Tzniut: More than clothes, it’s how we present ourselves to world. Modesty both in dress and in actions. (18 words, 104 characters) link to similar
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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, divide his time between their homes in Minneapolis and Silver Springs, Maryland, and traveling to see their many children and grandchildren.
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 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.
Rabbi David Booth is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto, CA, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is a frequent contributor to a variety of publications both scholarly and popular. A member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative movement, Rabbi Booth is active in teaching and thinking about the role Jewish law plays in the lives of contemporary Jews. Rabbi Booth received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. In this all too often ! virtual era, David values opportunities to get to know people through Torah and Jewish learning. He firmly believes that God is found in those relationships.
Rabbi Cahan holds a Ph.D. in Rabbinics and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He spent 9 years running the Northwoods Kollel, an intensive summer Talmud study program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. He also published Yedid Nefesh, a traditional egalitarian bencher (book of Shabbat songs and blessings) with commentary. He currently teaches Talmud at the Schechter High School in Westchester, NY.
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is the founder and director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network and served as the founding Co-Chair of the Baltimore Jewish federation's Sustainability Initiative. She is part of the founding team that is coordinating The Sova Project, an initiative to re-imagine a just economy built on a foundation of "enoughness," plenitude and a new application of the commons, all framed by the values of shemittah. (The next shemittah year begins 5775/fall 2014.)
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 Gilah Dror has been a congregational rabbi for 22 years. Born in Israel and having grown up in Brooklyn, NY, Rabbi Dror earned a BA in music from Brooklyn College and a law degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She received her ordination as well as her master's degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1990. Currently the spiritual leader and holder of the Dr. Bernard A. Morewitz Rabbinical Chair at Rodef Sholom Temple in Hampton, Virginia, Rabbi Dror previously served as rabbi of Congregation Eshel Avraham in Beer Sheva, Israel for ten years. While in Israel, Rabbi Dror championed the Conservative/Masorti Movement and was instrumental in setting up the first alternative cemetery in Israel in 1999. As the President of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel, Rabbi Dror was the first woman to lead a rabbinical organization. Through her work with the Va'ad Halakha [Law Committee] of the RA in Israel she has published a number of teshuvot [responsa] on issues ranging from the ordination of women as rabbis to the donation of bodies to medical science. In 2010, Rabbi Dror has also been published in the “Walking With…” series of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies with an article on “The Israeli National Holidays: Yom Hazikaron, Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim”, available at www.walkingwith.org. Rabbi Dror is currently the immediate Past President of the International Rabbinical Assembly and has served as Secretary, as Financial Secretary, as Treasurer, as Vice President and as President of the International RA. She was a member of the RA Strategic Planning Committee and has also been active on many prominent committees, including serving as Vice-Chair of the Joint Placement Committee of the RA of Israel, the Masorti Movement and the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies. Rabbi Dror is a Vice President of Mercaz USA and a member of the WZO Zionist General Council. Rabbi Dror has also served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, on the Board of Directors of the Seminary of Judaic Studies, on the Committee on the Status of Women in the Masorti Movement and was a founding member of the Menucha Nechona Association in Beer Sheva.
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.
Rabbi Abe Friedman is a rabbi at the Anshe Emet Synagogue of Chicago. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Rabbi Friedman developed his deep love of Judaism and the Conservative movement through the nurturing and intellectually stimulating communities of his synagogue, Solomon Schechter day school, USY, Camp Ramah, and Nativ. These experiences led him to the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California where he also received an MBA in Nonprofit Management. As passionate about his electric guitar as he is about Jewish learning, Rabbi Friedman lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood with his wife, Rebecca Krasner, and their children, Odelia and Azriel.
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.
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 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 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 Executive Director of the Louis & Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University, where he assists individuals and couples of all backgrounds in finding their place in Jewish life. He previously served as Revson Rabbinic Fellow at IKAR, a Los Angeles congregation often recognized as one of the nation's most innovative spiritual communities. Rabbi Greenwald was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011.
Salomon Gruenwald has served as Associate Rabbi of Congregation HEA in Denver, Colorado, since his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles in 2008. In 2011, Rabbi Gruenwald created JConnect-Denver, an innovative program to engage young Jewish adults in their 20s in 30s in meaningful Jewish experiences. His previous experience includes serving as a chaplain at UCLA Medical Center, directing the Lishma Program at Camp Ramah in California and teaching on the faculty of Los Angeles Hebrew High.! He holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Irvine, an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in Rabbinic Studies from the American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism). Rabbi Gruenwald is also proud to serve as a volunteer chaplain with the Denver Police Department. Rabbi Gruenwald was raised in southern California and is the son of Jewish immigrants from Peru.
Rabbi Corey Helfand is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, California. He received his rabbinic ordination in May 2011 from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America along with a Masters in Talmud and Jewish Law and a concentration in pastoral care. As a Gladstein Fellow in Entrepreneurial Rabbinics, Rabbi Helfand served as the rabbinic intern at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel in Riverdale under the mentorship of Rabbi Barry Dov Katz and as the rabbi of Beth Shalom of Lake Norman in Davidson, North Carolina. Rabbi Helfand graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Jewish and Islamic Studies and in Political Science. He completed two 400-hour units of Clinical Pastoral Education, one at the Zicklin Hospice Center through the Center for Pastoral Education at JTS and one unit at Bellevue Hospital. He served as the rabbinic intern for the Masorti Community in Kiryat Bialik outside Haifa under the mentorship of Rabbi Mauricio Balter. Rabbi Helfand is married to Jenny Ackerman, who completed her MPH at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and her MSW at Hunter College.
