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Professional Staff

Yael Kakun, Executive Director: Yael holds an MA in Social Work from Tel Aviv University. She has over twenty years of experience working professionally with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, as well as personal experience from being raised by deaf parents. Yael was a pioneer in the training of Israeli Sign Language interpreters.

Elias Kabakov, Director of Program Development: Elias has over 20 years of experience working with individuals of all ages who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, visually impaired, or a combination of the above. He is highly experienced in vocational counseling, job development techniques, rehabilitation skills and developing and supervising programs for the deaf, blind, and deaf-blind. An experienced sign language interpreter, he is fluent in both American and Israeli Sign Language. His formal education includes a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Francisco State University, CA and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland. In addition, he was trained at the Independent Living Skills Language Laboratory to work with Minimal Language Skill Deaf Adults, and at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology in their Basic Interpreter Training Program.

Linoy Orlev, Mentoring Deaf Children at Risk Program & Learning Center Director: Linoy holds an MA in Educational Counseling from Bar Ilan University and has 5 years of experience in the field of mental health. Linoy has provided individual counseling and guidance to over 80 students who have worked with deaf children at risk. Linoy can identify with the program participants, as she is herself hard of hearing. She is also the co-author of Our way: Identity and Transitions in the Life of Deaf and Hard of hearing Individuals.

Gal Roknian, Director of Guidance: Gal holds a BA in Special Education from the Seminar Hakibbutzim. She can identify with the program participants, as she is deaf herself. Gal has provided extensive group guidance for deaf mentors who work with groups of deaf children. She co-authored the book Our way: Identity and Transitions in the Life of Deaf and Hard of hearing Individuals.

Linoy and Gal have been working in mixed hearing, hard of hearing and deaf work environments for the past seven years and have gained skills through experience related to the deaf or hard of hearing person in the working world.

Dana Levi, Field Coordinator, Deaf Mentor Program

Cobi Chai Yaakobi, Editor, Sela Information site: Kobi is hard-of-hearing. His education includes computer programming as well as a BA and MA from Bar Ilan University in Political Studies and Communication. As part of his contribution to the Israeli deaf and hard-of-hearing community he volunteered in 2004 to edit the publication Siman Kriah!, which is jointly produced by the Institute and by Globes for this population. His relevant work experience includes being responsible, from 2003-5, for on-line courses of the Communication Department of Bar Ilan University. He has also helped teach in that department.

Nena Bar, Coordinator of Opening Doors to Higher Education Program: Nena has completed a program in Cinema and Screenwriting from Camera Obscura, and is currently studying for her Bachelors degree in Critical Pedagogy at Kibbutzim College.

Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi, Coordinator of the Negev Project: Carolina holds a Bachelors degree in nursing from the Hebrew University and an MA in Emergency Medicine from Ben Gurion University. Carolina also works in Ben Gurion University as the Study Coordinator for Needs of Deaf Persons. Carolina was raised in Chile and is a child of Deaf parents (CODA).

Zulfa Sa'ad, Woman's Group Facilitator, Mesira Program

Shiri Ofir, Coordinator, Mesira Program

Orit Solberg, Coordinator of the Employment Initiative: Orit holds a Bachelor's degree in Special Education and in Hebrew, and a Masters degree in Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

Orna Ben Hur, Administrative Assistant

Noa Malka, Community Resource Coordinator: Noa holds a Bachelors degree in Special Education and Educational Management. She also works as a teacher for the Deaf and an Israeli Sign Language interpreter.

Deborah Toubi, Resource Management

Amit Peleg-Batash, Coordinator, Sela Support Center

Gali Eagelberg, Community Programs Coordinator

Lynn Kaplan, V.P. Business Development

Galya Cohen, Senior Book keeper

Avigail Ben Avraham, Secretary