Rabbi Yakov Pesah, MD, PhD
Founder & CEO
Mrs. Elana Pesah
Women's Programming Director
Mr. Roman Gorbach
Director of Operations
Behind Our Students Every Step of the Way
Our staff combines both professional, as well as Jewish educational skill sets, to enable us to understand and connect to the students on multiple levels. In addition, we also share a strong cultural understanding of our students and their needs. This allows for a friendly, supportive, and growth-oriented environment that helps our students flourish in their own unique ways.
Biography: The Pesah family immigrated to Dallas Texas from Moldova in 1992. While attending Medical School and working on his PhD in Neurogenetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Rabbi Pesah began exploring his Jewish heritage with Rabbi David Moss, head of Houston Hillel, and subsequently attended a program in Jewish Medical Ethics for American medical students at New England Institute of Jewish Studies (NIJES) at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He received his PhD in 2004 and MD in 2007. He took off additional time during his graduate training to pursue advanced studies in Talmudic Law and Medical Ethics in Israel. This is also where Rabbi Pesah met his wife-to-be, Elana, a native of California, who was visiting (to also pursue her Jewish learning) from New York where she worked on Wall Street in housing finance. They got married in New York in 2011. Rabbi Dr. Pesah currently works in biotechnology research and directs MAKOR International.
Education: Undergraduate at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, BS with Honors summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1996; Graduate work at Baylor College of Medicine, PhD in Neurogenetics, 2004 and MD in 2007. Jewish education: Machon Shlomo and Mir Yeshivas; Rabbinic ordination from Jerusalem Kollel under auspices of Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovits received in 2012.
Notable Accomplishments: During his PhD developed and characterized a model of Parkinson’s disease using genetic engineering technology, which served as a stepping stone to understanding the pathophysiology of this disease. Founder of Baylor College of Medicine Jewish Medical Ethics (JME) Program with TORCH (Torah and Outreach Resource Center of Houston), which included the JME program, JME Library and annual JME conference in Houston that annually attracts over 200 physicians. Co-ran TORCH partners in learning network, founder and coordinator of the Big Brother program at Machon Shlomo, and taught entry level Talmud classes at the Mir Yeshiva to transitioning students. Co-founded and directed RebbeTalmid Jewish learning program for young professionals, including divisions in Houston TX, Passaic NJ, Savannah GA, Toronto ON and Sydney Australia.
Biography: Born in Northern California, where she attended college and graduate school in the Midwest. Began exploring her Jewish roots while working in Washington DC for a non-profit focused on empowering Jewish youth prior to graduate school. During graduate school in Chicago Mrs. Pesah became involved with JET (Jewish Education Team) and worked as a Madricha and subsequently Director of Operations. She graduated from University of Chicago with a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy in 2008 and worked in housing policy in Chicago. In 2009, moved to New York City to work for the New York City Housing Development Corporation on Wall Street. While working at HDC, volunteered at AISH Manhattan Branch as a learning partner and Shabbos Placement coordinator. In 2011 while visiting Israel, she met her husband-to-be Yakov Pesah. Together they launched MAKOR International in 2012, where she continues to be the Director of Women’s Program.
Education: Undergraduate at University of Wisconsin-Madison, BA in Political Science and Certificate in Religious Studies, 2005; University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, MPP 2008. JEWEL 2007, EYAHT 2008, and Shearim College of Jewish Studies for Women 2011.
Notable Accomplishments: Extensive business, government and non-profit experience through work in Washington DC, housing authorities in Chicago, New York City and Jerusalem. Completed prestigious fellowship at PANIM in Washington DC. Branded a coffee blend from a group of Jews living in Africa for a small boutique coffee company. Expanded operations and programming resources for JET in Chicago. Placed 10-50 people for Shabbos each week on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for the AISH Manhattan branch.
Mr. Roman Gorbach, is the director of operations. Mr. Gorbach received his BS in Finance from the Rutgers University-Rutgers Business School in 2009. While in college he served as Rutgers Business Governing Association (RBGA) Junior Class Representative as well as co-founder and presdient of JBiz (Career Network for Jews at Rutgers). Upon graduating from Rutgers, Mr. Gorbach began his career in Business and Strategy Consulting in Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Gorbach put his career on hold in order to attend Dr. David D. Robinson Institute of Jewish Heritage (Machon Yaakov) in Jerusalem which he subsequently graduated from in 2012. Mr. Gorbach is a true example MAKOR’s success. He was first involved with Rabbi Dr. Pesah while studying at Dr. Robinson Institute when they put together events for Russian-Americans. Subsequently, he served as a mentor on the 2012-13 Israel RAJE trip working together with MAKOR to enable a high-level Jewish experience, leadership, and learning program that MAKOR created for RAJE. Together with MAKOR Mr. Gorbach set up and ran programming for RAJE in NJ for three semesters until the Spring 2014. Currently, Mr. Gorbach is developing operations of MAKOR for students and young professionals in New Jersey, who are interested and motivated to learn about their heritage for the Fall of 2014. While working in Jewish community Mr. Gorbach also holds a full-time job in finance/strategy.