Eric L. Abbott is a fifth (and final!) year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (expected ordination May 2018). He grew up at Temple Sinai in Cranston, RI and later graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in Judaic Studies. Since beginning his studies at HUC-JIR, Eric has participated in a variety of work and learning opportunities, including running the adventure course at URJ Eisner Camp; supervising the 3rd and 4th grades at Temple Shaaray Tefila of NYC; serving as Student Rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Monessen, PA; offering pastoral care as a chaplain intern at Memorial Sloan Kettering; fighting for social justice with T’ruah; and serving as the summer rabbinic intern at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA. He also earned an M.A. in Religious Education from HUC-JIR. He currently serves as the Rabbinic Intern at Larchmont Temple in Larchmont, NY and helps run the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen as Volunteer Coordinator. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing board games, rock climbing, running, and spending time with his beautiful fiancée, Eliana.
In my new job, as Rabbi in Residence at Be’chol Lashon, an organization which advocates for the growth and diversity of the Jewish people, I feel that everyday is a RWB day. In my work, I am extending the borders of Judaism to include the fullness of Jewish ethnic and racial diversity. For example, I was part of a team cooking for Hannuka at the local Jewish school. But this year, instead of simply adding another set of hands to the latke making, I decided to bring in the customs of a newly returning to Judaism community in the Columbian town of Santa Anna and make fried plantains. It was a great opportunity to introduce some of the history of Annusim (hidden Jews) and to normalize the Latino Jewish experience as part of our rich tapestry. The highlight came when the boy in the class with a Columbian mom pointed out that his family makes this dish at home—his family’s hidden Jewish tradition saw the light. Because I am working in an area that I was not well versed in before I got to Be’chol Lashon, my own borders are being pushed each day. My understanding of who is a Jew, especially what a Jew looks like, has changed a great deal in a short amount of time. Being able to network with the RWB community has been really helpful. You have offered practical and moral support.
Yitzchok Adler has been the spiritual leader of Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford since 1995; previously he had served communities in Savannah, Chattanooga and Jacksonville. He is the rabbinic administrator of the Hartford Kashrut Commission, the founding chaplain of the Hartford VNA Jewish Hospice, a founding and current member of the board of Directors of the Hebrew High School of New England, and he is a mohel. Within his work at the synagogue, he mentors rabbinic interns from Yeshiva Chovevei Torah and Yeshiva University. Yitzchok Adler is a past president of the Greater Hartford Rabbinic Association; and throughout his career, he has endeavored to build the bridges that strengthen Jewish communities.
Rabbi Dan Ain is the Director of Tradition and Innovation at the 92nd St. Y. He is part preacher, part philosopher, part interviewer and provocateur. He finds holiness in honest conversation, in the spaces where people can say what they really think and allow others to do the same. For the past decade, Rabbi Dan has been creating opportunities and contexts for these interactions – hosting Friday Night Dinners with comedians and cosmologists, klezmer brunches with artists and analysts, appearing on Sunday morning TV and in private apartments with groups of close friends looking for a way to talk about God on their own terms. The High Holiday services he leads, with blues musician and cantorial singer Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery, is an example of how he is finding meaningful ways to worship in the 21st century – creating experiences that speak to people living in today’s world using the language, lessons and music of the past.
Rabbi Rachel Ain is the Rabbi of Sutton Place Synagogue, a Conservative Synagogue in Midtown Manhattan. She believes that people of all ages, stages, and backgrounds can find meaning and purpose through a connection with a Jewish community and Jewish traditions, and in turn, that community is enriched by their presence. She sits on the Rabbinic Cabinets of JTS and the Masorti Foundation, is a board member at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and served as a commissioned Lieutenant (JG) for the US Navy Chaplains Corps. She writes for The New York Jewish Week, E-JewishPhilanthropy, Kolot: The magazine of the Conservative movement, and is a lecturer in the Rabbinical School at JTS. Rabbi Ain holds a BA from Barnard College, and a BA, MA (Jewish Education), and Rabbinic Ordination from JTS. Rabbi Ain is married to Rabbi David Levy and has two sons. Learn more on Twitter @RabbiRachelAin, www.spsnyc.org or email email@example.com
Uri Allen is a guitar playing, Abba of three who loves cooking, traveling around the country to see his favorite band Phish and learning Torah. He is the Associate Rabbi of Har Zion Temple where his passion for education has lead him to create many new learning opportunities for the members of our community. Uri also spends a great deal of his professional time working with young families like his own. He enriches the Jewish lives of the Har Zion community daily through his weekly classes, family friendly Shabbat Programing and the creation of a new Bikur Cholim program. Uri loves Israel deeply, it is where he and his wife met, fell in love (twice), married and began their family. Uri is also a die-hard Maryland Terrapin fan.
Rabbi Jaymee Alpert joined Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel in Port Chester, New York during the summer of 2005. She is passionate about Jewish life and strives to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, where people from all backgrounds are welcome, and all questions are valid. She cares deeply about interfaith relations and is a founding member of the Port Chester Interfaith Clergy Group, which meets regularly to address community needs and issues. She is dedicated to serving the community and is a chaplain for the Port Chester Police and Fire Departments. Rabbi Alpert is a past president of the Westchester Board of Rabbis, past UJA-Federation Westchester Rabbinic Chair of SYNERGY, and currently serves on various local boards and committees, including the Port Chester Board of Ethics. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of UJA Federation of New York’s Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leaders.
In addition to serving Congregation KTI, Rabbi Alpert is the co-creator of Neshama Body and Soul, a practice that combines exercise with prayer, in an effort to help participants connect their physical and spiritual lives. She also teaches a weekly boxing class at a local gym.
Rabbi Alpert was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2003, and holds two master’s degrees. She is a regular guest on the radio program “Darby and Friends,” and has been a panelist on television’s political talk show, “Richard French Live.”
She lives in Port Chester with her husband Danny and their dog Monte. Having grown up in the Boston area, they are still loyal Red Sox fans.
Charles Arian has worked as a Hillel director, a think tank scholar in interfaith relations, and as a pulpit rabbi. He is the rabbi of Kehilat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in Montgomery Village, Maryland.
Charles was the first chair of the Ethics Commission of the City of Norwich, CT. He spent a year living in a Trappist monastery in northern California and has lectured in five different Trappist abbeys. He is a recognized bourbon expert and has lead bourbon tastings for several nonprofits as fundraisers. He is a passionate, some say fanatic, fan of Georgetown Hoyas basketball. He lives in Montgomery Village with his wife, stepdaughter, a dog and two birds.
Nicole is a third-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in New York. She spent this summer learning Clinical Pastoral Education at JTS, and offering pastoral care at nursing home in Manhattan. In addition to enjoying pastoral work, Nicole is passionate about pursuing social justice through community organizing. This past year, she completed a cross-seminary community organizing course run by JOIN for Justice, and participated in a Rabbinical Student Delegation to El Salvador with the American Jewish World Service. Prior to rabbinical school, Nicole worked as an attorney for 10 years, first as a federal public defender, and then as a media lawyer specializing in First Amendment issues. Nicole holds a BA in Women’s Studies from Harvard College, and a JD from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, Josh, and her two daughters Catherine (age 9) and Vivian (age 6).
Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein begins serving as co-clergy with her husband, Hazzan Matthew Austerklein at Beth El Congregation of Akron, OH in July 2017. Previously she was Director of Jewish Life at the JCC of Greater Washington and served for 4 years as the rabbi of SRQ Jews Without Borders in Sarasota, Florida. She has worked with and at congregations across the denominational spectrum. Immediately following ordination, she was the sole clergy for Temple Judea, where she was a USCJ two-time grant winner for Young Adult programming. While still in school, she held the pulpit of a congregation in Fairbanks, Alaska, among others. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, BU School of Theology, and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Rabbi Elyssa has published in The Forward, in eJewish Philanthropy, in the Journal Kerem, has two pre-published children’s books and has contributed three times to the “Ask the Rabbis” section in Moment Magazine. She is a trained mikveh guide, has led Hallel with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, and was a “rabbi on the road” for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Rabbi Elyssa is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow and was named one of America’s 33 most inspiring rabbis of 2015 by The Forward. She is an artist, tallit maker, certified yoga teacher and devoted wife and mother. www.elyssjoyauster.com
Rabbi Elan Babchuck is Director of Innovation at Clal, where he is building an innovation incubator to support, fund, and mentor Jewish entrepreneurs around the world. Prior to joining Clal, he served as Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Providence, RI, where he became the first religious leader to be named one of the city’s “10 to Watch.” He was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2012 and earned his MBA that year, as well. Elan has been an entrepreneur for more than half of his life, and has been involved in the founding of multiple ventures, including for-profit and social enterprises. He was the Founding Board Chair of Tzedek America, a Jewish social justice gap year program, and currently serves as a board member of SSDS Greater Boston, and as an active leader with JOIN for Justice. He is in the current cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program and Clal’s LEAP fellowship. Elan lives in Providence with his wife, Lizzie Pollock, and their children: Micah, 4 years old; and Nessa, 1 year old.
Rabbi Larry Bach serves as the Rabbi of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to facilitating the pastoral and liturgical life of his community, he pursues social justice through Durham CAN, a congregation-based community organization, and explores spirituality through Chasidic text, meditation, and embodied practice as an alumnus of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinical Leadership Program. He has found that outwardly-directed social justice work and the inwardly-directed spiritual practice complement and support each other, and he is interested in exploring the intersection of the two. Larry received his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. Larry is married to Alanna, and is the father of Helaine, Shir, and Esther.
Rabbi Justus N. Baird is Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, where he oversees education programs that help build multifaith movements for social justice. He has taught, preached in, and consulted with seminaries, churches, synagogues, mosques, and interfaith organizations around the U.S. and internationally. Rabbi Baird was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion where he studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. As an educational entrepreneur he co-founded Questia.com (1999), a successful and far-reaching academic online library, and Yerusha (2009), an experimental approach to Jewish supplementary school. Raised in Texas, Rabbi Baird lives in Princeton, NJ, with his wife Rabbi Julie Roth (Director of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University) and their three children.
Rabbi Michael Balinsky is the Executive Vice President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, an organization representing two hundred rabbis of all denominations. Previously he was Director of Faculty Development for the Florence Melton Adult Mini-Schools and was a Hillel director for twenty- two years, over nineteen of those as the director of the Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel Center at Northwestern University, after two and a half years as the Associate Director of Hillel at the University of Michigan. He is a long time member of the Jewish Catholic Scholars Dialogue in Chicago and is an executive member of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. Rabbi Balinsky is a graduate of Yeshiva University where he also received his ordination. He is married to Dr. Myra Rapoport and they are the parents of three daughters.
Ruth Balinsky graduated Barnard College in 2007 with a bachelor in Psychology and Jewish Studies. She was raised in Chicago, where she has spent the past two summers staffing Or Tzedek, a social justice program for Jewish teens. This summer Ruth plans to return to Or Tzedek as the Rabbinic Teen Leader Fellow. Ruth has a strong background in social justice work, and recently completed the Grace Paley z”l Organizing Fellowship with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. This coming fall, Ruth will begin her second year of the Scholars Circle at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education.
Rabbi Daniel Bar-Nahum is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. Prior to Seminary, Rabbi Bar-Nahum earned a Bachelor’s from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and a Masters in Jewish Studies of Jewish Education from Siegal College in Cleveland, OH. He was ordained in 2012 by HUC-JIR in New York. While at Seminary, he served as Rabbinic Intern at Temple Emeth in Teaneck, NJ for three years. He has been working to enhance commitment to study, prayer, and acts of social justice at his congregation, Temple Emanu-El of East Meadow, where he has served as Rabbi and Educator since 2012.
Sarah Barasch-Hagans comes from a long line of Alabama Jews, but was raised in St. Louis and is proud to call it home. Before moving to Philadelphia to begin her studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Sarah lived in New Orleans, where she was a founding member of Jews Pursuing Justice. Sarah works at Kol Tzedek Synagogue, interns for the innovative Jewish website Ritualwell, and is excited to to be beginning an internship at T’ruah on the campaign to end solitary confinement.
Rabbi Amy Bardack is the Judaic Studies Director at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, where she has served since 2002. She is the co-editor of a siddur series for children, Halleli Nafshi, featuring gender-neutral, child-centered translations, children’s illustrations, and kavannot. (www.hallelinafshi.org) She led a school-wide initiative in Hebrew proficiency which transformed the school into a national model of excellence, and redesigned the Tanakh curriculum through a standards and benchmarks approach. Amy received her BA from Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Before coming to Schechter, she served as Judaic Director of Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos, CA, and as Rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue in New York City. Amy lives in Newton, MA, with her husband, Jared Magnani, and their children, Ilan and Orelle.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat was ordained as rabbi and as mashpi’ah ruchanit (spiritual director) by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is author of three book-length collections of poetry:70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia, 2011), Waiting to Unfold(Phoenicia, 2013), and the forthcoming Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016), as well as several poetry chapbooks. Her downloadable Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach has been used around the world; she is also author (with R’ Jeff Goldwasser) of Days of Awe: the Velveteen Rabbi’s Machzor for the Days of Awe. Since 2003 she has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi (and is on twitter as @velveteenrabbi.) With Rabbi David Evan Markus (also an RWB fellow) she is co-chair of ALEPH. She serves Congregation Beth Israel, a small Reform-affiliated congregation in western Massachusetts.
Benjamin Barer is in his penultimate year of Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. Benjamin works as the rabbinic intern at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, bridging the worlds of adult education and engagement in a large synagogue context, for Goucher Hillel, and as an educator for Eser, a young adult learning program around Boston. Benjamin hopes to grow into a Jewish leader who can passionately convey the importance of Jewish tradition while opening student’s minds to the myriad ways in which modernity can challenge, and be challenged, by that tradition.
Robert B. Barr is the Founding Rabbi of Congregation Beth Adam and one of the rabbis of OurJewishCommunity.org. Known for his irreverent and often witty presentation style, Barr is a popular speaker on a wide range of topics including contemporary Jewish thought, religious fundamentalism, and ethics. Recognized by his peers as a leader in the evolution of modern, liberal Judaism, his writings have been published in journals, books, and websites around the world. Barr is active in the leadership of many Jewish organizations and has twice served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis. He was ordained and awarded a Doctor of Divinity from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. His weekly podcast (Contemporary Jewish Thoughts) are available through iTunes.
Emily Barton is a fourth year rabbinical student and Gladstein Fellow in Entrepreneurial Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A pastry chef who worked for several years on both coasts of the United States, she also served as a chaplain for a year and half in a Seattle trauma hospital shortly before rabbinical school. Emily holds a B.Com in International Business, and a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University, as well as a Baking and Pastry A.O.S. from The Culinary Institute of America. Emily has served communities in Manhattan, upstate New York, Seattle and Beersheva, Israel. A former Rabbis without Borders Student Fellow and Encounter Davar Acher Fellow, this year Emily is a Leffell Fellow with AIPAC and a Global Justice Fellow with AJWS. She loves teaching 7th grade Hebrew school and singing with the JTS Cantorial School. In her spare time she enjoys reading and doing fine needlework.
Recognized as one of American’s top 50 female rabbis by the Forward and constantly making national news, Laura Baum is a significant figure in contemporary Jewish life. She is currently the Associate Vice President of Learning and Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. Prior to that, she was one of the Founders and Rabbis ofOurJewishCommunity.org and on the rabbinic staff ofCongregation Beth Adam. Through her online initiatives, she reached hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world with a contemporary Jewish voice. Educated at Yale, trained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and with an MBA from Xavier University, Laura is constantly on the move teaching, writing, speaking, tweeting, leading services and lifecycle events, innovating, and building community. You can follow her on Twitter @Rabbi – yes, that’s really her Twitter handle!
Rabbi Steven Bayar graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA and MA in Religious Studies and was ordained by RRC in 1981. He has served congregations in Greenbelt, Md., and Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. before coming to Bnai Israel Cong., Millburn, N.J. in 1989. He is the Co Author of, Teens & Trust(Torah Aura), To Save the World (Ktav), Rachel & Mischa (Kar-Ben). The author, of Ziv/Giraffe Curriculum (Righteous Persons Foundation), and is the Co Founder of Ikkar Publishing and has written over 50 curricula being used in over 1,000 schools, camps and informal settings worldwide. Rabbi Bayar also co- authored And You Shall Teach Them: Transmitting Jewish Values from Generation to Generation, due out August 2010.
Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows was ordained from Hebrew Union College-JIR in 1998 and is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Am in Buffalo Grove, IL. Lisa received her B.A. from the University of Illinois where she also earned a Master’s degree in Political Science. She also holds a Master’s degree in Divinity from The University of Chicago. In addition to serving her congregation, Lisa is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a yoga teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS). She is a graduate of the IJS Rabbinic Leadership Program, an RYT 200 certified yoga teacher, a Relax and Renew® Trainer in restorative yoga and a graduate of the IJS Jewish Meditation Teacher Training. Lisa loves traveling with her husband and three young children, listening to The Moth and other podcasts, going to the movies and being grateful. She tweets @LisaBellows and blogs at Ayin Tova: To See the Good.
Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon leads the Beth Israel Center Adult Education Program, where she teaches classes and organizes a variety of innovative offerings to engage the Madison Jewish community. A graduate of Harvard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, she spends her summers working as a Senior Educator at Camp Ramah of Wisconsin, where she coaches teachers and counselors in program design and content. She also served for six years as Head of School of a small, start-up Jewish day school in Madison. Rabbi Ben-Gideon is a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, a project of CLAL in New York. Though she works in many different settings, Rabbi Ben-Gideon’s goal is always the same – creating vibrant programs to enhance a sense of ownership and meaning for each person.
“As someone who is extremely joyful about Jewish learning and living, I thrive on sharing this passion with others. My focus as a teacher is to connect with each learner and help them to expand their understanding of how Judaism can help us to lead meaningful lives.” – Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon
Rabbi Eve Ben-Ora retired as the Director of Education at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, CA in 2016. She has served as the Jewish Educator at JCCSF, Director of Jewish Education and the Director of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School at Evelyn Reubenstein JCC in Houston. In 1999 she was named FMAMS Distinguished Director and in 2011 received a Covenant Award. Following ordination, Rabbi Ben-Ora, the first female rabbi in Colorado, was Associate Rabbi and Director of Education and Programs at Congregation Emanuel in Denver, Colorado. She was President of the Jewish Educators Council and The Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council in Denver. Rabbi Ben-Ora was ordained at HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Ben Berger is a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. Ben is Associate Program Director at The Wexner Foundation, working closely with the Wexner Heritage Program and as Co-Director of a teen service learning program called the Wexner Service Corps. Ben was formerly the Senior Jewish Educator at The Ohio State University Hillel. Ben is married to Rachel Weiss-Berger, and together they have four daughters, Tovah, Avital, Eliana and Nili.
