Dimitriy Goloborodskiy - Board President
As a teenager who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Dimitriy’s understanding of being Jewish was limited to seeing occasional matzo during Spring time, hearing his grandmother speak Yiddish to her siblings and being called ‘zhid’ (yid) growing up in Kiev, Ukraine.
Dimitriy’s discovery of his Jewish identity began with a local Jewish Day Care where he and his wife sent their first daughter in 2005. He helped transform a small Jewish Day Care into a full and vibrant Jewish Day School (K-8) with more than 300 kids serving Russian Speaking Jews in Brooklyn,
NY. Dimitriy is a member of the Board of the Jewish Community Council of NY. He and his wife are members of AIPAC. He served as a President of Mazel Day School for more than 8 years and he is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage program class 2014.
Professionally, Dimitriy is a Partner with PwC where he advises his clients on the topics of governance, risk and digital enablement.
Yana was born in Saint Petersburg and immigrated to US with her parents in 1990. Growing up in Brooklyn, she attended several yeshivas followed by a public high school. She graduated Pace University with a degree in Management Information Systems. Currently, she works at the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services as a Business Analyst. She enjoys spending time with her amazing 6 year old son, traveling, exploring NYC, skiing, scuba diving, reading, and always trying new things.
Irina Rakhlis - Chief Strategic Officer
As a co-founder of Jewish Parent Academy(JPA), Irina has bridged her passion and interests in building a strong and empowered Russian-speaking Jewish community through education, community engagement and leadership. While serving on the Board of JPA and Mazel Day School, Irina successfully completed the COJECO Keystone Fellowship, a program that cultivated distinguished lay leaders committed to shaping the Jewish future. After graduating the Fellowship, she consulted on multiple projects focused on the RSJ community, including Leadership Development Programs and a Conference for Professionals working with RSJ Communities across North America. Irina also focuses her philanthropic efforts on AIPAC and UJA RSJ Giving circle. Prior to becoming a non-for-profit professional, Irina spent 13 years as an investment and corporate banker.In her leisure time, Irina can be found researching her next travel destination, working on a thousand piece puzzle, discussing the next big idea for the RSJ community, and spending time with her husband and 3 daughters.
Ruslana believes it is important to know and understand ones Jewish identity and values. She feels very fortunate to be involved Jewish Parent Academy - a project that aims at helping Russian Jewish community explore their multi-faceted identity.
Ruslana was born in Berdichev, Ukraine and immigrated to United States in 1990 together with her parents. Growing up in Brooklyn, she received her Bachelors of Art and Science degree from New York University. Ruslana has been a Market Analytics Consultant with Pfizer for over 15 years. Ruslana enjoys traveling, theaters, outdoors and spending time with her family.
Michael Gelfand was born is Bobruysk, Belarus. Together with his entire family of 18 people, he immigrated to the United States in 1989. He attended and graduated from Sinai Academy Yeshiva High School. Michael graduated summa cum laude from Long Island University and received his dental degree from State University at Stony Brook. He completed his general practice residency at Long Island College Hospital.
Dr. Gelfand is a member of the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, and American Orthodontic Society. His practice is located in the heart of Southern Brooklyn, Sheepshead Bay area. His commitment is to maintaining the highest level of credentials and staying informed about the latest trends in dentistry so that he can offer the best possible care for his patients.
Dr. Gelfand is married with three children. His favorite times are those spent with his family.
Yelena immigrated to the United States in 1989 from Minsk, Belarus. She strongly believes in building and maintaining a solid Jewish identity and community. She is excited to be part of Jewish Parent Academy which aims to provide an outlet for Russian Jews in exploring and building on its unique experiences and characteristics.
Yelena grew up in Brooklyn, NY and still resides in South Brooklyn currently. She received her Juris Doctor in 2010 from Brooklyn Law School. Yelena is a licensed attorney in New York State with her own practice specializing in Real Estate and Business Law.
