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The Dafna Fund Team

Barbara Dobkin – Chair

A pioneer in the Jewish community as a donor-activist for programs to empower women and girls, Barbara Dobkin is one of the most visible and committed advocates for social change. She was the Founding Chair of Ma’yan, a program of The JCC in Manhattan, the Jewish Women’s Archive in Boston and the Hadassah Foundation. She was a founder of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community and is the immediate past board chair of American Jewish World Service. She also served on the boards of The Women’s Funding Network, The White House Project, the Women Donors Network and Lilith Magazine. She presently Chairs the board of the Dafna Israeli Fund, a feminist foundation in Israel.

A frequent speaker on women’s philanthropy and leadership, she is a significant supporter of and adviser to a variety of not-for-profits, both Jewish and secular in the U.S. and internationally. 

Barbara has been recognized by several organizations including the New York Women’s Foundation, the Jewish Funders Network and the Council on Foundations for her innovative philanthropic work.


The Board


Nora Gold

Nora Gold is a prize-winning author, researcher, and activist. She has written three fiction books: The Dead Man (May 2016), Fields of Exile (winner of the 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Award), and Marrow and Other Stories (winner of a Canadian Jewish Book Award). In addition, Dr. Gold is the founder and editor of the prestigious online literary journal Jewish Fiction .net.

Gold’s passionate and long-standing commitment to feminism has been expressed in her fiction, in her scholarly work, and in her activism. Her literary works all deal with the lives of contemporary women and girls, written from a feminist and critical perspective. In terms of her academic scholarship, two of Gold’s studies (both feminist in approach and both funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada) were a nation-wide study of Canadian Jewish women and their experiences of sexism and antisemitism, and a longitudinal study of Jewish girls, focusing on their identity development as Jewish and female.

In terms of community work and activism, Gold has been involved for the past 35 years in a variety of progressive causes. Regarding those related to Israel, she was a founder of the New Israel Fund of Canada, as well as its Vice-President, and a member of the New Israel Fund International Executive. Gold also co-founded two other Canadian Zionist organizations: Canadian Friends of Givat Haviva and JSpaceCanada. Recognized by the Toronto Jewish Community as an Outstanding Volunteer, Gold feels very proud to be part of the Dafna Fund.


Brenda Urman Gewurz

Brenda Urman Gewurz is a founding member of the Dafna Fund. She is a real estate broker and VP Marketing & Sales of Proment Corporation, a residential real estate company in Montreal. Gewurz holds a BSc.and MSc from McGill University, and MBA from Concordia University

Gewurz has been very active throughout the Jewish community of Montreal and Canada and has held positions in Emunah Women of Canada, Mikveh Israël and Maison Shalom for children with special needs. She was the co-founder of WAI, a group that advocates for Israel in Canada, especially in the field of women and children.

Her volunteer work began in the field of education. She was the first female president of the Hebrew Academy from 1987 to 1991 and president of the Jewish Education Council from 1997 to 2001, where she is involved to this day. Gewurz also sits on the board of the Bronfman Israel Experience. Gewurz is immediate past president of the Montreal Jewish Community Foundation, member of the board of directors of Federation CJA (Montreal), vice president and member of the board of directors of UIA Canada and vice president and member of the board of directors of CIJA, the Quebec Canada advocacy agency for Israel. In addition, she chairs two granting committees that promote original programs in Jewish identity building for the Montreal Jewish community.

Brenda sits on the Board of directors of Ensembles Quebec, an organization promoting tolerance among high school students from across Quebec.


Daphna Hacker

Prof. Daphna Hacker is a senior lecturer at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law and Women and Gender Studies Program. She received her LL.B from the Hebrew University and her LL.M from American University Washington College of Law. She earned her PhD from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Hacker teaches family law, feminist jurisprudence and qualitative methods. Her studies focus on the intersection between law, family and gender, and she published papers on subjects such as child custody, singlehood, inheritance and inter-religious marriages. She received numerous grants and prizes, including tow research grant from the Israel Science Foundation (2009-2011; 2014-2016) and a nomination to the Young Scholars in Humanities and Social Science Forum of the Israeli Academy of Science (2010).

Among her public activities, Dr. Hacker was a member of the Public Commission to Review Legal Aspects of Parental Responsibility upon Divorce (2005-2011); a member of the New Israel Fund's selection committee for the Legal Leadership Program (2001-2010); and a founder and board member of Itach-Maaki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice (2001-2011).


Ghada Abu Jaber – Nijem

An organizational consultant, specialized in organization development and program evaluator for NGOs and social change programs. Abu Jaber-Nijem have more than twenty years of experience working with local and international organizations; leading strategic planning processes; developing work plans; building organizational, leadership, guiding and teem development capacities; managing and evaluating projects; and implementing learning and evaluating as part of an organization culture.

Abu Jaber-Nijem is experienced in social research and in evaluating social change programs. She holds a master's degree in communal social work (MSW) from McGill University in Canada.


