Our Staff

Golden Leaves Institute

Golden Leaves Faculty

rabbi-kassinDean: Rabbi Shelomo (Sammy) Kassin

Known to all convivially as “Rabbi Sammy,” Rabbi Sam Kassin is everyone’s friend and one of the most recognized men in Israel in the field of Jewish education. His training, education and charismatic personality – a powerful combination – have helped him shape the image of the Shehebar Sephardic Center, the parent organization of the Golden Leaves Institute into a well-respected global educational center.


IMG_20160302_135048_1456897921178Executive Director: David Gedallovich

David Gedallovich was born in Cali, Colombia. He attended the Colegio Hebreo Jorge Isaacs for High School, and then attended Yeshivat Bynian Olam in Israel for six months. After his time in Yeshiva he went back home to Colombia for a few months before joining Yeshiva University. While in YU David held positions like President of the International Committee, and was a leader in Students Helping Students. With friends he cretaed Hopebook, a non profit organization aiming to return hope to kids with cancer and Tech4life, a non profit aiming to create a connection between Jews and the local community. He also helped in the creation of the start up Around the Heights. He is a counselor in Counterpoint Israel camp for underprivileged kids in the israeli Negev Desert and at Camp Orhaner, a camp for South American Jewish children. in 2014 David graduated YU with a double major in Finance and Marketing and was on the Dean’s List.  By the end of 2014 he joined the Golden Leaves family.

dovid-baarsDirector of Education: Rabbi Dovid Shimon Baars

Rabbi Dovid grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. Living in a home of Jewish outreach professionals, he learned essential skills and values of adult education and non profit management. He believes in empowering others to live their own dream and his engaging classes draw on a vast wealth of traditional Jewish sources. After graduating from jewish High School Dovid studied in yeshivot in the United States and Israel leading to him continuing his education in the SSC where he recieved his rabbinic ordination. Dovid provides private life coaching and therapy sessions, helping to bring out each individual’s full abilities and talents. Dovid has studied various modes of therapy, including an intensive two-year program with a leading expert in the field of psychospiritual therapy, Rabbi Efim Svirsky.


rabbi-shushanReligious Director: Rabbi Yossef Shoshan

Moroccan born Rabbi Yossef Shushan came to Israel as a 3-year old. Following high school, he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a captain in the paratrooper division. He is also a graduate of Bar Ilan University with a B.A. in philosophy and psychology. For the past 26 years he has been the Spiritual director of the Shehebar Sepharadic Center.





rabbi-tom-mayerLeadership Program Coordinator: Rabbi Tom Mayer

Rabbi Yosef Chaim (Tom) Meyer was born Oct. 26, 1949 in New York City. He has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MA from the University of Chicago, both in English Literature. He also attended Harvard University. He was a journalist for the Detroit News in the early 1970’s. Then he decided to become a rabbi. Rabbi Meyer studied in a number of rabbinical schools in Israel, and was ordained in 1984. He then became a rabbi in Washington, DC. He taught classes on Capital Hill, and was consulted on Jewish issues by several U.S. Senators and the White House during the administration of George W. Bush, Sr. Rabbi Meyer has taught popular entertainment figures and many well-known corporate leaders. He has also spoken before large businesses, such as Sony Corporation.He lectures across the United States, Europe, Israel, South Africa, and Australia.