About Us

Jerusalem U impacts hundreds of thousands of young Jews by reaching them frequently with meaningful Jewish and Israel digital media content.

Get to Know Us

 Jerusalem U is a groundbreaking non-profit media organization for young Jews. We create purpose-driven content, including original videos, interactive courses and feature films, for our audience of smart, passionate and curious teens and young adults looking to engage with their heritage and history.

We’ve grown from a single website to offer an array of compelling digital brands and products that resonate with our diverse audience. Using innovative storytelling that sparks ideas, conversations and discussions, we’re re-framing the way the eternal Jewish story is being transmitted to the next generation.

Our Team

Want to help change the world? Explore our job openings and join the team.

Our Board

Karen Davidson

Peter Friedmann

Amy Holtz

Mitch Julis

Marc Rowan

Raphael Shore

Rivka Zell

Karen Davidson

Davidson is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her husband was the late Bill Davidson, owner of Guardian Industries Corp, the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment. Among her many activities, Karen serves on the William Davidson Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Henry Ford Health Systems, the University of Michigan President’s Advisory Group, the Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, the International Board of the Weizmann Institute, co-chair of Areivim, and is a supporter of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem (Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower), the Weizmann Institute, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA). Karen has three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Peter Friedmann

Friedmann is a Director of Teltronics. He also serves on the Board of Brighter Minds. Mr. Friedmann is the Chairman of FGC Holdings Inc. and Steelman Software Solutions. Throughout his career, Mr. Friedmann has been involved in various real estate projects in Canada, the United States, and Europe and is also currently involved in the IT industry. Mr. Friedmann was involved in one of the largest steel mills in Central Europe, which was acquired by United States Steel in 2000. Mr. Friedmann received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario in 1972.

Emily Gottschalk

Emily Gottschalk is the President and CEO of The Garr Group. Prior to this, Ms. Gottschalk was the Director of New Business Development/Youth Marketing for Marketsource Corporation. She was also the Director of Marketing for Zany Brainy, one of America’s fastest growing specialty retail stores for children, and worked extensively with senior level executives while managing the sales and marketing efforts of several high volume downtown Four Seasons Hotels. Included in her experience is the superior opening and performance of the Chicago and Philadelphia Four Seasons Hotels. Ms. Gottschalk holds a BS in Hotel Administration from Cornell University. Furthermore, Emily has led successful branding and marketing initiatives at both the Jewish Federation and Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ. She recently served as a judge/shark investor as part of the Jewish Federation’s Shark Tank program and has served on the board of the JCRC since 2012. She is a lead funder of JCRC’s Teen Israel Advocacy training program, through The Mildred M. Soefer Family Foundation. She has been active in many organizations in support of Israel throughout the years.

Amy Holtz

Amy Holtz was named one of the “50 Most Influential Jews” by the Jerusalem Post in September 2016. She is an accomplished executive with over two decades of experience leading and dramatically growing businesses and non-profit organizations. From 1994 to 2007, Amy co-owned and operated a chain of 25 retail stores (Party City) with more than 900 employees and over $75 million in sales. From 2009 to 2015, Amy served as President of Jerusalem U. Together, Amy and Raphael expanded Jerusalem U into an internationally-recognized brand that distributes films in 26 countries, educates thousands of students annually, and partners with over 600 organizations. Most recently, Amy served as CEO of Mosaic United, an innovative, collaborative initiative through which the Government of Israel will invest $50 million in programs in the Diaspora that strengthen Jewish identity and connection to Israel. She remains active on Mosaic’s Advisory Board. Amy holds a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida. Earlier in her career, she practiced law for several years at Arent Fox, LLP in Washington, D.C. and at Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia.

Mitch Julis

Julis is Co-Founder of Canyon Partners, LLC. Founded in 1990, Canyon Partners specializes in value-oriented and event-driven investments. Mr. Julis served on the Board of Trustees at Princeton University and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Engineering and Applied Science Leadership Council. He also serves on the Asia Society’s Board of Trustees, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s Advisory Council and Jerusalem U’s Board of Directors. Mr. Julis helped establish the Harvard Law School Program on Jewish and Israeli Law. Mr. Julis received Institutional Investor’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (B.A., magna cum laude), Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., honors). In 2011, Mr. Julis received an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University of New York.

