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What is the CJI Fellows program? 
CJI Fellows is the Israel-based young leadership board of the Center for Jewish Impact. Our fellows are unique and vibrant Israelis, leaders in their respective fields looking to engage communally, pragmatically, and intellectually with the greatest challenges and opportunities facing Israel, the Middle East, the Jewish world, and beyond.

This initiative is based on the premise that Israeli civil society leaders are best positioned to spearhead Israel’s relationship with diverse societies, governments, and Jewish communities around the world. Therefore, CJI fellows are given significant creative authority and resources to develop and lead initiatives of the Center for Jewish Impact, in Israel and abroad. 

Who are the CJI Fellows?

The young leadership board brings together individuals (ages 28-40) representing diverse sectors of Israeli society — rising leaders in business, medicine, academia, media, high-tech, and more, who share a passion and experience in foreign affairs, diplomacy, and Israel-world Jewry relations. They are individuals looking to bring their best ideas and energy to various forums — diplomatic events, media, workshops, lectures, and more. 

Wish to join? Contact us 

Gladys Bendahan 

Gladys Bendahan is the Director of Business Development of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office in Israel. Prior to joining ADIO, she engaged closely with Israeli ministries and government officials, global enterprises and international organisations as a Global Strategy and Political Affairs Consultant. Before her role as a Consultant, she managed the office of Ambassador Danny Danon at the Mission of Israel to the United Nations, and was directly in charge of official delegations from various Israeli ministries participating in meetings and forums at the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council.  Gladys is originally from Spain, is fluent in 4 languages  and holds a bachelor’s degree in international Relations and Economics from Fordham University in New York.

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Rebecca Brindza

Rebecca Brindza is an organizational strategist helping businesses improve efficiency and productivity through internal process automation, user-centric product development and quality creative. Currently, she works in marketing and product at Medcase to provide flexible and remote gig opportunities for healthcare professionals across the globe.

Rebecca hails from a 6+ year career in the social impact sector where she built communications between the maker movement and disability community, consulted for Jewish institutions, conducted OSINT research for private clients, and ran peacebuilding initiatives for young adults from the Middle East and North Africa.

She holds a MPH in Emergency Management from Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a BA in Global Affairs, Conflict Resolution and Business Management from Reichman University.

Tomer Cohen

Tomer Cohen is an Israeli entrepreneur and the CEO of BUYME, Israel's leading digital gift-cards solutions company. Before joining BUYME, Tomer founded 2 companies, held senior roles in the diplomatic and political sector in Israel, including Chief of Staff to the Israeli Mission to the UN. Tomer was chosen to Forbes 30/30 list of 2018.

Tomer Cohen
Miriam Cohen

Miriam Cohen

Miriam Cohen is an entrepreneur, director, and content creator. She is a co-creator of the revolutionary project called "Triumph of the Spirit – 360 in Auschwitz" – a virtual reality journey in Poland. So far, 70,000 viewers in Israel have experienced this life-changing film that connects them to Jewish history, identity, and peoplehood in a new way. These days, the film is presented to new audiences worldwide. The film was a personal triumph for Cohen: a graduate of the Haredi educational system, Miriam could not visit Poland and learn about the Holocaust first-hand. As a filmmaker and creator, she sought the most effective tool to convey a significant and influential experience. Her introduction to VR technology made it clear that it was possible to connect technology with content, and the "Triumph of the Spirit" project was born. Miriam is married and a proud mother of six.

Amir Eretz Tzvi

Amir Eretz Tzvi is a Fullstack developer at a hi-tech company in Tel Aviv. Born into a Muslim family in an Israeli Arab village in the north of the country, at 16, Eretz Tzvi left home, deciding to convert to Judaism and join the IDF. He went on to serve in a number of elite military units, completing his service in 8200, Israeli Intelligence Corps, as a head of a cyber-attack team.

Amir Eretz Tzvi

Ezra Friedman

Ezra Friedman is the foreign policy adviser covering MENA, energy, climate, and counter-terrorism at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.  Raised in the US, Ezra made Aliyah in 2012 and serving as combat medic specializing in trauma in the IDF, before beginning his career which has been at the nexus of public policy, science and international relations.   He holds a bachelor’s degree in Governmental Studies from Reichman University (2014-2017) and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics & Political Science (2018-2019). Professionally, Ezra has spent several years working on Israeli, US, and UK foreign policies, the nexus of climate change and national security, great power competition, and nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East.  In his spare time he directs the International Student Young Pugwash network, the youth affiliate of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs, where he focus’ on addressing the existential threats to humanity through dialogue.

