Leadership and Management

Matthew Bronfman

Mr. Matthew Bronfman is the Chairman and CEO of BHB Holdings, a private investment firm with numerous interests. He serves as Chairman of Bronfman Rothschild, a Washington, D.C. based Registered Investment Advisor. In addition, Mr. Bronfman controls the IKEA franchise in Israel and has numerous real estate holdings there and in the U.S. He also serves as Chairman of Lincoln Avenue Capital an affordable housing investment firm and Bronfman LLC, a provider of growth capital for private companies. Prior to starting BHB, Mr. Bronfman was partner at ACI Capital, a private equity firm in NYC. ACI portfolio companies included Accent Energy, Sundance Catalogue and Jenny Craig. Prior to that, he was the Chairman and CEO of Sterling Cellular Holdings, LP, a privately held cellular telephone company. Previously, he was employed by Goldman Sachs & Co. and Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited. Mr. Bronfman's philanthropic interests include being a member of the Executive Council of the American Jewish Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He joined the Board of Directors of the 92nd Street Y in 1991; chaired the Capital Campaign from 1997 to 2002; served as President from 2000 until 2003; and as Chairman from 2003 to 2006. He currently serves as Chairman of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the Y and Hillel Chair of Board of Governors. He received a BA from Williams College in 1981 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1985.

Aaron G. Frenkel

Aaron G. Frenkel is an International businessman and visionary entrepreneur with a passionate commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. Since the 1980’s, he has established and owned the Loyd’s group of Companies, which has been involved in investments in real estate, civil aviation and aerospace, energy and high tech. The Loyd’s Group was formed as part of the project on the development of the economies of Central & Eastern Europe and the F.S.U countries. Development was focused on the delivery of know - how, technologies, equipment and capital from international corporations.In the 90’s Mr. Frenkel provided major assistance in bringing the Aliyah from the former Soviet Union, and today plays an active and major role in various public initiatives worldwide. For his achievements, Mr. Frenkel was awarded the The French Legion D'honneur by the French President; Chevalier De L'ordre De Grimaldi Medal of Honour by Prince of Monaco; “Yakir Keren Hayesod” award and more. Mr. Frenkel also serves as a Vice President of the World Jewish Congress; Chairman of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress; honorary consul of the Republic of Croatia; President of the Monaco Jewish community; Member of the Board of Trustees of Tel Aviv Museum of Fine Arts; Member of The Board of Governors of Beit Hatfutzot and more.

Chaim Chesler
Founder, Chairman of the Executive Committee

Founder of Limmud FSU. Chaim Chesler is in charge of programs and activities, presentation of initiatives and the execution of policy directives approved by the Executive Committee. As Chairman of the Executive Committee, Chaim leads the negotiations with organizations and foundations, and facilitates the inclusion of their representatives in Limmud FSU’s forums. Chaim headed the Jewish Agency for Israel’s delegation to the former Soviet Union and the United States, and served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Sandra F. Cahn
Co-Founder, FRD Committee Chair

Sandra F. Cahn was instrumental in enlisting crucial support for organization’s creating and has been active in promoting its activities and fundraising efforts ever since. She has long been involved in fundraising for major organizations. She co-founded UJA-Federation of New York’s Women’s Executive Circle, a group serving female CEOs, CFOs, and presidents of significant corporations. Serves on the boards of the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, UJA-Federation of New York and is a past president of the Queens College Hillel.

Natasha Chechik
Executive Director

Natasha joined Limmud FSU in 2016 as the Director of Public Affairs and Communications. In 2020 assumed the position of Executive Director. Made Aliyah to Israel in 1997. Served as a sergeant commander of recruits in the IDF. Has a B.A in International relations and Journalism from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Previously she held positions at the Ministry of Economy, leading Israeli media and strategy consulting firms, and as a head of communications and marketing at an international company in Berlin. Resides in Tel Aviv, speaks Hebrew, Russian, English and Spanish.

Chaim Nagus
Financial and Management Consultant

Former CFO of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Chaim works directly with the Chairman of the Executive and the Executive Director in the preparation of all budgetary materials and the operation of financial control mechanisms. He is responsible for the compilation of financial reports and Limmud FSU’s general accounts for presentation to supporting organizations and its governing bodies. Chaim advises and assists the Executive Director in the preparation and implementation of all forms of contractual arrangements, and coordinates the employment conditions
for senior personnel.

Yan Birbraer
Logistics Director

Serving as the logistics director, Yan is responsible for the logistics of Limmud FSU activities worldwide. He coordinates travel arrangements for overseas guest presenters attending conferences in different countries, and provides support with special logistics and the production of cultural events, exhibitions, summits and more. Yan is also the project manager of Limmud FSU Israel, and he is responsible for the logistics of activities in Israel, as well as the programmatic aspects and the coordination of the volunteer committees.

Gabi Farberov
Director of Operations

Gabi is responsible for all aspects of the day to day running, planning and implementation of Limmud FSU's events around the world, and managing the programs and teams. She was born in Latvia and made Aliyah in 1994. Has a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Educational System Development. Previously held the position of Project Manager of the Limmud FSU Labs program, a joint venture with the Ministry of Diaspora. Worked for 12 years in the Oranim College of Education, directing international programs for teenagers, students, young adults and families from all around the globe.

