Biographies of Speakers 2022

Rabbi Danny Eisenberg
Rabbi Danny Eisenberg grew up in Sydney and was a chanich and madrich in Bnei Akiva. He completed a BSc in Computer Science and studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion for 9 years after which he received semicha from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He served as Rosh Kollel Torah Mitzion in Sydney and as a rabbi of the JLC community for several years. He also worked for several years as a software engineer at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. He is currently the director of the Sydney Kollel.

Dr David Solomon
Dr David Solomon is a scholar and translator of mystical Jewish texts and an internationally recognized educator in Jewish History and Thought who is currently the Managing Editor of Margalya Press. He is also Head of Vision for the space-industry start-up Australunar.

Devorah Goldhirsch
Devorah is an Orthodox mother of four. She holds a bachelor degree in the area of Computer Science and has worked as a programmer for Cisco, the largest networking company in the world. She is currently working in education, teaching school age students in the area of Digital Technology. Devorah is passionate about challenging students in the area of STEM and problem solving skills.

Hillel Solomon
After studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion for two years, Hillel completed a bachelor of science majoring in physics and philosophy at the University of Western Australia. He then completed a teaching masters, and taught physics and mathematics in Perth for two years before moving to teach at Yavneh.

Ian Waller QC
Ian was born in Melbourne in 1963. He was educated at Mount Scopus College and the University of Melbourne graduating BA, LLB(Hons) and LLM. After completing articles at Minter Ellison, he joined the Victorian Bar in 1989 taking silk in 2007. He has a broad commercial practice and has been ranked by various peer-review publications as one of Victoria’s leading commercial law silks.  He is a member of the Victorian Legal Admissions Committee and is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Victorian Bar. An active member of the Jewish community, Ian was President of the Mizrachi Organisation between 2011 – 2016 and is a Trustee of the Melbourne Chevra Kadisha and a member of the National Editorial Board of the Australia/Israel Review. Ian and Adina have 4 children and 5 grandchildren.

Joel Lazar
Joel is CEO of the Jewish Climate Network. His work driving social change at the community level spans educational program design, youth leadership and facilitation. After a stint on Collins Street as a commercial litigator, Joel was Head of Operations at The Man Cave, an organisation that develops the emotional intelligence and mental health of boys to enable them to become healthy and respectful young men.

His commitment to addressing the impacts of our rapidly changing climate has intensified over the last decade, culminating in his joining the Jewish Climate Network as its first CEO in 2020. Through JCN, Joel is driven to unlock the strengths, networks and creativity of the Jewish community, to become a leader in climate solutions and advocacy. His commitment to social justice in a Jewish context culminated in his receiving the Ron Castan Young Humanitarian Award in 2019.

Joel attended Yavneh for his entire schooling (save for 2 years spent in Israel) and was School Captain in 2007

Menucha Cooper
Menucha Cooper is a proud mum of 5 incredible kids. Her 4th child Mendy has Angelman Syndrome.
Together with her husband Reuvi they are the youth directors at Chabad Malvern and are extremely passionate about educating and spreading awareness on disability and inclusion.
Menucha is on the board of JCAS and facilitates workshops to children and adults on inclusion and how we can make a difference. Menucha runs a support group for fellow warrior mums who have children with special needs. To learn more you can check out her social media pages on Instagram and Facebook Magical Mendy.

Professor Kim Rubenstein
Professor Kim Rubenstein is a law professor, author, human rights advocate, mum (of two Yavneh graduates) and proud Canberran.  In the most recent election she ran as an Independent for the Senate. See further

Sandie Klein
Sandie taught Drama and Music for over 30 years, including 20 years at Leibler-Yavneh. Sandie is passionate about using the Creative Arts to communicate ideas and explore creativity. She is also excited about using the Arts to enhance our appreciation of Judaism.

Timmy Rubin
Timmy Rubin was a wild child, rampaging through the 60’s and experiencing life as if every moment was her last. But the wild child wanted something more. A non-practising Jew, Timmy eventually found what she was looking for in the orthodox Lubavitch community of Crown Heights New York. There also she found her husband with the assistance of a Lubavitch matchmaker. Three children later she returned to Australia and threw her family into the fold of the tight-knit Lubavitch community in Melbourne. Today, a mother and a trained teacher of the deaf, Timmy plays a vital role in community life. She is a manager of the Empress Road Mikvah, and she is the Jewish prison chaplain at the Women’s Correctional Center. She also lectures the staff of Masada Hospital on the special needs of Holocaust survivors and Orthodox patients. A multi-talented woman, Timmy is sure to entertain, enlighten, and inspire.

Rabbi Velly Slavin
Rabbi Velly Slavin is the Director of the Chabad Malvern Meaningful Living Centre and Chabad Malvern’s Giving Kitchen.  Velly also directs Jews in Recovery, a Melbourne based Jewish Recovery Community, where recovering addicts meet for spiritual growth, friendship, support, guidance and community.

Rabbi Zalman Kastel AM
Rabbi Zalman Kastel AM is the National Director and founder of Together For Humanity. Rabbi Kastel was raised in the ultra-orthodox Hasidic tradition in the racially divided Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York. He saw the world through the lens of his absolute tradition. This changed in 2001 when encounters with Christians and Muslims transformed him. He has had a lot of laughter, surprises and dilemmas on his journey of interfaith cooperation and bringing positive experiences of diversity to over 100,000 young Australians. He is still a Rabbi teaching Torah at Chabad House North Shore in Sydney. He was ordained as a Rabbi after study in the UK, Australia and the US, and completed a Graduate Diploma in Education with the University of New England, Armidale. In 2020 he was made a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his work on interfaith and intercultural understanding.

