This is who makes up

Our Amazing Team


Rabbi Chaim Levine

Co-Founder &


“There are precious few things in the course of life that first appear special, and then as you investigate and look more deeply, you find it is more than just special – it is magical.”

When the Second Lebanon War broke out in 2006 Rabbi Levine felt that he needed to do something. Hoping to help Israeli soldiers wounded in battle, he organized a group to travel to Israel. “We went to Rambam Hospital in Haifa, the main hospital where the injured soldiers were coming, and that is where Brothers for Life, was born.”

Before founding Brothers for Life with Gil Ganonyan and Yaniv Leidner, Chaim was the director of several Jewish organizations in Boston, Toronto, and Seattle. Most recently he was the director of Living Judaism, the organization that helped to initiate Brothers For Life.

As the executive director for BFL, Rabbi Levine designs, develops, and implements strategic plans for the organization. He motivates and mentors its members and set the direction for BFL Globally. Chaim lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two sons. His daughter and her husband live in Israel.

Yaniv Leidner

Co-Founder &
Chief Executive Officer

Tel Aviv

“I am 18 when the brown military envelope arrives. It is hard to remember the exact feelings that I had in those moments before joining the IDF – excitement, pride, anticipation, and a little tension.” 

Yaniv served as a company commander in the elite Duvdevan Unit 217 for seven years. It was during this time he honed his leadership skills that would later help him lead BFL.   It was the sixth night of Hanukkah in 2004 when Captain Leidner and his unit were called up to the city of Shechem to apprehend a terrorist who was responsible for several shootings, bombings and suicide attacks. During the mission a shootout began. “It all happened so fast – a life and death decision taken in a split second. A few minutes later I am being evacuated on a stretcher.”  Yaniv was shot through the hips and the bullet is still lodged there today. 

Yaniv is the acting CEO for Brothers for Life and is responsible for its daily operations.  Yaniv lives in Lod, Israel with his wife and three children. He holds a BA in Political Science and Communication and an MBA from Bar Ilan University.

Gil Ganonyan

Co-Founder &
Executive Chairman

Tel Aviv

“If someone would have told me while I was lying on my back of Al Aida refugee camp after having been shot in my neck, that I would soon after help start an organization helping thousands of soldiers like me, I would not have believed it.”

Gil served as a team commander in the elite Duvdevan Unit 217. His unit was sent to Bethlehem to catch the head of Hamas who was responsible for a series of terror attacks in Jerusalem. During this mission, he came face-to-face with the terrorist. “He put his gun to my neck and I put my weapon to his stomach. We shot each other at the same time.”  Gil was evacuated to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem where he underwent a long rehabilitation process. The bullet had exited at the top of his spine leaving him paralyzed.

Gil, who thankfully regained his ability to walk, said he soon realized that although his life would never be the same he had gained a powerful new perspective – that he could help his brothers who were going through the same thing. “At the moment that I got my life back, I knew I had to do something meaningful.”

 With co-founders Yaniv Leidner and Rabbi Chaim Levine, Gil leads the BFL organization in its strategic direction, while continuing to support his brothers through their recovery journeys. Gil lives in Tel Aviv, Israel with his wife and two sons. He holds an LLB degree.


Amir "Smiley" Malka

COO - Operations Israel

Tel Aviv

Amir enlisted in the IDF’s Combat Engineer Corps in 2003. During the Second Lebanon War he was wounded during a ground operation. Amir went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering, and now oversees all of BFL’s operations in Israel.

Nechemiah “Chemi” Rubin

COO - External Relations

Tel Aviv

Chemi oversees all external relations, which includes BFL’s diaspora programs, delegations, marketing, and PR. During Operation Cast Lead (2008), Chemi was buried under rubble when a bomb detonated in a house he was searching. He suffered wounds to his face, eyes, and hands. After a long rehabilitation, Chemi joined BLF’s management team in 2015. He lives in a Moshav with his wife and their three children and holds an LLB degree.


COO - Soldiers to Soldiers Projects

Tel Aviv

Kobi joined the Golani Brigade in 2008. During Operation Cast Lead his battalion was hit by friendly fire when they were mistaken for terrorists. Kobi was hit by shrapnel and saw many of his comrades die. He later developed PTSD. During his recovery journey, Kobi studied business administration, and now holds degrees in Business Management and Organizational Development. Kobi manages our Soldier-to-Soldier Programs and is a member of our management team.  Kobi lives in Rishon Litzion with his wife Hadar and daughter.


Gal Ben David

Sports Activity Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Aviv Brahanu

Facilities Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Maor Elkobi

Absorption & Guidance Director

Tel Aviv

Maor served as a commander in the Givati Brigade. After being shot twice during a mission in Gaza, he underwent a lengthy rehabilitation process. Maor works with new members and is often one of the first brothers at the hospital when a wounded soldier is admitted. He brings hope to soldiers now facing significant medical and emotional challenges.


US Medical Project Coordinator

New Jersey

For over a decade, Maayan has been working in the non-profit field in different project and program management positions. Maayan joined BFL in 2017 helping the Medical Project team coordinate and execute the medical delegations. Maayan holds a master’s degree in clinical social work and works as a psychotherapist in Northern New Jersey.


US Operations Manager


Andra came out of retirement to join BFL in 2019 as a consultant and quickly became a permanent member of the team. She has over 30 years of operating and HR experience in the for profit sector.  At BFL she oversees all US operations and serves on the Development team helping with strategic and impact performance. Andra holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Eitan Kariti

Maintenance Coordinator

Tel Aviv


BFL Experience Manager

Tel Aviv

Ross joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and received his commission as an officer in 2010. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 during Operation Enduring Freedom with the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. He served as the Commander of Camp Bala Hissar in Kabul. In August 2020, Ross moved to Israel on a MASA program to teach English in Jerusalem and made Aliyah the following year.  Ross lives in Jerusalem and works as the Brothers for Life Experience Manager.