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 David Ingber is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Romemu, a center for Jewish spirituality on the Upper West Side.
David is a sought after national and international leader and educator. His unique, open-hearted and embodied approach to Jewish teaching has taken him from lecturing all along the East Coast, to communities in London, Jerusalem, Aspen, and Montreal. David has taught at such institutions as the Jewish Theological Seminary, Academy for Jewish Religion, Pardes and The Skirball Center.
David studied Philosophy and Psychology at NYU, and has learned at a wide range of yeshivot in Jerusalem and New York, from the ultra-orthodox Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, through to modern orthodox institutions including Beit Midrash leTorah and Yeshivat Chovovei Torah. David received his smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 2004. He then served as the Rabbi in Residence at Elat Chayyim Retreat Center for two years.
David spent 10 years studying other sacred traditions in the healing arts including Yoga, Shiatsu, Pilates, Gyrotonics, Kung Fu, and Chen school Tai Chi. He is a certified Astrologer who weaves this ancient wisdom into his work.
Rabbi David promotes a renewed Jewish emphasis on meditative practices and is working for the integration of sacred body practices into mainstream Judaism.
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.
Ari Kaiman is the assistant rabbi at Congregation B'nai Amoona in St. Louis. He received his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in May, 2011. Growing up in the small town of Pensacola, Florida, and then Atlanta, Rabbi Kaiman has always had a passion for Judaism. This passion brought him to study Judaic Studies and Political Science at the University of Florida; it brought him to continue his Jewish learning in the holy city of Jerusalem, and ultimately brought him to the Rabbinate. Rabbi Kaiman is married to St. Louis native, Solomon Schechter graduate, and homegrown B’nai Amoona congregant, Emily Kaiman (Green).
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.
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.
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.
Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2000, after having studied psychology and history at Columbia, and Talmud and Halakha at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Israel, Rabbi Kligfeld has spent his career as a pulpit rabbi, first in Monroe, New York,and now in Los Angeles, CA. Since 2006, Rabbi Kligfeld has served on the Committee for Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, and considers teaching halakha to his congregation to be one of his core duties as a rabbi. Rabbi Kligfeld is particularly interested in the nexus between traditional, positivist Halakhic methodology and the needs of an evolving and modern Jewish community.
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.
A Southern California native, Rabbi Leider received her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Fine Arts degrees from the University of California at Irvine. At the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, she earned her Master of Rabbinic Studies degree and rabbinic ordination. She has served as a rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles since her ordination in 2006. She is the s! piritual leader of a warm, child-friendly and multi-generational weekly Shabbat morning service and leads family services. A Jew-By-Choice, Rabbi Leider also works closely with those interested in conversion through the Louis and Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program. In the broader Los Angeles community, she is active in OneLA, a broad-based organization of congregations, schools and non-profits committed to building power for sustainable social and economic change. At the national level, she serves on the Placement Committee for the Conservative Movement. At the Spertus Institute in Chicago, Rabbi Leider is a candidate for a Doctoral degree in Jewish Studies. She has been married to her husband Jeff since 1990. In July, she will become Senior Rabbi at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, CA.
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.
Rabbi Olitzky is a rabbi at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in Jacksonville, FL. A native of North Brunswick, New Jersey, Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to ordination, he received an MA in Jewish Education from JTS’ William Davidson School of Education, a BA in American Religion from Columbia University and a BA Cum Laude from the Albert A. List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Talmud. Having served in many communities and working with youth and adults, Rabbi Olitzky believes that the ethics and morals of Jewish tradition are meant to guide us, not just in ritual and halakha, but in the way we live our everyday lives. If the Jewish people truly are to be a light unto the nations, that we must use the values at the core of Jewish tradition to lead the way.
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.
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.
Originally from Hamden, CT Rabbi Noam Raucher grew up in a warm and loving family. His youth was spent: as a student of Ezra Academy, a Soloman Schechter day school in Woodbridge, CT, participating in USY activities, obtaining leadership positions, and running around Camp Ramah in New England as a camper and staff member. In 2002 Rabbi Raucher received his Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Hofstra Univeristy where he majored in Psychology and Judaic Studies, and minored in Philosophy. After graduating college Rabbi Raucher spent time engaging disenfranchised Jewish students and cultivating Jewish leadership at Hillel at the University of California San Diego and as a counselor at the Yale Psychiatric Hospital in New Haven, CT. In 2005 he began his rabbinic training at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA. During his time at the Ziegler School Rabbi Raucher fell deeply into his studies exploring the depths of the Torah, Midrash, and Talmud. While intrigued by these ancient and spiritual texts he discovered that he wanted a practical way to employ the wisdom from the Jewish tradition so he embarked on several journeys to build up his pastoral skill base. He is a student of Clinical Pastoral Education (UCLA – Spiritual Care Department), and has run process groups for teenagers at Our House a grief support center in Los Angeles, and at People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) as transitional housing facility for those effected by unemployment and poverty in the greater Los Angeles area. In 2008 Rabbi Raucher received his Masters degree in education from the Fingerhut School of Education at American Jewish University. When not spending his time with his amazing wife- Tamar, baby boy- Judah, and dog- Lucy, Rabbi Raucher’s passions include: exercise and fitness, exploring the great outdoors, teaching and social justice work.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Paul Steinberg is a rabbi and educator at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He is also a faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at American Jewish University where he teaches Jewish philosophy. Rabbi Steinberg holds masters degrees in both education and rabbinic studies and was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2004. Currently, he is working on his doctoral dissertation on the significance and development of the Bar Mitzvah at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Steinberg has published several articles on Hebrew Bible and Jewish education, as well as four books including, Study Guide to Jewish Ethics (JPS, 2003) and the three-volume series Celebrating the Jewish Year (JPS, 2009) which earned the National Jewish Book Award.
