Jewish Values Online Panelists
To find All Answers by a particular rabbi-scholar panelist, please select (click on) their name from the list below, then select the "All Answers" link which appears next to their name, above their biography.
|Abraham, Rabbi Joel
Baesh, Rabbi Lev
Rabbi Abelson first came to Beth El in 1948, leaving in 1951 for the military and returning in 1957 as assistant Rabbi to Rabbi David Aronson, Beth El’s first Rabbi.
He has been a devoted teacher and leader stepping down as Beth El senior Rabbi in 1992 to become active in setting national Judaic policy. During his forty plus years as Beth El’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Abelson created United Synagogue Youth and an egalitarian relationship for both men and women in the study and reading of the Torah. He is also responsible for a strong Tarbut (B’nai mitzvah training) Program and Rimonim-a post-B’nai Mitzvah class, in which teens teach future Bnai Mitzvah candidates. Rabbi Abelson and his wife, Joan, divide their time between their homes in Minneapolis and Silver Springs, Maryland, and traveling to see their many children and grandchildren.
Rabbi Rachel Ain
All Answers for Rabbi Ain
Rabbi Rachel Ain is the Senior Director for Leadership Development, overseeing all National Young Leadership Initiatives, at the Jewish Federations of North America. She was the rabbi of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, a Conservative Synagogue in Syracuse, NY from 2004-2011 after receiving her rabbinic ordination and masters in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She holds a BA in American History from Barnard College and a BA in Midrash from JTS. During her time in rabbinical school, she completed her pastoral education requirements through work in a local hospital and was commissioned as a Naval Reservist for the US Navy Chaplains Corps. Since ordination she has continued to develop professionally. She completed a course at the Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center, where she explored different issues within the areas of mental health; she participated in the PEER program, a component of STAR: Synagogue for Transformation and Renewal, in a leadership training initiative for a select group of rabbis in North America and she was chosen for the inaugural year-long fellowship at CLAL, called Rabbis Without Borders, where she was trained in how to bring the wisdom of Jewish tradition into the larger public sphere. While in Syracuse she immersed herself in a variety of local and national endeavors such as sitting on the roundtable of Faith Leaders for Interfaith Works and serving as the local chair for the CNY PJ Library Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Jewish Outreach Institute's Board of Professional Advisors, sits on the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet of JTS, and is on the Clergy Task Force for Jewish Women International. She was a member of the resolutions committee of the Rabbinical Assembly from 2006-2009, and currently is a member of the Executive Council of the RA. Rabbi Ain and her husband, Rabbi David Levy, the Director of Admissions for the Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools at JTS, live in New York City with their two sons, Jared and Zachary. You can follow Rachel @RabbiRachelAin on twitter.
Rabbi Aaron Alexander
All Answers for Rabbi Alexander
Rabbi Aaron Alexander is currently the Associate Dean of the Ziegler School and Lecturer in Rabbinics and Jewish Law at American Jewish University where he was ordained and achieved his Masters in Rabbinic Studies. Rabbi Alexander received his BA in Religion from the University of Florida, spent two years studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, while also spending a year doing graduate work in Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In the virtual Torah world, Rabbi Alexander is the webmaster for the Ziegler School's podcast page (www.zieglerpodcasts.com ) featuring Rabbis Brad Artson, Elliot Dorff, Jonathan Wittenberg, and Reb Mimi Feigelson. Rabbi Alexander teaches an early morning class in Halakhah that is also recorded and posted to this website, as well as musical excerpts from the liturgy for educational purposes. He also contributes to Today's Torah, the Ziegler School's weekly Parsha commentary sent to over 10,000 subscribers. In addition, Aaron has been published in the "Walking With..." series (www.walkingwith.org) with a fresh article on the Jewish view of 'Singlehood', while also contributing the traditional text chapters to the first three editions of the JPS series, Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices. When he is not with students at the Ziegler School, you can find Rabbi Alexander teaching Talmud and Rabbinical Literature throughout Los Angeles to students of all ages and all walks of life.
Rabbi Wayne Allen, Ph.D. Rabbi Wayne Allen was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1977. He also earned a doctorate in philosophy from York University. He has served as congregational rabbi for 33 years, holding positions in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Canada. Rabbi Allen was presented with the Rabbinical Leadership Award from the Council of Jewish Federations in 1996. Rabbi Allen has served on the faculty of the American Jewish University and the California State University at Long Beach. Widely considered an expert on Jewish law, he has been consulted by rabbis and others around the world, with many of the answers to the questions posed collected in his Perspectives on Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues. He has edited two other volumes on Jewish law as well.
Rabbi Samuel Barth received semikha at the Leo Baeck College in London following undergraduate studies in mathematics, physics and philosophy. His rabbinic thesis, supervised by Rabbi Louis Jacobs, was a study of the halakha of "kavvanah in prayer", reflecting a continuing deep interest in prayer and halakha - Jewish Law. Sami Barth has served as a congregational rabbi in Brighton (UK) and in Brooklyn, NY, Austin TX and now in Gloucester, MA, where he serves Temple Ahavat Achim a growing, creative and vibrant community affiliated with the United Synagogue. It is the only synagogue for many miles, and seeks to meet the needs of a very diverse population. Rabbi Barth has also served as an academician and administrator - at the Jewish Theological Seminary (Assistant Dean of the Rabbinical School), The Academy for Jewish Religion - a pluralistic seminary (Dean and Academic Vice President) and as a member of the Va'ad (Academic Committee) of the ALEPH Ordination Program. He teaches Liturgy and Jewish Law. He has been a Rabbi to JACS - the Jewish Recovery Community, and has taught widely at retreats and seminars and serves occasionally as a scholar in residence and consultant to synagogues. His expertise is in the areas of contemporary prayer, synagogue growth, Jewish Law and disability studies. With family roots in Scotland, Sami is a lover of mountains and white water kayaking ... and of single malt scotch. He has practiced martial arts for many years.
Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom of Pompton Lakes, NJ. A California native, Bockman studied physics, linguistics and neurobiology before settling into a Judaic Studies major at UC San Diego. He began rabbinic studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now renamed American Jewish University), after which he studied for a year at Neve Schechter and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, while concurrently leading a congregation in the northern Israeli town of Carmiel. He was ordained in 1986 at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary, being awarded the Solomon and Rose S. Lasdon prize for Jewish creativity and first prize in the national UJA/Morris Kaplun university essay contest. Bockman has served congregations in Kansas City, Maryland, New Orleans, Raleigh, Bergenfield and Croton-on-Hudson, NY. His work has focused on kashrut, Chevra Kadisha work, teaching students and adults, preparing converts, programming for singles and developing engaging and deep approaches to study and prayer. Through the years he has consistently proven to be both programmatically innovative and halachically traditional. While in Maryland, he completed coursework towards a PhD at Baltimore Hebrew University in post-modern Jewish Philosophy, doing research in the thought of 20th century French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. He also taught Jewish History at the University of New Orleans. In his spare time, Rabbi Bockman plays jazz and funk trumpet and enjoys Jazzercise. He translated the script and lyrics of Guys and Dolls into Hebrew for a full - length production and acted in Macbeth in the Annapolis Community Theater. He has been an avid Israeli folkdancer and an enthusiastic student, passionate about cooking and helping others, and supporting Jews and Jewish communities. He is married to Vicki Hyman and is the proud father of Theo, a 4th grader at Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford.
Aryeh Cohen is Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University. Dr. Cohen is the author of Rereading Talmud: Gender, Law and the Poetics of Sugyot (Scholars Press, 1998), co-editor of Beginning/Again: Towards a Hermeneutics of Jewish Texts (Seven Bridges Press, 2002) and the forthcoming Justice in the City: Toward a Community of Obligation, and numerous scholarly and popular articles. He is also a member of the Sh’ma advisory board. Dr. Cohen is one of the founders of the Shtibl, a hassidic egalitarian minyan, which combines the passion of ecstatic prayer with commitments to egalitarianism and social justice. He is also a board member and the past president of the Progressive Jewish Alliance. He is also active in Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Los Angeles which advocates for worker justice. For three years Dr. Cohen was a participant in a unique and groundbreaking project at the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton University. The project called the Scriptural Reasoning Group brings together Christian, Moslem and Jewish Scholars to study their holy texts together and to learn from each other. In a related venture Dr. Cohen was invited to participate in an annual seminar at the University of Toronto where Jewish and Moslem scholars study medieval legal texts from the Jewish and Islamic tradition together. Cohen is also a member of the Scriptural Reasoning Theory Group sponsored by the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University. Dr. Cohen was ordained as a Rabbi by the Ziegler School in 2010.
Rabbi David Cohen-Henriquez is the spiritual leader of Temple Israel in Manchester New Hampshire: He was born and raised in Panama City, Panama and is a descendant from Spanish-Portuguese Jews in the Caribbean going back 300 years. His Trans-denominational training at The Rabbinical School at Hebrew College has well equipped him to conduct services in the Jewish conservative movement fashion. His holistic approaches to Jewish studies and his dynamic teaching methods have make him a popular teacher among children and adults of all ages
Elliot Dorff was ordained a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1970 and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1971 with a dissertation in moral theory. Since then he has directed the rabbinical and Masters programs at the American Jewish University (formerly, the University of Judaism), where he currently is Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. For over thirty years he also has taught a course on Jewish law at UCLA School of Law as a Visiting Professor. He was awarded the Journal of Law and Religion’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an he holds three honorary doctoral degrees.
Rabbi Dorff is Chair of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and served on the editorial committee of Etz Hayim, the new Torah commentary for the Conservative Movement. He has chaired three scholarly organizations: the Academy of Jewish Philosophy, the Jewish Law Association, and the Society of Jewish Ethics. In Spring, 1993, he served on the Ethics Committee of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Health Care Task Force. In March, 1997 and May, 1999, he testified on behalf of the Jewish tradition on the subjects of human cloning and stem cell research before the President's National Bioethics Advisory Commission. In 1999 and 2000 he was part of the Surgeon General’s commission to draft a Call to Action for Responsible Sexual Behavior; and from 2000 to 2002 he served on the National Human Resources Protections Advisory Commission, charged with reviewing and revising the federal guidelines for protecting human subjects in research projects. He is currently working on a project on Judaism and genetics for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he is a member of that organization’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Advisory Committee. He is an officer of the FaithTrust Institute, a national organization that produces seminars and educational materials to help people avoid or extricate themselves from domestic violence, and he is also a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee for the state of California on stem cell research.
In Los Angeles, he is a Past President of Jewish Family Service, and he is a member of the Ethics committee at U.C.L.A. Medical Center. He serves as Co-Chair of the Priest-Rabbi Dialogue of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and he is President of the Academy for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Studies centered at UCLA. He is also a member of the Board of the Jewish Federation Council and Co-Chair of its initiative to serve the vulnerable.
Rabbi Dorff's publications include over 200 articles on Jewish thought, law, and ethics, together with seventeen books:
1) Jewish Law and Modern Ideology (1970).
2) Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to Our Descendants (1977; second, revised edition: 1996).
3) A Living Tree: The Roots and Growth of Jewish Law (1988) (with Arthur Rosett).
4) Mitzvah Means Commandment (1989).
5) Knowing God: Jewish Journeys to the Unknowable (1992).
6) Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader (1995) (edited with Louis E. Newman).
7) Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics (1998), finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought.
8) Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader (1999) (edited with Louis E. Newman).
9) To Do the Right and the Good: A Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethics (2002), winner of the National Jewish Book Award in Contemporary Jewish Life for 2002.
10) Love Your Neighbor and Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics (2003).
11) The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Fixing the World) (2005), National Jewish Book Award finalist.
12) The Unfolding Tradition: Jewish Law After Sinai (2005).
13) For the Love of God and People: A Philosophy of Jewish Law (2007)
14) Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Body (edited with Louis E. Newman, 2008).
15) Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money (edited with Louis E. Newman, 2008).
16) The Jewish Approach to Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam): A Brief Introduction for Christians (with Cory Willson) (2008).
17) Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Power (edited with Louis E. Newman, 2009).
Rabbi Dorff is married to Marlynn, and their four children have so far produced seven grandchildren -- may their number increase!
