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The Meorot Board of Advisors is an independent body representing members of the community who have a commitment to Jewish special education initiatives through their professional careers, community leadership roles or as parents.  

Zehava Atlas – Zehava is a licensed speech language pathologist who has experience working in a variety of school settings. Currently she works for the NYC Department of Education where she delivers speech services to children on the Autism spectrum. Additionally, Zehava serves as a youth director at Great Neck Synagogue, where she leads preschool youth groups on Shabbat along with Holiday programming throughout the year. Zehava, along with her husband Michael have 3 daughters. Zehava is a strong advocate for Meorot recognizing its need in the Great Neck community. 


Gail Barnehama, Ph.D. – Gail is an early childhood developmental specialist with years of experience in the field of preschool special education. She is the director of admissions and evaluator in a renowned special education preschool. Gail is able to interpret assessment results sharing parent friendly clinical opinion and ensuring ongoing collaboration between home and school.


Dina Kalnicki Cohen -- Dina is a psychologist holding a private practice in Great Neck and is serving as an adjunct clinical supervisor for Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.  Although she sees adults as well, her focus is on child and adolescent therapy, with specialization in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).  Dina and her incredibly supportive husband have three adorable children together.   


Herman Davidovicz, Ph.D., ABPP – Dr. Davidovicz is a pediatric neuropsychologist in practice at Long Island Neuropsychological Consultants in Great Neck and at the Center for Brain and Behavior at Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Downstate Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Hofstra University Medical College. He has served as the Chief of Child Neuropsychology at the North Shore University Hospital. Dr. Davidovicz has extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of infants, children, adolescents and young adults with a variety of problems that are related to learning, development or behavior. His experience includes issues such as: Learning Disability, ADHD, speech/language or auditory problems and Autistic Spectrum. He has written and lectured extensively on many of these topics.


Kathy Gold – Kathy is a passionate special education teacher and has worked for the NYC Department of Education for thirteen years. Her experience is working with children with speech and language challenges, dyslexia, dysgraphia and attention challenges. She is currently working as an executive function coach for Beyond Booksmart as well as a private tutor in the community. She is on the Hebrew board of North Shore Hebrew Academy and the executive board of the Young Israel of Great Neck. She lives in Great Neck with her husband Josh and their three vivacious children. 

Ruthie Goykadosh, LCSW – Ruthie has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1991 in the field of Women's Health, Reproductive Medicine, and Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. Ruthie has served as Co-Chair and continues to serve as a member of the Yeshiva Har Torah Education Committee Board since 2005. Ruthie and her husband David have four children ranging from College to Elementary school and are active members of the Young Israel of Great Neck and the larger community.    

Malka Ismach, Ph.D. - Malka is a School Psychologist who has been working for Nassau BOCES since 2008 with children of different ages and with a wide range of disabilities.  She also maintains a small private practice in Great Neck.  Malka's husband, Shmuel is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Great Neck.  Malka and Shmuel have 5 children ranging from preschool to college ages.  


Liz Ort – Liz is a licensed speech language pathologist who has been working with children with a wide range of speech and language delays/disorders in varied school settings since 1995. She and her husband Jared have 3 school aged children who attend North Shore Hebrew academy, elementary, middle, and high school. They are members of the Great Neck Synagogue and have been active in the community for almost 20 years.


David Pelcovitz, Ph.D. – Dr. Pelcovitz holds the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Jewish Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration of Yeshiva University. In addition, Dr. Pelcovitz is an instructor in pastoral counseling at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (REITS). Serving for more than two decades as director of psychology at North Shore University Hospital-NYU School of Medicine and clinical professor of psychology at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Pelcovitz has consulted extensively with the Jewish community in the United States, Europe and Israel on a wide range of issues facing children and adolescents. Dr. Pelcovitz has published and lectured extensively on a variety of topics related to education, parenting and child mental health.

Helene Peyser - Helene is an administrative law judge for the New York State Department of Education, where she adjudicates cases between school districts and parents of students with disabilities.  She is a special education lawyer and certified mediator.  Helene holds an LL.M. in family law with a focus on education law and has researched and written on the topic of delivery of special education within the parochial school system.

Sigal Shalom - Sigal and her husband, Rabbi Nir Shalom, came from Israel in 1999 as shlichim, where they have worked as educators teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies. In 2002 they moved to Great Neck where Sigal serves as the Rabbanit of the Babylonian Jewish Center. Since 2010, Sigal has served as Hebrew program coordinator at Yeshiva University.  In addition to establishing their Hebrew curriculum, she teaches Hebrew courses and guides the faculty in her department.  The Shaloms have five children who are students in schools ranging from elementary school to yeshivot gvohot in Israel and in New York.


Lilia Shemesh – Lilia is a Vice President of the Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group where she has served since 2001 in their Los Angeles and New York offices. Lilia works with ultra-high net worth families where she focuses on the implementation of each individual clients financial goals. She holds her Certified Financial Planner certification. Lilia and her husband Ronnie have three elementary & middle school aged children and they have been spearheading the Meorot initiative.


Ronnie Shemesh – Ronnie is a Senior Portfolio Manager on the Structured Equities team at Columbia Threadneedle Investments (CTI) and has served in that capacity at CTI and its legacy firms since 2003. Previously he worked at Barra Inc since 1997 serving as Senior Consultant. He holds his Certified Financial Analyst designation. Ronnie and his wife Lilia have three elementary & middle school aged children and they have been spearheading the Meorot initiative.


Jessica Smooha – Jessica is actively involved in advocating for children with special needs and building awareness and acceptance of others. Founder of the Same But Different program – a hands on disability awareness program designed to teach children empathy, acceptance and tolerance of others with disabilities.  Jessica is Vice President of the Special Education PTA in the Great Neck Public Schools and a former Board member of Great Neck Synagogue. Jessica and her husband, David, reside in Great Neck with their 3 children.

Meorot Board of Advisors

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