The Team

Beit Tefilah Israeli’s founders,staff, board members and advisory board


Rabbi Esteban Gottfried is BTI’s rabbi, co-Founder and Director. Esteban was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and is a graduate of the Israeli Rabbinical Seminary of the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hamidrasha at Oranim. Esteban studied at Tel Aviv University, “Beit Zvi,” and “Nissan Nativ Drama Studio” theater schools and at the Royal Court Theater in London. After completing his studies, he had an active career as playwright, stage director, screenwriter and actor for 20 years. Esteban was awarded prizes and awards, including two “Israeli Oscars” (Ofir) as a writer and as an actor. He is married to Ruthie and is the father of Maya and Toby. Contact Rabbi Esteban at:

Rani Jaeger is the co-Founder of BTI and the Chair of the Board of Directors. Rani was born and raised in Tel Aviv and currently lives in Jerusalem. He is a fellow, researcher and board member at the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program. He is writing his PhD on the subject “Israeli Jewish Culture in the Eyes of Avraham Shlonsky” in the division for the commentary and culture at Bar Ilan University. He served as a staff member at Alma and in the Ofakim program of Tel Aviv and also at Fedeya, an institute for learning in Stockholm, Sweden. He was part of the first class that graduated from the Israeli Rabbanute program. He is married and a father of four. Contact Rani at


Sharon Abulafia is the Chief Operating Officer at BTI with extensive experience in organizing and managing social and community projects. Prior to joining the BTI team in 2016, she was involved in the establishment and management of multiple educational organizations: the establishment of the Youth Telem Youth Movement and the HUYA summer camp of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel, the management of the community and culture center at the Reich Senior Citizens Center in Tel Aviv, Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv and more. Sharon studied Bible and Judaism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She served as an education, teaching and military officer in the IDF. Contact Sharon at

Atalya Lavi is BTI’s Cantor and soloist singer since 2010. She served as a soloist singer in the IDF orchestra and is a graduate of the Rimon School of Music. She is a voice teacher and choir director at the Alon High School in Ramat HaSharon, and is studying music education at Bar Ilan University. Atalya is working on her first solo album of original songs. s

Yotam Mahler is BTI’s Music Director since 2009. Born and raised on a kibbutz in the upper Galilee, Yotam served as a singer in the IDF orchestra. Today, he lives in Jaffa and is studying at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. Yotam has experience in writing music .for dance and theater, and is releasing his debut album “What is Your Art?” this summer

Board of Directors

Rani Jaeger, Chairman

Michael Gilinsky, Treasurer

 ,Ronen Kohler

Gila Raz

Gadi Meir

Maggie Bar-Tora

Talia Ben-Sira

Andrew Treitel

Lior Weintraub

The Audit Committee

Tova Ben Tzur

Ori Korenhendler

Advisory Board

Amir HaLevy

Anat Agmon

Steve Stulman, NY

Rabbi Rolando Matalon, NY

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