Rabbi Feldman is on the Faculty of the School of Chaplains of the New York Board of Rabbis and as Visiting Associate Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a Founding Fellow of the Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences and a member of the Editorial Advisory of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, sponsored by the Kennedy Institute. He also serves on the Bio-Medical Ethics Committee of Hackensack University Medical Center and on the Board of Trustees of the New York Society for the Deaf. Dr. Feldman has leactured widely before synagogue, university, and medical groups. He gave testimony in Albany and Washington on abortion and popluation issues. He was invited to Rome to address a Vatican-sponsored conference on the subject of his first book and delivered a series of lectures on Jewish law at the Law School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Joshua S. Finkelstein has twenty years of pulpit experience within the Conservative Movement serving congregations in New York and New Jersey. Rabbi Finkelstein received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and was awarded a Kohn Foundation Fellowship for the advancement of doctoral studies in the field of Midrash. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York. Rabbi Finkelstein was a Visiting Lecturer at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He taught the first year seminar required of all rabbinical students guiding them to recognize and communicate the meaning and vitality of Jewish rituals and texts. Rabbi Finkelstein is a past president of the New Jersey Rabbinical Assembly and served as the Chair of the Intergroup Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the UJA of Northern New Jersey. He served on the editorial board of the Community Faith and Values section of the Bergen Record. Rabbi Finkelstein comes from a long line of distinguished Rabbis. His grandfather, Rabbi Louis Finkelstein was Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. His father, Rabbi Ezra Finkelstein, retired after serving over twenty years as Rabbi of the Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, Long Island.
Rabbi Lori Forman-Jacobi is the principal of the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School. Rabbi Forman-Jacobi has worked in Jewish education for more than two decades. She was the Senior Vice Principal for The Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies for 7 years. Earlier in her career,she served at the Director of The Jewish Resource Center at UJA-Federation and prior to that worked at The American Jewish Committee and as principal for The West Side Jewish Community School, a Hebrew school serving 3 synagogues in Manhattan. Rabbi Forman-Jacobi is the co-author of Sacred Intentions: Daily Inspiration to Strengthen the Spirit and Restful Reflections: Nighttime Inspiration to Calm the Soul.
Adam Frank is spiritual leader of Congregation Moreshet Yisrael, the Masorti/Conservative synagogue located in downtown Jerusalem. He is one of the Conservative Movement's leading activists and experts in the area of Jewish law and animal welfare.
MS Columbia University Social Work 1951; Rabbinic ordination Jewish Theological Seminary 1962 Led congregations in New York State and Florida. Currently teaching Jewish ethics and values to interested people.
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
All Answers for Rabbi Frydman-Kohl
Rav Baruch Frydman-Kohl is Max and Anne Tanenbaum Senior Rabbi at Beth Tzedec Congregation. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary from which he also received a doctoral degree in Jewish philosophy. He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a member of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly. His interests and expertise are in the areas of Jewish law, philosophy and mysticism.
Rabbi Mark Greenspan lights fires in his congregation and puts them out in his home town of Oceanside. He is the spiritual leader of the Oceanside Jewish Center on Long Island and a volunteer firefighter in the Oceanside Fire Department. Born in New York and raised in Florida, Rabbi Greenspan is a product of the Camp Ramah, USY, and Beth Torah Congregation in North Miami Beach. He is a graduate of the Joint Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University and was ordained at the Seminary. Rabbi Mark B Greenspan has been a congregational rabbi for over thirty years serving synagogues in New York, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. For the past thirteen years he has been the spiritual leader of the Beth Shalom Oceanside Jewish Center. Following the events of 9/11/01 Mark joined his local volunteer fire department as a structural firefighter and chaplain. He is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau and Suffolk Counties and is active in interfaith affairs in his community. Rabbi Greenspan is the author of ‘Torah Table Talk,’ a guide to the weekly Torah portion. He has a special interest in the Passover; over the past decade, he has created ten Haggadah commentaries based on little known commentaries on this text.
Rabbi Adam Greenwald is the Revson Rabbinic Fellow of IKAR, an innovative Jewish community standing at the intersection of spirituality and social justice. He was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University in 2011, before that he received his undergraduate degree in History and Jewish Studies from UCLA. Prior coming to IKAR, he spent two years as Rabbinic Intern at Congregation B'nai Israel in Tustin, where he focused on creating engaging learning experiences for adults, youth, and conversion students. In addition to pulpit work, Rabbi Greenwald spent four summers with the PANIM Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values in Washington DC, teaching and running programs that inspire and empower high school students to become change agents in their communities. He is the recipient of the Jacob Pressman Award in Homiletics, an American Jewish World Service “Kol Tzedek” Fellowship, and the Daniel Lewis Kerner Memorial Hero Award.
Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman was ordained in 2006 from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Conservative movement’s seminary on the West Coast. While at Ziegler, he was an intern with Clergy and Laity United for Economic justice (CLUE), advocating for the rights of low-wage workers. From 2004-2006 he was the founding spiritual leader of the Surf City Synagogue, the Conservative shul of Huntington Beach, CA. Since 2006, he has been Director of Community Outreach and a teacher at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, specializing in Talmud and Jewish Law. He is also the coach of JCHS’s Moot Beit Din team, a national Jewish day school competition, like mock trial or moot court, in which students are presented with a Jewish legal issue and are asked to render a verdict to a panel of rabbis. JCHS has won the last three consecutive national championships in the Advanced division. Rabbi Goodman is married to Noa Slemrod Goodman and lives in San Francisco, CA.
Rabbi Joshua Heller is Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs, Georgia,, which has been one of the fastest-growing congregations in the Southeastern United States, and is one of the few Conservative congregations to maintain a Mikvah and an Eruv. He graduated from Harvard University Magna Cum Laude in computer science, and published original research in the “Journal for Comptuational Neuroscience” and then opted out of the dot-com boom to become a ninth generation rabbi. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where served in a number of leadership roles, including Director of Distance Education, creating one of the first on line degrees in Jewish studies. He spent three years as the rabbi of “The Downtown Synagogue,” one of the synagogues closest to the site of the World Trade Center, and guided them through the tumultuous times after 9/11. Rabbi Heller is active in local, regional and national rabbinic groups. He is currently a Vice President of the Southeastern Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, and serves as a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, and chair of its “Rites and Rituals” subcommittee. Joshua and his wife, Wendy, are proud to be parents of three children.
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster is Director of Education and Outreach for Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Ordained in 2008 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a student activist and leader, she is a noted speaker and writer on Judaism and human rights. While in rabbinical school, she worked as rabbinic intern at the JCC of Manhattan, where she was a taught midrash and introductory Judaism, and at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Her writing has appeared in Sh’ma, Conservative Judaism, and several anthologies, and she is a regular contributor to the Rabbis for Human Rights blog and the food blog The Jew and the Carrot. Rabbi Kahn-Troster was also a 2009-2010 D’var Tzedek fellow for the American Jewish World Service. She serves on the boards of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Hazon, and lives in Teaneck, New Jersey with her husband and daughters.
Jeremy Kalmanofsky is Rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and four children. He has published articles in various Jewish publications on theology and Halakha. He was ordained in 1997 by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He also studied Torah at Machon Pardes in Jerusalem, and earned a B.A. at Cornell University.
Rabbi Yoni is passionate about growing dynamic and empowered learning communities on campus with students and is also eager to activate an alumni and parents network. Yoni is excited to be joining the GW Hillel having spent the last 3 years at UF Hillel where he rooted enthusiastically for the Gators and prior to that NYU.
Yoni has been married to Mandy for 9 years, having met in Israel on NATIV, and together they have 2 adorable kids – Zoe and Shai. While not working or spending time with his family, Yoni can be found whistling to himself (anyone interested in forming a Whistling Troupe?), playing racquetball or scuba diving.
Rabbi Michael Knopf is the Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple, an historic congregation on Philadelphia's Main Line. He was ordained in May 2011 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles, California. During the course of his studies, Rabbi Knopf cultivated a reputation for scholarship, receiving awards for excellence in Hebrew Literature and in Talmudic Studies. While in Los Angeles, Rabbi Knopf coordinated, taught courses in, and counseled students of the Louis and Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at the AJU, the nation’s largest preparatory program for conversion to Judaism. During his time with the Miller Program, Rabbi Knopf was privileged to bring many wonderful souls into the Jewish people, and remains dedicated to helping anyone who seeks a place in the Jewish community to find it. Enthusiastic about communicating the transformative power of Torah and building welcoming, supportive, and inspiring communities, Rabbi Knopf has had the blessing of serving several congregations: Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs, Georgia; Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia; Congregation Etz Chayim in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; and, most recently, Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles, where he also functioned as a spiritual counselor, using the wisdom of the Jewish tradition to help addicts overcome their struggles. Additionally, Rabbi Knopf’s passion for Jewish education has led him to teach for the Conservative Kollel, Los Angeles Hebrew High School, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. A native of Atlanta, Rabbi Knopf earned B.A.'s with honors in American History and Talmud and Rabbinics at the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He has also been privileged to study at the Conservative Yeshiva and at Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo, both in Jerusalem. Rabbi Knopf is happily married to his best friend, Adira, and enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza.
Rabbi David Levy is the director of admissions for The Rabbinical School and H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music.
Prior to coming to JTS, Rabbi Levy worked for Colgate University, where he served as the university chaplain and director of Jewish life. In 2007, while at Colgate, Rabbi Levy was selected by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus as a recipient of the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award. Rabbi Levy also served as the director of Jewish education for the Hillel at Syracuse University from 2004 to 2006.
Rabbi Levy is the author of A Guide for the New Jewish College Student, a resource published by Koach, the Conservative Movement's college outreach program. He has served on the board of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and on the board of directors for Hillel.
In 1999, Rabbi Levy earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Columbia University, as well as a bachelor's degree in Talmud from the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies of JTS. He was ordained in 2004 at JTS, where he also earned a master's degree in Midrash from The Graduate School. While a student at JTS, Rabbi Levy served as president of the Rabbinical School Student Organization, admissions intern for The Rabbinical School, and resident director in the Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall.
Rabbi Aaron L. Mackler, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He serves as Vice President of the Society of Jewish Ethics. Rabbi Mackler is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Bioethics, and of hospital ethics committees in the Pittsburgh area.
Dr. Mackler served as ethicist for the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, and taught as Visiting Assistant Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University. He has spoken on health care ethics and theology for numerous professional societies and other audiences.
Dr. Mackler's publications include Introduction to Jewish and Catholic Bioethics: A Comparative Analysis (Georgetown University Press, 2003), and an edited volume, Life and Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics (New York: Finkelstein Institute, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2000). He also has written numerous articles in the fields of Jewish theology and bioethics.
Rabbi Lisa Malik, Ph.D. is a traditional egalitarian rabbi who is the spiritual leader of Suburban Jewish Community Center Bnai Aaron, a Conservative synagogue in Havertown, PA. She is also the founder of Club Nashim: Classes For The Minds, Bodies, & Souls Of Jewish Women. Growing up in Brooklyn, she was the Hebrew Valedictorian of the Yeshivah of Flatbush. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business, she worked for Procter & Gamble and Foote, Cone, & Belding Advertising. Realizing that her calling was to serve God and the Jewish community, she became the Education Director of Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco. She received her Ph.D. in Jewish Education & Administration from Stanford University and her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In addition to her passion for Judaism and lifelong Jewish learning, Rabbi Malik is also passionate about being a good wife to her husband, Adi Wyner, and a good mother to her three children, Ariel, Eva, & Rivkah.
Rabbi Jason Miller is all about connections. He's a "Rabbi Without Borders" who is connected to thousands through Facebook, Twitter, and his popular blog. The Detroit Free Press has called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader in metro Detroit.” He's worked on college campuses with Hillel and has gained a reputation as a pied piper with Jewish teens. He can talk about sports and movies just as easily as he can talk about Torah and Jewish law. Interested in how modern technology affects Jewish life, Rabbi Jason lectures and writes about the impact of the Internet on Jewish education and the global Jewish community. He is a prolific blogger who writes for the Huffington Post and the New York Jewish Week, as well as his popular personal blog (http://blog.rabbijason.com). He has been a guest commentator on the Mojo in the Morning Show, the Fox Morning Show, CBS Los Angeles, and CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
Rabbi Jason serves as the President of Access Computer Technology, a full-scale computer consulting company that specializes in social media marketing and IT support. He also serves as the part-time rabbi of Congregation T'chiyah, an innovative congregation in Metro Detroit. He participates in the Rabbis Without Borders fellowship through Clal (The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), a program seeking to nurture and develop a network of rabbis with a shared vision to make Jewish wisdom and Jewish values available to anyone looking to enrich his or her life. He serves on the boards of several national and local organizations including the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation, JARC and the Jewish Outreach Institute.
Trained as a kosher supervisor, he is also the founder and rabbinic director of Kosher Michigan - a kosher certification initiative.
After earning his rabbinic ordination in 1982, and his Ph.D. in Jewish history in 1989, Dr. Michael Panitz served a Jewish congregation in Maywood, NJ, and concurrently taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He has served as Rabbi at Norfolk’s Temple Israel since 1992. During his tenure at Temple Israel, the congregation has earned a reputation as a welcoming spiritual home for a diverse Jewish community.
While congregational service is his primary focus, Dr. Panitz also devotes his energies to teaching and community service. He is currently an adjunct professor of religion at both Old Dominion University and Virginia Wesleyan College and has previously taught classes in religion and history at the College of William & Mary.
