About us

About us


Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) pursues universal recognition for the heritage, history, and rights of the one million indigenous Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa and their Mizrahi and Sephardi descendants. Through our Sephardic Leadership Institute we share the knowledge, expertise, and recommendations of Sephardi and Mizrahi thought leaders with Jewish communal and lay leadership to help organizations become more adept at integrating and representing Sephardi heritage into their communities.

About Journey to the Mizrah

The original Journey to the Mizrah curriculum was launched in 2018-2019 and has since been utilized by over 600 educators in several countries around the world, a testament to the international interest and need for this type of curriculum. In January, 2020, JIMENA hosted a two-day conference in San Francisco, California, to train educators to integrate Sephardic scholarship, spirituality, history, and contemporary heritage into their classrooms and learning spaces. With the generous support of the Covenant Foundation, we are building on the success of our initial efforts with this inclusion guide. This current project, the Sephardi & Mizrahi Education Toolkit, fulfills the Covenant Foundation’s mission to “strengthen educational endeavors that perpetuate the identity, continuity, and heritage of the Jewish people.”

Our Team

Elana Riback Rand, Editor-in-Chief

Elana holds a PhD in Jewish Education and an MA in Curriculum and Teaching. She consults and researches on topics related to the intersection of Jewish education, curriculum development, inclusion, school culture, and religious practice. She currently serves as the educational initiatives project coordinator for the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.

Ty Alhadeff, Director of Education, JIMENA

Ty serves as JIMENA’s Director of Education leading the Sephardi Leadership Institute, The Sephardi & Mizrahi Education Toolkit and Distinctions: A Sephardi and Mizrahi Journal. Ty is a graduate of the University of Washington and Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.

Sarah Levin, Executive Director, JIMENA

Sarah has conceptualized and developed a number of impactful international campaigns for Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews to explore, preserve, protect and share their heritage, identities, experiences, and human rights. She produced, launched, and directed JIMENA’s multi-lingual Oral History and Digital Experience Program, JIMENA’s Arabic Outreach Program, JIMENA’s Day School Initiative, and various education, advocacy, social media, and community outreach campaigns.

Neomi Assiabanha-Rapoport, Designer

Neomi is a ux/ui designer and former art director based in Jerusalem. She strives to create products that are useful, intuitive, and beautiful for nonprofits and startups. 

Yehuda Rapoport, Web Developer

Yehuda is a web developer and marketing director. He loves guiding small businesses and nonprofits through the process of building the perfect website for their needs. 


Tamar Zaken

Tamar Zaken is an educator and social worker who lives in the Bay Area. She is Director of Community Outreach at Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco. In her spare time, she translates Sephardic rabbinic texts to expose English speaking audiences to their inspiring message of inclusion and justice.

Dr. Galia Avidar

Dr. Galia Avidar holds a PhD in Jewish Studies and Education. She brings her expertise in research, administration, curriculum design, instruction and staff development. She has collaborated with JIMENA on other projects. She is currently the principal of Mill Basin Yeshiva Academy in Brooklyn, NY.

Advisory Board

Tamar Zaken

Adam Eilath

Dr. Galia Avidar

Rabbi Benjy Owen

Rabbi Devin Maimon Villareal

Dr. Mijal Bitton

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

Ophir Teboul

Ashley Perry

Rabbi Joseph Beyda

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai

Stephanie Ives

Rabbi Marc D. Angel

Rabbi Haim Ovadia

Rabbi Roly Matalon

Rahel Musleah

Maharat Victoria Sutton

Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh

Sarah Aroeste

Dr. Galeet Dardashti

Dr. Samuel R. Torjman Thomas