Prior to joining Valley Beth Shalom, Rabbi Steinberg served as Rabbi and Director of Jewish Studies and Hebrew at Levine Academy: A Solomon Schechter School in Dallas, Texas.
Rabbi Ute Steyer received rabbinic ordination and a master's degree from the Department of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Steyer currently works as the research and program manager in the Center for Pastoral Education and as adjunct lecturer at JTS. Before that she worked as the program director of the Yeshiva University Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she also participated in a two-year graduate fellowship in legal theory.
Her research interest is in the development of ethical thought in rabbinic literature, the interplay between philosophy and halakha, and contemporary Jewish thought. She has been interviewed multiple times by Swedish Television and newspapers and published recently an article in the ongoing circumcision debate in Sweden.
Rabbi Steyer has delivered papers and workshops and participated on panels at conferences both in the U.S., Israel and Europe e.g. “Rabbinic Infallibility: Comparing Da’as Torah and Ex Cathedra” (Israel), Jewish Perspectives on Transformations in Contemporary Europe (Sweden), Different Theological Interpretations of “Hester Panim” in the Rabbinic Tradition (USA),
She is a member of the Society for Jewish Ethics and the American Sephardi Federation.
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 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.
Rabbi Philip Weintraub is the spiritual leader of Congregation Agudas Israel in Newburgh, New York. He serves as a chaplain intern at Vassar Hospital in Poughkeepsie, working on his second unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. He graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2011, where he pursued a concentration in pastoral care. He previously served as the sole rabbi, cantor, torah reader and “chief cook and bottle washer” of the South Baldwin Jewish Center/Congregation Shaarei Shalom. Before that he was the rabbinic intern of the E. 55th Street Conservative Synagogue. Prior to these shul communities, Philip participated in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, GA. There he provided pastoral care to the patients, families and staff of the intensive care unit. Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Philip was active in his synagogue and USY. Looking forward to a career serving the Jewish people, he continued his education at Brandeis University. There he graduated summa cum laude majoring in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Coming from a family of Hadassah members, he married into another Hadassah family and was almost the recipient of three associate memberships at his wedding! When not working with his community, Philip enjoys time with his wife and extended family. Additionally, he enjoys photography and has made some progress in attempting to crochet a kippah.
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.
Noah Cheses is the associate Rabbi at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, where he manages Yale Hillel’s Israel portfolio and teaches widely on Jewish topics. He is a proud graduate of Yeshiva University where he also received his Rabbinical ordination. Noah and his wife Sarah have served as the educational directors at Camp Stone and have lived in Israel for several years, where Noah co-founded the Tikvah Israel Seminars, a program that provides interdisciplinary forums relating to enduring Jewish questions facing the modern day state of Israel. Noah has worked on the Grounds Crew at Fenway Park where he mowed the field for the Boston Red Sox. Noah is also an avid runner who ran on the cross country team in college and who has competed in the Boston, Miami, and Jerusalem marathons.
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 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 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.
Steven Exler serves as Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale – The Bayit, a large open Orthodox synagogue in the Bronx. He has a B.A. in Biology from Brandeis University and an M.A. in Bible from Bernard Revel Graduate School, and has studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion, in the Yeshiva University Beit Midrash and at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa. His ordination is from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He enjoys the study of halakhah and the opportunity to think about and respond to the many questions generated by living a Jewish life in today’s world.
Rabbi Zev Farber was ordained (yoreh yoreh and yadin yadin) by YCT Rabbinical School. He is the founder of AITZIM (Atlanta Institute of Torah and Zionism) - a small adult education initiative. Rabbi Farber serves on the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) and is the coordinator of their Vaad Giyyur. He is also a PhD candidate at Emory University's Graduate Division of Religion.
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 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.
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 email@example.com or 516 829-6647.
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 Jason Herman serves as the Mara D’Atra, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel - West Side Jewish Center and as the Executive Director of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a professional organization of Orthodox Rabbis across the United States and around the world. Rabbi Herman has been an advocate for Jewish and social justice causes and has advised and been involved with several Jewish organizations. He is currently a fellow at Rabbis Without Borders. Rabbi Herman received his semicha, Rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and is an alumnus of the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a former investment banker.
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.
David grew up in Oakland, CA, and after college at Wesleyan University, he spent several years studying in yeshivot in Israel. He went on to rabbinical school at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York, and was ordained there in 2007. He served for four years as the Senior Jewish Educator at Berkeley Hillel, and recently moved on to become the Director of Education at Kevah. He received his masters in law at Berkeley, and is currently a doctoral candidate there, writing his dissertation on religious and secular jurisprudence.
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.