Itay Hacham 

Itai Hacham is a Programs Officer at the Ruderman Family Foundation, where he focuses on strengthening the relations between Israel and American Jewry. Prior to joining the Foundation, Itai served as a Political Adviser to the CEO of the World Jewish Congress, and as an Adviser to the Chief Programs Officer, taking an active part in the global operations and diplomatic work of the organization. Following this, Itai served as Head of Operations and Policy and was a Co-Founder of the Center for Jewish Impact, which serves as a focal point and center of excellence for innovative initiatives benefitting Israel and the diaspora Jewry. In this position, Itai was actively involved in establishing key international diplomatic initiatives and groundbreaking projects, including with some of Israel’s leading sports clubs and more. He was an Emissary of the Jewish Agency, spending a significant time in the US, mainly in the Midwest. Itai holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Business Administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Master’s degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University.

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Itay Gliner

Itay Gliner

Itay Gliner is the spokesperson of Sheba Medical Center, the largest medical center in the Middle East and a top-ranked global hospital. Itay previously served as the spokesperson to Israel’s Minister of Public Security and the Minister of Justice. He participated in The StandWithUs Fellowship and was a member of the "Israeli Soldiers Tour," a public speaking tour to the United States. Itay has a B.A in Communication and Political Science from Bar-Ilan University.

Nathan Joel

Nathan Joel is the Director of Sales at Kipp, having made Aliyah to Israel in 2018 from Melbourne, Australia. He wrote speeches for Israel’s Mission to the United Nations in New York and holds significant experience helping senior executives and world leaders craft the right message for the right audience.

Nathan Joel
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Arik Kaufman

Arik Kaufman, is an accomplished entrepreneur and founder of multiple food tech and clean tech companies, is also a founding partner of Blue Sound Waves, a sustainability and impact collective co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.

Currently serving as the CEO and Co-Founder of Nasdaq-listed Steakholder Foods, a leading deep tech company in the cultivated meat sector, Arik is deeply passionate about innovation and dedicated to turning groundbreaking ideas into reality.

Arik's diverse professional journey, marked by entrepreneurial spirit and success in bringing innovative concepts to life, earned him recognition from the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world for the year 2023. Arik holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Reichman University.

Valeria Kogan

Valeria has completed her BSc and MSc in applied maths and PhD in bioinformatics. She started her career as a researcher in the lab and gained management experience leading AI teams in biotech start-ups. This path eventually led to co-founding Smartomica, a company focused on developing an AI-based platform that assists oncologists in the diagnosis of severe cancer patients.
The concept for Fermata came from the understanding that plant health is also very important for each one of us, and for the planet. 30% of crops are lost globally due to late detection of plant diseases — a huge source of food waste. Drawing upon her experience and knowledge from the biotech industry, Fermata has built a sustainable AI-based solution for automatic monitoring of plant health in greenhouses and on the fields. They have been listed multiple times as one of the leading start-ups in AgTech and AI. Valeria was listed as Forbes 30 under 30 in Europe and Israel.

Julien Lederman

Julien Lederman

Julien Lederman leads Corporate Development for Nano Dimension, a NASDAQ listed 3D printing company. He previously worked at Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and the World Economic Forum. Outside of work, Julien has actively been engaged in policy and social impact. He currently is involved in the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) and Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (MEET). He was previously the Chairman of Israel Policy Forum’s (IPF) young professional group, Atid, in New York and a Board Member of the AJC's young professional group, ACCESS, in New York. Julien holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA in International Relations from Colgate University.

Avi Lewis

Avi Lewis is a Software Engineer at Facebook/Meta Tel Aviv. He is a former journalist The Times of Israel, a guest lecturer for visiting college groups (incl. Harvard Law, Birthright, Passages and others) and a former member of the Israeli Air Force's commando unit. His informative videos on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and he has a sizeable following on LinkedIn where he posts daily. He holds a BSc in Computer Science and BA in Liberal Arts (Honors) from Hebrew University.

Avi Lewis
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Yana Naftalieva

Yana Naftalieva is the President of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), the democratic organisation representing over 800’000 students across the globe. She is advocating for Jewish students and ensuring that the voices of the next generation of Jewish leaders are heard at the major institutions throughout the world. With a background in founding a Jewish student club in her univeristy and serving as Vice President of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), she's dedicated to combatting antisemitism on campus. Yana holds a master's degree in diplomacy from Reichman University in Israel, enhancing her strategic leadership in advocating for Jewish student rights and fostering Jeiwsh student activism worldwide.

