Ilan was born in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 1986 after years of activity in the Young Judaea youth movement. Upon arriving in Israel, he helped found the Keren Kolot Educational Seminar at Kibbutz Ketura, wrote a text book for teaching English at the high school level, and then went on to be the head of the Education Committee on Kibbutz Yotvata, and supervisor of Civics at the regional high school.
In 1996, he worked as an emissary for college students in North America on behalf of Hadassah. From 2002 until 2004 he directed the Jewish Agency Department of Education's global student activities, and then returned to the United Sates as the Jewish Agency's representative to Hillel and Student Affairs in North America. Beginning in August, 2007 he served as the director of the Jewish Agency's educational efforts in North America and directed MAKOM, the Israel Engagement Network in North America.
Ilan returned to Israel in 2009, continuing his work as the Director of the Jewish Agency's North American regional office and was involved in the creation of Onward Israel, of which he is currently the President and CEO. Ilan lives In Modiin with his wife Shoshi and two children, Amit and Adi, and their beloved dog, Eddie. If you meet Ilan, be sure to say a kind word about the Boston Red Sox.
Jessica was born in raised in New Jersey. Throughout her youth, she attended and worked at Ramah movement summer camps and was involved in United Synagogue Youth (USY). During college, she had the opportunity to study abroad in two incredible cities, London England and Haifa Israel, which helped shape her interest in giving young people the opportunity to have immersive abroad experiences.
After graduating from Boston University with a B.A. in International Relations in 2008, she started work at the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Jessica served in multiple roles at JNF including in the Israel Advocacy and Education department and later in the Greater New York region as an events manager. In 2013, she completed her Masters Degree in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Administration from Baruch College of the City of New York. She had the opportunity to participate in Germany Close Up and is currently a Birthright Israel Fellow.
Having been involved with Onward Israel since its inaugural year, Jessica proudly serves as the Onward Israel North American Director. She lives in New York City where she is an avid Yankees fan and loves to explore the city for different types ethnic foods.
Eliran is married to Maayan and father to Or-Yosef. From a very young age Eliran was active in social organizations as both participant and staff. Eliran served as a fighter and commander in the Israeli navy. After this he was a Shaliach in US, before returning to Israel to continue his career. In the last few years he was a Director of Programs in diverse projects such as 'Taglit', 'Masa Israel', and more.
His academic career includes a B.A degree in Political Science and Public Communication. Currently he is completing his Master's degree in the Studies of American Jewry. During his years as a student, Eliran participated in a number of significant leadership programs such as The Stand With Us Fellowship, The Jewish Statesmanship Center and the program for educators for Jewish Peoplehood in Beit H'atfutzot.
Among other endeavors, Eliran lived in and managed the Tel Aviv 'Moishe-House' extension. In addition, Eliran founded and manages his own company 'Kelim Shluvim' that specializes in the development and management of training skills for diverse audiences. Eliran is a big fan of sports and music of any kind.
Scott currently serves as the Vice President and Director of Education at Onward Israel. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University in Judaic Studies and an M.A. from Hebrew University's Institute of Contemporary Jewry, and is also a graduate of the Mandel Jerusalem Fellows, a prestigious leadership development center for the Jewish educational world.
Scott has worked as a tour guide and educator in a wide variety of Israeli and Diaspora settings. He has taught in Jewish communities around the world and has been deeply involved in educational tourism. His areas of expertise include Israel studies, Jewish history and thought, and travel as an informal educational arena. Scott has published online for the Jewish Agency, at Jewishlearning.com, in Shma, in Zeek, and in Blätter für Deutsche und Internationale Politik. His article on the vision and practice of Israel Travel Education appears in the Springer Press Handbook of Jewish Education.
Scott served as a reserve officer with the IDF Spokesperson's Bureau. He was also the founding director of the Taglit-Birthright Israel Institute for Tour Educators, an academy providing training in experiential Jewish education for the tour guides/educators of Taglit-Birthright Israel.
As VP of Marketing and Communications, Brad creates and implements marketing strategy, finds new ways to grow Onward's network and engage its community, and manages the organization's branding, web presence and social media channels.
