SFW Staff

The backbone of SFW is its outstanding faculty. At SFW we are proud of the incredible educational staff we have assembled. Our teachers are not only accomplished scholars in their fields of expertise, but are charismatic, warm and caring individuals whose dedication to their students goes far beyond the four walls of the classroom. Our teachers are always ready and eager to talk with students, listen to their thoughts, provide them with advice and invite them to their homes for Shabbat. It is no surprise that students maintain their connection with their teaches long after their Shana Ba’aretz.

Rabbi Gershon Turetsky

Rabbi Gershon Turetsky (Director) has been a member of the SFW faculty since the school’s inception. He studied in Yeshivat Sha’alvim following high school and received a B.S. in Accounting from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of business. Subsequently, he learned in Yeshiva University’s Kollel as part of the Semicha program in New York, as well as at the Gruss Institute in Yerushalayim. Additionally, he was a member of the Yeshivat Sha’alvim’s Kollel where he completed his Semicha studies and received ordination from HaRav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of the Beit Din HaGadol of Yerushalayim. In the summers, Rabbi Turetsky has served as the Director of Camp Morasha’s Girls Beit Medrash Program (BMP), a Rebbe on NCSY’s Summer Kollel, a Senior Educator on NCSY’s TJJ program and a Director of the Summernary learning program. He has lectured on topics of Halacha and Jewish Philosophy in Israel, the US, Canada and the UK. Rabbi Turetsky lives with his wife Nili and their family on Kibbutz Sha’alvim, right near Yeshivat Sha’alvim.

Mrs. Michelle Elmaleh

Mrs. Michelle Elmaleh (Assistant Director/Dean of Students), a licensed social worker, received her BA from Stern College and her MSW from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Prior to making Aliyah, Michelle gained extensive experience in guidance and teaching in high schools in the U.S. She has spent numerous summers in Camp Simcha, Camp Mesorah, and other informal educational environments, including NCSY Michlelet. Michelle has been at SFW since its inception and lives with her husband and family in Beit Shemesh.

Rabbi Yamin Goldsmith

Rabbi Yamin Goldsmith (Rosh Midrasha), who is well known and respected for his warm and engaging personality, attended Yeshivat Sha’alvim for two years before serving in the I.D.F with the Yeshivat Shaalvim Hesder Machal program. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University, a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University, was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, and is completing his doctoral dissertation in Curriculum and Teaching at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He has worked in both formal and informal Jewish education in the United States and in Israel for almost 30 years. Rav Yamin lives with his wife, Joy, and their children in Beit Shemesh.

Rav Dovid Abrahamowitz

Rav Dovid Abrahamowitz is a native of Toronto, Canada. After spending two years in Yeshivat Shiloh, he continued his studies at Yeshiva University. He served as the Director of Informal Education and the Director of Outreach for NCSY Canada. After making aliya in 2004, R’ Dovid was the Mashgiach Ruchani at Midreshet Yeud before establishing The World That Was (www.theworldthatwas.org), taking people from all over the world on life-changing trips to Poland, including SFW students. He has a passion for halacha, and has taught various halacha courses at SFW for over a decade.

Leora Bednarsh

Leora Bednarsh is a graduate of Drisha’s Scholars’ Circle. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from Princeton University. She has taught classes in Drisha’s Continuing Education program, at the MaTaN Summer Program in Jerusalem, as well as at several synagogues in New York and around the country. A recipient of the Harold Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, she taught Talmud and Halacha at the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, her alma mater, as well as kallah classes in her community. She completed the Keren Ariel program at Nishmat, where was the recipient of the Bertha Green Memorial Fellowship, is currently serving as a Yoetzet Halacha in Hilchot Niddah, and is studying to become a Halachik Advisor to couples undergoing fertility treatment. She teaches at Shaalvim for Women and Midreshet Moriah, as well as the Midrashia of Yeshiva University where she teaches Hadrachat Kallah. She and her husband, Rav Assaf, and their seven children live in Alon Shevut.