Yosepha Tabib Calif

Dr. Yosepha Tabib-Calif – lecturer at The David Yellin Academic College of Education; Consultant at The Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Program.

Tabib-Calif was formerly the chairwoman of Achoti (Sister) – For Women in Israel, an organization founded by feminist social activists, as well as a founding member of Achoti's project Women Cooking Up a Business. She has worked in various other feminist organizations, such as Kol Ha'Isha, and headed the Department of Social and Economic Justice at Shatil (the New Israel Fund's social justice initiative) for several years. She also served as the director of Shatil's Equality and Dignity for Women in Israel initiative. Her expertise in the field has earned her recognition as one of Israel's prime movers in the field of women's empowerment.


Sharona Izraeli Watemberg

An accomplished teacher, public speaker and organizational facilitator, Izraeli Watemberg’s work is characterized by the integration of different bodies of knowledge, which incorporate theory and practice, body and mind. In her workshops with teams and organizations, she brings a gender lens and a non-hierarchical approach to enable leadership building and more efficient team work in diverse and conflicted environments. Izraeli Watemberg combines her extensive knowledge and experience in mediation and conflict management, as well as in organizational and relationship coaching, in order to build and strengthen personal and organizational leadership.

Born in Tel Aviv, Izraeli Watemberg was raised in a feminist environment and has lived and studied in Israel, the US and Canada. She is married to Dr. Salo Watemberg and together they have six children.

As the daughter of Professors Dafna and Dove Izraeli, Izraeli Watemberg's mission as a board member of the Dafna Fund is to promote women, feminist values and Jewish and universal ethics, which is her parents’ legacy.

Izraeli Watemberg holds a BSc in physiotherapy and an MSc in physiology. She also studied conflict management and holds an MA in group leadership, specializing in organizational, relationship system coaching. She has also trained and performed as a professional dancer and yoga instructor.


Former Board Members


Hannah Herzog (2003 - 2013)

Hanna Herzog, who has been a board member of the Dafna Fund since its inception, is professor of sociology at Tel Aviv University. Together with Prof. Naomi Chazan, she co-directs the Center for Women in the Public Sphere (WIPS) at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. She holds a PhD from Tel Aviv University and headed the university's Department of Sociology (1999-2001). She is also among the founders of the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and served as head of its Society and Politics Program (1994-2005).

Herzog is one of the founders of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University and has been the head of this program since 2009. She was president of the international Association of Israel Studies (1999-2000); editor of the journal Israeli Sociology (2001-2005); and a visiting scholar at Harvard, Boston College and CUNY.

Among her various activities in the public sphere, she was member of IDF Commission for the Examination of Women's Service (2007); since 2008 she is a member of the advising committee of the Authority for the Advancement of Women; and since 2013 she serves as consultant to a special committee in the Prime Minister's Office for advancing the status of women.


Dorit Karlin (2003 - 2011)

Karlin – founder, former chair (2003-2007) and co-director (2007-2011) of the Dafna Fund – began her public activism in the Israel Women's Network, as a lobbyist and coordinator of the political team. She later established the Public Advocacy Center at Shatil, where she served both as an organizational consultant and as a coalition organizer. From 1992, she served as a senior advisor to the Absorption Minister during the period of mass immigration from the former USSR. From 1997 to 2007, she was the associate director of the New Israel Fund. Karlin now works as a strategic consultant for organizations and philanthropic foundations in Israel and abroad, which are interested in investing in social projects.

As a Harvard Wexner fellow, Karlin holds a BA in international relations and an MA in public management.

Karlin was a personal friend of Professor Dafna Izraeli, and following a request made by Izraeli shortly before she passed away, Karlin assumed responsibility for establishing the Dafna Fund.



The Executive Team


Hamutal Gouri, Executive Director

Gouri was born and lives in Jerusalem. She holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Studies (with distinction) from the Hebrew University, focusing on a gendered perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As the executive director of the Dafna Fund, Gouri is responsible for working with the board to develop grantmaking strategies and priorities, initiate proactive programs designed to strengthen feminist and women's organizations in Israel, monitor the fund's grant portfolio and develop strategic partnerships.

A seasoned facilitator and trainer, Gouri holds a diploma in group facilitation from the Magid Institute at the Hebrew University and in team facilitation and management from the Martin Buber Institute at the Hebrew University. A passionate storyteller, she develops training modules and materials on storytelling for social change. Her additional areas of expertise include management of not-for-profit organizations, leadership development, social marketing and resource development.


Ori Geva

As the program coordinator of the Dafna Fund, Geva assists in the implementation and evaluation of the fund's various projects. She sees her work as an opportunity to be part of social change processes and learn from inspiring women.

Geva holds a BA in political science and sociology and an MA in sociology with an emphasis on organizational studies, both from the Hebrew University. She lives in Jerusalem, where is active in local community projects for young adults in her neighborhood, Kiryat Yovel.