Meet Our Staff

image: Dr. Ronald Wachtle

Dr. Ronald Wachtel, Founding Director

Dr.Wachtel, the founding Director of Kav L’Noar, made aliya together with his wife in August 2002, having worked for over 30 years as a school psychologist with adolescents in both Jewish day school and public high school settings in the United States. Dr. Wachtel, who holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology, directed a Career Mentoring program for high school students for over 20 years which was recognized as an ‘exemplary educational practice’ by New York State. He also developed several courses designed to enhance student decision-making ability, which were taught as an elective in the high school curriculum. Shortly before his aliya, Dr. Wachtel served as a leading advocate for offering parenting workshops as a prerequisite for keeping their children in a given yeshiva or day school. Dr. Wachtel was voted Counselor of the Year on Long Island by the Nassau Counselor’s Association in 1983-84 and is a member in good standing in Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology and Phi Delta Kappa, the National Honor Society in Education.

image: Dani Yemini

Dani Yemini , CEO

Dani has devoted his professional life to the informal education of young people, mainly with Bnei Akiva. He holds a B.A. in Educational Administration and an M.A. in Political Sciences, Government and Public Administration, both from Bar-Ilan University. He attended Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion, under the direction of Rav Chaim Druckman, that combines both learning Torah and military service.  When starting work, he began at Bnei Akiva’s Head Office in Jerusalem.  Later he was a shaliach of Bnei Akiva and the Jewish Agency, spending 2 years in Manchester, England and 3 years in Los Angeles.  Most recently, Dani worked at World Bnei Akiva as Head of the world Shlichut Department. Dani, born in Israel, is married to Dorit (a social worker) and has four children. He resides in Peduel in theShomron, where he and his wife act as mentors for a group of teenagers, providing them with guidance and support.  Dani has also served twice as Municipal Head of Peduel.

image: Rina Berkus

Rina Berkus, MSW, Family Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

Rina is a clinical social worker with 30 years of experience in therapy, family counseling, clinical supervision and non-profit administration.  She received her MSW from the University of Michigan and has additional post-graduate training in both family therapy and management of non-profit organizations.   As the clinical director of a large community Youth and Family Services program in the States, Rina developed skills in working with inter-related systems for the ultimate benefit of the client.  She has experience working with individuals and families with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues.  Rina is committed to family therapy as a means of empowering parents to be more effective in their role.  She has worked with all ages of children from pre-school to adolescence, with the goal of improving child-parent relationships and reducing tension.  Rina uses a solution focused approach to help both individuals and families identify their own goals and make progress toward them.

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Mrs. Sima Gordon, Mentoring Supervisor

Sima made Aliya to Israel in 1990. She holds a B.A. in Humanities, and has had training in psychodrama, narrative therapy, and working with abused teens.  She has worked for the past decade with at-risk teens in Israel from Anglo homes. Seeing the special needs of this population prompted her to found an alternative High School that she ran for several years.  Before joining Kav L’Noar she worked for the Jerusalem Municipality as a youth counselor and activity program director for the Charedi youth at risk division.  There, she developed a community model for crisis prevention & intervention.

image: Akiva Harow

Akiva Harow, Family Therapist and Director of School Based Group Mentoring

Akiva Harow is a clinical social worker, with additional training in treating children exposed to sexual abuse.  He has extended experience working with youth at risk in a variety of settings including both dorm and community based and with a variety of populations including Chareidi and Ethiopian communities.  He has significant expertise working with olim, coming to KLN after being a Regional Coordinator with Nefesh B’Nefesh for several years.  In addition to his work as an individual and family therapist,  Akiva is heading up our school based group mentoring program, providing social skills training for adolescents in numerous Jerusalem schools.  Akiva uses a strength based psychodynamic approach and believes that  “everyone regardless of their situation can experience personal growth, but may need help in believing that themselves.”

image: haron Feifer

Sharon Feifer, Community Education Coordinator

Sharon  made Aliyah to Israel with her family in 1983. She worked as a caterer in Har Nof , Jerusalem and Efrat for 15 years. Sharon worked as a volunteer parent mentor to families with teens at-risk at Kav L’Noar for several months before joining the staff in July 2005.

