Meet The Staff Of BIG IDEA Gap Year In Israel
You are probably SUPER excited for your gap year in Israel. You already started packing, saying goodbyes to friends and start wondering how your upcoming year in Israel would look like.
The BIG IDEA Gap Year team already knows how your year would look like. They are already working on all the plans for the upcoming year and how to make it a meaningful and empowering year. Before you start your program in Israel, this is a good chance to get to know our talented staff:
Tomer Maron, Program Director
Tomer has many years of experience with Masa programs and Israel experiences. He recantly joined the BIG IDEA gap year in Israel team as the program director.
Tomer was born in Givatayim, Israel and raised in Shoham. After his service as a paratrooper in the IDF, Tomer joined the Jewish Agency”s summer Shlichim program and worked for 6 summers in Jewish camps in Colorado and Texas. Tomer Has a BA in Political Science and International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After graduating,Tomer returned to the US and served as the Israel Fellow at the Hillel of The University of Texas at Austin for 2 years.
Before Joining BIG IDEA, Tomer was the program director of Masa Israel Journey Teaching Fellows program. For the past 3 years he was influencing dozens of participants from around the world who came to live in Israel and teach English at Israeli schools. Now he is super excited to create meaningful experiences in Israel for BIG IDEA’s participants.
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Gali Ezer, Program Coordinator
This is Gali’s 2nd year at the program and group coordinator. Last year, she created programs and trips around Israel for the participants and got to follow the group closely. She is very excited to meet the new participants who will arrive to Israel in a few weeks.
Gali was born in Jerusalem and lived most of her life in Hod Ha’Sharon, Israel. During high school, she spent a year living in Boston, MA, and was very active as a madricha in the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) – Shevet Ofek! Her IDF service included leading new Olim in the border police. After two years as a Youth Coordinator in a small community in the Negev, she worked as a coordinator for ALUT (the Israeli Society for Autistic Children) in Be’er Sheva, and was also leading a group of Israeli gap year volunteers. She also have 7 years of experience in Jewish summer camps- in the USA, Greece, and also at BIG IDEA tech camps in Israel.
Gali has a BA from Ben Gurion university in informal education, at-risk youth, and geography, and this is going to be her 6th year living and enjoying the Negev – she can’t wait to meet everyone and show them some of what the Negev and Be’er Sheva have to offer!
Nepheli Galgos, Counselor
Nepheli is very excited to be the new counsellor of BIG IDEA’s gap year! She is 23 years old, half Greek – half Belgian. She grew up in Greece and then moved to Belgium at age 17 to pursue a Bachelor degree in Law. Growing up in Greece, she was always very involved in the Jewish community there as a counsellor during the yearly summer camps.
Nepheli arrived to Israel 3 years ago through a MASA Israel program, during which she lived in Tel Aviv and interned at IsraAID, a NGO intervening in various emergencies all around the world and working with communities with Israeli expertise in trauma and agriculture studies to reach sustainable development.
Having such a great experience on a Masa Israel program, she wante to continue living in Israel and enrolled in a Master’s degree in Community Development Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During that time,she also traveled to Peru for a 5 month internship with a local organisation working with indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon. As a Project officer, she worked with indigenous youth aged 18 to 30 years old in developing their leadership and project design skills with a shared vision to preserve their culture and create socio-economic opportunities in their villages.
Coming back after this amazing experience and finishing her degree, she wants to continue working in community development in Israel. She is deeply interested in the relationships between technology and human well-being and look forward to work with like minded youth!
Omri Valerstain, Counselor
Omri is also going to be a counselor at BIG IDEA Gap Year, working closely with the participants in Beer Sheva and creating programs for the group.
Born in Tel-Aviv in 1991 and served in the army in the Bedouin regiment as a combat medic. After the army he worked in agriculture at the Golan Heights as a part of a leadership program called “Netaim”. After an amazing experience in Birthright Israel, Omri choose to volunteer in American summer camp as a ropes counselor in the summer camp 92Y in NYC. In the camp, he developed a unique bond with special needs kids and with the American Jewish community. After this meaningful experience he chose to work as a social counselor in a hostel for autistic teenagers.
Today, Omri studies social work in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and just finished his second year and he love the young spirit of this amazing and varied city. In the last two years, Omri worked with a blind kid, autistic teenagers, orphan kids and kids from the lower class. In this summer Omri worked as a social counselor in Onward Israel program with young Jewish American. Omri loves comics and has a huge library of comic books in his house, and even lectured about comic books in Israeli Comic books conventions.