Meet the Team

Our team is our greatest asset. Each of our clinicians is specially picked for their passion, their teamwork, and their contribution of a unique voice and personality. Together, we carry a variety of experiences and expertise that maximize our ability to help people make positive changes to their lives.

Dr. Shmuel Harris, MD, Founder and Director

Dr. Shmuel Harris is the Founder and Director of Machon Dvir. He is a board-certified adult psychiatrist specializing in comprehensive bio-psycho-social evaluation and treatment, providing medical management as required. Dr. Harris made aliyah from Australia in 2007 after completing his medical training.  He did a psychiatric residency at Hadassah University Hospital – Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, and served as Director of Psychiatric Clinical Services at Hadassah University Hospital – Mount Scopus, from 2013 to 2018, where he was the Emergency and Consultant Liaison. In addition, he taught psychiatry and psychopharmacology courses to medical, pharmacology, and nursing students at Hadassah’s medical school. 

Dr. Harris consults and works closely with a number of Jerusalem therapists, and treats students who are referred by English-speaking yeshivot, seminaries and kollels in the city. He is is a member of the Israel Medical Association (IMA), the Israel Psychiatric Association, and is a registered medical practitioner with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

He is co-author of “Nafshi B’Sheelati,” that deals with the interface between Mental Health and Jewish Law.  

Dr. Tzachi Fried, PhD, Clinical Director

Dr. Tzachi Fried manages DBT clinical services at Machon Dvir. A clinical psychologist who made aliyah from New York, Dr. Fried understands the challenges facing English-speakers in Israel. He specializes in helping adolescents and adults with behavioral and emotional difficulties, and has extensive experience treating complex and challenging cases using DBT and other treatment models.

A graduate of Yeshiva University, Dr. Fried earned a masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University in New York, where his doctoral research focused on stressors and coping responses among Orthodox Jews. He completed specialized clinical training in DBT at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center, and worked with a juvenile delinquent population who were legally remanded to a residential treatment center.

After making aliyah in 2012, Dr. Fried served as an educational psychologist for the Jerusalem Municipality. He frequently lectures on DBT strategies and techniques to therapists in Israel, and has taught psychology courses at Touro College campuses in Jerusalem and New York.

Dr. Fried’s extensive research and teaching experience are an integral part of Machon Dvir’s growth as a center of clinical, educational, and research excellence.   

 

Heather Moshel, LCSW, Senior Clinician

Heather has been a member of the Machon Dvir team since its inception. She provides group and individual therapy, and as senior clinician, supervises staff therapists. Heather has also run DBT training courses. Prior to making aliyah in 2012, Heather worked extensively with children, adolescents, and adults in various New York area clinics and schools. She was a member of the DBT team at Schneider Children’s Hospital (now Cohen Children’s Medical Center, North Shore / LIJ Hospital). 

Heather earned an MSW from Hunter College and a BA (cum laude) in sociology and psychology from Barnard College.  She completed a post-graduate program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York. 

Heather’s clinical and research interests include trauma and attachment theory.  

 

 

Jonathan Ifrah, LMSW, Senior Clinician 

Jonathan Ifrah leads DBT Skills Groups, provides individual psychotherapy for men, and supervises clinical interns at Machon Dvir. Previously, he worked as a clinical social worker for a number of religious institutions in Jerusalem and taught at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Jonathan earned an MSW from Long Island University and is licensed in Israel as a social worker. He trained in Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (including IE-DP training and AEDP level 1 training), Schema Therapy, EMDR and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

 

Elana Pesah, LMSW, Staff Therapist

Originally from California, Elana Pesah received her Master’s Degree (MPP) from the University of Chicago and her MSW from Long Island University Brooklyn, where she was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Eta Honor Societies.

Elana received her LMSW qualification from the State of New York, and is licensed in multiple states across the US. Prior to joining Machon Dvir, she helped struggling families at the New York City Housing Development Corporation and counseled seminary students while working for Touro College.

Elana works individually with clients and runs DBT skills groups, as well as providing case management and administration. 

 

Leah Kantor Gottlieb, LMSW, Staff Therapist

Leah Kantor Gottlieb leads DBT skills groups and provides individual psychotherapy at Machon Dvir. 

Leah earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Haifa, and a master’s in clinical social work, with a specialty in trauma, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed training in CBT, psychodynamic therapy, and Mindfulness.

Fluent in Hebrew and English, Leah previously was a staff social worker at the Herzog Medical Center, OhrLeNefesh, and the Modi’in Illit Center for Social Welfare, where she developed individualized treatment plans for clients of all ages.  She also worked at a post-seminary therapeutic facility in Jerusalem, where she presented weekly psycho-educational workshops on communication, self-awareness, emotional regulation, nutrition and mindfulness. 

Leah believes that helping young people invest in their emotional health can greatly influence the trajectory of their adult lives. She is also a keen believer in nutrition, meditation and a mindful lifestyle. 

 

Chedva Wielgus, LMSW, Staff Therapist

Chedva Wielgus works with individual clients and runs DBT skills groups at Machon Dvir.  Her experience includes mentoring teens and young women in the United States and Israel. 

Prior to making aliyah in 2019, Chedva worked at Yachad, an international organization that assists individuals with developmental and learning disabilities. There she administered intakes, ran a skills-building group, and led individual psychotherapy sessions. She also served as head advisor for the Atlantic Seaboard region of NCSY, a Jewish youth group under the auspices of the Orthodox Union, and currently mentors young women attending a post-high school seminary in Jerusalem.

Originally from New York, Chedva graduated cum laude from Queens College of the City University of New York, and earned a master’s in social work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work, in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

Orah Wilens, LMSW, Staff Therapist

Orah Wilens works as a co-leader of DBT skills groups at Machon Dvir, and also sees individual clients. She is currently in the second year of the graduate program at Wurzweiler School of Social Work in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she will earn a master’s in social work.

Orah’s experience includes fieldwork at the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, where she ran programming and support groups for older adults. As a long-time advisor for NCSY, a Jewish youth group under the auspices of the Orthodox Union, she mentored teens for the organization’s Midwest and West Coast regions, and was a staff member on its Israel summer programs. Orah is the co-founder of 4G NCSY, the first NCSY program specifically for girls.

Originally from Chicago, Orah graduated from Touro College with a B.A. in Psychology.

 

Shevi Slome, LMSW, Staff Therapist

Shevi Slome leads DBT Skills Groups and provides individual psychotherapy and coaching at Machon Dvir. Prior to moving to Israel in 2020, Shevi worked as a clinical psychotherapist at Achieve Behavioral Health, a mental health clinic in Monsey, NY, using an eclectic approach when working with tweens, teens, adults, and families. Shevi was also a DBT group leader and DBT individual coach for Achieve’s Intensive Outpatient Program, a trauma-informed, comprehensive treatment program lead with an emphasis on Mindfulness, SE, CBT, DBT, ACT, as well as family therapy. Originally from New York, Shevi graduated summa cum laude after earning her BSc from Concordia College and her MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


Rifka Sack, Clinical Intern

Rifka Sack is a co-leader of DBT skills groups at Machon Dvir. She is currently in the process of completing her studies at Wurzweiler School of Social Work in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she will earn a Masters degree in Social Work. Rifka’s prior clinical experience includes an internship at YTA Girl’s  High School in Ramot where she performed individual therapy with students. She also has experience working with victims of domestic violence, receiving training certification from The Family Violence Project of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. Having made Aliyah in 2018 from Los Angeles, Rifka has a rich history working with children and young adults as an educator, mentor and advocate. Rifka graduated with honors from Thomas Edison State University with a BA in Humanities.

 

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