OUR STAFF

OUR TEAM

MANAGEMENT 

Irit Anavim, Head of CityKids, grew up in Israel and spent 9 years in New York City with her family. Irit holds a BA in Business Administration from IDC and has extensive experience managing operations in various organizations, both in Israel and in NYC. She is excited to be joining the CityKids community and to expand the CK mission to more locations across Israel.

Ea Wegner, Director of Operations, made Aliyah from New Zealand in 2011. Ea received her BA from Canterbury University in Psychology, Education and Human Services prior to her Aliyah. In this new role, Ea will be responsible for the development and integration of new administrative processes and procedures that will be conducive to CityKids expansion across multiple branches, as well as supporting each of the branches to meet their full potential.

Dana Benavi, Director of Early Childhood Education, Ibn Gabriol Branch, born in Israel and grew up in Los Angeles, CA. Dana has always been passionate about education and received her BA in Communication and Education from the University of California, Davis. After graduation, she came to Israel on the MASA Israel Teaching Fellowship program. Falling back in love with Israel, Dana decided to make Aliya and in 2020 joined CityKids in the PreK/K class before transitioning into the Director of ECE in February 2023. Dana is certified in Feldenkrais for Children and Developmentally Appropriate Principles through Bar Illan, and is currently pursuing her MA in Early Childhood Education through the University of Colorado, Denver. She is looking forward to spending lots of time in the classrooms, getting to know all the children, and understanding how she can support each team.

Talia Sandberg, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education, Ibn Gabriol Branch, grew up in Buffalo, New York.  Though she studied Geography in college, she quickly discovered her true passion is working with children and caring for them.  She began working at CityKids in the Fall of 2017 as a One’s teacher and has since gained experience in and out of the classroom as our resident substitute teacher.  Talia has been a dedicated member of our staff for the last six years. Her time at CityKids has allowed her to get to know all of the children and families in the community, become very knowledgeable about emergent curriculum and child development across all the classrooms and master tips and tricks for smooth classroom management. She recently completed her certification in Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum through Bar Ilan University and is excited to share her knowledge. She describes CityKids as a second home and is excited to step into this new role as Assistant Director.

Taylor Yaroslawitz, Director of Education and Community Programs, grew up in New York City and moved to Israel in 2012. She holds BA in Early Childhood Education, Psychology and Sociology, as well as an MA in Trauma and Crisis Intervention. After completing her studies Taylor began her career as an elementary school teacher. She has been working at CityKids in various capacities from 2014 in the nursey school as well as the after-school programs and transitioned into the management team as Programs Director in 2019. Taylor has a passion for working with students, mentoring teachers, curriculum development and building programs for the English-speaking community in Israel. 

Shaina Rodkin, Education and Community Programs Coordinator, grew up in Boston, MA. After moving to Israel, she received a BA in Psychology and Business from Tel Aviv University and earned her Early Education Teaching certification. Shaina has been working as an educator for the past 8 years in a variety of roles; kindergarten teacher, middle school teacher, and summer camp head counselor. Shaina also has a passion for nonprofit management, and has years of experience in program management, event planning, digital marketing, and community building. She is excited to be joining the team at CityKids and is committed to developing innovative education, creative programs, and a strong sense of community.

EDUCATORS

Dafna Stofenmacher, originally from Madrid, made Aliyah this past September with excitement to start a new chapter in our beautiful country. She brings a passion for early childhood education, having earned her first degree in psychology. With a love for nurturing young minds, Dafna is dedicated to creating an environment where children feel valued, supported, and empowered to explore. Her experience includes supporting children within her Jewish community in Madrid through their Sunday School program and working as a nanny to a newborn. She is thrilled to bring her expertise and enthusiasm for early childhood education to One’s. When she’s not in the classroom, you can often find her enjoying walks in nature, diving into a good book, or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Dafna looks forward to getting to know each of your children and fostering a warm, engaging environment where they can learn and grow.

