Jay Shultz – President
Jay M. Shultz is the President of the Am Yisrael Foundation and self-proclaimed “Struggling Philanthropist”, founding multiple non-profit organizations in both the US and Israel. Jay was raised in Fair Lawn, NJ, graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in art history, focusing on archaeology, which was supplemented at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During school, Jay spent time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Israeli Antiquities Authority, and Albright Institute of Archaeology, including a summer volunteering on Tel Nof Airforce Base with the IDF. Upon graduation, Jay entered Fordham University School of Law, graduating as the President of the Student Body. After obtaining his J.D. and New York State Bar admittance, he worked in entertainment and intellectual property litigation. In addition to his involvement with multiple entrepreneurial ventures in the fields of healthcare and real estate, Jay is a representative for the World Jewish Congress on Jewish-Christian relations and at the Muslim-Jewish Conference, a diplomat for the Jewish Diplomatic Corps, a Nahum Goldmann Fellow, a member of the ROI Community, and Fellow of the Tikvah Advanced Institute. Jay moved up to Israel in 2006 from New York City and currently resides in Tel Aviv with his wife Rachelle and son, Wolf. He plays piano and is an avid collector of art, antiques, Judaica, and antiquities.
Denes Ban – Director
Denes Ban has dedicated more than 10 years to fostering growth and shaping corporate strategy for companies around the globe. Denes is a Vice President at OurCrowd and Managing Partner of OurCrowd Asia, a leading Venture Capital firm, and co-founder of PocketGuide, the world’s leading travel guide mobile app with millions of users across 100 cities. Prior to building PocketGuide, he served as Chief Revenue Officer at Futureal, one of the largest Central European real estate investment partnerships. In addition, Denes led one of the European sales and consulting units of Exportradet, where he set international corporate strategy for over 100 companies including Ericsson, H&M and Absolute Vodka. Denes holds an MBA from Umea University in Sweden and an EMBA from the Stockholm Business School. He is a veteran community organizer in both Europe and Israel, and on Saturday nights you can often find him playing the blues and jazz on one of his many harmonicas with his band in Tel Aviv.
Natalie Solomon brings over a decade of professional and lay leadership in the Jewish nonprofit sector to her role with the Am Yisrael Foundation. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, born to parents from Montreal, Canada, and having lived all over the world, Natalie understands the needs of newcomers and internationals firsthand. Natalie’s love and commitment to Am Yisrael continually fills her with awe. Growing up feeling like an outsider, both as a Jew in an ardently Christian world and as the daughter of immigrant parents, Natalie has come to find her place amongst her people, a people of complex identity constructs and endless manifestations of membership. Natalie earned her B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and an M.A. in Judaic Studies and M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management form New York University. Natalie is proud to be a former Professional Leaders Project Academic Fellow and an active member of the ROI Community. Natalie speaks English, Hebrew, French and Spanish and is an avid reader of historical fiction, living in Tel Aviv.
Alana Rubin is currently the Israel representative for the international crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Alana holds a B.A. in Art History from Rutgers University and a M.A. in Jewish Art History from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University. Alana has spent time working at both Christie’s Auction House, and the Guggenheim Musuem in Venice, Italy. Alana is an active lay leader in the young professional Jewish community in New York City, on the board of multiple significant community Jewish & Zionist organizations, and is a member of the ROI Community. For over a decade, Alana was the Program Director of Congregation Shearith Israel: The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York City, the oldest Jewish community in North America. In 2007, American Jewish Life Magazine chose Alana as one of the six most important Jews in the US. Alana has the merit of having saved the life of an Israeli woman as a bone-marrow donor, and currently is a leading advocate for bone marrow registries globally. Alana is an prodigious world traveler and has a deep interest in connecting to Jewish communities, specifically those that are isolated around the world. She currently resides in New York City with her husband Slava and son, Lev.
Michael Brafman was born in New Jersey and grew up in New York. Coming from a family deeply involved in the Jewish community, he was exposed to the world of Jewish philanthropy from an early age and has been active in lay leadership ever since. Professionally, Michael has spent more than a decade developing entrepreneurial ventures in various markets around the globe. In New York City he founded a business consultancy specializing in marketing, branding and business development, which he then relocated to Israel along with himself in 2006. He has since founded and grown multiple ventures in the fields of manufacturing technology, real estate, and international trade. Michael additionally consults to numerous Israeli startup companies, with a focus on development of distribution channels in support of growth of Israeli innovation into foreign markets. Michael did his undergraduate studies in Finance and Accounting at Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics, and later pursued Marketing Management at New York University. He currently resides in Philadelphia, is an avid tennis player, skier, trained medic, and in his spare time collects Israeli abstract art.