meet the 248 Alumni
Andrea Arbel AndreaA@jafi.org
Director, Partnership Unit, The Jewish Agency for Israel
Andrea Arbel is the Director of the Partnership Unit at the Jewish Agency for Israel, where she is responsible for "Partnership2Gether," the Global School Twining Network, allocations to the religious streams and the loan fund division. Before entering the world of Partnership, she served as Advisor to the Director General of The Jewish Agency’s aliyah and absorption department. After making aliyah 31 years ago from the United States, she worked at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a think-tank where she published numerous books and articles. Highlighted in Andrea's bibliography are: "Riding the Wave: The Jewish Agency's Role in the Mass Aliyah of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel" and "The Blue Box Revisited: Keren Kayemeth Le'Israel-The Jewish National Fund." Andrea lives with her husband and three children in Kfar Uriyah, Israel.
Gideon Vennor GideonV@jafi.org
Director, 248 Community Action Network
Gideon is the Director of 248. For the past nine years, he has served as Partnership2Gether Director at the Jewish Agency for Israel. Working with a variety of communities in North America, South Africa, and Israel, he has facilitated the development of ties between Israelis and overseas Jews, with an emphasis on leadership development, dialog and coexistence, and social entrepreneurship. From 2004 to 2007, Gideon served as Community Shaliach (emissary) in Columbus, Ohio. While on shlichut he planned and ran various Israel-related programs, and established Young Partners, a teen exchange and social action program connecting Columbus teens with teens in Kfar Saba. Before that, Gideon spent a decade in Israeli education with the Jerusalem-based Branco Weiss Institute for the Development of Thinking. At BWI he coordinated the development of a national curriculum in entrepreneurship; introduced innovative programs such as Cognitive Coaching and Destination Imagination into Israeli schools; and ran the institute’s teacher training center.
Gideon has a Master’s degree in physics from Tel Aviv University. He has also studied in several pluralistic Beit Midrash programs, and with the Gevim dialog and mediation program. He served in the IDF as an R&D officer. Gideon lives on a Moshav near Jerusalem with his wife and three children, two cats and a dog.
Lionel Mitelpunkt LionelM@jafi.org
Director of Content
Always learning. Always positive. Always heading forward.
Lionel enables people to use their gifts of creative confidence and positive communication for the purpose of their passion and creation. He works with individuals and organizations on adapting to change and telling their story in authentic ways using innovative tools. Lionel is also an educator, speaker and mentor in various programs such as future scientists and innovators program at Tel Aviv University, numerous Hackathons, Elevation Academy's Community Management course and recently spoke at SXSW on the topic of “Building Participatory Cities” a panel organized by Burning Man organization.
Gavriella Bigio Dahan GavriellaB@jafi.org
Events, communications and social media
Gavriella holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Research, Management and Resolution and a BA in international relations, both from Hebrew U. Her professional experience includes a Shlichut in Helsinki, a Masa internship as placement coordinator, an organizational development position at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and an earlier shlichut at camp Moshava in Pennsylvania. She has also worked as a content writer, English teacher, and, during her army service, as a madricha in the Sar-El unit. In all these roles, Gavriella has shared her passion for connecting people and using her skills in building community.
North American Participants-at-Large (PAL) Coordinator
Charley Smith leads 248's Participant At Large (PAL) program of independent participants from different geographic locations in North America. Charley holds a Bachelor Degree in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Literature from the University of Wisconsin, an MBA from the University of Miami, and has extensive experience in Jewish young adult engagement and education. Following his role as Youth Director at Temple Kol Ami Emanual in Florida, he spearheaded a joint platform for the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Jewish Federations, establishing the Twin Cities Young Adult Division. Today Charley resides in Miami with his partner Shaked, and their dog Gever. Day to day, Charley works as a value added reseller to the aerospace industry.