Meet the Trip Staff

Meet Your Staff


Jody Horowitz

Jody Horowitz

Where are you from? Highland Park, a Chicago suburb

Where do you currently live? Roscoe Village in Chicago

What do you do for a living? I work at the Jewish United Fund in Chicago.

What is your favorite place in Israel? Jerusalem, I feel like I am home when I am there.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Definitely a toss-up between falafel and hummus.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I went to circus camp for a couple years when I was younger.

What is your best advice to future participants? Live in the moment while you are in Israel.  Israel is an amazing place and this experience is once in a lifetime – enjoy every moment, ask questions, and of course eat all of the food!


Ella Fayer

Ella Fayer

Where are you from? This always tends to be a loaded question for me--born in Netanya, moved to the suburbs of Chicago when I was 7, and have since lived in LA, Bangkok, and the city of Chicago. 

Where do you currently live? Chicago, Illinois 

What do you do for a living? Server, copywriter, and Shorashim registration team rockstar

What is your favorite place in Israel? My favorite place in Israel is Masada. The powerful story coupled with the beautiful views makes it a fulfilling and enjoyable climb every time.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? I love good hummus, usually only in Israel or authentic Mediterranean places. I'm a bit of a snob about it. Won't touch Sabra.

What is a fun fact about yourself? Fun fact is tough ... I can do the splits?

What is your best advice to future Birthright participants? Be flexible with the schedule, but be on time for everything to ensure smooth sailing!


Taylor Brickman

Taylor Brickman

Where are you from? Deerfield, IL

Where do you currently live? Chicago, Illinois (Old Town)

What do you do for a living? I am a Senior Campaign Associate at JUF. I do fundraising and event planning for the Women's Division.

What is your favorite place in Israel? Masada

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Falafel

What is a fun fact about yourself? I once touched JC Chasez’s shoe at an NSYNC concert.

What is your best advice to future participants? Have a positive attitude!


Mark Hafter

Mark Hafter

Where are you from? Wilmette, IL

Where do you currently live? Champaign, IL, soon to be Kansas City, MO.

What do you do for a living? I'm (very soon starting as) a Process Engineer for Procter & Gamble.

What is your favorite place in Israel? I love the Galilee! The rolling green hills, fresh air, and quiet atmosphere makes it a wonderful place to spend time in. When you come back, check out some of the Druze villages and small wineries.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? "Jerusalem Mix." It's usually a mix of chicken heart, spleen, and liver, fried up on the grill with some spices. Check out "Shmuel" in the Karmel market (Shuk HaKarmel) for the best.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I served in the IDF for just over 3 years as an NCO in the signal corps.

What is your best advice to future participants? "Lizrom..." which in Hebrew is kind of like "go with the flow" but also means just love every minute of the trip and try everything!


Lauren Silverman

Lauren Silverman

Where are you from? Dix Hills, New York 

Where do you currently live? Lincoln Park, Chicago

What do you do for a living? I work for the Jewish United Fund as the Young Adult Engagement Associate. I connect Birthright Israel alumni to the Chicago Jewish community when they return to Chicago through social programs, volunteer opportunities and Jewish and Israeli celebrations. I also plan programs for recent college graduates and young professionals living in the suburbs. 

What is your favorite place in Israel? I love spending time in the Negev. The landscape is so unlike anything I’m used to back home, and it’s truly the time of the trip where I feel most peaceful. There’s nothing quite like star gazing in the desert!

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Matzah ball soup, always. 

What is a fun fact about yourself? I have synesthesia, and I see all of my letters and numbers in particular colors!

What is your best advice to future participants? Take advantage of everything. This trip can be incredibly busy, and often tiring, but it is such a spectacular experience. Stare out the window during the bus rides, talk to someone new, get to know the Israelis. This is your Birthright-make the most of it! Also, always bring an extra pair of socks!

Other JUF Events

Shabbat Dinner with Abby Stein Friday, June 22, 2018 6:30 PM More info
5th Annual Pre-Pride Parade Bagel Brunch Sunday, June 24, 2018 9:30 AM More info
Chicago Pride Parade Sunday, June 24, 2018 11:00 AM More info
Young Leadership Division Annual Meeting Thursday, June 28, 2018 6:00 PM More info
YLD/TIP Summer Phonothon Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:30 PM More info
The Art of Developing Vista at Lakeshore East Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:30 PM More info