InterACT Global is an exclusive, invite-only study trip that exposes Jewish leaders and opinion-shapers to innovative Jewish/Israeli organizations and individuals working in the developing world and explores underlying questions about our responsibility as Jews to the wider world.
InterACT Global was initiated by the Office of the President of Israel and spearheaded by OLAM in partnership with SID Israel, Gesher Leadership Institute, and Shalom Corps.
The first delegation traveled on a 5-day study trip to Rwanda in February 2020 and explored the country through two lens: its historical and development context and as a case study for Jewish engagement in global service and international development. The group visited organizations with Jewish roots, such as Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, JDC Entwine, and Resonate, and learned about the growing Israeli partnership with Rwanda through the Israeli Embassy in Rwanda and MASHAV.
David is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Moishe House. Through his work in the Jewish community, David has garnered many honors including the Avi Chai Fellowship, the JCSA Young Leadership Award, and the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence. In 2013, David was the recipient of UCSB Hillel’s inaugural Alumni Achievement Award. David graduated with honors from UCSB with a BA in Business Economics. When he’s out of the office, David enjoys playing basketball, spending time with friends and traveling to destinations with no dress code. David currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Myka, their daughter, Jordan, and their dog, Binx.
Yuval Ekstein is a strong valued leader, a Zionist with a love for people.
In 1987 he established Beit Ekstein, an organization that supports people with disabilities. Over the years, Beit Ekstein evolved into Israel’s largest leading organization providing services to people with special needs. It employed about 1800 workers and provided services to 3500 families. In 2019, Yuval assumed the role of CEO of Shalom Corps – the new global Jewish movement of activism and volunteering. Shalom Corps was established by Mosaic and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and is supported by the Israeli government.
Liz Fisher is CEO of Amplifier, working to grow the movement of intentional, collaborative giving inspired by Jewish values. She envisions a world where everyone uses their resources for impact and is proud to call themselves a philanthropist. Liz comes to Amplifier from Repair the World, where she led the organization’s expansion, fundraising, communications, and operations. Liz began her career in grassroots community development with University of Missouri Extension and has worked at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, UJA-Federation of New York, and The Jewish Education Project. She is a Schusterman Senior Fellow and a board member of B’Shert congregation. Liz lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, NY.
Michael is the Chief Executive Officer of the City of London Group PLC, a listed company that focuses on providing financial services to small and medium-sized businesses. In 2017, he was elected President of the United Synagogue, the largest synagogue movement in Europe, founded in 1870. Since 2003, Michael has served on the Board of United Synagogue and was Vice Chairman and Chairman for seven years. During this period, he led the redevelopment of the community building and oversaw the growth in membership. He was able to draw a large number of young leaders into the community and that has continued to date. Michael is married to Lara and they have four daughters.
Ruth is a volunteer leader in the Jewish community, mainly helping youth organisations to create safe, empowering places for young people to develop into amazing citizens. She is also passionate about partnerships making links between people and organisations. Professionally Ruth is a person-centred therapist spending over 30 years in schools and in private practice. Ruth is a trustee of The Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre, JLGB, and UJIA. Ruth has experience as a safeguarding officer and is a past co-chair of Highgate United Synagogue when it was rebuilt and focused on building a centre for the community’s needs. Ruth’s family became foster parents for a Syrian refugee Ishmael from Calais, who is now attending university.
Cindy was the founding executive director of Repair the World NYC, where she built a robust program focused on mobilizing the Jewish community to meet pressing local needs through service and learning in Central Brooklyn and Harlem. Previously, she worked for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life for fifteen years, including as the executive director of NYU’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. Cindy holds a masters degree in Non-Profit Management from NYU’s Wagner School and is the recipient of the Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Award, the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger Harvest Heroes Award, and Hillel’s Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award. Cindy lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Dan, and their three children.
Racheli Ibenboim is a social entrepreneur who works on issues related to the status of Haredi women and the integration of the Haredi community into Israeli society. She is the founder of Movilot, which promotes occupational leadership for outstanding Haredi women with higher education. Racheli also heads the Haredi section at Shaharit, which aims to develop a new social partnership in Israeli society. Racheli was the director of Meir Panim.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications and sociology from the Open University, and a Master’s degree in Israel and Jewish Studies from the University of Haifa. She mentors young Haredi activists, advises social-change projects, and lectures frequently on the nature of the Haredi community and processes underway within it.
Justin is an activist, social impact professional, and father. Married with three children and living in Jerusalem, Justin is the Deputy CEO of the Schusterman Foundation – Israel. Since its inception in 2006 to 2019, he served as the Executive Director of ROI Community, an international network of over 1,300 Jewish activists, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s.
Justin holds an MBA from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and a BA in political science from McGill University.
