Limmud NY’s Essential Questions
We believe that learning together, embracing difference and diversity, is one of the most powerful ways to build and strengthen the Jewish community. We intend for our program to create a space uniquely suited to this kind of learning. This year, Limmud NY has rededicated our efforts to making this conference a center where major questions in the Jewish world are discussed. Through a process of convening community members and lay leaders, our Programming Team identified six essential questions to help facilitate our discussions, guide our learning, and frame the conference.
- What should diverse Jewish community look like in the 21st century?
- Who is a Jew?
- What is the future of Jewish philanthropy?
- Who is missing? Who are the unheard voices in our community?
- What is the status of Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewry?
- How do we continue to integrate Russian American Jewry into the broader community?
- What is our responsibility to the Jewish people and to the world?
- How do we talk about racial justice?
- How do we continue to integrate the LGBTQ Jewish community?
- What is our responsibility as Jewish people to those who are not Jewish?
- How do we embrace diversity within the Jewish people?
- What does the interfaith discussion look like in today’s world?
- What is the role of history and memory in Jewish life and how can these contexts inform the way we live today?
- How do we plan for the next generation with the rapid loss of Holocaust survivors?
- Is there a re-emergence of Yiddish culture?
- Does the past have a claim on the future?
- Why study Jewish history?
- Is there a difference between Jewish history and Jewish memory, and if so, what is the difference?
- How can Jewish tradition and culture be expressed creatively and innovatively?
- What opportunities does new technology offer to the Jewish community?
- Who is making the most innovative Jewish podcasts and what are they discussing?
- How do we translate Judaism into 21st century language, and who is already doing it?
- How will our texts endure the tech move to digital imagery and film?
- Can art be text?
- What are the building blocks of Jewish learning, and how can they be used to create communal spaces?
- Who will occupy the lay leadership ‘next seats’ at the table?
- What does the future of Jewish parenting and family systems look like?
- How does one build a Jewish young adult home?
- What questions should young Jews be asking?
- How can we create a sustainable and vibrant Jewish educational model?
- Are affordability and vibrancy mutually exclusive in Jewish education?
- What does it mean to value diversity of thought in 2017?
- What do we do if our Jewish values come into conflict with our American values?
- When is diversity of thought a Jewish value?
- The world feels polarized, is it important to bring people together? How do we do that?
- How do we hear each other and create spaces to facilitate dialogue?
- When should we agree to disagree?
- How can the Jewish community create space for nuanced conversations about Israel?
Below are some of the amazing presenters who will be joining us at Limmud NY this year – click on a name or scroll down for their headshots and bios. This page will be continually updated; check back for more presenters!
Arielle Aronoff works at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center as the Camp Teva manager. She values outdoor education and deep connection to nature. Prior to her work with Hazon, Arielle worked as a farmer, baker, and healthy school food advocate/educator. Arielle spends her time hiking, baking sourdough bread, and foraging for mushrooms and other wild edibles.
Noah Aronson currently serves as the Creative Director of Sacred Music NY, a non-profit organization he helped to create. It organizes concerts around New York City that bring together spiritual musicians from diverse backgrounds to inspire interfaith dialogue and social change. Noah’s music is now sung in progressive communities and summer camps worldwide and has been included as part of the Cantorial curriculum at the Hebrew Union College Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. Noah conducted the Manhattan HaZamir Choir from 2008-2010 and his choral music received an honorable mention in the 2009 GTM Young Composer’s Award; he released his first solo album in May 2011. He lives in New York City.
Nicole Armenta Auerbach is the Rabbi for Small Groups at Central Synagogue in New York City, where she works with lay leaders to deepen members’ connection to one another, to the congregation, and to Jewish tradition. Rabbi Auerbach was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York, where she spent her final year studying Jewish legal traditions about the practice of tzedakah.