HaRav Benjamin G. Kelsen, the Rav, Mara d’Asra, Dayan and spiritual leader of the "apartment community" in Teaneck, New Jersey, was born in 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has lived in Teaneck for most of his life. He received Semicha, both Yoreh Yoreh and Yadin Yadin, from the Yeshiva University affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. A graduate of the Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, Yeshiva University's Yeshiva College, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Rav Kelsen is currently a member of RIETS' Kollel l'Hora'ah (Yadin Yadin) the elite program at Yeshiva University for the training of Dayanim. Rav Kelsen is internationally renown for his shiurim on the convergence between Halachah and contemporary society and has given shiurim throughout the United States, Israel, and in Glasgow, Scotland. Rav Kelsen is also well known for his written summaries of the lectures of the late Gaon HaRav Shlomo Elimelech Drillman, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS for close to fifty years. These weekly shiurim of Rav Drillman on the parsha have been printed together in "The Wisdom of Solomon". The hesped given by Rav Kelsen for HaRav Drillman has been recently republished in a new volume released by Yeshiva University entitled "My Yeshiva College". In addition to HaRav Drillman, mentioned above, Rav Kelsen has close relationships with many Gedolei HaDor upon whom he relies for guidance and counsel. These include HaGaon HaRav Aharon Kahn, shlit”a, HaGaon HaRav Hershel Schachter, shlit”a, HaGaon HaRav Mendel Blachman, shlit”a, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Neuburger, shlit”a and HaGaon HaRav J. David Bleich, shlit”a, Rosh Kollel of the Kollel l’Hora’ah, for whom he serves as a substitute when Rav Bleich is away. Rav Kelsen was also very close to HaGaon HaRav Ahron Soloveichik zt”l and HaRav HaGaon Maran HaRosh HaYeshiva Chaim Yakov Goldvicht, zt”l, the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Kerem B'Yavneh, as well. According to Rav Kelsen, these relationships created the foundation and the fundamental core of his approach to learning and teaching. Rav Kelsen is consulted frequently by individuals, Rabbonim and organizations on controversial issues due to his ability to assess and analyze the various halachic, legal, and sociological implications of the issues as well as his political acumen. Rav Kelsen is married to Abigail Yaffa (formerly Arfe), a social worker who works at Yeshiva University.
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 Eliezer Langer has been rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Israel of Austin, Texas, for five years. Having made aliyah 15 years ago, he served for ten years as Assistant Dean of Midreshet Moriah in Yerushalayim, a Zionist, high-level learning program for post-high school women. After having been privileged to live in Jerusalem for 10 years, his son-in-law opened a kollel in Austin, Texas. Rabbi and Lucy Langer came to a small fledgling congregation to help spur the religious growth and revival of a community that had not had a rabbi for five years. Baruch HaShem, this Orthodox kehilla is now on the national scene and making in impact in central Texas. Rabbi Langer is the first Orthodox rabbi to sit on the board of The Jewish Community Association of Austin, and he teaches at the University of Texas. He has also spurred the membership of his congregation to take a leadership role in communal affairs and pro-Israel activities, thereby raising awareness and appreciation for Orthodoxy and Torah living. Prior to making aliya, Rabbi Langer, a California native, had served as rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in San Diego, CA, for 18 years. Rabbi Langer derives great nachas in seeing that today's leadership of the San Diego Orthodox community are the young people who grew up in the Congregation, established Torah families, and now "share the wealth" with the next generation A musmach of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Langer learned in the YU Kollel for two years and was awarded his BA and MS there, as well.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Don Seeman is currently Associate Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Emory University, and chair of the doctoral program in Jewish Religious Cultures. Before coming to Atlanta he taught in the Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. He is a member of the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and also served as the assistant rabbi of the Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta. His areas of scholarly expertise include Jewish thought (Levinas, Rav Kook, Maimonides), Hasidism, religious Zionism, contemporary Israel, and Ethiopian Jewry.
Rabbi Dr. Sanford H. Shudnow 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 Jonathan Shulman is the Director of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at the University of Pennsylvania and the Orthodox Rabbi of Penn Hillel. He received his BA in Foreign Affairs from The University of Virginia, and, during his studies at Yeshivat Mir, he received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa. He is currently a member of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). Prior to working for the OU at Penn, Rabbi Shulman served as the director for the Overseas Learning Program at the Afikim Jewish Center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has held teaching positions at Yeshivat Shvilei Hatorah and Yeshivat Torat Chayim in Jerusalem. He served as a rabbinic intern with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat, receiving individual training in pastoral counseling, communal work and ceremony. Rabbi Shulman has also worked in international development in northern India, restaurant management and development, and is an Iyengar yoga instructor. In his time at Penn, Rabbi Shulman (or "Rav Jonathan" as he is affectionately known by his students) has brought energy, passion, and openness to Jewish life on campus. He teaches a variety of classes including in-depth Talmud, parshat hashavua, and halacha. In addition, he pioneered The Penn Learning Initiative which has engaged a diverse group of dozens of students in active learning and discussion. He learns with dozens of individual students weekly in personal one-to-one sessions, and his Shabbat table is always full with undergraduates, graduate students and community members from across the Penn community. Additionally, Rabbi Shulman serves as the posek, ritual official and personal caregiver for the over 400 person orthodox community at Penn. He is originally from Washington, DC and now lives with his wife Jenny and two children Eliyahu and Chana in Philadelphia, PA.
