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Rabbi Ari Kahn is the Director of Foreign Student Programs at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where he also is a senior lecturer in Jewish studies. Rabbi Kahn received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, where he studied with Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik. He also holds a BA in psychology and an MS in Talmud.

Rabbi Kahn is a renowned speaker, and has lectured worldwide. Having authored hundreds of articles on the weekly parsha with a readership in excess of 10,000, Rabbi Kahn is also the author of "Explorations," an in-depth analysis of the weekly Torah reading, "Emanations," an in-depth analysis of the Jewish holidays, and "Echoes of Eden," a projected 5-volume set of parsha analysis. Rabbi Kahn combines the mystical explorations of kabbala and chassidism with a highly-intellectual and broad-minded approach to Torah study, incorporating psychology, literature and Jewish history into his observations as well. 

He has lived in Israel since 1984 with his wife Naomi and 5 children.

Meir Balofsky has been the Informal Education Director of the Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University since the program’s inception. Meir has been actively involved in both formal and informal education with Jewish youth for nearly 20 years.  He is originally from Toronto, where he was a classroom teacher, a youth/family programming director as well as a published author in Canadian Jewish History.  Meir made aliyah with his family in 2004 and is currently in his 10th year working with the Overseas Program at Bar Ilan University.

Rabbi Eli Menagedis the Mashgiach Ruchani and Judaic studies lecturer at The Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University. Originally from North Miami Beach, Rabbi Menaged attended Hillel High School and studied political science at the University of Florida. Rabbi Menaged learned at Midrash Sephardi in the Old City of Jerusalem, and received rabbinical ordination from Hacham Gidon Ben-Moshe. He also received an advanced rabbinic degree from Yeshivat Mikdash Melech in Brooklyn. Rabbi Menaged was Rabbi of Congregation Beth-El of Flatbush in the Syrian community of Brooklyn, before making aliyah with his family in 2011 to join Israel XP. 

Mrs. Natalie Menaged is the Director of Recruitment for The Israel Experience, as well as Israel Advocacy coordinator and Men’s Campus Em Bayit. Natalie was formerly the National Director, and Director of Education, at Hasbara Fellowships, a branch of Aish HaTorah dedicated to educating, training and inspiring students to stand up for Israel on university campuses. Natalie was the founder and president of Gators for Israel at the University of Florida, where she studied political science and religion. Natalie also studied at Shearim seminary in Jerusalem for two years. Most importantly, Natalie is mother to three energetic daughters who love Israel XP students!

Mrs Melanie Mernick was born and raised in Toronto, Melanie, along with her husband and 2 children, is in her second year as Womens Campus Em Bayit. In addition to teaching at Jewish schools in Dallas, Vancouver, Toronto and Jerusalem, Melanie has been working with students of all ages in different capacities such as launching an overnight camp for high school girls and volunteering in Russia during the Jewish holidays. What is even more apparent than her experience is her genuine love, care, and devotion towards each of her students. Melanie has created a warm oasis on Womens Campus, enabling girls to truly feel that they are at home away from home. The Mernicks love to host Shabbos meals,be a part of the exciting activities at Israel Experience, and beinspired  by the wonderful students.

Mrs. Alyta Pitaru, Director of Administration, was born in Petach Tikva Israel, raised in an English speaking household by parents who emigrated from England. She did her national service as a Coordinator of a Bnei Akiva branch in Moshav Netzer Hazahi in Gush Katif. She attended Bar Ilan University earning a BA in Land of Israel Studies and Jewish History. Alyta has been the director of administration for overseas students at Bar Ilan university since 1997.


Rabbi Adam Siegel has extensive and diverse experience in the fields of Jewish education and finance.  After teaching Torah for several years in Binghamton, NY and Charleston, SC, Rabbi Siegel served as the executive director of Yeshiva Elementary School in Miami Beach, during which time the school experienced tremendous growth and success.   He then became the founding director of Ben Gamla Charter School – the first Hebrew-English charter school in the USA, which now has over 2,000 students.  During the same time, Rabbi Siegel won awards from multiple insurance companies and brokerages for his work as an insurance and financial consultant.  In addition to serving as the CFO of our program, he runs a very successful mortgage brokerage in Jerusalem and teaches several courses at Bar Ilan University.  He lives with his wife and five children in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Dr. Chana G. Tannenbaum is Academic Coordinator and a senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University.

Dr. Tannenbaum has an Ed.D in Education, an M.A.. In Ancient Jewish History and a B.A. In Judaic Studies. In 1993, she received the Baumel Award, a prize bestowed upon the most outstanding faculty member at Yeshiva University. Since making making Aliyah in 1997 with her family, Dr. Tannenbaum has taught in many one year programs, served as the founding Dean of Shaalvim for Women, and lectured to adult women all over the country. She has been with this program for over fifteen years.