As an artist, event coordinator, and Queens native, Zoe Penina Baker has worked for the last 7 years organizing and curating arts programming. Her creative practice explores Jewish-feminist themes through interactive food- and textile-based interactive installations. Zoe is a Program Coordinator at Reboot, responsible for developing and implementing creative events and projects in the greater New York area. See more of her work at www.zoepeninabaker.net.
Shani Ben Or grew up in Congregation Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem and was raised in the Israeli Reform Movement. She was one of the first Israelis to participate in the cantorial program at Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem. This year she will continue her Studies in the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in NY as an Israeli Rabbinical student, creating a new international ordination that merges cantorial and rabbinical studies together. Shani serves as a Cantorial Intern at Central Synagogue.
Mijal Bitton is a Doctoral Fellow and Faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She is a Doctoral candidate at New York University as an Avichai Fellow where she is studying the experience of contemporary Sephardic communities in the United States. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
Efraim Chalamish is an international economic law scholar and practitioner. He has been involved in international legal practice in New York, Paris and Israel, along with research and analysis of cutting edge areas in public and private international economic law. He is the founder and president of the Global Center for Economic Development and Security. He was recently named by the French Government as a Future Global Leader for 2011. Dr. Chalamish is an exclusive contributor to Economonitor, and regularly writes to papers and magazines, such as the Huffington Post, Project Syndicate, The Gulf Times, and JPost.
Andrew Davies is an educator and improviser working in New York City. He has taught and performed improv for seven years and currently performs Musical Improv every Tuesday at The Magnet Theater in NYC with his team, The Commotion. Andrew is the Co-Founder of CharacTours, a walking tour where the past visits you. Andrew is the Executive Director and Co-founder of The Bible Players, a group which is improving Jewish lives around the country.
Yaffa Epstein serves as the Director of Education, N.A., for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. Yaffa has been a teacher of Talmud, Jewish law, and Liturgy at Pardes and has served as the Director of the Beit Midrash at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She has taught at Yeshivat Maharat, Drisha Institute, The Wexner Heritage New Member Institute and has lectured at Limmuds around the world.
Brian Fink directs UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps at JCC Manhattan, a volunteer and community-building initiative for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Brian grew up in Cleveland, graduated from Tulane University, and was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has worked at Cornell University Hillel and participated in the Avodah: Jewish Service Corps. He is fascinated by the similarities and differences between baby boomers and millennials.
Tsivia Finman joined Footsteps in 2015 as the Director of Operations and Planning, bringing with her experience in organizational management and assessment from her time as Manager of Academic Affairs at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Before moving to New York City she was active in her hometown, Detroit, where she completed her MPA, served various populations in Jewish communal settings, wrote news copy for NPR, and worked for various political causes and congressional offices. Tsivia grew up Chabad.
Elliot Fix is a retired educator/administrator in the field of developmental disabilities. He is a coordinator and instructor at the Jewish Living Program for adults with disabilities in Rochester. Elliot is a past chairperson and active member on the JCC of Rochester NY’s Jewish International Film Festival Committee and coordinator/curator of the Jewish Film Series at the Everett Jewish Life Center at the Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY. He was a recipient of the Grinspoon Foundation Award in 2016 for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Aaron Friedman is an educator and stand-up comedian who was recently named “Funniest Jew in New York” by The Jewish Week. In 2011, he co-founded The Bible Players, an interactive Torah Comedy show. Aaron has a B.A. from JTS and Columbia University and is currently getting his M.A. in Jewish Education at JTS’ Davidson School. He lives in Long Island with his lovely wife, Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein.
Rabbi David Gedzelman is President of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, which is dedicated to revitalizing Jewish identity through educational and cultural initiatives. David began at SFJL in 1995 as the founding director of Makor in New York. He has played a lead role in the foundation’s work to develop and support Hebrew Language Charter Schools and plays an active role in OneTable, one of SFJL’s newest initiatives. He lives in Harlem with his wife Judith and their three children.