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 Jason Weiner, BCC serves as the Senior Rabbi and Manager of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai, where he is responsible for the chaplaincy team and all aspects of spiritual care at the Medical Center. Rabbi Weiner earned his Rabbinic Ordination in 2006 at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York City, as well as an additional ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg in Jerusalem and a master's degree in Jewish history from the Bernard Revel Graduate School at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Weiner has also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and is a Board Certified Chaplain through the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. Rabbi Weiner serves as a Vice-President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis and was honored with the “Rabbinic Leadership Award” from the Orthodox Union in 2011. He is also a member of the Cedars-Sinai Bioethics Committee, the Society for Jewish Ethics, and the Kalsman Institute Roundtable on Judaism and Health Research. Rabbi Weiner frequently serves as a scholar in residence at conferences and synagogues throughout the country on topics related to Jewish ethics, health and wellness. He is the author of Guide to Traditional Jewish Observance in a Hospital as well as the Cedars-Sinai Machzor: Translated, Transliterated, Explained and he has published a number of scholarly and popular articles.
Rabbi Mark Wildes Founder & Director of The Manhattan Jewish Experience. 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.
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.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek. Rav Shmuly is the author of "Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century" coming out in early 2012. He studied at the University of Texas as an undergraduate and Harvard University for a Masters in Leadership and Psychology, and he completed a second Masters degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. He is now a Doctoral candidate at Columbia University in Moral Development and Epistemology, and has taught as an instructor of Moral Philosophy at Barnard College and a fiat lux at UCLA Law School. Shmuly was ordained as a Rabbi by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT Rabbinical School) in New York as a Wexner Graduate Fellow prior to which he studied Talmud and Jewish law at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel for two years. Shmuly also received a second rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat and a third rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. As a global social justice educator, Shmuly has volunteered, taught, and staffed missions in many countries including Israel, Ghana, India, France, Thailand, El Salvador, Britain, Senegal, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Haiti. Shmuly served at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and Davos, Switzerland as the rabbinic representative, a facilitator, and motivational speaker. For three years, Shmuly taught philosophy twice a week at an inner-city school in Harlem and served on the New York Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health Clergy Steering Committee. Shmuly worked in business consulting for a major top 10 firm, has written numerous articles on Jewish and social justice issues, has lectured and consulted across the world, and has a bi-weekly column in the Jewish Week called “Street Torah.” He has served as a rabbinic intern in four different congregations in Montreal, Connecticut, Boston, and Florida and taught as a scholar-in-residence for over 20 organizations. He served on the International Board of Hillel for two years and is the former Director of Panim’s Leadership and Activism training (JAM) in Washington D.C. A film crew followed Shmuly for over a year to produce a PBS documentary (“The Calling”) about the training of religious leadership and was aired nationwide in December 2010. In 2008, the Jewish Week recognized Shmuly as one of “36 under 36” (one of 36 of the most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36). In 2009, the UJC named Shmuly one of five “Jewish Community Heroes.” Shmuly was invited to the White House Chanukah party to celebrate with the President and First Lady. Shmuly currently serves as the Director of Jewish Life & Senior Jewish Educator at the UCLA Hillel and is on faculty at Shalhevet High School. Shmuly is a member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. Shmuly and his wife, Shoshana, live in Los Angeles.
Ordination, YU AND Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Ph.D. NYU in Hebrew literature. Made aliya, awarded Yadin Yadin from Prof David Halivni and teach at CJCUC, Ohr Torah's Institute for Jewish Christian relations.
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.
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.
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 and knowledge 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 active 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 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 has been involved with the Jewish Values Online project since its inception, serving as the Coordinator and Administrator, in addition to being a panelist. Rabbi Joe is fortunate to be married to a wonderful and understanding woman, a true life partner. They have one married daughter and a grandson, with another grandchild on the way, BE"H.
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 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.
Rabbi Dan Danson has been serving at Mt. Sinai Congregation, in Wausau, Wisconsin since 1988. The congregation is in a rural setting, with congregants spread out over an area roughly the size of New Jersey. He has built strong ties between Mt. Sinai and non-Jewish community, through frequent speaking engagements, representation on a variety of community organizations, and community education programs. He received his undergraduate degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College. He is a past president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis and also served on the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is a long standing faculty member at OSRUI, the Union for Reform Judaism camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He has chaired numerous interfaith clergy committees and boards, and is currently chair of the Clergy Caucus of NAOMI, the Marathon County congregational based organizing association. He served on the Institutional Review Board of the Marshfield Clinic and is currently on the IRB at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.
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 Eric Goldberg was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, where he now resides with his wife and son. He serves as Rabbi and Director of the Religious School at Shir Ami in Newtown, PA. Rabbi Goldberg was ordained from Hebrew Union College -- Jewish Institue of Religion in 2003, and in the same year was awarded a Master of Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Rabbi Goldberg enjoys learning and teaching about Jewish texts, both ancient and modern, discussing theological questions, and tackling ethical issues from a Jewish perspective. From Tanakh to Soloveitchik, Rabbi Goldberg is always trying to discover more and to gain a greater understanding of what it means to live a Jewish life.
Rabbi Gottlieb was ordained at the Hebrew Union College, New York Campus in 2010. Prior to that she also studied in the HUC Debbie Friedman Sacred School of Music for three years. Rabbi Gottlieb obtained a Dual Degree in Religious Studies and Vocal Music from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She believes music to be an integral part in engaging others in worship, by bringing people and God together in sacred time and space. She currently serves as Rabbi of Temple Beth David of the South Shore, in Canton, MA, where she hopes to guide her community through teaching and dialogue around Jewish texts, traditions, values and rituals, and by engaging them in spiritual and participatory Jewish worship. Rabbi Gottlieb believes strongly that Judaism is meaningful and relevant to our contemporary lives and has the power to inform our happiest and most painful moments.