A New Jersey native, Rabbi Yonah Berman is passionate about Israel, the Jewish community, and Jewish learning. Following his studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshiva University and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and his service in the IDF, he spent time serving Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal and Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe in Boston, where he also held rabbinic roles at Harvard Hillel and the Jewish Community Day School. Yonah currently resides in New York City with his wife and children, where he has returned to work as a member of the administration of YCT Rabbinical School.
The question at the center of Rabbi Litwin’s rabbinate is “What does it mean to be a liberal Jew in the 21st century?” As the Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, NJ, Rabbi Litwin works to create a vision with her families of what Judaism can be. Her goal is to help them want to seek the deeper meanings in Judaism. When her congregants say “We’re not religious,” she shows them how much wisdom there is in Judaism to assist and inspire them in their lives. Rabbis Litwin’s experiences cross denominations. After leaving her increasingly Orthodox shul as a teenager, she discovered Reform Judaism at Washington University in St. Louis. There she was mentored by the first female rabbi whom she ever met, and was inspired to attend rabbinical school at the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion. After ordination, she led a congregation in suburban Chicago for three years, but realized Jewish education was her passion. She moved across the country, and taught rabbinics to middle school students at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, NJ. From there she became the Director of Education and Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Ridgewood, NJ where she founded and led a multi-congregational partnership religious school. Since her journey now brought her to the Conservative Movement, she joined the Rabbinical Assembly in 2010. Rabbi Litwin also serves as the secretary of the North New Jersey Board of Rabbis. She is the proud mother of Abby and in her limited spare time loves biking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.
Rabbi Jacob M. Lieberman has served as rabbi and spiritual leader of Reconsructionist Congregation Beth Israel in Ridgewood, NJ since 2015. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (2015), and a graduate of Barnard College (2001).
While in rabbinical school, Jacob spent three years working with college students at the Hillels at Temple University and Swarthmore College, served for two years at Reconstructionist congregation Temple Beth El in Newark, DE, and interned with LimmudPhilly. In his first year at RRC, Jacob founded the Transgender and Genderqueer (tGq) committee, which succeeded in passing the first transgender and gender nonconforming equal employment resolution by a rabbinical association (in 2013).
Prior to rabbinical school, Jacob spent over 8 years working full-time for economic and social justice. As Director of Pride in Action at the Empire State Pride Agenda, he managed a team of program and organizing professionals developing ally support in faith, labor and business communities. Additionally, he worked as a lead organizer and business representative in several unions, including SEIU Local 32BJ and Local 6 of the New York Hotel Trades Council.
Jacob seeks to transform communities and individuals through the power of Jewish wisdom in our daily lives. Far from mundane, the everyday choices we make have the ability to create and destroy worlds and lives. Jacob believes that inspired [+ Jewish] living starts today with wonder, gratitude and curiosity. He mixes wit, openness, vision, community building and social justice with spiritual growth then follows it up with hard work, one day at a time.
Jacob splits his time between Ridgewood and Philadelphia, where he parents two sweet sons, Eliyashu (9) and Sima (4). He enjoys writing, biking, meditation, cooking, gardening, hiking, and looking at the world each day with the gift of new eyes.
Rabbi Arielle Hanien, PsyD, directs The Source: Gathering Waters, bringing talent and passion from every corner of the Greater Los Angeles community to deepen understanding and access to ancient Jewish healing practices, such as mikvah. Currently finishing her doctoral dissertations in Clinical Psychology and Jewish Education, Rabbi Hanien is a spiritual counselor in private practice affiliated with the Lifespan Psychological Center at UCLA. She is a member of the Sinai and Synapses fellowship at CLAL, an Ariane de Rothschild fellow in Social Entrepreneurship and Cross-cultural Dialogue, and a Senior Researcher with the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution. She consults for the International Trauma Healing Institute and Jewish educational initiatives around the country. Dedicated to enlivening Jewish life by empowering Jews of all backgrounds to bring their unique lenses to our ancient tradition, to explore its meaning, and to lend it new expression and significance, her projects have earned support from the Legacy Heritage Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the Los Angeles’ Jewish Community Foundation. An award-winning writer, she has midwifed Jewish resources including Noam Zion’s A Day Apart: Shabbat at Home (2005), Sam Osherson’s Rekindling the Flame (2000), and resources for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Elie Wiesel honored her for writing in Ethics, in 2001. Rabbi Hanien was certified in Integral Somatic Psychology in 2015 and Somatic Experiencing® in 2014. Ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2006, she holds degrees from Brandeis University in Philosophy, Sociology, and General Science. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Nir and their daughters, Livia, 8, and Lenore, 6.
Rabbi Adam Greenwald is the Director of the Louis & Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University, the largest learning program for those considering conversion to Judaism in North America. He also serves as a Lecturer in Rabbinics at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. In 2016, Adam received the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education.
Adam is the editor of On One Foot, an introduction to Judaism course book and curriculum, used by communities and congregations nationwide. His writing has also appeared in the Washington Post and Jewish Journal, and in numerous online publications. Prior to the Intro Program, he served as the Revson Rabbinic Fellow at IKAR in Los Angeles. Adam received a BA in History from UCLA and was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011.
Rabbi Greengrass is passionate about education, pursuing social justice and Judaism! As such, she creates curriculum as well as teaches in Temple Beth Am’s Day School, Religious School, adult, teen and prenatal communities. Rabbi Greengrass is a sought-after speaker and has been featured at many houses of worship throughout Miami-Dade. She brings social action projects to our entire congregation through monthly trips to a local food pantry, organic gardening, monthly mitzvah projects through the schools and more. She informs our congregation about Judaism’s take on pressing issues of the day through our Social Justice Speaker Series and engages our community through advocacy work.
Her passion for Judaism is seen from how she leads a service, how she engages adults and students alike, creating new and innovative ways for families to connect to Judaism and one another, and in leading trips from city hall to Israel.
Rabbi Greengrass was ordained from HUC-JIR in 2008. She holds a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Literature (HUC), a Masters of Religious Education (HUC) and is a certified PREPARE/ENRICH counselor. In 2011, she was granted the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) by the Reform Jewish Educator Title Granting Commission. She serves on the CCAR Resolutions Committee, is a RAC Balfour-Brickner Fellow, serves on both the Baptist IRB and the board of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Miami. Rabbi Greengrass is a Mussar instructor and practitioner. Her words, both spoken and written, have been published in a far range of mediums, from the Miami Herald to Time magazine to ritualwell.com.
Rabbi Greengrass is safe zone certified, which means she is an official advocate for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community. This too is one of her passions. She also is an avid reader, plays the guitar and loves to relax through dance and yoga.
Rabbi Idit Solomon is the founder and CEO of Hasidah. Her background spans from corporate America, accounting and technology to Jewish summer camps, synagogue boardrooms and executive leadership. She previously served as the head of the Department of Jewish Education and Identify at the Columbus Jewish Federation where served for a period as the head of their Community Relations Committee. Rabbi Solomon also worked for the Ohio State University Hillel as the campus rabbi. Prior to becoming a Jewish professional, Rabbi Solomon was a systems analyst specializing in accounting and worked for a large corporation as well as for a privately held company. She holds a B.S. in Applied Science from Miami University and earned her Master’s of Jewish Education and ordination from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. Rabbi Solomon has served on boards and committees of numerous organizations including synagogue boards , Columbus, Jewish Day School, Agudas Achim chevra kaddisha, Columbus Board of Rabbis, and several Interfaith coalitions. She is also the co-founder of a Rosh Hodesh group in Los Angeles and Minyan Nedava in Columbus, Ohio. Rabbi Solomon founded Hasidah with her husband after experiencing years of infertility and recognizing that no organization existed to address the need for awareness, network navigation and financial assistance for all Jews. Her experiences working in Jewish pastoral care settings, developing community change initiatives, and serving in leadership and executive roles inspired her to put her skills towards what she believes to be a most worthy goal: providing people with needed resources to manage experiences of infertility and helping them to build Jewish families.
Scott Shafrin is currently the Assistant Rabbi and Religious School Director at Kol Rinah, a Conservative congregation in St. Louis, MO. He was ordained from the American Jewish University’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles in 2013, where he also received a Master’s Degree in Education. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rabbi Shafrin is also an avid musician, starting on the piano at age three, and moving on to guitar, drums, trumpet and others. As a community organizer, rabbi, and educator, Scott has worked tirelessly to connect people of all ages to the world of meaning found in the Jewish tradition by engaging with them through dialogue, Jewish texts, tefillah, music, social justice, and leadership building. He has worked as a social justice organizer in both Boston and in Los Angeles, and sees building relationships with people and connecting them to one another to be an essential part of his rabbinate. Scott was also one of the founding AIPAC Leffel Fellows, recruiting and inspiring future Jewish leaders to advocate in support of Israel.
Beyond his rabbinic work, Scott loves to engage with new people in places all around the world, travelling with American Jewish World Service and the Joint Distribution Committee to places like Nicaragua and Siberia. He is blessed to share his adventures with his wife Rabbi Jessica Shafrin, who is also a rabbi, a chaplain and a passionate teacher of Torah, and their son, Amitai.
Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp serves as the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, Ohio. Temple Sholom sets itself apart through dynamic, mission driven, groundbreaking initiatives. Most notable, is their pioneering approach to “sacred marketing,” which has released over 40 videos to a 400,000 person viewership that delivers Jewish content in innovative manners. Rabbi Terlinchamp serves as the current President of The Amos Project, the largest faith-based organizing body in Ohio. She is active in Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Economics of Compassion, and serves on several boards and committees within the Cincinnati Jewish community. Rabbi Terlinchamp received her masters degree in Hebrew Letters in 2008, and was ordained as a rabbi in 2010 at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelors degree in Philosophy of Religion and Studio art from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and received additional studio art training at the London Slade School of art. Previous to joining Temple Sholom, Rabbi Terlinchamp served as chaplain and at the Los Angeles County Men’s jail, the Los Angeles Home for the Aging, as a rabbinic fellow at Temple De Hirch Sinai in Seattle, WA and a national Kol Tzedek fellow for AJWS. Rabbi Terlinchamp and her husband have two young daughters.
Rabbi Daniel Vaisrub holds a BA from the University of Michigan, MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and MBA from McGill University. He was ordained by Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau in 2012. He teaches Talmuid for Hebrew Seminary in Skokie Illinois. Daniel helps run a technology strategy consultancy.
Rabbi Sarah Tasman is the Washington DC Community Manager, Rabbinic Advisor, and a content contributor for The At the Well Project, a national rosh chodesh and women’s wellness initiative. Sarah is a mikvah guide & educator, certified Kripalu yoga teacher, and integrates creative expression in her workshops, retreats and rituals.
Sarah has served as Senior Jewish Educator at The University of Maryland Hillel, led events at Sixth and Historic Synagogue, taught at the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington at Adas Israel, Adas Israel Community Mikvah and created programs for Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikvah and Education Center. She was awarded a Schusterman #MakeitHappen Grant for her successful HavdalahYoga series.
Sarah was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2012. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education from The Shoolman School of Education at Hebrew College and a certificate of Non-Profit Management from the Rabbinic Management Institute at American Jewish University. She is also a 2004 graduate of the University of Michigan.
Rabbi Danielle Eskow is the co-founder/CEO of Online Jewish Learning, an online education program which provides on one-on-one and small group synchronous classes. A graduate of Brandeis University and The Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Eskow received her Master’s degree in Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation. After exploring many avenues of the rabbinate, Rabbi Eskow decided to craft her own path and created My Bar Mitzvah Tutors which later became Online Jewish Learning. The goal of Online Jewish Learning is to serve and provide all Jewish individuals and families (regardless of affiliation) with a meaningful Jewish education. The program serves Jewish families from LA to NYC to Okinawa and Qatar. Most recently the program has begun supporting congregations with bridging the gap between the synagogue and the home. Rabbi Eskow was in the inaugural class of Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ “Chai in the Hub” 18 under 40 most influential Jewish leaders in Boston. She lives in Brookline with her husband and two daughters Mikaela and Gabrielle.
Rabbi Cherina Eisenberg is a multi-passionate spiritual leader, inspiring and empowering Jews and non-Jews with her deeply joyful approach to Judaism infused with the creative, healing and culinary arts. Ordained by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Cherina holds a M.A. in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. A noted speaker and teacher, Rabbi Cherina presents workshops nationally and is known for sharing the gems of Judaism that uplift the spirit, open the heart, and spark joy. Receiving her music training at Juilliard, the University of Washington, and privately with Cantor Henry Drejer, Rabbi Cherina is an award-wining CD producer and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Harvard University, and U.C. Berkeley. A liturgical composer, Rabbi Cherina’s original music has premiered at OHALAH: Association for Rabbis of Jewish Renewal, Hazon/Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, and Temple Sinai of Brookline, MA, where she currently serves as cantorial soloist. A wellness educator and healing energy practitioner, Rabbi Cherina has taught at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital, Hadassah, and at synagogues and interfaith gatherings, sharing simple de-stressing techniques that enhance wellbeing for children and adults of all ages. A professional chef from The Natural Gourmet Institute and former Jewish cooking columnist, Rabbi Cherina presents cooking demos and workshops at Jewish food conferences and synagogues, teaching the spiritual practice of eating a vibrant, plant-based diet. A PresenTense fellow and recipient of the “Hope of America Award”, Rabbi Cherina loves innovation. On her days off, you can find Rabbi Cherina at the farmer’s market and out salsa dancing. Rabbi Cherina is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow.
Rabbi Getzel Davis received his Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbinical School of Hebrew College where he also received a Masters in Jewish Education. He works as a rabbi and educator at Harvard Hillel and also as an Harvard University Chaplain, where much of Getzel’s work is to engage unobservant students. He is also the adviser for the Reform Minyan, teaches regular classes, and counsels students, faculty, and community members. Getzel is also the founder and executive director of Unorthodox Celebrations, a service that connects unaffiliated Jews with inspiring rabbis and cantors nationwide to facilitate meaningful weddings, bar mitzvahs and baby namings. Getzel is also a contributing blogger at the Huffington Post and received an honorable mention in Newsweek’s Top 50 Rabbis of 2015 for leading Yom Kippur Services at Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. He recently was honored by the Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s Chai in the Hub award for his work with Unorthodox Celebrations.
Malcolm Cohen left the gray skies and rain of London, U.K. for the burning desert of Las Vegas, Nevada to continue the work of community building with his family, albeit in a very different context. His basic, Buberian, philosophy of, “All real living is meeting” informs every aspect of his work as does his community organizing training with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Malcolm has been involved in fighting against human trafficking and for public education funding in Nevada beyond his congregation. He began “Pop-Up Shul” by singing Jewish songs outside the Harley Davidson showroom in Downtown Vegas to see with whom he could randomly engage. He has also used inspiration from mega churches to feed into worship experiences. When others denigrate the idea that his rabbinic career has taken him to Vegas, he uses his wife, Sarah’s comeback: “Gotham needs Batman!”
Rabbi John Carrier is the spiritual leader of Burbank Temple Emanu El, a Conservative synagogue in Burbank, California, where he teaches Jewish wisdom, values, traditions, and history to students ages 2 to 95 through his work in the congregation’s Early Childhood Center, Hebrew School, and various adult education programs. Beyond the walls of his synagogue, John teaches Torah through the media of audio podcasts and online video. John serves the broader Jewish community of Los Angeles on the local board of the Rabbinical Assembly – Pacific Southwest Region, and on the Rabbinical Assembly Beit Din for Gittin.
In 2015 John founded BJX: The Burbank Jewish Experience, a partnership between the his synagogue, Temple Beth Emet of Burbank (Reform), Chabad of Burbank, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles – Valley Alliance, which hosts educational event series to reach out to Jewish families in Burbank to help them meet each other and connect with local rabbis.
Passionate about his new home town and about civic engagement, John volunteers as a mentor to the principal of a local elementary school through the Burbank Business Partners’ Principal Partners Program. John also serves on the board of the Burbank Chapter of Rotary International and the board of Leadership Burbank, a community leadership education organization.
John was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2014. In 2016 he completed the Leadership Burbank program, and in 2017 he was selected by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for the current cohort of the Edah Rabbinic Fellowship, a course in human-centered design, leadership development, and community building.
John lives in Burbank with his wife and two daughters and has two sons in college back East. He enjoys collecting niggunim, watching scary movies, cooking, lifting weights, and running marathons.
Rabbi Daniel Bogard, after five years sharing a community and a job with his wife Rabbi Karen Kriger Bogard in Peoria, IL, recently moved to Adath Israel in Cincinnati, OH for an Associate-Successor position. While in Peoria, he served as the rabbi of the Reform congregation in town, the director of Bradley University Hillel, and as an adjunct-professor of Religious Studies at Bradley. Daniel grew up in St. Louis, MO, as an active member of Central Reform Congregation, and after college at Macalester in St. Paul, MN (and some time spent on kibbutz), he went to Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem/Cincinnati, where he met his wife and partner. Daniel is passionate about social justice, about engaging people in meaningful encounters with Jewish text, and about being a dad to his three young kids. While in Peoria, he was a driving influence in the creation of the “Peace for Peoria” social movement which focused on countering Islamophobia in Central Illinois, and eventually resulted in him being a subject of the “No Joke Project” documentary/book/tour about his friendship with the local Imam and Evangelical Mega-Church Pastor. He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Rabbi Mark Cohn serves as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a graduate of UCLA, Lehigh University and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Mark, as he is known typically, loves all things Hebrew, mountain biking, and gardening. He works deeply in the Jewish and Interfaith communities, serving and participating passionately on matters related to: social justice, engaged Jewish living, Israel and the environment. In 2015, he was named one of the 33 “Most Inspiring Rabbis in America” by the Jewish Daily Forward.
Ben Spratt serves as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan and the Rabbi in Residence of Rodeph Sholom School. His Jewish journey has taken him through the Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Renewal worlds; ordained in 2008 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of the Conservative movement, and now serving as a Reform rabbi, Ben’s passion continues to be building community beyond existent walls and boundaries. He started Shireinu, a new initiative for families with Special Needs, that now serves as a model for synagogues and churches around the country. This year, in partnership with Rabbi Josh Stanton of Temple B’nai Jeshurun, Ben co-founded Tribe, a joint initiative to engage Jewish Millennials through grassroots leadership and empowerment.
Rabbi David Singer serves as the Director of Hillel at University of California, San Diego, and is the founder and former Director of Makom, a young spiritual community recognized by Slingshot 14-15 as one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in North America. David was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of American’s Most Inspiring Rabbis in 2012. A California native, David studied history at the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University. David is the author of many articles and columns as well as Yisrael Sheli, a religious school textbook about Israel geared toward 3rd and 4th graders. David is married to Danielle Rugoff, with whom he raises a french bulldog, Jackson.