Rabbi Ari Yablok is the Campus Director as well as a Judaic Studies lecturer for the Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University. He has been with the Israel Experience since its inaugural year in 2009, spending his first two years along with his wife, Ayelet, as the Av and Eim Bayit of women’s campus, before becoming Campus Director. Rav Ari received a BA in Jewish History from Yeshiva University, a Master’s degree in social work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and Rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. In addition to his position as campus director, Rav Ari also serves as the Rav of the Anglo student community of Bar Ilan University. He is also a talented musician and band leader, having performed in concerts, weddings and other musical events worldwide. He is a member of the band “Omek Hadavar” who has released two studio albums on sale now on iTunes and wherever Jewish music is available.

Dr. Gabriel Danzig Earned his BA in Classics from University of Chicago, his MA in Ancient Greek from Bryn Mawr College, his MA in Social Thought from University of Chicago and his PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University. An author of several books and articles, Dr. Danzig will bring history to life in the classroom. Even students who are afraid of Classics may find a new level of comfort in his class. And for those who embrace them, this may be a dream come true.

Dr. Adam S. Ferziger Earned his B.A. in Political Science/Jewish History and his M.A. in Modern Jewish History from Yeshiva University, his Ph.D. in Modern Jewish History from Bar Ilan University and his Rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, fellowships and grants. A chairman of International Academic Conferences and lecturer at several scientific academic conferences, Rabbi Ferziger has published dozens of publications.

Dr. Daniel Kahn Earned his B.A. and M.A. in Psychology along with his Psy.D. from Yeshiva University. In addition to his extensive experience in the field of Psychology, he has helped the Jewish people in a variety of ways from Camp HASC to his work with Ethiopians, his students will learn to see the good in everyone and to see the good in themselves.

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis Also known as the Tzaddik of Jerusalem, Rabbi Machlis hosts approx. 200 guests every Shabbos. Flowing out of his tiny kitchen, the plethora of scrumptious homemade food is served along with his inspirational Torah thoughts, his enthusiastic singing and his warmth, acceptance and true caring for all. Students will learn much from his lessons. They may learn even more from his example.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim (Thomas) Meyer Earned his B.A. in English Literature and Anthropology from University of Michigan and an M.A. in English Literature from University of Chicago. He has earned Rabbinical ordinations from three different sources including Rabbi Avraham Kopshitz, Rabbi Noah Weinberg and Rabbi Yitzchak Kolitz, Chief Rabbi and Head of the Religious Courts in Jerusalem. Married with eight children, Rabbi Meyer published “Power of the Soul,” and is a former Journalist with the Detroit News.

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Poupko  Ordained by Yeshivas Ner Yisroel where he earned his Master’s Degree in Talmudic Law in 1969. He founded the Talmudic University of Florida and served as its associate dean until his aliya in 1977. As a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces, Rabbi Poupko served as a non-commissioned Officer in Lebanon, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Rabbi Poupko currently lectures on Jewish Philosophy at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center, where he serves as a rabbinic consultant.

Dr. Frances Shalit Earned her B.A. from Columbia University, her M.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science and her Ph.D. in Neuroimmunology, from Bar-Ilan University. Her expertise ranges from genetics, Biology, Immunology and Human Physiology to technology and business development.

Dr. J. Beck

Dr. Israel Belfer is an adjunct lecturer of history and philosophy of science at Bar Ilan University (BIU), and a Postdoctoral researcher in the Ben Gurion University (BGU) Jacqes Loeb Center for the Philosophy of Science.

Dr. Belfer has a PhD from BIU where he studied in the Science, Technology and Society Program, M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science. BSc physics (major), chemistry (minor), philosophy of science (minor).

Dr. Belfer participates in several research groups dealing with bioethics, Israeli society, technology, Judaism - for example the Nitzotzot Program at the BIU Institute for Higher Talmudic Studies (MGL) and Talmudic Logic research group under Professor Dov Gabbay (CompSci, BIU).

He and his wife Sarit live in Gush Etzion with their four children. They are graduates of higher Talmudic studies programs (in Yeshivot and Midrashot).

Dr. Yoel Finkelman is a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan, and teaches Talmud and Jewish thought at Midreshet Lindenbaum. is author of Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy.

Dr. S. Gottlieb

Professor Joel (Yaakov) Guttman received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Chicago. After receiving his doctorate he taught at UCLA and at the Hebrew University. He has been teaching at Bar-Ilan since 1982. His research is in applied microeconomic theory and game theory, focusing on applications of economics to sociology and political science. He has published 35 scientific papers and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Brown University and the University of Southern California, as well as an Olin Faculty Research Fellow at the Yale Law School.

Dr. A. Jacob

Mrs. D. Mantel

Dr. M .Michelson

Dr. Zvi Shimon

Mrs. Tamar Weissman.

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© The Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University 2013