Meet Our Leaders

The Back from Birthright Israel network connects Birthright Israel trip alumni living in the Chicagoland area to each other socially, professionally, through Jewish life and culture, volunteerism, and philanthropy to create a transition into greater JUF involvement.

This program is sponsored and run solely by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.


2018-2019 Committee

Max Balkan

Max grew up in Northbrook, IL, and graduated from the University of Illinois. Now in Chicago, he currently works as a Senior Financial Analyst supporting Customer Strategy and Marketing at W.W. Grainger. He currently lives in Logan Square. In his free time, you will find Max playing board/card games, reading or traveling. You may not know that Max has a twin sister and a younger brother.

Skylar Beatus


Jeremy Conover

Jeremy is from Northern Virginia, right outside of D.C., and went to school at University of Virginia where he majored in Economics and Psychology. In college, he was a member of Hoos for Israel, UVA's Israel advocacy and culture club, as well as Challah for Hunger. Since moving to Chicago three years ago, he has participated in LEADS through JUF twice as a participant and once as a leader. He has also been to Israel twice, and cannot wait to go back as soon possible!

Aly Coran

Aly grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, with a degree in both economics and marketing from the Olin Business School. She played on the tennis team in college, which has always been a big part of her life. Her first job at Oracle-NetSuite brought her to the wonderful city of Chicago, where she currently resides. She participated in a Mayanot Birthright Israel trip the summer of 2013 and has been a part of the Jewish community in Chicago through the JUF, LEADS, and her strong network of Jewish family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, reading, going to concerts, and exploring the city.

Greg Fleytlikh

Greg grew up in Skokie, IL and graduated with a business degree from DePaul University. He currently works at Slalom, a consulting firm based out of Seattle, within the Marketing Technology space as a Solution Architect. He is an alum of AEPi and has been to Israel 3 times on different programs but has yet to make it to Eilat!

Sammy Ginsburg

Sammy graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 where she majored in Environmental Studies and Chinese. She currently works at a tech start-up based out of 1871. Although she is originally from the suburbs of Chicago she now lives in the city with her cousin/best friend who also happens to be on the committee this year, can you guess who? She went on Birthright with a Shorashim Chicago group in the summer of 2017.

Sydney Glass


Jeff Guaquil


Garrett Langfeld

Garrett is originally from the San Francisco area, and moved to Chicago last August. He studied finance and computer science at Tulane University and is currently working for Uber in their company's corporate office. In his free time, Garrett enjoys running (he is training for the Chicago Marathon), watching baseball, playing golf, and eating his way around Chicago.

Maytal Maor

Maytal grew up in Skokie, IL and graduated from Florida International University with a BBA in Human Resource Management & Marketing. She currently works for United Airlines as part of their Campus Recruiting team. Being part of the Jewish community in Chicago through JUF, Maytal has participated in LEADS twice and has most recently been a LEADS leader and table host for YLD's Big Event Fundraiser. Attending her Shorashim Birthright trip this past May 2018 and growing up with Israeli parents is what motivated her to join the Back From Birthright Israel committee. In her free time, you can find Maytal discovering new music, attending dance classes, being with family/friends, and traveling the world (with occasional Netflix binging). Fun fact: the name Maytal means "dew drops."

Maya Ohcana

Maya has had an intimate connection to and passion about Israel for her entire life. While studying at Indiana University (go Hoosiers!), Maya explored her creative side & earned a degree in Arts Management, minoring in Hebrew and Theatre. Now, she is combining her love for Israel and creativity through a marketing-focused role at Shorashim (follow @shorashimisrael on Insta ASAP). On the weekends, you can find Maya Instagramming everything in sight, and exploring everything that Chicago, and the surrounding areas, have to offer. This is her second year as a BFBI committee member.

Amanda Poll

Amanda is from New Albany, Ohio, where she grew up a Buckeye and attended The Ohio State University on a rowing scholarship. She graduated in 2014 with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. She earned a Master's in Oxford University, England, in Child Development and Education. Amanda moved to Chicago following her master's, and immediately fell in love with the Jewish community and all it has to offer. She is now a class teacher at Urban Prairie Waldorf School.

Callie Rosenfeld

Callie grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended college at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating, she began a career in Human Resources with PNC Bank. Last summer, Callie relocated to Chicago - while continuing to work for PNC - and immediately got involved with JUF. The connections and friends she made through JUF inspired her to continue her involvement, and eventually led to an interest in the Back from Birthright Israel Committee.

Talia Shapiro

Talia grew up in Minneapolis, MN and graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Kinesiology, go Badgers! She is going on her 3rd year of living in Chicago and in her final year of pursuing a doctorate in Physical Therapy at Northwestern University. She went on a Chicago Birthright trip with Shorashim in the summer of 2016 to build connections with young adults in the city. Throughout her time in Chicago, she has loved getting to meet new people and build connections through various programming offered by JUF and Back from Birthright Israel. In her free time, you can find Talia at the beach, exploring fitness studios, walking dogs, and trying new food spots all over the city.

Alex Sloan

Alex is 26 years old and lives in in the West Loop with his lovely girlfriend. He is originally from Deerfield and went to University of Wisconsin, where he majored in Economics/Communications. He works as an outside sales rep for Medline Industries selling medical supplies. For fun, you can find him on the golf course or at any new restaurant. He has two older brothers that live in the city and a younger sister in college.

Gabi Stone

Gabi is from Detroit, MI, and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in International and Area Studies and minors in Marketing and Design. Now in Chicago, she works at Kantar, a marketing research and consulting firm. Gabi went on Birthright in June 2017, and in Chicago, she has both participated in and led LEADS. She is excited to continue her involvement in the Jewish community as a member of the Back from Birthright Israel Committee! When she is not at YLD events, you can find Gabi running along the lake, baking cookies for her friends, or taking photographs of the city.

Sam Waldorf

Sam grew up in Bucks County, PA and graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Supply Chain Management. He moved to Chicago to participate in the Avodah Jewish Service Corps. Currently, Sam works as the Member Engagement Manager for the West Loop Community Organization. He was a participant on Birthright in 2012 and has been back to Israel numerous times since then. In his free time, Sam enjoys biking around Chicago, playing board games, and cooking.


Lauren Silverman

Lauren grew up in Dix Hills, New York and went to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a degree in American Studies, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work as Vanderbilt Hillel’s Program Director. After three years in Nashville, Lauren joined JUF community as the Young Adult Engagement Associate. At JUF, Lauren works with recent college graduates, Birthright Israel alumni and young adults in the Chicagoland suburbs.

She went on Birthright Israel as a participant in 2012 and has since staffed five Birthright Israel trips. Lauren is a member of Cohort 8 of the Birthright Israel Fellows program and is getting her Masters in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

In her free time Lauren enjoys all of the food festivals, art museums, and Jewish events Chicago has to offer. She is on the quest to find the best café in Chicago and will always say yes to restaurant recommendations.

Email Lauren at for more information if you are thinking about Birthright, or are just getting back from a Birthright trip!

Other JUF Events

Eat, Bless, Rest: YLD Suburban Shabbat Friday, November 22, 2019 6:00 PM More info
Birthright Israel Orientation- Suburbs Monday, December 2, 2019 6:00 PM More info
Birthright Israel Orientation- City Wednesday, December 4, 2019 6:00 PM More info
YLD's Big Event Fundraiser 2020 Saturday, December 14, 2019 8:15 PM More info
Newish & Jewish 2020 Tuesday, January 14, 2020 6:00 PM More info