An active proponent of interfaith dialogue, Dr. Panitz is also a co-founder of NEXUS, a forum designed to encourage open and respectful conversation about religious beliefs, differences, and commonalities. He is a frequent presenter at “Theophilus,” a Tidewater interfaith clergy study circle, appears regularly on the “Spiritually Speaking” 89.5 FM radio program, and has participated in numerous interfaith symposia throughout the region.
Dr. Panitz is passionate about serving the disabled. For many summers, he served as a worship leader, guidance counselor and chess coach at Camp Ramah in New England, a Jewish educational camp hosting a division devoted to special-needs children and teens. He has mentored partnerships with local churches to shelter the homeless and with other ethnic coalitions to host cultural festivals. Dr. Panitz has also assisted the Jewish Family Service of Tidewater in its Soviet Resettlement and Personal Affairs Management programs.
Dr. Panitz has received inter-faith service awards from the Virginia Beach Masonic Temple and from the Virginia Conference for Inclusive Communities. In October, 2009, he was awarded the L.D. Britt, MD, Community Service Award at EVMS for his leadership in humanitarian initiatives in Hampton Roads.
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Paterson, N.J., Dr. Panitz has been married to his wife, Sheila, for more than 30 years, and they are the proud parents of three children, Emily, Ezekiel, and Morris Benjamin. The couple also has two grandchildren, Marina and Joachim. Pastimes include classical piano and chess: Dr. Panitz introduced the chess program at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and now runs a summer chess camp for children at Norfolk Collegiate School.
Rabbi Carl Perkins
All Answers for Rabbi Perkins
Carl M. Perkins has been the spiritual leader of Temple Aliyah since 1991. Rabbi Perkins earned an A.B. at Haverford College, a J.D. at Harvard Law School, and rabbinical ordination and a masters degree in Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. A Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Rabbi Perkins has taught and lectured widely in the Boston area and is currently an Adjunct Instructor in Rabbinics at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. He has also taught Meah and Post-Meah classes throughout the Boston area. Rabbi Perkins has published articles in Conservative Judaism, Judaism and Sh’ma, and is the author of the revised edition of Embracing Judaism, an introduction to Judaism for prospective Jews by Choice.
Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the spiritual leader of Baldwin Jewish Center in Baldwin, New York. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1988, Rabbi Prouser was graduated from the Seminary’s undergraduate Joint Program with Columbia University with Bachelor’s degrees in Liturgy (JTS) and Religious Studies (Columbia). He has served as the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies, and is a certified Mesader Gittin (Scribe and Adjudicator of Religious Divorce). Rabbi Prouser was a member of the Beit Din that supervised the conversion of the Abayudaya community of Uganda. He is the author of Noble Soul: The Life and Legend of the Vilna Ger Tzedek, Count Walenty Potocki (Gorgias Press), and he co-authored Koach Ha-Berakhah: A Guide to Birkat Ha-Chammah, the Blessing of the Sun, published by the Rabbinical Assembly. He has published articles on biblical translation, Jewish Law, and the Conservative Movement, which have appeared in Conservative Judaism, United Synagogue Review, and Women’s League Outlook. Rabbi Prouser is a member of the Joint Bet Din of the Conservative Movement, and has served on the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which adopted his responsa on “The Obligation to Preserve Life and the Question of Post-Mortem Organ Donation” and on “Compulsory Immunization in Jewish Day Schools.” He has also served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Queens Region, and as the Rabbinical Assembly’s liaison to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rabbi Prouser has taken an active role in the Boy Scouts of America and its allied National Eagle Scout Association, coordinating religious services and managing an inter-faith chaplaincy team at a series of National Jamborees. The National Jewish Committee on Scouting, which Rabbi Prouser serves as Program Chairman, is soon to publish his Sabbath Eve prayerbook, Siddur Tzofeh V’Yodeya. Rabbi Prouser has taught Midrash, Jewish Medical Ethics, and Responsa to rabbinical and cantorial students at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Rabbi Prouser is married to Professor Ora Horn Prouser. They are the parents of three children.
Rabbi Joel E. Rembaum is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Am, having served as Senior Rabbi from 1985 to 2010. Following ordination as Rabbi in 1970 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Rembaum returned to his native Los Angeles where he pursued studies at U.C.L.A. in Jewish history. He was awarded a Ph.D. in History by U.C.L.A. in 1975. Rabbi Rembaum also holds the degrees of B.A. and M.A. from U.C.L.A. and the degrees of Master of Hebrew Literature and Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from the American Jewish University. From 1970 to 1985 Rabbi Rembaum taught at the American Jewish University, advancing to the positions of Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Jewish History. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at U.C.L.A. and U.C. Irvine. From 2001 till the present he has served on the faculty of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is also on the faculty of HUC – JIR, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University. Rabbi Rembaum served as President of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and Chair of the Executive Committee of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds. As a member of the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for twenty years, Rabbi Rembaum authored the paper that served as the basis for the inclusion of the Biblical Matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah) in the Amidah prayer, the central element of Jewish liturgy. Rabbi Rembaum and his wife, Fredi, a widely respected Jewish communal professional, have four children: Yona, married to David Eshkenazi, Avi, married to Sharon Isaac, Nomi, married to Israel Feuerstein, and Joshua, married to Amsel Zivkovich. They also have seven grandchildren: Itai, Dani and Ella Rembaum, Ilan, Uri and Maayan Eshkenazi and Noah Feuerstein.
Rabbi David Rose is Founder and Director of JDiscover. He was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary. After serving pulpits in Tampa, Florida, Mercer Island, Washington and Potomac, Maryland, Rabbi Rose is focusing his rabbinate on opening gateways to Jewish wisdom and identity. He believes that the riches of Judaism need to be made more accessible to those Jews and non-Jews looking for greater meaning in their lives. Rabbi Rose is a masterful teacher and passionate educator who engages his diverse students in a non-judgmental way, encouraging individual journeys of spiritual and Jewish discovery.
Rabbi David Rose currently serves as Chairman of Jewish Women International Clergy Taskforce on Domestic Abuse. Since 1993 Rabbi Rose has been at the forefront of the Jewish communities efforts to end Domestic Abuse. He has trained more than 100 members of the clergy in recognizing and responding to the challenge of Domestic Abuse within their communities. Rabbi Rose has counseled hundreds of women from around the country helping them toward safety and new lives. His perspectives on this subject are featured in the documentary film “When the Vow Breaks.” In 2004 he was awarded a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” and the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse’s “Community Service Award” for these efforts.
Rabbi Marc Sack
All Answers for Rabbi Sack
Marc Sack is a 1982 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He also holds an MSSW from Columbia School of Social Work. He has participated in two seminars at the Center for Creative Leadership, and one at the Shalom Hartman Center in Jerusalem. He is actively involved in AIPAC.
I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area. I am the child of a Holocaust survivor; my father, Leo Samuel (z”l ) descended from a long line of rabbis who lived in a part of Europe that used to be part of Czechoslovakia.
Despite his passing, I feel that my father continues to be my inspiration and mentor.
- Ordination: Yoreh Yoreh, 1976 (Lubavitcher Yeshiva, Brooklyn, NY);
- Yadin Yadin, 1977 (Lubavitcher Kollel, Brooklyn, NY)
- D.Min. San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1995
Currently: Congregational Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom, Chula Vista, CA;
- Weekly columnist for the San Diego Jewish World
- Rabbimichaelsamuel.com (an ever expanding database of rabbinic thought)
- Guest religion columnist for numerous newspapers around the country and abroad.
- Scholar in Residence at Gordon College, St. Ambrose University, numerous congregations across the country.
Here’s a brief précis of my personal theology of Judaism:
Judaism honors the great questions humankind has asked since the dawn of civilization. All traditions deserve to be questioned, if they are to be properly understood. I do not believe that God placed us in this world simply to be pious automatons. The human mind is a wonderful gift. To properly worship God, we must engage in critical thought and self-reflective thinking. My experience has taught me that a strong faith can be integrated with modernity, without having to give in to blind faith, dogma and narrow-mindedness. Today’s Judaism must reclaim its sense of heart and soul. We possess a wonderful tradition that reflects diversity and creativity.
Personal writings include:
- “The Lord is My Shepherd: The Theology of the Caring God” (Jason Aronson Inc., 1996)
- “Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis: A Timeless Theological Conversation Vol. 1: Genesis 1-3” (Aeon Publishing, 2010).
Soon to be released:
- “Psalm 23: A Spiritual Journey”
- “Seeds of Wisdom Past”
- "Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis: A Timeless Theological Conversation Vol. 2: Genesis 4-11”
Rabbi Aaron Schonbrun hails from San Diego, CA, where his family was very active in the local Jewish community and in their Conservative congregation. As a child and teen he was an active participant (and eventually a staff member) in both Camp Ramah and USY. Rabbi Schonbrun graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in Psychology and Jewish/Near Eastern Studies and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2004, at which time he also received a Masters Degree from the William Davidson School of Education.
From 2004 to 2010 Rabbi Schonbrun served as one of the rabbis of Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA. In the summer of 2010 Rabbi Schonbrun became the first spiritual leader of the unified Congregation Torat El. He is excited about the opportunity to work with and empower the members of this community to build and nurture a vibrant, educated, caring and inclusive Kehilah Kedosha, holy congregation. Rabbi Schonbrun looks forward to growing with the community, and to helping support and shape its vision. Through engagement with Jewish values, tradition, and practice, Rabbi Schonbrun aims to bring wholeness & holiness, meaning & purpose into the lives of the members of Torat El, the greater Jersey Shore community, and the world.
David Schuck is the rabbi of the Pelham Jewish Center in Pelham Manor, NY. He is also a faculty member in the rabbinical school at the Academy for Jewish Religion where he teaches Professional Skills. Before becoming the rabbi of the Pelham Jewish Center, Rabbi Schuck worked as the rabbi of the Conservative Minyan at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel; as a chaplain at Columbia University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital; as a teacher at the 92nd Street Y Derekh Torah program in New York City; and was a Jewish Service Corps Educator in Bombay, India through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Rabbi Schuck grew up in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. He has a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Middle East history from Rutgers University and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2004. Upon his ordination, Rabbi Schuck was awarded the Lillian M. Lowenfeld Prize in Practical Theology and the Israel H. Levinthal Prize in Homiletics. Rabbi Schuck is an active member of community organizations, and serves as the President of the Westchester Inter-Religious Clergy Network and is on the board of the Westchester Jewish Conference. He has also served on the boards of the Pelham Guidance Council and the Board of Directors of the Mount Vernon Soup Kitchen. Rabbi Schuck did not begin to think seriously about the rabbinate until it was unreservedly apparent that he had no future in baseball (which was obvious to all who knew him by high school, yet not so obvious to him until later in life). Rabbi Schuck lives in Pelham with his wife Tali Aldouby-Schuck and their two sons Noam and Nadav.
Rabbi Michael Schwab is currently in his seventh year at NSS Beth El. He was born in Philadelphia and received his BA from Rutgers University, where he majored in History and Jewish Studies. Rabbi Michael Schwab received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in May, 2004. In addition, Rabbi Schwab also received an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Education. During his studies at JTS he completed the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Penn Foundation for Mental Health and served as the Jewish Life Director of the Goldsmith Student Dormitory. He also spent several years studying in Israel at the Hebrew University, Machon Schechter and the Conservative Yeshiva.
While studying in Israel he was selected to participate in the Melton Center’s Senior Educators Program for outstanding Diaspora educators. Rabbi Schwab was a fellow in the STAR PEER Rabbinic Leadership Program for early career rabbis who have demonstrated leadership excellence. He is also serving on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Region Rabbinical Assembly, serves as a Vice Chair of the JCRC, as well as serves on the Synagogue Federation Leadership Executive Committee of the JUF.
Rabbi Schwab is married to his lovely wife, Erica, who is a behavioral therapist and teacher of children with developmental disabilities. They have four children: Ari, Liana, Noa and Miri.
Rabbi Seed was born in New London, Connecticut and spent many summers as Camp Ramah. He received a Bachelor's Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Columbia University. He also received a Master's Degree from JTS and was ordained from there in 1983 and in 1984, a Master's Degree in Social Work from Columbia. He has a particular interest in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of lovingkindness). He also deals extensively with those in crisis and who have suffered a loss. Rabbi Seed is married and has three children. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada where he is a congregational rabbi.
All Answers for Rabbi Sirbu
Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, is the Director of Rabbis Without Borders at CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Rabbis Without Borders provides rabbis with cutting edge methodologies for addressing the challenges people face today and supports rabbis as they become creative entrepreneurs, thinking outside the box to use Jewish wisdom in innovative ways. Rabbi Sirbu directs two rabbinic fellowship programs, teaches seminars to rabbis, rabbinical students, and lay leaders across the country, and coaches individual rabbis in attaining their career goals. In addition she is a trained hospital chaplain and speaks and writes on issues of health, healing, and spirituality.