Alana Hersh
A proud Yavneh alumnus, Alana Hersh (nee Herz) is now a bridal wear designer and sewing teacher. Alana graduated from Leibler Yavneh College in 2006 and spent a year learning in Midreshet HaRova in the Old City of Jerusalem (MTA Bnei Akiva). It was in seminary that Alana decided to combine her Jewish spirituality and her creative flair to become a bridal wear designer. Following her year in Israel, Alana completed a four year fashion design degree with Honours at RMIT University.

Alana has been running her own business since 2013. She loves working with her clients on creating their dream wedding dress and has a particular passion for beading and lacework. Alana fills a niche market where she is able to create fashion-forward tznius wedding dresses. Alana also runs sewing classes for all ages – young students and adults too.

Alana lives in Melbourne and is married with three beautiful children.

Rav Yoni Rosensweig
Rav Yoni is rabbi of the Netzach Menashe community in Beit Shemesh and is a renowned teacher of Halakha, Gemara and Jewish thought. From 2006-2009 he served as Rosh Kollel of the Mizrahi community in Melbourne, Australia. Upon his return, he headed Yeshivat Hamivtar, and then became Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Shevut Yisrael in Efrat, a post which he held until 2016. He is the founder of Maaglei Nefesh center for Halacha and mental health, and a community Rabbi in Beit Shemesh. Rav Yoni has semikha from Rav Nachum Eliezer Rabinovitch and from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and degrees in education, philosophy and history. He is the author of “Yishrei Lev,” a three-volume responsa on different halakhic questions, and of “Conversations in Essence,” in which he engages in imaginary dialogue with great Jewish thinkers from the past.

Aamon Sayed
Aamon was born in South West Sydney. A community worker and educator, he has worked with at risk youth, people struggling with addiction, victims of domestic violence and those who feel alienated because of their culture, faith or economic situation. Since 2013, he has strived to provide impactful grassroots programs that challenge and motivate young people to become their best selves.

Yossi Klein
Yossi Klein took up running when he was 15 years old and has been health conscious ever since. He was a teacher (in fact, he taught Rabbi Cowen) for 22 years and then went on, at his wife’s suggestion, to become a Personal Trainer. His passion is to help all people get and stay as healthy as they can, both physically and mentally.

Natan Kessler
Natan graduated from Yavneh in 2015. After school, Natan went on Bnei Akiva’s Limmud program where he went back to be a madrich in 2020 and 2021. Natan has a bachelor of Fine Arts, a post graduate in project management and is currently completing his Master of Teaching. Natan holds a passion for all things creative and design including 3D design and woodworking.

Dr Michal Bloch Herz
Michal graduated from Beth Rivkah Ladies’ College and furthered her Judaic Studies in Israel, studying at both Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim and Nishmat. She was a Madricha and Rosh Chinuch in Bnei Akiva, and together with her husband Jeremy and 3 daughters, is part of the Mizrachi Melbourne Community.

Michal completed her medical degree at Monash University and is an Advanced Trainee in Neonatology and General Paediatrics, currently working at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Achinoam Hersham
Achinoam Hersham graduated from Yavneh in 2019. She attended Midreshet Harova as part of MTA, and is now balancing the role of Merakazet (Director) of Bnei Akiva Melbourne with her Biomedical Science/Commerce degree at Monash University.

Joey Zeleznikow
Joey Zeleznikow is a 2019 Yavneh graduate. After school he attended Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies online. He is currently studying Law and Politics at ACU, and is Chairperson for the AZYC of Victoria. He is also a staffer for Josh Burns, Member for Macnamara, and Vice President of the St Patrick Jewish Students Society.

Michelle Eisenberg
After studying medicine, Michelle Eisenberg lived and learned in Gush Etzion where she completed a Kallah teachers training course with Rabbanit Shani Taragin and teaches brides in Sydney. Michelle works at the Sydney Mikvah, facilitates many Taharat Hamishpacha questions and has been a mashgicha for women and couples who are undergoing IVF. She is married to Rav Danny and is busy parenting her children as well as helping in the Jewish community.

Zahava Pinson
Zahava Pinson is Melbourne based Visual Artist who creates unique figurative and abstract artworks using a variety of materials and techniques, including oil and acrylic paintings on canvas and wood, watercolour, pastel, and charcoal on paper as well as sculptural forms. Zahava’s artistic practise is one of continuous growth and development, drawing inspiration from the world around and from her Jewish, Chabad Hassidic heritage, culture and traditions. Travelling, studying and living overseas in Israel and New York, being a wife, mother and singer/songwriter also have a profound impact on her work. Zahava’s passion for art has always been an integral part of her life enabling her to find meaning, focus, explore, experiment, share and make a positive difference in the world. Her artworks reflect the creative journey of humanity, filled with hopes, dreams, struggles and beauty, on a quest to find balance, truth, peace and harmony in the heart, mind and the world at large. Zahava enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of art through Art parties, classes and workshops.

Yossi Jablonsky
Yossi is a master gold/silversmith, jeweller and gemmologist specialising in hand made bespoke fine jewellerym with modern and elegant designs, sleek lines and a super clean finish. He teaches and runs jewellery making courses for beginners and advanced. His studio and gallery is in Ripponlea.

Please note that further biographies will be added to this page over the coming days