Our Team​

Tiyul B'Aretz is a collective of administrators, educators, madrichim and staff members who share the vision of a new approach to college study abroad in Israel.  Each member of our team brings their unique life experience and expertise to the program, enabling us to provide students with a transformative experiences during their time of study with Tiyul B'Aretz.

Tamar Gersh

Tamar has spent most of her professional career working in the field of Jewish and environmental education. Immediately after college, Tamar worked for two years as an educator and trip leader for the Teva Learning Center in Falls Village, CT. There she spent her days teaching and leading overnight camping trips for young students from Jewish day schools all over the U.S.


Since 2003, Tamar has worked as director and program coordinator of teen travel programs for the 92nd ST Y, a world renowned community and cultural center in New York City. These alternative summer programs traveled around the U.S. and Israel focusing on environmental ethics, Jewish values, community service, leadership building and American-Israeli cross-cultural encounters.


While in university, Tamar spent a semester learning, living and traveling all over Australia and New Zealand meeting new people, learning about new cultures and exploring new lands. When she returned to the U.S., she joined a Jewish service learning trip with American Jewish World Service (AJWS) to El Salvador where she lived with an El Salvadorian family and volunteered in the village. These experiences helped to deepen Tamar’s awareness of herself and the world around her and serve as an inspiration for her to create similar life-changing experiences for other students while on Tiyul B’Aretz.


Tamar received her BSW from New York University and her MSW from Hunter College.


She currently resides in the city of Jerusalem with her husband Akiva, co-founder of Tiyul B’Aretz, and their three very lovable kids. Tamar is the co-founder and director of Tiyul B’Aretz and oversees the Tiyul B’Aretz semester program.

Akiva Gersh
Co-Founder, Educational Advisor

Akiva has been working in the field of Jewish education and programming since 1999 as a classroom teacher, Jewish environmental educator and director of summer programs. He received his BA from Brown University, his Master's in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and received semichah (rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov in Jerusalem. He works at Alexander Muss High School in Israel where he teaches Jewish History to American high school students.


Akiva draws on different learning modes to create an educational environment that is personal, meaningful and real, encourgaging students to make us of their education as a means towards personal growth and development and increased self- and world-awareness.  His own life experiences have influenced his approach to education, among them a study abroad program, AEI through Lesley University, which placed students directly in control of their educational journeys. 


Akiva currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife Tamar (look to the left) and their threechildren.

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 Other Important Team Players

Course Professors: The four academic courses will be taught by experts in the field who have a tangible passion for what they teach. Their courses will form the foundation of the Tiyul B’Aretz educational experience, on which our excursions around Israel will be based. While recognizing the importance of accurate facts and information, the teachers will also strive to create the space for students to make personal connections with the material being learned.


Resource Guides: Students will meet with a wide range of experts in their fields throughout the semester, from scholars to activists, from farmers to community leaders, who will "bring to life" the academic courses as they widen and deepen students' understanding of the land and people of Israel and the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Jewish people.


Senior Madrichim: Madrichim in Hebrew translates to “guide” in English, a word that really encapsulates this position. Senior Madrichim on Tiyul B’Aretz will live 24/7 with the student community and will play a vital role in bringing alive the values and ideals of the program. They will facilitate the daily logistics of life on the road as well as help guide the students on their individual learning journeys and the community as a whole, in its process of formation and growth. The madrichim are a balanced combination of educator, friend, parent and guide.