter William Kurelek and his art dealer, Av Isaacs.  
David Blumberg

David Blumberg

Venture Capitalist, Philanthropist

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 David is the founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund based in San Francisco. David is an authority on early stage investing with more than 30 years of experience. He founded Blumberg Capital in the early 1990s and launched its first venture-backed fund in 2001. Prior to Blumberg Capital, David managed international investments with the Bronfman Family Office, Adler & Co, APAX Partners and at T. Rowe Price. He also launched business development for Check Point Software Technologies as one of its top four executives. David earned his A.B. in government, cum laude, from Harvard College and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and INSEAD. David speaks French and is proficient in Hebrew and Spanish. David serves on the boards of Apester, CaseStack, Credorax, Deep Instinct, DoubleVerify, EarnUp, FeeX, Firmitas, Fortscale, IntSights, Kreditech, Namogoo, Trulioo, Wunder and Zooz. He also serves on the Board of The Lincoln Club of Northern California and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.  
Chaim Chesler

Chaim Chesler

Limmud FSU Founder, Chair

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In 2006, together with Sandra Cahn (US), Chaim Chesler founded Limmud FSU and chairs its Executive Committee. As executive director of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, he worked in Israel and around the globe to raise awareness of the struggle of Soviet Jews and their right to repatriate to Israel. Chaim headed the Jewish Agency for Israel’s delegation to the former Soviet Union and the United States, and served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency.
Eugene Fooksman

Eugene Fooksman

Startup-nik, Philanthropist

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Eugene emigrated to San Francisco Bay Area from St Petersburg, Russia in 1999, after getting his MS in Mathematics from St Petersburg State University. He works for WhatsApp/Facebook as a software engineer. Eugene is also actively involved in organizing and supporting Jewish community in San Francisco Bay Area. 
Vitaly Golomb

Vitaly Golomb

Venture Capitalist, Author, Entrepreneur

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Vitaly M. Golomb is a venture capitalist, serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of Accelerated Startup who has been involved with startups since his teenage years. He is a Global Corporate Venturing 2017 Rising Star and leads global investments at HP Tech Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Silicon Valley’s original startup. He is a contributing writer to TechCrunch and a consistently top-ranked mentor at a number of startup accelerator programs in the US, Europe, and Asia. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and travels to over 20 countries annually to consult and guest lecture to corporations, associations and universities on entrepreneurship, innovation and design.
Sasha Gutfraind

Sasha Gutfraind

Artificial Intelligence Expert, Data Scientist

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 Canadian Israeli with roots in Minsk, Sasha is a Chief Health Data Scientist at Uptake Technologies and a Lecturer at Loyola University Medical Center. His work and research focuse on applications of data science and computational methods for medical and societal problems.
Gil Hovav

Gil Hovav

Culinary Journalist, TV personality

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 Gil Hovav comes from one of the most respected families in the Jewish world: he is the great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew language; the grandson of  Itamar Ben-Avi who began modern Hebrew journalism; and the son of Moshe and Drora Hovav, “founding members” of Israel’s modern day public radio. He began his career as a restaurant critic, moved on to become a newspaper editor, and was involved in many top television food shows. Mr. Hovav has published three best-selling novels all related to his family’s colorful history. 
Sasha Kapustina

Sasha Kapustina

Filmmaker, Producer, Entrepreneur

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 Sasha was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. In 2007-2009 she worked as head of legal department and a producer at Leopolis, a film production company based in Moscow. In 2010 she relocated to Los Angeles, and together with Masha Tishkova started the Goldfish Film Distribution Company, to bring Russian films to Israel. In 2010-2014, Sasha wrote and produced several short films. Sasha is currently working on a documentary about Israeli medical clowns – “I Clown You.” Sasha holds a law degree from the State University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia) and an MFA in Film Producing from the New York Film Academy (Los Angeles). She is a Fulbright Alumna. 
Daniel Kluger

Daniel Kluger

Books and Songs Writer, Journalist

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Israeli writer in science fiction and detective genres. He writes in Russian language. Graduate of Simferopol State University as physicist. Began to publish his works in the 1970s. Medical scientist and book publisher before moving to Israel and becoming a journalist, as well as continuing to write books, as well as write and translate poems. His poetic work Jewish Ballads was distinguished with Jerusalem Olive award in 20007.
Jan Koum

Jan Koum

Inventor, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

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 Roughly one in seven people on earth have Jan Koum, and his company WhatsApp, to thank for their ability to call and text their friends and family free of charge. Jan Koum is the co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp, a communication service used by more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries. Jan co-founded WhatsApp with Brian Action in 2009 and sold to Facebook in 2014, joining Facebook’s Board of Directors while continuing to lead WhatsApp as a separate app. Jan grew up in Ukraine before immigrating to California in 1992.
Galina Leytes

