Our Staff

Rabbi Leib Irons

Rabbi and Founding Director

Rabbi Leib Irons is the Rabbi and Founding Director of Kesher Yisrael. He has extensive experience in Jewish education and outreach utilizing innovative educational and marketing methods. He has taught Torah in dozens of cities across the globe, and has sent hundreds of students and parents to learn in Israel over the past decade.
Rabbi Irons studied for many years at the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and received Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, former Av Beis Din of the Beis Din Hagadol of Yerushalayim. He has obtained certifications from the Ohr Lagolah Hertz Institute for International Teacher Training, and the Ner LeElef Leadership Institute. He holds a Master’s of Education (MEd) from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education & Administration and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) and a Graduate Diploma in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
Rabbi Irons is currently completing a PhD in Education through the department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Toronto with a research focus on the sustainability of Jewish Education. He is also an organizational consultant and executive coach, and is the Director of Education for NCSY Canada. He lives in Thornhill, Ontario with his wife Tzirel and their family.

Tzirel Irons

Director of the Jewish Family Network

R. Avigdor Shnall

Educator and Youth Program Coordinator

Danielle Gitnik

Program Coordinator

Danielle Gitnik is the Program Coordinator at Kesher Yisrael. Danielle received her Bachelor of Health majoring in Psychology, and Bachelor of Social Work at York University. As well, she attended Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya in Jerusalem. Danielle’s previous roles include Program Director at One Kenton Place, and Sunday Program Coordinator at D.A.N.I. Toronto. In her university years, Danielle was involved in many Jewish outreach organizations including Chabad @ York, Thornhill Woods Young Adults (TWYA) and Project Tish.

Mercedes Essebag

Marketing Associate

Mercedes Essebag is the Marketing Associate at Kesher Yisrael. Mercedes is currently pursuing a degree in Marketing from the Sy Syms School of Business located in NYC at Yeshiva University. Before that, Mercedes studied at Ryerson University and in Israel at Sha’alvim for Women. Mercedes has worked for NCSY formally in addition to being an advisor on NCSY TJJ (The Jerusalem Journey.) She continues to volunteer her time to NCSY as an advisor regularly. She has also been involved in other Jewish non-profit organizations such as Chai Lifeline, Yachad and Camp HASC.