Abigail Steinhart

Abigail Steinhart, Director of Development

Abigail made aliyah from London in 2005, and has been working in development positions in Jerusalem’s non-profit organizations ever since. She holds a B.A. in Modern History from the University of Oxford, and an M.A. in Government from IDC Herzliya. She lives with her family in Ma’aleh Adumim.

image: Joy Epstein

Joy Epstein, MSW, Family Therapist

Joy Epstein is a clinical MSW social worker with advanced training in Family Therapy from Pacific Coast Family Therapy Training Institute in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for twenty years. She worked for six years as the Clinical Supervisor for the department of Social Services in Nefesh B’Nefesh. Joy also worked with youth at risk and their families in Beitar Ilit, Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.  She has a private practice with offices in Jerusalem and Efrat.  Joy works with adolescents, young adults, couples and families helping them to address issues relating to adjustment, anxiety, depression, low self -esteem, abuse and trauma. She uses a psychodynamic approach.  In addition, Joy leads parenting groups that are psycho-educational and she specializes in coaching parents of children with ADHD

Image: Dvora Litt

Dvora Litt, MSW, Family Therapist

Dvora Litt holds a BA from Brandeis University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She has additional training and certification to work with parents of children teens at risk from Ashalim – the association for Planning and Development of Services for Children and Youth at Risk and their Families.  In addition to her work as a family therapist for Kav L’Noar, she has experience working with Lemaan Achai as a case manager, as a therapist for the Shalom Yehuda Community Mental Health Center and as a therapist and advisor for Olim Chadashim at Nefesh b’Nefesh.   Dvora specializes in working with at-risk adolescents and their families, providing both individual and family therapy as needed.  She is especially skilled in helping families navigate the complexities of the Israeli social service and educational systems.

image: Dov Moshe Litwin

Dov Moshe Litwin, MSW, Family Therapist

Dov joined Kav L’Noar as a family therapist in 2011. He brings over 20 years’ experience as social worker having received his MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  Dov completed additional training in family therapy with the adolescent unit at the Family Institute of Neve Yerushalyim and more specialized training in working with chareidi families dealing with abuse at the Charuv Center.  In addition to working with adolescents and their families to help them strengthen their communication and emotional bonds, Dov also works with young men living independently who are struggling with finding direction.  Dov uses a client centered approach, providing a safe, non-judgmental space for his clients to explore and find their own path.

image: Avraham Weitz

Avraham Weitz, MSW, Family Therapist

Avraham Weitz, made Aliyah from New York 10 years ago.  In addition to being an ordained rabbi, he earned an MSc from the University of North Texas with a focus on counseling and family therapy. He also completed two years of training in a postgraduate clinical program at The Family Institute of Neve Yerushalayim where he treated individuals, couples and families.  Avraham specializes in working with adolescents and their families to bridge communication gaps and develop the ability to work together in a manner that fosters growth both for the family unit and for the individual members.  He often uses narrative therapy to help family members both understand and value their unique stories.

image: Rivkah Weiss

Rivkah Weiss, MSW, Family Therapist

Rivkah made aliya from Long Island, NY with her family as a child. She received her Bachelors in English Education from Michlalah Jerusalem College and graduated as valedictorian. She completed a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, earning the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She is also the recipient of Wurzweiler’s Advanced Certificate in Jewish Communal Service.  In addition to her work as a psychotherapist and clinical assistant at Kav L’Noar, Rivkah continues teaching English at Chorev High School for Girls.  She specializes in working with adolescent girls and uses a cognitive behavioral approach.

Yisrael Wolpin, Mentor Supervisor

Yisrael completed a B.A. in Social Work at Bar Ilan University. As a student he worked with the elderly, families in need and kidum noar. He has extensive experience working with at-risk youth.  Yisrael oversees Kav L’Noar’s individual mentoring program in the Bukharan Quarter of Jerusalem. His responsibilities include crisis intervention, guiding challenged youth from disadvantaged, poverty stricken homes, dealing with dysfunctional parents and general intervention with relevant community institutions. His work is based on trust, acceptance and inclusion that help others find the strength and the power inherent in each and every one. Yisrael lives in Beitar Illit with his wife and 3 children.

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Mayer Rosenholtz, Psy.D

Mayer has extensive experience providing psychotherapy to adults, children and families within community health settings.  His expertise includes addictions counseling, group facilitation for men and adolescents and teaching group theory and practice. Prior to joining KLN as a family therapist, Mayer was on the staff of Kesher and Retorno.  He uses a combination of trauma modalities in the treatment of addictions and mood disorders, and is well versed in the attraction of the internet to today’s youth.

Naomie Benchimol Nakache, MSW, Family Therapist,Supervisor of School Based Group Mentoring and Coordinator of French Department

When Naomie Nakache Benchimol turned 18 and graduated from high school in Paris, France, she made aliya. Naomie spent a year continuing her Jewish studies at Midreshet Lindenbaum, following which she completed a BA in psychology at Ariel University and an MSW at Hebrew University. After serving for one year as a Case Manager for Reut, an NGO serving high functioning developmentally disabled adults in rehabilitation, she applied to Kav L’Noar to become a mentor in our new program for students  who had recently made aliya from France. Naomie currently oversees all of the female School Group Mentors and is coordinating our counseling and mentoring programs for French Olim.

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