Who We Are
BBYO Passport is BBYO's worldwide summer travel program for high school-age Jewish teens of all backgrounds. Organized in partnership with Authentic Israel, a leading educational program provider based in Israel, BBYO Passport brings together the best of BBYO along with Authentic Israel's three decades of professional travel experience. Read on to learn more about BBYO, Authentic Israel, and the Passport Family...
- BBYO (B'nai B'rith Youth Organization) is the leading worldwide, non-denominational Jewish youth movement, currently spanning 39 regions and over 25,000 members. For eighty years, BBYO has been providing opportunities for Jewish youth to develop their leadership potential and a positive Jewish identity. The Passport program provides Jewish teens an unparalleled opportunity to explore Israel and the world at large from a physical, historical, cultural and spiritual perspective. Learn more about BBYO.
- Authentic Israel is a leading provider of Jewish teen travel programs in Israel and around the world. In addition to working with Jewish youth from North America and Europe, Authentic Israel also provides educational touring programs for Israeli middle school and high school teens. Authentic Israel's operations in Israel are conveniently headquartered in central Israel. Each of Authentic Israel's guides are licensed professionals who are simply fantastic at connecting and sharing the Israel experience with the world. Learn more about Authentic Israel.
Meet Our Team
Before we have the honor to welcome you to the program, we thought that you may want to learn a little more about our professional staff in North America and in Israel. Enjoy!
Matthew Grossman, BBYO Executive Director
Matt was appointed to be the Executive Director of BBYO, Inc. in February 2004. In this capacity, he is responsible for working with the organization's lay and professional leaders to set a vision and implement strategies for BBYO. Matt initially came to Washington in 1989 to pursue his undergraduate degree in Human Services and Judaic Studies at George Washington University. Matt lives with his wife and two kids.
Learn More: Message from Matt Grossman
Avi Green, Managing Director
Born in Jerusalem and raised in Philadelphia, Avi graduated with a masters degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and subsequently worked in Jordan on an Arab-Israeli economic cooperation initiative funded by USAID. Returning to the States, Avi co-founded the Israel Outdoors project in 2001 after years of hiking and biking Israel’s countryside. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, daughter, and son.
Aaron Robbin, Director of Operations
Aaron Robbin worked for the BBYO Great Midwest Region for several years as a Program Associate. Aaron has staffed and several BBYO Passport and immersive experiences and served as the Senior Israel Field Director for two summers. Aaron holds an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Administration and a Masters in Elementary Education. Before coming to Passport, Aaron taught math and social studies in suburban Chicago school districts. Aaron lives with his wife and son in Maryland.
Susan Sloan, Program Manager, March of the Living
Susan was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism, minor in Spanish, and a certificate in Leadership Advancement. Susan worked as a personal assistant for three years in Atlanta and volunteered as a BBYO advisor. In summer 2012, she staffed BBYO Passport's Euro-Israel Journey Central trip to Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic & Israel. An avid traveler, Susan has journeyed all over the world and continues her passion for travel with BBYO Passport.
Ilana Lasday, Program Manager, Summer Teen Travel
Ilana Lasday was born and raised in the Midwest. Ilana attended the University of Maryland where she earned a bachelor degree in Communication. Ilana has extensive experience staffing Israel travel programs, including summer teen travel experiences, Birthright trips, and a gap year program in Israel. Ilana moved to Washington, DC to serve as an AmeriCorps Fellow at a DC Public Charter School, before she became part of the BBYO Passport team.
Rina Rebibo, Program Manager, Beyond Gap Year
Rina grew up in New Jersey, but spent most of her undergraduate years living in Israel. She holds a Bachelors in Communications and Hebraic Studies from Rutgers College, and a Masters in Education from American University. Rina has been educating Jewish youth about Israel, Judaism, and Hebrew through many different platforms. Rina's passion for Israel and leadership experience has led her to BBYO Beyond. Rina lives in Maryland with her husband and 3 children.
Carine Warsawski, Director of Marketing
Born and raised in the Boston area, Carine graduated from Bates College with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on civil religion in Israel. Her interests involve experiential marketing and creative use of media to engage people with Israel. She also enjoys a good hockey game. Carine comes to Authentic Israel from the Union for Reform Judaism in New York City, where she served as the Assistant Director of Marketing & Recruitment for youth and young adult Israel programs.
Ian Dirnfeld, Operations Manager (Israel)
Born and raised in Canada, Ian grew up in a contemporary Jewish home where Zionism and Judaism were inextricably linked. Ian fulfilled his dream and made aliyah to Israel in 2000. Since then, Ian has since been working in the field of tourism & customer relations, first for El Al, and now at Authentic Israel since 2006. Ian lives in Nes Tziona with his wife and daughter.