Brad grew up in suburban Detroit, and lived in the Philippines before moving to New York City. Brad comes to Onward Israel with over a decade of marketing experience, both inside and outside of the Jewish communal world. Before working at Onward Israel, Brad helped to build robust online communities for 16 Handles frozen yogurt company, JDC Entwine, American Friends of The Hebrew University, and Columbia/Barnard Hillel.
Brad received a Masters in Informal Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Bachelors degrees in Comparative Religion and Journalism from Western Michigan University. He is also the founder and editor of Burger Weekly, a blog dedicated to finding and sharing the best hamburgers in the country.
Rebecca joined the Onward Israel team in January 2015 to oversee the first theme-based summer programs. As the theme-based programs have grown, Rebecca continues to work on individualized marketing and recruitment for all theme-based programs and coordinates with the Israel-based organizers to ensure that the participants have meaningful and unique experiences.
At the end of her time as a Communication and Film student at UMass Amherst, Rebecca joined the first cohort of Onward Israel participants in Summer 2012. As a proud alumna, she knows firsthand how impactful the Onward Israel experience can be. Before joining the team professionally, she worked at Jewish National Fund on special projects for the Executive Office and Education departments before taking over the role of Speakers Bureau Manager.
When she isn’t working, Rebecca can be found quoting obscure TV and movie references in Astoria, NY, where she lives with another Onward Israel alum.
Liad coordinates Onward Israel’s CRM system and Website. she takes the lead on interactions for logistics issues with program organizers before and while the programs are running and is also managing the Israel office and in charge of Ilan Wagner's schedule, Onward Israel's CEO.
Previously, Liad has worked in the Priority Regions Division ,Scholarships Unit and the Social Activism Unit of The Jewish Agency for Israel. She has a MA in Educational Management & Policy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a BA in International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology.
Liad is married to Yaniv and a mother to Eitan, Nevo and Re'em and lives in a Moshav near Jerusalem. She really loves interior design and art.
After her army service as an Operations Officer in the North Face of Israel, Yael worked at a JCCA Summer Camp in Georgia. She returned to Israel and worked on the screening and training team for the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Summer Shlichim Program.
Her passion for Jewish education and for Israel led her to participate in a tour guide course with the Birthright Educator Institute. After graduating from the course, Yael worked with varied educational tourism groups in Israel. Over the years, Yael also worked in different positions in the URJ movement in Israel.
Yael was raised in Ra’anana, Israel, and has been living in Jerusalem for the last few years. She holds a BA degree in Land of Israel Studies from Haifa University and is an MA student in American Judaism at Haifa University.
Zehavit coordinates finance and operations at Onward Israel, taking the lead on budget issues, and managing negotiations with suppliers and organizers.
Zehavit served in the army as a satellite communication guide in the Computer and Information Corps. Prior to joining Onward Israel, she has worked at the Jerusalem Mayor's building as a social media intern in the mayor's spokesperson's office. She has B.A in Journalism and Social Media from Ramat Gan College.
Zehavit is married to Tomer. They live in Jerusalem and are expecting the first child. Zehavit likes to paint in oils and acrylic colors on canvas.
Sara Naor joined the Onward Israel team as it’s first Western Coordinator and helped kick start their Bay Area program as its recruiter. Sara was born in Israel and spent her early life in Kibbutz Na’an. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 6 and spent her remaining childhood growing up in the San Fernando Valley.
An alumna of UC Irvine, Sara was a member of every Jewish student board possible which led her to discover a passion for Jewish communal engagement. She graduated with a degree in Film and Media and a minor in Jewish Studies and went on to work for the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Los Angeles office. Now, Sara applies her passion for Jewish engagement to helping young adults aged 19-27 connect with Israel through meaningful summer experiences.
Sara is located in the Bay Area where she is exploring her new home city and bundling up against the San Francisco cold.
Rebekah was born and raised in New Jersey and recently graduated from the University of Rochester, where she studied International Relations. She decided to pursue a career in US-Israeli relations after participating in the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether exchange program and becoming involved with Hillel and the University of Rochester Israel Council.
Rebekah traveled back and forth between the United States and Israel throughout college, spending a semester abroad at Tel Aviv University and an additional summer working at a think tank in Jerusalem. After graduating from college, Rebekah became Onward Israel’s North American Program Associate, where she assists with recruitment and marketing for Onward Israel’s programs.
Rebekah lives in New York City and loves skiing, traveling, and cooking.