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Board of Directors


Ms. Lea Sela, Chairperson. Ms. Sela holds an MA in Early Childhood Education for Learning Disabled and Hearing impaired students and a BA in Special Education from Tel Aviv University. She has held a wide variety of positions in education for students of different backgrounds and ages. In Israel her many talents led her, among other activities, to teach preschool deaf children, establish a multidisciplinary early intervention program for learning disabled and hearing impaired students and work with deaf new olim. She also started a program in which junior high school students volunteered to work with disabled children in special education pre-schools. Most of her career has been in Israel, although she has spent time abroad in the US, Brazil and Hungary. In the US she founded and ran a school for Israeli high school students to prepare for (and pass) their matriculation exams in Israel. In Brazil she taught Hebrew to adults, and in Hungary she worked in Jewish community relations and Jewish education and volunteered for the Hungary World Joint.

Professor Samuel (Shimon) Cooper, PhD. Professor Cooper teaches at Bar-Ilan University in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology. His fields of expertise include ethno-psychiatry, anthropological approaches to the study of text and medical anthropology. In addition to teaching he conducts research and has published a wide range of articles in respected journals and books. His background as a professor of anthropology helps us understand other cultures and his academic background is an asset as well.

Mr. Jonathan Steinberg is the senior partner and founder of NATAM Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Ltd. which provides research, consulting, brokerage and marketing services for office, industrial and retail properties in Israel. He has been active in commercial real estate since making aliyah in 1983. Before founding NATAM, Mr. Steinberg was involved in building marketing and management in New York. He is the author of "Buying Real Estate", published by Modan (1994), and he holds a B.A. and an M.S. in economics and urban planning respectively from Columbia University. He has also completed a Tel Aviv University course for senior real estate brokers. His understanding of, and connections in, the business world are particularly relevant for the project described in this proposal.

Mr. David Lansman made aliya from South Africa and lives in Israel with his wife, who is also deaf, and their two hearing sons. While he makes his living as an accountant, it his volunteer activities which are relevant to the Institute. In the evenings and on weekends he volunteers both on the domestic and international level. In Israel he is known as the Chairman of the Israel Deaf Sports Organization and is personally in charge of tennis for the deaf. This organization promotes and develops the field of sports for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It is a self help organization which enables deaf and hard of hearing Israelis from across the country to participate in a wide variety of sports activities within a unique social framework, in which they can communicate with each other. Internationally, he is Vice President of The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, Inc. (ICSD). Among other events, the ICSD organizes and runs the long standing ? and ever growing - Summer and Winter Deaflympics. In January 2005, for example, over 3,300 deaf athletes and officials from 74 nations participated in the 20th Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Ms. Rinat Savir An interior designer and event producer, Rinat has a BA in Education from Beit Berl College.

Mr. Reuven Reiff, lawyer, is a senior partner in the second largest law firm in Israel, Goldfarb, Levy, Eran, Meiri & Co. The firm enjoys a leading status in Israel, with extensive professional experience in representing high-tech companies. It works in all aspects of commercial and administrative law: capital raising, international transactions, securities, taxation, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, real estate and planning, and construction. In addition to their extensive law practice, the firm allots work hours to help and advance needy groups and individuals within the framework of volunteer programs for the community.

Professor Arie Reichel is currently Dean of the School of Management of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He holds a B.A. from Tel Aviv University in Sociology and Social Anthropology and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Business Administration (Business Policy). His former positions included stints as a professor at prestigious universities in the US, France and Israel, as well as leading positions at Ben-Gurion University. He has published a wide range of articles in respected journals and books.

Mrs. Hava Savir Hava is the first congenitally deaf person in Israel to receive a teaching certificate and one of the first deaf teachers in an educational framework for deaf and hard of hearing students. Equally inspiring is her professional experience, which includes over 50 years of work for the development and empowerment of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Israel.

Ms. Ruti Abarbanel - Department Head, Peltours Insurance Co. Ruti was first exposed to the world of deaf individuals and the myriad challenges they face through the experience of raising her youngest son, who was born deaf. Of all the organizations she turned to, our philosophy was closest to hers. Together, she hopes to change Israeli society so that one day lack of accessibility, lack of tolerance and close mindedness will no longer stand in the way of deaf and hard of hearing Israelis as they work to realize their dreams and ambitions.

Ms. Ruti Yahav Ruti is the niece of Moshe Bamburger, may he rest in peace, who was the founder of the Helen Keller House in Tel Aviv. She is a senior project manager in CongressMed where she helps organize medical and scientific congresses around the world.

Dr. Gilad Borisovsky One of the very few deaf doctors in Israel, specializes in internal medicine at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.

Dr. Rina Feigin Rehabilitation Expert, Tel Aviv University - Bob Shapell School of Social Work.