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Mike Wise | Co-CEO
Prior to founding Honeymoon Israel, Mike served as CEO/Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo. Mike has served CEO of the JCC’s of Greater Atlanta, and was the CEO of the Jewish Community Board of Akron, OH for 17 years. While in Akron he led the complete restructuring of the Jewish communal system, now a national model for small and intermediate communities. Mike grew up in Minnesota earning his BS from the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Social Work from The University at Buffalo.
Avi Rubel | Co-CEO
Before co-founding Honeymoon Israel, Avi was the founding North American Director of Masa Israel Journey, bringing more than 10,000 North Americans to Israel annually. Avi has lived in Israel for several years and also spent more than a decade working on Jewish community development in the former Soviet Union with Hillel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Avi served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Kyrgyzstan. Avi earned a BA from Binghamton University and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Rachel Zieleniec | Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Rachel Zieleniec is the VP of Marketing and Communications for Honeymoon Israel. Prior to joining the team, Rachel worked in philanthropy as a Program Associate for The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and for the Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation in Washington, DC. In these roles, she supported and managed a number of grant making initiatives, helping award millions of dollars to local nonprofits. Following college, Rachel volunteered in Israel for a year with Yahel, an educational service learning organization, and was a member of its first cohort of participants. After her time in Israel, Rachel joined Yahel as a staff member to help grow the organization and manage digital media and recruitment for its programs. Originally from Cleveland, OH, Rachel earned a Bachelors in Journalism and Public Relations and certificate in Global Leadership from Ohio University.
Rebecca Bar | Vice President, Community Partnerships
Rebecca Bar is the VP of Community Partnerships for Honeymoon Israel. Rebecca joins the team with over 10 years of experience in Jewish communal non-profits. Her prior positions include Director of Operations for Bible Raps, Senior Regional Director for Moishe House, and Associate Director for AJC in Philadelphia/SNJ. Following unversity, Rebecca spent a year in Israel studying at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Rebecca is excited to deepen our partnerships in cities where we have local staff and create new partnerships in communities around the country. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Rebecca now lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and two young sons.
Mikelle Belfore | Operations Manager
Mikelle is the Operations Manager for Honeymoon Israel. Her prior work includes Director of Business Development for a technology company, adjunct professor at Paradise Valley Community College, and Director of Admissions and Licensed Professional Counselor for a non-profit organization. Mikelle earned a BS in Psychology from The University of Arizona and a Masters in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University. Mikelle and her husband, who were enthusiastic participants in the inaugural Honeymoon Israel trip from Phoenix, reside there with their two toddler children.
Jennifer Jalowiec | Database Manager
Jennifer Jalowiec is the Database Manger for Honeymoon Israel. Prior to joining the team, Jennifer worked as the Operations Manager for Hillel at Arizona State University and started, and continues to run, her own business consulting with non-profits/small businesses. Jennifer is passionate about Israel. She has travelled there 5 times and recently lived and studied in Jerusalem for three months. Jennifer earned a BA in Communication from The University of Arizona and a Master in Public Administration from Arizona State University.
Shaina Kass | Communications Manager
Shaina Kass is the Communications Manager for Honeymoon Israel. Before joining the team, Shaina worked as a Marketing Fellow for American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina and did freelance photography, design and marketing in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is originally from. Shaina has also worked with several organizations doing community management and donor engagement. She earned a B.S. in Communication and a B.S. in Visual Communication from Ohio University.
Chloe Nassau | New York City, Director of Community Engagement
Chloe Markowitz Nassau brings a wealth of expertise in community organizing, international service learning and non-profit management to her work as NYC Director of Community Engagement for Honeymoon Israel. Chloe joins the Honeymoon Israel team after four years as the Youth Program Director at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. Before which she gained a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University and a Master’s in Social Work from Hunter College. Chloe served as a Jewish Service Corps Fellow in Turkey with the JDC, as well as a Volunteer Corps participant in Thailand and Group Leader in Nicaragua with American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Chloe has visited Israel over 20 times and speaks Hebrew and Spanish fluently, and is proficient in French and Turkish.
