top of page
2020 cohort group.fw.png

Yelena Averbukh came to NYC from Moscow in 1991 at the age of 18. Her undergraduate studies took place at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Brooklyn and Stein College for Women, Yeshiva University. She is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, class of 2000. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine in what is now Mount Sinai West and after 5 years in private practice joined the Department of Medicine at Montefiore Hospital System as a Teaching Hospitalist where she made her professional home. Yelena’s professional areas of expertise includes teaching the art of clinical reasoning, patient interview and physical examination, as well as resident mentoring and support for scientific endeavors. Yelena is a mom to three beautiful children Hana 13, Michael 12, and Esti 6. She lives on UWS.


Donna was born in Riga, Latvia and had immigrated to United States in 1990s.  Donna has been engaged in the number of Jewish organizations, including UJA Russian Division Board, JCC of Manhattan and Jewish Survivors of Latvia in the USA.   Donna is a firm believer in the crucial importance of strengthening of Jewish Russian identity as well as its place and the impact on the larger Jewish-American landscape.  Furthermore, Donna believes in the power of education, the importance of Tsedaka and of taking an active role in shaping the future of Russian-Jewish community.    Professionally, Donna is Senior Investment Officer at the Office of the New York State Comptroller, where she oversees number of portfolios of real estate assets on behalf of the New York State retirement fund.    Donna Bergman received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Real Estate Finance and Investments from New York University. Donna lives in Riverdale, Bronx with her three children and husband Vlad.


Julia Birman was born in Moscow. She moved to New York at the age of 23 where she currently lives with her husband and 2 daughters. Julia earned her MS in Finance and Economics in Russia and received a CPA license in US. She is currently working at Wafra Inc. Julia’s hobbies include tennis, skiing, hiking, guitar. She loves to travel with her family.


Michael was born in St Petersburg. He came to the US in 1994 to attend graduate school at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his Masters degree in Mathematics in 1996. Following graduation, he lived and worked in Madison, Wisconsin and later moved to the NY/NJ area, where he is currently works at UBS. Throughout his career Michael worked for several major banks in various roles in Technology and Finance. Michael now lives with his wife and 2 daughters in Manhattan. In his free time, he likes to travel, enjoys outdoor sports, and spends time with family and friends.


Vicky has 15 years of experience in the financial services sector where she mostly assisted companies in strategy and risk management. Currently, Vcky is leading a commercial investment arm of a boutique real estate company advising local and international investors on investment purchases. Vicky lives on the UWS with her husband and two school-age girls.


Jane Dorogoyer is an UX/UI Designer from New York. She was born in Kishinev, Moldova and graduated from Tel-Aviv University. Jane studied architecture, art, design and filmmaking at Polytech, Pedagogical Institute, FIT and the New York Film Academy. She enjoys photography, cinema, theater, ballet, traveling & writing. Jane is married with two kids and works for a financial company in New York.


Efim was born in Kishinev, Moldavia and belonged to the early period of Generation X. In his school years his grandmother was meeting him from school, so he was not a latchkey child. In return, he tried to please his parents with good school grades. After high school he continued his education and in five years graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. The next step of his life was less casual - he immigrated to Israel. This was the most challenging and the most exciting time in his life. He lived in a kibbutz for 5 months, worked as an electrician for 11 months, then as an engineer for 6 years, studied computer science in Bar-Ilan University and the most important - his son was born. The next leap was to United States, were he has been living already for the past 20 years. In US his daughter was born, he switched several jobs, and contributed a lot of efforts in raising his children.
Now he works in Siemens Medical R&D as an engineer.


Anna was born and raised in Moscow and graduated from the Finance Academy of Russian Federation, where only few Jews were admitted. Her parents immigrated to Minnesota in 1992 and took her with them despite her protest at the time. "But what did I really know at 21?" she recalls. She is now happily married (her husband Gary is from Lvov and he insisted on moving from Minneapolis to NYC 20 years ago) with two semi grown kids. Her son is 22, a University of Michigan graduate, currently working in NYC and has almost 100% Jewish friends. Her daughter who is 16 and is now attending a high school known for Jewish influences. She work for Morgan Stanley in a very high pressure environment.


Yulia Golod, was born in Vinnitsa, Ukraine and graduated from Kiev National University with a degree in Physics. Her and her husband immigrated to the US in 1993, where their amazing children, who are now 24 and 16 were born. She is a partner in a small financial services company and her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, music and art. She is very excited to be a part of the JPA Cohort of 2020, and looks forward to learning more about Jewish history and heritage, engaging in stimulating discussions and growing her network within the community.


Natalie was born and raised in Tashkent, where her grandparents ran to during the pogroms of the 1920s in Ukraine. She came to the United States after finishing high school, and sterted her education on the Upper East Side- first at Hunter college, and then continuing at Weill Cornell Medical College.
This is where she finds herself today as well, with her husband and two kids. She is a radiologist, currently concentrating on diagnosis and interventions for breast cancer. She enjoys reading and traveling. She is looking forward to the JPA experience, to meeting new people and learning more about our rich history, thought and traditions.