Rabbi Yaron Kapitulnik, a resident of West Palm Beach, FL was born and raised in Jerusalem where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and General Studies from The Hebrew University. After serving as a paratrooper and medic in the I.D.F he traveled the world, served as a tour guide, educator and desert specialist for over a decade. From 2002-2006 he served as the Jewish Educator at the JCC in West Palm Beach, FL. He was ordained from HUC-JIR in May 2011 while also completing a master degree in Jewish religious education. Yaron now serves his congregation Temple Judea in PBG.
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 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 Commitee which produced Mishkan T'efila. He is written extensively on Jewish Practice, Bio-ethics,and Zionist Thought.
Rabbi Elisa F. Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El. Coming to San Antonio with a variety of rabbinic experience, including pulpit work and several years in the world of informal and experiential education. Rabbi Koppel's passion is education, seeing her role as a rabbi, and as a teacher, to help others of all ages to experience Judaism and to give them the tools they need to create and define their own Judaism. Since being ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2001, Rabbi Koppel has served in a number of positions. As the Assistant Rabbi at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY she partnered with the clergy team to lead the synagogue in all aspects of congregational life, as well as lead Havurat Noar, the congregation's comprehensive youth program, creating and offering innovative experiences and helping the youth community towards unprecedented success. As Dean of Jewish Life at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC, the nation's first pluralistic, Jewish boarding school, Rabbi Koppel helped to establish an environment in which students and staff were educated, nurtured and challenged. As Regional Director of Youth Programs for the Greater New York Council of the URJ, she supported congregations in all aspects of youth and informal education, provided personal support and consultations, created professional development opportunities for youth workers, supervised the NFTY Regional Advisor, supported NFTY-NAR, and participated in projects of the Youth Division, including being a part of the iTorah team, contributing to Sacred Choices: Adolescent Relationships and Sexual Ethics and serving on the planning team for the Youth Workers Conference. And as Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, NJ, she worked with the entire senior staff to create and maintain vibrant Jewish life for the community, and especially worked to transform and direct a dynamic youth program. Rabbi Koppel has also spent many summers at the URJ Kutz Camp, where she has served as Dean of Faculty; Program Director; and Director of Mitzvah Corps at Kutz, a program which offers a Jewish summer camp experience to teens on the Autistic Spectrum. She's also been on Visiting Faculty at Kutz and also at the URJ's Crane Lake and Harlam Camps. Rabbi Koppel can be found on twitter as @rabbiisa and blogs at Off the REKord: http://rabbiisa.wordpress.com/
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.
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 Laurence P. Malinger was born in Philadelphia and raised in Florida, Virginia and Texas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics in 1987. He completed graduate work at Trinity University in Master of Education with School Psychology in 1988. In 1991, Rabbi Malinger completed his unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas. He received his Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters degree and was ordained Rabbi in 1992 and 1993 respectively, from the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon ordination in 1993, Rabbi Malinger became Assistant Rabbi and Director of Education at Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington, Delaware. He was promoted to Associate Rabbi in July, 1997. In June of 1999 Rabbi Malinger was elected as senior Rabbi of Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, New Jersey. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis (NJWHVARR), and the Bayshore Ministerium as the immediate past chair. He is also involved as a delegate to the Joint Commissions on Ethics for the CCAR and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as well as on the advisory committee for the URJ Camp Harlam. Rabbi Malinger has been involved in many civic activities in New Jersey including the Interfaith Alliance for Fair Treatment, the Jewish Addiction Resource (JAR) of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, and a member of the Rabbinic Supervisory Council for Future Projects for the Federation. Rabbi Malinger enjoys creating opportunities to learn more about the Jewish religion as well as understand Judaism in the modern world.
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.
Evan Moffic is Rabbi of the historic Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois. He was named to that post at age 30, becoming one of the youngest senior rabbis in the Reform movement. In addition to writing for Beliefnet the world’s largest multi-faith website, Rabbi Moffic writes a weekly note of inspiration for email subscribers to his blog. He teaches several ongoing classes at the synagogue and in the community at Common Ground-Chicago. His writings have also appeared in the Forward, the New York Jewish Week, and several of the most widely-read blogs in the country. They include subjects of interfaith weddings, Jewish values, Reform Judaism and the intersection of science and rleigion. Rabbi Moffic was ordained by the seminary of Reform Judaism, the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, in 2006. He graduated with high honors from Stanford University in 2000, where he wrote a thesis on Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. An avid runner and tennis player, Rabbi Moffic is married to Rabbi Arielle Moffic, the director of Interfaithfamily/Chicago. They are the parents of two young children. He believes that his philosophy of the life was captured best by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Rabbi Geri Newburge was ordained as a rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati) on May 31, 2003. Presently, Rabbi Newburge serves as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As a rabbi, she is passionate about serving the Jewish community, particularly in the areas of youth, interfaith, women, and social justice. Over the years Rabbi Newburge has been a speaker at regional biennials for the URJ, Hadassah groups, and JCRC. Rabbi Newburge grew up in South Florida. She fell in love with the study and teaching of religion and its significance in the world around us while at the University of Miami where she received her BA, and then continued her studies for a Master’s at the Claremont School of Theology. She is married to Rabbi Eric Goldberg, who is the Director of Education at Congregation Shir Ami in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
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.