Lisa Motenko | SF Bay Area, Director of Community Engagement
A native Californian, Lisa graduated from UCLA with degrees in Psychology and Hebrew and received her Masters from Middlebury College in Spanish. During her 20's she spent time living in Spain and working as the Program Director at Berkeley Hillel. Most recently, Lisa spent time studying at Pardes in Israel and working for The Kitchen, a religious start-up in San Francisco. Lisa is addicted to cheese but also loves dancing, trail running, biking, playing guitar, speaking Spanish, and spending time outdoors with her husband and dog. She is thrilled to continue building community in the Bay Area.
Andrea Deck | Washington DC, Director of Community Engagement
Originally from the DC area, Andrea joins the team after kicking off her career in the Jewish community with Federations across the world, most recently as the Senior Associate in Community Planning and Impact with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. She holds an MSW from Columbia University, an MA from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a BA from Franklin & Marshall College. Andrea loves dancing, knitting, and trying new things!
Jenn Green | Los Angeles, Director of Community Engagement
Jenn joins the team in partnership with NuRoots to build an inclusive and meaningful community for couples in Los Angeles. Jenn has worked as an advocate for youth in foster care and on probation in South LA, and currently serves as a volunteer CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate). She has been a teacher and community organizer across the globe, and her passions have taken her from the townships of South Africa to the villas of Argentina and the southern tip of South Korea.
Hannah Spinrad | Atlanta, Director of Community Engagement
Before joining the HMI team, Hannah worked in the Development Department for the Jewish Federations of Boston, Miami, and most recently as the Senior Development Officer in Women's Philanthropy in Atlanta. Hannah graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Jewish Studies. Hannah earned her MBA and MA in Jewish Professional Leadership from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. She is an alumna of the Jewish Federations of North America FEREP Program. Hannah is so excited to be able to combine her love of travel with building community in the Jewish South with Honeymoon Israel.
Lara Sparks | Colorado, Director of Community Engagement
Lara joins the team in partnership with MazelTogether to support the creation of an organic community for couples in both Denver and Boulder. Before joining the team, she spent the first 12 years of her career fulfilling her passion for Jewish education as a Day School teacher in both Denver and Saint Louis. Lara loves to create art, plan parties, dance and she’s always up for eating sushi. She lives in Boulder with her husband, Mike and their dog Hank.
Zach Pellish | Chicago, Director of Community Engagement
Originally from the Chicagoland area, Zach graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in History. It was during college while living in Jerusalem and working at The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response that Zach’s passion for Israel developed. Since then, Zach has worked as the North American Operations Manager for Shorashim, helping to oversee the organization’s Birthright Israel trips. Zach joined the Honeymoon Israel team after serving as the Michigan Associate Director at AIPAC. He currently lives in Old Town with his wife, with whom he loves to travel, read, and explore the city.
Board of Directors
Joe Kanfer, Chairman
Barrett Cohn, Scenic Advisement
Avraham Infeld, Chair of the Advisory Board
Jerry Levin, JW Levin Partners, Inc.
Karyn Cohen Leviton, One8 Foundation
Sarah Schaaf, Honeymoon Israel alumna
Robert Brook, UCLA Medical Center
Avraham Infeld, Honeymoon Israel Advisory Board Chair
Maggie Bar Tura, Consultant
Jodi Bromberg, InterfaithFamily
Scott Copeland, Onward Israel
Allan Finkelstein, JCC Association (President Emeritus)
Alan Gill, Joint Distribution Committee (Executive Vice President Emeritus)
Felicia Herman, Natan Fund
Netaly Ophir-Flint, Reut Institute
Ted Sasson, Brandeis University
Barry Shrage, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston
Rabbi Susan Silverman