Our team

Our diverse team includes specialized trauma professionals who deeply understand the plight of immigrants in crisis. Some of our caregivers have been with us for over twenty years; several were immigrants in crisis themselves at one time.

Founder and Executive Director

Ruth Bar-On

Ruth was active for many years in the world struggle for Soviet Jewry and worked closely with Prisoners of Zion and Refuseniks. After serving as the Executive Director of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry she went on in 1993 to found Selah – Israel Crisis Management Center. She has been a leading voice in Israel’s trauma and immigrant communities for decades. Ruth personally knows many of Selah’s recipients, and closely oversees their needs and progress. Read more about Ruth’s incredible story here.

Board of Directors

Professor Dan Amir, Chairman of the Board

Professor Dan Amir, the chairman of Selah’s board of directors, is a professor emeritus of mathematics at Tel-Aviv University. He served for four years as special dean for immigrant students, and for four years as the university rector. He was chairman of the board of the scientists committee of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, where he was a key initiator of the Giladi and Kamea projects for immigrant scientists. He also served as chairman of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry.

Dr. Alex Altshuler, PhD

Dr. Alex Altshuler (PhD, MSW, MA) joined Selah as a volunteer in 1998 during his college studies, and joined its Board of Directors in 2012. In 2014 he joined the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow. His research focused on various aspects of emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction. His most recent study proposes a new framework for analyzing human perceptions of emergency and more effectively incorporating them into risk and disaster management public policy. Alex now serves as the Director of Research and Development for the Israel National Emergency Management Authority.

Ilana Ben-Shahar, MSW

Ilana Ben-Shahar (MSW) was the national director of social work for the Israel Ministry of Health during 1996-2007. She received an award of excellence for her “years of significant contribution to the public health system and for serving as a model of a social worker carrying out her position with initiative, vision and sensitivity.” Ilana is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Meidaos, the national journal of social workers in Israel.

Lev Elbert

Lev Elbert, Refusenik and former Prisoner of Zion in Russia, has a master’s degree in construction engineering. Retired after 27 years in Israel Electric Company.

Moshe Kanfi

Moshe Kanfi, an attorney, served as a diplomat in Turkey on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs for four years. He was a consultant to Stef Wertheimer for business development, initiatives and projects from 2006-2007. He served as the director for marketing and business development of the Elbit company, and as the director of the Keren Hayesod Holland office during 2011-2013, and during  2013-2017, served as the VP of business development of Metalicone – a super-precision metal production company in the Galilee.

Boris Krasny

Boris Krasny was a Refusenik and a key activist in the struggle for Soviet Jewry, who came to Israel in 1972. Between the years 1985-1988, he was the president of the Golda Meir Center. He has served as a strategic and political adviser to Israeli prime ministers and other key public figures, and is currently the president and CEO of Policy Political Communication Management, a leading consulting firm he founded in 1988.

Dr. Tova Lev-Ran, Psychologist with expertise in trauma and migration

Dr. Tova Levran is a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma and immigration, having earned her doctorate in the United States. She is also a licensed social worker, with degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University. She has served for many years as a professional and clinical adviser to Selah’s social workers and emergency aid coordinators.

Shlomo Shapira

Shlomo Shapira served as a pilot and commander, in active and reserve service, in the Israel Air Force during the years 1960-1991. He served as a representative of the Israel Aviation Industry in Latin America (1976-1978), and directed marketing systems of security industries overseas (1985-2004). He is a Bar-Ilan University graduate in Economics and International Relations.

Alfredo Tor-Paz, Liason to Spanish-speaking community

Alfredo Tor-Paz is a social worker. He served as chairman of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and works as a consultant to the tourism industry overseas.

Dana Meshulavin, Head of Audit Committee

Volunteer Trauma Professionals

Gitit Shapira, Volunteer media advisor

Anna Krakovich, terror survivor and longtime Selah volunteer

Dr. Alex Altshuler, PhD

Lea Blustein, Trauma Case Worker

Dr. Dina Chanoch, Psychiatrist

Dr. Pinchas Chanoch, M.D.

Dr. Eleanor Pardess, Psychologist

Staff Social Workers + Field Team

Micha Feldmann, Director of Selah’s Ethiopian Jewry Program

Since 1982, Micha Feldmann has devoted his life to bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel and helping them adjust and incorporate into Israeli society. As Israel’s Consul to Ethiopia, he was one of the key architects of 1991’s Operation Solomon that succeeded in bringing 14,310 Ethiopian Jews out of besieged Addis Ababa in one weekend. Among his many other languages, Micha speaks Amharic, and is personally in touch with almost all of Selah’s Ethiopian recipients on a regular basis. At a recent Selah support group meeting for Sibling-Headed Families of Ethiopian origin, a teenage orphan who has been raising his younger siblings teased: “Micha may have white skin, but he’s Ethiopian at heart.”

Yeshitu Shmuel, Social Worker, Amharic Speaker and Special Liason to Ethiopian Immigrants

Mamuye Zere, Social Worker, Amharic Speaker and Special Liason to Ethiopian Immigrants

Aliza Israeli, MSW, Data and Information Director

Natasha Koretz, MSW, Special Liaison to Russian Immigrants

Avigail Strenger, MSW, Director of Selah Healing Retreats

Faina Tseitlin, MSW

Office Team

Rita Alon, Bookkeeper

Zion Bruchim, Selah Aid Van Driver

Galit Dekel, CPA, Accountant

Merisa Fink, Part-Time Director of English Content & Development

Geri Freund, English Content Writer & Consultant

Ada Harari, Activities Coordinator

Sigalit Tuena, Support Staff