Featured Presenters

Each Limmud NY is a unique experience thanks to the presenters who come and share their knowledge and passion. There is something for everyone at Limmud, whether it be attending a shabbat service you’ve never been to before, becoming part of a community art project, or just spending time with new friends in the lobby. Check out who will be joining us at Limmud NY 2014 and get ready for a great conference!

In the spirit of Limmud, everyone is a learner and a teacher. The deadline has passed to be a presenter for Limmud NY 2014 but there is always the opportunity to present at next year’s conference . We look forward to learning with you!


ari shavit squareAri Shavit

Born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1957, Shavit served as a paratrooper in the IDF and studied philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the early 1990s, he was Chairperson of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and in 1995 he joined Haaretz. Ari is well known for his in-depth interviews and thought-provoking articles. His new book My Promised Land :The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, published in November 2013 was a New York Times instant bestseller.

Susan Weidman Schneider is Editor in Chief of Lilith, and one of the magazine’s founding mothers. Her writing in Lilith includes innovative reports on women and philanthropy, the Jewish stake in reproductive rights, and the persistent stereotypes of Jewish women. She is the author of three acclaimed books, including the groundbreaking classic Jewish and Female.

george (2)George Mordecai
Born in Sydney, Australia to Iraqi & Indian Jews, George Mordecai weaves his cultural heritage into his work as a performer and cantor. George has performed Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Middle Eastern liturgical music in Australia, England, Paris, Israel, and throughout the U.S. He has also participated in interfaith performances with Arab, Jewish and African American musicians. He serves as cantor at Temple Beth El in Stamford, and completed his training at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

TavChe GravCheTavChe GravChe
Tavche Gravche blends haunting Macedonian and Mediterranean melodies in a dynamic improvisational style, maintaining the explosive dance rhythms and energy of Balkan music. Combining the diverse backgrounds of clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, guitarist Dan Nadel, jazz bassist Daniel Ori, and percussionist Aleksander Petrov, Tavche Gravche recorded their debut album Our Village in May 2013.  Recent performances included a center stage concert at NYC’s 2013 Balkan Festival.

Naomi LessNaomi Less
Singer/Songwriter. Worship leader. Educator. Founder of Jewish Chicks/Kids Rock, Naomi’s music ranges from edgy pop rock to meditative prayer. She’s a certified Center for Leadership Initiatives facilitator/program designer, Storahtelling-Lab/Shul’s associate director and a founding company member. Naomi’s an alum of JTS Davidson School, Northwestern University, Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis & Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Irving (Yitz) Greenberg  yitz  photo
Irving (Yitz) is a rabbi, theologian, educator, activist, and writer.  He was President of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation for 10 years, and was one of the founders of its initiated partnerships with programs such as Birthright Israel. He has written extensively on theology after the Holocaust, the theory and practice of pluralism, and on Jewish-Christian relationships, and is currently writing a comprehensive theology of Judaism as the religion of tikkun olam – seeking to perfect the world through the victory of life over death.

Mary Zamore MZ
Mary L. Zamore was ordained as a rabbi at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997. A graduate of Columbia College, New York, she has also studied at Yad Vashem and Machon Pardes.  An active writer, she is the editor of and a contributing author to The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic (CCAR Press, 2011) which was designated a finalist by the National Jewish Book Awards.  She blogs for the Huffington Post.

Ken Steinstein-headshot
Kenneth W. Stein is professor of modern Middle Eastern History at Emory University. Author of five books, including History Politics & Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, a comprehensive source book, and Israel@65, he is the founding Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel and president of the Center for Israel Education. Its staff creates curriculum and learning experiences for all ages, including professional development seminars and summer workshops for teachers.

0Chaim Seidler-Feller
Chaim Seidler-Feller has been the Executive Director of the Hillel Center at UCLA for thirty-eight years, as well as being director of the Hartman Fellowship for Campus Professionals. He was ordained in 1971 at Yeshiva University with a Masters in Rabbinic Literature. Chaim is a lecturer in the Departments of Sociology and of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA and on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He was a rabbinic consultant to Barbra Streisand during the making of the film Yentl.

Doreen Seidler-Feller doreen seidler feller
Doreen Seidler-Feller received her Ph.D from Ohio State in Clinical Psychology in 1980.  For many years she has taught Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy to psychiatry residents at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA . In her clinical psychology practice Doreen does couples, individual, and sex therapy.

shai held(1)Shai Held
Shai Held is  a rabbi, Co-Founder, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar. Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. His book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence has just been released by Indiana University Press.