Eric Goldman is adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University and founder of Ergo Media, a distributor of Jewish cinema. He was co-host with Robert Osborne of the Turner Classic Movies television network series, The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, and serves as film critic for New Jersey’s The Jewish Standard. His most recent book is The American Jewish Story through Cinema. He is currently writing a book on Israeli society through the lens of cinema.
Nechama teaches Rabbinic Literature, Women and Judaism, Medical Ethics, Prophets and Bible at Pardes. She made aliyah from Philadelphia over 20 years ago after graduating from Stern College. She studied for three years in Matan’s Advanced Talmud Institute and finished a Master’s degree in Talmud at Bar-Ilan University, with a thesis on the Beautiful Captive Woman in the Eyes of Chazal; she is also a graduate of Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halakha program. She teaches contempory halakha at Matan and courses on sexuality and Judaism, rabbinic text and Talmud at Machon Pardes. Nechama lives in Gush Etzion with her husband and four daughters.
Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia is mother-of-five, scholar, teacher, writer, poet, activist, aspiring rabbi and doctoral candidate in comparative theology and law. Her work appears in Jewish papers, literary journals, academic publications, and in her online Torah. Her poetry book, A Voice is Heard in Ramah, by Ben Yehuda Press, is forthcoming. Raised in Jerusalem, she served in the IDF, taught converts, and studied Jewish thought at Hebrew University. Her presentations are fueled by her passion for inter- and intra-faith text and ritual study, which she imparts in generative chavruta-style learning.
A graduate of Columbia University and ordinee of HUC-JIR, Rachel Grant Meyer is the Director of Education at HIAS, where she engages American Jews on refugee issues, connecting the plight of today’s refugees to Jewish values and history. Prior to being at HIAS, Rachel served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. She is a member of T’ruah and sits on the Steering Committee of Reform Jewish Voice of New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife, Sarah, and puppy, Charley.
Ben Greenberg is a writer, consultant, and educator. He serves as the Director of Adult Engagement at Central Synagogue in Manhattan where he oversees a team of professionals creating relational programming for the synagogue community. Previously, Ben has worked at UJA-Federation of New York, as a synagogue rabbi in Colorado and as the campus rabbi of Harvard Hillel. He lives with his wife and children in Riverdale, NY.
Ben Greenfield is a scholar and convener of spiritual community. He serves at Rikers Island as the High Holidays and Passover rabbi, founded the UWS Moishe House, and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. His recent writings were awarded the Whizin Prize in Jewish Ethics. But creating innovative and artistic rituals – like the Shavuos Seder, Yom HaShoah Funeral, and yomk’PURIM Machzor – is what Ben is all about. He will be receiving ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in June 2017.
Naftali Hanau is the CEO of Grow and Behold Foods, the Brooklyn-based purveyor of fine kosher pastured meats raised on family farms with no hormones or antibiotics. A shochet and menaker, Naftali has learned with experts at butcher shops and slaughterhouses across the country. A pioneer in the field of educational schechita over the last decade, Naftali is frequently sought out to consult on and conduct educational kosher slaughter. He has been a judge for Masbia’s ChopHunger (2015) and Jamie Geller’s KosherMasters (2016), as well as a frequent panelist and presenter at kosher food events across the country.
Shira Hecht-Koller is Director of Communal Engagement at Drisha. She previously taught Talmud and comparative ethics, most recently at SAR High School. She is a founding member of the Orthodox Leadership Project and was a fellow at the Paideia Institute of Jewish Studies in Stockholm. She writes, speaks and educates on topics of Jewish Law and Education, as well as creative living and family life. Prior to embarking on a career in Jewish Education, she was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton.
Shai Held, a leading Jewish theologian, scholar, and educator, is Co-Founder and Dean of Mechon Hadar. He is a 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. Rabbi Held’s first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was hailed as a “watershed” in our understanding of Heschel; his next book, The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, is due out this summer. Shai lives in New York.
