Meet Our Experts
National Director of IsraelLINK
Mina Rush is the creator of the IsraelLINK middle school curriculum. Passions from an early age have been fostering Jewish identities and inspiring connections to Israel. After more than a decade in the field of Jewish education, she became the Director of Outreach for Jewish World Watch, a social justice nonprofit organization. In that capacity, she built community and a movement across political and religious lines using experiential education as a tool for engagement. After 7 years of growing that organization by 80%, she turned her focus to Israel education and joined the staff of StandWithUs. Motivated to change the trend of alienation between American Jewish youth and Israel, she began the development of the IsraelLINK curriculum in 2015. Mina believes that a strong foundation and connection to Israel starts with the student and IsraelLINK is informed by this relational approach. As proud as she is to have created IsraelLINK, she is even more proud of her marriage to Jordan, their children Tzvia (Josh,) Atara, Harel and Penina, and grandchildren Micah and Tory! click here to watch Mina discuss the future of Israel Education.
IsraelLINK Program Educator
Hannah Krispi joined the IsraelLINK team with a strong background in, and passion for education. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Education with an emphasis in English and Teaching Credential, Hannah moved to Israel to teach English at the Bialik Rogozin School in South Tel Aviv. In addition to serving Israeli children from marginalized communities, Bialik Rogozin provides a quality education to immigrant children, migrant children and refugee children from a variety of cultural, national, ethnic and religious backgrounds. After moving back to Los Angeles, Hannah taught 4th grade in the inner-city. Her diverse background and passion for Israel make her the perfect fit for onboarding and supporting our IsraelLINK teachers. Hannah loves hiking with her two dogs, listening to Israeli music and practicing her baking skills!
Midwest IsraelLINK Managing Director
Matt Rissien lives in the Northwest Suburbs outside of Chicago, where he has an active presence within the Greater Chicagoland Jewish community. Matt came to IsraelLINK after 7 years as a Director of Youth and Young Family Engagement at a Conservative congregation, where he was teaching the IsraelLINK curriculum. Matt saw firsthand how his students engaged with the curriculum and decided to join the team to help other middle schoolers find their personal connections to the land of Israel. Matt has also staffed multiple trips to Israel for ages ranging from Middle School through young adult. Matt is married to Brittany, a middle school special education teacher. Through her hard work, he knows how much effort goes into teaching and appreciates the fact that he gets to work with educators and teachers full time! In his free time, Matt has also created a number of Jewish YouTube parodies (check out his dreidel rap and more)!
Southeast IsraelLINK Associate Director
Sarah Weiss-Poland is a Master Jewish Educator, curriculum artist and Ritual creator. She earned two bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies respectively. Sarah also has a Masters in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at JTS. Sarah dedicates her career to Jewish Education. She developed curriculum which earned awards and national recognition for innovation in alternatives in Jewish Education. Sarah also works to develop innovative family education programming within synagogues in Boca Raton, working closely with directors and clergy. Sarah is a native New Yorker, has three children and is an advocate for arts in Education. She is the granddaughter of a holocaust survivor and is deeply committed to Israel education and advocacy. Sarah loves to write, sing and dance!
Yael Weinstock Mashbaum, M.A. Ed., DeLeT Fellow, Curriculum Consultant
Ilana Zadok, M.A. Ed.
Yad Ben Zvi Institute
Uriel Rosenbaum, Beit Zinati
Aviva Tessler, Founder and Executive Director - Operation Embrace
Dr. Reuven Gafni, Deputy Head, The Institute for research of Eretz-Israel, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem
Professor Dotan Arad, Hebrew University
Dr. Nirit Shalev Khalifa, Yad Ben Zvi Institute
Dr. Elad Ben Dror, Bar Ilan University
Dr. Aaron Willis, Chief Learning Officer, Social Studies School Service
Jan Darsa, Former Director of Jewish Education at Facing History and Ourselves
Shalom Orzach, Senior Educator and Consultant for The iCenter
The Sandra and Lawrence Post Family Foundation
The Etta E. Jonas Israel Fellowship
The Shear Family Foundation
The Lou Dunst Foundation
Tad Taube Philanthropies
The Koret Foundation
The Harris C. Jeffer Foundation