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Dr. Elana Heideman is the executive director of the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF), established in 2002 by her parents, Richard and Phyllis Heideman. Both parents are active leaders in the Jewish world and outstanding advocates for Israel. Their aim was to improve Israel’s image globally by introducing its remarkable achievements and vital contributions to humanity.

Later, under Elana’s leadership, the IFF took on additional perspectives and goals, leading to a much wider range of activities, which includes teaching about the Holocaust.  Dr. Heideman completed her Ph.D. studies under the mentorship of Elie Wiesel, professor in the department of Holocaust Studies at Boston University. She has passionately endeavored to involve Diaspora Jewry in an all-encompassing relationship with “our one and only Jewish state.”


Elana was born in Louisville, Kentucky and spent her teen years in Bethesda, Maryland. There she attended the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School, where the final-year-curriculum included a trip to Israel for four months. For Elana it was a life-changing experience: the four months extended to two years, “learning in a seminary, living and working in Jerusalem and traveling as much as possible.”

Returning to the United States, Dr. Heideman opted for a double Bachelor’s degree – in Judaic Studies and Psychology – at the University of Maryland College Park. This was followed by a Master’s at Boston University, which led to her Ph.D. in Holocaust Studies.

Although her sisters, Stephanie and Ariana, live in close proximity to each other and to her parents in Maryland, Elana, in order to concentrate on her dissertation, chose to follow her heart to Israel where she met her future husband, Jano Gleizer, and made her home.

Gleizer, “a geographer, tour guide and all around nature enthusiast,” was a perfect match for the passionate lover of Israel.

“We live in Moshav Nes Harim, nestled in the mountains among the trees, birds, and history.  We are the proud parents of Eytam David, nearly six, Noam Tal, four-and-a-half, and Ayelet Liora, ten months,” Dr. Elana Heideman-Gleizer relates with a radiant, enthusiastic smile. The proud mother combines her promotional activities for Israel with equal enthusiasm.

May her followers multiply in Israel and the world over!