Galina Leytes

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

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 Galina Leytes is co-founder and vice president of I-SAEF, a nonprofit that is funding alternative energy research in Israeli academia, such as converting CO2 into fuel using solar energy. Ms. Leytes co-founded and acted as senior executive of a NASDAQ technology company and, prior to that, held senior technical and IT management positions at Charles Schwab, Stanford University, and a variety of high-tech companies. Ms. Leytes has served as a board member on various private and public companies, and as a director in the nonprofit sector. Galina has served on Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation where she has won the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award and was selected as 2016 Honoree of the Business Leadership Council.
Marina Modlin

Marina Modlin

Attorney, Author

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 Born in Saint Petersburg, Marina has been in the Bay Area over 20 years, earned BA degree from UCD, JD – from USF. Marina own the estate planning law firm since 2010, with offices in South Bay and on the Peninsula. She has authored two books, including “Wills and Trusts for the Rest of Us.”  
Akiva Naiman

Akiva Naiman

Rabbi, Educator

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 Rabbi Akiva Naiman is the Director of NCSY Jewish Youth Group for East Bay and SF. He grew up in Israel, did Yeshiva as well as served in the IDF, and moved to the bay after getting his rabbinic ordinace from Aish Hatorah. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife Chani and three children Yedidya Zev, Matanya, and Elisha.
Pinchas Polonsky

Pinchas Polonsky

Philosopher, Educator

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Russian-Israeli Jewish-religious philosopher, researcher, and educator. He has written several original books as well as a number of translations of important works on Judaism. One of the founders of the clandestine network for the study of Torah in Moscow in 1979. Today he lives in Israel and is an activist in the process of the modernization of Judentums. Pinchas Polonsky teaches in a Ariel University and is a researcher on the topics of the late Rav Kook.
Ilya Ronin

Ilya Ronin

Dancer, Entrepreneur

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Ilya started dancing as a fun social activity with his wife 10 years ago. After a couple of years, his teacher talked him into trying a dance competition, after which his attitude toward dancing changed. Ilya enjoyed the experience and decided that he wanted to train harder and to learn more in order to become a stronger competitor. Eventually, Ilya found his first dance partner to train and to compete with. Ilya currently competes in the International Latin category, which includes five dances – cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive. In 2015, he and his partner were finalists in the Novice Latin category at the United States National Championships, finishing 7th out of 92 couples. Ilya does not teach dancing, but can recommend some excellent dance teachers in the Bay Area. Off the dance floor, Ilya is a serial entrepreneur, currently the President and Founder of Wydly, cross-lingual marketplace. 
Chaim Seidler-Feller

Chaim Seidler-Feller

Rabbi, Educator, Social Activist

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 Chaim Seidler-Feller was Executive Director of the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA for a fantastic 40 years. He is currently our Director Emeritus and is also the director of the Hartman Fellowship for Campus Professionals. Chaim is a lecturer in the Departments of Sociology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA and in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is also a faculty member of the Shalom Hartman Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and of the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He was a founding member of Americans for Peace Now.  
Marina Sirota

Marina Sirota

Professor of Biomedical Informatics

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Assistant Professor at the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF. Prior to that – Lead Research Scientist in the Division of Systems Medicine at Stanford University and Sr. Research Scientist at Pfizer. She completed her PhD in Biomedical Informatics at Stanford University. Her primary focus is on leveraging and integrating different types of clinical data to better understand the role of the immune system in disease.
Vlada Teper

Vlada Teper

Educator, Dance Instructor

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 A Moldavia-born educator in the Humanities and the Arts with Master of Arts degrees from Stanford University, Vlada Teper has offered dance instruction specializing in Latin Dance for over 15 years, spanning countries from Russia to Mexico. When she is not teaching dance, Vlada is creating and leading multicultural youth programs and teaching recent immigrants from around the world. Vlada‘s passion is education for peace and social justice.  
Tsvia Walden

Tsvia Walden

Psycholinguist

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 Dr. Tsvia Walden, daughter of late Shimon Peres, is a psycholinguist and computer specialist, focusing on literacy and Jewish texts. Walden specializes in social constructionism through language, language and gender, language acquisition, literacy, digital literacy and research of Jewish texts. She is the creator and presenter of a filmed lecture series about language instruction and language acquisition. She has created a few television series on the Hebrew language. Dr. Walden is senior lecturer at Ben Gurion University. 
Rina Zaslavsky

Rina Zaslavsky

Historian, Educator

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Rina Zaslavsky grew up in Yerevan, where she studied and taught Hebrew in the 1980’s. Having lived in Gush-Etzion since her immigration to Israel, she currently works as the Director of the Department of Hebrew Instruction & Jewish Identity in the RSJ Division of the Jewish Agency for Israel. From 1996-2002, she was served as Vice President of the MILA Institute in Jerusalem. Her main professional interests include pedagogical methodologies in the subjects of Hebrew language, Jewish history and tradition, and the history of Jerusalem from the 19th to the early 20th centuries. A member of the Organizing Committee and Program Committee of Limmud FSU since its inception in Ashkelon in 2008, since 2012 she has served as Limmud FSU Israel’s Chair.
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