Rachel Rosenthalrachel rosenthal
Rachel Rosenthal is a member of the faculty at the Drisha Institute and a PhD candidate in Rabbinic Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A graduate of the Drisha Scholars Circle, she has served as an American Jewish World Service Kol Tzedek Fellow and taught at the 92nd Street Y, Nishma: A Summer of Torah Study at JTS, Jewish Funds for Justice, and in communities throughout the United States. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

suissaheadshotDavid Suissa
David Suissa is a weekly columnist and president of Tribe Media Corporation, which owns The Jewish Journal, Tribe Magazine, Hollywood Journal, JJ Branding and the news site Jewishjournal.com. His expertise spans the fields of executive management, marketing, Jewish advocacy, fundraising and new media.


Elana Stein
Elana Stein is the Community Scholar at Lincoln Square Synagogue and a PhD candidate in Religion at Columbia University.  She has a passion for interdiscplinary Torah study and the fusion of traditional and academic Jewish learning. She lives with her husband Yonah and son Azzan on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

DavidBioDavid Ingber
David Ingber is a rabbi and the founder and spiritual director of the Romemu community in NYC. He has been named one of the top 50 rabbis in America by Newsweek and was named one of the Forward 50 this year. David is a widely sought after speaker and prayer leader who blends the depth of Jewish mysticism with the contemplative silence of alternative spiritual traditions to create a unique integration of East and West. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Ariel and their two boys, Baer and Tal.

Blu Greenberg blu_s_photo
Blu Greenberg has long been active in Jewish feminism and is founder of JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance). She serves on several Jewish organizational boards and is deeply involved in interfaith dialogue. Her books include On Women and Judaism, How to Run A Traditional Jewish Household. and Black Bread: Poems, After the Holocaust.

mcw1366Rebecca Fletcher
Rebecca is an internationally recognized playwright, actress, cantor, and educator. Recent highlights of her work include a hit off Broadway production of Kleynkunst! and countless performance of Cities of Lights at synagogues, JCCs in North America, as well as venues all over the world  including Limmud UK, the Grille Theater in Paris and  the Martef Theater in  Jerusalem. Rebecca will be performing her upcoming new show Perfect all over North America.

Leon MorrisMy head shot-1
Leon A. Morris is rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor and was the founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El.  He writes essays frequently for a variety of publications and is one of four editors of “Mishkan HaNefesh,” the forthcoming Reform High Holiday prayer book. Leon lives in Sag Harbor with his wife, Dasee Berkowitz, a Jewish educator and writer, and his children Tamir (age 5), Yael (age 3) and Shalva (8 months).

DB_HeadshotDasee Berkowitz
Dasee Berkowitz is a Jewish educator, Jewish community builder, and founder of JLife Consulting. She currently lives in Sag Harbor, NY, where she and her husband are serving the Jewish community. She has been a proud board member of Limmud NY and an even prouder wife of Leon Morris and mother of three little cuties: Tamir, Yael, and Shalva.

AuthorPhoto_miniJoseph D. Robbins
Joseph D. Robbins is a poet and educator in NYC. Robbins travels the nation educating on the Holocaust, body image and other issues. He has a BA in Creative Writing & Judaic Studies from the University of Arizona and an MA in teaching English from Columbia. He is pursuing an MA in Jewish Education at JTS and a State Certification for teaching Students with Learning Disabilities at Teachers College. He published his debut poetry collection, “One Man Gang” in 2012 and released a live album, Chanukah 2013.

Jessica Minnenjessminnen-small
Jessica Minnen is a rabbi and founding director of Seven Wells and the assistant director of the Jewish Journey Project. She is an alumna of Washington University in St. Louis, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Paideia: The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, Baltimore Hebrew University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Jessica sits on the Board of Directors of the American Jewish Society for Service and is a visiting rabbi at Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland.

ATAnn Toback
Ann Toback is the Executive Director of the Workmen’s Circle.  Since June of 2009, she has led the organization through a visioning process that resulted in a new education mission celebrating cultural Jewish identity and transmitting progressive values to today’s Jewish community.  A lifelong activist and attorney, Ann previously served as Assistant Executive Director at the Writers Guild of America, East. A highlight of her time there was successfully leading the 2007 strike on the East Coast.