Elena Kemarsky-Yusim was born in Izmail, Ukraine. At the age of 17 she moved to Israel to join SELA - a program organized by Sochnut (Jewish Agency for Israel). Elena lived in Israel for 17 years. She graduated Ono Academic College with a BA degree in Accounting and Management and holds a CPA license. In 2015 Elena relocated to USA.
She is a mother of two and lives in Jersey City, NJ. Elena enjoys travelling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Lina was born in Moscow and immigrated to the US with her family in 1990. She received her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from Columbia University. She has spent most of her professional career working in
the pharmaceutical industry assessing safety and effectiveness of drugs and vaccines in the real world. She currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and children. Lina enjoys traveling, going to the theater and spending time with her family.


Eleanora Kostinsky grew up as a self-hating Jew in Kiev, Ukraine. Over the years spent in USA, Eleanora has became proud of her Russian Jewish heritage. She sings in a reform Temple choir. Eleanora’s daughter is becoming bat Mitzvah early 2020. She is very excited to join the new cohort of JPA to learn more about Russian Jewish heritage.


Lyubov emigrated from Moscow to NYC in January of 1992 with her parents and younger sister. She graduated from Pace University in 2000 and built her career in finance, currently working for an investment firm as Head of Fund Operations. She lives with her husband and 2 kids, 9 and 14 years old in Staten Island, NY. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and exercising.


Sveta Nakon was born and raised in Moscow. As a young teenager in Russia, she attended Jewish camps and seminars as a student and later as a counselor. This experience helped to form her Jewish identity and to develop close friendships she carried over with her across the ocean. Together with her parents, she immigrated to New York in 1996. She graduated from Pace University with BA in Finance and is currently working in Morgan Stanley's Wealth Management Finance division. Sveta resides on Upper East Side with her husband and two children, 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter, who are currently attending Sunday Shkola youth program at Park East Synagogue. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, skiing, exploring NY theater scene and going to classical music concerts.


Anna was born in Donetsk and immigrated to the US with her parents in 1995. She graduated from Baruch College in 1999 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. After a decade of corporate career, she took an extended maternity leave after her second child was born. While still on maternity leave, she decided to organize a few Russian classes for her older son and his friends... that's how her enrichment school, AlphaMinds Academy was born almost 10 years ago. Needless to say, she never returned to the corporate world.
Her Jewish identity was formed primarily by her paternal grandmother with whom she spent every summer in Odessa when she was a child. After she passed away and her younger son was born one month later, she decided that her family will join their local synagogue, in her memory. They have been members ever since, both of her sons have been attending their weekly Hebrew school program, and her older son had his bar mitzvah there last May.
She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband, their two boys, 13 and 10, and their dog Ruby. She says she is lucky that her work is her passion but her hobbies include reading, theater and travel.


Melanie was born in Kiev, Ukraine. She Immigrated with her parents and 2 twin sisters in 1989. She graduated from the Kiev Economy Institute. Currently she works as Sr. Business Analyst for an insurance company. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She has 2 kids (son and daughter). In her free time she enjoys herbig family,
friends, travel, books and theater.


Patrice was born in Lille, France where his parents moved after escaping from Algeria during the independence war of 1962. He went on to study law and accounting in Paris, where he settled until he transferred to NYC with a marketing agency. Patrice lives with his wife and their two kids on UWS (4 and 16). In his free time, he is writing a play about Herzl.


Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Lena immigrated to the United States with her family in 1990 at the age of 16. A graduate of Boston University's School of Management, her work spanned from financial analysis to accounting consultancy. She enjoys traveling, reading, dancing tango, and partaking in a variety of cultural experiences. Previously she lived in Philadelphia, Boston, London and Germany. Today, she resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan together with her husband and two children (4 and 16).


Olga immigrated from Moscow, Russia, in 1993 with her family. She attended Forest Hills High School followed by obtaining BS and MBA from Fordham University in International Finance. Olga always had a strong interest in French language and culture and studied abroad at l'Université Laval in Quebec, Canada and at the Sorbonne Université in Paris, France. Olga is fluent in French and has started her career at the French publishing company Hachette Filipacchi Holdings. Most recently Olga spent 9 years working as an investment advisor for Business France– a French government agency for trade and investment. Olga resides in NYC with her husband and their two children- Olivia (9) and Alexander (two). Olga is excited to be a part of the JPA family and to share the knowledge she obtains with her children.


Biana Shilshtut is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs’s Investment Management Division. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Biana worked at JP Morgan Private Bank, focusing on Discretionary Investments and Managed Products. Prior to that, she worked in the Wealth Management divisions at Morgan Stanley and AllianceBernstein. Biana has been engaged in the nonprofit space since college. She is the Founder and Past President of Hillel in North Dakota State and one the founding members of RJeneration, a grass-roots organization in New York. She served on the boards of various committees at UJA- Federation of New York and the Council of Young Jewish Presidents. In 2009, Biana was named to the Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” list of Jewish leaders and innovators. She is also a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program in New York (2012-2014). Biana was born in Tashkent and moved to the USA in 2002. She resides in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.


