Sara Miriam, Director
I’m thrilled to welcome you to the team to be part of Nativ 42’s transformative year! I grew up outside of Boston (go Red Sox!) and am the youngest of five siblings and made aliyah after graduating from the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where I majored in Sociology and Gender Studies in Judaism. Since moving here, I have focused my work on the relationship between Israel and Jews around the world both at Masa Israel Journey as Director of Leadership Development and as the Manager of Community and Operations at Kehilat Tzion in Jerusalem. I live in Tel Aviv with my husband Adam and our many plants, and am so excited to get to know you better over the next year.
Noam Spira, Assistant Director of Student Life
Hi, nice to meet you, my name is Noam Spira. Growing up I spent most of my summers at camp, including Camp Ramah Nyack and Camp Moshava IO. After high school I studied Psychology and Counseling at CUNY Queens College and then earned a Masters in Social Work here in Israel. During my masters degree, I worked at a Jerusalem based mental health health clinic as well as a retirement village just outside the city. After working with a diversity of people and age ranges, I started working at Nativ where the participants are at one of the most exciting stages of life: when they spend a year working on their personal growth while emerging into early adulthood. I am excited to begin this year with Nativ 42 as they embark on their immersive journey in exploring their personal, communal, and Jewish identity.
Hannah, Community & Operations Manager
Hey Yall! My name is Hannah and I’m so excited to get Nativ 42 started! I am originally from New Rochelle, New York but have spent the past couple of years living all over Israel. I graduated from Binghamton University in 2020 with a degree in Judaic Studies. I love exploring (specifically Israel), taking walks, and doing arts and crafts. I’m thrilled to be back on nativ after being a participant on Nativ 36 and being a madricha last year on Nativ 41! See you soon in the holy land!
Deb, Assistant Director Admissions and Parent Liaison
Hi everyone! I am Deb (Lobel) Shafran and was both a Nativ 16 participant (1996-1997) and a Nativ 21 madricha (2001-2002)! I grew up in upstate New York (Tzafon USY) and after Nativ, completed a B.A. and M.A. in Elementary and Special Education at Boston University. I took every opportunity during summer vacations to work for different USY programs (Wheels, Pilgrimage, Parent’s Pilgrimage) and after working as a teacher for several years in New York City, I lived in Israel for over eight years. I then spent four years working for Nativ in the NYC area and am now back in Israel with my husband and three children, Rami, Matan, and Dina.
Hi everyone! My name is Marissa Sommerfeld and I am from Thousand Oaks, CA! I just turned 23 and graduated from Boise State University in the spring of 2021 with a Degree in Psychology, a minor in Philosophy, and a Certificate in Conflict Management. Since I graduated, I have spent time traveling throughout Europe and working at Camp Ramah in California as a Rosh Edah for two summers. I play the piano, love to meet new people, and am a big Formula 1 fan. I can not wait to embark on this journey and make this upcoming year the most transformative and enriching experience of our lives thus far!
Hi! My name is Ofri Yogev, I am 22 years old and I grew up in Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev. I was born and raised in the kibbutz and went to high school specialized for environmental studies. After high school, I went on an Israeli Gap Year (Mechina) at BINA – The Jewish Movement for Social Change in South Tel Aviv, and then volunteered in the army. I have been a counselor at a Jewish summer camp in Houston and I am super excited to start working on Nativ and meet all of you! See y’all in a bit!
My name is Isaac Ostrow. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN and am a recent graduate of the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary where I majored in urban studies and Jewish history. During the school year I taught and tutored at Hebrew schools in New York City, and I spent many summers working at my family’s kosher restaurant back home. I love exploring cities, reading about Jewish history, watching (and casually playing) basketball and football, and playing board games. I am excited to be joining the Nativ team!
Alex, Mashgiach Ruchani / Rabbinic Intern
Alex is a current 3rd year Rabbinical student at JTS. He is a graduate of Brandeis University, but before that he was an avid USYer, serving on the SWUSY regional general board and as a chapter president in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Alex loves Jewish learning, and is delighted to get to work with Nativers, even if it’s just to recommend where to shop (Rami Levy) or eat (Hummus Shel Techina)!)!