Dina Blank

Dina Blank, holds a degree in Political Science from Columbia University and a Master’s in Jewish History from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School. Prior to her aliyah Mrs. Blank taught Judaic studies in New York-area schools. Upon moving to Israel, she has been affiliated with a prestigious Jerusalem think tank where she has conducted and coordinated research projects. A graduate of Michlala’s overseas program, Mrs. Blank has received numerous academic awards.

Ariella Bodoff

Ariella Bodoff is the Director of Programming at Shaalvim for Women. Originally from New York, my family and I moved to Israel in the summer of 2014. I went to Shaalvim for two years and have basically never left. After my shana bet I went to Touro Manhattan where I graduated with a BS in Psychology. After moving to Israel I continued to visit Shaalvim on a frequent basis. I spent the last two years being a madricha in Shaalvim while I was studying at Wurzweiler School of Social Work. This past summer I graduated with a Masters in Social Work.

Rabbi Yakov Haber

Rabbi Yakov Haber is known for the clarity of presentation and dynamic teaching style that he brings to his in-depth halacha shiurim. An enthusiastic educator, he comes to SFW with a decade of expertise in high-level Torah education at Yeshiva University: as a rebbe in YU´s Stone Beit Midrash Program; as coordinator of the practical halacha learning program at RIETS; and as a teacher of Halacha, Jewish thought, and prayer at Stern College for Women. After learning at Israel´s Yeshivat Kerem B´Yavneh and pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science, he was a fellow at YU´s prestigious and challenging Gruss Kollel Elyon. Rabbi Haber, his wife and children made aliya in 2007 and live in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Rabbi Yisrael Herczeg

Rabbi Yisrael Herczeg is the translator or author of several works of Torah scholarship including ArtScroll’s Sapirsetin Edition of Rashi and Patterns in Rashi. He holds a B.A. in history and an M.A. in education from the University of Detroit.

Mindy Hilewitz

Mindy Hilewitz studied limudei kodesh at Michlalah and graduated from Barnard College, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Jewish History. Mrs. Hilewitz holds a master’s degree in Jewish Education from YU’s Azrieli School of Jewish Education as well as a master’s degree in English Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Mrs. Hilewitz has taught at Manhattan Day School and Manhattan High School, and has been teaching chumash and machshava in various Jerusalem seminaries for the last 13 years. Mrs. Hilewitz has also served on the editorial staff at Jewish Action magazine and Judaica Press, and does professional Hebrew-English translations.  Mrs. Hilewitz has been part of Shaalvim for Women since its inception.

Rav Binyamin Hutt

Rav Binyamin Hutt, originating from Denver, Colorado, first came to Shaalvim For Men as a student in 2003. There he studied for two and a half years, where he began to develop his love for Torah and Eretz Yisrael. Subsequently, he continued to learn under the guidance of Rav Parnes shlit”a while completing a degree in management from Touro’s Lander College For Men. Rav Hutt then made aliyah with his wife in 2008, and has been teaching in Shaalvim For Men since then. There he has served as a shiur assistant, Mashpia, and is currently a Bekius Ram for the first year students. Rav Hutt has developed several unique series of shiurim, on topics including the Iggeres HaRamban, Halacha Highlights, Shabbos Zemiros, Great Jewish Letters, Living with Hashem in the Jewish Home and a most popular survey of Torah classics – “There Are Some Things You Just Have To Know.” His students truly enjoy his unique synthesis of metaphor, example, and articulate explanation which make his classes both thought provoking and memorable. Shaalvim For Women was delighted to welcome Rav Hutt to their staff in 2016 to share with our students his enriching classes. Most recently Rav Hutt founded and manages Hakol Torah, an international organization that promotes and incentivizes learning Torah on Shabbos Kodesh.

Tali Ifrah

Tali Ifrah attended Stern College for Women where she earned a BA in Judaic Studies. She then taught in Ramaz Lower School for a year while pursuing her Masters degree at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. Subsequently she made aliya with her family and settled in Jerusalem where she has been teaching tana”ch and machshava in Shaalvim for Women and other seminaries. She was previously the rakezet of the shana bet program in SFW and is currently a mechanechet for shana aleph where she helps her students navigate the challenges and growth opportunities that they encounter in their year in Israel.