Rabbi Paul Steinberg
All Answers for Rabbi Steinberg
Rabbi Paul Steinberg is an associate rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Los Angeles, California and is the Head of the Etz Chaim Learning Center. He is also a lecturer in education and philosophy at the Fingerhut School of Education at American Jewish University. Rabbi Steinberg was raised in Tucson,
Arizona, where he graduated from the
. University of Arizona with an award of
academic distinction in Near Eastern Studies. He also holds masters degrees in both education and rabbinic studies and was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to many articles on Hebrew Bible and Jewish education, Rabbi Steinberg has published four books including, Study Guide to Jewish Ethics (JPS, 2003) and the three-volume series Celebrating the Jewish Year (JPS, 2007 & 2009), of which one earned the 2009 National Jewish Book Award, while the others were nominated in 2007 as co-finalists. He is married to Maureen Sweeney, an attorney, who now devotes her time to raising their three daughters Rina, Nili, and Liora.
Rabbi Ute Steyer received rabbinic ordination and a master's degree from the Department of Jewish Philosophy at JTS. Her thesis explored the use of rabbinic sources in the ethical thought of Emmanuel Levinas. Her research interest is in the development of ethical thought in rabbinic literature and Jewish thought.
Rabbi Alana Suskin
All Answers for Rabbi Suskin
Rabbi Alana Suskin is an educator and a writer published in dozens of anthologies and journals, including Bridges, Lilith and Sh’ma and the New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future, a finalist in the 2010 National Jewish Book Award. Before receiving her ordination at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, she received B.A.s in Russian Literature and Philosophy, as well as an M.A. in Philosophy and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. She is a senior managing editor of Jewschool.com, and sits on the boards of RHR-NA and American Rights at Work.
Rabbi Iscah Waldman
All Answers for Rabbi Waldman
Rabbi Iscah Waldman has been helping students read between the lines of Jewish texts for the past 20 years. Iscah graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Ancient Studies, and holds a BA in Talmud, an MA in Midrash and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently working on her PhD in education and Jewish studies at NYU, and teaching at the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island as well as at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She hopes to bring together her own work in art and cartooning with her desire to bring the words of the rabbis to life. Iscah lives in NJ with her husband, Matt and their adorable and very energetic children, Tani and Shaya.
Rabbi Eric Yanoff has been at Adath Israel in Merion Station since the Summer of 2010. A native Philadelphian, he earned a BA in Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at Princeton University, and was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2004. While in college, he wrote, produced, performed, and toured around the country in original musical comedy productions.
Prior to returning to Philadelphia, he was a Rabbi at Congregation Shaarey Zedek outside of Detroit for six years, and has also taught high school drama, religious studies at a Jewish Day School and worked as a chaplain in a large New York-area hospital. He has led ten groups to Israel, and is planning his eleventh with the Adath Israel community. This past summer, he traveled to Africa with a Young Rabbis' Delegation through American Jewish World Service.
He enjoys playing piano and musical composition, and passionately believes that (as it has for 3000 years) Judaism can bring both meaning and joy to our lives in this and future generations.
My bio begins with a journey. I first learned to love Judaism on Shabbat walks with my dad. He would take me to shul with him early in the morning in order to arrive in time for the beginning of services. It was on these travels that I learned about the weekly Torah portion, what it meant to be a mensch and how to laugh at my own shortcomings. My home was steeped in Torah and it was in those formative years that I came to discover my passion and love of teaching and learning Torah, commitment to engaging the Jewish community in new avenues to bear the fruits of ancient wisdom and my responsibility to repairing a fractured world. I believe the greatest spiritual challenge today is developing a deep and meaningful relationship to God and community through all three primary elements of Judaism study, prayer and action. It is the ability to express with language, with personal ritual practice and through deed in the larger community which reflects our daily commitment to the tradition and its values. I am currently Director of Jewish Life at The Jewish Community Project Downtown, in New York City. Previously I served as Rabbi and Educator at Adat Ari El in Valley Village, CA, where one of the greatest gifts I learned from my community was a deep religious life is first and foremost a life of questioning, with an eye towards growth personally and communally. With that model I ask myself three questions every day to ensure I am living up to my obligation as a Bat Torah and a doogma(an example) for others. How can I make this moment more holy? What have I taught about God, Judaism or spirituality today? What have learned about my own spiritual/Jewish life today? In the other (equally important) parts of my life I am an avid St. Louis sports fan especially the baseball Cardinals, love learning new things, enjoy spending time in nature and I read everything from the Sunday NY Times and the New Yorker to the newest fiction and non-fiction on the shelves! I am the (extremely) proud sister of 3 brothers (2 great sisters-in-law) and a very, very proud aunt to two nieces and one nephew. I learn the most Torah from my two amazing parents.
Rabbi Jack Bieler was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University in 1974. He has been an administrator and faculty member of Orthodox Jewish day schools for over thirty years. He is a Jerusalem Fellow and has published and lectured widely on the philosophy of Modern Orthodox Jewish education. He has served as Rabbi of KMS since 1993.
Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka received his Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary in New York in 1965, and his Ph.D.degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971, concentrating on the Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.
- Rabbi, Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Ottawa, since 1967.
- Host of the TV series, In Good Faith , 1970-2006.
- Host of the weekly Radio call-in program Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka (CFRA), since 1994.
- Regular columnist, Ottawa Citizen - Ask the Religion Experts feature, since 1995.
- Author and/or Editor of more than 35 books.
Has contributed over 100 scholarly and popular articles to various journals, including AMHC Forum, Analecta Frankliana, Chronicle Review, Hadarom, Humanitas, International Forum for Logotherapy, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Journal of Religion and Health, Judaism, L'Eylah, Midstream, Pastoral Psychology, Tradition, and Voices, among others .
Founder and Editor, Journal of Psychology and Judaism, 1976 - 2003.
Member, Editorial Boards, Tradition, Journal of Religion and Health, International Forum for Logotherapy, & Pastoral Psychology.
• Chaplain, Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.
• Member, Trillium Gift of Life Network.
• Chair, Trillium Gift of Life Network, since June 2007.
• Honorary Chair, Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre Courage Campaign
• Honorary Co-Chair, Ottawa Hospital 20/20 Campaign.
• Chair, Ottawa Kindness Week, since 2007.
• Rabbinic Emissary, Canadian Jewish Congress, 2009 –
• Co-Chair, with David Sweet, of APIF (All Party Parliamentary Inter-Faith Friendship Group)
• Honorary Member, Board of Trustees, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Previous Recent Positions
• Chair, Rabbinical Council of America Publications Committee.
• Past Chair, Rabbinic Cabinet, State of Israel Bonds.
• President, International Rabbinic Forum of Keren HaYesod - United Israel Appeal.
• Founder, Clergy for a United Canada.
• Chair, Religious and Inter-Religious Affairs Committee, Canadian Jewish Congress.
• Chair, Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation.
• Chair, Ottawa World Jewry Committee (formerly Ottawa Soviet Jewry Committee).
• Chair, Religious Advisory Committee, United Way/Centraide of Ottawa-Carleton.
• Chair, Organ Donation Committee, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Eastern Ontario Region.
• Chair, Religious Advisory Board, Canadian Blood Services
• Member, Board of Directors, United Way/Centraide of Ottawa-Carleton.
• Chair, Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre Courage Campaign.
• Member, Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation.
• Chair, Trillium Gift of Life Network Communications Committee.
• Co-President, Canadian Jewish Congress, 2007-2009.
1 Recipient, Canada 125 Medal, January, 1993.
2 Recipient, Beryl Plumptre Award of Excellence, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Eastern Ontario Branch, 1998.
3 Recipient, Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Service Award of the Ottawa Jewish Community, 1999.
4 Recipient, Mayor's Award for Community Service, 1999.
5 Recipient, Special Citation from Canadian Blood Services for 100 plus blood donations, 2000.
6 First Recipient, National Salute Award, Scouts Canada, 2001.
7 Recipient, Queen’s Jubilee Award, 2003.
8 Recipient, Special Citation from Canadian Blood Services, 2004, for 200 blood donations.
9 Recipient, Samuel Bronfman Medal, Canadian Jewish Congress, 2004.
10 Recipient, Honouring Our Lifeblood, Canadian Blood Services, 2004.
11 Recpient, Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Carleton University, 2006.
12 Recipient, Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year Award, 2006.
13 Recipient, Special Citation from Canadian Blood Services, 2009 for 300 blood donations.
14 Recipient, Celebration of Life Award, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Eastern Ontario Branch, 2009.
15 Recipient, Citation of Appreciation, for service on Regional Liaison Committee, Canadian Blood Services, North/East Ontario & Nunavut, 2009.
16 Recipient, Citation of Appreciation, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, upon completion of six-year term as Chair of the Courage Campaign which raised $20 million to fight cancer, March 5, 2009.
17 Palliative Care Wing of Bruyere Hospital named for him, October 13, 2009.
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
All Answers for Rabbi Cohen
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen is the rabbi of the Aitz Chaim Congregation in West Palm Beach, Florida. In the past five years since his arrival, the congregation has increased its membership by over one hundred Torah observant families.
A prolific writer who has published over one thousand articles in the Anglo-Jewish media, he contributes a popular weekly article, entitled “Halachic Questions”, to the Jewish Press newspaper. In addition, he has published seven volumes on halacha, including his most recent, “Shabbat The Right Way – Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications). Other volumes include "How Does Jewish Law Work (vol. 1 and 2)", "Timely Jewish Questions: Timeless Rabbinic Answers", "Intermarriage and Conversion", "The Jewish Heart", and "The 613th Commandment." He has also contributed to the RCA's publications, Tradition and Hadarom.
Rabbi Cohen is a noted orator and has served in prominent rabbinic and leadership positions. He was the first rabbi of Congregation AABJ and D in West Orange, New Jersey. Subsequently, he was the founding Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. He then served for eighteen years as the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Shaarei Tefila in Los Angeles, California. There, he was elected as a Vice President of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the first Orthodox Rabbi so honored. After serving as the scholar in residence to the Mizrachi Kehilla in Melbourne, Australia, he was offered the position as Mara D’Atra and served in that capacity for over seven years. Melbourne Koshrut, the national kashrut certifying agency of Australia, was a subsidiary of the Mizrachi Kehilla under his supervision.
Proud of his lineage, Rabbi Cohen is a descendant of eighteen consecutive father-to-son generations of communal rabbis. His father, Rabbi Meir Cohen, was the Executive Director of the Agudat HaRabonim for over twenty years. His paternal grandfather was the noted author of widely consulted halachic Sefarim, including Minchat Shabbat and Ma’adanai Shmuel (on Hilchot Pesach.)
Over the years, he has received many honors, include the Jerusalem Prize for rabbinic leadership; he was the first to receive the rabbinic award of the West Coast Region of the Orthodox Union. He studied at Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim Berlin and Kollel Gur Aryeh and was ordained by HaGoan HaRav Yitzchok Hutner. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has several secular degrees.
Rabbi Cohen and his rebbitzen Shoshana have been blessed with four children as well as with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Rabbi Judah Dardik is in his eleventh year as the spiritual leader of the Modern-Orthodox Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland. His vibrant and fast-growing community is a diverse group of people from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs and practices from across the Bay Area. He writes a regular column in the Jewish newspaper "J. Weekly", his educationally-oriented shul has one numerous awards for its adult education program and he has lectured across the Bay Area on a wide range of subjects. He received his BA from Yeshiva University's Sy Syms School of Business, his Master's degree from the Azrielli Graduate School of Jewish Education, and his ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva. He is passionate about Jewish education and welcomes the opportunity to learn with people of all backgrounds.
Rabbi Mark Dratch
All Answers for Rabbi Dratch
Rabbi Mark Dratch is Founder and CEO of JSafe, an organization dealing with issues of abuse in the Jewish community,and is an Instructor of Jewish Studies and Philosophy at Yeshiva University. He received semikhah, rabbinic ordination, at Yeshiva University and served as a congregaional rabbi for 22 years.
Rabbi David M. Feldman
All Answers for Rabbi Feldman
Rabbi Feldman is on the Faculty of the School of Chaplains of the New York Board of Rabbis and as Visiting Associate Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a Founding Fellow of the Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences and a member of the Editorial Advisory of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, sponsored by the Kennedy Institute. He also serves on the Bio-Medical Ethics Committee of Hackensack University Medical Center and on the Board of Trustees of the New York Society for the Deaf. Dr. Feldman has leactured widely before synagogue, university, and medical groups. He gave testimony in Albany and Washington on abortion and popluation issues. He was invited to Rome to address a Vatican-sponsored conference on the subject of his first book and delivered a series of lectures on Jewish law at the Law School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Jonathan Feldman
All Answers for Rabbi Feldman
Rabbi Jonathan Feldman is Associate Director of Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE). MJE is an organization dedicated to connecting young Jewish people to each other, the Jewish community and Judaism. Jonathan attended Cornell University, received his B.A. from Yeshiva College and his M.S. from Bernard Revel Graduate School. He then pursued his graduate studies at New York University where he received his Ph.D. in Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism. He received Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He has held taught at the Academy for Jewish Religion and Stern College, and held a number of rabbinic positions before coming to MJE ten year ago.