Marc Rowan

Rowan is a Founding Partner of Apollo Management LP, a private investment firm. He currently serves on the board of directors of AAA, an Apollo-sponsored multibillion-dollar alternative investment manager, Harrah’s Entertainment, a leading hotel-and-casino company, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, a premium cruise line with itineraries worldwide. Before joining Apollo, Mr. Rowan was a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Department of Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., with responsibilities in high-yield financing, transaction idea generation and merger structure negotiation. Mr. Rowan graduated from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in finance.

Raphael Shore

Raphael Shore, Jerusalem U Founder and CEO, is a rabbi, educator and film producer. Shore produced Sustainable Nation, about Israeli advances in water technology, and the 2017 documentary When the Smoke Clears about wounded Israeli war veterans. He also produced the 2016 mini-documentary about an Israeli-Ethiopian soldier, Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew, and its 2015 predecessor, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front (rated one of Netflix’s top five military movies), a coming-of-age film about five Israeli soldiers. Two more of his powerful productions are the documentary Crossing the Line 2: The Intifada Comes to Campus, exploring the proliferation of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments on college campuses, and the 2012 PBS-featured film, Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, about contemporary Israel and its global contributions. All his films serve as pillars of Jerusalem U’s Israel and Jewish curricula.

Rivka Zell

Zell is an active philanthropist with a strong focus on bringing education to the community. She maintains strong ties to Israel through the Zell Entrepreneurial Program at IDC Herzliya. Rivka brings Israeli culture to Chicago through the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema and serves on the Chicago boards of the Jewish National Fund (Co-VP Education and Community Affairs), CAMERA, and StandWithUs. Rivka is also actively involved in AIPAC and works closely with members of Congress to support the US-Israel relationship.

Dina Rabhan


Dina is responsible for the vision and strategy of the organization with a focus on creating scalable educational products and platforms to reach and impact young Jews. Prior to this, Dina worked as an educational consultant supporting 200+ Jewish Day Schools worldwide. She holds an LMSW from Rutgers University and is completing her doctoral dissertation in education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Education. Dina passionately believes that the Jewish community must invest more in digital strategies to secure the overall vitality of the Jewish people and a vibrant Jewish future.

Bruce Konners

Chief Financial Officer

Bruce also serves as the President of Envision Asset Management (Florida), an investment financial advisory firm. Previously, Bruce was P/CFO/VP of Party Supermarket, Inc., which was the largest franchisee of Party City. He also worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

David Coleman

Senior Producer

David is a co-producer of When the Smoke Clears and senior producer at Jerusalem U, has been instrumental in devising and implementing distribution strategies for Jerusalem U feature films and introducing them to millions of viewers worldwide. A filmmaker with more than 20 years’ experience in the entertainment and media industry, he has served as producer, director, and distributor on numerous productions. His award-winning documentary film, Blindsided, premiered on HBO Television.

Micah Smith

Senior Vice President of Film

Micah is an award-winning narrative and documentary filmmaker whose films have been featured on Netflix, and have been screened at international film festivals, the UN, British Parliament, and US Congress. Micah has over 20 years experience in educational films and has produced thousands of hours of content for e-learning platforms.


Esther Mendlowitz

Chief Operations Officer

Before joining Jerusalem U, Esther spent 12 years in the magazine publishing industry, serving as editor-in-chief of several national industry magazines and peer-reviewed journals, as well as editor of a dozen books on Jewish subjects. She led business development, strategic partnerships and editorial direction of her various publications, representing each title in national and international spheres. After moving to Israel, she served as a teacher of Jewish Studies and school administrator. Esther holds a BA in English from the University of Florida.

Simone Katz

Chief Marketing Officer

Prior to joining Jerusalem U, she spent 14 years in advertising, including senior positions working with brands in the consumer packaged goods, finance and pharmaceutical sectors. Simone transitioned into the nonprofit sector as she believes in media as a means of education. She received her BA in philosophy from Columbia University. 

Noam Weisman

Senior Vice President of Education

Formerly the Principal of Shalhevet High School, Los Angeles, Noam founded and directs LaHaV, an educational approach that empowers students to find meaning in their Jewish learning. He earned a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Southern California.