Sarah Suleyman, originally from Italy, has been fortunate to call Israel home for the past five years. With a degree in psychology, she possesses a deep-seated affinity for working with children and being a part of their exploration and discovery of the world. In her free time, she enjoys photography, immersing herself in captivating books, and playing with dogs. Sarah’s experience includes working as a teacher assistant in an English-speaking Nursery School in Italy and nannying for a young infant. She is thrilled to bring her passion for early childhood education and creativity into the One’s classroom and looks forward to the journey ahead, fostering a nurturing and stimulating environment for each child.

Shoshana Schapiro is from Seattle, Washington and graduated from Western Washington University with a Degree in Social Sciences. She made Aliyah in 2020 after living in Israel for a year and falling in love with it. She has experience working with young children in multiple environments including classrooms, summer camps, and most recently with kids who have disabilities. Shoshana joined CityKids in February 2022 in the One’s classroom and is looking forward to continuing with some of her children from last year and getting to know the new families joining!

Yaffa Egdes was born and raised in Potomac, Maryland in the United States and made Aliyah in September 2017. She has always loved helping others and working with children and knew this was something she wanted to pursue a career in. In 2020, she graduated from Reichman University with a degree in Psychology. After graduating, she spent two years teaching in Herzliya and absolutely loved helping her students learn and grow, encouraging them to see all their potential. She spent some time working in high-tech, but missed teaching and working with kids. She joined CityKids in April 2022 and has had the joy of being a substitute teacher and getting to know all the children at CityKids!

Julia Larma grew up in Philadelphia received her Bachelors degree in Public Health in 2022. She made Aliyah in 2022 after finishing her degree in the US after coming back and forth for many years, and even spending a gap year here after high school. She has been working with children of all ages for 12 years through babysitting, nannying, being a camp counselor, and leading child and teen leadership building activities. When she was growing up she liked spending her time doing art and playing make believe games with her younger sister, and hopes to bring that creativity to the children at Citykids. She is excited to be a part of such a fun time in the kids life, and to help them learn and grow.

Quoleyah Matanah was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies and comes with 40+ years working with children. She obtained her BS in Education at Queens College in New York and began her career working as a special education teacher. She worked as a teacher in a day care facility in Queens, N.Y before starting her own business called “Nadima Day Care” which instilled that every child was given the opportunity to gain academic, social and emotional skills from infancy to five years old. The center also provided an after school program where children were provided tutoring and assistance with homework. Quoleyah obtained her certification in ESL and made Aliyah in July 2017 to Gordon College in Haifa. She also did a one-year program through the Ministry of Education to teach English as a second language. Her passion is to work with children of all ages to help them grow.

Alexa Vecchio grew up in Marlton, New Jersey and earned her dual certification in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Towson University.  Following graduation, Alexa came to Israel on MASA’s Destination Israel program where she worked as a preschool teacher.  She fell in love with all things Israel, and spent a few years working as the Birthright Coordinator at the UPENN before making Aliyah in 2021.  She looks forward to continuing to incorporate her passion for art and creativity to the CityKids environment.  Alexa is entering her third year teaching in the Three’s classroom!

Adi Frumer was born in Mexico, she was raised in a bicultural home with a Mexican mom and an Israeli dad, and made Aliyah in 2022. She studied psychology in the University of Guadalajara and always knew she wanted to specialize in educational psychology and discovered her passion as an educator. Adi believes children fill our lives with an amazing and beautiful energy. She enjoys being in the classroom and started working as an English teacher in a bilingual school in Guadalajara. She continued her journey in early childhood education in a preschool in Israel and is excited to continue her career at CityKids!

Nicole Nembach was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in education and psychology at Queens College. After she graduated, she worked for a year at a preschool and tutoring center in Queens, NY before participating in a MASA Israel Teaching Fellowship. During her fellowship she worked at an elementary school in Petah Tikvah teaching English and fell in love with Israel. When the program ended, Nicole returned to NY and worked for a year at a preschool in Manhattan until making aliyah and joining CityKids in July 2017! Since then she has worked in the Four’s, PreK and Kindergarten classes during her time here and is looking forward to her seventh year at CityKids in the Fours classroom!