Rabbi Herschel Finman
All Answers for Rabbi Finman
Herschel Finman is a Chabad Rabbi serving greater Detroit and cyberspace. He and his wife Chana spent four years in Australia where Rabbi Finman devoted his time to the study of medical/legal/business ethics. For more than 20 years, Rabbi Finman has been teaching Kaballa, Chasidus and Judaism in a variety of settings; home, offices, phone, web conference. Feel free to contact Rabbi Herschel Finman with any comment or query.
For more than 15 years, Herschel Finman has hosted THE JEWISH HOUR on WPON 1460 AM - Detroit and www.wpon.com Fridays 3:00 - 5:00 PM ET. The show features a variety format: News from Israel, Jewish music of all genre from Avrohom Fried and Matisyahu to Theodore Bikel and Yossele Rosenblatt, topical interviews, Dvirei Torah and Chasidic Stories.
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Rav of Young Israel of Orange County, is a nationally prominent Jewish leader and speaker, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, the central body of the Modern Orthodox Rabbinate in the United States, and of the Board of Directors of the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, California. Within the Rabbinical Council of America, Rav Fischer also serves on the RCA Task Force on Jewish Principles and Ethical Guidelines for Business and Industry, and on the RCA Convention Resolutions committee.
Previously, Rav Fischer served as National Vice President of the Zionist Organization of America and on a wide range of Jewish organizations including the Yeshiva Principals’ Council of the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education, the Board of Directors of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Orange County, the Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles, and the American Jewish Committee of Orange County, California. Among the hundreds of articles, both scholarly and popular, that Rav Fischer has published, his writings have appeared on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, Midstream, The Weekly Standard, and National Review Online.
Rav Fischer is a regular contributor to Jewish World Review, and his Torah Portion commentaries appear frequently in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. He has authored two books: Jews for Nothing: On Cults, Assimilation, and Intermarriage (NY: Feldheim) and General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine (Jerusalem: Steimatzky). His study of an anti-Semitic polemicist in 1930s New York was nationally honored by the American Jewish Historical Society and was one of the first scholarly works ever published in the AJHS Quarterly by a non-Ph.D. He also is a member of the Rabbinical Council of California, and National Council of Young Israel Rabbis. He is a musmakh of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). A quintessentially “Modern Orthodox” centrist rabbi -- Ivy League graduate, amateur film buff extraordinaire, American History scholar, theater and opera aficionado, and Yankees-Mets/ Giants-Jets/ Rangers-Islanders fan (depending on which teams are having good years!) – Rabbi Fischer also is respected in American legal circles. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from UCLA Law School, where he was Chief Articles Editor of Law Review, he clerked in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs shortly before Judge Boggs rose to become Chief Judge of the appellate circuit. Rav Fischer then practiced complex business litigation for a decade, primarily at two of America’s largest and most prestigious law firms, Jones Day and Akin Gump. During that period, in addition to representing such major corporate clients as Samsung, Hughes Aircraft, Experian, KPMG Peat Marwick, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team, Albertson’s Stores, and Occidental Petroleum,
Rabbi Fischer dedicated substantial pro bono efforts for the Jewish community, preventing unwarranted autopsies, inducing recalcitrant spouses to grant Get-based Jewish halakhic divorces, representing rabbis sued for advocating unpopular but honest positions, and representing the successful plaintiffs’ class in the nationwide class-action lawsuit brought by the surviving families of Holocaust victims against European insurance companies. Rabbi Fischer is Adjunct Professor of the Law of Advanced Torts and of California Civil Procedure. His published study of a federal law regulating directors and officers of depository institutions has been cited by federal judges in nine federal court decisions.
Kesher Israel's rabbi for the past eighteen years is Rabbi Barry Freundel.
Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel is the spiritual leader of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue. He received his smicha from Yeshiva University and his Phd. from Baltimore Hebrew University where he serves as as Assistant Professor of Rabbinics and has served as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Maryland, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and a Consultant to the Ethics Review Board of the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health. Rabbi Freundel is also head of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Rabbi Freundel is Vice-President of the Vaad of Washington and is very involved in community issues in the Greater Washington area. He is regarded as a resource and authority on eruvim, and has assisted in their construction in a number of cities, including Washington. He is the author of Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity published by KTAV in 2003 as well as numerous scholarly articles
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Grant is Jewish Studies Principal Emeritus and teacher at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and a teacher at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County High School. He studied for three years with Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik at Yeshiva University for Semichah, earned a masters degree in Jewish education and Ancient Jewish History also from Yeshiva University, and has a Doctorate in Psychology and Pastoral Counseling from Boston University. He has lectured extensively in the United States (with some lectures in Canada and Israel) on Tanach, Rabbinics, Jewish Education and psychology. He has a private practice in counseling and hypnotherapy in Great Neck, New York and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516 829-6647.
Rabbi Benjamin Hecht
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Rabbi Benjamin Hecht is the Founding Director of NISHMA (www.nishma.org), an international Torah research, resource and educational endeavour devoted to the further development of “a wise and understanding people.” The organization is distinguished by its commitment to the presentation of the Halachic spectrum, its fostering of individual inquiry and its devotion to the critical investigation of contemporary issues. The Nishma study focus is on the process of Torah study itself for it is the process that develops wisdom. Rabbi Hecht also serves as the Rabbinic Advisor of Yad HaChazakah – The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center (www.yad-jdec.org), is on the Rabbinic Advisory Board of Koshertube (www.koshertube.com) and is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America. In addition to having been published internationally, he has a regular monthly column in The Jewish Tribune and is a sought after lecturer and media guest. In addition to his rabbinical ordination, he holds Ll.B./M.B.A. degrees from the Osgoode Hall Law School/Schulich Business School joint programme as well as a B.A. in psychology from York University. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Rabbi Hecht is joined in his work by his wife Naomi. The Hechts have four children and reside in Thornhill, Ontario.
Rabbi Elliot Kaplowitz serves as the Co-Director of the OU Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Brandeis University and as Advisor to the Brandeis Orthodox Organization. Rabbi Kaplowitz received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.
Rabbi Maury Kelman
All Answers for Rabbi Kelman
Maury Kelman received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and has pursued graduate studies in English literature and Jewish Philosophy. He is the former Assistant Rabbi at The Jewish Center in Manhattan and the co-founding Rabbi of Kehillat Morah in Jerusalem. He is the Chairman of Kedma, a Jewish student organization in Israel and the United States and he also directs an Orthodox conversion program in Manhattan. He has worked as a corporate attorney at a Manhattan law firm and currently works for an investment firm.
Rabbi Aryeh Klapper is Dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership and Rosh Beit Midrash of its Summer Beit Midrash program, a member of the Beit Din of Boston, and Instructor of Rabbinics and Bioethics at Gann Academy. He previously served as Orthodox Adviser and Director of Education at Harvard Hillel and as Talmud Curriculum Chair at Maimonides High School. Rabbi Klapper lectures in many public and academic forums and has published in numerous popular and scholarly journals. Many of his articles and audio shiurim can be accessed at www.torahleadership.org
Rabbi Eric Kotkin received his BA at Brandeis University in Judaic Studies and History. He holds a MS and is currently working toward is EdD at Azrieli School of Education and has been working the field of Education for the past six years in both secular and Jewish settings.
He received ordination from Yeshiva University/RIETS as well as Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt. Rabbi Kotkin is also the founder of thecollegerabbi.com, a website to provide rabbinic resources for Jewish college students SU's around the country who may not have them on their own campus and is the chief translator for bible4community.com, a unique concept in Bible translation and study soon to be released to the general public. He has won speaking competitions and received his Competent Communicator award as a member of Toastmasters International. He is also a student of martial arts and plays the bass guitar.
Rabbi Leonard Levy is an assistant professor of Jewish Law at the Institute of Traditional Judaism in Teaneck, NJ, where he recently received yoreh yoreh semikhah (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi David Weiss Halivni. Rabbi Levy was previously ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1984, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Talmud and Rabbinics with a concentration in Medieval Jewish Law in 2002. He taught Talmud and Jewish Law at JTS for over a decade. He served on Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards before resigning in December 2006. Rabbi Levy has also taught courses at Hebrew Union College (Reform) and the Academy for Jewish Religion (non-denominational). Rabbi Levy served for many years as a congregational rabbi, most recently with the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West in Middle Village, NY (1998-2008). He spent a semester at Harvard University as the Jeremy David Silver Fellow in 2007. His main research interest is the development of principles for deciding cases in Jewish Law. His undergraduate degree is in Biology from the California Institute of Technology (1979). Rabbi Levy is married with two children and lives in Forest Hills, NY.
Rabbi Levy initiated the website www.torahwithoutborders.org
to bring teachers and students of Torah together through the internet.
Rabbi Dr. Natan Ophir (Offenbacher)
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Rabbi Dr. Natan Ophir (Offenbacher) received his MA and PhD in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he served as Rabbi of the campus from 1982-1998. Born in Philadelphia, Natan graduated 1st in his class at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, and summa cum laude from Yeshiva University. He then went on aliyah and studied seven years at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook where he received Rabbinical ordination. Dr. Ophir has 5 children and 4 grandchildren. Recently, he founded JMIJ, the Jewish Meditation Institute Jerusalem to teach Jewish Meditation in the light of neuropsychology. Meditative instructionss and guided CDs are based on classical sources such as Maimonides, R. Nahman of Bretzlav, R. Hayyim Vital, R. Moshe Cordovero, the Admor of Piaseczno and Rav Kook. Dr. Ophir has taught in several academic institutions and published many scholarly articles. For a list of publications and CDs available by email please write to Natan@JewishMeditation.org.il
Selected Scholarly Presentations "Meditative Instructions for Friday Night Conjugal Intimacy: Romantic Kabbalah in the Writings of R. Moseh Cordovero," Massekhet, vol. 10 (fall 2010), pp. 12-13, 87-113. "Rav Kook & Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel: Their Shared Vision for a Central Universal Yeshiva", The Torah uMadda Journal, vol. 15 (2008-2009), pp. 188-208. "A Neuro-Psychological Perspective on the Quieting Technique of the Admor of Piaseczna", 15th World Congress of Jewish Studies, August 4, 2009. "Soulmates," in The Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions, ABC-CLIO World Religions Project, Ed.: Dr. Yudit Kornberg Greenberg, Santa Barbara, California, et. al., November 2007, pp. 593-597. "Visualizing Tekhelet as Encountering the Shekhina", The 9th Annual International Conference of the Institute for the Study of Rabbinic Thought, December 20, 2006, Beit Morasha. "States of Devekut Consciousness in light of Research in Neuro-Psychology," 14th World Congress of Jewish Studies, August 2, 2005. "Multiple Intelligences: Intellectual, Emotional, Ethical and Spiritual", guest lecture at the Rationality Center of the Hebrew University, May 28, 2004. "Mosaic Prophecy according to Maimonides and Crescas," Annual Conference of University Departments of Jewish Thought, Bar Ilan University, , March 7, 2005. "Maimonides as a Teacher of Meditation in Light of Neuro-Psychological Research," International Conference on Maimonides and Mysticism at Bar Ilan University, June 9, 2004. "Physical Education and Multiple Intelligences," Conference of Physical Education Supervisors, August 17, 2003. "Sports as Ethical Education and Social Mission," 4th International Conference of Teachers' Colleges, June 25, 2002. "Teaching Jewish Meditation," International Conference of the Israel Association for the Study of Jewish Education, Haifa University, June 19, 2002. "Feminist Theology and Its Influence on Concepts of Divinity in Modern Jewish Philosophy", 13th World Congress of Jewish Studies, August 12, 2001. "The Holiness of the Temple Mount – Earthly or Heavenly Reasons," 3rd Annual Conference for the Study of Rabbinic Thought, Beit Morasha, Dec. 2001. "Social-Messianic Utopia in Jewish Philosophy after Maimonides," Annual Conference of the University Departments of Jewish Thought, Tel Aviv University, April 13, 2000. "The End of the World: The Decision in Barcelona in Favor of Rav Katina," 2nd Annual Conference on Rabbinic Thought, Beit Morasha, December, 2000. "Modern Feminist Theology and Classical Jewish Philosophy," 1st International Conference of Kolech, July 14, 1999. "Teaching Meditation in Adult Education: Between Academic Research and Mystical Experience," National Conference of Adult Education, Hebrew University, June 30, 1999. “Divine Ethic and Human Response: From R. Hasdai Crescas to Rav Kuk,” Annual Conference of the Departments of Jewish Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University, March 16, 1999. "Orthodox Judaism and the Israeli College Campus (Rav Kuk’s Vision at Hebrew University Revisted)”, lecture at the jubilee celebration of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, Jerusalem, July 4, 1998. “Heavenly Temple and Jerusalem Above”, CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education), Hebrew University Mt. Scopus, August 7, 1996.
