About Gesher

Gesher builds a cohesive Israeli society that embraces the vibrancy, diversity and shared heritage of the Jewish people. Gesher is recognized as the leader in creating and facilitating respectful and effective dialogue between the religious, secular and Haredi sectors in Israeli society. Through our Leadership Institute, educational programming in the Israeli school system and in the Israeli Defense Forces and national cultural programming, Gesher fosters a society based on mutual respect, dialogue, acceptance, and co-existence.

In 1970, Rabbi Danny Tropper ran the first Gesher seminar in Kfar Etzion for students from a secular school and a national religious school. Today, Gesher has grown to become a social impact organization, working with Secular, Religious and Haredi youth, IDF soldiers and opinion shapers to lead the way towards establishing Jewish unity.


Ilan Geal-Dor
Executive Director

Ilan has a BA in psychology from Bar Ilan University and a MBA in business studies from the Hebrew University. He is an active citizen of Bet Shemesh where he lives with his wife and six children. He serves as the Chairman of Midreshet Bet Shemesh and a member of the City Council. Ilan is the Chairman of PGC – Partnership Global Council of the International Partnership project. He also sits on the Board of several social organizations such as the National Service Association, Eshkolot and Heled. A mediator and senior teacher of Bible studies, Ilan has been the Executive Director of Gesher since 2011.

JJ Sussman International Director

JJ is responsible for Gesher’s International efforts both as they relate to Resource Development as well as leading delegations of Israeli influencers as they experience and engage with Jews around the world. JJ joined Gesher after having worked in Israel’s High-Tech sector for the previous eighteen years at leading firms including SanDisk, Jerusalem Global and Israel Seed Partners. JJ has always been involved in projects to help the Jewish people including leading the efforts to start a new school in Modiin and raising the funds to a build a new shul there as well.  Prior to becoming the International Director for Gesher, JJ was the International Director for Unity Day during its first year. Having made aliyah from New York 20+ years ago, JJ now lives in Modiin together with his wife and six children.

Shira Sherez Zik Director of Gesher Leadership Institute

Shira is the Director and Founder of the Gesher Leadership Institute and has been a part of the Gesher team since 2002. She oversees all programs in the Institute from general management to content. Shira holds a MA with honors in Non-profits Management from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Additionally, she has an International NLP Practitioner certificate. Shira is a social activist and a member of the Executive Committee of the “Rashut Harabim”, which promotes Jewish renewal in Jerusalem.

Alon Ziv
Director of Education

Alon is the Director of the Education Department at Gesher. He has been a Gesher facilitator for the past four years and now leads the Programming Department. He has many years of experience in Education including his most recent role as head of the Jerusalem Municipal Scholarship Fund. Alon lives in Nachlaot, Jerusalem.

Chani Zisman
Director of Haredi Initiatives

Chani is the Director of Haredi Initiatives at Gesher, which deals with cultural sensitivity and the development of programs to promote education and employment in the ultra-Orthodox sector. She holds a BA in Education and Counselling and an MA in Learning Technologies. She also works as a group facilitator, career counselor, lecturer and writer. In her spare time, Chani directs films and promotes art in the Haredi sector. Chani lives in Modi’in Illit, is married to Haim and the mother of four girls.

Roi Makler
Director of “Minhelet” For Israel Diaspora Relations

Roi is the former head of Co.Lab, a UJA Federation of NY flagship initiative in Israel. Co.Lab is a cutting-edge social innovation incubator, a first-of-its-kind signature initiative. As its name implies, it is a collaborative laboratory that invites senior social leaders from all the ‘tribes’ of Israeli society to come together and innovate to create social change initiatives. Roi is also the founding director of ACDF, Alumni Communities Directors Forum, and of Midrasha LeMaase – an educational enterprise for mechinot (pre-army prepatory programs) graduates, encouraging participants to get involved with tackling national and Jewish issues. Roi was a program director at the JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance, where he established government networks that bring together senior leaders for social empowerment, and managed and convened governors’ forums. Before that, Roi was the educational manager at MiBereshit Foundation for Jewish Renaissance. He wrote educational programs and selected and instructed the staff (320 instructors). And finally, and perhaps most importantly, Roi is a former Gesher facilitator!

Tamar Brody
Director of Fellow Network

Tamar is the Director of Gesher Leadership Institute’s Fellow Network and manages graduate projects. Tamar sits on the Audit Committee of the Yerushalmim Movement as well as the Frrench Hill Community Council. Tamar is a graduate of Hadassah College and served as a facilitator for the Women Empowerment Group. Tamar is a social activist and mother of two.

Board of Directors

The Gesher Foundation USA

Jonathan Tulkoff

Jonathan is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Commodity Asset Management and the Founder and President of Uniwire International, a trading and marketing firm. Jonathan serves on the Finance Committee of SAR Academy and on the Board of Shir Chadash in Jerusalem. Jonathan is also very active with FIDF.

