Read More About Our Staff and Partners
Avital Blonder, CEO & Founder
Avital holds a Mandel social leadership MBA from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. She founded the “Derech Lod” community, previously established and managed the student branches of “Pa’amonim,” and worked at the Moses & Wolfowitz Foundation. Avital participated in the social leaders track of the "Kolot" study groups, and is active in a variety of organizations dealing with education, equal rights, promoting dialogue between Jews and Arabs, and strengthening civil society in Israel.
Yifat Ben Yehuda, Economic Development Programs Manager
Yifat completed a first degree in computer science at Bar Ilan University and a Master’s in Design and Technology from the Bezalel Academy. Before serving as V.P. of Business Development and Operation at Comply Ltd. over the last ten years, Yifat previously founded and co-managed Issue C.S. Ltd, a company providing offshore solutions for the hi-tech market. In addition to her extensive business experience, Yifat brings commitment to social issues including expanding economic opportunities for marginalized communities and building shared society.
Aulfat Abu-Ibn Altouree, Community Development Manager
Born in the City of Lod, Aulfat is Criminology and Communications graduate of the Unisa University and a certified Real Estate Advisor to the Ministry of Justice. Currently studying towards a graduate degree in Education at Beit Berl College, Aulfat was previously an executive manager of real estate consulting for Anglo-Saxon and held various other positions in the company over a 14 year career there. Aulfat’s social involvement began as an active member of the Scouts of Lod and she later volunteered in various local organizations including the Young Mothers of the City of Ramla.
Tali Semani, Community Development Manager
Trained as a group facilitator and employment counselor, Tali previously managed the Therapy Division of the Early Childhood Center at the Arab-Jewish Chicago Community Center and worked at the Shaked Institute for Psychology. She holds a BA in psychology and business administration and an MA in Childhood Clinical Psychology from Tel Aviv University. Tali also conducted research supported by the JDC into developing models for non-biased pre-employment testing. Among a variety of community commitments, Tali is involved in many activities which seek to bridge cultural divides through youth education.
Mor Deitch, Public Participation Coordinator
Mor earned a first degree in Social Work from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and an MBA through the university’s social leadership program of the Guildford Glazer Faculty ofBusiness & Management. She previously worked as a community organizer with the Housing, Community, and Law Clinic at Tel Aviv University and as a coordinator of the legal department at “Koach L’Ovdim.” Mor was a project manager for Breaking New Ground in Community Development, an EU Partnership for Peace initiative, and served as co-founder and chairwoman of “Osim Shinui,” a national student movement working to improve the status of social workers in Israel.
Ugudai Lakatchau, Community Coordinator
Raised in the village of Undelaf, Ethiopia, Ugudai immigrated to Israel with her family at the age of 16 and lived in the town of Qiryat Gat for almost two years before moving to Lod. She spent eight months in a formal ulpan Hebrew instruction program but otherwise learned much of what she knows through lived experience. Ugudai worked at a bakery, as a guide for children with special needs, and volunteered for Menifa, an organization providing services to youth at-risk. She joined Jindas and Mosaic: Lod Multicultural Center in 2016 and believes in working to end racism, such that each person will accept one other without any judgement based on appearance or background.
Yigal Bar Shalom, Resource Development Manager
Yigal is a native Hatzor HaGalilit in northern Israel. He received his first degree from Tel Aviv University, is a licensed attorney, and has many years of experience in resource development for a wide variety of leading NGOs in the fields of education, youth with special needs, Holocaust survivors' rights and others. A strong believer in community-based local development, Yigal understands the importance of empowering individuals to make real change in their immediate environments.
Alexandra Menter, Intern
Alexandra is from Carbondale Colorado and earned a bachelor’s degree with in English with a minor in Theatre from Mount Holyoke College. Her passion for U.S. Middle East relations and international human rights inspired her to pursue a year of volunteering with the Yahel Social Change program in partnership with Jindas. Alexandra has experience in journalism, fundraising, and social development and is excited to learn more about grassroots social change initiatives within Lod’s multicultural and mixed society.
Natasha Shaw, Intern
Natasha is from London, England and has graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BA in English Studies. For the past two years Natasha has been working as a national director of RSY-Netzer, the youth movement for Reform Judaism in the UK. Natasha is interested in sustainable development models, which has influenced her to spend a year in Israel as a participant on the Yahel Social Change Program in partnership with Jindas.
