Alon Shalev is the Executive Director of American Friends of Hand In Hand. Before this, Alon was the Executive Director of American Jewish World Service, Western Region for 10 years, and believes empowering youth is a key factor to sustainable social justice and shared society.
Alon grew up in England where, even as a teenager, he was already active in human rights work (Anti-Apartheid Movement and Campaign to Free Soviet Jewry). After graduating from university, Alon moved to Israel where he helped establish Kibbutz Lotan, a reform kibbutz in the Arava (north of Eilat). He served in the IDF (infantry) and held various elected positions on the kibbutz. When Soviet Jews were allowed to leave, Alon created First Home In The Homeland, where kibbutzim would provide housing, language courses, health, and education.
In 2005, Alon came to the U.S. where he worked as the Executive Director of San Francisco Hillel. He loved taking students to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina and to Israel on birthright trips.
Alon lives with his wife Ariela, two sons – Pele and Asif, both born in Israel – and a Taiwanese Mountain dog (rescue) in the San Francisco Bay Area.