Matthew J. Maryles

Matthew is an executive of Wolf Maryles & Associates and is former Partner/ Managing Director of Oppenheimer and Co. Matt is the Trustee and Chairman of the Audit Committee of YU, Trustee and former CEO of American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, former Executive Committee member and Treasurer of UJA-Federation of New York and past President of Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. He also served two nonconsecutive terms as the Chairman of Gesher.


Ludwig Bravmann

Ludwig is the Managing Director of Investments of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. He is a Vice-Chairman of the Board of Yeshiva University, Chairman of SAR Academy, Board Member of NJOP, and Board Member of Shalva. He is a former Board Member of the UJA Federation of New York.

David Cheifetz

David is the Director of Global CRM Initiative at McKinsey & Company.  He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelors degree in Creative Writing from Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is an activist of issues related to sexual abuse in the Jewish Community, and is the founder and president of organization Mi Li – Who Is For Me.

Seth Damski

Seth is the founder and managing partner at Old City Capital. He joined Gesher’s Board four years ago after trying to start his own organization bridging the divide between different segments of the Jewish world.  He is an active supporter of Aish, Meor and many other philanthropic causes.

Heather Goldman

Heather is an International Finance and Technology Executive. Heather currently serves as a director/trustee for global fund complexes managed by the Brookfield Public Securities Group. In her philanthropic endeavors in addition to Gesher, Heather advises international business development for the Israel Financial Institute. Heather served as a water resource management US Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa. She is a past board chair and member of the honorary board of University Settlement, New York City.

Matt Greenwood

Matt is the Chief Innovation Officer at Two Sigma Investments, Inc. He and his wife are active supporters of Camp Ramah and are active in their children’s schools.

Ira S. Kellman

Ira is a retired attorney, businessman and real estate developer. He was Gesher’s second President  for ten years. Ira is very involved with Livnot U’lihibanot, Yachad, Manhattan Day school, and The Jewish Center.

Jerry Kestenbaum

Jerry is the founder and CEO of BuildingLink.com. During graduate school, Jerry connected with Gesher as a facilitator in Israel and joined Gesher’s Board many decades later where he as served in many roles.

Cara Lebewohl

Cara is a former financial advisor and non-profit professional. She has a MBA from John Hopkins University and a BA from Brandeis University.

David Tropper

David is the former President and CEO of Coda Resources. He is a former Board Member of the Riverdale Jewish Center and together with his wife, Ina, is very involved in and supportive of SAR Academy as well as AMIT.

Rabbi Charlie Savenor

Rabbi Savenor is the Director of Congregational Education at the Park Avenue Synagogue.  He currently serves on the National Rabbinic Cabinet of United Jewish Communities and Brandeis University’s Alumni Admissions Council. He was ordained at JTS in 1996 with a concentration in Education and earned a Masters of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College in 2008.

Richard Joel

Richard M. Joel is the former President and International Director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life as well as the President Emeritus of
Yeshiva University. Mr. Joel, a member of the Board of Directors for Gesher is
renowned as a charismatic leader and a captivating orator with a unique perspective on future leaders of our Jewish community .

Alan J. Eisenman

Alan is the COO of AB Bernstein Private Wealth. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County and is actively engaged with Palestinian Media Watch. Alan is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Maks and Lea Rothstein Foundation, where he currently serves as Finance Chair.

Michael Kann

Michael is the President of KL Capital, Inc. which invests in manufacturing and distribution businesses. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.  Michael is the immediate past President of the Wesley Hills Synagogue, where he is actively involved and has served on the Board of the JCC-Rockland, and the Executive Board of the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland. Michael lives in Wesley Hills, New York with his wife Dr. Phyllis Weingarten.  Phyllis & Michael are the proud parents of Joshua, Lauren & Rebecca.

Shalom Bronstein

Shalom is the CEO of Shalom Bronstein Inc. He is the President of American Friends Keren Malki Foundation (home therapy for handicapped children). Shalom is a Member of the Board of Shvut Ami and Co-Chair of Teaneck Advisory Board on Community Relations.

British Friends of Gesher

Ian Carno

Born in Johannesburg, Ian obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Witwatersrand after which he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990. In 2000, Ian founded Commodity Trading Company Republic House AG, which he then sold to First Quantum Minerals in 2010. Ian lives in London with his wife Ilana and his three children.


Boris Ben Ari
Vice Chairman

Born in Finland, Boris is now the Financial Director of a leading London based food importer, exporter and trading company Ivory & Ledoux Ltd. Having served in the IDF, Boris now lives in London with his wife, Tricia. They have four children.


Grant Kurland

Born in Cape Town, Grant became the youngest ever JV partner in one of the world’s most successful food franchises, Nando’s, after having studied Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town. Grant went on to found Bayport Financial Services in 2001. Grant lives in London with his wife Debbi and two children Erin and Ryan.