Rabbi Yehuda Leonard Oppenheimer
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YLO was raised in New York and Israel, and was educated in various Yeshivot and colleges, receiving a Masters degree in Electronics. After working as an engineer for 12 years, he decide to train as a lawyer and attended Brooklyn Law School, while completing his Rabbinic ordination. He lived in Portland, Oregon for ten years while at his first Rabbinic position, and has now functioned as the spiritual leader of Young Israel of Forest Hills, NY, along with his wife and five children, for the past four years. Rabbi Oppenheimer has done a great deal of work in Jewish outreach and education, and has written several published articles, with more to come
Rabbi and Director of the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University
Rabbi Polak, a native of The Hague, Netherlands, has published widely in areas of Jewish law, student affairs, and the Holocaust. He also serves as the Chief Justice of the Rabbinic Court (Bet Din) of New England.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, a synagogue consisting of nearly 600 families located in Teaneck, New Jersey, and one of the most vibrant centers of Orthodox Jewish life today. He has served since August 1994. Previously, Rabbi Pruzansky was for nine years the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills, New York. Rabbi Pruzansky graduated from Columbia University in 1978 with a B.A. in history, and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in 1981. He practiced law for 13 years as a general practitioner and litigator in New York City until assuming his current pulpit, is a member of the New York Bar, the Federal Bar, and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Rabbi Pruzansky studied in yeshivot in Israel and the United States, and was ordained at Yeshiva Bnei Torah of Far Rockaway, New York under the guidance of Rabbi Yisrael Chait, shlit”a. He writes extensively on topics of Jewish interest and has lectured in more than 20 countries. Rabbi Pruzansky is the author of “A Prophet for Today: Contemporary Lessons of the Book of Yehoshua” (Gefen Publishing House, 2006), and “Judges for our Time: Contemporary Lessons of the Book of Shoftim (Gefen Publishing House, 2009).” Many of his writing and lectures can be found at Rabbipruzansky.com.
Rabbi Mordechai (Michael) Rackover is a graduate of McGill University, Honours BA in Judaic studies. He spent nearly a decade studying in various institutions in Israel - Yeshivat HaMivtar, Yeshivat Bat Ayin, the Pardes Educators Program and the Graduate School at Hebrew University. Ordained by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg (Shabbat) and Rabbi Daniel Landes, (Yoreh Yoreh). Currently Mordechai serves as the Associate University Chaplain for the Jewish Community of Brown University and the Rabbi of the Brown RISD Hillel Foundation. Working in this context he likes to explain that he is the 'rabbi of the Reform Jews , Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews, the unaffiliated Jews as well as the Rabbi of the non-Jews.' Mordechai previously served as Assistant Rabbi and Director of Education at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, MD. While there his responsibilities included curricular support in the Early Childhood Center, Adult Education, and the supervision of Youth Groups. Concurrent to his work at Beth Sholom Mordechai taught Jewish Texts and Tradition in grades 7 - 12 at the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School. A founding Board Member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship he is passionate about supporting liberal societal values within the context of Orthodox Halakhic practice. Mordechai is certified by Brown's LGBTQ community as having completed 'Safe Zone Training' person. In recent years the rabbi was participant in Cohort 6 of the STAR Peer Program and Rabbi Yitz Greenberg's Limdu Heitev Fellowship. Married to Nechama Lea they are proud parents of 3 children - expecting a fourth.
Rabbi Teacher Webyeshiva.org
From a doctorate analyzing different approaches to Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) to his work as a synagogue rabbi and educator, to his works of fiction, Murderer in the Mikdash and Cassandra Misreads the Book of Samuel to his current blog on the Mission of Orthodoxy at blog.webyeshiva.org, Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein has always striven to make essential Jewish values the center of Jewish existence and experience. Through his writings on Jewish law and on the haftarot, the sections of the Prophets read in synagogue on Sabbaths and holidays, Rabbi Rothstein has also worked hard to perfect his ability to summarize complex topics in brief yet comprehensive discussions. He lives in Riverdale, NY with his wife and three children.
Benjamin J. Samuels, has been the rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton Centre, Massachusetts for the past 14 years. He teaches widely in the greater Boston community including serving as a Genesis Scholar at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a Master Instructor for Maayan: Torah Initiatives for Jewish Women, Curriculum Developer and Instructor for Ikkarim: Jewish Values and the Journey for Jewish Parents, and Instructor of Rabbinics and Medieval Jewish History for Meah, a two-year adult Jewish literacy program. Rabbi Samuels is an active member of the Vaad HaRabbonim of Massachusetts and a member of its Beit Din. He received his semikhah from Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan of Yeshiva University, where he also earned a BA in English Literature and a MA in Bible and Medieval Jewish History. He is also an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush). He is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University in its “Science, Philosophy and Religion” program.
Rabbi Dr. Sanford H. Shadnow is a native of Chicago, Illinois. When back in the States, he serves as a Chaplain at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC. He retired from the United States Navy after a 22-year naval career, mostly on active duty. In his last assignment he served 5½ years as Department Head (Jewish) and Staff Chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, which services the President, Congress and the Supreme Court. His naval career included service at sea and on shore throughout the US, as well as overseas in Japan and Italy, serving as Assistant Fleet Chaplain of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, where he served on six aircraft carriers, including the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY. Rabbi Shudnow was Hillel Director at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where one-third of the students are Jewish. He is an alumnus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, having spent four years in Jerusalem, studying at the university on the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels and at various yeshivot, including Bet Midrash L’Torah, Israel Torah Research Institute "ITRI" and Mercaz HaRav. Besides his mentor Professor Hakham José Faur of Netanya, a renowned Sephardic sage (Bar Ilan University), Rabbi Shudnow is privileged to include Professors Nechama Leibovitz, Moshe Greenberg and HaRav Nathan Kaminetsky and HaRav Dr. Aaron Rakefet, HaRav Chaim Brovender, among the many great scholars with whom he studied Torah. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, International Relations from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago) and is a graduate of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, receiving his Master of Arts, Rabbinical Ordination and Doctor of Divinity, studying with such greats as: Professors Saul Leiberman, Simon Greenberg, Shama Friedman, Moshe Zucker and Louis Finkelstein. Rabbi Shudnow has served as keynote speaker at the National Institutes of Health [NIH] in symposia on spirituality and health care. He is a well-known journalist, writing on topical issues of religion and ethics. His inspirational Torah columns are a regular feature of the WASHINGTON JEWISH WEEK.
Rabbi Ze'ev Smason is the spiritual leader of Nusach Hari B'nai Zion, one of the largest orthodox congregations in St. Louis. Raised in Los Angeles, Rabbi Smason graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science. He then pursued rabbinical studies for 8 years in Jerusalem, receiving ordination from Rabbi Noach Weinberg and Rabbi Avrohom Kupshitz. He continued his post-graduate studies while lecturing on Torah, Philosophy, Ethics, and Current Issues. From 1988-97 Rabbi Smason was the associate director of Aish HaTorah Center of Jewish Studies of St. Louis; from January 1998, through June 1999, he served as Associate Rabbi and Family Educator of Nusach Hari B'nai Zion before being chosen by the membership to assume the pulpit of the synagogue. An eleven-year member of the RCA, Rabbi Smason was elected to the RCA's Executive Committee in 2010. Rabbi Smason has developed a wide range of original classes and programs that have been extremely well received by Jews of all educational and religious backgrounds. "I don't know many Jews who, when asked, state that they would like to become Orthodox," Rabbi Smason says. "I do know many Jews, however, who want to grow and become better Jews. Such people will be met with a very warm welcome at Nusach Hari B'nai Zion." Having himself been raised in a loving home with positive Jewish values, but not a traditionally observant one, Rabbi Smason relates well to the issues and concerns of secular and unaffiliated Jews who want to learn more about their heritage, but are unfamiliar with many practices and rituals of traditional Judaism. "Jewish education in the past has emphasized the 'what' but often neglected the 'why.' Our programs at Nusach Hari B'nai Zion, for both members and non-members, will help fill that missing gap," Rabbi Smason says. When newly installed as rabbi, Rabbi Smason introduced Home Study Groups, Weekly Learning Sessions, and Shabbat and Holiday Learners' Services as the first tier of new programs introduced to the congregation. In partnership with other members of the congregation who share Rabbi Smason's vision of Nusach Hari B'nai Zion being a true 'Outreach Shul,' the volume of new creative programming has recently increased at a dizzying pace. Synaplex Shabbat, Rabbi-Ride-Around, Kosher Chili Cook-Off and a Community Pizza Cafe are just some of what's new at the synagogue. Rabbi Smason's thoughtful weekly column Beyond Twelve Gates is featured on The Foundation Stone, Jewish in St.Louis, and distributed by email to over 1000 readers. Despite the economic down-turn and unfortunate trends of downsizing and disappearing synagogues, Nusach Hari Bnai Zion broke ground in July of 2010 on the site of its new building, scheduled to open in May or June of 2011. Rabbi Smason, who has been active in fundraising and planning the new facility, says, 'our goal is to create a new kehilah, not simply to build another synagogue, as worthy as that goal might be." Rabbi Smason is married to Chani Siegel from Chicago. They have been blessed with 9 children and 4 grandchildren.
Rabbi Mark Wildes Founder & Director Rabbi Mark holds a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University, a Law degree from Cardozo, a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia and was ordained from Yeshiva University. Since founding MJE ten years ago, Rabbi Wildes has become one of America’s most inspirational and dynamic Jewish educators. He teaches an Outreach Training Seminar at Yeshiva University’s Rabbinical School.
Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, together with his wife Sara, is director of the Orthodox Union's Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Princeton University. David has a bachelors degree in History from Harvard University and completed graduate level coursework in Medieval Jewish History at Yeshiva University. He studied at Yeshivat Hamivtar and Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City and from Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg and Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen in Israel.
Rabbi Richard Wolpoe – Former Rabbi of Congregation Ohav Sholaum, ordained by Yeshiva University/Riets and graduate of Bernard Revel Graduate School, majoring in Jewish history. Rabbi Wolpoe is a pioneer on the "Jewish Internet" discussion groups such as UTJ-L and Aishdas Society's Avodah List. He is also the blogmaster of NishmaBlog.
Born in Hartford, CT in 1951 Attended Yeshiva of Hartford, Graduating 9th grade in 1966. Attended Mechina High School of Ner Israel Baltimore 1966-1968 Attended Ner Israel Yeshiva College in Toronto, 1968-1971 Attended Yeshiva College 1971-1973 graduating with a BA in History Attended RIETS and Bernard Revel Grad School 1973-1976, and 1981. Rabbi Cong. Beth Jacob of Astoria, 1984-1987 Cantor Cong. Ohav Sholaum of Inwood [Manhattan] 1987-1990 In 1990 he assumed the role of Rabbi. Rabbi Wolpoe also taught parsha classes at Cong. Mt. Sinai 1996-2006 and earned Its Community Leadership Award. He has been an instructor in Talmud, Halachah, and Nusach at the Institute for Tradtional Judaism since 2001. He lives in Teaneck with his wife Ramona and his two children, Chana Yoechevd and Zvi
Rabbi Alan Yuter
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Ordination, YU AND Israeli Chief Rabbinate Ph.D. NYU in Hebrew literature Community rabbi and aadjunct faculty, AACC and UMBC
Rabbi Joel N. Abraham and his wife, Michelle Shapiro Abraham, have two children: a daughter – Avital Devorah and a son – Ezri Barak. Rabbi Abraham grew up in Temple Beth El in Somerville, NJ where his father was the Rabbi and where he was active in JFTY. He co-founded a Reform Jewish student organization in college and has worked for our region's youth movement and Mitzvah Corps. His education degrees include a BA in History from Yale College, an MA in Modern European History from Columbia, and an MAHL from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. He was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York and studied at the Jerusalem, LA, and NY campuses. Before becoming Rabbi at Temple Sholom in 1999, he served pulpits in California, Nevada, Virginia, and West Virginia. Locally, Rabbi Abraham is the past-president of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Ministerium, is active with HomeFirst: the Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless of Union County served as regional representative on the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and is the Immediate Past President of the NJWHVARR. In 2006, Rabbi Abraham received the Rabbinic Award from the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, where he has been active in the Leil Iyyun committee. In 2009-10, Rabbi Abraham was chosen to be part of STAR’s fourth Good to Great Rabbinic cohort. Still very committed to youth work, Rabbi Abraham is a member of the URJ Kutz Camp Committee, the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley NFTY Rabbinic Advisory Group, past Resident Advisor of the NFTY-GER Urban Mitzvah Corps (twice), and perennial dean of NFTY-GER Summer Kallah. After spending ten years as visiting faculty at the National Youth Leadership Academy at the URJ Kutz Campus for Teen Life, Michelle and Joel have spent two years as visiting faculty at URJ Eisner camp. Rabbi Abraham is also a Board member of the Stone Trust. Rabbi Abraham’s rabbinic thesis was on Ibn Ezra’s commentary on Ecclesiastes.
