About BJLI

BJLI Info Sheet

BJLI Info Sheet

BJLI Curriculum

BJLI curriculum emphasizes core management and leadership skills in the context of the Jewish intellectual thought, as well as historical and contemporary issues of the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities.
Learn more about the BJLI courses.

BJLI Schedule

The fellowship combines distance learning with residential seminars at Brandeis University and in New York City along with an overseas mission.
Learn more about the BJLI schedule.

BJLI Faculty

BJLI courses and modules are taught by prominent faculty and leading practitioners from major Jewish communal organizations throughout the world.
Learn more about the BJLI faculty and staff.


Ilya Bratman

IlyaIlya is an Executive Director at Hillel at Baruch College in New York. In this role, he oversees Jewish student life on campus; inspires students, staff, and volunteers; communicates with partners and constituents; and builds and maintains relationships with key stakeholders. Previously, Ilya worked as Project Manager for Limmud FSU USA. Ilya immigrated to Pittsburgh, PA from Moscow in 1992, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies and Religious Studies. Upon his graduation, Ilya enlisted in the United States Armed Forces, serving honorably for over four years as a Multi-channel Transmission Operator/Supervisor, with deployments to Korea, Germany and Iraq. Post army, Ilya pursued a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh while creating Jewish programs on campus.

Deeana Dobrer

DeeanaDeeana is a Disaster Case Supervisor & Manager at Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, NY. She oversees the Disaster Case Management Program, supervising case managers, assisting those affected by Hurricane Sandy with the recovery process. Deeana also works closely with key stakeholders to enhance overall community resiliency. In her previous roles at Shorefront Y, Deeana was the Single Stop and Connect-to-Care Programs Coordinator, helping individuals enhance self-sufficiency through comprehensive case management, advocacy, and information & referral services. Deana is a child of "79'ers", born to parents who emigrated in the late 70's from Ukraine and met here in the US. Deeana holds a B.S. in Human Development from Binghamton University, and an M.S. in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from NYU.

Jacqueline Fishman

JacquelineJacqueline serves as the Assistant Director of the Natan Fund in NYC and has been with Natan since 2009. She is responsible for overseeing Natan's grants process, researching new grant initiatives, managing internal operations and HR procedures, working with Natan's current membership, and recruiting new members. Together with Natan's Executive Director and board Jackie helps develop an overall strategic visioning for the foundation. Prior to Natan, Jackie participated in Insight: The Schusterman Fellowship for Jewish Community, through which she worked at three top Jewish organizations: Foundation for Jewish Camp, Natan, and Hazon. Jacqueline was born in Brooklyn, NY and holds a B.A. in Economics and English from Binghamton University. Despite having little involvement with Judaism or the Jewish community prior to college, it took one Shabbat meal at Binghamton's Hillel to spark Jackie's curiosity about her Jewish roots and by senior year, she was President of Hillel.

Manashe Khaimov

ManasheManashe is Director of JCCA's Bukharian Teen Lounge in Queens, NY, an entrepreneur, educator, and community leader. Manashe develops a visible presence for Bukharian youth in the community, organizes educational, social and recreational activities, implements leadership training seminars, and cultivates the next generation of Jewish leaders. Manashe is originally from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, emigrating in 2001, carrying identities of many worlds. Manashe serves on a Task Force Member of Commission on the Jewish People at the UJA Federation of NY, and as a Chair of PR and Marketing at Limmud FSU US. He is a recipient of JCCA's Robert Maslow Award for Excellence in Practice and an alumnus of the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship for International Jewish Leaders. Manashe holds a BA in Corporate Communication and Marketing from Baruch College, where he served as Hillel President.

Irina Klay

IrinaIrina is Community Engagement Coordinator with the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, CA. A key member of the Community Engagement team, she works with the Russian-speaking Jewish community of the Bay Area, handling teen, family, and young adult programs, and developing curricula and standards. Irina conducts program research and evaluation and is involved in JCF's overall outreach, marketing, engagement and education. In her previous roles she taught Judaism and art at the JCCSF's Tikvah program and worked on a series of classical music concerts for children and families inspired by Jewish composers. In her past life, she worked at large bank or many years. Irina grew up in Ukraine, finished high school in Israel, and moved to United States in 1998. Irina holds a B.A. in Economics from San Francisco State University.

Ramona Luka

RamonaRamona is an Engagement Associate at the Jewish United Fund Russian Jewish Division (RJD), in Chicago, IL. Ramona develops agency partnerships and engages new members through Jewish programming throughout the Chicago area. Ramona works with students, young professionals, and young families, while focusing on leadership development, volunteers, and Israel advocacy. Ramona is originally from Lithuania and has lived in Berlin, Brussels and Vienna, becoming involved with the local Jewish community everywhere she lived. Ramona immigrated to the United States in 1998, holds a Master's degree in Germanic Studies with a concentration on Jewish Studies from University of Illinois at Chicago, and speaks fluent Lithuanian, Yiddish, and German.