Mirele B. GoldsmithMicroedge-809 copy
Mirele B. Goldsmith is the director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship of Hazon,  an environmental psychologist, program evaluator, educator, and activist.  Mirele created the Tikkun Mayim, a ceremony of repair for our relationship with water, and is the founder of Jews Against Hydrofracking.  Her writings on Judaism and the environment have been published in the Jerusalem Report, the Jewish Week, the Forward, and the Huffington Post.  She plays the ukulele and just wrote her first song.

Rabbi Uri Regev profile photo 2012Uri Regev
Uri Regev is one of Israel’s most prominent rabbinic advocates for religious pluralism. He serves as president of Hiddush- Freedom of Religion for Israela non-partisan, trans-denominational Israel-Diaspora partnership for religious freedom and equality. He led many of the legal battles concerning the “Who is a Jew?” debate, and concerning other key issues of religion and state.  He founded the Israel Religious Action Center and was president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Renana Ravitzky PilzerSHI (124)
Renana Ravitzky Pilzer is the Head of the Beit Midrash at the Hartman Girls High School, where she is leading an experiment in religious feminist social change. She is pursuing her doctorate in Midrash and Gender with a focus on Jewish thought. She previously served as co-director of the Melamdim School for Teacher Training and was a teacher at the Elul Beit Midrash. Renana is one of the founders and leaders of Kehilat Shira Hadasha in Jerusalem.

Pic rpkRivy Poupko Kletenik
Rivy Poupko Kletenik is in her eighth year as Head of School at the Seattle Hebrew Academy. A 2002 recipient of the Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators, she comes to Limmud NY through the generosity of the Covenant Foundation. Rivy lectures nationwide and writes a column for Seattle’s JTNews. She spent summer 2012 attending the International School at Yad Vashem and summer 2013 in Berlin, participating in Centropa’s Summer Academy.

Steve CohenSteve Cohen
Steve Cohen is a research Professor of Jewish Social Policy and Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner. He co-authored The Jew Within, & Two Worlds of Judaism: The Israeli & American Experiences. Steve was the lead researcher on the Jewish Community Study of NY: 2011. His many awards include an honorary doctorate from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the Marshall Sklare Award, and the National Jewish Book Award, and he was named one of the Forward 50 in 2010.

Head Shot eMichael Twitty  
Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and Jewish educator focusing on both African American and Jewish food and their relationships to their respective folk cultures. His website is the first blog devoted to preserving historic African American foods and foodways, and chronicles his journey as an African American Jew creating his own traditions. He is currently working on a book based on his Cooking Gene Project.

headshot2010Danya Ruttenberg
Danya Ruttenberg is the author of the Sami Rohr Prize-nominated Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion. She has also edited five anthologies, including The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism and Yentl’s Revenge.  She has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis, and as one of the “36 under 36.” She currently serves as the Educational Consultant to the campus dialogue program Ask Big Questions and lives in the Chicago area. Check out her twitter at@TheRaDR

daniel nevinsDaniel Nevins
Danny Nevins is a rabbi and is Dean of the Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School, H.L. Miller Cantorial School, and Center for Pastoral Counseling. A member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, he writes responsa on matters of contemporary Jewish life. Prior to working at JTS, he served as rabbi of Adat Shalom Synagogue in Michigan. He is a graduate of Harvard, JTS, and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and he lives with his family in NYC.

ethan tucker 2Ethan Tucker
Ethan Tucker is co-founder, Rosh Yeshiva, and chair in Jewish law at Mechon Hadar. He was faculty at the Drisha Institute, teaching Talmud and Halakhah. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, earned a PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he co-founded Kehilat Hadar and was a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He was named one of Newsweek’s top 50 rabbis in America for the past three years.

Rabbi_KarpMolly Karp
Molly Karp is a pluralistic rabbi whose training in Mindfulness Practice and Spirituality at the Institute of Jewish Spirituality is at the heart of all her work. She teaches, designs and administers educational programs and is the Adult Education Coordinator for the United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien. Molly was ordained at the Academy of Jewish Religion. She also trained in Hebrew Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a masters degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion.