Fred Verkhovsky - Board Secretary
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Fred has always been intrigued by his Jewish heritage. Fred is an active member of the South Brooklyn Jewish community, volunteering his time with schools and various programs. Obtaining most of the education in the States, Fred attended Sinai Academy Yeshiva as a young adult. Fred received his Bachelor of Sciences in Public Accounting from Pace University and went on to successfully obtain his CPA credentials. He then spent the next six years working for some of the largest Accounting Firms and eventually specializing in commodity derivative accounting and moving into the private sector.
Photography is another of Fred’s passions. Fred's father, being a photographer, taught him the craft at an early age. Fred currently does part time photography with some of the work being published in various magazines and marketing distributions. Fred has been involved with the Jewish Parent Academy since its formation in 2015 in hopes of building a strong source for Russian Parents to obtain an insightful and deep understanding of our proud Jewish customs and traditions.
Rimma Portman-Gutman immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 from Kiev, Ukraine. Having attended a yeshiva for elementary and middle school, her love and connection to Judaism was solidified at a very young age. After transferring to a public high school in her teens, she joined Jewish youth organization called NCSY in an effort to maintain her engagement in Jewish activities, where she later ascended to president of her chapter.
After graduating Pace University and attending NYU College of Dentistry, she opened 2 boutique private practices in Williamsburg and Park Slope, Brooklyn, where she currently works full-time. She is married to her best friend Rob, and they have a daughter Claire.
Today, it is evident that it is becoming increasingly difficult to educate our children on Russian-Jewish history. The challenges we face as young professionals and parents in teaching our children about their Jewish heritage include busy schedules, personal and work-related responsibilities, chores, and are often amplified by additional everyday distractions. Thus, regularly taking time to immerse ourselves in a Jewish environment where we can entertain dialogue, share ideas, learn from peers and continue our spiritual, academic and emotional growth is fundamental. JPA is a standout in terms of connecting young professionals and giving them an opportunity to learn from some of the most influential Jewish speakers on the planet covering a broad range of topics.
As a family, we look forward to taking advantage of additional opportunities in community outreach, providing help where needed, continuing dialogue and learning how to effectively integrate Judaism into our homes.
Nina is an innovative and passionate Jewish educator and community facilitator. Nina currently works at COJECO as a Family Programs Director. She has been running Project Dacha – a unique day camp for the Russian Speaking Jewish (RSJ) community, for the past two summers. Nina is a current fellow in UJA's second cohort of Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership. Additionally, Nina was in the second cohort of Jewish Parent Academy. She is proud of her Jewish identity and her involvement with the RSJ community. Nina continues to engage with Jewish community on various projects to enrich families with Jewish identity. As part of her community involvement, Nina serves on the Organizing Committee of LimmudFSU.
Nina was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. She has an MA in Teaching and English from Moscow Pedagogical University. Nina has always been passionate about Jewish camps. She worked at Szarvas International Jewish Camp, Surprise Lake Camp, B’Yachad, Kibbutznik and others. As an active leader she developed, implemented and facilitated various projects on Jewish traditions involving children, teenagers and families. Nina organized trips to the Baltic countries for young adults and teenagers. These trips successfully provided
opportunities for young adults to engage with their peers and learn more about the Jewish roots of the community. Nina is looking forward to making even bigger impact on the Jewish community in her future work.
Yelena immigrated from the former Soviet Union in the 1990.
Although she always felt proud of her Jewish identity she always felt a lack of Jewish education and was eager to find ways to fill that void. When she arrived to the USA she entered into a Yeshiva for girls but she felt the education was very superficial geared more towards rituals she didn't understand while lacking in rigorous secular education. She thus changed into public school.
As Yelena married and moved into the Manhattan beach community she and her husband got involved in different Jewish organizations and attended sporadic lectures on Kabbalah. They both strongly believe in the acts of loving-kindness(Chesed), Tzedakah, being more understanding, open and more human.
Still, until Yelena heard about the JPA and was accepted as a student, she did not realize how much the format and the content of the lectures fitted the void she tried unsuccessfully to fill through out her life.