Katerina Romanenko

KaterinaKaterina is the Associate Director of Education at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, PA where she builds and manages educational programs exploring and celebrating the history of Jews in America. Katerina specializes in cultural studies and museum education. For over a decade Katerina taught art history at university level and led specialized guided tours at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Her doctoral dissertation and scholarly work focuses on visual culture of the early 20th century and totalitarian art. Katerina immigrated to the United States in 1999 and holds a Ph.D. in Art History from The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Olga Semenova

OlgaOlga straddles multiple roles as a Health Educator at the Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit. She spearheads a wellness program for those with symptoms of chronic illnesses as the Wellness Empowers Program Coordinator. She works as a Certified Marketplace Navigator, assisting Russian-speakers clients in applying for healthcare services. Olga also coordinates the Cancer Connection Program, helping Jewish families access local cancer related programs. Olga received her Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor focusing on Health Behavior and Health Education. Her Bachelor of Arts is in English and Communication Studies is also from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Olga immigrated to the United States in 1991 from Tiraspol, Moldova, and has remained a part of the Russian-Jewish community in the Detroit area, taking some time away, to do research in Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Honduras.

Juliya Sheynman

JuliyaJuliya serves the Jewish community in Baltimore, MD, through her work as Manager in the General Campaign at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, as well as her many volunteer roles. Juliya's work focuses on engaging community members as volunteers, committee leaders and philanthropists in building a stronger Jewish community. Prior, Juliya developed award winning direct marketing and fundraising campaigns for the Federation that increased revenue and donor acquisition. Juliya aspires to lead her organization in engaging the Russian speaking Jewish community and is focused on ensuring the next generation has Russian Jewish leadership and representation, starting with her own children's Russian and Jewish education. She immigrated to the United States in 1989 and holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. Juliya resides with her husband and kids in the heart of Jewish Baltimore.

Vadim Shiglik

VadimVadim serves as the Special Projects Director for the Kings Bay YM-YWHA, a community center in Brooklyn, NY. Vadim organizes and coordinates social, community-wide initiatives that range from disaster recovery and preparedness, to confronting a growing opioid addiction epidemic. Vadim has worked with non-profits and local elected officials whose constituencies are made up primarily of Russian speakers. After Hurricane Sandy, Vadim joined the Kings Bay Y to create the community coalition to help rebuild businesses. He recently piloted an education and awareness campaign, Stand Against Drugs NY, to tackle the growing problem of abuse of prescription pills and heroin, and stigma around addiction, all which are rampant in the Russian community. Vadim continues to seek new ways to leverage macro-organizational and governmental resources to meet community needs. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Vadim emigrated in 1992, and grew up in New Jersey, earning a B.A. in Economics & Psychology from Rutgers University.

Michaela Slutsky

MichaelaMichaela is the Director of Youth Employment and Education at Marks JCH of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, NY, engaging over 500 young people annually, through employment opportunities, educational services, advocacy, and Jewish identity renewal work. Michaela serves as Educational Director at B'Yachad, a unique educational, overnight, camping experience for Russian-speaking Jewish teens focused on Russian Jewish heritage and exploration of personal identity. Michaela is a native New Yorker whose family is originally from the FSU. She has grown up at Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, beginning as a day camper and becoming a division leader. Michaela holds a B.A. in Business Economics from Pace University. She is part of the current cohort of Taglit Fellows, a year-long fellowship focusing on experiential Israel education for Birthright Trips.

Noam Shumakh-Khaimov

NoamNoam is a Project Manager for Limmud FSU, an annual weekend-long conference for RSJ's. She handles event logistics, programs, budgets, and manages a large volunteer body. Noam has worked as a Jewish Educator at the YM-YWHA Kings Bay, planning activities for K-4 students and Rosh Hodesh groups for teachers. Originally from Ukraine, while living in Israel, Noam worked in informal Jewish education with Israel Birthright Experience and served in Ta'ir, developing and leading educational workshops for Israeli high school students. Noam immigrated to United States in 2008 as an emissary for Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). Noam holds a degree in sociology and education from Ariel University Center of Samaria.

Leah Volynsky

LeahLeah is a Development Associate at the Council of Jewish Émigre Community Organizations in NYC. At COJECO, she supports fundraising efforts, manages databases, coordinates programs and events logistics, handles online marketing, and maintains the website. Leah is a seasoned event and marketing professional with experience in a wide array of industries, from corporate, to higher education, to non-profits; designing and producing large scale events. Prior to joining COJECO, Leah worked as the Director of Admission for four campuses at Mercy College. Originally from Moscow, Leah immigrated to United States in 1996 and holds a B.A. in Public Relations/Jewish Studies from Hofstra University and an M.A. in Media, Culture and Communications from NYU. Leah is involved in organizing Limmud FSU and participates in various Jewish organizations in NYC

Sasha Zlobina

SashaSasha serves as the Assistant Director for the Russian-speaking Jewish community outreach at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. In this role, she plans and designs programs for young Russian Jewish adults and families with young children. Sasha manages marketing and cultivates fundraising initiatives, implements a community leadership program, and helps to run a Micro Grant initiative. She was born and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine, received her B.A. in Jazz Vocal and Teaching at the Dankevich Musical College of Art and Culture, and immigrated to Los Angeles in 2010. Before coming to the US, Sasha served as the Deputy Director at Odessa Hillel. Since moving to LA, Sasha has developed deep ties in the Russian and the wider Jewish community through her positions at JConnectLA/Jewlicious and LA Jewish Experience.