Hyim Shafner is the Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to Bais Abe he was the Rabbi of the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis for eight years. He has semicha, an MSW in social work and an MA in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University in New York City. Before coming to St. Louis he and his wife, Sara Winkelman, spent a year working with the native Jewish community of India under the auspices of the JDC. Hyim is the author of The Everything Jewish Wedding Book, a blogger on Morethodoxy.org, and maintains a small psychotherapy practice at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute where he trained.
Rabbi Adam Schaffer is the Director of the Sevran Center for Jewish Learning and Living at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California, a school of 350+ students. Prior to that he served as the School Rabbi at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge for seven years where he taught Judaic Studies, Cantillation, Tefillah, and Jewish Ethics. He prides himself on being an eclectic rabbi who defies denominational labels and serves in a variety of capacities including as a congregational rabbi in Bremerton, Washington, an assistant education director in Santa Ana, and a chaplain at UCLA Hospital. He holds rabbinic ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. His proudest role, however is being the abba to his two children, Ezra and Eliana, and his greatest honor is to be married to the wonderful Melissa Sandler.
Karen R. Perolman has been serving Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, New Jersey since 2008, first as Rabbinic Intern, then Assistant, and now as Associate Rabbi. She studied at the University of Maryland at College Park followed by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York where she received her Masters Degree in Hebrew Literature, followed by Rabbinic Ordination in 2010. Karen credits her involvement with NFTY, URJ Camp Harlam, and the Maryland Hillel community with her desire to pursue the rabbinate, including a pivotal summer traveling with the NFTY in Israel program. Karen is a voracious reader which fuels her passion to understand the relationships between food, spirituality, politics, Judaism, feminism and social justice. Karen and her wife Andrea live in Jersey City, NJ, with their rescue dog, Archie.
Rabbi Melinda Mersack was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2000. She is the Director of jHUB: Connecting Interfaith Families to Jewish Life in Greater Cleveland, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. Rabbi Mersack also serves in the community as a Shabbat service leader at R.H. Myers Apartments, and as the Cleveland representative and faculty member for Goldman Union Camp Institute, the regional Union of Reform Judaism overnight camp. She also enjoys presenting to church groups and participating in interreligious programs and discussions.
Previously, Rabbi Mersack served as a rabbi at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. She is a past president of Gross Schechter Day School and of Interreligious Partners in Action of Greater Cleveland (InterAct Cleveland). Melinda holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Masters of Hebrew Letters from HUC-JIR. She is married to Mark Jacobs and is the proud mother of three boys.
Rabbi Shoshana Leis is entering her seventh year – her shmita year – as co-rabbi (with her husband Rabbi Ben Newman) of Har Shalom Center for Jewish Living in Ft. Collins, CO. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Dartmouth College,
Shoshana also studied at St. Petersburg University, the Conservative Yeshiva and the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies. She served as Rabbi and Educational Director at Congregation Tehillah in New York City, where she developed “Shira Hadasha,” an intergenerational educational initiative for which she received the Legacy Heritage Innovator Award. At Har Shalom, Shoshana developed a Social Action Initiative, and partners with the Abrahamic Trialogue, Faith Family Hospitality and Together Colorado to further the causes of shalom, tzedek and hesed (peace, justice and lovingkindness) in the shul and the greater community. In her spare time, she loves to hike in the Foothills of the Rockies and make music with the family.
Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs is committed to making spirituality accessible to all “spiritual seekers”. Having served as a congregational rabbi for many years, Rabbi Cheryl has a great deal of experience connecting with individuals and families. She has also spent much of her career working with those who are not connected with a synagogue. She strongly believes that in the 21st century, one should not be denied the right to connect to Judaism simply because they cannot pay dues to an institution. She currently serves as the Director of ISH, a spiritual source and service that provides comfort, community, education, celebration and growth rooted in Jewish wisdom as well as a Chaplain for the Hollywood, Florida Police Department. Her past employment included Director of the Jewish Healing Center at Jewish Family Service of Broward County and Assistant Rabbi at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, Florida. Rabbi Cheryl was ordained as a Rabbi by The Jewish Theological Seminary and holds an MA from Yale University and a BA from Hobart-William Smith. Rabbi Cheryl is married to Rabbi Andrew Jacobs, a CLAL RWB alumni, and they have two children, Abigail and Jonah.
Salomon Gruenwald has served as Associate Rabbi of Congregation HEA in Denver since his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in in 2008. He and Rabbi Bruce Dollin initiated Shir Hadash, a unique musical Shabbat service at HEA that has garnered national attention as a model for engaging worship. He holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Irvine, an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in Rabbinic Studies from the American Jewish University.
Salomon’s rabbinate is driven by a belief that the Jewish tradition is an enduring source of wisdom that can help us live deeper lives, connect with others, and improve the world.
Rabbi Gruenwald was raised in southern California and is the son of Jewish immigrants from Peru. He and his wife, Melanie, have three children.
Rabbi Lisa Greene Ordained 20 years ago, Lisa now tells her children stories of intergenerational lifecycle encounters with families she has known for years, at the same time recalling with awe her father’s similar experiences during his 50+ years as a rabbi. For the last 16 years Lisa has served North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago. She is proud of creating small communities of learning and meaningful Jewish doing through partnerships with members of her community, and loves teaching students of all ages through informal education especially when it brings her outside or to camp. Before she entered the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Lisa received her undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and worked on Wall Street as a securities analyst. Lessons of her finance mentors and experiences continue to impact her rabbinate and have allowed her to serve her colleagues through the CCAR and the Reform Pension Board. Lisa’s three children join her in loving to travel, bake and make music, and none are shy about critiquing her sermons.
Rabbi Yosef Goldman is a spiritual community builder, educator, prayer leader and musician. He is passionate about creating opportunities for engagement in Jewish community that speak to the many ways that people identify as Jews. Raised Orthodox, in a mixed Ashkenazi/Arab Jewish family in New York City, he has since studied, taught and created sacred prayer space in communities throughout the denominational spectrum, including B’nai Jeshurun, The Carlebach Shul and Romemu. Yosef received a BA in psychology from Yeshiva University and was ordained in 2013 by the Jewish Theological Seminary with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling and a Masters in Sacred Music. He performs as a singer with Middle Eastern Jewish music collective the Epichorus. Yosef completed a chaplaincy residency at Einstein Medical Center. He currently serves as a rabbi at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, Rabbi Annie Lewis, and daughter Zohar Lieba.
Rabbi Jonathan Freirich is from NYC, ordained at RRC in 1999, and graduated from Middlebury College in 1992. Lived and studied in Israel at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Conservative Yeshiva, and WUJS in Arad, as well as volunteering at several kibbutzim, and at the Knesset.
Since becoming a rabbi, I have worked with varied age groups and interests, including: college students, unaffiliated Jewish 20- and 30-somethings, residents at a home for the aged, Jewish prisoners in a Nevada state prison, a small mountain resort congregation, and now a large Reform congregation in Charlotte, NC.
I fell in love with and married a non-Jewish woman, Ginny Reel, who converted to Judaism and is a caring rebbitzen and a professional Jewish artist (see her work at www.ketubah-arts.com). We have a wonderful son, Jude, and an amazing daughter Sadie, whom we are teaching to navigate through the complications of being empowered Jews in a non-Jewish world.
Rabbi Leora Frankel is the Associate Rabbi of Community Synagogue of Rye in Rye, NY, where she has served since her ordination from HUC-JIR in 2012. Growing up, Rabbi Frankel was very active in the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea, eventually becoming its National Mazkira (President). Following Young Judaea Year Course, she completed the Dual Degree Program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as a Master’s degree in Jewish Education at JTS. Before joining the Community Synagogue of Rye clergy team, Rabbi Frankel served as the Rabbinic Intern for B’nai Jeshurun’s (NYC) Youth and Family Education Department. Over the past two years, she participated in the inaugural cohort of Rabbis Without Borders’ Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), training in innovative leadership. Rabbi Frankel is an avid Israeli dancer, and lives in Port Chester, NY with her husband, Andrew Sage, and their daughter, Miriam.
Barry Dolinger graduated with a B.A. from UPenn, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Near Eastern Studies. He received his ordination from RIETS and a J.D. from Fordham. Currently, he serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Sholom in Providence, Rhode Island and heads a solo law firm. In recent years, he’s helped to co-found Thrive, an organization focused on promoting human flourishing and better living, and has a strong interest in mindfulness and contemplative practices and their application. He’s also worked to create a values-based local model of Kashrut supervision and works closely with several restaurants in the New England region.
Rabbi Ben Newman is the founder and spiritual leader of Shtiebel, a startup shul in Dobbs Ferry, NY. He served for 7 years as the rabbi of Congregation Har Shalom in Fort Collins, CO, along with his wife Rabbi Shoshana Leis. Rabbi Ben received a B.A. from Skidmore College in Religion and Culture, an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and rabbinical ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York. He previously served as the Associate Rabbi for JRF Congregation M’vakshe Derekh in Scarsdale, New York. Rabbi Ben is the author of a series of childrens’ books called The Enchanted Sukkah about a time travelling sukkah. In addition to being a writer and a rabbi, Ben is a singer-songwriter who delights in chanting, playing guitar, and using an Indian instrument called a sruti box. He also enjoys reading Jewish literature of all types, as well as science fiction (his favorite author is Philip K Dick), philosophy and beat poetry. Rabbi Ben lives by the shores of the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, NY and his greatest joy is being father to his daughter and his son.
Brandon is a fifth-year rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Originally from California, he left the sunny west coast behind him in favor of exploring different Jewish culture and weather patterns. He served two years as the Reform Rabbinic Fellow at Columbia/Barnard Hillel at Columbia University and is currently a member of the steering committee of the Brooklyn-based Shir HaMa’alot, an egalitarian, independent havurah in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. In September 2013, he began serving as the rabbinic intern for congregation Har Tikvah in Brampton, Ontario. Brandon’s favorite part of both New York and Jerusalem is the availability of candied nuts.n Heights. In September 2013, he began serving as the rabbinic intern for congregation Har Tikvah in Brampton, Ontario. Brandon’s favorite part of both New York and Jerusalem is the availability of candied nuts.
Rabbi Bernstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ohr, came to the rabbinate with a sense of purpose that was instilled from a young age. She studied in the Joint Program between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, earning two bachelor’s degrees in Talmud/Rabbinics and Anthropology. Rabbi Bernstein completed Rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also pursued a Masters degree in Jewish education. The Rabbi has a passion for pastoral care and which she honed while working with Metropolitan Jewish Hospice in 2010 and in her work as Rabbinic and Education intern for the Orangetown Jewish Center in Orangeburg, New York. She served as the Rabbi of Congregation Emanuel in Statesville, North Carolina through the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship.
Through her experiences leading Birthright trips to Israel, Rabbi Bernstein has developed a style of leadership that invites people to connect in ways that are fitting to them. She aims to create accessible and spiritually uplifting prayer services and learning opportunities that draw people into their tradition with curiosity and warmth. Her current passions lead her to lead her community in meditation and Jewish mindfulness.
Ellen Bernstein founded the first national Jewish environmental organization, Shomrei Adamah in 1988 and has written several books on Judaism and ecology including The Splendor of Creation. She also worked at the Philadelphia Jewish Federation for several years as Director of Jewish Continuity and Outreach. She is currently a rabbinical student at AJR and continues to write and speak.
Michael Bernstein, a Rabbi Without Borders fellow since 2010, is the Rabbi of CongregationGesher L’Torah, a dynamic community in Atlanta where each person’s story is embraced and Judaism is personal. Michael has a passion for finding new ways to draw inspiration and meaning from Jewish sources, leading to deep interfaith work and learning with people of many faiths and doubts. Michael views Judaism not as a set of answers to every question, but as a lens to find deep significance in our lives and inspire the repair of a broken world. He blogs weekly and is published in the Huffington Post, Times of Israel, and The Wisdom Daily. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999 where he won the Aaron Friedenwald Prize in Jewish Theology and has been a Melton Senior Educator fellow, a Clergy Leadership Incubator Mentor and an inaugural fellow of the Synagogue Transformation and Renewal Rabbinic program. He and his wife Tracie have three children: Ayelet, Yaron and Liana. Follow him at @ravbareket.
Rena Blumenthal is a freelance rabbi based in New Paltz, New York. She serves as a campus consultant for Jewish life; works as an adjunct professor of Jewish Studies at SUNY New Paltz; officiates at weddings and other life cycle events; leads a monthly Havurah service for the New Paltz community, and serves as a visiting rabbi at several college campuses. She is also a grant consultant to “Campus Chaplaincy for a Multifaith World,” a three-year project of RRC funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. From 2003-2014 Rena worked at Vassar College as Assistant Director of the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life and Rachlin Advisor to Jewish Students. She graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003. Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rena worked for fifteen years as a psychologist in New York City and Jerusalem.
Neil Blumofe is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas, a flourishing congregation of 700 families. He holds Rabbinic Ordinations from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York and the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. Rabbi Blumofe also holds the diploma of Hazzan (Vocal Cantorial Arts) from JTS. Blumofe is on the faculty at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, where he teaches in the D.Min and M.Div programs. He is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. In addition, Blumofe has a weekly podcast about the significance of jazz (Liner Notes), which airs weekly on the NPR affiliate radio station and is nationally distributed. He also produces live music events in Austin, where he speaks and performs with other musicians, creating awareness of the innovative power of tradition and the connections between the Jewish Wisdom Traditions and the Improvisational Majesty of Jazz.
Joshua Boettiger serves as the rabbi of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon, where he teaches Jewish Meditation and leads Mussar groups at the synagogue and in the larger region. He writes frequently for Parabola magazine, and chairs the Ashland City Commission on Housing and Human Services. He also continues to work as a timber-framer and builder of ritual structures. Rabbi Boettiger received his ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2006. He is married to Rabbi Vanessa Grajwer Boettiger, and they have a daughter named Paloma.
Davina Bookbinder is a rabbinic student at the Academy of Jewish Religion, California and a proud transwoman. She believes that the Torah mandates us to pursue justice in all its forms and that the only way we can succeed is by creating a united trans-denominational Jewish community. Davina best describes herself as a “denominational traveler.” Davina originally hails from Los Angeles, moved to Israel to study at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. As a future Jewish leader, Davina hopes to bring together people of all faiths and traditions as a united global community to fulfill the statement in Micah: to do justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Rabbi Jill Borodin is a native of Toronto, Canada. Rabbi Borodin graduated with a joint honors degree in Jewish and Middle East Studies from McGill University. In 2001 she was ordained as a Conservative rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received her Masters of Arts in Jewish Education. Rabbi Borodin has lived in Canada, Israel, France and the United States and volunteered with the Jewish community in Romania under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee. Prior to coming to Seattle, Rabbi Borodin was the Rav Sheni at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Rabbi Borodin likes to read, rollerblade, bike, and work with clay. Rabbi Borodin lives with her husband and twin daughters in the north end of Seattle. She has served as Congregation Beth Shalom’s (Seattle, WA) rabbi since 2005. Rabbi Borodin is very interested in different ways of teaching Torah and living Torah in the world through kindness and activism. Rabbi Borodin is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski is the executive director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning in NY. Previously he served as executive director of the Shalom Hartman Institute in NA. Raised in Argentina he earned a law degree at the University of Buenos Aires Law School (1986) and was ordained as a rabbi at the Seminario Rabinico Lantinoamericano (1991).He earned a doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1997) were he taught for over a decade. He is the founding rabbi of congregation Sulam Yaakov in Larchmont, NY. He published Isaac Abravanel on Miracles, Creation, Prophecy, and Evil (2003) and is the coauthor of the forthcoming Nafsheinu, the first Mayer Briggs Manual for Rabbis and Congregations.
Rabbi Deborah Bravo is currently serving as the spiritual leader and founder for Makom NY: A New Kind of Jewish Community. This community seeks to reach the unaffiliated and disconnected Jew in suburban Long Island. Through a unique blend of collaboration, partnership and transparency, Rabbi Bravo and volunteers are lowering barriers and offering high level worship, programs and learning to Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations. Prior to creating Makom NY, she served large and small Reform synagogues from Washington DC to Long Island. Ordained from HUC-JIR in 1998, Rabbi Bravo also holds a Master in Education from Xavier University.
Rabbi Harry Brechner is the father of two amazing boys, Adar who is 17 and Daveed who is 14. He is married to RaeAnn, who is a counsellor and an incredible life partner. For the past 11 years Harry has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Harry is involved in various social action projects and outreach to marginal and vulnerable folk in Victoria. Prior to moving to Victoria, he served as Head of School for the New Orleans Jewish Day School and Director of the Bureau of Jewish Education for Greater New Orleans. Harry worked as the director of the J-CC Ranch Camp in Colorado, a rugged outdoor adventure camp and a western ranch. He also directed Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington State. Harry has a background in early childhood education and child development he has worked as both a pre-school teacher and a special educator. Some of his other sundry experiences include commercial fishing in Alaska, trail maintenance in the Northeast corner of the Cascade Mountains, tying re-bar on construction sites in Seattle… Harry served as a combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces and he has had the opportunity to travel with RaeAnn prior to kids throughout Russia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Nepal, India and Thailand. Harry also makes a great kosher gumbo and jambalaya.
Rachael Bregman is currently at Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick (on the coast south of Savannah) Georgia as the first female and the first resident rabbi in over 50 years. There she strives to offer Judaism all who are interested in her gifts. She grew up at with a little bit of everything-as a member of Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, active in NFTY, and at Camp Ramah in New England, a Conservative Movement summer camp. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College, a Catholic school, took a year off from Rabbinical School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) to study at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, a liberal Orthodox Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and took time out along the way to hike the Appalachian Trail. During her four years in Rabbinical school in New York City, she ran the Soup Kitchen at HUC, served as the student rabbi at the Manhattan Hebrew Association for the Deaf, joined the first cohort of student rabbis as CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, worked as a chaplain for both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Mount Sinai Hospital as well as became a student chaplain in the US Navy, a pastry chef at Mara’s Homemade Restaurant and had many adventures traveling the world in search for true justice in places like Rwanda, Uganda and even St. Paul Minnesota. She currently lived two miles from the beach and lives with her daughter Lilith and her dog Zooey.
Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW is a psychotherapist, spiritual director, and lecturer, who assists institutions in creating caring communities. The author of Mourning & Mitzvah: Walking the Mourner’s Path (Jewish Lights, 1993 & 2001), she has contributed chapters to many publications on Jewish spirituality and healing, and is a frequent columnist for the Los Angles Jewish Journal. Her work has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and several African dialects. Ordained as a Reform Rabbi in 2008 from HUC/LA, Anne was also a student of Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Jonathan Omer-Man. She is a faculty member of both the Academy for Jewish Religion, LA and a founding faculty member of Yedidyas Morei Derekh- Jewish Spiritual Direction Training Program. She serves on the advisory boards of HUCs Kalsman Institute of Judaism & Medicine and the Southern California Jewish Burial Society. A New Orleans native, she worked for the Ecology Center of Louisiana for several years in the early years of the environmental movement and spent three months doing relief work in the Gulf South following Katrina. She lives in Los Angeles and is the mother of Jen Tharler.
