Contact Us

For all NFTY in Israel questions:
1 W 4th St
New York, NY 10012
Email our team!

Meet Our Team in
North America

Ilana Schear
Assistant Director


Ilana first joined the NFTY in Israel team as Registrar in 2016 before moving into her current role as an Assistant Director. She graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Political Science. Throughout High School Ilana was actively involved in NFTY-GER, and was a participant on NFTY in Israel and Urban Mitzvah Corps. Ilana is an enthusiastic traveler discovering different cultures, sites, and sounds of our global world and is so grateful to be able to use that passion to send thousands of teens on NFTY in Israel.

Erica Barish
Assistant Director


Erica holds a Bachelor's degree in Youth Development from Indiana University. She joined the URJ in 2019, after working and living in Washington, D.C. Erica is an alum of Camp Harlam, NFTY in Israel, and Heller High. She loves to travel and has been to over 20 countries.

Matt Wolf


Matt has been a member of the NFTY team since 2017 and joined the NFTY in Israel team in 2020. Prior to that, he was living and working Washington D.C. He holds a degree in sociology from Pitzer College in California. Matt is a proud alum of Eisner Camp, NFTY-NAR, and Heller High (formerly known as EIE).

Paige Kohn


Paige been working in camping and youth programming for over 24 years now. More than half of those years were spent with the URJ between URJ Eisner Camp and helping open three new specialty camps. She holds a degree in Mathematics and minored in Recreation and Leisure Studies. Paige has been a member of the youth finance team supporting all the non-camp URJ Youth offerings since the fall of 2017.

Meet Our Team in

Rabbi Loren Sykes
Director of Israel Immersives


Rabbi Loren Sykes grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago where he was a lifelong Jewish camper and active member in synagogue and youth group life. He holds BA degrees in both European History and Talmud, as well as an MA in Jewish studies and rabbinic ordination. Loren brings seventeen years of senior leadership in Jewish camping to his position as Director of Israel Immersives and Principal of URJ Heller High. He has wide-ranging experience in not-for-profit leadership and management as both a professional and a lay leader. In recognition of his work in the field of Jewish camp, Rabbi Sykes received The Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education in 2006. He made Aliyah in August, 2013, along with two of his three children and lives in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Judy Goldstein
Director of Participant Care


Judy graduated from Hebrew University with a Masters in Social Work. She joined the URJ in 2005 working for NFTY in Israel in the summer and then joined the Heller High team full time in 2007. Judy is now apart of the Israel Immersives team and oversees Participant Care for both Heller High and NFTY in Israel. Judy is originally from Philadelphia and moved to Israel in 1988. She was a Commander and Hebrew teacher in Basic training for new immigrants from 1998 to 2001, and was also the commander of a course that trains teachers and prepares them to be commanders and Hebrew teachers. Later, she spent six years of hadracha as a youth counselor in the Noam youth movement, and a number of years as a counselor and educator for NFTY summer programs. She lives in Israel with her husband and daughter.

Ruby Sommer2Ruby Sommer
Associate Director


Ruby was born and raised in Israel. He served in the IDF for 4 years in a Commanders position for a special unit. Following his service, Ruby became a certified tour guide. Ruby has worked for NFTY in Israel every summer since 1984. In 2000, Ruby became the Director of Operations & Budgets, before becoming the Associate Director. He is married with two kids.

Yudit Burkowitz
Office Manager


Yudit has served URJ Teen Travel Programs since 2012. After graduation from Barnard College, she made aliya to Israel. She has held varied administrative positions over the years and finds great satisfaction in sharing her love of Israel  with cohorts of our future leaders and members of the American Jewish community.