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Meet Our Staff

Ilana McAfoos, Coordinator of Jewish Learning

Ilana is not new to being involved in Jewish life. Having recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s degree in Archeology with a specialization in Medieval Archaeology, Ilana’s background is rooted in Jewish engagement within her community. She has served as the first full-time Director of Programming for her home congregation at Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, PA. She has also served as a Youth Services Educator at Beth Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and at the Hillel Jewish University Center in Pittsburgh worked as the Jewish Spirituality and Learning intern. 

Ilana is also no stranger to Jewish camp, having grown up going to Camp Ramah in the Poconos as the child of camp staffers. As she got older, she also became a staff member and served as the Director for the Theater Arts Program. Having participated in USY as a teen and as an advisor, Ilana recognizes the importance of being engaged in Jewish life from an early age and making programs engaging and fun. 


Shiri Abramson

Shiri is a Senior at the University of Florida studying Religion, Sustainability, and Communications. She spends her summers working with children at Camp Ramah Darom and is so excited to bring that sense of fun and experience to Chavaya! Shiri grew up speaking fluently in an Israeli household in South Florida and is happy to put those skills to use!


Jamie Bielski

Hi, my name is Jamie Bielski and I am a Sophmore at the University of Florida! Growing up I attended a Solomon Schecter day school, was heavily involved in USY, and went to Camp Ramah Darom (for six years as a camper and one year on staff). During the 2020-2021 academic year I was abroad in Israel where I interacted with locals and took Hebrew classes at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I've furthered my Hebrew learning since through my coursework at UF. I am thrilled to be a part of Chavaya and to have the opportunity to share my excitement for learning Hebrew!


Noa Gershoni

 Hi, My name is Noa Gershoni. I was born in Israel and moved to Miami, Florida when I was 12 years old. Since I moved, I love teaching others about Israel and Judaism. I am currently studying Psychology at the University of Florida and am very excited to bring fun and educational activities to Chavaya this year! 


Gabbi Thaw

My name is Gabbi, and this will be my second year working at Congregation B'nai Israel Gainesville! I am currently a journalism and political science student at the University of Florida, and I am very excited to be at B'nai Gainesville for this upcoming year. I have a strong passion for working with children, and I have spent the past few summers working at Camp Ramah Darom, a Jewish overnight camp in Georgia. 


Blair Wales

Blair is a senior majoring in Jewish Studies and Business Administration at the University of Florida and is currently applying to law school. She is very excited to start at Chavaya and participate in Jewish education full circle, after attending Jewish day school in Milwaukee, WI and Jewish camps for 12 years. 

Rachel Beer

Hi! My name is Rachel Beer and I am a sophomore at UF majoring in psychology. Growing up, Judaism has always played a very important role in my life and identity. I was active in both USY and my synagogue, as well as have spent my summers at Blue Star Camps and my local JCC. I am so excited to be a part of the Congregation B'nai Israel team and am looking forward to a great year! 













Sat, November 26 2022 2 Kislev 5783