OurTeam

Rena Nasar First

Executive Director of Campus Affairs

Rena Nasar First proudly serves as the Executive Director of Campus Affairs at StandWithUs and has been with the organization for 7 years. Through her work, she empowers over 150,000 university students each year to proudly stand up for Israel and combat antisemitism. Rena attended Baruch College, where she graduated with honors and a dual degree in journalism and Middle Eastern studies. She also wrote a thesis titled “Confidence Building Measures: A New Look at an Old Frontier for Peace in the Middle East” and held internships with JCRC-NY, the Israeli Consulate, and Foreign Policy Association. Rena served as founder and president of Baruch’s Israel club, YOFI—Youth Organization for Israel. The combination of her campus experiences and her growth within StandWithUs inspires her to take the StandWithUs Campus Department to new heights.  Rena is a proud Syrian Jew and aside from her passion for Israel, she is eager to best represent her community wherever she goes.

Liora Bachrach

Managing Director of Campus Affairs

Liora has been with StandWithUs for over two years and started off as the StandWithUs Midwest campus coordinator. Liora is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in strategic communications. Growing up, Liora was very involved her Jewish community and has always had a passion for Israel. She interned in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2014 during Operation Protective Edge. Being in Israel during this time exposed Liora to the importance of Israel education. Liora worked in advertising for two years and was a volunteer for many Jewish and Israel organizations until she realized she wanted to make this her life’s work. Liora currently resides in Chicago.

Brandon Orlinsky

Academic Logistics Coordinator

Brandon works as the Academic Logistics Coordinator for StandWithUs. Born in South Florida, Brandon graduated from Florida International University, where he studied political science with a minor in international relations and pre-law. Brandon’s connection with Israel stems from his grandparents’ aliyah nearly 30 years ago, and he has continued his focus on Israel through his work with NSCY, FIU Hillel, and many other organizations. After graduating high school, Brandon took a gap year and studied at Bar Ilan University. The year he spent learning in and traveling around Israel further fueled his devotion to advocate for Israel in his community. Brandon currently lives in Aventura, Florida, and is excited to be a part of the StandWithUs family and empower those around him!

Lauren Post

Senior Researcher and Content Manager

Lauren literally grew up in a cornfield located in a small town in upstate New York. Graduating from St. John Fisher college with too many majors and minors, she went on to earn her master’s degree in Slavic studies at The Ohio State University. A summer in Eastern Europe sparked her interest in Jewish life and Israel. When she returned home, she quickly became involved in the graduate student Hillel program. Lauren applies her experiences in college to her work at StandWithUs, as she helps design and execute social media strategy, researching numerous questions from community members and students and adding great puns to the various materials StandWithUs provides. Her interests lie mostly in the intersections of feminist theory, progressive outreach, and Mizrahi history. She has bylines in the Forward and the Times of Israel. Most important, though, is her great love of tacos and long walks with her pup Pici.

Elisa Alloul

Assistant Director of Campus Strategy

Elisa Alloul graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in psychology and public administration. During her years as a student, Elisa served as vice president of programming and outreach for the pro-Israel student group on campus and was a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and StandWithUs Canada campus liaison. Elisa also became the first ever Jewish and pro-Israel student elected to York's Board of Governors, where she represented and advocated on behalf of 53,000 students. Following graduation, Elisa worked for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and then as a legislative assistant on Parliament Hill. Elisa is excited to be back at StandWithUs to help students combat BDS and anti-Israel activity as well as research and implement proactive strategy for Israel on college campuses.

Samantha Crane

Southeast Campus Coordinator
Region: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas

Samantha Crane is a Chicago native and has been a longtime active member of the Jewish community, starting with her education at Solomon Schechter Day School and participation in Write On For Israel. Samantha attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she graduated with distinction and received her bachelor’s degree in political science, journalism, and Jewish studies. During her time in Madison, she interned at the Wisconsin State Capitol and the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. Additionally, she completed part of her degree at Tel Aviv University in Israel during her semester abroad.

Amit Ankawa

Tri-State Campus Coordinator

Region: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Amit was born in Israel to parents of Moroccan and Ashkenazi descent. She grew up in Israel and later moved to America. Amit graduated from Marist College, where she earned a degree in psychology with a dual certification in childhood and special education. Amit has always felt compelled to share Israel’s story and culture and is an active member in several Jewish communities and schools.  After experiencing rampant antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment on her campus during her senior year of college, Amit was inspired to join the StandWithUs Campus team and promote Israel education. Amit believes that knowledge is power, and education is the road to peace.