Deborah Lipson
FRD and Board Development

Deborah is responsible for the English-language programs / booklets of conferences (in non-English speaking countries), as well as fundraising and development. She was born in London and studied Russian and French at university in England, as well as in Paris and Moscow. Made Aliya in 1983 and worked in the campaign for Soviet Jewry, and later in the Jewish Agency. She worked for the Soviet Jewry Zionist Forum and then for JDC. For the past 17 years she has dealt with fundraising for Jewish Agency educational projects from Holocaust-related funds.

Gennadiy Fooksman
Limmud FSU Labs Project Manager

Gennadiy is the Project Manager of the Limmud FSU Labs, a joint venture with the Ministry of Diaspora. Born in Kharkov, and made Aliyah in 1998 after receiving B.A. in Economics from Kharkov National State University. Held positions of Academic Advisor in the Student Authority of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and as Administration and Logistics Manager of the Non-Formal Education unit of the Russian Speaking Jewry department of JAFI. For the last 9 years took an active part in organization of Limmud FSU conferences in Israel and in Europe as organizing committee member.

Asher Weill
English Language Consultant

English language consultant and editor for all publications, conference brochures, reports, and correspondence. Was the one to introduce western publishing standards to Israel and published the biographies and writings of a very large number of Israel's political leaders; edited the country's leading arts magazine for over 20 years; was a founding director of the Jerusalem International Book Fair, the Israel Debating Society, and the Anglo-Israel Colloquium; and recipient of the Jerusalem Book Fair's Friend of Jerusalem and the Nefesh beNefesh Bonei Zion Awards.

Alex Guralnick
Financial Controller

Alex is the financial controller for the Limmud Community Labs Project and LRSI (Limmud Russian-Speakers, Israel). He made Aliyah in 1976. Has a B.A. in computer science and general history from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
For 29 years, Alex has worked in The Jewish Agency for Israel, including 6 years as emissary (shaliach) in Moscow. He was in charge of the logistics of the very first Limmud FSU Moscow in 2007. For 11 years Alex served as a director of administration and budget of the JAFI former Soviet Union unit.

Limmud FSU Project Managers

Yan Birbraer

Yan was born in Perm in the Ural Mountains, and when he was three months old, the family moved to Kharkov. At the age of 13 made Aliyah to Israel. In addition to his position as Limmud FSU Logistics Director, Yan Birbraer also serves as the project manager of Limmud FSU Israel. He is responsible for the logistics of activities in Israel, as well as the programmatic aspects and the coordination of the volunteer committees.

Elena Zakharova

Elena Zakharova, Limmud FSU Moscow project manager since 2018, is the Director general of “Zebra” event agency. She also organizes the “J-Camp”- edutainment jewish camp. Elena graduated from Moscow State University (mechanics and mathematics faculty). During last 20 years, Elena has successfully developed and implemented the principles of informal education in different international projects.

Galina Rybnikova

Galina commenced work as Project Manager for the Limmud conference in the Ukraine, whose venue varies within the country. Soon afterwards, she undertook the organization of two annual conferences. She is also the General Manager of the charitable foundation, Limmud in Ukraine, which is now Limmud FSU’s operating arm for that country.

Noam Shumakh-Khaimov

Originally from Donetsk, Ukraine, Noam spent several years in Israel working in the informal Jewish education. She came to the United States in 2008 as an emissary of the Jewish Agency. Noam oversees the organization and operation of the annual conference for the Greater New York (Tri-State) area and also responsible for Limmud FSU West Coast conference which took place for the first time in January 2016, following over eighteen months of intensive preparations, with emphasis on volunteer leadership development.

Mila Voihanski

Originally from Lvov, Ukraine, Mila’s family moved to Toronto, Canada in 1974. Mila earned a Bachelor of Social Work at York University in Toronto and then a Master of Social Work at Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York. She rose through the ranks at Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) to become a team supervisor, then executive director of JIAS Toronto, and then CEO of JIAS Canada. Mila is also responsible for outreach, recruitment events and other Limmud FSU activities throughout Canada.

Anna Maylis

Anna Maylis was born in Ukraine in 1973, made aliya at 17, and moved to Sydney 20 years ago. Anna has been working as a Hebrew teacher for 20 years, as well as the Director of the Kids Theatre –“JeSTAR” for 6 years. In 2015, Anna became an event coordinator for the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Sydney, and served as co-chair of Limmud FSU Australia organizing committee.

Dima Mevzos

Dima was born in Uzbekistan and at the age of 17 made Aliyah to Israel. After university studies and military service, he worked in the telecom sector for 15 years. In 2010 moved to the UK. He was first introduced to Limmud in 2015 as a part of Limmud FSU Europe first conference and since then has taken part as an organising committee member responsible for logistics, technical and other aspects of the project. Since 2016 Dima is representing World Zionist Organisation, Department of promotion of Aliya as a director and managing different projects within UK Jewish communities.  

Samira Suleymanova

Limmud FSU Baku coordinator Samira Suleymanova graduated from the Department of Education at Baku Slavic University and has been involved in informal education since the age of 16, including serving as a director at various Jewish summer camps in the country. Samira is interested in psychology, loves reading, and enjoys participating in book clubs.