Meet Our Team in North America
Ilana first joined the NFTY in Israel team as Registrar in 2016 before moving into her current role as an Assistant Director. She graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Political Science. Throughout High School Ilana was actively involved in NFTY-GER, and was a participant on NFTY in Israel and Urban Mitzvah Corps. Ilana is an enthusiastic traveler discovering different cultures, sites, and sounds of our global world and is so grateful to be able to use that passion to send thousands of teens on NFTY in Israel.
Erica holds a Bachelor's degree in Youth Development from Indiana University. She joined the URJ in 2019, after working and living in Washington, D.C. Erica is an alum of Camp Harlam, NFTY in Israel, and Heller High. She loves to travel and has been to over 20 countries.
Matt has been a member of the NFTY team since 2017 and joined the NFTY in Israel team in 2020. Prior to that, he was living and working Washington D.C. He holds a degree in sociology from Pitzer College in California. Matt is a proud alum of Eisner Camp, NFTY-NAR, and Heller High (formerly known as EIE).
Paige been working in camping and youth programming for over 24 years now. More than half of those years were spent with the URJ between URJ Eisner Camp and helping open three new specialty camps. She holds a degree in Mathematics and minored in Recreation and Leisure Studies. Paige has been a member of the youth finance team supporting all the non-camp URJ Youth offerings since the fall of 2017.
Meet Our Team in Israel
Rabbi Loren Sykes grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago where he was a lifelong Jewish camper and active member in synagogue and youth group life. He holds BA degrees in both European History and in Talmud, as well as an MA in Jewish studies and rabbinic ordination. Loren brings seventeen years of senior leadership in Jewish camping to his position as Director of Israel Programs, as well as principal of Heller High. Rabbi Sykes has vast experience in not-for-profit leadership and management as well as years of volunteer service on the boards of directors of several Jewish day schools. Loren met his wife, Rebecca at Jewish overnight camp. He and Rebecca have three children - Elan Mira and Amalya. Elan attends college in the US. Loren, Rebecca, Mira and Amalya made Aliyah in August, 2013 and live in the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Rich Kirschen was ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1996. Before making Aliyah (moving) to Israel, he served as the executive director of the Hillel Foundation at Brown University in Providence, RI. Prior to that, he was the associate director at the University of Michigan Hillel in Ann Arbor, MI. For Rich working at NFTY in Israel brings together a lifelong commitment to Zionism, Reform Judaism and Informal Education.
Ruby was born and raised in Israel. He served in the IDF for 4 years in a Commanders position for a special unit. Following his service, Ruby became a certified tour guide. Ruby has worked for NFTY in Israel every summer since 1984. In 2000, Ruby became the Director of Operations & Budgets, before becoming the Associate Director. He is married with two kids.
Yudit has served URJ Teen Travel Programs since 2012. After graduation from Barnard College, she made aliya to Israel. She has held varied administrative positions over the years and finds great satisfaction in sharing her love of Israel with cohorts of our future leaders and members of the American Jewish community.