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 oldest 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 Managing Director at Citigroup where he leads a team of Risk Management professionals. Prior to Citi, Dimitriy spent 20+ years in the consulting industry as a Partner at PwC and KPMG.
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, Yana works at UBS as a project manager. She resides in Livingston NJ and enjoys spending time with her kids, traveling, skiing, scuba diving, reading, and always trying new things.
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. Professionally, 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 combines her passion for education and shaping the future Jewish leaders in her current professional role as a Director of Tikvah Online Academy at the Tikvah Fund. Prior to becoming a Jewish communal professional, Irina spent 13 years as an investment and corporate banker. In her leisure time, Irina can be found researching her next travel destination, reading a book with a hot cup of coffee in hand, dreaming up the next big idea for the RSJ community, and enjoying spending time with her family.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Born in Kishinev Moldova, Alex Feldman immigrated with his family to the United States of America in 1991 at the age of 8 years old. Alex attended a Russian Yeshiva from the second to eighth grade but later left to study at a specialized public High School in Brooklyn. In college, Alex partook in the local Hillel and Chabad house and traveled to Israel with them for the first time through the Birthright Program. After developing his professional career for a few years, Alex decided to get close to the land of Israel by volunteering in a 6-week ulpan program at Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, near Netanya.
Afterward, he continued to show his connection and leadership by becoming an observer for the Task Force on Adult Jewish Learning at UJA. He also was part of RAJE (Russian American Jewish Experience) fellowship program. Alex is very proud to be alumni of the Wexner Heritage program where he participated in 2016-2018 learning about Jewish leadership.
Alex currently works as a Solution Architect at Alkymi. He has degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, and an MBA from NYU. He currently resides in Midwood, Brooklyn with his wife Alina and two daughters Eva 5, and Maya 3. Alina is an alumnus of JPA and a former board member of COJECO. The family considers themselves traditional Jews, observing the Sabbath and keeping a Kosher home. They are members of their local Jewish community including Kingsway Jewish Center and Congregation Beth Shalom.
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.
Nina is an innovative and passionate Jewish educator and community facilitator. Nina currently works at Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst as the Director of Teen Services and Leadership Development. Among other projects Nina runs a leadership fellowship for high school teens and college students, creating the pipeline of future Jewish educators in the Russian-speaking Jewish Community. Nina also runs an overnight camp B'Yachad for RSJ tweens and teens. Prior to that Nina worked for COJECO as a the Director Family Programs. Nina graduated UJA's second cohort of Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership. Additionally. Currently Nina is in the 5th cohort of Senior Educators by M2. 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 as the Co-chair on the Organizing Committee of LimmudFSU. Nina serves as the board member of Jewish Parent Academy.
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 three 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. Currently Alla is a Project Manager with PwC - planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and delivering projects on time and on budget. Alla is also president of her children’s school Parent Committee Executive Council and an active member of the JPA Board.
Alla is passionate about continuous learning, Judaism, and promoting a positive Jewish sentiment. She wants to help foster a sense of community in her children, friends and other Russian-speaking Jews as well as helping to change the narrative on American Jewry. 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 (10) and Zack (7).
Our Professional Leadership
Yelena Pogorelsky- Executive 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 dedicated her non-profit career to design and implementation of programs that promote building a strong Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews. She directed Havurah Teen Summer Camp Program at Camp Tel Yehudah, worked on development of the Keystone seminar for Jewish lay leaders at NYU and assisted Limmud FSU USA with their strategic planning.
Yelena earned MPA in nonprofit management and MA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from NYU in 2015.
She joined JPA in 2016 as a project manager. Since, she worked with the JPA Board of Directors to continuously improve and expand JPA programs, establish pathways for JPA alumni to join larger American Jewish world and develop their lay leadership potential. In the Fall of 2021, Yelena assumed the role of the Executive Director of JPA.