Rabbi Danny Burkeman is committed to making Judaism a meaningful part of our everyday lives. Rabbi Burkeman currently serves The Community Synagogue in Port Washington. In addition to fulfilling a variety of rabbinic roles, he has focused on engaging young families, helped enhance the synagogue’s online presence, and developed the Elul Mitzvah Challenge, an international viral video campaign. Raised in the British Jewish community, and having spent significant time in Israel, he is passionate about international Jewry and is a Board Member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He is a regular columnist for The Jewish News in Britain and has a weekly podcast Two Minutes of Torah, ranked in iTunes top 200 Jewish podcasts. Currently he is a member of the inaugural cohort of the UJA Federation of New York’s Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leaders. But most importantly Danny is Gabriella’s daddy and Micol’s husband.
Gadi Capela will start his second year of the rabbinical program at the Jewish Theological Seminary in fall 2009. Gadi was born and raised in Israel to parents who returned from Yemen in the early 50’s. In 1995, after completing a four-year army service as a rescue officer, Gadi moved to New York to study at Yeshiva College, completing a BS in business and an AA in Talmud. Between 2000 and 2008 Gadi worked as a business analyst and a management consultant. During that time he also completed an MA in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. When he is not studying, Gadi loves to travel.
David Ian Cavill (please, call him Cavill – rhymes with travel) serves Kehilat Romemu as Director of Operations and has a professional background in non-profit operations and management. He is pursuing rabbinic ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion, is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s undergraduate joint program with Columbia University, and attended Yale Divinity School where he earned the degree of Master of Divinity. Cavill currently lives in the Bronx which is the most up and coming of any borough in NYC. He is outdoorsy and enjoys hiking and camping but is also at home on the sofa watching cooking shows and the Netflix catalog. In 2014 Cavill completed a certificate in mixology from the Columbia School of Bartending and is grateful to have a skill to fall back on.
Daniel Chorny is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow (Student Cohort 2012). The son of Aviva and Rabbi Ammos Chorny, he grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, where he went to Jewish Day School for his primary education. After moving to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania in 2000, Daniel completed high school and attended the Pennsylvania State University. There he received a BS in business Management with a Minor in International Business. Upon graduation, he spent a year at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he was accepted to JTS rabbinical school, which he began in 2009. He spent his second year of rabbinical school at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where he participated in the Rav Siach Program through Melitz, and then returned for his third year in New York City. He married Hillary Chorny, née Blank, in January of 2012. The couple relocated after completing rabbinical school in 2014 to Los Angeles, California, where their daughter Ella was born in 2015. Daniel has served as rabbi at Temple Ner Shalom of San Luis Obispo, CA, since 2015. He has also worked to translate The American Jewish University’s Miller Introduction to Judaism Program’s curriculum to Spanish, as well as taught an introduction to Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentators as an adjunct instructor.
Rav Yosi Cirlin is Rav Beit haSefer at the Schechter School of Long Island where he has been teaching since 2013. In addition to his role as mara d’atra, Rav Yosi teaches Talmud and Tanakh in the HS as well as being the advisor for the school’s Moot Beit Din team. Rav Yosi graduated from Binghamton University with a bachelors in Philosophy and Judaic studies. After graduation, Rav Yosi spent two years in the Kollel at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies and two years as a full time fellow at Yeshivat Hadar. After completing four years of study, he received private smicha in Israel from Rabbi Elisha Anscelovits and Rabbi Daniel Landes of Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Rav Yosi currently lives in Washington Heights with his wife Amy and their son Uriel Moshe.
Catharine Clark is entering her final year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to beginning her studies, she was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York and a law clerk for The Honorable Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. Catharine recently worked as a student rabbi at Shaar Shalom in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and she looks forward to serving Temple Adath Sharon in Sharon, Massachusetts this coming year as a Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellow.
Rabbi Tamara Cohen, is the Director of Innovation for Moving Traditions where she is trains group leaders of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girls’ Thing! and creates curriculum for Jewish adolescents. She has worked as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Florida, Associate Dean of Students at Gratz College, Program Director of Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project, and as the Spiritual Leader/Rabbi of communities in Litchfield County, Connecticut and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tamara is the editor of The Journey Continues, a feminist haggadah that has sold more than 35,000 copies, is a contributor to the Lev Shalom siddur and several anthologies and was a co-founder of Brit Tzedek V’Shalom.
She lives in Philadelphia with her partner, Gwynn Kessler and their sons Tobias and Kliel. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Sarah Lawrence College and Barnard College and has won numerous awards for her scholarship and leadership.
Rabbi Crystal has served in a wide range of synagogues, from a small rural congregation in Woodstock, Vermont (Shir Shalom, 1999-2001) to a large, established suburban synagogue in Great Neck, New York (Temple Beth-El, 2002-2007), to a start-up community in lower Manhattan (Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue, 2012-2017). Rabbi Crystal is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow.
In addition, Rabbi Crystal has been a part of educating the next generation of rabbis. As the NY Campus Coordinator of Leadership Initiatives at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (2007-present), she teaches a course in the rabbinical program focused on critical aspects of transformational leadership, and she runs co-curricular programs in Social Responsibility and Outreach/Inclusion.
Rabbi Crystal has served as a member of the Board of the Princeton University Center for Jewish Life/Hillel for the past decade, and she was Chair of the Board from 2011-2014. In the Spring of 2016, she served on the University’s planning committee for “L’Chaim!,” a conference that brought nearly a thousand alumni back to campus to celebrate 100 years of Jewish life at Princeton.
Rabbi Crystal was ordained in 2002 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and she graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Religion and a certificate in Jewish Studies. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jonathan, and their three children.
Hannah Dresner believes it is her calling to work toward a revitalized Judaism integrating experiences of head, heart and physical being into Jewish practice so that our religious lives truly address the breadth of our human needs. She currently serves as full time spiritual leader of Or Shalom, a Jewish Renewal synagogue in Vancouver, BC. She is in the last cohort to have received rabbinic smicha from Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi through the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, where she was also ordained as a spiritual director. Rabbi Hannah entered the rabbinate with an MFA from the University of Chicago and an exhibition, curatorial, and teaching record in visual arts. She is a Rabbis Without Borders fellow as well as a fellow in the second cohort of CLI, CLAL’s Clergy Leadership Incubator.
Rabbi Aderet Drucker is a spiritual leader, community organizer, and educator. She currently serves as the Campus Rabbi & Director of Jewish Life and Learning for Hillel at the University of Maryland, where she is also part of the University of Maryland’s Interfaith Chaplaincy. Prior to her work on campus, she served as solo rabbi of Congregation B’nai Shalom in the Bay Area. She served on the Rabbinic Advisory Council of Shalom Bayit, working to end domestic violence in the Jewish community, as well as on the Board of Directors for Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, working to support homeless individuals and their families. Rabbi Drucker received her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2012, with a concentration in pastoral care. A recipient of the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Leadership, Rabbi Drucker served as Rabbinic Intern at Temple Israel Center of White Plains, where she successfully led a community organizing Listening Campaign, which strengthened the internal fabric of the community. Rabbi Drucker is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow and was selected to participate in the first cohort of CLAL’s CLI fellowship, working on innovation in the rabbinate. Rabbi Drucker lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Brett, and their two daughters, Avital and Shaiya.
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan – teacher, scholar, lecturer, writer, spiritual director, administrator and community leader – serves as Interim Director of the Iona Pacific Inter-Religious Centre at the Vancouver School of Theology, and as a faculty member at ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Ordination Programs. Her unique blend of philosophy, Kabbalah, and depth psychology, which helps her speak to the heart of multiple religious traditions, was developed over 35 years as award-winning philosophy professor and scholar (1989-2004), inspiring rabbi of a Jewish Renewal synagogue (2005-2014), and skilled spiritual director to clergy (2007-present). Laura, who loves to laugh, enlivens her work with participatory teaching techniques, whimsy, music, dance, and insights from a changing array of companion animals. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband Charles, psychologist and musician, and their two young adult children. Visit her blog: www.sophiastreet.com
Rabbi Serena Eisenberg served as the Executive Director of Hillel, the center for Jewish life at Stanford University since 2011, and previously as the Hillel director and associate chaplain at her alma mater, Brown University from 2005-2008. Serena was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002, where she studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She lived in Israel for several years, most recently from 2008-2011, on sabbatical as a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute. Serena participates in several professional networks, including CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders, Hartman Hillel Fellowship, the Chautauqua Institute’s New Clergy Program, and Upstart’s Executive Director Cohort. Additional Jewish communal work included serving from 2003-2005 as the interim director of the Israel and Overseas Department and directing a Jewish teen foundation for the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. In addition, Serena worked at diverse Jewish congregations in various rabbinic and educator roles in Half Moon Bay and Berkeley, California, and Kalispell, Montana.
Before entering the rabbinate, Serena worked as an advocate and ombudsman in the area of family welfare, in diverse settings such as the Bronx family court, the Alameda County Department of Social Services, and with UNICEF in Gambia, Africa, and earned a JD/MSW from UC Berkeley in 1993. Serena has five sons, and loves hiking and adventure, and officiated at a bar mitzvah on a trek at Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Rabbi Mark Elber was ordained by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2012. He is the rabbi of Temple Beth El, an independent Conservative synagogue in Fall River, MA where he shares the pulpit with his wife, Cantor Shoshana Brown. A fellow of Rabbis Without Borders and the author of The Everything Kabbalah Book, Mark is a certified teacher of Jewish meditation through Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, California, a prize winning poet (e.g. Beat Museum Poet of the Year, 2007), translator of Israeli rock songs (one of which appeared on MTV Europe), and a published songwriter having fronted his own bands in the downtown Manhattan music scene in the early 1980’s. Mark did his graduate studies in Kabbalah at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and University of Pennsylvania from which he also holds a B.A. in Philosophy. Mark is very involved in interfaith activities in the greater Fall River area.
Helaine Ettinger plans to begin an Executive Masters program in Jewish Education in 2015. She is a 1991 ordinee of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She lived for nearly five years in Kfar Saba, Israel and was an active member of the Masorti congregation, Hod v’Hadar. While in Israel she taught in the Masorti movement’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah for the Special Child program. Since returning to the United States in 2001 she has been Synagogue Outreach Coordinator for the MetroWest Jewish Health and Healing Center (2001-2003); a Board member of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union; and a teacher in the Florence Melton Adult Mini School. She has served two congregations, the Jewish Congregation of Kinnelon for 13 years and Congregation B’nai Harim for 3 years. Within the Reform rabbinate she has been active in the Women’s Rabbinic Network and served as Co-President 2012-2014. She is married to Henry Bloom and the mother of Lyla, Yael, and Shai Bloom.
Rabbi Eliana Falk is the enthusiastic spiritual leader of Beth El Synagogue in Woodbury, Conn., and committed to sharing the beauty of Jewish life and welcoming all who seek its wisdom. At Beth El, she has encouraged a culture of kindness that has doubled membership and has founded an innovative school in which children and parents learn together, increasing their knowledge and love of being Jewish. She feels honored to be an RWB Fellow and to blog at myjewishlearning.com, and is appreciative of the pluralistic prism through which she attained her ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion where she was twice awarded the Herschel J. Matt Creative Liturgy Award. She serves on the boards of several Jewish and community organizations, and as a hospice chaplain. Before ordination, she had a successful career as the communications director for Jewish organizations. Her husband, artist Alan Falk, and their family, bring her great joy.
Rabbi Daniel Fellman is a native of Omaha Nebraska. He currently serves at Temple Concord in Syracuse, NY. He was ordained in June 2005 at the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. While at the seminary, Rabbi Fellman wrote his thesis on An American Friendship: Harry Truman, Eddie Jacobson, and the Establishment of the State of Israel. Rabbi Fellman is an experienced and wonderful teacher. Among his various teaching experiences he has served on the faculty at the Yavneh Day School in Cincinnati and numerous religious schools. Rabbi Fellman has also served on the faculty of the URJ Kutz Camp for High School students and the Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Rabbi Fellman is an Eagle Scout, was a Japan-U.S Senate Scholar in 1990, and was the founder of the Colorado College Hillel in 1994. He served on the Academic Affairs Committee at HUC-JIR and on the steering committee of the Catholic-Jewish Educators Dialogue of the American Jewish Committee in Cincinnati. He also served as the editor of the HUC Monthly and as a columnist for The Jewish Press of Omaha, Nebraska. Rabbi Fellman and his wife Melissa are the parents of sons Zachary and Jacob.
Rabbi Zach Fredman is at the cutting edge of Jewish meaning making and creativity. He serves as rabbi and music director at The New Shul, a downtown community renowned for its dynamic programming, which seeks to envision how ancient and modern wisdoms can create a place for thriving Jewish investigation and congregation. In 2011, Zach founded the Epichorus – a band seeking to return Jewish prayer music, to the sounds of the Arabic east and North Africa. With traditional Arabic instruments, a Suarieldanese master songstress, and a heavy dose of global percussion they are creating a new sound in world music carrying listeners at once to a Tunisian marketplace in festival season or a yoga class in the village. They released their debut album “One Bead” in 2012.
Michael S. Friedman grew up in Great Neck, New York, where his family was proud to be dedicated members of Temple Beth-El. Michael holds a B.A. in history from Yale University and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2004. He has served as Associate Rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City since July, 2008. Prior to this position, Michael was Director of High School Programs at the Union for Reform Judaism from 2004 to 2006 and as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, New Jersey from 2006 to 2008. During his years in rabbinical school, Michael spent two years as Rabbinic Intern at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York and a year as Rabbinic Intern at the New York Kollel. Michael has volunteered as Program Coordinator for Project Understanding, an interfaith experience for Jewish and Catholic youth on Long Island, and served as a coordinator of the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen. In his free time Michael likes to play golf, hike, run marathons, and cook.
Ordained in 2005 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin now considers herself a New Yorker. As the spiritual leader of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism, she is the first and only female Conservative pulpit rabbi in Queens. She is passionate about Jewish life and strives to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, where people from all backgrounds are welcomed. Rabbi Fryer Bodzin has had numerous thought pieces published in ejewishphilanthropy.com, the Canadian Jewish News, the Jewish Week, Sh’ma Journal and the Huffington Post. She is on the Executive Council of the Rabbinical Assembly and on the Board of Directors of the New York Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Fryer Bodzin is happily married to her best friend, Aaron Bodzin. In October 2009, they became the first husband and wife team at her synagogue to read Torah, one after another, on the same Shabbat morning. Follow her on Twitter @shrobyn
Rabbi Ilana C. Garber has served the community of Beth El Temple, West Hartford, CT since August 2005. She graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, with a BA in Talmud, an MA in Jewish education, and rabbinic ordination. She also received a BA in religion from Barnard College. She is a past participant in the STAR PEER: Professional Education for Excellence in Rabbis program, in a rabbinic cohort of Advancing Women Professionals, and in the Clal Rabbis Without Borders fellowship. She serves on the board of Mikveh Bess Israel, and on several committees of the Rabbinical Assembly. Her writing about raising a child with Fragile X Syndrome has been featured on The Jewish Week’s New Normal, the Ruderman Family Foundation blog, and Kveller. When not blogging (www.ilanagarber.com) or tweeting (@ilanagarber), she enjoys spending time with her husband, Adam Berkowitz, and 2 young sons.
Jonah Geffen is a Rabbi-in-training and educator in the field of Peace and Conflict Resolution. He holds an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and will receive Rabbinic Ordination and an MA in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2013. He is also a trained mediator, and received his BA in History and Jewish Studies from Indiana University. Jonah’s passion for peacemaking and belief in a compassionate, heart-centered Jewish practice has taken him from the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding where he co-authored the book Peacemakers in Action, to the Kivunim: New Directions Israel program as Coexistence Educator, to the Encounter program in Bethlehem as Facilitator and Teacher in the Peacemaker’s Beit Midrash. He has also served as Rabbi for the Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation in Georgia. Born and raised in Manhattan, Jonah is a die hard Hoosiers and Giants fan. Jonah spent the past year in Israel studying in the Kollel of the Conservative Yeshiva, and along with his wife Julia and daughter Bina, gained fluency in the language and culture of the playgrounds of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Wendi Geffen has served as one of the rabbis at North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago since 2002. She is passionate about Judaism, Torah, and the way these ancient wisdom sources can add meaning to our lives and enable us to better our world still today. She sees Tikkun Olam, the Jewish tenet of repairing the world, as a critical part of living a Jewish life, and works to empower the synagogue and larger community around the imperative to pursue tzedek/justice. She is also the facilitator of the Beyond and Back (B&B) program for 22-30 year olds. She was a 2011-2012 American Jewish World Service Goldberg Writer’s Fellow, and her blog “Pri haGeffen” can be found at www.rabbigeffen.blogspot.com. Wendi and her husband Scott are the proud parents of Joshua and Cameron.
Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (Short Hills, NJ) in July 2006. Previously he served as Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom (New York City) He was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1997. A regular contributor to numerous publications, including the CCAR Journal, New Jersey Star Ledger, My Jewish Learning, he is the author of “The Gift of Grief: Finding Peace, Transformation and Renewed Life after Great Sorrow” (Random House). Rabbi Gewirtz has appeared as a religion commentator on CNN, MSNBC, PBS and NBC. He is a co-founder of the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace, an interfaith group which strives to end gang violence. Matthew is married to Lauren Rutkin, a non-profit fundraising consultant and philanthropy advisor, and the owner of VIP, Ventures in Philanthropy. They are the proud parents of Jake, Natalia and Sadie. You can follow Rabbi Gewirtz on Twitter; @rabbimat
Philip Gibbs is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary from Marietta, Georgia. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 having participated in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities focusing on Talmud and gender studies. He tries to balance his love of Jewish learning and critical scholarship with his passion for the outdoors, social justice, and music.
Rabbi Ilan Glazer is Rabbi of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Memphis, TN. He has worked with many Jewish environmental and social justice organizations. Rabbi Ilan has brought his unique blend of Torah, humor, music, and insights from the storytelling, personal growth and public speaking disciplines to synagogues, schools, JCC’s, retreat centers, and army bases throughout the Jewish world. Rabbi Ilan was ordained in 2012 by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He has a B.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the City College of New York. He studied at Pardes and Nava Tehila, and completed trainings in spiritual direction, sacred Hebrew chant, ritual theatre, and was ordained as a Maggid, a Jewish inspirational storyteller. Rabbi Ilan is an avid cyclist and drummer. He enjoys traveling, film, music and spending time in nature.