Efrat Lavi, Guides & Educational Coordinator (Israel)
Born in Haifa and raised in Kiryat Tivon, Efrat has been guiding since her army days after passing the Guide certification course in 1997. Initially specializing in leading tours in the Judean Desert and Jerusalem, Efrat moved to Tel Aviv and led tours all over Israel. In her search for knowledge, Efrat found the time to study law and passed the bar in May 2008, and is a certified lawyer. Efrat lives near Netanya with her husband and son.
Sophia Bernstein, Tour Operator (Israel)
Born in Washington DC, Sophia spent her early years living in Israel and moved to Philadelphia at age 10. In high school she enjoyed much of her time as a member of Chalom BBG, part of the Philly Region. Sophia returned to Israel in March of 2011 and began working with Authentic Israel as a madricha, then as the IMPACT: Israel coordinator and is currently the tour operator for BBYO.
Every BBYO Passport program in Israel and most programs in Europe are staffed by licensed Israeli guide-educators. Our professional staff bring years of experience in the field of informal education, and they add an energetic and engaging spirit to the overall experience. Below is a partial list of guide-educators who staff BBYO Passport trips.
Yaacov Shabbat, Trip Guide
Yaacov was born and raised in Jerusalem. In addition to being a tour guide in Israel for fifteen years, Yaacov has a personal passion for photography, which he studied at Hadassah College in Israel. After spending four years living abroad in Montreal, Canada, Yaacov and his family returned to Israel. Yaacov lives with his wife and their two children in the town of Ma'ale Adumim, outside of Jerusalem.
Erez Landau, Trip Guide
Born and raised in Haifa, Erez served as a medic in the Israeli air force. Upon completion of his military service, Erez traveled through Central and South America for a year, exploring new cultures and different lifestyles. Upon his return to Israel, and after building and nurturing his love for traveling and working with people, Erez enrolled in a course of study to become a tour guide in Israel. While studying to become a tour guide, Erez worked as a guide on a horse ranch in a community close to the Sea of Galilee. In 2006 Erez became a licensed tour guide working with Israeli youth, Jewish students, and tourists from all backgrounds. When not working or traveling the world, Erez lives on Kibbutz Neve Yam.
Yinon Kahalani, Trip Guide
Yinon grew up on Moshav Sde Ilan in the Galilee and currently resides in the village of Zichron Yaacov in the Carmel Mountains. Yinon has been guiding trips for seven years after leaving a career as a private investigator. A guitarist and a natural traveler, Yinon's favorite place for vacations is the Far East. He studied psychology in the Tel Aviv University and utilized his knowledge in various ways that served national security and the IDF.
Einat Nuri, Trip Guide
Einat grew up in a small community north of Shomron. Einat was able to fulfill her dream to be a tank instructor in the IDF, and at age 21, traveled to Virginia to be a counselor at a JCC camp. The experience of learning about Jewish communities outside of Israel changed Einat and instilled in her a dream to work with Jewish youth from around the world. Einat received her BA in Jewish History from Ben Gurion University while working as a guide for American and British Jewish youth. Einat completed Israel’s two year tour guide course, and is now studying for her masters degree. Einat feels very privileged to be able to follow her dreams and believe in what she is doing. She loves hiking, especially in Israel’s Negev desert. Einat currently lives in Tel Aviv.
Dror Kidron, Trip Guide
Dror is an 8th generation Jerusalemite from the famous Sherizli family who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1807 from Thessaloniki, Greece. He has a B.A. in Geography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is currently completing a M.A. in Israel Studies. Dror served in a special paratroopers unit in the Israel Defense Forces. His last position was a rescue force commander and medical care team leader. After completing his military service, Dror was responsible for designing and managing outdoor programs. Given his experience, he is considered a specialist in running young leadership seminars and Israel studies programs, as well as training new guides through the Youth Department of the Ministry of Education. Dror has worked with groups of all ages, aiming to share the love he has for the country of Israel, a country rooted in history and legends. He spreads his passion and knowledge through stories, informal education, and touching the land of Israel with the intention of creating a unique and successful experience. Dror lives with his wife, Efrat, and their three children near Jerusalem.
Nurit Hertz, Trip Guide
Nurit was born and raised on Kibbutz Yavneh on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. She spent her IDF service as an official tour guide and soon after moved to Sde Boker in the Negev Desert. Nurit has traveled the word, trekking throughout the Indian Himalaya, the Tibetan plateau, as well as China and Mongolia. Nurit now works primarily as a trip guide, living in Jerusalem with her husband and son.