Who We Are
FOUNDER & CEO | LEAD OFFICIANT
As an Israeli-American, the pursuit of Jewish knowledge and the love of Israel has always been a part of Phil's life. This love of education and desire to share his learnings developed in his teen-years, when Phil became both an assistant teacher in an after-school youth program and a Hebrew School teacher. While a student at the University of Wisconsin, Phil became a regional youth advisor within Wisconsin BBYO and a counselor at Camp Ramah Wisconsin Summer Camp. This passion for Jewish camping, learning and youth activities led to Phil's first full-time position as an Assistant Director at BBYO Wisconsin.
From 1994-1996, after leading the Milwaukee Jewish Community Israel Summer Program, Phil had the opportunity to become the National Director of an important international travel program for teens – the Masada Israel Programs based in NYC. For 6 years prior to opening Dugmah, Phil worked at Young Judaea Global as the National Year Round Director, managing and overseeing 13 regional offices throughout the U.S. During that period, Phil guided, taught and cared for thousands of children who traveled through Europe and Israel.
In 2002, with over 20 years of experience in Jewish learning, teaching, mentoring and managing, Phil started DUGMAH. Simultaneously, Phil attained my Masters in Administration, with a focus on training and resource development, from the New School’s Milano School of Management. Today, DUGMAH's various educational programs employ more than 100 full and part-time team members who, together, serve as mentors, educators, and role models. Phil believes that DUGMAH enables our students to “find their voice” Jewish and otherwise - and become global citizens, as well as role models for their peers.
Phil live in Manhattan with his wife, Jennifer, and our two boys, Elan and Reuben.
Molly Rose Heller
Director of Strategy & Learning | officiant
Molly is a leader, consultant, teacher, and artist with over seven years of experience inspiring DUGMAH students and families along their Jewish journeys. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with Departmental Honors for a BA from Columbia University. Simultaneously, she graduated Magna Cum Laude for a BA in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Hailing from the sunny suburbs of Los Angeles, Molly grew up with a deep love of Judaism and a sampling of various Jewish methodologies. She attended a Reform summer camp; a Conservative synagogue - where she frequently led student services and served as an Assistant Teacher; and she supplemented her secular schooling by attending a Chabad Hebrew High School on weekends. During her undergraduate studies, she served as President of Albert A. List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Currently, Molly is the Program Director for CityStage at the Jewish Theological Seminary, a pre-college program exploring the intersection of Jewish Studies and Theatre Arts.
Molly is also an award-winning theatre artist, director, and writer.
She lives in New York City with her cat, Babadook.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Ilana has been with DUGMAH since December of 2013. She is responsible for ensuring that all the employees are equipped with the tools to support their students. She manages the schedules, billing, and priorities of 300+ mentors and students per year with meticulous attention to detail. In addition to her client-facing work, she supports the company’s marketing efforts and oversees its back office.
Prior to joining DUGMAH, Ilana lent her organizational talents to the marketing and branding world, and briefly waded into the legal arena. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from New York University and a JD from Brooklyn Law School, and is a Certified Bikram Yoga Instructor.
Ilana lives in Brooklyn with her spousal equivalent and their miniature dachshund.