Geoff Melamet

Geoff began his career as an investment analyst on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange before moving to the UK in 1984 and founding the HMSA Group who offer impartial independent advice to investors and entrepreneurs worldwide. 

Geoff is a trustee of Gesher and Yad Vashem UK and was previously a trustee of UJS Hillel. Geoff has two children and currently lives in London with his wife Joseffa.


Gesher Israel

Orit Adato

Orit is the founder and Managing Director of Adato Consulting Ltd. Company, which specializes in Correctional Systems, leadership and strategic planning and training, managing terror inmates, security, correctional systems intelligence and cooperation with other Security and Law Enforcement Agencies. She served in the IDF for 25 years ranking as a former Lt-Gen (res.), former head of IDF Women’s Corps and former Chief Commissioner of Israel Prison Service and President of International Women Forum Israel. Orit is a Board Member and Chairperson of the Gesher Leadership Institute.

Lior Arussy

Lior founded Strativity Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that measures its success by one simple yardstick; how successfully the client has implemented their strategy. Starting in the most traditional entrepreneurial way from his garage, the company has grown to have offices around the US and around the world, including Canada, the UK, Norway, Turkey and Australia. Forrester Group has recognized the firm as being at the forefront of customer-centric transformation.

Arussy has published 7 books concerning customer experience and employee engagement, while more than 1 million readers around the world see his “Focus: Customer” syndicated column every month. In addition, he has had more than 100 articles published globally in prestigious journals, including the Harvard Business Review.

Lior has worked for Hewlett-Packard as leader of the Internet security division; under his stewardship, business grew by 50% per quarter for 3 consecutive years. He introduced a number of innovative strategies, and during his tenure no client bank ever had its eBanking security compromised; no mean feat considering he was responsible for 120 of the world’s largest banks with assets totaling $8 trillion.

Chaim Billet

Chaim is a businessman. He lives in Jerusalem and has been involved with Gesher since it was first established.

Daniel Goldman

Daniel is the founder and Managing Partner at Goldrock Capital. Born in London, Daniel emigrated to Israel in 1992. He now lives in Beit Shemesh, where he was very involved in building and shaping the city. Daniel is active in many organizations that promote understanding and tolerance among all sectors of society. He lives with hi wife and five children.

Laurie Hanover

Laurie Hanover has served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Netafim Ltd., a global leader in smart irrigation systems, since August 2013. Previously, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the Tnuva Group, Israel’s largest food manufacturer and Chief Executive Officer of Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy and Greenberg & Co., an Israeli law firm. Laurie sits on the board of various comittees such as Kornit Digital. Ms. Hanover holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an M.B.A. from New York University.

Dr. Izhak Lax

Itzhak is a founding partner in Nevet – The BioMedical Investment Ltd. and is also the owner of Ishon – Consultation, Management & Holding Ltd. He is the chairman of the Maccabi Healthcare Services Foundation and of the Weitz Center for Development Studies. Yitzhak received an LL.B from Bar Ilan University’s Law School in 1992, and an MBA from Bar Ilan University in 2007. He holds a PhD in Economy from the International University of Business & Law and lectures in the Faculty of Management at Bar-Ilan University.

Gil Livne

Gil Livne is a legal and municipal consultant.  He recently stepped down from his position as the Mayor of Shoham, a thriving city in Central Israel.

Yitzhak Nachshoni

Yitzhak is the Editor in Chief of the ‘Merkaz Hainyanim’ as well as a commentator on many of the Haredi radio stations. He was a participant in a Gesher Leadership Institute Course in 2016.

Liz Pushett

Liz is a facilitator at the Shefer School of Parenting and is the representative of the Morris Family Foundation.  Until recently, she was director of the Gush Etzion branch of the Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring program.  Liz is a graduate of the school of social work at the Hebrew University and is currently the Chairperson of the Gsharim.com media leadership track. Liz has five children and lives in Efrat.

Amy Sharvit

Besides being a member of Gesher’s Board, Amy is an active board member in a private family foundation focused  on inequality and climate issues based in the United States and Israel. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit management from Hebrew University. Amy made Aliyah from New York in 1994, and lives in Jerusalem with her two boys.

Rabbi Danny Tropper
Founder and President Emeritus

Founder (in 1970) and President Emeritus of Gesher, Rabbi Tropper is the driving force behind the initiatives and activities of Gesher, which have influenced more than one million Israelis by promoting mutual understanding and tolerance in Israeli society.  He received his ordination from Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik and his Ph.D. in Jewish History from Yeshiva University (1970).  Rabbi Tropper has published scholarly articles and op-ed pieces in Israel and the Diaspora.  He is a sought-after lecturer in schools, the IDF and public forums.  He has been awarded many prizes for his life’s work of promoting dialogue and tolerance in the Jewish people.

Financial Information

At Gesher we believe in honesty and transparency. Click below for our 20202 Annual Report and Form 990.

2020 Annual Report

2020 Form 990