about marva

MARVA was founded in 2015 by a group of Israeli attorneys and social welfare experts who sought to assist and empower the most vulnerable in Israeli society who face difficulties in caring for their personal welfare, well-being, and legal rights.

MARVA translates as a healing plant, Salvia, but, more importantly, it is a Hebrew acronym for Law, Welfare, and Empowerment. The acronym represents the organization’s vision and professional world view of empowering vulnerable sectors by combining the content worlds of law and welfare.

The work of MARVA focuses primarily on empowering vulnerable populations through legal aid and advocacy for full legal rights, while also facilitating social welfare and therapeutic support, when necessary, in collaboration with other expert professionals. This holistic approach, facilitated by the multi-disciplinary nature of MARVA’s staff and volunteers, makes it possible for the organization to provide comprehensive solutions to issues that affect the lives and independence of at-risk individuals and their families. Through this effort, MARVA leverages its legal expertise to benefit needy populations, increase their access to entitlements, and improve their quality of life.

The Therapeutic Jurisprudence method emphasizes – the substantive law, legal procedures and the way in which legal agents act – on the emotional life and psychological well-being of the parties involved and those affected by the legal process. The theory requires being attuned to these consequences, which are known as “therapeutic consequences”, and if possible, to apply the law in a way that will minimize the negative therapeutic consequences and will maximize the positive therapeutic consequences, while maintaining respect for other values, such as justice and due process.

MARVA’s work is aimed at extending meaningful assistance in a range of areas for vulnerable individuals of all ages who are dealing with life concerns around disability, mental health challenges, elder abuse, and a range of legal issues that directly affect these populations. The organization also works closely with families and caregivers in order to protect and support their loved ones. MARVA has rapidly developed a large national network to support its mission and assist in addressing individual needy cases across Israel.

MARVA is led by an experienced team of attorneys and social welfare experts, with support from 30 volunteers. Thousands of people receive direct service through MARVA’s work each year. Thousands more – people in need and their families, attorneys, judges, doctors, social workers, and welfare workers -- participate in lectures and seminars led by MARVA experts on a variety of topics.


Dr. Michal Wosner

Director of Semel Center, Legal Consultant

Dr. Yael Mann Waksman

Director of Legal Clinic for Elderly and Holocaust Survivors, Legal Consultant

Shlomit Baranes

Legal Consultant

Rivka Ben Zvi Pizam

Legal Consultant

Pnina Frits

Finance Manager

Inbar Menahem Har-Adir

Northern Branch Manager, Legal Consultant

Nivin Abu Akel-Shbat

Arab Sector Coordinator, Legal Consultant

Shira Batalin

Administrative Manager

Nurit Guez

Social Worker of Semel Center

Elon Brachfeld

Supported Decision-Making Program Coordinator, Legal Consultant

Adv. Dorit Alon-Kasher

Leader of the Protection of Elder from Financial and Consumer Exploitation Project

Sophy Granit

Legal Consultant


  • Dr. Eli Rosenbaum

    Dr. Eli Rosenbaum is the director of urological oncology at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah. He completed his medical studies at the medical school of the Hebrew University and his urological residency at Hadassah Hospital. Dr. Rosenbaum did a urological oncology residency at the medical school of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. He has published dozens of articles in professional publications. He is a member of oncological organizations in Israel and abroad and is on the board of the Israeli urological oncology association. Dr. Rosenbaum has also served as a board member and volunteer for Ahavat Rahamim, a nonprofit that assists people in need.
  • Dr. Sarah Alon

    Dr. Sarah Alon is an expert in social work and the welfare of the elderly, with a specialty in issues regarding abuse and neglect, topics on which she has published extensively. Dr. Alon is a lecturer at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work at the University of Tel Aviv as well as at the School of Social Work at the Ashkelon Academic College. In 2019, Dr. Alon received a prestigious award from the Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work for her many contributions to the field of welfare policy in Israel.
  • Nechama Jeselsohn

    Nechama Jeselsohn is a veteran educator, teacher, trainer, and educational administrator. She has a Bachelors from the University of Haifa in English Literature and a Masters in Educational Guidance from the Hebrew University. She also received certification in group leadership from Efrata College. Since her retirement, she has worked as a volunteer with Yad Sarah, where she is involved in content development and mentoring of managers who work with volunteers. Ms. Jeselsohn is also an accomplished artist, and has held exhibits in Israel and abroad featuring her patchwork quilting.
  • Gili Pinhasi