Rabbi Shefa Gold is a leader in Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP , The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayerbooks. She teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community Building, Meditation, and trains Chant Leaders in Kol Zimra, a two year program for rabbis, cantors and lay leaders. She is also on the faculty of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Shefa combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions to make her uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land, and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs published by Ben Yehuda Press.
Justin Goldstein has served as rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Asheville, NC since 2014, where he lives with his wife and daughter, previously serving from 2011-2013 in Bangor, ME. During that time Justin was privileged to participate as a 2012-2013 Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. Ordained in 2011 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, Justin taught regularly while in rabbinical school on environmental sustainability and food security, eventually volunteering as a Rabbinic Fellow for Hazon. Justin is committed to respecting all expressions of the Jewish tradition, recognizing there is truth even in perspectives with which we may disagree. Described as an exciting, innovative and dynamic rabbinic presence, Rabbi Goldstein is dedicated to pluralism and egalitarianism as an ideal and in practice. @RabbiJDG
Rabbi Seth Goldstein has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia, WA since 2003. He was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and also holds an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. He currently serves as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Seth completed the Clergy Leadership Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, is a Rabbis Without Borders fellow and a Brickner Rabbinic Fellow through the Religious Action Center. He was recently named as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by the Forward. Seth is the author of numerous published articles, essays, and liturgy. He writes regularly on his blog, Rabbi 360 and produces both a weekly podcast, Torah tl;dr, and a web-series, Carpooling with Rabbi. Seth is married to Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg and they have two sons, Ozi and Erez.
Rabbi Meir Goldstein is the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Pardes Jewish Day School in Scottsdale, AZ. He is found of saying “Our spiritual tradition is significant only to the degree that it leads us to lead ethical and meaningful lives.” In the past, he has been the solo rabbi in smaller shuls in New York and Tennessee, and has been a full-time faculty member at Milken Community High School in Los Angeles. In both pulpit work as well as school work, Rabbi Goldstein is a passionate teacher and preacher. He loves pastoral settings as well as lifecycle events. He has taught Hebrew grammar at the American Jewish University and has spoken about genocide and our obligations to act before the Tennessee State Congress. Rabbi Goldstein earned ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2006 and was honored to be a RWB fellow in 2011-2012. He now lives with beloved wife, Laura, in Scottsdale, AZ.
Daniel Ross Goodman is a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. He holds a law degree, and his articles on law and religion have appeared in South Texas Law Review and in various New York State Bar Association publications. His articles on art, religion, literature, and film have appeared in The Weekly Standard, Journal of Religion & Film, Religious Studies Review, Bright Lights Film Journal, Moment Magazine, Public Discourse, and Harvard Divinity School Bulletin.
Rabbi Pamela Jay Gottfried is the Dean of Jewish Studies and Student Life at The Weber School in Atlanta. She is a member of the American Guild of Judaic Art and serves on the Board of Directors of the Neshama Interfaith Center. The author of Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom, Gottfried is currently revising the manuscript of her second book. Connect with her at pamelagottfried.com.
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, a 2006 graduate of The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, is the founding rabbi of Kol Tzedek, a diverse, exciting, growing congregation in West Philadelphia. Founded in 2004, when Rabbi Lauren was in rabbinical school, Kol Tzedek is revitalizing Jewish life in what was once a Jewish neighborhood and bringing back organized Jewish community, as the last West Philadelphia synagogue closed its doors in the 1980s. With its commitment to inclusivity and focus on social justice, Kol Tzedek has become a Jewish home for Jewish seekers and allies of all ages, ethnicities, classes, religious and sexual orientations. Rabbi Lauren is passionate about many things, including outreach to those who find themselves on the margins of Jewish life; the development of urban Jewish communities; and the intersections between social justice and Judaism. More recently, she became the founding co-chair of LimmudPhilly, an annual festival of Jewish learning. She currently serves on the board of UCGreen, a local greening organization and is actively involved with POWER, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild. She lives in West Philadelphia with her husband Jon, daughter Aviel, and son Nadiv.
Rabbi Andy Green (expected ordination 2015 – Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies) devotes himself to creating low barrier-to-entry, meaningful Jewish experiences to engage, empower, and inspire Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Serving as Rabbinic Intern for Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rabbi Green created and leads a Playground Minyan Shabbat experience serving young families, developed and teaches an Introduction to Judaism curriculum for Jews and potential Jews, and engages B’nai Mitzvah families in Torah study and community service. Rabbi Green loves working with youth, serving in rabbinic and mentorship capacities with USY, the JDC Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program in Siberia, and KITT synagogue-based teen philanthropy. Through fellowships and service learning with NewGround, AIPAC, RWB, InterSem, AJWS, and others, Rabbi Green has travelled the world and engaged others in interdenominational and interfaith learning and growth. Rabbi Green proudly shares life with his brilliant wife, Charlene, and 2-year old son, Archer.
Rabbi Ben Greenberg was raised in sunny Southern California. After co-creating a computer security conference and a computer security firm, Rabbi Greenberg moved to New York and studied for four years at the Beis Medrash Le’Talmud / Lander College for Men in Flushing. He studied for another four years at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School where he was ordained. Rabbi Greenberg has served as a rabbi at Harvard, a congregational rabbi in Colorado and worked in community in Chicago. He currently serves as a planning executive for SYNERGY at UJA-Federation of New York, where he consults with Manhattan synagogues helping them towards becoming thriving congregations. He is also working on creating an online learning platform, OpenSinai.com. He is the author of two books and blogs regularly for MyJewishLearning, Patheos and The Huffington Post. Rabbi Greenberg is married to Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg and with their two sons live in New York.
Amanda Greene will enter her fifth year at Hebrew Union College Jewish-Institute of Religion this fall. She was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and received her B.S in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In May 2012 Amanda received her masters degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management. She also participated in the first official cohort of the iCenter program, receiving a masters concentration in Israel education. Amanda will serve as a rabbinic intern at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles this coming year.
Rabbi Adam Grossman is a social entrepreneur, who has been at the forefront of groundbreaking and nationally recognized initiatives to engage Jews with meaning, practice, and action. As an Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee from 2008 to 2014, his innovations included an HGTV-esque “How To…” video series, the URJ Belin award recipient “Community Six-Pack,” and the TI Fellowship, which was selected for the Slingshot ’14-’15 guide. The uniqueness and creativity of these efforts lead him to be selected as a Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellow in 2013. Hired as the new CEO at the University of Florida Hillel in July 2014, he continues to illustrate new ways to anchor individual’s lives with Jewish living such as the creation of UF Hillel Works and HiveSpace, a socially responsible business accelerator steeped in Jewish values and time. While the creativity drives him, his inspiration comes from his family – his wife, Amy, three children, ages 8, 6, and 1 year. Please feel free to connect with him on Facebook (rabbiadamgrossman) or Twitter (@rabbiadam).
Rachel Gurevitz is the Associate Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel, Bridgeport, CT. An organizer of interfaith dialogue for adult and teenage groups with Christians and Muslims, exploring sustainable living and sustainable food practices, in her congregation she is helping individuals to nourish and deepen their own path to positive Jewish living. With music, meditation, and creative innovation she has worked with numerous adult and teen groups to craft unique and meaningful pathways into prayer. It is the language and theology of Jewish mysticism — that there is no-thing but God – that informs her work to connect and more deeply integrate the life of the spirit with the multiple spheres in which we live our lives, inspired and guided by a Jewish wisdom that can be shared in accessible, meaningful ways. Rachel was ordained at Hebrew Union College where she completed the rabbinic studies she began at Leo Baeck College, London. Prior to this, she received her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from University College, London, researching, consulting and publishing on environmental and sustainable development education from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
Rabbi Andrew Hahn, Ph.D., is known as both the Kirtan Rabbi and — depending upon which phone booth he exits — also as the Tai Chi Rabbi. He has pioneered Kirtan in the Jewish world, criss-crossing the country to offer communal call-and-response chant concerts and meditation seminars. Rabbi Hahn earned a Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) and holds ordination from HUC-JIR (Reform), both in New York City. He has been teaching tai chi and related arts for almost forty years. In his workshops, he seamlessly combines chant, movement, meditation and psycho-acoustical exercises to offer a grounded encounter with ecstatic consciousness. He is resident faculty at Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York, working actively with Rabbis without Borders, and has served as Visiting Rabbi for Metivta: a center for contemplative Judaism in Los Angeles. Rabbi Hahn has three musical CDs: Kirtan Rabbi: Live!, Achat Sha’alti, and the just released Nondual. KirtanRabbi.com
Elana Stein Hain has proudly served Jewish communities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for the past 6 years – first as Resident Scholar of the Jewish Center and for the past 4 years, as the Community Scholar at Lincoln Square Synagogue. In that capacity, she has founded and developed a new young professionals network called the Amsterdam Minyan, which hosts services and events for people in their 20s and 30s. Elana enjoys the many facets of her role – counseling, sermonizing, teaching, and collaborating on programs with volunteers. Simultaneously, Elana is pursuing a Doctorate in Religion at Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where she is writing her dissertation onTalmudic Loopholes and the Role of Intention. During this process, she participated in the Cardozo Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Jewish Law and Legal Theory for two years. Elana loves to combine academic and traditional Torah study and is passionate about teaching and about people. She speaks around the country, has served as faculty at the Wexner Summer Institute, and has written for Text and Context. She was named one of the Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36″ in 2009. Elana lives with her beloved husband Yonah and “delicious” son Azzan on the Upper West Side in NYC.
Rabbi Doug Heifetz is a rabbi, entrepreneur, interfaith activist, father, husband and powerlifter. He serves as the Rabbi of Oseh Shalom, a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation in Laurel, Maryland. He collaborates with a congregational team of dedicated lay leaders and professionals. He is currently the President of the Washington Board of Rabbis. He is the co-founder of Mosaicverse, a forthcoming web and mobile service for the sharing and discussion of the sacred writings of the world’s faith tradition. He develops video games for exploring Jewish wisdom and communal life. Together with his congregation, he recently launched Shofar Run by Oseh Shalom, the Jewish ritual action game for iOS and Android mobile devices, continuously downloaded and played by users all over the world. He served as a founding steering committee member for Interfaith Worker Justice of Maryland. He worked as a full-time union organizer during an earlier life stage.
Rabbi Jordan Hersh serves as the spiritual leader of Beth Sholom Congregation in Frederick, MD. As a fellow of the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership, Jordan has served in a rabbinic capacity to various synagogues and Jewish institutions throughout the East Coast and Israel. His passion for Jewish living, teaching and leading was sparked during his time studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. As a trained community organizer, Jordan is excited to be engaged in the work of guiding his growing congregation to build an even more vibrant and spiritually-centered Jewish community. True to the Rabbis Without Borders ethos, he is helping Beth Sholom realize its goal of becoming a resource of Jewish wisdom for the wider community.
Bradley is a second year Rabbinical Student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He is originally from Great Neck, New York and attended North Shore Hebrew Academy for elementary school, RAMAZ for high school, and then spent a year in Israel at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim. He then attended New York University, where he studied Psychology and Jewish History. Some of his professional experiences include: Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus Fellowship at Binghamton University, and a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain intern at North Shore University Hospital.
Rabbi Jason Herman serves as the spiritual leader of the West Side Jewish Center in New York City and also serves as the Executive Director of the International Rabbinic Fellowship. He is a graduate of the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and has previously worked as an investment banker.
Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann just concluded two years serving as the firstRevson Rabbinic Fellow at IKAR, a dynamic and progressive spiritual community in Los Angeles, and just began serving as rabbi at Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in her hometown, Chicago. Motivated by apassion for great music, spirited davening, and rich Jewish conversation,Lizzi conceived of Mishkan, an outreach project on Chicago’s Northside designed to bring those experiences to young Jews outside the walls of the synagogues. Lizzi has been a director, educator, or rabbi in residence for the Brandeis Bardin Collegiate Institute, the Lishma summer yeshiva program, the Jewish Farm School, has worked with the IKAR davening team, the Nava Tehila Levites in Jerusalem, and taught at the Ziegler Rabbinical School. Check out her music atwww.soundclick.com/rabbilizzi
Rabbi Sherre Hirsch was headed to medical school when, driven by a desire to deepen her understanding of her faith, she began studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary. After a detour through Asia, where she studied eastern philosophy, Rabbi Hirsch was ordained in 1998. She spent the next 8 years as the first woman rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Since leaving Sinai in 2006 she has been sharing her unique blend of the spiritual and the everyday with a larger audience, appearing onseveral TV shows including “The Today Show”, “ABC News”, and “Inside Edition.” Rabbi Hirsch also serves as the spiritual life consultant and teacher for the Canyon Ranch Spas in Arizona and Massachusetts. Her first book, We Plan, God Laughs: What To Do When Life Hits You Over The Head (Doubleday), was published in April 2008. The book reflects a theme in Hirsch’s own life and she expertly guides readers through a spiritual and introspective journey toward reaching their divine potential. Her second book is set to be published in the spring of 2011. Rabbi Hirsch spends her free time practicing yoga, shopping for shoes, and dancing in the living room with her husband Jeff and four young children: sons Emet and Levi and daughters Eden and Alia.
Heidi Hoover is the rabbi of Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek, a Reform synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. She was ordained in 2011 by the Academy for Jewish Religion (New York) and holds a Master’s in Jewish Studies fromGratz College. She is a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, for which she blogs monthly; has been profiled in The New York Times; and is a participant in the Sacred Stories Project. Before rabbinical school, she had a career in publishing technology as a consultant and trainer. Rabbi Hoover seeks to model a Judaism that is open, joyful, and also sustaining in hard times. She teaches and empowers people to wrestle with Judaism as a living tradition, and make it their own. She and her husband live in Brooklyn with their two daughters, and love to sing karaoke, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and go to see musical theater.
Rabbi Andrew Jacobs has been the spiritual leader of Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida since 2002. His cutting-edge learning programs, including Chai Tech – The Online Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation Program, are benefitting students both within and outside of his congregation. He is the founder of ISH (www.findyourish.com), an innovative spiritual source and service that enables all spiritual seekers with opportunities to connect with Jewish wisdom. Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Jacobs is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a Masters of Arts in Jewish Art and Material Culture from the Jewish Theological Seminary in consortium with Columbia University and the Jewish Museum of New York. He was recently awarded “Spirit of Family Award” by Jewish Family Service of Broward County for his commitment to helping children and families overcome challenges. He posts regularly on his blog. Rabbis Andrew and his wife, Cheryl Jacobs are the proud parents of Abigail and Jonah.
Rabbi Michael S. Jay is the Spiritual Leader at the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island, which is nestled on the shores of the worlds second largest Mikvah in New Jersey. The JCC’s unique location helps to provide a fabulous backdrop for a borderless pulpit. He is the husband of Sheri and the father of Samantha, who joined and helped him on his extraordinary journey. Michael had been practicing law for about 15 years when, after beginning to study and teach Torah, he felt the irresistibly strong desire to pursue a career in the Rabbinate. He received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan, where he was a Neubauer Fellow. Michael was also a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Alim Rabbinic Fellow serving as the Rabbi to Beit Rayim Synagogue in Toronto, Canada from July 2011 to June 2012.
Lila Kagedan is a consultant, educator, and practitioner in the areas of global health, clinical and theoretical ethics, religion and education and is a student at Harvard University and Yeshivat Maharat. Lila has consulted for a variety of NGOs, health care centers and academic institutions and has lectured internationally while also working in clinical environments. She has taught Talmud, bioethics and Jewish studies in a variety of formal and non-formal settings and has written extensively on medicine and Jewish law, Jewish Ethics as well as on topics relating to women and Judaism/Jewish practice. Lila is the founding director of the Sulam School and a Hadassah Brandeis Institute-Gender, Culture, Religion and Law Research Associate. Lila holds degrees and certificates from Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The University of Toronto, Harvard University, The Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also training for private Orthodox ordination through the Jerusalem Rabbinate tests.
Rabbi James Kahn is the Director of Chaplaincy & Jewish Engagement at the Jewish Social Service Agency of Greater Washington (JSSA). There, he employs Jewish wisdom to empower and nourish individuals and families confronting major life challenges, and the staff that serve them. Rabbi James facilitates JSSA’s Clergy Training Program, providing rabbis and cantors across the denominational spectrum with a forum to share experiences, gain critical resources and learn from JSSA’s expertise in human services. He is the creator of JSSA’s Rent-A-Mensch Project, an on-call team of young Jewish professionals meeting short-term client needs. As Director of Chaplaincy, he supervises a dozen chaplains serving area hospitals, senior facilities and prisons. He is the Rabbinic Director for DC’s Hebrew Free Burial Society and Administrative Director for the Washington Board of Rabbis. Prior to JSSA, Rabbi James worked as the Senior Jewish Educator at Maryland Hillel. He received smicha from Boston’s pluralistic Hebrew College Rabbinical School in 2009.
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster is Director of Education and Outreach for Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, where she has worked to teach the American Jewish community about the intersections between the core values of Judaism and human rights. She was ordained in 2008 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also received her MA and BA in Midrash, and is a graduate of Barnard College. A teacher of Jews of all age and a committed activist, while in rabbinical school, she served as president of the Rabbinical School Student Organization, and as an intern at the JCC of Manhattan and at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. She is a contributor to the Judaism, food, and sustainability blog The Jew and the Carrot, and her writing has also appeared in Conservative Judaism, Shema, Jewschool.com, and Jvoices.com. Rachel lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with her husband and daughter.
Ordained in 2004 by the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, Rabbi Min Kantrowitz is the Director of Shutafim:New Mexico Jewish Community Connections, a Jewish Federation of New Mexico program. Shutafim assists small, isolated Jewish communities across the state through a strategy of empowerment, teaching and support of lay leaders. She consults for the Jewish Community Center of Albuquerque, serves the Taos Jewish Center, teaches regularly for Road Scholar/Elderhostel, and has an active private teaching and spiritual support practice. She served as Director of the Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico for almost 9 years before the closure of the agency. She is the author of Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide, which provides readers with a guided path through the 49 days of Counting the O
Rabbi Beth Kalisch serves as the Adjunct Rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City and is also working to build new Jewish community among young Jews in Brooklyn. From 2009 – 2012, she served as the Associate Rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. She was ordained from HUC-JIR in 2009, having served as a student rabbi for congregations in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New York, and the Ukraine; as a Jewish educator at URJ Camp Newman; and as a student chaplain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A former Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, she has also volunteered in rural El Salvador with the American Jewish World Service and trained as a community organizer with Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. She earned her B.A. from Yale University with distinction in Religious Studies.
Dana Evan Kaplan is beginning a new position as rabbi of the Jamaican Jewish community and will also be teaching at the United Theological College of the University of the West Indies. Previously, he was rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Albany, Georgia. He has rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and holds a Ph.D. in American Jewish History from Tel Aviv University. He has written and edited several books and contributes to the press on occasion, most recently on the debate over the future of Reform Judaism in the Forward.