All Answers for Rabbi Biatch
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch serves Temple Beth El in Madison, Wisconsin, a thriving congregation of 650 families. His professional responsibilities include teaching and preaching on a weekly basis, serving a rabbinic role in the synagogue’s religious school, crisis and intervention counseling, guiding synagogue leadership and volunteers, interpreting Judaism and Jewish law for synagogue members and the general community, speaking on behalf of his synagogue, Reform Judaism, and Judaism in general, writing op-ed pieces for the local press on a variety of issues, and working with a professional staff complement of a Cantor, Educator, Executive Director and Program Director. Rabbi Biatch is married to Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, former director of clergy programming and assistant director for affiliates, of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, based in Washington, DC. They have two children and reside in Madison. A native of Portland, Oregon, Rabbi Biatch grew up in Los Angeles, and attended the California State University at Northridge for an undergraduate degree in radio and television broadcast management. He then participated in the year program of the World Union of Jewish Students’ Institute based in Arad, Israel, acquiring a fluency in Hebrew language and working in instructional television in Tel-Aviv. Following his return to the United States, he studied at Brandeis University where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Communal Service and entered the Jewish federation field. After seven years serving as directors of community relations and planning and budgeting for federations in Buffalo, St. Louis, and Houston, he decided to enter the Reform rabbinate, studying at the Jerusalem and Cincinnati campuses of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He received a Master of Arts Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1991, and his rabbinic ordination in 1992. During his rabbinic school career, Rabbi Biatch served student pulpits in Texarkana, Texas; Pueblo, Colorado; and Petoskey, Michigan; and he composed his rabbinic thesis on the history and the relevance of the Haftarah in modern synagogue life. Following ordination, he served congregations in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (Beth El Congregation in Harrisonburg, VA, and Temple House of Israel in Staunton, VA), Alexandria, Virginia (Beth El Hebrew Congregation) and Glendale, CA (Temple Sinai of Glendale). He came to Temple Beth El in July 2005. Rabbi Biatch has served on the boards of the southern California region of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and “Allies,” a human rights advocacy organization supporting the gay and lesbian communities of the Shenandoah Valley. He has been active in the interfaith ministerial organizations in all his professional pulpits, and served as the president of the interfaith council of Harrisonburg.
Rabbi Joe Blair was born in New York City, and raised in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, the oldest of five children in a very supportive and close family. He attended the University of Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a Master of Computer Sciences degree in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He then went on to the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, where he earned a J.D. He and his wife settled in Northern Virginia, and lived there for the next fifteen years. He practiced law for a few months, then worked with computers for a variety of high-tech and telecommunications firms in various roles, including programmer, system designer, systems analyst, project leader, and manager. Over this time, he became increasingly involved in the life of his congregation as a congregant and lay leader, and found himself wanting to deepen and broaden his service to his community and practice of his religion. After long consideration, he attended the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. He concluded his studies in 1996, and was ordained/given semicha. Upon graduation, Rabbi Joe entered into the world of academia, serving as Director of the Hillel at Duke University during the critical period leading up to the construction of the Friedman Center for Jewish Life on campus. After three years at Duke, Rabbi Joe was recruited to return to Virginia to direct the Hillel at the University of Virginia. After two years, he left the academic and student world to become a full-time pulpit rabbi, serving the two small congregations in the communities of Staunton and Harrisonburg VA. Rabbi Joe has served as an editor, proofreader, copyeditor, indexer, commentator and author of a variety of books and articles, including The Zohar (Vols. 1-4) by D. Matt; the JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh; the Revised Plaut Commentary; and The Talmud by H. Gamoran, among other works. He was the editor in chief and a writer for the Gesher VeKesher Education Newsletter, and co-editor and a contributor to the books Windows on the Jewish Soul and Connecting Prayer and Spirituality. He served on the editorial staff and commentator for the Kol Haneshamah Series of Siddurim for Chol and for Shabbat VeChagim. Rabbi Joe was the co-editor of God’s Paintbrush: A Guide for Jewish and Christian Educators and Parents. Over the period from 1995 to 2009, Rabbi Joe was a team member, and served as the coordinator of the Ask a Rabbi Web Project, leading a group of outstanding rabbis from all denominations in answering thousands of questions on Judaism and Jewish subjects submitted by people from all over the world. The project ended with the closure for business reasons of the hosting site. Rabbi Joe is fortunate to be married to a wonderful and understanding woman, a true life partner. They have one daughter.
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
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Rabbi Herbert Bronstein (b. 1930 Cincinnati, Ohio) is Rabbi Emeritus/Senior Scholar of North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, Illinois. Rabbi Bronstein served our congregation as Senior Rabbi for a quarter of a century (1972-1997). From 1957, upon ordination from the Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati Ohio) to 1972 he served at the historic Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester, New York first as Assistant, then Associate and then Co-Rabbi.
Now serving as our Senior Scholar, Rabbi Bronstein is a Lecturer at Lake Forest College in History of Religions. He has combined a successful vocation as a congregational rabbi and community leader with life-long achievements in scholarships, academic teaching; lecturing widely and writing particularly in the fields of religious thought and literature, as well as liturgy both as a scholar of liturgy and liturgist. Recipient of many honors, he was named, in the Year 2000, as Alumnus of the Year by McMicken College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Cincinnati. During his tenure as chairman of the Reform Jewish Liturgy Committee 1981 – 1991 (responsible for the publication of prayer books of Reform Judaism. During his tenure the committee published the best selling Haggadah for Passover of which he was the editor, as well as Gates of Prayer, the Five Scrolls, and other worship liturgies.
Rabbi Lev Baesh
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Rabbi Lev served as the rabbi of Temple Israel of Dover, NH, Beit Ahavah of Northampton, MA (both Reform congregations) and B’nai Or of Boston. MA (a Renewal congregation). He is the Director of the Resource Center for Jewish Clergy at Interfaithfamily.com, consults with CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies) as the Welcoming and Inclusion Specialist, and offers training for the Boston JCC’s and PJ Library. Lev can be found teaching courses on Jewish living and life cycles, leading parenting workshops, and facilitating workshops on ‘Inclusion and Welcoming’ for the Jewish Community. In his spare time, Lev travels the world officiating life cycle events for Jewish and interfaith couples and families. Lev was ordained in the Reform Movement of Judaism in 1994, holds a law degree from Yeshiva University and a BA in Psychology from Clark University. Lev lives in Malden, MA with his partner Andrew.
Rabbi Holly Cohn
All Answers for Rabbi Cohn
Rabbi Holly Cohn, ordained from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion has served many congregations, large and small in many parts of the United States. She has her undergraduate degree in Advertising from the University of Texas. Her love for keeping up with trends of the Jewish community, determining needs and wants, as well as target marketing and reaching out to the unaffiliated and seekers comes from her advertising training and career. She is very interested in issues of social justice and acts of tzedek (Justice), ethics and what our text teaches us, connecting traditional text to what is relevant in the world around us, Jewish and secular. She loves learning about being a welcoming community and the development of Jewish history and changes over time, especially where are we going in the 21st century. Rabbi Cohn is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors and wrote her rabbinic thesis on Intergenerational relationships between Holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren which resulted in a professional 17 min film, Communication and Healing: the Third Generation Speaks which premiered in Cincinnati, Yom HaShoah 2000. All information regarding grandchildren of survivors was original research and interviews done by Rabbi Cohn in Dallas (where her grandparents settled in 1946), Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. She is able to address the Holocaust from a personal level, a sociological level, a theological level, an academic level, and addresses the need of survivors as they age. Her dedication to preserving their legacy and to never forget has prompted her to speak in schools, diversity training in corporations by simply sharing her story and the lessons she has learned. She has studied the topic in many venues including the winter educator’s course at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem and from the mouths of survivors. She also has taught teachers how to teach the Holocaust and has spoken at various conferences and observances representing the third generation. She is always happy to speak at schools and to other organizations telling her grandparent’s story. She would also like to train others passionate about this time and history and the lesson never to forget, how to tell stories and teach school age children, each at their own level about the atrocities done to the Jews 1933-1945. And she has participated on many boards that focus on issues of diversity: education, dialogue, and partnership. Her other specialty is intergenerational education combining all ages and stages as a family investment and adults with out kids or grown kids as role models that Judaism is about life long learning. Finally she has a talent, passion and ability to study with and learn from children with learning differences and special needs.
Joan Friedman, Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies
Joan Friedman's interest in the halakhic tradition as a source of guidance is both rabbinic and scholarly. She has served as a member of the CCAR Responsa Committee and wrote her doctoral dissertation on "Solomon B. Freehof, the 'Reform Responsa,' and the Shaping of American Reform Judaism
RABBI LAURA GELLER Rabbi Laura Geller is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California. She is the first woman to be selected to lead a major metropolitan synagogue. Prior to being chosen for this position in 1994, she served as the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Pacific Southwest Region. Among her accomplishments at AJCongress was the creation of the AJCongress Feminist Center which became a model for other Jewish feminist projects around the county. She came to AJCongress in 1990 after fourteen years as the Director of Hillel at the University of Southern California. While at Hillel, Rabbi Geller was a co-organizer of the award-winning national conference called “Illuminating the Unwritten Scroll: Women’s Spirituality and Jewish Tradition.” Rabbi Geller has written chapters in many books, including Beginning Anew; Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality; On Being a Jewish Feminist; The Jewish Woman; Spinning a Sacred Yarn; Life Cycles; Preaching in the New Millennium; The Women’s Torah Commentary; The Women’s Haftara Commentary; Hineni in Our Lives; Living Words V: A Source Book on Israel in a Time of Struggle; Divorce Is a Mitzvah; Broken Tablets: Restoring the Ten Commandments and Ourselves; Jewish Peoplehood: Change and Challenge, and Gender and Judaism. She was on the Editorial Board of the groundbreaking The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary in which she has two essays. She has also been featured in several books including Rabbis: The Many Faces of Judaism; White Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America; In Sweet Company: Conversations with Extraordinary Women About Living a Spiritual Life; and The Mystery of Being Jewish. A popular teacher and speaker, Rabbi Geller gave the Baccalaureate Speech at Brown University in 1986 and the Ordination Sermon at the Hebrew Union College in 1990, and she was one of the preachers in the celebration of the tercentennial of Yale University. She has taught at the University of Judaism, the University of Southern California, the Wexner Fellows Program, and the Wexner Heritage Foundation. Rabbi Geller was a Trustee on the Board of Brown University from 2001-2007 and the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College from 2001-2008. She was the founding Chair of the Beverly Hills Human Relations Commission. She is a Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a graduate of the first cohort of rabbis from the Institute of Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Geller has received many honors, including the A.C.L.U. of Southern California Award for Fostering Racial and Cultural Harmony, the Alan J. Kassin Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement, the Los Angeles County Commission on the Status of Women Recognition Award, and the Woman of the Year Award from the California State Legislature. She was named as one of the “Hundred Most Distinguished Brown University Alumni of the Past Century” in 2000, and named in 2007 by the Forward newspaper as one of the “Forward 50 Individuals… who are doing or saying things that are making a difference in the way American Jews…view themselves… (and who) have left a mark.” She was featured in the PBS documentary The Jewish Americans. Rabbi Geller graduated from Brown University in 1971 and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1976. She was the third woman in the Reform Movement to become a rabbi. She is married to Richard A. Siegel, and she is the mother of Joshua and Elana Goldstein and the step-mother of Andy and Ruth Siegel.
Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, PhD
All Answers for Rabbi Joseph
Professor and Rabbi. On faculty at HUc for 30 years. Works with Jewish communities all over the world to assist them as they attempt to create the most meaningful community possible.
Rabbi Debra Kassoff, spiritual leader of Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville, Mississippi, has a passion for interfaith and social justice work, text study, pastoral care, and mindfulness practice. She and her husband Alec live in Jackson, Mississippi, with their two young daughters. Following her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003, Rabbi Kassoff founded the Department of Rabbinic Services at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, where she traveled and served the needs of small, isolated congregations throughout the Deep South. Rabbi Kassoff returned to Mississippi in 2010 after serving for four years as a congregational rabbi and educator at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Prior to entering rabbinic school, she earned an M.A. in English Literature from Indiana University. In addition to her congregational work, Rabbi Kassoff teaches religious studies and literature courses at local colleges and speaks frequently in interfaith settings.