Omri Odem

Omri Odem is a business development manager and communications professional with experience in media and investor relations, as well as project management. Since 2019, he's been a founding team member at Spero Impact Solutions, where he leads investment portfolio management and global donor projects, collaborating closely with Israeli businesses, government, and legal experts. Previously, he served as the Israeli Communications Manager for the World Jewish Congress and held significant roles in the IDF Navy where he was recognized as an Outstanding Soldier. In 2024, he played a critical role as the operational spokesperson for the navy during the Swords of Iron war during a four-month reserves service. Omri holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Reichman University and specializes in Digital Marketing from the Technion. Additionally, Omri dedicates his expertise as a consultant to non-profits focused on education for children with disabilities and hospitalized children.


Yuval Peled

Yuval Peled is a partner in FBC’s Tax practice. His practice focuses on international tax matters, and regularly advises on the tax aspects of mergers and acquisitions, investment funds, reorganizations, and financing. Yuval represents private clients in developing and implementing sophisticated domestic and international tax and estate plans and advises on the tax aspects of trusts.

Before joining FBC, Yuval spent three years working as a tax lawyer in the New York office of Ropes & Gray LLP, and prior to that worked as a CPA at Deloitte Israel. Yuval received an LL.M. in International Taxation from the University of Michigan. He studied in University of Michigan, LL.M., (International Taxation) (2015) and Tel Aviv University, LL.B. (Law and Accounting), (2011).

Sacha Roytman

Sacha Roytman serves as the CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM). Prior to joining CAM, Sacha led the Digital Advocacy Unit at the World Jewish Congress. At the WJC, Sacha led the #WeRemember Campaign for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the world's largest digital educational campaign. He previously worked for Rimon Cohen Sheinkman, a leading PR firm in Israel, as the director of digital media communication, and prior to that commanded the Israel Defense Forces' New Media Operations team. Sacha holds a bachelor's degree in Interactive Communications from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.


Mati Schvartz

Mati Schvartz is Co-Founder & CEO of ScaleUp Israel and Co-Founder & President of its Latin American platform TÄCHLES Technologies.

He has +20 years of experience designing and implementing technological projects in Latin America for regional and international corporations, including SAP, 3M, Pontis (acquired by Amdocs), Verint and Elbit Systems, where he held different growth strategy positions, including Senior Manager & Regional Marketing for LATAM; and Director of Sales & Business Development, among others. He has also volunteered in the WJC as well as in the Buenos Aires JCC.

He is Founding Member of ColaborAgro, a non-profit empowering Latin American farmers with Israeli innovation. He has a degree in Business Administration from Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Hadas Shmueli

In her former role as CEO of the Kabbalah Center Europe & Africa, Hadas was fascinated by the people of different faiths and cultures she met and saw the potential of intercultural dialogue and mutual learning these meetings brought about. Growing up in Israel made her realize that most people often preconceived stigmas and prejudices regarding others, without having any interactions with them. To change that, she opened "Nice2Meet"- a social venture that offers tours to the most fascinating communities in Israel. These tours allow participants to engage with people from different backgrounds: Haredi Jews, Muslim Arabs, Bedouins, Eritrean refugees, and more. Hearing their stories and learning about their lives firsthand- brings people closer together and helps break stigmas and fears. Hadas also advocates for diversity and teaches about different cultures through social media and lectures.

Hadas Shmueli
Shachar Ufaz

Shachar Ufaz

Shachar Ufaz serves as the Principal of Kedem Regional Elementary School and founder and CEO of Promoting Education in Israel–One of Us, a non-profit organization that aims to reduce socioeconomic gaps by providing tools to help disadvantaged young people integrate into society as equal and productive adults. He also heads the “One of Us” pre-military academies, which were among the first pre-army preparatory programs designed for vulnerable populations. Today, Promoting Education in Israel operates three pre-military preparatory programs for at-risk and marginalized youth, which include the Nitzotz Academy for young women and a rehabilitation and integration program for young offenders released from Ofek prison. Shachar holds a bachelor’s degree in law and government from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and is studying for a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership at the Kibbutzim College of Education. Married and a father of three, he lives in the Hadassah Neurim youth village.

Greg Weitz

Gregory Weitz owns a law firm and notary office in Tel-Aviv that specializes in real estate law and international tax law. Gregory is an accredited lawyer of the Israeli Bar since 2007.  Greg has held volunteer roles with the WJC, Belgian Jewish community, and frequently speaks and writes for French-speaking audiences in Israel and around the world. He holds a law degree from Bar Ilan University.

Greg Weitz
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