Here to Guide, Inspire, and Support

Everyday our staff create opportunities for exploration and learning by establishing engaging environments where our girls feel safe, comfortable, and confident. We have amazing staff and instructors who are caring, enthusiastic, and dedicated to helping students exceed their every expectation - read some of their stories below. Note - roll over pictures for bios, only available on desktop.

Shalva has been with Jewessence since the beginning.  She developed our unique chabura program and curriculum.  Shalva has her MSW from Adelphi University and a BA in psychology from Stern College for Women.  She has completed the coursework for a doctorate in education administration at Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration.  Shalva is continuously learning having had further training in treating complex trauma, Somatic Intervention, Internal Family Systems Therapy and Gottman Couples Therapy.

Shalva has a private practice in Jerusalem and loved supervising new therapists.

Shalva, her husband Rabbi Brian, and their 4 kids Ariella, Gila, Rachelli and Yitzy consider the Jewesence girls to be part of the family.  Their home is a hang out for Jewessence girls and alumni.  Shalva shows her love through her cooking, which might explain her shabbos meals.

Shalva Schneider, LCSW



I grew up in Alabama - yes there are Jews there -  and always had a thirst for adventure and depth. That dual desire has led me on interesting journeys to far away lands, both externally and internally, and eventually led me to Israel, where my soul soars and my passion for travel and experience is satisfied by an hours drive in almost any direction to a whole different climate.

While I love to laugh and rarely turn down a good conversation, I am also quite the introvert - writing poetry and meditating in my down time. "I love my life - even when it's hard it is still good - and I want you to love yours too! I deeply wish to facilitate the discovery (in each and every person including myself) that the lines that seemingly divide are actually ties that bind. 

Rivka Pesha Alter

Director of Education

Born and raised in Toronto, Alysha brings a combination of organization, warmth and a good sense of humor to the Jewessence team. Drawing on years of experience in a number of programs around Jerusalem, Alysha helps guide all elements of the administration of the program. When not holding this organization together with her logistical magic, Alysha can be found with her five young children and her amazing husband in Givat Mordechai.

Alysha Schneider
Director of Operations


Hadassah is a therapist, coach and dietary counsellor who specialises in working with women suffering from disordered eating, body-image issues, low self-esteem and addictive/compulsive behaviours. Originally from London, she has worked in both private practice and for a number of mental health and educational organisations. 

Before moving to Jerusalem in 2015, Hadassah was Head of Pastoral Care at Gateways, a program in London offering alternative educational opportunities, mentoring and coaching to young people from religious Jewish backgrounds who didn’t feel they fit into the mainstream religious school system. She’s also worked with at-risk youth from the non-Jewish community, drug addicts and alcoholics and incarcerated people. Her experience of working with such a variety of people has helped Hadassah to approach therapy and teaching from a very open-minded and empathetic place. 

Hadassah is naturally creative and enjoys integrating art, drama and even costumes into her more therapeutically focused classes.

Hadassah Hazan,

Assistant Mental Health Director 

Mrs. Cheryl Soltz is originally from Cardiff, Wales (believe it or not! We do our best to mix in as many different accents as possible to confuse you completely!) and has a background in art, art history, business and design. She came to Israel 20 something years ago with an open ticket and open mind and never left! Working on every program she could fit into her schedule, she is the admissions director at Jewessence. "I love to help potential students on their journey getting them from A (wherever you live now) to B (Jewessence)." Cheryl now lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with her husband and kids.

Cheryl Soltz

Admissions Director

For more information on our courses or to chat with our staff, we invite you to get in touch.