Rabbi Peter Knobel
All Answers for Rabbi Knobel
Rabbi Peter Knobel has served as the spiritual leader of Beth Emet the Free Synagogue for thirty years.he is the Immediate Past President of the CCAR and chair the Siddur Editorial Commite which produced Mishkan T'efila. He is written extensively on Jewish Practice, Bio-ethics,and Zionist Thought.
Rabbi Kudan has been actively involved in issues of education, family counseling, and interfaith relations throughout his career. He initiated an interfaith project to honor the Righteous Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust. This project has a park in Evanston, called the Avenue of the Righteous. Rabbi Kudan has served as Hillel Counselor at Illinois State University and was on the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan Universities and Barat College. He was Chaplain at Lincoln State School, Pontiac Prison and Dwight Prison. He has served and participated on the Boards of the following organizations: Board of Jewish Education, Chicago Board of Rabbis, Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis, Religious Education Association, Glencoe Human Relations Forum, Community Foundation for Jewish Education, North Shore Interfaith Housing Council, Avenue of the Righteous and the American Jewish Committee. He has served on the faculty of two national institutes of the National Federation of Temple Youth and was technical consultant in Illinois for the White House Conference on Children and Youth. In 2006 Rabbi Kudan was asked to serve on the Board of the North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, IL. Rabbi Kudan was the founder of a Reform Jewish Congregation specifically geared to Russian immigrants and their families. The Synagogue was called Shaarei Atid and was housed at Am Shalom. His Rabbinical thesis was entitled, "Current Trends in Christian Religious Education". Rabbi Kudan retired in 2002, and was honored with the title "Founding Rabbi."
Rabbi Sari Laufer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. A born and bred New Yorker, Rabbi Laufer graduated cum laude from Northwestern University, and served as an Eisdendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism before starting rabbinical school. 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 named the first Sara and Simha Lainer Beit Midrash Scholar at HUC in Los Angeles. Her work in the Beit Midrash, as well as on her capstone project—a look at gender roles and family dynamics in the Babylonian Talmud—led to several academic prizes in Talmud and rabbinic literature, as well as HUC-LA’s Outstanding Female Student Award. She recently completed STAR's Professional Education for Excellence in Rabbis program, and is currently a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow through CLAL. At Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Rabbi Laufer is a teacher of those young and young-at-heart, bringing her passion for social justice, rabbinic texts, 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.
Experience in Southern Congregations and Hillel, ordained in 1972 with a DD in 1997. Specialty areas: Torah interpretation, the Prophets, Midrash, Reform History
Rabbi Lotker is a second career rabbi, having been ordained in 2003 at 55 years of age. His first career was as a physicist working in the field of alternative energy (wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, etc.). He is the author of "A Christian's Guide to Judaism" (an introduction to Judaism written especially for non-Jews), published by the Paulist Press in 2004 and is working on a book on science and religion.
Rabbi Bonnie Margulis holds a Masters Degree in Judaic Studies from New York University, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College (HUC), Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1992. Currently working as a Jewish educator in Madison, WI, Rabbi Margulis served for twelve years as the Director of Clergy Programming for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. As Director of Clergy Programming, Rabbi Margulis ran the Clergy for Choice Network and supervised the Religious Coalition’s signature All Options Clergy Counseling program, providing training to clergy in both All Options Clergy Counseling and Pastoral Counseling for Reproductive Losses, and teaching others to provide these trainings. Rabbi Margulis is proud to be a member of the Reform Movement’s Commission on Social Action, where she sits on the Women and Minorities Task Force. She is also a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Justice and Peace Committee, and co-chairs the Women’s Rabbinic Network Social Justice Committee. In addition, Rabbi Margulis is a member of the J Street National Advisory Board for Field and Grassroots Organizing, heads the steering committee for J Street/Madison (formerly Wisconsin Brit Tzedek v’Shalom), chairs the Wisconsin Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and is a member of the Wisconsin Women’s Network’s Reproductive Rights Task Force and the Dane County Coalition for Women’s Health. From 1992-1996, Rabbi Margulis served as rabbi of the Blacksburg Jewish Community Center and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute Hillel. During that time, she was also the coordinator of the Shenandoah Friends of Planned Parenthood, a grassroots education and advocacy group dedicated to preserving reproductive freedom. She has taught courses in Judaism and in Hebrew Bible at Washington and Lee University and at James Madison University. In 1989, Rabbi Margulis worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, lobbying in coalition with other faith organizations on behalf of Soviet Jewry and other refugee groups. Rabbi Margulis is married to Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, and they have two children, Samantha Chaya Biatch and Joshua Ariel Biatch.
Rabbi Daniel Plotkin was ordained by the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002. During his years in the field as both a pulpit rabbi and educator, Rabbi Plotkin has engaged in an exploration of Jewish liturgy and experimented with different forms of liturgy in order to learn how liturgy and Jewish worship can be used to help teach and explore Jewish values and beliefs. In addition Rabbi Plotkin's love of Jewish History has allowed him to delve into the moral and value systems of Jewish communities both in the distant and recent past, learning through the process how values and morals evolve over time. Rabbi Plotkin currently lives in Baltimore, MD with his wife Rachel and children Ari and Joshua. Rabbi Plotkin is the Education Director of Beth Shalom Congregation of Columbia, MD.
Louis Rieser is rabbi of Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry, NH. He has previously served as a Hillel director in Ohio and Atlanta and as rabbi of Temple Israel in Greenfield, MA. He is the author of The Hillel Narratives, published by Ben Yehuda Press, as well as numerous articles published in CCAR Journal, Conservative Judaism, and other journals. He is a co-author with Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, NuViewTalmud, a blog that presents a liberal reading of the Talmud. He has been a book reviewer for Church and Synagogue Library Review for more than 15 years. Rieser is a regular teacher at the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute and regional retreats. He has been a scholar-in-residence at synagogues and other venues around the New England area and beyond.
Jason Rosenberg was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (NY) in 2000. Upon ordination, he served as Assistant/Associate Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, until joining Congregation Beth Am in 2007. Previously, he had worked as a Software Engineer, having received a degree in Computer Science from Brown University.
In Rabbinical School, Rabbi Rosenberg became interested in the application of Halacha within a Reform Jewish context, and in the attempts to define Reform Judaism, in part through a Reform Halacha. He continues to be interested in the philosophical underpinnings of Reform Judaism (and liberal Judaism, in general), and especially in understanding the relationship between religion and rationality.
- Elu v’Elu – while not a particularly good sermon, it is a good insight into what is becoming one of the major themes of my Rabbinate – an extreme anti-Fundamentalism.
- The Shofar and Reform Judaism – a sermonic attempt to explain the underpinnings of Reform Judaism.
- For some recent, less formal writing, see my blog at cbatampa.blogspot.com.
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, has studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Princeton Theological Seminar, and was ordained in 1984 at HUC-JIR in New York, where she also received a Doctor of Divinity in 2009. She has served Conservative, Reform, and unaffiliated congregations, and has taught in a wide variety of venues, from preschool programming and family education, through education for the elderly and also those beset by Alzheimer’s and dementia. She has served as a police chaplain and a hospice chaplain and is extensively involved in interfaith work. She writes columns for newspapers. She is the president of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis, and vice-president of the Greater Carolinas Association of Rabbis.
Dr. John M. Sherwood is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emet of Woodland Hills, California, where he served as Senior Rabbi for twenty-two years. Early in his career, he was the first reform rabbi in western Canada, and taught in the religious studies department of the University of British Columbia. For six years he was an adjunct professor of pastoral studies at St. John's Roman Catholic Seminary in Camarillo, California. A graduate of the Los Angeles Police Academy advanced chaplaincy course, he was a chaplain and crisis intervention counselor for the Department from 1982 to 1997. His colleagues elected him coordinator of the chaplain corps in 1995. He is a past president of the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council, and the author of a high holy day prayer book and a number of creative haggadahs. He has written many articles on liturgy and the relationship of Jewish and Christian ceremonial observances. One of his favorite community projects was working with the priest-rabbi dialogue committee that is jointly sponsored by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the Archdiocese of Southern California. Upon his retirement from the pulpit, he qualified as a personal fitness trainer in order to develop a motivational program bringing mind, body and spirit together. His interest in computers has led him to pursuing intellectual interests all over the world through the Internet. He is a frequent respondent to the Union for Reform Judaism's "Ask the Rabbi" web site, and that of Jewish.com, and a regular contributor to the Liberal Jewish Newsletter. When not following his academic pursuits, he enjoys travel with his wife, Dolores. These journeys, coupled with his passion for scenic photography, have led to the creation of his slide lecture series entitled "Judaism Around the World, from Budapest to Bangkok and Back." His biography appears in the Marquis Who's Who in Religion in America, as well as several other similar publications. Since moving to Oxnard, he has become a chaplain for the Ventura County Fire and Rescue Department, is a member and chairperson of both the Oxnard Clergy Association and the Ventura Interfaith Ministerial Association. He led the two organizations to joint sponsorship of a new program for the west county in interfaith education. He and his wife, Dolores served for three years as chair and vice-chair of the Oxnard City Sea Air Community Council, and as members at-large. He has been active in environmental causes, specifically the Save our Open space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) movement. He is also a professor for Elderhostel. He has served on the executive committee of a study group created by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor John Flynn. The group is known as "Society Ecology Economy Ventura County Vision". The Board of Supervisors also appointed him to the newly created County Election Finance Ethics Commission, of which his colleagues elected him vice chair, in which position he served for two years. He served for five years on the Institutional Review Board of St. John's Regional Medical Center. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Oxnard Police-Clergy Council. He is a member of the Oxnard Community Relations Commission. He is a recipient of the California Central Coast Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Community Service Award.
I have served in congregations in Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Jersey. One focus of my rabbinate is classical text study including, but not limited to, Talmud, midrash, chassidic midrashim, and critical Biblical study.
Rabbi Brooks R. Susman received his ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1974. In 1999, he received a Doctor of Divinity degree from his Alma Mater. He has served congregations in the Northeast, as well as Missouri. He is the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Am, serving the Jewish community of Western Monmouth County. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York Board of Rabbis, as well as the International Synagogue at Kennedy Airport. He is also on the Board of Directors of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America.
He serves on the Human Relations Committee of Freehold Township and has completed five years on the Board of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey. In 1995, he was awarded the first annual "Good Guy" Award by the League of Women Voters of Nassau County, New York. The Board Room of Southern Adirondack Planned Parenthood was named in his honor. In addition, he is an instructor at Brookdale Community College and lectures at the Manalapan Library.
Ordained HUC-JIR Cinti 1974, DD 1999; Thesis "Abortion and Contraception in Jewish Law"; Staff pregnancy counselor, Planned Parenthood, 1972-74; twice PP affiliate president; Curator: May Museum of Judaica, 1993-2000; Exhibits Director; Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County; Founding Rabbi; Congregation Kol Am; Adjunct Professor: Brookdale Community College: Bible as Literature; Maimonides "Guide for the Perplexed", Jewish Humor, Ethics and Justice, Midrash; Community lecturer "twinned" with Dr. Christopher Bellito, expert in Catholic Church history, Kean College; author of Siddur, T'filat Kol Am.
- Professor of Jewish Law and Practice Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
- Chair, CCAR Committee on Responsa.
Rabbi Michael R. Zedek began service as the Senior Rabbi of Emanuel Congregation of Chicago in 2004. For the previous four years, Rabbi Zedek was the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
Prior to accepting that appointment, he served for 26 years as the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City, Missouri, where he holds the title of Rabbi Emeritus. At the time of his installation in 1976, he was the youngest rabbi in the United States to head a “giant” congregation. With over 1,900 families, B’nai Jehudah is the oldest and largest congregation in Kansas City. Ordained in June of 1974, Zedek was chosen to be alumnus-in-residence at the Cincinnati and Los Angeles campuses of Hebrew Union College (HUC-JIR). Rabbi Zedek is the youngest man to receive this honor.
Rabbi Zedek was the recipient of the Danforth Graduate Fellowship for outstanding teaching, a Fulbright-Hays Grant for advanced study in the United Kingdom and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.
In addition to his professional activities, Rabbi Zedek is deeply involved in civic affairs having served on a number of national and international boards.
He has also had numerous teaching and speaking appointments around the world on a wide range of topics, especially focusing on spirituality and folklore. He has taught and lectured in South Africa, Russia, China, the former Yugoslavia, Israel and in many other venues.
Rabbi Zedek is a regular presenter at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. He also serves as the host of a radio show, Religion on the Line, which is currently under consideration for national syndication.