Rabbi Drew Kaplan is the current rabbi and director for Southern California Jewish Student Services (SoCalJSS) and Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment (SoCalJYAE), both initiatives of Beth El Synagogue. Through SoCalJSS, he also serves as the resident rabbi for Beach Hillel. Rabbi Drew graduated rabbinical school from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in June 2009. Rabbi Drew received his BA in Jewish Studies from Indiana University in December 2003. Rabbi Drew is a member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and the Orange County Board of Rabbis. He is also on the board of the Interfaith Foundation at University of California, Irvine. He lives in Long Beach, with his wife, Rachel, who serves as the Executive Director of Beach Hillel, and with their three daughters. Visit http://RabbiDrew.info andhttp://rebdre.ws/jewishquotes http://twitter.com/RabbiDrew
Rabbi Zvi Jonathan Kaplan, an ordained Orthodox rabbi, received his JD from University of Toronto and his PhD in modern Jewish History from Columbia University. He is a professor of history and Jewish studies. He has written articles on Moses Mendelssohn, Hungarian Ultra- Orthodoxy, and modern French Jewry. His book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea? French Jewry and the Problem of Church and State, was published by Brown University Press in 2009. He is currently co-editing a new volume entitled Re-examining the Jews of Modern France: Images and Identities.
Rabbi Lynne A. Kern is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has written hard news and feature stories for the Kansas City Star, the Washington Post and the New York Times. For eight years, she also co-owned and acted as Creative Director at a national advertising agency. Ordained from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2001, she served as a congregational rabbi for five and a half years, as well as foundingTimbrels Through Torah: A Women’s Institute of Jewish Learning. She is co-writer and co-producer of the documentary theater piece, Stories From the Fringe: Women Rabbis Revealed, which is currently being produced around the country. She is also the co- producer of a documentary-in-the-making calledOn the Fringe, a film about how women rabbis are transforming Judaism. Out of these two projects was born, The Story Archive of Women Rabbis, of which Rabbi Kern is one of the creators. This will be the first all-video archive collecting and preserving the stories of woman who are rabbis and will be available to the public on-line. Rabbi Kern acts as a scholar-in-residence and consults on programming for synagogues worldwide. She is a founding member of the Jewish Women’s Theatre and creates pieces for their salon shows every year. She has been published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies including The Women’s Haftarah Commentary. She is currently working on a spiritual memoir.
Elinor Knepler is entering her final year of studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. She is returning to the US after spending two years in Israel, studying at a number of different institutions, including Matan, Hebrew University, the Conservative Yeshiva and the Hartman Institute. She took advantage of her time in Israel to travel throughout the country, as well as to Spain, Turkey and Egypt. A proud Midwesterner, Ellie hails originally from Chicago and received her BA with distinction from the University of Wisconsin. During her time in rabbinical school, Ellie has especially enjoyed hospital chaplaincy and working with elders. When she isn’t working or studying, Ellie loves reading, yoga, singing, traveling and being in nature.
Rabbi Daniel Kirzane was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where he also received an MA in Religious Education. He currently serves as Assistant Rabbi at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, NJ with senior rabbi Joel Mosbacher. At HUC-JIR, Daniel served as the coordinator of the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen and as the HUC-JIR liaison to Inter-Seminary Dialogue. He also served as student rabbi of congregations in Ohio, Virginia, Montreal, and New York and worked at the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Columbia/Barnard Hillel. Daniel is an alum of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, is on the rabbinic cabinets of T’ruah and J Street, and sits on the HUC-JIR Rabbinical School Alumni Council. Daniel’s wife, Jessica, is a PhD candidate in Yiddish Studies at Columbia University, and their young son, Jeremiah, has shown considerable skill in eating, babbling, and standing up.
Michael Knopf is the rabbi ofTemple Beth-El in Richmond, Virginia, where he has partnered with a dynamic and innovative community to inspire a renaissance, fusing heritage with contemporary relevance and imagination. Rabbi Knopf is dedicated to engaging and supporting spiritual seekers, communicating the transformative power of Torah and prayer, and building welcoming and supportive community. Before his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011, Rabbi Knopf helped coordinate the nation’s largest preparatory program for conversion to Judaism, worked as a spiritual counselor at Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish addiction treatment facility, and served several congregations and educational institutions. Prior to assuming the pulpit at Temple Beth-El, Rabbi Knopf served as Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA. Rabbi Knopf has published widely, releases two weekly podcasts, and is a regular contributor to Haaretz, Huffington Post, Jewish Values Online, and other publications. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Rabbi Knopf enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza. Follow Rabbi Knopf on Facebook and Twitter.
Rabbi Kobrin was ordained in May, 2009 by the Zeigler School of Rabbinical Studies at American Jewish University. She is currently the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin Texas. She has shared her passion for Jewish life with children, teens, and adults at synagogues, Hillels and schools throughout the country. She was co-founder and co-coordinator of Minyan Malei Shirah, a soulful and song-filled independent Friday night minyan in Los Angeles. Rabbi Kobrin is a contributing author in the book God: Jewish Choices for Struggling with the Ultimate (2008). Rabbi Kobrin and her husband, Rabbi Rick Brody, have two children, Noa (age 5) and Adin (age1).
Evan J. Krame, a resident of Potomac, Maryland, was ordained as a Rabbi by the ALEPH Ordination Program in January, 2015. He is the co-founder of the Jewish Studio. www.thejewishstudio.org. Evan is a past president of several organizations including the Hillel at George Washington University and Shared Horizons, Inc., a pooled special needs trust for persons with disabilities. A founder of the American Friends of the Anne Frank House, Evan continues to serve as an officer after 20 years. Evan has been honored with Hillel’s Exemplar of the Year, Israel Bonds Young Leadership Award, Jewish Federation of Washington’s Campaigner of the Year, ORT’s community leadership award and the Shared Horizons Humanitarian award. Evan continues as partner in Krame and Biggin, a law firm specializing in estates and trusts, with an emphasis on assisting persons with special needs and elder law. Evan is a graduate of Brandeis University and George Washington University Law School (LLM in Taxation).
Rabbi Beth Kramer-Mazer
A lifelong Reform Jew with pluralistic leanings, Beth grew up in an engaged Jewish household in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Beginning at a young age, she was immersed in lively and dynamic Jewish communities, ranging from her creative synagogue, Jewish summer camp, NFTY and multiple Israel trips.
Beth earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester, with concentrations in religion and psychology, and a Master of Arts in Interdepartmental Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Since 1996, Rabbi Beth has worked full-time in the amazing arena of Jewish education. Rabbi Beth has received several awards and recognitions for her excellence in leadership and innovations in Jewish education.
Beth was ordained as a Rabbi in May, 2016 at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a sixty year old pluralistic seminary in New York. Among other areas, she has engaged deeply in pastoral counseling, the Jewish life cycle, leadership of worship services and events and hospital chaplaincy.
Beth now serves as Rabbi-Educator at Temple Beth El of Northern Valley in Closter, NJ, and she is thrilled to serve the Jewish community as both rabbi and experienced educator, blending passions and skills from both arenas. Beth resides in New City, New York with her husband, Ross Mazer and their two teenage daughters, Shoshana and Jordana.
Susan Landau, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University, with a degree in Sociology, and minors in Hebrew and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She is a fifth year student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and currently serves as rabbinic intern at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners, NY. Previously, Susan was the student rabbi at B’nai Israel in High Point, North Carolina, and at Sarah Neuman, the Westchester campus of the Jewish Home Life Care nursing home system. During the summers Susan has completed a residency internship at North Shore Congregation Israel, in Glencoe, IL, a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and has served as rabbinic intern at the Jewish Home in the Bronx. Susan is a former co-coordinator of the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen, and was a student fellow in the Rabbis Without Borders cohort in 2013-2014. Throughout her years as a student, Susan has been the recipient of the Audrey Y. Zucker Scholarship.
Rabbi Sari Laufer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Rabbi Laufer was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles in May 2006. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Rabbi Laufer was also selected for the PEER program through Synagogue Transformation and Renewal, for the inaugural year of the Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leadership through UJA-Federation of New York, and was a member of the second cohort of CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship. At Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Rabbi Laufer is a teacher of those young and young-at-heart, bringing her passion for rabbinic texts, social justice, and Judaism’s wisdom and relevance in the 21st century into the lives of those with whom she is privileged to learn and to share. Rabbi Laufer is a sporadic blogger (torahblahnik.blogspot.com), prolific Tweeter (@rabbilaufer), avid SoulCyclist, and aspiring epicure. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Cutter and son Jacob (Kobi), born in October 2013.
Sandra Lawson is a entering her third year as a Rabbincal student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Prior to moving to Philadelphia she worked as a personal trainer, an Adjunct Professor, and served as the Investigative Researcher for the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Region, becoming the go-to person when Law Enforcement in the South needed information on hate groups. As a black queer Jew she hopes to use her Rabbinic training to bring attention to Jewish diversity, environmental issues and poverty. Sandra also holds a Masters degree in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University.
Rabbi Adam Lavitt is a spiritual leader, educator, and writer living in Philadelphia, where he serves as the campus rabbi at Swarthmore College. Ordained at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2012, Adam has since been a Liturgist in Residence at the National Havurah Institute, and a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. His interest in embodiment and spiritual practice led him to co-found the Movement Minyan, and fueled his recent work reimagining education at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, in Newton, MA. where he served as assistant rabbi.
Rabbi Tsafi Lev, is the West Coast CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Student Director. He is also the Rabbinic Director of New Community Jewish High School in West Hills, CA, and a Lecturer for the Fingerhut School of Education Master of Arts in Education program at the American Jewish University. Rabbi Lev blogs at MyJewishLearning and for New Community Jewish High School. He can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh is a native New Yorker who loves mountains. He is the Rabbi of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord MA. Only the second Deaf Rabbi to serve a hearing congregation he is committed to creating a community with intellectual honesty and spiritual depth. Rabbi Leigh is a passionate snowboarder and a former leading actor with the Tony award-winning National Theater of the Deaf. He has appeared on stage with rock and roll bands, Jane’s Addiction and Twisted Sister. Rabbi Leigh has taught at the AJR and is invited to lecture internationally. He provided consulting services for the Oscar-nominated documentary Sound and Fury. Rabbi Leigh holds a BA in religion,summa cum laude, from the University of Rochester, an MA in religion from Columbia University and received Rabbinic Ordination from the RRC. He is married to Dr. Randi Leigh and they have three daughters. Find him on Twitter @RabbiDarby or e mail RabbiDarby@KeremShalom.org.
David Levin was ordained a Reform Rabbi. He is a second career rabbi focusing on issues of relationships and how Judaism creates meaning. His blog, TheRadmal.com offers commentary on a variety of timely topics including Parshat HaShavuah. Rabbi Levin also is a regular contributor toJewishSacredAging.com. Rabbi Levin served the Union For Reform Judaism (URJ) as a Rabbinical Director in the Congregational Network, as liaison to the congregations. Rabbi Levin also worked at Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, PA. He is active in the Philadelphia Jewish community. Rabbi Levin serves on the Pluralism Committee of the Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy. He is also a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and a fellow in Rabbis Without Borders. Before embarking on this journey, Rabbi Levin had a 30-year career in real estate and banking. David makes his home outside Philadelphia with his wife Naomi.
Daniel is originally from West Orange, New Jersey. After studying Judaic Studies in Binghamton University, he served as the Youth Department Supervisor at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Monmouth County New Jersey. Daniel will be beginning his fourth and last year as Rabbinical Student in Yeshivat Chovevei Torah this coming September. Some of his professional experiences include: Rabbinic Intern, Congregation Shearith Israel, Nashville, TN., instructor for the 92nd street Y’s Derekh Torah program, and the chair of the Research Committee for Fuel For Truth, a non-profit dedicated to educating young Americans about Israel and the Middle East.
Rabbi Phil Lieberman currently serves as Dorot Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, and as rabbi of Congregation Kol HaNeshamah in Englewood, New Jersey. Prior to pursuing rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Phil studied economics at the University of Washington and then at the London School of Economics, and was a member of the American Stock Exchange, where he traded index options for a number of years. His graduate work, in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, focused on Jewish life in Islamic lands. He is also an active EMT member of the Englewood Cliffs Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In the fall, Phil will take up a position as assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rabbi Leah Loeterman Fein is originally from Los Angeles, CA and is the Hillel Campus Rabbi at Syracuse University. She graduated Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in International and Global Studies and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Leah received Rabbinic Ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015, and was awarded the Kay and Rabbi Moshe Pomerantz Prize in Congregational Education. Leah has interned at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Hunter College Hillel, and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a hospice chaplain in the Bronx. She spent time living and learning in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Schechter Institute. She is a Clal Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, has taught in various Hillels and synagogues in New York City, and spent many summers as a camper and counselor at Camp Ramah in California. Leah lives in Syracuse, NY with her husband, Alex Fein.
Rabbi David Evan Markus holds dual ordination as rabbi and spiritual director from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and is now the past co-chair of ALEPH and the Jewish Renewal movement. A Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, he is co-rabbi of Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York, NY) and teaches for ALEPH Ordinations. He serves as spiritual director for ALEPH and Yeshivat Maharat, and maintains a private spiritual direction practice. He’s written for My Jewish Learning,Jerusalem Report, T’ruah, Presence, Kol ALEPH, and journals on liturgy and spirituality. In secular life, he presides in New York Supreme Court. His prior public service positions include special counsel to the Chief Judge of New York, senior counsel to the New York Senate, election counsel for a presidential campaign, and professor at Fordham and Pace Universities. David earned his BA laude from Williams College; his MPP in strategic management and organizational leadership from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he earned the global Innovator in Public Service designation; and his JD from Harvard Law School. He lives in New York.
Rabbi Juan Mejía was born in Bogotá, Colombia. After discovering the Jewish roots of his family, he embarked on a spiritual journey that lead him back to the religion and the people of his ancestors. He holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the National University of Colombia and a summa cum laude Master’s Degree in Jewish Civilization from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in NY. He plans to devote his life to the Torah education of both Jews and descendants of anusim wherever they may be. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oklahoma City, OK. He was recently appointed as the coordinator for the American Southwest for the Jewish non-profit organization Bechol Lashon.
Rabbi Jason Miller is an entrepreneur, educator and blogger. He is a frequent contributor to Time Magazine, Huffington Post, The Jewish Week, The Jewish Daily Forward, Times of Israel and JTA.org. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader” and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. Rabbi Jason Miller is the president of Access Computer Technology, a computer tech support, web design and social media marketing company in Michigan. He won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program. http://blog.rabbijason.com Twitter: @RabbiJason
Rabbi Tamara Miller maintains a private rabbinic practice in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. She is a ritualist who creates memorable life cycle events from baby namings to weddings to funerals. She has a flourishing spiritual counseling clientele and individual students who want to learn about the essence of Judaism. Through a Templeton Grant ,Rabbi Miller provides third year medical students at the George Washington Medical school formation reflections rounds for these future doctors. She served as the Director of Spiritual Care at George Washington University Hospital for ten years.
A graduate of the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City, Rabbi Miller considers herself a pluralistic rabbi with roots in Orthodoxy and wings in the Jewish Renewal movement. In 2000-2008 she nurtured an outreach congregation in the greater Washington area, “The Capital Kehillah” which was housed at the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue.
Daniel Millner is from Glencoe, IL. He graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a BA in Jewish and Religious Studies. Daniel then studied for two years at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel. He is currently a second-year rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Upon receiving ordination, Daniel would to pursue a career as a chaplain in the United States Navy.
Jessica Minnen is the Rabbi in Residence at OneTable, a startup that encourages adults to end their week with intention and explore the role of Shabbat dinner in their lives. In addition to her work with OneTable, Jessica is the founder of Seven Wells, an education initiative that invites emerging adults to consider sexuality, intimacy, and relationships through a Jewish framework. Seven Wells embraces a sex positive model and welcomes participants of all religious backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations to make connections between their sexuality and their spiritual lives. In 2014, Jessica was profiled in the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 feature. She is a Reboot fellow, holds a High Holiday pulpit position in Bethesda, Maryland at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Jewish Society for Service since 2012. Originally from Paducah, Kentucky, Jessica is an alumna of Washington University in St. Louis, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Paideia: The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, Baltimore Hebrew University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds, and is being incubated at Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he received the Cora Kahn Prize from the Cincinnati faculty for the most outstanding sermon delivery and oratory. An alumnus of Princeton University, he received multiple prizes for outstanding scholarship in Biblical and Judaic studies, and his writings about the intersection of religion and science have often appeared on the homepage of The Huffington Postand many other sites. For seven years, he served as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester. He lives in Westchester with his wife Heather Stoltz, a fiber artist, and their daughter. You can follow him at @RabbiMitelman.
Rav Shoshana is the founder of Makom Shalom, a Jewish renewal community in Northern Westchester which cultivates wholeness, healing and spiritual friendship. It is a place of peace, connection and joy where spiritual seekers join together to receive the wisdom of Jewish tradition through prayer, learning and community. Rav Shoshana answered the call to become a rabbi after a career in sales and Jewish communal work. She received her rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary is 2007 ; is a graduate of the institute of Jewish spirituality program and the kol zimra chant leadership training, and is proud to be a rwb fellow class of 2012( needs fact check?) For recreation Rav shoshana enjoys playing tennis and golf and has just taken up knitting. She lives in Chappaqua New York and is grateful to her husband Fred for all his support of her spiritual journey. They have two grown children helaine and josh who Live in New York City.. ravshosha.com
Jack Moline is Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance, a national advocacy group focusing on the inclusiveness of the First Amendment. He is also Rabbi Emeritus of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA, where he served for 27 years. Jack has been recognized for his work in the pulpit, in the community and on the national scene, advising three Presidents and numerous Senators, Members of Congress and state and city officials. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1982.
Rabbi Leana Moritt’s rich and varied rabbinic portfolio has her serving as a Rabbi, teacher and chaplain. She leads the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation in New York City and Thresholds: for the Jewishly Curious, for those seeking to spiritually infuse, enter Jewish life or navigate interfaith relationships. She is an engaging teacher and leader of prayer, chant and engaging discussion throughout the NY Metropolitan area and across denominational and institutional settings. Her venues range from the 92nd St Y and Melton to synagogues, grocery stores, worldwide on-line classes and the Union for Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Moritt also offers spiritual care as a chaplain to the homebound elderly for Federation of Greater MetroWest. Rabbi Moritt was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY and by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi/Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Prior to becoming a rabbi she was an executive in the music industry at Arista Records.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox synagogue known for its embracing attitude toward all Jews and its social responsibility to all people. She is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic authorities. Rori previously served as Acting Executive Director of Religions for Peace-USA, Program Coordinator for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, and Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs at American Jewish Committee. Rori is the chair of the International Youth Committee of Religions for Peace’s Global Youth Network and co-editor of “InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook.” She has been published in the Jewish Daily Forward, Jewish Week, JOFA Journal, Lilith, and the St Louis Post-Dispatch. Rori is married to Russel Neiss and they have three children, Daria, Susanna, and Shmaya.