Maria Fernanda Eizik, born and raised in Colombia, has always been passionate about education. With a degree in Modern Languages from Quindío’s University and four years of experience teaching English in Colombian secondary schools, Maria’s commitment to education is evident. Her journey led her to Israel in 2011, where she gained extensive expertise working with preschool groups for five years. Her enthusiasm for nurturing young learners is palpable, and she is looking forward to being part of the team.

Pascale Neumark made Aliyah in 2005 with her Israeli husband and three children. After living in Holland, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium she received her BA in Languages and a Law Degree. She practiced as a lawyer until she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Once her children were old enough she began volunteering in a preschool for refugees for a year which led her to become a preschool and French teacher at an international school for more than two years. Pascale is entering her seventh school year at CityKids where she’s been a Two’s, Three’s and Four’s teacher and she looks forward to keep learning, discovering, growing and having fun with all the amazing children in Pre K!

Becky Rottermann is a trained Psychologist and has worked in education for several years. She was born in Colombia and was very active as a madricha in Jewish education and youth movements. She strongly believes that every human being finds their identity through strengthening bonds with the natural world and the community, and that nurturing compassion and mindfulness in children will change the world. In her six years at CityKids she has taught in camp, tzaharon, Two’s, Three’s and Four’s. She looks forward to spending another year in Pre K!

Jessa Yifrach was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education in 2019. Since then she has worked in schools on Long Island as a substitute teacher and Literacy teacher. She just moved to Israel this summer and is currently getting her Masters in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Tel Aviv University. Jessa is super excited for this journey at CityKids and looking forward to watching her students grow.

Lida LeVine was born in Russia and moved to Tampa, FL at the age of seven. She attended a Jewish boarding high school in NC and found her love for Israel on AMHSI. After completing her BA in Psychology and Studio Art at the College of Wooster, in OH, she came to Israel on MASA Israel Teaching Fellows. At the conclusion of her program, Lida returned to the US for a year before making the decision to make Aliyah. Lida’s passion for psychology and art plays a role in her commitment to education. She is excited to continue to use her creativity and share her love for exploration with the Kindergarten class!

Shayna Rips was born in Toronto, Canada, and made Aliyah in 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in child and Youth Care with a minor in Psychology. Additionally, she has completed training in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology and Developmentally Appropriate Practice from Bar-Ilan University. This is her 3rd year as a teacher at CityKids, and she has also taught in the English after-school program with multiple age groups. She is familiar with the CityKids English curriculum for the kindergarten age group and is looking forward to implementing it into the classroom.

 

ENGLISH & PROGRAMS

Nadav Litvak was born in Israel, and at a young age moved to Paris with his British family. Upon moving back to Israel to finish high school, he took every opportunity he could to volunteer to tutor younger students in the neighboring elementary and middle schools, focusing on teaching English. After finishing his service in the IDF, he’s been working at a Tza’aron whilst studying in the mornings. He is excited to be joining the CItyKids team and helping to make an impact as a camp counselor.

Samantha Acriche grew up in New York and moved to Israel in 2022. After studying economics at Cornell University, Samantha worked as an economics teacher and later headed curriculum design for K-12 at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, a charter school network with 50 schools. In Israel, she worked as an English teacher in Nazareth and Tel Aviv and now continues this work at CityKids. Samantha is passionate about creating supportive and engaging environments for students through curriculum design and pedagogy.

Cathy Kadish grew up on a farm in South Africa, surrounded from birth by polyglots who could switch seamlessly between multiple languages. Her love of language found its expression in stagecraft and writing, leading her to study Linguistics, English, and Drama, followed by a PGCE in English and Arts education. A born educator, she has taught a range of ages and content, and now as an Olah in Israel, is focused on EFL teaching. She believes that learner confidence is key to progress and meets her learners where they are to nurture their success.

Emily Faltyn was born in Buffalo, New York and moved to Israel in 2017 after receiving her TEFL certification in Chicago and teaching English as a foreign language in Mexico. Emily is a photographer and English tutor, and loves getting to teach with a group of kids in the English lessons at CityKids. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing her students able to express themselves in new and deeper ways. She is very excited to be a part of the CityKids team this year, combining creativity and compassion in the classroom.