Yelena is very proud of her Russian-Jewish community, however she wants to grow and build a powerful community with similar values, attachments to culture, Israel, and meaningful connection to a joint past.
Professionally, Yelena practices dermatology with her husband, Eyal. She is blessed with three children and believes in raising them through self example.
As the recently deceased Noble prize winner Eli Wisel Aptly noted, she agrees that "The best way a Jew can serve the world is by being Jewish". With that in mind she is proud to join the board of the JPA.
Gennady immigrated from Kiev, Ukraine in 1989. Prior to arrival to United States he graduated from Kiev’s School of Economy. Gennady was one of the founders of the first major US Russian community website russianNY.com. During 14 years of existence, russianNY.com has served as a tool for newcomers to find their way in the new country. Gennady has held number of positions in a Fintech industry and currently works for Credit Suisse Group as a Director in Equities Trading. He has two children, one of them attending Mazel Day School. He’s an active member of Brooklyn Russian Jewish community and a proud Jewish Parent Academy committee member.
Jane was born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine. She immigrated to the United States with her father in 1997. She attended Adelphi Academy High School. In 2007, Jane graduated as Summa Cum Laude from the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy (LIU) with Pharm.D degree. One year after working as a community pharmacist, Jane decided to pursue carrier in the corporate world. Jane received her second Master's degree in Drug Regulatory Affairs from LIU in 2012. For the past decade Jane has been working at Pfizer as a Safety Surveillance Specialist.
Jane is married with two children. She loves spending time with her family, theater, traveling, reading, and attending lectures on Judaism. She enjoys learning about her heritage and its traditions. She feels that there is a gap between Russian and American Jewry. Joining JPA board inspires her a great deal to work together with same- minded individuals; in order to build a strong community that can work together to eliminate this breach.
Alla Aronov was born in L'vov, Ukraine, immigrating to the United States with her family in 1993. She attended high school and college in New York City, obtaining a BBA in Accounting and MS in Taxation from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. Alla started her career at KPMG and has 20 years of experience implementing and applying tax functions across multiple organizations. Currently, Alla is a Project Manager with PwC. Alla is also president of her children’s school Parent Committee Executive Council and is super excited to join the JPA Board. Alla is passionate about learning more about her heritage, Judaism, history and promoting a positive Jewish sentiment. She wants to help provide a sense of community to her children, friends and other Russian-speaking Jews. Alla loves theater, travel, taking on new challenges and spending quality time with family and friends. She's known amongst friends as being a resourceful, "go to" person for questions and advice spanning everything from parenting to the newest Instagram tools. Alla currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, Daniel and two amazing boys, Leor (9) and Zack (6).
Our Professional Leadership
Gennady Favel - Chief Marketing Officer & Co-founder
Gennady focuses on bringing original thought, creative content, and new ideas to his work. He began his career in quantitative trading, where he rose to lead the trading desks at several prominent hedge funds. During this period he published his first book that dealt with common misconceptions about economics and finance. Gennady splits his time between working on marketing technology and leading marketing and community outreach for nonprofit organizations. His published work has appeared in the NY Daily News, Jewish Week, Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Jewish Voice, and eJewishPhilanthropy.
Gennady holds a bachelors in Finance from Baruch College, and a professional certificate in Religion, Conflict and Peace from Harvard University.
Yelena Pogorelsky- Program Director
Yelena immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1996. She received her BBA in Finance and Investment from Baruch College, and had a five-year career at an investment bank before transitioning to the nonprofit field. Yelena started her career in Jewish non-profit in the role of the program director of the Havurah Summer Camp Program at Camp Tel Yehudah, an initiative designed to attract teens from Russian-Jewish families in North American to an immersive experience at a Jewish summer camp. Following successful launch and several seasons of Havurah, Yelena completed dual degree program at NYU with MPA in nonprofit management from Wagner and MA from Skirball in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. While studying at NYU she helped design the program for the first Keystone seminar. She joined JPA in 2017. Yelena is passionate about using the combination of her personal and professional backgrounds to create programs that are relevant to the Russian-Jewish community.