Ohr Naava is comprised of a team of professional educators and caring individuals who serve as role models and mentors. Private appointments can be made with each staff member to discuss personal matters. Traveling from New Jersey, Monsey, Long Island, and Brooklyn, our faculty is dedicated to giving their audience an enriched learning experience. Our staff is trained to discuss matters on all levels, and they make themselves available on a daily basis. In addition, well-known guest lecturers from both America and abroad are invited to speak in Ohr Naava regularly.
Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein,
Now celebrating an over-three-decades career in chinuch, the dynamic educator—with his trademark passion, clarity, and love—has touched the hearts and souls of thousands of students from all shades of the religious spectrum.
Eight years ago, upon grasping a profound paucity in the spiritual and social resources available to today’s Jewish women, Rabbi Wallerstein dared to step out of the box—and found Ohr Naava, at a time when no comparable center existed. With his legendary foresight and gumption, the center has since mushroomed into a panoptic umbrella organization, composed of numerous programs addressing the gamut of Jewish women’s needs, including Ateres Naava Seminary, Bnot Chaya Academy, the Ohr Naava Shidduch Initiative, GalTime for teens, and many more.
Today, Rabbi Wallerstein has become an internationally sought-after speaker, traveling the world and inspiring men and women from all walks of life. Dubbed a “holistic doctor” thanks to his multifaceted approach to growth, struggle, and spiritual healing, on a typical day, he can be found in schools, shuls, community centers, and even mental institutions worldwide, lighting up lives—one neshamah at a time.
Mrs. Sharona BenHaim, is the Director of Operations at Ohr Naava. Growing up in a family affiliated with organizations like Arachim and Gateways, with a strong involvement in kiruv, she has personal and hands-on experience with drawing people closer to Judaism. Professionally, aside from working in a non profit organization as the executive director for a number of years, Sharona has spent many years working in sales and administration in the corporate business world. Before joining Ohr Naava, she held a lucrative position in a prestigious diamond company. However, since coming to hear Rabbi Wallerstein’s speech the first time many years ago, her dream became to work for Ohr Naava to make a difference and truely reshape the “jewels” of Klal Yisroel. She currently resides in Woodmere with her husband and children.
Mrs. Judy Bodner, originally from Columbus, OH is a certified life coach who specializes in Dating, Relationships and building one’s Self Esteem. Judy is on the staff of Ohr Naava, giving classes at Ohr Naava, Ateres Naava and Bnot Chaya Academy as well as one-on-one counseling with their students. “Judy’s Place" has become an open home for the girls to spend Shabbos, Yom Tov or just a place to go and relax. She also has been a shadchan for the past 20 years. Judy and her husband Pinny reside in Monsey and have much nachas from their children and grandchildren.
Mrs. Baila Caller is the founder of Jewmba, the Jewish Zumba. Baila's high energy gives the women and teens who attend her classes not only an intense workout, but reJEWvenates their body and soul! The Wednesday night Jewmba class at Ohr Naava for women young and old, from 12-120yr. old, is the highlight of Baila's week. Baila is a wife and mother of 6, and knows how important daily exercise is for a woman's physical and emotional well-being.
Yanky Elefant, dubbed the “right hand of Ohr Naava,” grew up in Boro Park, and attended the Mir Yeshiva High School, followed by Bais Medrash and in Mir and Torah Vodaas. He then received a degree from Touro College, and currently works in M.T. Packaging. He is the brother of Mrs. Estee Wallerstein, which makes him ‘family’ to Ohr Naava. Despite his regular ‘day job,’ Yank y’s real passion, to which he devotes his days, nights, and all hours in between, is the success of Ohr Naava. He is behind every major decision, and is constantly consulted regarding every new endeavor. Yanky and Lisa play an active role in Ohr Naava shidduchim, and are always available for Ohr Naava, devoted with heart and soul. Yanky and his wonderful wife, Lisa, are the parents of five adorable children, residing in Brooklyn, NY.
Rabbi Gil Frieman is the pulpit Rabbi of Jewish Center Nachlat Zion, the home of Ohr Naava. He is certified as a shochet, sofer, and has given lectures in the United States, Canada, and throughout Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Frieman is currently the American Director of seminaries Darchei Binah, Afikei Torah, and Chochmas Lev in Eretz Yisroel, and teaches in Nefesh High School, Camp Tubby during the summers, and lectures weekly at Ohr Naava. In addition, Rabbi Frieman teaches all tracks in Ateres Naava Seminary.
Miss Chevi Garfinkel has been teaching for over 10 years and is currently teaching Judaic Studies in Shulamis and Bruriah High Schools. During the summers, Miss Garfinkel directs Camp Frontier, a teenage hiking camp. Miss Garfinkel lectures throughout the United States, Canada and Eretz Yisroel. She has been teaching Tefilla and Moadim at Ohr Naava since its inception on a bi-monthly basis. Chevi’s upbeat and down-to-earth style of teaching has kept her students coming back year after year, long after graduation. You’ll know if a girl has been at Miss Garfinkel’s shiur if there is a thoughtful look in her eyes and a smile on her face.