As a rabbi for more than twenty years, Rabbi Hillel Norry knows about prayer and religious practice. Steeped in traditional Jewish worship, Rabbi Norry has developed a philosophy of spiritual practice that draws inspiration from creative arts, athletics, and other spiritual traditions. A scholar of both ancient and contemporary meditation and rituals, he offers a unique blend of experiential learning for schools, synagogues, churches, and professional groups. He is widely recognized as an inspiring and dynamic motivational speaker and teaches on subjects as diverse as Jewish ethics, and the Jewish roots of Christianity. Rabbi Norry can help your group, church, synagogue, or professional association recharge their mind and spirit. Rabbi Norry is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a certified firearms instructor. He advocates self-defense training and teaches about the mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts. He is also an accomplished guitarist and harmonica player. www. HillelNorry.com.
Jeremy Pappas is entering Year 3 at JTS Rabbinical School. He is currently spending his 18th consecutive summer at Camp Ramah in Canada, where he serves as the Program Director. He is originally from West Bloomfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit — yet invested all his rooting interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers! He loves being a tourist in New York City, but cannot wait to return home to the Midwest one day. Next year, he will serve as the rabbinic intern at NYU Hillel. When he is not busy with school and work, he is busy planning his upcoming wedding, b’h, to Abbie Fagin this coming October in Cleveland, OH.
A native Texan, Salem dearly misses Tex-Mex and her family but not the oppressive humidity of Houston. Her feelings about Austin, where she received a degree in Classics from the University of Texas, are more nuanced. After a brief stint in Raleigh. N.C., as a high school Latin teacher, Salem moved to Washington, D.C., and raised money for a variety of nonprofits. For seven years, she volunteered for and served on the board of the DC Rape Crisis Center. She also joined the Young Professionals Board of the ADL and volunteered for the Washington DCJCC, Jews United for Justice, and Sixth & I Synagogue, where she was married. She tries to sweat once a day, usually before dawn, by running or doing Bikram yoga. Salem is a second year rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston, where she lives with her husband and their two cats.
Rabbi Pearlson’s Judaic education is varied and diverse. Although serving in a Conservative synagogue, Rabbi Pearlson has studied in “Litvishe” Yeshiva programs like the Greater Miami Mesifta and The Talmudic University and even Lubavitch Yeshiva- Tomchei Tmimim and Yeshiva University. In addition to his religious studies, Rabbi Pearlson has undergraduate degrees in Jewish Studies and Biochemistry, a Masters in Rabbinic Literature and did his graduate studies in Microbiology at the University of Florida. Rabbi Pearlson was granted orthodox Rabbinic Ordination at Yeshivat Hatfutzot-Mt. Zion Israel. Among Rabbi Pearlson’s community outreach efforts has been the ‘adoption’ of an African American Church. In addition to a pulpit exchange with their minister, Temple Menorah also has sponsored their Afternoon Computer Lab for Children at Risk. As a Jewish activist, Rabbi Pearlson has been arrested defending Jewish causes in Auschwitz-Birkenau, New York City and Miami — and as his supporters note: “Arrested, but never convicted”.
Rabbi Scott Perlo left the waves of his beloved Pacific Ocean to be the Associate Director of Jewish Programming at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. His job is extremely cool, and he spends his days reaching out to the young professional Jews and the “Jewish adjacent” population of Washington D.C . Scott was the first rabbi of the Professional Leaders Project and Moishe House, a founder of the Ma’or Beit Midrash and CreateHavdallah, rabbi of Adat Shalom in West L.A., and rabbinic intern at IKAR and Beit Warszawa in Warsaw, Poland. He received his undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania and his ordination from the Ziegler School at the American Jewish University in 2008. Scott writes regularly for the Huffington Post, Sixth and I’s blog, Kosher Salt, and has been published in the Washington Post.
Alexis Pinsky is a third year student in the rabbinical program at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. Alexis was born in and grew up in Atlanta, GA. She attended college at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA where she double majored in Jewish Studies and Psychology. Alexis graduated from Tulane in three years cum laude with a BS. She has served the Jewish community in many capacities throughout the years. She served on the board of New Orleans Hillel, and has led services with Hillels of Westchester, New Orleans Hillel, and her home congregation of Temple Sinai of Atlanta, GA. She also has taught Hebrew and religious school programs at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan and at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. Alexis has a great love of Israel, where she has lived and traveled extensively. During her time at Tulane, she served as the Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Intern, and spearheaded Israel education and programming on campus.
Aaron Potek was born and raised in St. Louis Park, MN and majored in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. Aaron became very involved in Jewish life on campus, from coordinating matzah ball soup deliveries for sick Jewish students to founding the Jewish Engineering Association to performing with the Hillel’s first improv group, and upon graduating he decided to pursue a career in the rabbinate. After studying in Israel for two years, one at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem and one at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut, he enrolled at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. He hopes to work as a University Hillel rabbi once he receives smicha.
Rabbi Marcia Prager serves as rabbi of the P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Congregation of Philadelphia and is Director and Dean of the ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Ordination Programs, the innovative non-denominational seminary which trains rabbis, cantors and rabbinic pastors though a rigorous curriculum that blends distance learning and intensive residential retreats. On Tikkun Magazine’s 25th anniversary, Rabbi Marcia was awarded the Tikkun Prize in recognition for her work as director of this groundbreaking program. Along with R’ Shawn Zevit, she co-founded and co-teaches the acclaimed DAVVENEN’ LEADERSHIP TRAINING INSTITUTE, a two-year training program in the leadership of public prayer has trained nearly 400 Jewish clergy and lay leaders. She is the creator of the P’nai Or Siddurim for Shabbat and author of Path of Blessing, called “the best introduction to Jewish Renewal thought” by Reform Magazine. In 2010 the Forward named Prager as one of the “50 Most Influential Women Rabbis.
Simcha Raphael, Ph.D. is Founding Director of the DA’AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy and Training (http://www.daatinstitute.net). He received his doctorate in Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (http://www.ciis.edu) and was ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi http://rzlp.org/Yesod-RZLP/Reb_Zalman_Legacy_Project.html. He is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Jewish Studies at Temple University, and works as a psychotherapist and spiritual director, affiliated with Mount Airy Counseling Center, in Philadelphia. For over twenty-five years Simcha’s professional work has focused on Jewish death awareness education and bereavement counseling, and he has spoken at Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal Congregations, as well as churches and social service agencies in United States, Canada, England and Israel. He is married to Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael (www.shechinah.com), and is author of numerous publications including Jewish Views of the Afterlife (http://www.daatinstitute.net/publications-av-resources/publications/)
Rabbi Shaul Rappeport was ordained in 2004 by the Institute of Rabbinical Training of South Africa and the Ariel Institute of Jerusalem. Since his ordination, Shaul has served communities in Australia and the US and in 2013 he became the rabbi and spiritual leader of the Lido Beach Synagogue. When asked in first grade what he wants to be when grows up, Shaul said “A rabbi.” Thrilled to be living his childhood dream, Shaul is continually excited about bringing Jewish wisdom to people in a way that is spiritually and intellectually satisfying, meaningful and relevant. Fluent in Mame Loshen, Shaul enjoys all things Yiddish, from Yiddish culture to literature and music. Born and raised in Perth, Australia till the age of 12, he then made Aliyah with his parents and brother who still live in Israel. Shaul now resides in Lido Beach, NY with his wife Michal and three gorgeous kinderlach. You can find Rabbi Rappeport on Twitter @LidoShulRav.
Nick Renner is in his last year of rabbinical school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA. Nick has served as rabbinic intern at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the University of Delaware, and Hillel’s Schusterman International Center. Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, Nick is a 2007 graduate of Duke University. He played in Duke’s jazz program, and has played in bands in Durham, Netanya, and Philadelphia. Outside of rabbinical school and music, Nick also loves to cook.
Rabbi Michelle Robinson was ordained in 1999 as part of the first graduating class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Since then, she has found her home at Temple Emanuel of Newton, Massachusetts, a thriving and vibrant Conservative community. Her rabbinic passions include outreach, community building, and facilitating personal connections to the beauty of prayer. Her innovations include the Yoga for the Soul minyan, which combines traditional prayer and yoga movement in an uplifting service of the heart, and rabbinic leadership of the synagogue’s musical Kabbalat Shabbat service, which brings together hundreds of congregants each week to connect to prayer and each other with spirit and joy. She and her husband Mike are the proud parents of Maya, Noa, and Eli.
Yaacov Rone is Board Certified Chaplain, Past President of Neshama-Assoc.of Jewish Chaplains. Chair of Cert. Commissioner of same. Chaplain at Eisenhower Hospital, Rancho Mirage, CA; former member (retired) American Assoc. Marital and Family Therapists; run Crises Hotline for Rabbinical Assembly members and their families. Resident in Palm Springs, CA and Berkshires (Pittsfield MA).
Rabbi Carnie Shalom Rose holds the Rabbi Bernard Lipnick Senior Rabbinic Chair of Congregation B’nai Amoona in St. Louis, MO. The son of Rabbi Neal and Carol Rose of Winnipeg, Canada (and now of St. Louis!) and a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary (1995), Rose is married to Pauline (Zimnavoda) Rose and Abba to four remarkable children — Noa Dina (16), Zakai Adin (14), Nadiv Lev (13) and Ellior Liat (11). Carnie is one of 5 Rabbis in his nuclear family and has lived, studied and taught throughout the world – including stints in the USA, Canada, Israel, Japan and several European communities. Deeply committed to making Jewish Tradition existentially relevant for contemporary seekers, he continually seeks to bridge the ways of past with the needs of the present for the sake of the future. A dynamic, passionate teacher and preacher, Rose has participated in some of the most creative and innovative Rabbinic Enhancement and Training programs, and is currently engaged in advanced academic work in the fields of applied Jewish Mysticism and Change Management.
Ariella Rosen is entering her third year in the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and Camp Ramah in New England, and attended List College, the undergraduate joint program between JTS and Columbia where she studied midrash and psychology. In her spare time Ariella enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, reading, working in the special needs community, and just generally being outside.
Rabbi Michael Ross is a Reconstructionist rabbi living in Greensboro, NC. He currently is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Beth David Synagogue, Greensboro, NC. He launched a new Shabbat school, a weekly Jewish meditation group, and a weekly Torah Study group. He directed synagogue schools in Newark, Delaware, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Malvern, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the founding cohort of Rabbis Without Borders.
Rabbi Michael taught Gratz College courses to high school students in both “Jewish Bible Studies,” and “Jewish Education” and “Rabbinic Texts” for six years in the Gratz’ JCHS program. He is a published curriculum writer. He co-edited the recent children’s prayer-book “Kol HaNo’ar: The Voice of Children.”
He is married to Rabbi Rachel Brown, the Conservative Rabbi at American Hebrew Academy. Together Rachel and Michael are busy celebrating family life with their first child, Gabriel. For more, please visit: http://about.me/rabbimichaelross.
Lyle is entering his 5th year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-JIR where he is also pursuing his MA in Religious Education. Before moving to the Upper West Side, he called Long Island home. After graduating from Hofstra University in 2004, Lyle went to live in Israel as a madrich on Carmel, a first year college program with the Reform Movement at the Leo Baeck Education Center and University of Haifa. In the Summer of 2010 he traveled to Israel with the Auburn Theological Seminary and the American Jewish Committee on a Protestant/Jewish seminarian dialogue trip. He currently teaches 12th grade at Congregation Rodeph Sholom and has spent the last two years as the Reform rabbinic intern at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. This year Lyle will serve as the student rabbi at the Har Tikvah Congregation of Brampton Ontario.
Currently in his third year as rabbi of the historic Congregation Beth Mordecai in Perth Amboy, NJ, Rabbi Ari Saks has initiated many innovative programs like the Cantorial Showcase and “White Out” Friday Night. Under his leadership, young synagogue leaders have launched the Young Jewish Professionals of Perth Amboy to attract 20s and 30s to Perth Amboy. Rabbi Saks’ outreach at Yeshivat Panera and Menlo Park Mall have been highlighted by the NJ Jewish News, which dubbed him the “Mall Rabbi.” Rabbi Saks uses social media to reach out and teach Torah for Yizkor, Megillat Esther, and the weekly Torah portion, in addition to his blog. Rabbi Saks is deeply engaged in interfaith work as a Deputy Commander of the Perth Amboy Chaplain Corps. He has worked closely with a few local churches on a number of interfaith programs including an interfaith couples seminar for Jewish-Christian couples. Through all of these efforts (among others) the synagogue has increased membership by nearly 35% and increased revenue nearly 70%.
Eva Sax Bolder is a senior student in the ALEPH Rabbinical Ordination Program. She serves as the assistant spiritual leader of Temple Beth El of City Island, New York. Eva is a longtime spiritual director, trained by Lev Shomea (the Jewish Institute for Spiritual Direction) and is a Kol Zimra chant leader (Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Chant Leadership Program). As a 2011 Rabbis Without Borders student fellow, Eva has been inspired to creatively integrate the wisdom of our tradition as she launches Nishmat HaLev, the Center for Creative Jewish Spirituality. She holds certifications in Jewish Yoga, Wise Eldering, and Jewish Mindfulness Meditation through IJS. She enjoys teaching, creating life cycle rituals and supporting seekers in their quest to connect with the Divine. Eva resides in White Plains, NY with her husband, Larry, and has two wonderful grown daughters. She enjoys visual art, cooking, dancing, singing, gardening, traveling and especially her family and friends.
Raised in Woodmere, NY, Andrew attended modern Orthodox day schools, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway and North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. He then studied for a year at Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion after which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish History from New York University. He taught English for a year to kindergartners in the Japanese countryside, taking the train into Tokyo on Sundays to teach Hebrew School at the JCC there. After many conversations with Rabbi Antonio DiGesu and others in the Far East, he decided that he could best serve the Jewish people as a Rabbi in underserved communities, leading to his decision to attend Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, is the rabbi of the United Synagogue of Hoboken, New Jersey. Rabbi Scheinberg has taught Liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Academy for Jewish Religion. He has served on the editorial committees for Mahzor Lev Shalem, the new High Holiday prayerbook for Conservative Judaism (2010), and the forthcoming Siddur Lev Shalem. In 2006, he served on the New Jersey Legislature’s Death Penalty Study Commission, which set the stage for the abolition of capital punishment in New Jersey. Rabbi Scheinberg plays piano and guitar and is a choral arranger and conductor. He holds leadership positions with the Hoboken Homeless Shelter and the New Jersey Rabbinical Assembly. He lives in Hoboken with his wife, Rabbi Naomi Kalish, a hospital chaplain and chaplaincy educator, and their three daughters. His writings and music can be found atrabbischeinberg.blogspot.com.
Rav Hanan divides his time between Israel and the USA. He serves as the Founding Director for the the Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas. In this capacity he teaches passionate and pluralistic adult education classes on Judaism and spearheads interfaith projects throughout the greater Dallas area. In Israel he serves as the president of the Memnosyne Israel, which he founded at the beginning of 2014. In this capacity he is active in a number of interfaith and peace building initiatives, bringing together Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian. The project that he has particularly dedicated himself to isRoots/Shorashim/Judur The Palestinian Israeli Grassroots Initiative for Understanding, Nonviolence and Reconciliation. He serves as the Roots program director, and frequently speaks in the USA and Israel together with his Palestinian partner about the amazing work they are doing in Judea/Palestine. He lives with his wife Ayala in Gush Etzion, Israel.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Jennifer Schlosberg is a rising senior rabbinical student at JTS, where she received the Neubauer Fellowship and the Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship. Jen graduated from the University of Hartford, where she majored in psychology and held the position of student body president. After college, she worked as a Jewish outreach professional for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life on campuses in Ohio and California and then Hillel’s Schusterman International Center in Washington, DC. During rabbinical school, Jen served as a chaplain intern at Jewish Home Lifecare and at Bellevue Hospital, a gabbai for Women’s League Seminary Synagogue, a service leader for both toddlers and seniors, and was active in Keshet — the LGBTQ student-ally group at JTS. She has served as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York and at Dix Hills Jewish Center in Dix Hills, NY. She looks forward to serving as the student rabbi for Congregation Ahavath Israel in Kingston, NY this coming year as a Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellow. She enjoys advocating for the special needs community and spends her spare time taking pictures and twirling her fire baton (ask about her havdalah routine!)
Ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr is the newsletter editor for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and is a contributing writer at Kveller.com and The New Normal: Blogging Disability. Her writing appears regularly on various sites including Tablet Magazine, the Jewish Daily Forward, ReformJudaism.com, and Zeh LeZeh (For One Another). A sought-after speaker, Rabbi Schorr has given presentations on disability and inclusion across the country including the 92ndSt. Y, the Academy for Jewish Religion (NY), and numerous synagogues and community organizations. Her recent TedX talk on her grassroots efforts to raise awareness (and funds) for pediatric cancer research by convincing 75 rabbis to shave their heads has been seen by nearly one thousand viewers worldwide. Writing at her blog, This Messy Life (www.rebeccaeinsteinschorr.com), Rabbi Schorr finds meaning in the sacred and not-yet-sacred intersections of daily life. Engage with her on Twitter @rebeccaschorr.
Ilan Schwartz is completing his final year of studies at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, CA. He is originally from New City, NY where he was an active USYer and USY staff member, and attended List College, the undergraduate joint program between JTS and Columbia, majoring in History and Talmud. Ilan has served for the past two years as the Rabbinic Intern at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, CA, focusing on Israel programming, teen engagement, and developing online educational opportunities. In his spare time, he enjoys watching his beloved New York Giants, reading spy novels, and spending time with his wife and three young children.
Elyse Seidner-Joseph received smicha/ordination from Aleph in January 2013. She is the founder and spiritual leader of Makom Kadosh:The Jewish Fellowship of Chester County (thejfcc.com), an independent Jewish community serving Jews, those in relationship with Jews, and spiritual seekers of all kinds. Multi-faith work is an important part of her rabbinate. She created and leads a local clergy reading/support group, Daughters of Abraham reading group, and an annual Women’s Multi-Faith Seder, and volunteers weekly at the St. Agnes Day Room. A retired/disabled gastroenterologist, Elyse makes her home in the beautiful Brandywine valley with her husband of 30+ years, Kenny, a clarinetist-teacher. She previously studied piano at Juilliard, and Shakespeare at the University of Pennsylvania. Elyse is famous for her soups and her commitment to hachnasat orchim(welcoming guests).
