Meet our team

Q

Rabbi Goodman

Founder & CEO

Rabbi Goodman attended a yeshiva in Israel at age 19 and hasn’t looked back since.
Determined to have his children acclimate to Israel, he took great pains to navigate the language, bureaucratic, and cultural differences in Israel. Rabbi Goodman always believed in the transformative impact that a mentor can impact a child’s life and made sure that each of his eight children had a mentor in Israel.


Rabbi Goodman feels fortunate to have lived in Israel all these years. He brings his years of experience and passion for his cause to help families achieve their dream lives in Israel. Rabbi Goodman lives in Yerushalayim and is a proud father and grandfather of children and eineklach who are lucky to have been raised and born in Israel.

Rabbi Yaacov Goodman

Founder & CEO

Q

Shana Pogrow, MSW

Director of Parental Guidance Center

After heading the girl’s mentoring program and contributing to its incredible success, Shana was charged with the task of building up the EPIC Parental Resource Center. Shana provides aliya guidance and school referrals, continuously communicating and following up with families and schools. She also puts her social work credentials to use, guiding and offering therapy for parents in the program.

Shana’s warm, caring personality and 30 years+ of experience in the helping profession serve as a tremendous asset to Epic Families. She feels fortunate to enable parents to be their healthiest selves—allowing them to raise happy, healthy families.

Shana had a Bachelor's degree in education and counseling and a Master’s in social work. Shana lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her family.

Malka Labell, MSW

Director of Girls Mentoring Program

Q

Malka Labell, MSW

Director of Girls Mentoring Program

After several years of working as a case manager, Malka has been charged with becoming the director of the Girl's Mentoring Program. Malka assesses each family’s needs, matches them up with mentors, and provides continuous guidance to families and their assigned mentors. Her wealth of experience with children and adults helps her navigate the complex needs of each family with empathy and understanding.
Malka received her master’s from UNT and a Family Therapy Certification from Neve Yerushalayim. She lives in Beitar Elite with her 7 children.

Shana Pogrow, MSW

Director of Parental Guidance Center

Q

Tali Gewirtz, MSW

Social Worker

Tali brings not only professional expertise but also a wealth of personal warmth and understanding to the EPIC Family community. In her role as a compassionate social worker and astute case manager within the mentoring department, Tali meticulously assesses the unique needs of each family under her care.

By skillfully orchestrating the pairing of families with suitable mentors, she ensures a harmonious match and subsequently provides steadfast guidance to both families and their appointed mentors. Tali's deep belief in the transformative power of support and guidance underscores her dedication to enhancing the overall well-being of the families she serves.

Tali earned her Masters in Social Work from Wurzweiler University. She resides in Ramat Bet Shemesh with her husband and 6 children.

Tali Gewirtz, MSW

Social Worker

Q

Malki Ninio, MSW

Mentoring Supervisor & Consultant

Malki is a professional consultant and supervisor for EPIC Families’ social workers and directors. She draws upon her twenty-five years of experience to help guide EPIC Families through their most difficult cases.
Malki is a sought-after social worker who has served in the public and private sectors for many years.

Malki Ninio, MSW

Mentoring Supervisor & Consultant

Q

Dr. Debbie Akerman PhD

Support Group Facilitator

Dr. Debbie Akerman, PhD, LCSW, is a full-time faculty member at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, while also maintaining a private practice. Drawing from her personal story of trauma and loss, Dr. Akerman integrates Torah philosophy with 12-step Recovery principles to share her compelling narrative of devastation, resilience, and transformation from tragedy to triumph.

What initially began as a one-time webinar for single mothers at the onset of the Covid pandemic has evolved into an ongoing monthly support group, hailed by participants as life-saving.

With personal experiences that range from living with active addiction, public betrayal and divorce, the illness and death of a child and grandchild, Dr. Akerman brings her wisdom, experience and knowledge to each encounter she has with individuals or groups.

Known for her engaging speaking style, Dr. Akerman weaves speeches into vivid images that resonate deeply with her audience. Whether evoking laughter, tears, or cheers, her talks leave listeners not only inspired but armed with the understanding and tools that life's obstacles and challenges can be conquered with strength, dignity, and personal growth.

Residing in Passaic, NJ, Dr. Akerman is a devoted wife and mother to 11 biological and 8 chosen children.