Itai is a City Council member and former chairman of Tel Aviv Shafdan (Wastewater Treatment System). Founder and CEO of “Derech Poriah” specializing in projects of urban regeneration and environment, Itai is socially active in various organizations promoting equal rights for minorities in Israel and environment.
Eli is an Associate History professor at the Tel Aviv University a Scientific Director of the Museum of Europe, and a diplomat. He served as Israel's Ambassador to France between the years 2000-2002. Elie is socially active in a variety of initiatives dealing with education, equal rights, promoting peace in the Middle East and dialogue between Jews and Arabs.
Irit holds a BA in Economics and Management from the Technion and a M.A in Geography and Urban Planning from Hebrew University. Irit was a program manager at JDC Israel and development manager at the international fellowship of Christian and Jews. Irit is socially active in a variety of initiatives dealing with Urban Planning, eradication of poverty and the specialization of the third sector in Israel.
Michal is the CEO of Wikimedia Israel. She was the manager of the Centers for Young Adults in the JDC Central District and manager and founder of the Weinberg Lay Leadership Center at JDC Israel. She is a former Chairwoman of the Association of Women and Their Bodies, and a social activist in organizations that promote social change with an emphasis on gender equality and promoting dialogue between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
Shira holds a Masters in Community Social Work from the Hebrew University. She manages an employment program of the “Beatzmi” association and formerly managed the Lod municipality’s mediation center for five years. Shira is a resident of Lod and a social activist in the field of mediation and promoting dialogue between different communities in Israeli society, as well as eradication of poverty.
Lior is one of the founders of “ReLod” Project – aiming to establish student communities in Lod. He was formerly the chairman of the Student Association at Oranim and a founder of Kesem- Promoting Environmental Protection. Lior is a Lod resident and a member of the Derech Lod community. He is also a social activist involved with various organizations promoting education, volunteerism, and the civic engagement of all communities in Israel.
Yair holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Shenkar University. He is the founder and partner of CliniClicks Ltd and Tipulog Israel Ltd. Yair worked as a business consultant in a variety of organizations including the Jewish Agency, Mati, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. He is a social activist in organizations engaged in immigrant absorption, ensuring equal opportunities for the disadvantaged, and promoting affordable housing in Israel.
In her former position as the coordinator of the Community Track at the Academic College, Ashkelon, Yafit built a new social and community organizing skill building program with a staff of five professionals and over seventy students. Yafit holds a Master’s degree in social work from Bar Ilan University and now serves as Director of the Shikma Community Center in Ramat Gan.
Advisors and Mentors
Farag Abu Farag: Community leader and Lod City Council Member
Amin Aljamal- Head of Alrashadia School & “Citizens Building Communities Organization” Mukhsen Al-Sekh- Arab Community Leader in Lod
Faten Alzinaty- Director, "Mosaic: Lod Multicultural Center" (formerly Arab-Jewish Chicago Community Center)
Zvika Aran- Founder of “Midot,” and Director of project “929-Studying the Bible Together”
Avinoam Armoni- Former Chairmen, Israel Association of Community Centers
Shamay Assif- Former Director of Planning Administration, Israel Ministry of the Interior
Ilan Devries- experienced media content producer, and former Director, Jerusalem Cinemateque
Ami Dror- Co-founder, Avatar Ventures and Zaitoun Ventures
Tamar Gavrieli- former Head of Strategic Planning Department, Tel Aviv Municipality
Forsan Hussein- Former CEO, Jerusalem YMCA
Haya Jamshi- CEO, The Shahaf Foundation
Sara Kramer-Founder of “Ir Amim”
Zeev Landau- Head of Israel Drainage Authority
Yael Moriah- Founder and Partner, Moria-Sekely Landscape & Architecture
Eilon Schwartz- Founding Director of “Shaharit”, and founder of the Heschel Center
Gali Sembira- “Shaharit” Fellow and former Organizational Director of “Shitufim”
Alon Shavit- Head of the Israeli Institute of Archeology
Varda Shiffer- Former President, The Mandel Foundation, and Van Leer Institute Fellow
Martin Weyl- Founder of the Hiriya Park, and former CEO of The Israel Museum
Ran Wolf- CEO, Urban Planning and Project Management LTD. (based in Tel Aviv)