Rabbi and Mashpiah (Spiritual Director) Lori D. Shaller lives on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. She was ordained as a Rabbi by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2015 and as a Mashpiah in 2014. Lori has been the guest spiritual leader with various Jewish congregations and Unitarian Universalist churches, teaches, leads interfaith, clergy spiritual direction groups and sees private clients in spiritual direction. The Jewish Women’s Archive has published Lori’s curriculum onJewish women in the Labor Movement. Lori was a rabbinic student fellow with Rabbis without Borders and was a participant in the Jewish and Muslim Emerging Leaders Women’s Retreat sponsored by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives. Lori has been an educator and curriculum writer of world history, Shakespeareand curriculum design for twenty-five years. Lori earned an ALB cum laude from Harvard University and Masters of Teaching and Masters in American Jewish History from Boston University.
Ariana Silverman was raised in Chicago, received her A.B. in History from Harvard University in 2000, and from 2000-2001, served as a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. She has worked for the Sierra Club, Hazon, Temple Beth Israel in Steubenville, OH, and Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program.
Rabbi Melissa B. Simon is beginning her first year as the Senior Jewish Educator and Rabbi at UNC-Chapel Hill, providing students with rabbinic support, facilitating students’ meaningful Jewish experiences and playing a central role in crafting the Jewish educational vision for UNC Hillel. Prior to joining the North Carolina Hillel team, Rabbi Simon was the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at Muhlenberg College and the Director of Lifelong Learning at Shir Tikvah, a Reform synagogue in Minneapolis, MN. Rabbi Simon received Master’s Degrees in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. While a student at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Simon was named a Mandel Fellow, studying visionary leadership and Jewish education. Rabbi Simon received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College. Rabbi Simon served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern and Director of Children’s Education at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York and the Rabbinic Intern at Dension University in Ohio. Rabbi Simon has been named a Selah Fellow with Bend the Arc and a Rabbis without Borders Fellow with CLAL. She is passionate about Jewish education, social justice, inclusive Jewish communities and empowering young people.
Rabbi Beth Singer is a co-senior rabbi at Temple Beth Am, along with her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Singer. Rabbi Singer was ordained at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, in 1989. She served as associate rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY, for 6 years and then for 2 years at Temple de Hirsch Sinai in Seattle. For the past 14 years the Rabbis Singer have grown a vibrant Jewish community in Seattle’s North end where Jews and the people who love them come together to learn and live Torah. The Singers live a block away from Beth Am and spend their free time raising three great kids.
Rabbi Amy Joy Small is the founding Rabbi and Director of Deborah’s Palm Center for Jewish Learning and Experiences. She was ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1987 and has served congregations in New Jersey, Michigan and Indiana. She is a past president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, with many years of board service. She is a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders and a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute. She recently served on the Board of Governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Jewish Federation of Metrowest NJ, National Interreligious Leadership Delegation for Peace in the Middle East, and is a founding trustee and past president of the MetroWest NJ Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life. She was a Vice Chair for the National JNFA Rabbinic Cabinet, and served on the boards of Religions for Peace USA, the American Zionist Movement, and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation Israel Committee. Among her interfaith activities, she co-taught an intensive course, Building Abrahamic Partnerships at the Hartford Seminary. Rabbi Small previously was Dean of Academic Administration and Director of the Education Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Rabbi Eric M. Solomon is the spiritual leader of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC. A member of the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Solomon serves on the board of Hazon and the rabbinical board of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. In North Carolina, Rabbi Solomon helped found Raleigh’s Interfaith Coalition to Save Darfur, took part in the steering committee to form Congregations for Social Justice,and has participated in numerous interfaith panels and programs. He is an alumnus of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinical Fellowship.
Marc has been Bonai Shalom’s rabbi in Boulder, Colorado since his 2004 ordination from Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California. Previously he was an actor and complementary medicine practitioner in London. Chair of Hazon’s Rabbinical Advisory Board, part of a 2012 rabbis’ delegation to Ghana with AJWS; graduate of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality and board member of Ramah of the Rockies. Marc narrates two films: PBS featured A Fire in the Forest: Life and Legacy of the Baal Shem Tov and Treasure under the Bridge: Pilgrimage to Hassidic Masters of Ukraine, released in 2015. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, in both films, gave Marc secondary smicha (ordination) shortly before he died in 2014. Marc co-officiated his funeral.
With a vision of more sustainable community, Marc, an activist in Jewish/Interfaith Community Supported Agriculture programs, and chicken/goat co-ops, loves milking goats. He was listed in The Forward’s most inspiring rabbis of 2014.
Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Brent Spodek served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, and by Newsweek/The Daily Beast as “a rabbi to watch.” Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children, Noa and Abraham. He can be reached at @brentspodek email@example.com.
Rabbi Josh Stanton graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Economics, and History. He was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2013.
Rabbi Stanton’s passion for religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue has led to his participation and leadership around the globe. Currently, he serves as a Trustee of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations. The Interfaith Youth Core has also recognized Rabbi Stanton as a 2016 Germanacos Fellow for his work in Jewish-Muslim dialogue. As co-founder and co-director of Tribe, a New York-based initiative that engages over 1,200 people in their 20s and 30s in Jewish life through a strategy of collaboration, Rabbi Stanton has successfully empowered this cohort to develop a vibrant and active community.
Rabbi Peter W. Stein is the new senior rabbi of Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester. He is the former rabbi of Temple Sinai in Cranston, RI. His rabbinate is defined by a commitment to lifelong learning and teaching, as well as a profound commitment to social justice pursuits. He is past president of the RI Board of Rabbis and the Cranston Interfaith Clergy Association. He is a founding member of the Interfaith Poverty Coalition, was an active member of the Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality which achieved success in Spring 2013, and the state chair for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained in 1999. He is married to Amy and father to Eliana and Ari.
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf is the senior rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington DC. Prior to coming to Washington, Rabbi Steinlauf served as the rabbi of Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus Ohio. He is a graduate of Princeton University and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1998. He writes, blogs, and teaches frequently on the subject of finding Jewish spirituality in the postmodern world. He completed the STAR: Good to Great program, served on a rabbinic cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, is on the Washington chapter board of the American Jewish Committee, and currently serves on the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is married to Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, and has three children: Elana 14, Noah 11, and Meirav, 10.
Kaya Stern-Kaufman is a 4th year Rabbinical Student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale NY. She lives in the Berkshires in Western Mass. with her husband and two teenage children. She is a Jewish Educator and one of the founders and leaders of The Berkshire Minyan- an independant traditonal/egalitarian minyan that meets at Hevreh of S. Berkshire- the largest Reform Synagogue in the county. Kaya holds an MSW in clinical social work, having worked primarily with children and families in the field of sexual abuse.Kaya is also certified as a professional feng shui consultant and dowser.
Rabbi Brian Strauss is a 2001 graduate of the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. Since ordination, Rabbi Strauss has served as an Associate rabbi at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston.He is a member of the United Jewish Communities Rabbinic Cabinet and the United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet.He has served on the Rabbinical Assembly Resolutions and Convention Committees. He is a past President of the Houston Rabbinical Association. He is a member of the Clear Channel Radio Local Advisory Board to give input on creating a better Houston community. He is a frequent guest speaker at many local schools and organizations and has published in national and local publications. He was selected as the winner in the men’s spiritual leader category in the city wide “Gen Next” contest recognizing Jewish professionals in the Houston area. He is married to his wife Lisa Shapiro Strauss who is also a native of Dallas and a past fellow in the Wexner Heritage Program. They have three children Joshua, Noa and Ari (ages 10, 7, and 6).
Rabbi Alana Suskin is an educator, activist, and widely-published writer, including for the blogsJewish Values Online, My Jewish Learning, andThe Seesaw. She is a senior managing editor of the progressive blog Jewschool.com, called “The most important thing happening online in the Jewish community today,” by noted Jewish sociologists Ari Kelman & Steven M. Cohen. Ordained by American Jewish University’s Ziegler School in 2003, she holds BAs in Philosophy and Russian Linguistics, an MA in Philosophy and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. Alana has served as Assistant Rabbi at Adas Israel in Washington DC, the first synagogue in the USA to be addressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Director of Lifelong Learning at Shaare Torah in Gaithersburg, MD. Out of a passionate love for Israel and Zionism, she turned her rabbinate toward Israel advocacy and education, serving as Director of Strategic Communication with the Zionist, two-state policy organization, Americans for Peace Now. She is an executive board member of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and has served on the boards of Jews United for Justice, and Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
Victoria Sutton is a second-year student at Yeshivat Maharat. Prior to that, Victoria spent the past year studying Talmud at Mechon Hadar. She graduate of Barnard College with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She also holds a Grand Diploma in Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. Victoria also serves as a Victim Intervention Advocate at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she is trained to provide emotional support in the Emergency Room to survivors of rape and domestic violence.
Having grown up in Silicon Valley with a large (and largely unaffiliated Jewish population), Gail Swedroe has a deep appreciation for innovation and the power of lay leadership in creating strong communities where people take ownership over their Jewish identity and experiences. She is passionate about finding ways to make Judaism relevant and meaningful to our lives and in creating welcoming, participatory communities.
Rabbi Swedroe graduated from UC-Santa Barbara with a degree in Religious Studies and received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York with a concentration in Pastoral Care. From 2012-2014 she was the Assistant Director and Campus Rabbi at the Hillel at the University of Florida, working with lay leaders to bring their vision of Jewish life on campus to fruition. She is honored and privileged to serve as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas.
Ariel Tarash is a third year student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She holds masters degrees from JTS’ and Columbia University’s joint Social Work-Judaic Studies program. With a dedication to Jewish Communal Service, she worked for Philadelphia’s Jewish Federation, Hillel Council in Boston, and Union of Reform Judaism and Jewish Federations of North America in NYC. Maintaining a LCSW, she worked in hospice in Raleigh and Jewish Family Services in Durham-Chapel Hill, NC. Ariel was in the first cohort of mikveh guides at the Libi Eir Mikveh in Raleigh. Ariel completed an intensive Jewish Meditation Program with Rabbi David Cooper, maintains a regular Jewish meditation practice and annually attends a week-long Jewish Meditation retreat. With a passion for pastoral care and serving elders, she is a rabbinic intern in a senior adult community in NJ and was a hospice chaplaincy intern through Phildelphia’s Jewish Family and Childrens Service.
Alissa Thomas-Newborn (RWB ’13-’14) is a final year student at Yeshivat Maharat. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Classical Studies Archaeology and Ancient History. In addition to her studies at Yeshivat Maharat, Alissa is also a chaplain. She has received training and worked at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New York, Bellevue Hospital, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She specializes in Palliative Care, End of Life Care, and Psychiatric Care. Alissa is a UJA Federation fellow and has taught as a scholar-in-residence at synagogues and universities. Alissa is also a research writer for The Center for Jewish End of Life Care at Metropolitan Jewish Health System. Alissa is the Kehilla Intern at B’nai David-Judea in Los Angeles.
Zach currently serves as Senior Rabbi of Cedar Road Synagogue: The Modern Orthodox Shul for Unity and Community in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also a faculty member of the Torat Tzion Kollel and a lecturer at Siegal Collge. He hails from Sharon, Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he received a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Zach worked as an engineer before moving to Jerusalem. While in Israel, he studied and taught at Machon Pardes and received semikha from HaRav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Zach continued with his studies at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah to pursue an additional semikha and professional training. While at YCT, Zach served as visiting rabbi at several shuls in New York and New Jersey. Additionally, he interned at the Heschel High School, worked as an education consultant for RAVSAK, and has served as coordinator for YCT’s Meorot Fellowship.
Since arriving to Temple Beth El in 2008, Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz has tackled many significant community issues. Rabbi Katz works closely with her Reform and Orthodox rabbinic colleagues to create collaborative programs, classes and services. In her own congregation Rabbi Katz has decided to tackle the indisputable fact that many of her congregants were not attending Shabbat services on a regular basis. In response, Rabbi Katz launched an initiative called “Just Show Up!” With engaging graphic design, clever marketing and constant urging in all forms of communication, she sent a clear message: “I don’t care if you come in jeans, I don’t care if you come just for my sermon at the end of services, I don’t even care if you come just for Kiddush lunch, Just Show Up!” Rabbi Katz also represents the Conservative Movement in Moment Magazine’s Ask A Rabbi and she is on the editorial committee forSiddur Lev Shalem, the new prayer book for the Conservative Movement.
Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev, Scholar-in-Residence at Temple Beth Shalom in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the leader of The Beit Midrash of Santa Fe. Beit Midrash comprises two intensive multi-faith learning and practice communities that study Jewish texts for the purpose of personal and social transformation. He teaches Spirituality and Medicine to Family Practice Residents at the University of New Mexico Medical School. Nahum is an associate of The Meeting Ground, a multi-cultural team that produced a DVD to train cross-cultural peacemakers. Nahum has recently developed a series of workshops entitled “The Hebrew Prophets Now!”, programs that apply prophetic insight and inspiration to contemporary challenges. Nahum’s teaching is guided by an attention to the “Four Worlds” of mystical Judaism, a pedagogical approach that engages the body, heart, mind and soul. He has published several articles on Judaism in a new era. He is a long-time spiritual director.
Aaron Weininger is entering his fourth year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he is also pursuing a Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Complementing his studies in the classroom, he represents the rabbinical school on the national advisory board of Addressing Evaded Issues in Jewish Education and has served as a chaplain intern in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. Drawn to the diversity of Jewish life on campus since he was a student leader at the St. Louis Hillel of Washington University, he has been working for the past three years with the students at Colgate University for the High Holy Days. This fall Aaron will be joining Park Slope Jewish Center in Brooklyn as its rabbinic intern.
Rabbi Jeremy Winaker is the Senior Jewish Educator at the Kristol Hillel Center at the University of Delaware. His position is part of an expanding initiative of Hillel International, funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation. Through his work expanding Hillel’s relationships with students, Jeremy sits with students in coffee shops and local eateries; teaches Biblical and Classical Literature for the university; offers adult education classes at the Delaware Valley Learning Institute; and shares his views on WDEL’s “The Rabbi Speaks.” Passionate about all that the texts of our tradition can do—giving us purpose, connection, and ethical responsibility— he invites students to engage in conversation. Jeremy’s experience in and out of the Jewish world has taken him from an Episcopal High School and BBYO in Houston, TX to Swarthmore College where he was both a Hillel president and a Hillel drop-out and then to the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was ordained as a Rabbi. For seven years, he worked in synagogues (Bet Torah in Mount Kisco, NY and Adas Israel in Washington, DC), focusing on informal educational techniques honed at Camp Ramah Darom, The Curriculum Initiative, and CLAL. Jeremy loves politics, Israel, cooking, and, most of all, his wife Ali and their children Sophie and Max.
Max Yadin was born and raised in the metro-DC area, where I graduated from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Before graduating, I spent time with the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda, which dramatically transformed my sense of Jewish peoplehood, as well as Jewish engagement with diverse global communities. I have an undergraduate degree in International Relations with a focus on the Middle East from Colgate University, but also completed coursework in gender studies and philosophy. I started rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary immediately after finishing my BA, and am excited to work with and learn from all kinds of people. Most important, I’m looking forward to my wedding at the end of August and starting a new chapter in my life.
After growing up in Philadelphia, Eli moved to Israel in 1997, where he attended Machon Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He then went on to study at varied seminaries, such as Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, Yeshivat Har Etzion—the “Gush” (in Alon Shvut), and the Bar Ilan University Kollel. His academic career led him from Herzog College in Alon Shvut where he received his B Ed. in Jewish philosophy and Bible studies, to Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, where he completed his master’s degree in Jewish philosophy. He is currently concluding his doctoral thesis at Bar Ilan University on the worldview of Rabbi Mordekhai Leiner of Izbica and his close circle (Hassidut Izbica-Radzin). He started his rabbinical training at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel, and this fall will be entering his fourth year at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, where he hopes to receive ordination by 2017. He has also taught at Yeshivat Darkaynu in Alon Shvut and at the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College in Melrose Park, PA. As a rabbi he aspires to lead an inclusive congregation, help bridge gaps within the broader Jewish community and work in unison with other faith traditions for the betterment of our global society.
Elianna Yolkut is a Rabbi Without Borders (http://www.rabbiswithoutborders.org) who strives through challenging questions, innovative study and meaningful connection to help Jews at all life stages reach toward a deep understanding of and connection to Judaism. Raised with three brothers in her native St. Louis, where as a toddler she would often lose herself in the folds of her father’s tallit, Elianna is a thinker, writer and educator who seeks innovative models for religious community-building and dynamic ways to teach Torah. Ordained in 2006 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, she was later an adjunct faculty member there while serving as assistant rabbi at the Conservative synagogue Adat Ari El in nearby Valley Village. Elly, who holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology from Brandeis University, now lives with her partner and their young twins in Washington D.C. (Learn more atwww.rabbielianna.com)
Rabbi Joshua Yuter was ordained in 2003 from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He also holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Yeshiva University, an M.A. in Talmudic Studies from Yeshiva University, and Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Rabbi Yuter is an award winning blogger and writes and lectures on various issues pertaining to law, theology, and society. In 2012 Rabbi Yuter was acknowledged by the National Jewish Outreach Program as one of the Top Ten Jewish Influencers for “creative and strategic use of social media to positively impact the Jewish community” and in 2014 was named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 People to Follow. He has also guest blogged for JDate and contributed to Jewish Values Online. He currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel. Twitter handle is @JYuter.
Rabbi Elana Zelony is the rabbi of congregation Beth Torah in Richardson Texas. She is the first female Conservative rabbi to lead a synagogue in the entire state. She is a regular contributor to the Dallas Morning News Neighbors Go blog. She has become an activist in Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Anti-Poverty Coalition. Prior to her work in Texas she served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco and as the Assistant Rabbi of Shearith Israel in Atlanta. In Atlanta, she worked toward ending domestic abuse by serving on the board of Shalom Bayit as well as working with the Faith Advisory Team of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2009. She also holds a Masters in Education from the Graduate School of Education at American Jewish University. Rabbi Zelony was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She makes her home with her husband Adiv and their two children Nesya and Magen. She is an avid reader of poetry and enjoys keeping healthy by running and doing yoga.
Lina Zerbarini is a student and teacher of Torah, yoga and meditation, through which she seeks to build communities of connection and caring. Inspired by the message of b’tzelem elohim (everyone is in the image of God) and mission of tzedek, tzedek tirdof (justice, justice shall you pursue), she works to engage people across borders and beyond synagogue walls. As Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Sid Jacobson JCC, she engages the community with the richness and relevance of Jewish wisdom and tradition. Previously, she was Associate Rabbi at Yale Hillel and Director of Domestic Affairs at the JCRC of Philadelphia. She has served on the leadership of Boards of Rabbis in each community she has lived, and is Secretary of the Long Island Board of Rabbis. A graduate of Barnard and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Lina has continued her personal and professional growth through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and the Jewish Greening Fellowship. @linazerbarini