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Meet Some Members of the MAKOR Family!

"I am very excited to now be able to apply what I learned in Israel to building my family, helping in the Jewish community, and in helping my future patients. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to learn so much about Jewish wisdom and values. MAKOR has been guiding, educating, and supporting me every step of the way!"


Aleksey Chernobelskiy

Aleksey first got involved with a Jewish student organization on campus at the University of Arizona, where he was pursuing a quadruple major in finance, mathematics, business economics, and accounting. Going into graduation, Aleksey was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's two most selective honorariums. Aleksey was the first student from the University of Arizona to be accepted into Harvard Business School's Summer Venture in Management Program and is a recent alumnus of Yale School of Management's Pre-MBA Program.


After graduating summa cum laude with double honors, Aleksey moved to Israel and spent a month at the Dr. Robinson Institute of Jewish Heritage in Jerusalem (Machon Yaakov), where he got the opportunity to explore his Jewish heritage. Upon completion, he worked for a global asset manager focused on systematic trading. While continuing to work for the firm, Aleksey completed a Talmud and Jewish business ethics program after receiving a competitive $20,000 fellowship to Dr. Robinson Institute in August 2013.  He currently works as a Senior Analyst in Arizona.

“The sophistication of the Talmudic learning method and its wisdom has deeply impressed on me the powerful impact that Jewish thought can have on our daily lives. I am looking forward to continue building my analytic skills and personal development as a Jew by delving into the wisdom of Talmud in MAKOR Partners-in-Learning program in the US.”

Briana Begelfer

Briana was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in a household with strong traditional values. Her Jewish education began after coming home from elementary school one day and reminding her parents that "Christmas is coming!" Because of this, Briana's parents sent her to Hebrew school where she began to cultiave a stronger Jewish identity and pride. When Briana entered UCLA as a freshman, she was ready to seriously seek out what Judaism had to offer. Briana joined JAM (Jewish Awareness Movement), an organization which held a Maimonides program covering the basics of Judaism. Winter of freshman year she traveled to Israel on a JAM trip and got her first in-depth learning experience at Neve Yerushalayim. After this program, Briana was inspired to learn more and returned for her sophomore year to Israel for four months at Neve.


In 2013, Briana returned to Neve for three months during the summer of 2013, where she became close with the Pesah family who run MAKOR. They took time to learn with her and she was invited for many Shabat experiences. Briana felt that through the care and guidance provided by Mrs. Pesah as her mentor, she has returned to L.A. with a lifelong study partner and support network. Briana returned back to complete her studies at UCLA focusing on Occupational Therapy.





“Since college I have attended Jewish lectures and seminars in New York. However, there is no substitute for participating in hands-on learning in Jerusalem. I always wanted to develop my skills in learning but was never able to until MAKOR came along. They have been helping me reach this goal, for which I am eternally grateful.”

Chaya Chertok Leybov


Chaya graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BBA in Finance and International Business. During her time at Loyola, Chaya became involved with JET (Jewish Education Team), who provided her with many learning opportunities. After graduation, Chaya decided to take time off to build the foundation for her Jewish life by studying about Jewish Heritage at Neve Yerushalayim in Jerusalem. After completing one year at Neve, Chaya made the decision to return to Israel for another year of life-changing exploration. 


She is loving her learning in Israel and finds the world class educators to be inspiring and empowering. The support and guidance offered by MAKOR has enabled Chaya to take full advantage of her learning at Neve. Hosting her and other students for Shabbosim, Passover, and weekly schmooze sessions have enhanced her time in Israel exponentially. After completing her studies at Neve, Chaya met her husband Paul. She is currently working for a non-profit while Paul is pursuing career in business.

Regina Akhenblit


Regina grew up in Brooklyn NY. She studied Psychology at Brooklyn College, where she was President of Hillel. Regina came to understand the unparalleled (and often times unexpected) wisdom and inspiration that comes with being Jewish. Choosing to study in Neve Yerushalayim, a college for Women in Jerusalem, she further understood the relationship between connecting to Judaism and setting yourself up for a meaningful life.


She is forever grateful to have connected with MAKOR that guided her to make her Israel adventure a successful one. While learning in Israel, Regina became interested in the correlation between Torah and Psychology and through the guidance and help of MAKOR staff she returned to Israel to gain more knowledge about this subject. After returning from Israel, Regina graduated Columbia University school of Social Work in the Spring of 2016 and is now working as a Social Worker in New York City.





“MAKOR has provided me with invaluable inspiration and guidance about my learning during my journey in exploring my amazing Jewish Heritage. The organization also advised me step-by-step how to balance my professional life with actualizing my inner potential to become a Jewish leader.”

Mark Taran


After completing a Jewish program in Brooklyn, Mark came to Israel to pursue a highly competitive program called J-Internship during the summer of 2013. This program combines a professional internship with a Jewish learning program. His internship in Jerusalem was in the field of International Law and the learning program was at Ohr Somayach. During the summer Mark particularly enjoyed the Talmudic discussions that took place at Ohr Somayach and the amazing experience he had of participating in an internship abroad.

Upon return to the US Mark has resumed his studies at Hofstra Law School. Inspired by his growth in Israel, he is now involved in Jewish learning provided by MAKOR in New York. After finishing law school Mark is now a practicing attorney in New City.


“MAKOR has provided me with the insights into advanced topics in Judaism that I always wanted to know about. They are also a home away from home creating Jewish connections for me both in Israel and in the US. I am very excited to be part of this amazing organization!”

Mark Gold


Mark is the CEO of the Mark Gold Group, a marketing firm located in Manhattan. He first got involved in Jewish leadership in New York, where he participated in programs for several years. This year, under the guidance of MAKOR, he decided to take his inspiration to a whole new level. Mark took off five weeks from his busy schedule to do the Learning, Leadership, and Personal Growth Program in Israel.


The main goal of this program for Mark was to begin developing skills to become an independent learner, which will enable him to continue growing in Judaism while maintaining a schedule of a busy executive. In addition, the program gave Mark tools to further improve his analytical, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Mark spent his time learning while maintaining his work responsibilities, by being able to tailor his learning schedule to his work needs. Amazingly, Mark obtained several business contracts while in Israel. Now, back in New York Mark is part of the MAKOR Partners-in-Learning program as well as participating in community activism.




“MAKOR has been instrumental in providing help and support, whenever I needed it. It has also been “home away from home” for myself and many other Russian-America Jews learning in Israel.”

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