Yair Robinson is the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Emeth of Wilmington Delaware. A STAR PEER fellow, graduate of Oberlin College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, He's served Beth Emeth since 2009. He was born to Rabbi Harold and Miriam Robinson and raised in Hyannis, Massachusetts, along with his sister Dori. He was active in NFTY and Jewish camping, as well as congregational leadership. While a student at HUC, he served as student-rabbi of Columbus Hebrew Congregation and Temple Beth El of Muncie, Indiana, and as rabbinic intern at KK Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yair received his MAHL in 2002 and his rabbinic ordination in 2003, writing his rabbinic thesis on ancient and modern forms of creative liturgy. Prior to serving Beth Emeth, Yair served Shir Ami of Newtown PA as Associate Rabbi. He and his wife Marisa have a son, Elishai, who brings them much joy. Yair's rabbinate focuses on Torah study, Reform Halacha, interfaith dialogue, youth, poetry and Tikkun Olam. In addition to his work, he enjoys writing (especially poetry) and reading, theater, fencing, science fiction and fantasy literature, poetry and comics, 'nerd' movies, art, classical, jazz and alternative rock music, Japanese aesthetics and interior design, and other eclectic pursuits.
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, B.A., B. H. L., M. A. H. L., D.D., 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.
Rabbi Eric J. Siroka has been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El in South Bend, IN since July 2006. A native of Medfield, Massachusetts, Eric is a product of the Reform movement. He earned a B.A. in History from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1989. He then earned a master's degree from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he was granted rabbinical ordination in June, 1995. Subsequently, Development of the Liturgy of the Union Libérale Israélite, an article gleaned from his thesis, was published in the scholarly Journal of Progressive Judaism, in its 1997 issue. As a Reform rabbi and progressive Jew, Eric has dedicated much of his adult life to championing social justice causes that enhance the lives of all people, from poverty and homelessness to women and children’s rights to making the world a safer place for all its inhabitants. Throughout his career, Eric has employed cultural arts extensively in teaching Jewish values and cultivating Jewish identity. In this area, he has taught exotic Jewish cooking, conducted seminars on sacred architecture, and also had a piece called The Melody (a niggun-based folk-tale), published in Three Times Chai: 54 Rabbis Tell their Favorite Stories (Behrman House). And specifically with music, Rabbi Siroka has had the great joy to teach such topics as Prayer and Thanksgiving through Song and the Jazz of Jewish Worship on the college level and with adults. He also served as rabbinical consultant for Requiem for the Innocent, a composition by Jorge Muniz commissioned and premiered by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Eric launched Roomful of Jews, a congregational jam band that engages a broad number of community members in expressing Jewish involvement through music. Additionally, Rabbi Siroka serves on the Disability Awareness and Inclusion Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Faculty Chair for the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (a camp of the Reform movement), and on the Friends Board of WVPE. He was recently named to the Professional Development Committee of his national rabbinical association. Rabbi Siroka and his wife Debra, a professional Jewish educator, are the proud parents of son Benjamin and daughter Vered.
"Hineini!" Here I am, present in my life as a husband of the wonderful Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, father to four amazing children and a rabbi in a world in need of much repair. I've walked a long path on a journey whose end is nowhere in sight. Currently I am an associate rabbi north of Chicago in Highland Park. I look forward to all I will see and learn on my way.
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 Strom was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, a proud product of the Reform Movement: Congregation, NFTY, and URJ Camp Harlam. Rabbi Strom is honored to represent Reform perspectives on challenges and questions facing the greater Jewish community.
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.
In July of 2004, Rabbi Michael R. Zedek began service as the Senior Rabbi of Emanuel Congregation of Chicago. 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.
Rabbi Rick Brody currently works half-time as a Curriculum Analyst & Reviewer for the Institute for Curriculum Services (www.icsresources.org), for which he helps ensure that social studies textbooks present accurate information and ideas about Jews, Judaism, and Israel; in a rabbinic capacity for Congregation Kol Halev (www.kolhalev.org); and in a variety of teaching roles throughout the Jewish community in Austin, TX, where he has lived with his family for almost two years. A graduate of Yale, where he received a BA in History, Rick is also an active alumnus of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel -- an experience that had a profound impact on his Jewish development. He graduated as a rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, following a 5-year program that included 2 years of study at a range of diverse institutions in Jerusalem. During 7 years in Los Angeles, Rick served in Jewish day schools (with a teaching focus on Jewish ethics), as the rabbi of a small synagogue, in various adult learning environments, and as Director of NextGen Engagement at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He has taught 3 of the 4 core courses for the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, including the Jewish Ethics curriculum. Rick is a frequent speaker at seminaries, universities, interfaith gatherings, and other settings on numerous topics. He has been involved in several communal and social justice organizations -- including the Progressive Jewish Alliance and CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) in Los Angeles, and Texas Impact, which hosts Texas Interfaith Power & Light. He served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and on the Board of Governors of the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din of Southern California, which promotes a pluralistic process of conversion to Judaism. Rick is a vegan, an avid reader of philosophy, a former actor, and a baseball enthusiast. He is married to Rabbi Rachel Kobrin.
Rabbi Rachel Gartner is the Rabbi and Director of Jewish Chaplaincy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. She is a co-author of the Moving Tradition’s transdenominational nationally acclaimed, Rosh Hodesh: It’s A Girl Thing Sourcebook. She is a member of American Jewish World Service First Rabbinic Delegation and serves on the Board of the Reconstructonist Rabbinical Association. Rabbi Gartner was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002 with awards in Practical Rabbinics and Spiritually Motivated Social Action. During and for a year after her studies, Rabbi Gartner was a Coopersberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NYC and a Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation Bnai Jeshurun, also in NYC. Rabbi Gartner began serving campus communities as a rabbi and lecturer in Jewish Studies in 2006, before which she served as a pulpit rabbi at Reconstructionist Congregation Bnai Keshet of Montclair, N.J.