Soldier Delegation Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Rafael organizes and leads rehabilitative soldier delegations. Rafael served as a commander in the IDF’s K-9 unit and was wounded in 2013 when he and his dog were ambushed. He was hospitalized for over a year and a half and underwent multiple surgeries. Since then he earned a degree in social work, and served as a director of a boarding school for at-risk youth, before joining the BFL team. Rafael lives in Geva Binyamin with his wife.


Deputy Social Program Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Alon joined border security in 2004 and completed the Commander’s course with honors. In 2006 he suffered serious injuries to his face during a violent demonstration in the Amona settlement. Alon lost his vision. Extensive reconstructive surgery has helped, but Alon is still impacted by his injury. That doesn’t deter him from giving his all to BFL.


Education & Vocational Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Ben joined the IDF’s Egoz unit in 2014. During Operation Protective Edge he was hit by mortar fragments while commanding the front squad of his battalion. After surgery at Barzilai Hospital, he opened his eyes and was greeted by BFL brothers. Ben credits BFL for his successful rehabilitation. Ben manages the scholarship program and helps guide our members to get their academic degrees. He lives in Ramat Gan with his wife Maayan.


Regional Programs Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Yogev joined the IDF in March 2012 and served in the elite Maglan Brigade paratroopers’ unit. During Operation Tzuk Eitan in 2014, he was trapped in a house that had been wired with explosives and was buried under rubble. He suffered bodily burns and injuries, and damage to his lungs. Today, Yogev directs BFL’s regional programs throughout Israel. He lives in Kibbutz Ein Shemer with his wife Yual.


Medical Project Manager

Tel Aviv

In 2014 while serving as a company commander, Tamir’s legs were severely injured by a roadside bomb. Tamir participated in a BFL medical delegation to Seattle, where he was fitted with an ExoSym™ prosthetic brace, allowing him to walk without crutches for the first time since his injury. After serving nine years in the IDF, Tamir joined our team as the director of the very project that changed his life. 


External Relations Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Snir joined the IDF in 2006 as a combat engineer. In 2014 during Operation Tzuk Eitan, his battalion was struck by an anti-tank missile while searching for a terrorist tunnel. Fragments tore through Snir’s body. After receiving treatment, Snir returned to his unit as a company commander. His leadership helped earn his company the Chief of Staff’s Citation. Today Snir serves on the BFL Development team as an External Relations Coordinator responsible for philanthropic partnerships. He lives in Kiryat Ono with his wife Tal and two children.


Digital and Media Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Ohad served as a combat soldier and commander in the Israeli Air Force. In 2005, while patrolling south of Hebron, his unit was ambushed by terrorists. Ohad was struck by two AK-47 bullets to his stomach and chest. After several months in rehabilitation, he voluntarily returned to his unit and completed advanced training. Ohad holds an MBA in business management and lives in a small village in the center of Israel with his wife Tal, their three children, and two chocolate Labradors. 

Roi Ratzabi

Tel Aviv


US VP New England Region


Guy served in a special unit in the Nachal Brigade in both Lebanon and Gaza during the Intifada. He moved to Boston over 20 years ago, and worked as an executive in the banking industry and later as the director of the FIDF New England region. Guy learned about the importance of community building while growing up on a kibbutz. He brings his soldier spirit, deep organizational expertise, and love for community to BFL.


Career and Vocational Manager

Tel Aviv

A battlefield doctor saved Oz’s life after he was shot twice by a sniper during Operation Protective Edge. BFL brothers came to his bedside and helped him through his initial recovery and decade-long rehabilitation. Now he works to help other wounded soldiers gain the career and vocational help they need to live productive, independent lives.


Social Media Specialist

Tel Aviv

Cindy Seni was born in France and grew up in Canada. She founded two Jewish organizations while in high school and later worked for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IDF as a video editor and writer. She holds a degree in psychology with a specialty in trauma. Cindy works to raise global awareness about BFL’s work via social media.

Tom Shecter

IT Administrator

Tel Aviv


US Regional Director – Chicago


Shraga Stern was born in Israel to American parents. He served as a platoon commander in the Nachal Brigade and as an active officer in the reserves. In 2016 Shaga was stabbed multiple times during hand-to-hand combat with a terrorist. Today he still serves as an active reserve officer and is part of the BFL Development team responsible for building strategic and philanthropic relationships within the Chicago community. 

Yaniv Suissa

Social Activities Coordinator

Tel Aviv


Executive Assistant to the CEO

Tel Aviv

Shir grew up on the Lebanon border, where her family lived in ongoing fear of the frequent missile attacks by Hezbollah. When the second war with Lebanon started in 2006, Shir and her family fled, only to return to find their town had been destroyed. Shir was diagnosed with PTSD while in law school and underwent recovery. She learned to manage her PTSD, graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and became a lawyer. She feels privileged to work with BFL brothers who defended her country and her family.


External Relations Coordinator

Tel Aviv

Or joined the IDF in 2012 and served in the elite Maglan Brigade paratroopers’ unit.  During the Tzuk Eitan operation, his force was ambushed and Or was shot multiple times. After rehabilitation Or worked as an educator before joining Brothers for Life. Or is part of the BFL Development team responsible for engagement and impact in the San Francisco Bay area. Or lives in Kibbutz Beeri.

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