Rav Jason Knapel

Rav Jason was ordained at RIETS and received his BA from Yeshiva College and an MS from the Bernard Revel Graduate School. He served as Director of Informal Education, Director of Judaic Studies and Assistant Principal at Hillel Yeshiva High School in Deal, New Jersey for many years. Subsequent to his aliyah, he joined the Sha’alvim for Women Faculty. Rabbi Knapel is known for both his fascinating and inspiring shiurim as well as his easy approachability and warmth. He lives in Beit Shemesh with his family

Rabbi Menachem Leibtag

Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, founder of the Tanach Study Center, is one of pioneers of Torah Education via the internet. He began his study at Yeshivat Har Etzion in the mid 70’s, and has served as a “rebbe” at the Yeshivah since the mid 80’s.  His weekly essays on Parshat Ha’shavua, read by literally thousands of subscribers world wide, introduce a vibrant analytical approach to thematic study of the Tanach and reflect over twenty-five years of experience as a teacher.  Presently, Rabbi Leibtag teaches as well at Yeshivat Shaalvim,  Midreshet Lindenbaum, and at the Gruss Institute of Yeshiva University in Jerusalem.  He also lectures regularly in Jewish communities and on college campuses throughout North America.

Rav Ari Waxman

Rav Waxman, after studying at Sha’alvim’s Overseas Program, served as a tank gunner in the machal program and then returned to the U.S. to continue his studies at Yeshiva University, completing a B.A. in economics. As a close student of his grandfather, Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt”l, Rav Waxman received Semicha from RIETS and earned an M.S. from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli School of Jewish Education. Shortly thereafter, Rav Waxman and his wife made aliyah, returning to Sha’alvim. Four years later, Rav Waxman was appointed Mashgiach of Yeshivat Sha’alvim’s Overseas Program. As Mashgiach, Rav Waxman forged deep relationships with the talmidim and soon became a central icon of the yeshiva. Rav Waxman currently serves as Menahel of the program where his vision continues to shape Yeshivat Shaalvim.

Simi Peters

Mrs. Ora Schrier has been teaching Tanach and Jewish thought for the past decade. She served as Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School’s Director of Religious Programming and 12th Grade Mashpia in addition to teaching in their Limudei Kodesh department. Ora has been involved in adult education through her work as a fellow at Brandeis University for the Orthodox Union’s Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus and as a resident scholar at Congregation Darchei Noam in New Jersey for the past four years. She is also a certified Kallah Teacher through the OU/RCA/Nishmat joint training program for female community educators. During the summers she serves as Assistant Director of Michlelet, NCSY’s Israel learning program for High School girls.  

She is an honors graduate of Stern College for Women where she received her degree in Jewish Education and Political Science and holds an M.S. from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. Ora offers a unique blend of high-level learning with a down-to-earth approach, focusing on integrating the learning practically into living a more inspired Torah life. She and her family are looking forward to fulfilling their dream of making Aliyah this Summer.

Rav Rafi Rosenblum

Rav Rafi Rosenblum earned a BA and Semichah from Yeshiva University, where he also spent four years as a member of the advanced Wexner Kollel Elyon. After making aliyah to Ramat Bet Shemesh in 2012, he started teaching at a number of seminaries and yeshivot. Currently, Rav Rafi teaches halacha and hashkafa Sha’alvim For Women, where his classes are popular for their interactive nature and exposure to new halachic topics. Rav Rafi is also a director of the popular Summernary learning program.

Rabbi Eliezer Schenkolewsky

Rabbi Eliezer Schenkolewsky studied at Yeshivat Shaalvim’s Hesder and Keter Yehoshua Kollel programs before receiving ordination from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Schenkolewsky serves on several rabbinical courts and has published numerous articles. A highly versatile educator who has taught the full range of Jewish subjects, Rabbi Schenkolewsky is best known as one of Israel’s leading Tanach scholars. He also serves as the Assistant Principal of Shaalvim’s David and Golda Lander College of Education and holds the rank of captain (res.) in the Israel Defense Forces. Rabbi Schenkolewsky is currently the Rabbi of Nofei Aviv – an Anglo community in Beit Shemesh.