Julia Shvartsberg is excited to start this wonderful program. She was born in Kharkov, Ukraine and came to New York with her family in 1993 when she was only 7. Growing up, Russian language was always spoken at home and she is grateful that she can continue that tradition with her family. She graduated Baruch College with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. As many accounting majors do, she began her career at the Big Four and currently works at a fund which primarily invests in Eastern Europe and Russia( she likes to stick with her roots!) Outside of work she loves spending time with her family and
looking for new adventures for her 3 year old son! She is also enthusiastic about keeping healthy eating habits and living a healthy lifestyle. She is looking forward to learning more about her Jewish Russian roots, making new friends and lasting memories.


Nadya Sidler is an interior designer, artist, and entrepreneur with international work and presence. Nadya has lived in 4 countries, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and now the US.

She graduated from South Ural State University in Russia, with a Master’s degree in architecture, which she used to develop her successful business in interior design. Her company was in charge of numerous residential and commercial projects in Russia as well as America. As part of her current experience, she was involved in building about 20 synagogues in NYC, by working for Friedman Design Group.

Nadya also taught the "secrets of synagogues" in Chicago during the Moishe House retreat. Nadya and her husband are both volunteers at Limmud FSU NY and she had been a resident in a Jewish community for young professional adults in New York - Moishe House RSJ. She is also a volunteer in NY public library as a member of A. H. Braille and Talking Book Library, where she creates learning, reading and writing tools for the blind.


Dmitry grew up in Latvia, Riga, where he graduated from a Jewish high school that was the first of its kind in the USSR. In 1991, his family and him immigrated to Israel.
He studied computer science and mathematics at Tel Aviv University. Before he found his first job as a software engineer, he worked part time in construction, geodesics, grocery delivery, security, and other unskilled labor work to help out his family financially. After graduating university her served in the army, which was a unique experience that he learned to appreciate with time.
His first full time engineering job after the army was at a software consulting company that helped small startups to jumpstart their businesses. In 2001, pursuing a career opportunity at a financial company, he moved to New York where he lives now with his wife Kira and two kids Daniel(15) and Ron(11). He likes spending time with family and friends, playing volleyball, skiing and windsurfing.


Serge was born in St. Petersburg and came to the US with his family in 1979. He earned B.S. degree in Mathematics from SUNY at Stony Brook. Subsequently, he earned M.A. degree in Mathematics from Harvard University and MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business.

Over the last 20 years, Serge has been working on the design and distribution of equity-linked structured products at BNP Paribas and most recently at Wells Fargo.

Serge lives on the Upper West side with his wife, Yelena, and their two sons - Mitchell and Zach. They also have a very friendly golden doodle, named Oscar, who enjoys his daily walks in Central Park.


Alexander (Sasha) Veytsman was born in 1979, in Moscow, Russia. In 1990, his family emigrated to the United States. Sasha spent the next three decades living in various cities along the East Coast. He went to middle school and high school in the Washington, D.C. area. He subsequently conducted his Bachelor and Master degrees in economics and finance at Harvard and Yale, respectively. In 2007, he moved to New York City, where he currently resides with his wife and their two children.

Over the last 15 years, Sasha worked at various Wall Street firms, focusing on equity research and portfolio management. In addition, he is a published poet and writer, with his publications appearing in more than 50 journals worldwide, mainly in Russian and English languages. He is the author of two books of poems, "The Summer in Parentheses" and "Of Canvases and Tombstones". His book of short stories, "A Peculiar Incident at Harvard University" is due to be published in 2020.


Marina Zurakhinsky is a community organizer that has been developing and running interactive programs for children since 2002. Throughout her work Marina had the opportunity to supervise, develop, and facilitate numerous programs & initiatives for children, teens, and families - inspiring them to explore their roots and strengthening their Jewish identity. Marina is very involved in Jewish community life as a professional, a volunteer, and a lay leader. In the past she worked for a number of Jewish community organizations. She is currently engaged with Limmud FSU NY, UJA Russian Division Board, and UJA RSJ Giving Circle. Marina was a part of the JCC Association Merrin Teen Professional Fellow Program. Marina was named to the Jewish Week “36 Under 36” list of Jewish leaders and innovators. She was also a recipient of COJECO’s “Community Leadership Award”. Marina holds a Business undergrad and a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also a founder of ZplaySchool on the Upper West Side - where specialized educators offer top-notch programs & workshops for local (and her own) children. She resides in Manhattan with her husband, Michael, and 2 boys.


Michael received a BS from Manhattan College, and holds an MBA from NYU. He manages funds in the boutique investment advisor Horizon Kinetics LLC. Michael founded The Art Story Foundation, a non-profit, internet resource that provides expert and clear art history information across the world. He was lucky to be introduced to the Russian-Jewish community by COJECO in 2010, and has since been involved in a number of other RSJ initiatives including co-chairing the Natan RSJ Giving Circle (now The UJA RSJ Giving Circle), being a member at UJA Task Forces, volunteering with Limmud FSU, and learning for 2 years with the Wexner Heritage RSJ 2014 cohort.

bottom of page