Mrs. Daphne Hanson, LMSW, is the co-founder and Director of Programming at Ohr Naava and Ateres Seminary. After spending a few years studying in Eretz Yisroel, Daphne returned to the U.S. to complete her Master’s Degree in Social Work, which she has utilized in various Jewish institutions. Daphne is also the administrator and teacher of Torah and Psychology, Michtav M’Eliyahu, Tznius, and Relationships in Ateres Seminary, subjects which she has taught since its inception. Daphne and her family live in Brooklyn, NY.
Mrs. Ivy Kalazan is a dynamic lecturer who teaches the spiritual depth and meaning behind the mitzvot that people often keep by rote.She graduated summa cum laude from Touro College with her B.S. in mathematics and spent over 25 years teaching Jewish philosophy from a logical perspective. Drawing from the teachings of Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, Rav Noach Orlowek and Raabbi Dovid Gottlieb,her analytical teaching style appeal to both the mind and the heart. Her classes have been taught from Yeshiva University of Los Angeles to Neve Yerushalayim in Israel. She presently teaches in Ohr Naava, The New Seminary, The Jewish Renaissance Center and Maalot seminaries in Brooklyn
Rabbi Label Lam, former collegiate athlete, is a graduate of Colgate University. He was matriculated at Harvard Extention School. While pursuing a Masters of Education, Rabbi Lam studied many years at Yeshiva Ohr Sameyach before launching his career in Jewish Education. Rabbi Lam has been inspiring businessmen, college students, and prisoners, through Hamayan Institute and Ohr Sameyach International for two decades. He is the co-founder of Foundations for Jewish Learning, an outreach project in the US and abroad. His lectures, comprised of his rich life experience, profound wit and infectious love for the Jewish people, inspire all who hear him. His insights on the weekly Parsha are received by over 15,000 people worldwide, and can be found at www.torah.org. Rabbi Lam lives in Spring Valley, NY, with his wife, Chaya, and 10 children.
Mrs. Blima Lichtig has been teaching and studying dance for thirty years. Blima is a well-known choreographer and dance teacher, having worked with various musicians and singers. She teaches dance in Flatbush and in various hotels in the summer. She also gives private dance lessons to brides and their family members so they can feel confident on their special day. Blima resides with her husband in Brooklyn, NY.
Rabbi Ezra M. Max is a certified professional life coach and founder of KosherCoaching.com. His in-depth experience with at-risk youth, for almost 15 years, enables him to leverage this expertise and focus on early intervention and PREVENTION. He directed “The Living Room” project under the clinical supervision of Rabbi Shimon Russell, LCSW and successfully brought it to worldwide recognition. The Living Room has become a model program for supporting young adult growth and re-integration with society, family and religion of origin. Rabbi Max is a recognized coach, facilitator, trainer and mentor in the areas of young adult communication, development and life skills. He is an associate of the Parent As Coach Academy and an advisor to many programs supporting young adults. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and five children.
Mrs. Avivit Mikhli, MBA, is the Director of Operations at Ohr Naava. Her marketing and administrative experience, which she gained at SpeedDating as Program Director, Discovery as Research Analyst, both of Aish HaTorah, as well at The Jewish Theological Seminary as Development Associate, is exemplified in the way she brings her enthusiasm and passion to her work at Ohr Naava. She attended Chabura at the very beginning and immediately knew that this is where she belongs. Avivit makes herself readily available to everyone at Ohr Naava and is on site throughout the week to support the over 3,000 members and staff with a friendly smile. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband and daughters.
Rabbi Motti Miller was born and raised in London, England. He has been involved in Jewish Education and outreach for over 15 years. Rabbi Miller is assistant principal and manhig ruchani at The Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ. In addition, he lectures throughout NY on a variety of topics, including Hashkafa, parenting, Jewish education, dating and relationships. Rabbi Miller has spent many years counseling teenagers and young adults in various forums. He Resides in Highland Park, NJ with his wife and four children.
Mrs. Elisheva Perlman is the Director of Marketing and Communication, fueling the creative force behind Ohr Naava’s advertising and publicity. She can usually be found thinking up of new ways to promote an event, produce an idea or hang another butterfly. Elisheva’s career spanned from teaching in Be’er Hagolah High School, to being Director of Programming for NY NCSY, to spending her summers as an Assistant Head Counselor for Chai Lifeline/Camp Simcha. Her degree in Marketing and Public Relations, together with her non-profit event coordination experience, brings an added touch to Ohr Naava. She resides with her husband and newborn daughter in Brooklyn, NY.
Rabbi Shmuel Skaist studied at Yeshiva Sh’or Yoshuv enjoying a close relationship with Rabbi Shlomo Friefeld z”tl. Rabbi Skaist, a talented speaker and musician, has been teaching Torah and been involved in Kiruv across the US and Israel for over 20 years. Rabbi Skaist and family lived in Eretz Yisroel where he was a Mashgiach at Neve Tzion, a Magid Shiur at Bat Ayin Yeshiva, and an adjunct Professor at Bar Ilan University. It was in Eretz Yisrael that Rabbi Skaist gained popularity as a “go-to” person for young adults seeking advice in both Hashkafic and personal issues. Now in the US, Rabbi Skaist is continuing chinuch and outreach, lecturing and performing at over 20 college campuses here and in Canada. Currently a Rosh Yeshiva at The Yeshiva at IDT, Rabbi Skaist is at Ohr Naava every Tuesday night, teaching and counseling beginner, intermediate and advanced talmidos.