Rabbi Gradofsky received a BA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA in Political Science/Economics from Columbia University in 1998. Rabbi Gradofsky received a JD from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark in 2002 and rabbinic ordination (Smikhah) from Rabbi David Weiss Halivni of the Institute of Traditional Judaism in 2004. Rabbi Gradofsky served as Rabbi of Temple Israel of Long Beach, New York for six years and is currently a Senior Associate at the Law Offices of Jan Meyer and Associates, P.C.. Rabbi Gradofsky serves as Recording Secretary of the Union for Traditional Judaism (UTJ).
Rabbi James Greene graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 2008 and is the Director of the Center for Jewish Life and Learning at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley in Los Gatos, CA. James is also the Vice-Chair of the Reconstructionist Educators of North America, a national association of Reconstructionist Educators.
Joshua Seth Ladon teaches Rabbinic Literature and Jewish Thought at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. A recent Bay Area transplant, he previously lived in Jerusalem, Israel for 7 years. He was born in Worcester, MA and moved to Denver, CO before High School. He received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterwards he spent 2 years at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem before receiving an MA in Jewish Thought from Tel Aviv University as well as Rabbinic Ordination and a Certificate in Jewish Education from the Shalom Hartman Institute. Joshua has worked and taught in a number of formal and informal Jewish educational settings including Encounter, Panim: The Washington Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, and Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim.
Shaul Magid is both a professor of Jewish Thought and a rabbi of the Fire Island synagogue in Sea View New York. He has written extensively on many aspects of Jewish thought and contemporary matters of Jewish identity. He was born in the US and lived in Israel for almost ten years and holds dual Israeli/US citizenship. He lived for thirty years as an Orthodox Jew before abandoning Orthodoxy in 2008. He considers himself a post-halakhic global humanistic Jew. He is committed to progressive and radical political and social agendas and believes that the Jewish tradition has much to offer the human race.
Founder and director, ReclaimingJudaism.org, Editor-in-Chief, Reclaiming Judaism Press. Related Career Path: Instructor Bioethics, Pastoral Counseling, Jewish law and the Role of Clergy for the ALEPH Ordination Programs, Dean of Professional Development for The Academy for Jewish Religion, and as adjunct faculty for Princeton University. Consults and counsels on Jewish bioethical issues and pastoral dilemmas to health care facilities, individuals and families. Rabbinic graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and additional private ordinations from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Jewish Renewal); MSW, Yeshiva University, doctorate, New York Theological Seminary. Scholar, speaker, author, editor. Books to date: Meaning & Mitzvah: Daily Practices for Reclaiming Judaism through Prayer, God, Torah, Hebrew, Mitzvot & Peoplehood (Jewish Lights), Living Jewish Life Cycle: How to Create Meaningful Jewish Rites of Passage at Every Stage of Life (Jewish Lights), Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days & Shabbat (Jewish Lights), Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage (Jossey Bass), [Ed] Seek & Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Direction (Reclaiming Judaism Press), Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning (Reclaiming Judaism Press), Mitzvah Cards: One Mitzvah Leads to Another (Reclaiming Judaism Press) Cited and/or published in Moment Magazine, Newsweek, Belief.net, The Jewish Forward, and PBS. On the road 30 weeks per year as a scholar-in-residence, in-service educator and retreat leader for communities, Hillels & congregations across the full spectrum of Jewish practice.
Rabbi Michael Ross is a Reconstructionist rabbi living in suburban Philadelphia. He currently is the Education Director at Am Haskalah in Bethlehem, PA and Hayom in Phoenixville, PA. “Hayom” is a Jewish learning center in suburban Philadelphia dedicated to the study of “Present-Tense Judaism.” Rabbi Michael officiates at interfaith Jewish lifecycle events, leads scholar-in-residence weekends, and leads High Holidays at Chavurah B’Yachad in Salt Lake City. He teaches regularly via Skype on Jewish mystical practices. Rabbi Michael has taught Gratz College courses to high school students in both “Jewish Bible Studies” and “Jewish Education” for five years in the Gratz’ JCHS program. He is a published curriculum writer and works as an experienced editor to rabbis fine-tuning their sermons and blog entries. He co-edited the recent children’s prayer-book, “Kol HaNo’ar: The Voice of Children.” He is married to Rabbi Rachel Brown, the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Phoenixville, where Rabbi Michael has taught Torah Study for the past 8 years.
Rabbi Dr. Danny Schiff is a noted teacher and researcher in Jewish ethics. He is currently writing and studying in Jerusalem, where he resides with his family. He is the founder of a new museum initiative,“Musagim.” For sixteen years, Rabbi Schiff was the Agency for Jewish Learning Community Scholar in Pittsburgh and the rabbi of B'nai Israel in White Oak, Pennsylvania. Born in Sydney, Australia, Rabbi Dr. Schiff grew up in Melbourne. He is the author of Abortion in Judaism, published by Cambridge University Press. Rabbi Dr. Schiff has written a substantial number of articles, particularly in the field of Jewish law and ethics. He is a former Board member of the Pittsburgh Ethics Board and the Society of Jewish Ethics.
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