About Us

Machon Dvir provides group and individual DBT therapy in complex and clinically challenging cases. Its team members are conducting research and providing education to the mental health sector in Israel and to the wider Jewish community.

Dr Shmuel HarrisDr. Shmuel Harris, MD – Founder & Director

The Machon Dvir team is led by Dr. Shmuel Harris, a Board Certified Adult Psychiatrist, who made Aliya from Australia and currently lives in Jerusalem. Dr. Harris completed his medical training in Australia and his psychiatric residency at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem, Jerusalem. From 2013 to 2018 he was Director of the Psychiatric Clinical Service at Hadassah University Hospital on Mount Scopus, with Emergency and Consultant Liaison responsibilities. He is active in teaching psychiatry and psychopharmacology to medical, pharmacology and nursing students at Hebrew University. He is a member of the Israeli Medical Association, the Israel Psychiatric Association, and a registered medical practitioner on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Dr. Harris runs a private psychiatric practice that specializes in serving the young adult English-speaking population in Israel. He consults for and works closely with many Jerusalem therapists and treats many clients referred by English-speaking yeshivot, seminaries and kollels in the city.

Recognizing the advantages of a highly professional and integrated team approach, Dr. Harris established Machon Dvir as an evidence-based, multi-disciplinary DBT clinical service. He and his team are currently researching the epidemiology and symptomatology of mental and behavioral health issues among students spending their gap year in Israel, in order to provide optimal mental health services to this population.

Dr Tzachi FriedDr. Tzachi Fried, PhD – Clinical Director

The DBT clinical service at Machon Dvir is managed by clinical psychologist Dr. Tzachi Fried. Having made aliyah in 2012 from New York to Beit Shemesh, Dr. Fried understands the challenges facing English-speakers in Israel. He specializes in helping adolescents and adults experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties, and he has extensive experience with treating complex and challenging clients using DBT and other treatment models.

Dr. Fried studied at Yeshiva University (B.A. Psychology cum laude) and at St. John’s University in New York (M.A. & Ph.D. Clinical Psychology), where his dissertation research focused on stressors and coping responses among Orthodox Jews. Dr. Fried completed his specialized clinical training working with personality-disordered patients at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center, and with delinquent youth legally mandated to a residential treatment center. After moving to Israel, he worked as an Educational Psychologist for the Jerusalem Municipality, advising teachers and parents and providing psychotherapy to students and their families.

Dr. Fried has taught psychology at Touro College in Jerusalem and Brooklyn, and he lectures on DBT strategies and techniques to therapists in Israel. Dr. Fried’s extensive research and teaching experience are key to Machon Dvir’s development as a center of clinical, educational and research excellence.

Heather MoshalHeather Moshel, LCSW  – Senior Clinician

Heather moved to Israel in 2012 and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her family. She is a senior clinician in Machon Dvir’s group and individual therapies program.

Heather has worked extensively with children, adolescents and adults in New York, including as a member of the DBT team at Schneider Children’s Hospital (now Cohen Children’s Medical Center, a part of North Shore / LIJ Hospital) as well as providing counseling at the Bleuler Psychotherapy Center in Queens, Ohel Children’s Home & Family Services, Yeled v’Yalda, and Sephardic Bikur Holim in Brooklyn.

Heather graduated from Barnard College with a BA (cum laude) in Sociology and Psychology, and received her MSW from Hunter College. She also completed a post-graduate program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York. Her clinical and research interests include trauma work and attachment theory. In addition to providing group and individual therapy at Machon Dvir, Heather also has a private practice in Ramat Beit Shemesh, working with adolescents and adults.

Dr. Tova Lane, PsyD – Senior Clinician

Tova Lane earned her doctorate in psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University, focusing on Community and School Psychology. She is certified in Trauma-Focused CBT from the Medical University of South Carolina and has worked extensively in psychiatric hospitals, clinics, and outpatients centers throughout the New York region. She is a Board Certified School Psychologist, and she developed community mental health intervention programs and provided consultation services to Orthodox Jewish day schools in Monsey.

Dr. Lane was an adjunct professor, teaching courses on psychiatric disorders at Rutgers University and Brooklyn College, before moving to Israel in 2015 to work at the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma and at the Dvir Institute. Dr. Lane’s therapeutic approach involves integrating a psychodynamic and DBT model of treatment.

Dr. Devorah Schendler, PhD  Group Leader

Dr Devorah SchendlerDr. Devorah Schendler is a psychologist who made Aliyah with her family in 2011. She completed her training at Stern College for Women and Ferkauf School of Psychology in New York, where she earned her BA, MA, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In addition to her formal training, Devorah has participated in several training seminars including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She also has a specialty in health related issues and specifically in neuro-psychological assessment.

Devorah has worked with clients of diverse populations in both inpatient and outpatient hospitals and clinics. She has had extensive experience in college counseling at Fordham University and Yeshiva University. In her private practice, she sees many college-aged students who either live in Israel or are studying abroad here. Dr. Schendler also works with many younger adolescents and adults, and uses varied modalities when treating clients. She currently maintains a private practice in both Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.

Elana Pesah, MSW – Staff Therapist

Elana PesahOriginally from California, Elana Pesah received her Master’s Degree (MPP) from University of Chicago and her MSW from LIU, where she is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Eta Honor Societies. She received her LMSW qualification from the State of New York in July 2018. Elana has helped struggling families at the Housing Development Corporation in New York, and  she has counseled seminary students while working for Touro College.

Elana originally joined Machon Dvir as a trainee therapist in 2017 where she also helped to coordinate case management and administration. Now a staff therapist at Machon Dvir and in her own private practice, Elana incorporates multiple modalities into her therapeutic work with her clients, including DBT and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Jonathan Ifrah, LSW – Staff Therapist

Jonathan Ifrah was born in Philadelphia and educated in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his MSW from Long Island University, along with the Dean’s Award for Clinical Excellence, and he is a licensed social worker in New Jersey and in Israel.

Having lived in Israel since 2005, Jonathan formally made Aliyah in 2015. Here he has studied Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (including IE-DP Core Training), Schematherapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). He has worked as a Clinical Social worker for a number of religious institutions in Jerusalem, and he is also a Rebbe at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Jonathan has a private practice in the Arzai Habira neighborhood, specializing in providing psychotherapy. At Machon Dvir, Jonathan leads DBT Skills Groups and provides individual psychotherapy and DBT for men.