    Gili Pinhasi is a former employee of the Prime Minister’s Office, and received the Israel Security Prize in recognition for his professional contributions. As a retiree, he is involved in a wide range of nonprofit work for which he has received the President’s Volunteer Award. He has served as a board member of the Beit Hagalgalim nonprofit for the past 25 years, and has been involved with the Pa’amonim nonprofit in family support, professional development, and as a lecturer and organizer. Mr. Pinhasi was the founding director of the Ma’anim research institute and was active in the Mifras program that develops educational initiatives with school principals. He has a Masters in Political Science from the National Security College.
  • Yael Ilouz

    Yael Ilouz is an entrepreneur with experience as a senior economist and property assessor. She has expertise in conflict resolution and works as a negotiator.
  • Gery Rot

    Gery Rot is the former Director of EMDA, the Israel Alzheimer’s Association, a post he held for 15 years before his retirement in 2020. A trained industrial engineer, prior to his work at EMDA Gery helped establish the engineering division of ECI Telecom and was responsible for budgeting at the INOVIA division. Earlier in his career, Gery served as an officer in the IDF and was responsible for the workplan of the techno-logistical system in the Israel Navy. He is a long-time volunteer with the Lions organization, and volunteers with Tel Hashomer Hospital and a hotline of the Municipality of Ramat Gan.


  • Anat Ben Zaken, MSW

    Anat Ben Zaken is a social worker since 1986. She received a BS and MS in Social Work from Hebrew University. Anat manages a program to strengthen employment skills at Danel Human Resources. Early in her career, she worked as a social worker for the National Insurance Institute and after that, for 23 years she directed the Community Outreach Department at Yad Sarah, where she has worked closely with the populations served by Yad Sarah – the elderly and people with disabilities and their families. Anat has extensive experience and expertise in working with volunteers. She also provides clinical supervision for social work students. She volunteers as a consultant to the Yad Tamar nonprofit organization, which assists people with cancer and their families. Anat was one of the initiators of the establishment of MARVA and has accompanied it with advice, guidance, development and support since its inception.
  • Carmit Hefer Hentshel, MSW

    Carmit Hefer Hentshel, MSW, is a certified cognitive behavioral therapist and has expertise in the field of aging. Ms. Hefer Hentshel worked at the Ministry of Social Welfare in the field of people with disabilities and for 17 years at Tel Aviv Municipality where she was in charge of programs dealing with the protection of the elderly, especially those exposed to abuse and neglect. She has extensive training in a wide range of therapeutic approaches. A member of the senior staff of Aluma, a therapeutic center for couple, family, and individual care, she lectures extensively in social work programs, at ESHEL, and at municipal welfare programs. She also works as a private therapist for couples, families, and older adults.
  • Jenny Brodsky, MSW

    Jenny Brodsky, MSW, is the former director of the Center for Research on Aging at the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute and a veteran researcher in the field of aging. She has published extensively on the subject of the health and welfare of the elderly in Israel, and is the editor of the national annual report on the status of older adults. She has been involved in the development of programming to improve the services that support the elderly, and has collaborated with other experts to create a national program focused on services for people with Alzheimer’s’. In addition to her work as a researcher and program developer, she is a member of numerous national and international forums in the field of aging, and lectured for many years at the Hebrew University and the Academic College in Ramat Gan.
  • Dr. Shai Wosner, Esq.

    Dr. Shai Wosner, Esq., is a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Law and directs the Taubenshlag Center for Research in Criminal Law. He serves as an academic advisor to a legal clinic providing assistance for people facing criminal charges who seek protection of their rights. Dr. Wosner’s research and work focuses on issues of ethics and social equity in the field of criminal law.
  • Dr. Pesach Lichtenberg

    Dr. Pesach Lichtenberg is a professor in the department of psychiatry at Hebrew University and served as department head. He studied medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical School at Yeshiva University in New York. For many years he directed a department at the Herzog Medical Center. He is a founder and director of the Soteria model in Israel, a nonprofit that provides support for people with extreme emotional challenges or psychosis. Dr. Lichtenberg is considered a national leader in approaches that provide alternatives to restraints and anti-psychotic medications.
  • Yoav Anaki, Adv.

    Yoav Anaki, Adv. is a lawyer with expertise in criminal law. Yoav graduated from the Hebrew University School of Law, and subsequently worked as a senior criminal prosecutor in the Military Advocate General of the Israel Defense Forces, specializing in cases pertaining to national security. Since his departure from the IDF, he has made it his mission to make the law accessible to the disadvantaged.


  • Ruth Shalgi, Esq.

    Ruth Shalgi, Esq., is former assistant director of the Rasham Ha’amutot (National Nonprofit Registrar).
  • Mr. Ya’akov Fried

    Mr. Ya’akov Fried is retired from Israeli security services and an activist in social welfare and education.