Karen Shalev

New England Campus Coordinator

Region: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island

As the daughter of Israelis and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Karen has always had a passion for Israel. She moved to Israel in 2014, two weeks before Operation Protective Edge. During this time, she had her first interaction with widespread anti-Israel and antisemitic disinformation on social media. Upon returning to the United States, Karen became Worcester State University’s first StandWithUs Emerson Fellow in 2020-2021 following antisemitic incidents on her campus. As a current senior at Worcester State University and working towards her Master of Science in Communication at Clark University, she also serves as the co-founder and president of Chabad on Campus, SGA President, and as a Presidential Student Ambassador. When not listening to her favorite Israeli music, Karen loves watching Israeli shows on Netflix with her dog, Violet. Based in Massachusetts, Karen is very excited to work with passionate student leaders across New England and empower them to spread their love for Israel!

Matthew Garces

Senior Mid-Atlantic Campus Coordinator

Region: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio

Matthew graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in international affairs and political science and a minor in French. Matthew’s first exposure to Israel was in the spring of 2016, when he studied abroad in Paris.  While there, he took an introductory course on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which ended up becoming one of his favorite classes. Inspired by this course, Matthew went to Israel for the first time with the Paris-Tel Aviv Association, a campus organization at SciencesPo. Upon returning to the U.S., Matthew reestablished the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) chapter at UGA and became president the following year, advocating on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. After graduating from the University of Georgia, he was selected to participate in the Philos Leadership Institute with the Philos Project, an organization dedicated to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East, and spent 14 days in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan, learning about issues including the Arab–Israeli conflict, the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crises, the role of Islam in the region, and the status of Jewish–Christian relations. As a Christian, Matthew hopes to build bridges between the Jewish and Christian communities and bring a unique perspective on Israel to college campuses.

Rebecca Fukes

Midwest Campus Coordinator

Region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota 

Rebecca is a first-generation American, born to immigrants from the former Soviet Union. While she did not grow up with a strong connection to Judaism and Israel, her passion runs deep. Rebecca graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in family and child studies. Following her studies, she spent 10 months teaching in Israel through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows and fell in love with Israel. This experience ignited a passion for Israel and Jewish learning. After staffing the first of many Birthright trips, Rebecca knew she wanted to build a career engaging with and educating young adults about Israel. Rebecca made aliyah and stayed in Israel for three years, working for a Birthright Israel trip organizer, before returning home to the Midwest.  She is excited to work with passionate leaders throughout the Midwest!"

Eli Zada

Southwest Campus Coordinator

Region: Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado

Eli Zada graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied World History and wrote his thesis on Radical Jewish Movements in Iraq and Israel. Eli has always had a passion for Jewish history but knew he wanted to get involved in Israel advocacy work upon his return from Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, where he spent a year teaching English to elementary school students in Haifa. Eli has staffed multiple Birthright trips and is passionate about experiential Jewish education as a way for people to connect with and continue to advocate for Israel. Eli is excited to work with college students who are enthusiastic about Israel and understand the importance of the country.

Matthew Levin

Senior Northwest Campus Coordinator

Region: Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana

Matthew was born and raised as a third generation San Franciscan. Before attending the University of Nevada, Reno and graduating with a degree in criminal justice, he went to Jewish Community High School of the Bay in the City. While in Nevada, Matt was a member of the Hillel along with the local AEPi chapter. He held multiple positions in both organizations, including president. While president of Hillel, he worked with the lieutenant governor and other state lawmakers to help pass Senate Bill 26, an anti-BDS bill. Matt has been to Israel twice, once on a class trip with his high school and the other on Birthright in 2015. Growing up, Israel wasn’t discussed much in his house. However, since his high school trip, Israel has been a passion that he incorporates into his work with college students!

Rebecca Katzman

Canada Campus Director

Region: Canada

Rebecca graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Social Work and a double minor in psychology and sociology. While attending university, she was the president of Ryerson’s Students Supporting Israel and was also a StandWithUs Canada Emerson Fellow. During her presidency, Rebecca coordinated the passing of a motion for a Holocaust Education Week. She also worked to get the Ryerson Students’ Union to be the first in Canada to adopt the Ottawa Protocol on antisemitism. She received the John Gallivan award for student leadership by fostering a relationship between Jewish students on campus and the Ryerson Students’ Union.  From 2017 to 2018, Rebecca worked for the Honourable Candice Bergen, the Opposition House leader in the Canadian House of Commons. She is excited to empower students from all over Canada and help them educate their peers about Israel.

