Israel Experience  

Rabbi Tully Bryks, Dean and Founding Director, Israel Experience

A former captain of a varsity basketball team who once had his own spiritual questions, Rabbi Bryks relates to students of all backgrounds. Students are often drawn to his passion for Torah Judaism and the Jewish people. During his 15 years working for NCSY, five of which as Regional Director, he touched the lives of thousands of students. He has Rabbinical Ordination from Rabbi Berel Wein and a Finance degree from Touro College.




Rabbi Ari Kahn, Academic Dean, Israel Experience; Director of Foreign Student Programs, Bar Ilan University

Having authored over 100 articles on the weekly parsha and holidays with a readership in excess of 10,000, Rabbi Kahn articulates profound concepts that enable students to not only understand their lessons, but incorporate them into their lives. He graduated Yeshiva University with a BA in psychology and an MS degree in Talmud.


Mrs. Alyta Pitaru, Director of Administration
Mrs. Alyta Pitaru was born in Petach Tikva Israel, raised in an English speaking household by parents who emigrated from England. She did her national service as a Coordinator of a Bnei Akiva branch in Moshav Netzer Hazahi in Gush Katif. She attended Bar Ilan University earning a BA in Land of Israel Studies and Jewish History. Alyta has been the director of administration for overseas students at Bar Ilan university since 1997.

Mr. Meir Balofsky
Mr. Balofsky has over 15 years of experience in both formal and informal education settings from the middle school to the university level. Over the last five years he has specialized in college level Israel experiences including trips and programs as well as course instruction in Jewish history. Meir has co-authored a student textbook in Jewish history and is the Director of Education at Camp Moshava in Canada. He has a degree in Jewish Education form York University in Toronto.

Dr. Gabriel Danzig
Earned his BA in Classics from University of Chicago, his MA in Ancient Greek from Bryn Mawr College, his MA in Social Thought from University of Chicago and his PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University. An author of several books and articles, Dr. Danzig will bring history to life in the classroom. Even students who are afraid of Classics may find a new level of comfort in his class. And for those who embrace them, this may be a dream come true.

Dr. Adam S. Ferziger
Earned his B.A. in Political Science/Jewish History and his M.A. in Modern Jewish History from Yeshiva University, his Ph.D. in Modern Jewish History from Bar Ilan University and his Rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, fellowships and grants. A chairman of International Academic Conferences and lecturer at several scientific academic conferences, Rabbi Ferziger has published dozens of publications.

Dr. Daniel Kahn
arned his B.A. and M.A. in Psychology along with his Psy.D. from Yeshiva University. In addition to his extensive experience in the field of Psychology, he has helped the Jewish people in a variety of ways from Camp HASC to his work with Ethiopians, his students will learn to see the good in everyone and to see the good in ourselves.

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis
Also known as the Tzaddik of Jerusalem, Rabbi Machlis hosts approx 200 guests every Shabbos. Flowing out of his tiny kitchen, the plethora of scrumptious homemade food is served along with his inspirational Torah thoughts, his enthusiastic singing and his warmth, acceptance and true caring for all. Students will learn much from his lessons. They may learn even more from his example.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim (Thomas) Meyer

arned his B.A. in English Literature and Anthropology from University of Michigan and an M.A. in English Literature from University of Chicago. He has earned Rabbinical ordinations from three different sources including Rabbi Avraham Kopshitz, Rabbi Noah Weinberg and Rabbi Yitzchak Kolitz, Chief Rabbi and Head of the Religious Courts in Jerusalem. Married with eight children, Rabbi Meyer published “Power of the Soul,” and is a former Journalist with the Detroit News.

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Poupko
Ordained by Yeshivas Ner Yisroel where he earned his Master’s Degree in Talmudic Law in 1969. He founded the Talmudic University of Florida and served as its associate dean until his aliya in 1977. As a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces, Rabbi Poupko served as a non-commissioned Officer in Lebanon, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Rabbi Poupko currently lectures on Jewish Philosophy at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center, where he serves as a rabbinic consultant.

Dr. Frances Shalit
Earned her B.A. from Columbia University, her M.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science and her Ph.D. in Neuroimmunology, from Bar-Ilan University. Her expertise ranges from genetics, Biology, Immunology and Human Physiology to technology and business development.

Mrs. Chana G. Tannenbaum
Founding Director of Shaalavim for Women, Mrs. Tannenbaum is one of the most sought out women’s teachers in the world.  Elected to the "Who’s Who in American Teachers in 1995, she has a teaching career that spans from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women to Camp Mesora to NCSY to numerous Seminaries in Israel.  She was an EdD Candidate at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, has an M.S. in Anchient Jewish History from Bernard Revel Graduate School and graduated magna cum laude in  Judaic Studies from Stern College for Women.  She is a role model par excellance.


Guest speakers have ranged from nuclear physicists to international surfers talking about how they found Judaism. Prepare to be mesmerized both in and out of the classroom.

Partial list of potential guests:

Dr. Gerald Schroeder
Author of Genesis and the Big Bang, The Science of God and The Hidden Faces of God, Dr. Schroeder is an expert on cosmology and a lecturer on the subject of evolution and Torah. He received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and double Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he taught physics for seven years. While a consultant at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission he participated in the formulation of nuclear non-proliferation treaties with the former Soviet Union and witnessed the testing of six atomic bombs. He also was a consultant to the Peoples Republic of China, Canada, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. He has authored over 60 articles in the leading scientific journals around the world including Time, Newsweek and Scientific American.

Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser
Received a Bachelors Degree in Humanities from the University of California at Santa Barbara. For twelve years he surfed internationally on a professional level and continues to surf today. He is also an accomplished mountain biker and professional musician. He received his rabbinical ordination from Aish HaTorah and the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. His areas of expertise are Kabbala, Spirituality and Psychotherapy.

Rabbi Zev Leff, shlita
former NCSY leader and a world-acclaimed lecturer and educator, Rabbi Leff is one of the most sought out speakers in Israel. He studied under the guidance of Rav Mordechai Gifter and was the Rabbi at Young Israel of Greater Miami prior to making Aliyah in 1983. He is the Chief Rabbi of Moshav Matisyahu and we are honred to consult him as our Spiritual guide and Posek for the program.

Mrs. Gila Manolson
popular international lecturer and acclaimed author of The Magic Touch, Outside/Inside, and Head to Hear, she has spoken in countless cities in several countries. She recently appeared in the Aish Hatorah film Inspired—for Women and in the Bnos Melochim film Who Am I? She is known for her honest, down-to-earth style, and through her thought-provoking lectures on relationships and self-definition, has inspired people of all backgrounds to deepen their relationship with Torah Judaism.

Rabbi Lawrence Keleman
After receiving his undergraduate degree from UCLA, Professor Kelemen continued with his graduate studies at Harvard University, and later completed 12 years of post-graduate field research in the Middle East. A former newspaper editor, skiing instructor and radio anchorman and now an accomplished lecturer and author, Professor Kelemen electrifies parents, teachers , and university students across North and South America, Europe and the Middle with his wit, humor, wisdom and gifts of insight into the essence of living a meaningful life. Professor Kelemen is the author of Permission to Believe, Permission to Receive and To Kindle a Soul (2001), and he is the translator of the classical text of ancient pedagogical theory, Planting and Building.