Head of Directors
Shiri was born in Israel and has since lived in Canada, Qatar, and the US. She is the founding Board Member and current Co-chair of Friends of Educating for Excellence. Shiri also serves on the Boston Jewish Community Day School Board of Trustees and has been involved with the Israeli American Council (IAC), Boston since its founding. In her professional life, Shiri has headed corporate finance divisions and served as a diplomat representing the State of Israel. She holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University. Shiri currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and three boys.
Elana was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated as a child to reside in the southern part of Israel. Following her military service in an intelligence unit in the IDF, Elana earned her BFA in Art and Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She served as a district manager for Art Studies in the Ministry of Education, taught art for youth and led a Leadership program for students from disadvantaged communities. After moving to the US, Elana founded her art business, where she creates happy art. She lives in Brookline, MA with her husband Udi and their three children.
Jaka Saarony resides in Newton Massachusetts with her husband Gadi and their 3 children. In her professional life, she worked at Arthur Andersen and PAREXEL. As a lay leader, Jaka has served with the Academy at Charlemont and the Jewish Community Day School. Jaka is most passionate about sharing new places and new experiences and life with her family. Being married to an Israeli and traveling the world have formed how she approaches philanthropic work and her role in making the world a better place.
David is an attorney, entrepreneur, and private investor. David sits on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Board of Directors, is a founding member of the IAC in Boston, and serves on the New England FIDF and the American Friends of the IDC Herzliya Boards. David and his Israeli wife Rachel split time between Boston and Israel. They have three sons, two of whom are currently living in Israel. David has a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, a JD from Cornell University, and an MBA from New York University.
Gil is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. He was the CEO and Co-founder of CloudLock, and is a board member, chairman, and angel investor in several venture-backed businesses. Gil is a Board Member of the IAC, Boston and the Boston Education for Excellence forum. He holds a BA in Computer Science / Mathematics / Philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a High-Tech MBA from Northeastern University. Gil and his wife Michal currently reside in Newton, MA with their three children.
Gila H. Madjar
Gila H. Madjar has over 20 years of experience in global relationship
She is the partnership relationship manager at Momentum, which
empowers women to change the world through Jewish values, including
through trips to Israel. She previously owned ADYL Travel Designers,
which focused on educational travel. She also served as a board member
and project manager for the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco
counties in Florida and served as a Holocaust commemoration advisory
board member to the North Carolina Governor.
She received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of
Tampa and a master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the Israeli
Gila lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children.
Joan Wasser Gish
Joan’s professional work is advancing educational equity and opportunity. As a two time appointee by the Massachusetts Governor to the MA Board of Early Education and Care, Joan helps to build systems that effectively improve early education and after school program implementation quality and to benefit children. Joan joined the Center for Optimized Student Support at the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development in 2015, works with policymakers across the country, and serves on the Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Commission, among other roles. She holds an M.A. in Education Policy from Columbia University Teachers’ College and a J.D. from Columbia’s School of Law.
Karin Sharav-Zallkind, Founding Principle & Creative Director of NoBox Studio, is an Israeli born designer, with extensive global experience in the fields of commercial and residential Interior Design. Karin believes that safe spaces are key for human wellbeing, which are at the core for any thriving environment. A wife, and mother of 3 kids in Newton, MA – Karin is a Workplace Innovation Think Tank & Impact Society member at Design Museum Everywhere, Boston. Karin is an Associate IIDA, Graduate of the Interior Architecture department at “Ascola Design Academy”, Tel-Aviv, Israel, and holds a BFA from the Environmental Design department at Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston, USA.
Michal was born and raised in Israel and has been living in Boston for the past 20 years with her husband, Gil, and their three children. Michal was an officer in the IDF and started her professional career as an attorney who practiced law for almost 20 years both in the US and Israel. Michal has LLB and LLM law degrees and is admitted the New York and Israeli Bar Associations. For the past two years, Michal has been pursuing her passion for photography, and received her Professional Photography diploma from the New England School of Photography.
Naomi was born and raised in Israel, and currently resides in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and their children. Naomi received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Master of Architecture/Urban Design from Harvard University, and Master of Business Administration from Boston University. She has served as a board member at ORT high school (World ORT), Israel’s Technion, Hillel of Northeastern University, and has been active with the IAC since its inception. Naomi is a Registered Architect, having held positions in architectural and infrastructure firms, prior to her current work as a residential and commercial real estate consultant and broker.
Ron was born in California and split his childhood between Israel and the US. Ron served in the IDF as an officer in the Artillery Forces and received his BSC from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Ron is the CEO of a global defense company and resides in Andover, Massachusetts. He is married with four children, two of whom have “made aliya” and served as lone soldiers. Ron’s passion is enabling children, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, to have access to education to enable them to maximize their potential and contribute to society.