Max Kirsch

StandWithUs UK Campus Coordinator

Max was born, raised, and educated in Manchester, England. After high school, he studied music and had little interest in Judaism and Israel. In 2014, one year after his first trip to Israel, the events of Operation Protective Edge unfolded. The BDS movement mobilized on the streets of Manchester, with protestors gathering at Jewish and Israeli-owned stores. Witnessing this antisemitism, Max was compelled to become better informed on Israel's history. In 2017, Max began courses in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Manchester. He learned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the history and culture of the region. At university, he served as the social media representative for the Manchester Jewish Society (JSoc) committee, represented StandWithUs as an Emerson Fellow, and explored the subject of interfaith relationships involving Israelis for his dissertation. Max is delighted to use his knowledge and experience as a member of the StandWithUs UK team.

Raffy Lachter

Manager of Campus Affairs

Raffy is a graduate from Nottingham Trent University (NTU), studying politics and international relations before focusing his dissertation on the Labour Party’s recent crisis of antisemitism. Raffy enrolled in modules concerning diplomacy in the Middle East and political terrorism. He was raised in a traditional family and has always known who he was and what he stood for, inheriting a deep interest in Zionism and international relations from his grandfather, a WWII veteran. After touring Israel and later Poland, observing firsthand the horrific legacy of Nazi Germany, Raffy’s beliefs were reaffirmed. He carried these values into NTU, working for nonprofit organizations and participating in the StandWithUs Emerson Fellowship upon his final year.

Mary Schulten

Christian Outreach Coordinator

Region: National

Mary is from sunny Ormond Beach, FL, and is a graduate of Flagler College, where she studied Philosophy and Religion. Mary has worked in the Florida House of Representatives for 2 years, and is delighted to join the StandWithUs family as the Christian Outreach Coordinator. Mary is a member of Kiwanis International and a club mentor at a local middle school. She is an active member of her church, involved in youth ministry, and loves to serve her community. Mary has a passion for Israel and helping her fellow Christians discover why and how they can be a friend of Israel. Throughout high school and college, Mary was involved with pro-Israel organizations like Christians United for Israel, Christian Women for Israel, and of course, StandWithUs as a Hispanic Emerson Fellow. She is thrilled to start bringing StandWithUs' message to more Christian students and leaders.

Chloe Levian

Alumni Network Liaison

Region: National

Chloe Levian works as the Alumni Network Liaison here at StandWithUs and is a proud former Emerson Fellow (2019-2020) and Campus Liaison (2020-2021). Chloe attends UCLA where she studies Sociology and Israel Studies and serves as the President of Bruins for Israel, Senior Chair of BIPAC (Bruins for Israel Public Affairs Committee), and the Roslyn and Abner Goldstine Undergraduate Fellow at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Chloe is also a Hasbara Fellow, a Ronald S. Lauder Fellow for the World Jewish Congress, and is active in Iranian American Jews for Racial Justice. Chloe can be found on social media as @thatpersianjew or in her blog in the Times of Israel.

Ben Shapiro

Campus Strategy Coordinator

Ben Shapiro is the Campus Strategy Coordinator at StandWithUs. He received his bachelor's degree from Tufts University, where he was a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and served for two years as Co-President of Tufts Friends of Israel, the campus pro-Israel community and advocacy group. As a public speaker and moderator, he focuses on areas of expertise such as new student campaigns, the academic boycott of Israel, and other rising campus issues. During his student years, Ben developed a platform of action items to enable his university administration to combat antisemitism, as well as an interactive webinar series and “mini-fellowship” for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) called YallaLIVE to keep students active during the pandemic. Ben is also currently involved with the Tufts chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), and was formerly a 3-year member of CJP’s Intercampus Leadership Committee and a founding board member of TAMID Group at Tufts.

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StandWithUs (SWU) is an international and non-partisan Israel education organization that inspires and educates people of all ages and backgrounds, challenges misinformation and fights antisemitism.

Fiscal Management: for the last seven years StandWithUs has obtained the highest possible ratings from two preeminent rating agencies:

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