Daniel is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Birthright Israel Foundation, where he leads strategic alliances, partnerships, and brand experience. Prior, he served as the inaugural Director and COO of the Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE) Downtown location where he created a hub of Jewish engagement in Midtown Manhattan.
An ordained Rabbi, Daniel currently serves as the Director of Community Education at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where he lectures, delivers sermons, and co-directs the renowned KJ Beginners program. Daniel holds a B.S. and an MBA from Yeshiva University. He was selected in the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 list of emerging Jewish leaders in 2017.
Avi previously served as the spokesman of The Jewish Agency for Israel and of its then-Chairman, Natan Sharansky, and as a foreign media liaison for the Israel Defense Forces. His professional experiences have included stints with the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, the Embassy of Israel in Washington, and Hillel International.
In 2016, JTA named Mayer the third most influential person on “Jewish Twitter,” just behind Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. In 2017, he was named one of the most influential English-speaking immigrants in Israeli politics by The Jerusalem Post. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Maryland, Mayer lives in Jerusalem.
Dr. Tsega Melaku was born in Gondar, Ethiopia and made Aliyah alone, without her family, in 1984 at the age of 16. Upon arrival to Israel, she went to Hebrew Ulpan and continued to Bar Ilan University, where she received a B.A. in political science. She earned an M.A. in international business from Touro College, after which time she went on to receive her Ph.D. from the Adam Mickiewicz University.
Tsega is a journalist in both radio and television, and was the first woman director of Channel “A,” a Hebrew radio program. Tsega volunteers as a board member of the Israel Journalist Association and is the chairperson of the Ethiopian Scholarship Fund. She is the author of her book “Not in Our School,” published by Steimatzky Publishers.
As President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Eric M. Robbins brings a transformational mindset to his leadership role by prioritizing the need for Federation to articulate a modern vision of its role and its relevance in the Atlanta Jewish community. Eric came to Federation after 12 years as CEO of Camp Twin Lakes, a network of camps for children with serious illnesses. Prior to that, Eric spent 16 years working in the Jewish Community of New York. In the Jewish communal world, Eric was selected for the Atlanta cohort of the Wexner Heritage Program. He has consistently been recognized in Atlanta as one of Atlanta’s most influential nonprofit leaders.
Ariel is a journalist at the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon who has been a U.S. correspondent since 2010, covering the Obama and Trump Administrations. He has also published issues and stories from all over the world, including the story of Birobidzhan, the Jewish state in the Russian far east; Cotopaxi – the first wild-west Jewish town in the U.S.A; the shrinking of Lake Chad, elections in the U.K. and Greece, Jews in Ukraine, France after the terror attack in the Kosher supermarket, special interview with the Chief Rabbi of Russia, etc.
In recent years, Ariel has additionally interviewed some key figures in Israeli politics, including President Reuven Rivlin, former president Shimon Peres, former justice minister Ayelet Shaked, and many others. Ariel holds a B.A. in Political Science and Communication and an M.A. in American History.
For the past 2 years, Adi has acted as the coordinator for Israel’s Channel 12 News flagship weekend magazine show, Ulpan Shishi, which is the most respected and valued news magazine show on Israeli television. It covers all aspects of Israeli society, from current affairs and politics to arts and human interest stories.
Adi graduated from Sapir College in the south of Israel and is currently living in Givatayim.
Eran Weintrob, a leader, social entrepreneur and lawyer, is the Executive Director of Latet – Israeli Humanitarian Aid, one of the most influential civil organizations in Israel, which is well recognized for its fight to eradicate poverty and develop solutions to tackle food insecurity. The scope of his responsibilities includes driving Latet forward by formulating the organization’s strategy, and expanding the social development activities in Israel and abroad. Eran leads complex national fundraising and awareness campaigns, international development, creating and nurturing partnerships with companies, foundations, NGOs and philanthropists.
Eran, 48, is a father to Amit, Noam and Rani, and married to Lital. He was born in the Southern Israeli city of Dimona, and currently lives in Ramat Gan.
“The fact that our trip included a mix of Americans, Israelis, and Brits was very helpful in how we collectively looked at the issue. The diversity and experiences that we had and the open and honest conversations helped us envision a future where international service is more a part of Jewish identity building around the globe.”
- Eric Robbins
“I am deeply grateful for this incredible opportunity. You opened my eyes to a part of the world that has now become a part of me and ignited a passion for international development that will color my personal and professional pursuits well into the future.”
- Avi Mayer
“The meaningful insights are not necessarily [just] about Rwanda itself, but about the country as a case study. What occupies me is the centrality of Tikkun Olam in the global Jewish community and the challenge for us as Israelis to share this value as part of our common peoplehood.”
- Racheli Ibenboim