Yehuda KurtzerYehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer is President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for Jewish communal leaders. He taught at Brandeis as the inaugural Chair of Jewish Communal Innovation. His book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, offers new thinking on sustaining a meaningful Jewish identity in the face of modernity’s challenges. Yehuda was a co-founder of Brookline’s Washington Square Minyan. He lives in Riverdale with his wife Stephanie Ives, their two sons, and their baby girl.

Six13 is a six-man vocal group that brings an unprecedented style of Jewish music to the stage — anchored by thumping beatbox, intricate arrangements, and soulful harmonies, they sound like a full band using nothing but the human voice. They’re driven by a mission to connect Jews around the globe. Six13 has received distinctions from Jewish organizations and become a viral internet sensation. They were chosen as three-time finalists in the casting process for NBC’s television series The Sing-Off.

Benji Lovittheadshot
Since making aliyah in 2006, comedian Benji Lovitt has performed for audiences throughout North America and Israel including Hillels, Birthright Israel, and Jewish Federations.  His perspectives on life in Israel have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in publications such as the Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.  His annual Yom Ha’atzmaut list of things he loves about Israel has developed a massive following and he works regularly with Jewish organizations to promote Israel.

Arthur Green 
art greenArthur Green, rector of Hebrew College’s Rabbinical School, is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on Jewish thought and spirituality. Serving as Irving Brudnick Professor of Philosophy and Religion and a Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, he previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as dean and president. His most recent books are Radical Judaism and a revised edition of These Are the Words.

piven_by_portnoy_1000Hanoch Piven
The colorful and witty collage portraits of Israeli artist Hanoch Piven have appeared in most major American magazines, such as Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker. In Israel, Piven has gained great visibility due to his collaboration with the daily Haaretz and through his educational TV shows for young children. Piven’s art playfully reinvents the meaning of regular objects, and invites viewers to actively participate.

Asher Lopatin   Headshot
Asher Lopatin is the president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, the leading modern and open Orthodox rabbinical school. He received his ordination from Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk, and from Yeshiva University, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed a Masters of Philosophy in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University. He has written numerous scholarly and popular articles, and was previously the rabbi at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel in Chicago.

Headshot-1Samuel Norich
Samuel Norich is the president and publisher of The Forward and The Forverts.  Born in Germany in 1947, he immigrated to the United States in 1957.  He attended Columbia as an undergraduate, and did his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Hebrew University.   He was the executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research from 1980-1992 and is the author of What Will Bind Us Now:  A Report on the Institutional Ties between Israel and American Jewry.

�RobertJSaferstein_ScottStein2212 980 1 copy copyScott Stein
Scott Stein is a NY-based pianist, songwriter, composer, arranger & conductor. He has served as the accompanist and music director for numerous cantorial concerts and musical theater productions, and is the conductor of the Manhattan chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. As a pop singer/songwriter, Scott has appeared frequently at Rockwood Music Hall and the Living Room. His latest work will be released in spring 2014. For more information, visit his website.

Daniel Roth                daniel-roth
Daniel Roth is the director of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, where he also teaches courses that integrate text study with conflict resolution. He holds a PhD from Bar Ilan University’s Program for Conflict Resolution, where he is on faculty, writing about Jewish models of conflict resolution and peace. Daniel is also an Israeli certified court mediator and a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.

0Aaron Samuels
Aaron Samuels born in Providence, Rhode Island, was raised in a half-black, half-Jewish family. He is a Cave Canem Fellow and a nationally acclaimed performer. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, featured on TV’s One’s Verses & Flow, and has appeared in many journals including Tidal Basin Review and Muzzle Magazine.  His debut collection of poetry, Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps, was released by Write Bloody Publishing in fall 2013. Find out more about Aaron at his website.

ugoretzDeborah Ugoretz
After a visit to the Jewish Museum in the 70’s, Deborah was inspired to create calligraphed and decorated Jewish Marriage contracts (Ketubot). At the same time, she developed a fascination with works-in-cut paper and has been “cutting” since 1978. She has designed stained glass windows and synagogue art, and she has developed and taught many courses about the art of Jewish paper cutting. Her work is currently featured in CURATE NYC, a city-wide art exhibit, and at Hebrew Union College.

William PlevanPlevan
William Plevan has served as the rabbi of Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan since Rosh Hashana 5770. He is the President of the Board of Matan, an organization that empowers Jewish communities to include children with special needs in Jewish educational settings. He is also a doctoral candidate in the Religion Department at Princeton University, where he is writing a dissertation on the philosophical anthropology of Martin Buber.