Debbi Akerman

Dr. Debbie Akerman, PhD

Support Group Facilitator

Q

Rabbi Shmuel Falk, LMHC

Director of Boys Mentoring Program

As the director of the boy’s mentoring program, Shmuli assesses each family’s needs, matches them up with mentors while providing continuous guidance to families and their assigned mentors. His warmth, dedication, and deep concern for everyone contribute to the warm and caring atmosphere that defines Epic Families.
Shmuli feels fortunate to be part of a humble organization that does great things. He tries to live up to Epic Families’ mission of being there for people in times of need while showing genuine care and support.
He was certified as a clinical and mental health counselor at the Path Center in Jerusalem. Shmuli was born and bred in the UK. He’s been living in Israel with his wife and family for the past 13 years.

Rabbi Shmuel Falk, LMHC

Director of Boys Mentoring Program

Q

Tzvi Lazar

COO

Starting off as a mentor, Tzvi quickly climbed the ranks, ultimately becoming the coordinator of the Neve Yaakov branch of EPIC Families.
In addition to ensuring that everything in the EPIC offices and programming is running smoothly, his role as COO includes increasing the program’s scope and reach of services and activities via cooperation with national and international organizations. He accomplishes this by creating awareness of the program among government and municipal bodies.
He currently lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with his three children.

Tzvi Lazar

COO

Q

Rabbi Eliyahu Cohen

Executive Director

Making Aliyah to Israel with his family as a young teenager Rabbi Cohen remained even when his family returned to the States after two years. He learned in leading Israeli Yeshivos and Kollelim and moved with his growing family to Ramat Beit Shemesh in 1998.

Rabbi Cohen used his talents to help the fledgling community grow. He worked on many community projects as well as building a Shul and Kehilla. He founded a Bais Yaakov elementary school that ran the complete gamut of grades within two years.

Rabbi Cohen brings his wealth of life experience in Chinuch together with the administration of American and Israeli non-profits. As Executive Director, his goal is to help enrich and expand Epic Family's many programs, procure high-level funding, and grow its Chinuch influence.

Rabbi Eliyahu Cohen

Executive Director

Q

Rabbi Shlomo Pinkus

Global Director

Joining EPIC Family as the Global director, Shlomo Pinkus brings over 15 years of experience in event management, non-profit development, and education. With his strong background consisting of two Bachelors and three Masters degrees in Judaic Studies, Business Administration, and Education he is qualified to help grow our U.S. programs reaching communities across America.

Shlomo started his career in North Carolina where he built an educational center servicing students aged 7-70. Shlomo then moved to Atlanta becoming the regional manager of the AKC. This helped him hone his skills in logistical management as an event manager. He was responsible for running productions at 40 manufacturing facilities across 5 states. Simultaneously he taught and mentored children positively impacting hundreds of children.
Shlomo currently resides in the northern city of Carmiel with his family.

Rabbi Shlomo Pinkus

Global Director

Q

Rabbi Chaim Silverstone

Director of Development and Programming

Using his background in business management and outreach, Rabbi Silverstone devotes his day to ensuring EPIC Family's many programs run smoothly. He is grateful to be able to use his talents and experience to benefit such a necessary and valuable organization.
Rabbi Silverstone Received semicha from Ohr Somayach and CBT training in Jerusalem, after which he spent several years involved in outreach in the US. After making aliyah he spent several years in business before returning to his passion of helping people through workshops and private practice.
Today Rabbi Silverstone lives in Jerusalem with his growing family.

Rabbi Chaim Silverstone

Director of Development & Programming

Q

Aliza Ehrman

Bookkeeping Department

Aliza uses her bookkeeping and accounting skills to make sure that EPIC Families runs smoothly and efficiently. Her dedication and diligence ensure that all books are accurate and up to date. Aliza feels lucky to be a part of such a wonderful, caring organization.
Besides her schooling as a bookkeeper, she is also a skilled graphic artist and has added a special touch to the many PR facets of Yedidim.
She lives in Pisgat Zeev with her three children.

Aliza Ehrman

Bookkeeping Department

Q

Helen Moore

Secretary

Helen has worked in many secretarial and managerial positions, including running a local branch of Yad Sarah for over 30 years. Helen helps ensure that the organization runs smoothly and efficiently from behind the scenes.

Her warmth, patience, and communication skills add that special touch to every interaction.

Helen feels fortunate to work with such a wonderful team of people and to contribute to such a worthy cause.
Originally from England, Helen’s been living in Israel with her family for over 30 years.

Helen Moore

Secretary

Q

Barbara Goodman

USA Office Manager

With a BA in economics, Barbara oversees and tracks all accounts and banking in the United States. She’s the official contact and address for all activities in the US.
Her extensive involvement in community work, excellent organizational skills—and natural penchant for chesed make Barbara the ideal person to keep the organization running smoothly abroad.
Barbara lives with her husband in North Miami Beach and they frequently travel up north to stock up on nachas from their children and grandchildren

Barbara Goodman

USA Office Manager