Rav Gidon Schneider

Rabbi Gidon Schneider brings a broad range of perspectives and opinions to his shiurim, culled from his experiences in a variety of educational institutions. Born and raised in Toronto, Rabbi Schneider earned degrees from York University in Criminology/History, a certificate in the Philosophy of Law and Social Thought and a professional certificate in Dispute Resolution. Rabbi Schneider learned for a number of years in the Mir before joining Yeshiva University’s Gruss Kollel from whom he received semicha, in addition to earning semicha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. During this time he also received a Masters in Jewish Education through the Azrieli Graduate School and a certificate through the Puah Institute studying the interplay between Halacha and Fertility.

Rav Ezra Shapiro

Rav Ezra Shapiro learned in Yeshivat Sha’alvim from 1988-1990 at which point he joined Tzahal in the framework of the Machal program. He completed a B.S. in computer science and returned to Israel, learning at Yeshiva University Gruss kollel and receiving Semichah from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg Shlit”a. In 1996 Rav Ezra was appointed mashgiach of the second year students at Yeshivat Sha’alvim and through his wisdom, warmth and devotion he has helped so many of SFW students maximize their potential while effectively preparing for life after seminary.

Elana Glatt

Mrs. Elana Glatt serves as the Director of Educational Programming at Michlalah, as well as a seasoned teacher and rakezet. During the summers, she leads the programming at NCSY’s Michlelet program for teenage girls as the Activities Coordinator. Elana lectures frequently on a myriad of Torah topics and runs a biweekly vaad for Asicha Seminars. She holds a Master’s degree in Jewish Education alongside an MBA in Non-Profit Management. Elana is blessed to live in Jerusalem with her husband and children.

Yoseph Silverman

R’ Yoseph Silverman teaches Beur Hatefilah and Hilchot Kashrut at SFW. Rabbi Silverman recieved a BA in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva Univeristy and after moving to Israel he learned in YU’s Gruss Kollel for three years. He currently serves as a Shoel u’meishiv at Yeshivat Torat Shraga and learns in Yeshivat Ohalei Yaakov. He lives with his wife (also a staff member of SFW) and family in Jerusalem. 

Nili Turetsky

Nili Turetsky has been a member of the Sha’alvim for Women faculty since the school’s inception.  Nili earned her B.A. in Judaic Studies and English Literature from Stern College for Woman and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School.  Aside from being a core member of the SFW faculty, Nili has served in many different capacities at SFW. She was the founding Eim Bayit and has been a popular Mechanechet for both the Shana Aleph and Shana Bet programs.  Prior to making Aliyah, Nili taught Judaic studies at SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY. Nili and her husband Rabbi Gershon Turetsky and their family live on Kibbutz Sha’alvim.

Rav Michael Unterberg

Michael has been an educator for over 20 years. He was a founding member of the Torat Tzion Kollel movement in Cleveland, Ohio, where he and his wife Dara taught in and helped create the curriculum of the Fuchs Mizrachi School. Michael was the lead educator for ICNext, a training program for the broader Jewish Community in Cleveland. He was also a creative consultant the the Cleveland Playhouse. Michael studied philosophy in and received smicha from YU. Michael and Dara have five children and live in Efrat.

Rav Eli Wagner

Rabbi Eli Wagner learned in Yeshivat Sha’alvim, Yeshivat Derech Ha-Talmud, and in Yeshiva University as part of the prestigious YU Masmidim Honors Program. Rabbi Wagner spent four years of advanced Torah study in YU’s Gruss kollel In Jerusalem through which he received his Semicha. He holds BA in psychology from Touro University. In addition to teaching at SFW, Rabbi Wagner is also a popular Rebbi at Yeshivat Sha’alvim. Rabbi Wagner and his wife Daniella and family live in Yershalayim.