Daniel Henkin has conducted Jewish and secular choirs for over 25 years, and has produced more than a dozen albums of Jewish and secular choral music. As an arranger and conductor, he has helped pioneer the contemporary Jewish a cappella movement today; his choral arrangements are performed by ensembles throughout North America and Israel. Daniel received his BA in Music and Philosophy from Columbia University, and his Masters degree in Music Composition from Indiana University’s School of Music. He is Director of Music at the Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan and directs Tizmoret, Queens College Hillel’s professional Jewish a cappella ensemble, and was a recipient of the 2016 Covenant Award for excellence in education. Daniel lives in NYC with his wife, Alisa, and his children Sammy, Dahlia, and Ariana.
Richard Hidary studied at Yeshiva University and Yeshivat Har Etzion, received rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University. He is an associate professor of Judaic Studies at YU where he teaches courses in Bible, Second Temple Jewish history, Dead Sea Scrolls, Talmud, Midrash, Jewish ethics, and Rambam’s philosophy. He is the author of two books on Talmud, and his articles have appeared in numerous publications. Rabbi Hidary teaches at Sephardic Synagogue and also runs the websites teachtorah.org, pizmonim.org, and rabbinics.org. This year he will be a Starr fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies.
Leana Jelen is an alumna of the Pardes Experiential Educators Program, during which time she studied Safrut STaM (Scribal Arts) intensively. Leana currently serves as the Pardes Engagement Coordinator, North America. Leana also works with Eshel’s Merchav Batuach program to provide LGBTQ+ safe space training to university students from Orthodox and Traditional backgrounds, and freelances as an American Sign Language interpreter.
Miryam Kabakov is the Executive Director of Eshel, an organization that supports and advocates for Orthodox LGBT individuals and their families. Miryam is the editor of Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires, a collection of writings about the challenges and joys of LGBT Orthodox Jews. Previously, she was National Program Director of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps; the Coordinator of LGBT programming at JCC Manhattan; and the first social worker of Footsteps.
David Zvi Kalman is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is CEO and co-founder of the podcasting platform Jewish Public Media and owner of Print-O-Craft, an independent publishing company.
Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug and Alumni Affairs at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College’s pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women & Gender Studies. Avi has worked as a teacher and Jewish professional in two synagogues, an independent minyan, a mikveh, and a yeshiva.
Stephanie Kolin is a rabbi of Central Synagogue in NYC. Ordained from HUC in 2006, Stephanie previously served as co-director of Just Congregations, the community organizing arm of the Reform Movement, and as a rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston. She was named a “Game Changer” by the Jewish Journal, a “Rabbi to Watch” by Newsweek, and as one of America’s Influential Women Rabbis by the Forward. Stephanie is an Auburn Senior Fellow and strives to be one of the X-Men, if Dr. Xavier will admit her.
Aaron Koller is associate professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University. His most recent book is Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Aaron has served as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and held research fellowships at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research and the Hartman Institute. He lives in Queens with his wife, Shira Hecht-Koller, and their children.
Yael Kornfeld works as the Synagogue Outreach Social Worker at DOROT, where they are partnered with nine different synagogues on the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan, advocating and serving older adults. Yael received her BA in Judaic Studies from Rutgers University where she wrote an honors thesis on “Who studies Yiddish Today and Why.” Before starting her MSW program at Hunter College School of Social Work, Yael was an Avodah Service Corps Fellow in Washington, DC. A co-founder of Base Hillel, which empowers rabbinic couples’ homes to serve as convening points for Jewish life, Yael and her partner, Rabbi Avram Mlotek live in downtown Manhattan with their two delicious children, Ravi and Hillel.
Faith Leener is the Meyerhoff Katz Senior Innovation Fellow, a partnership between Hillel’s Office of Innovation and Penn Hillel. She is a Co-Founder of Base Hillel and an Educator at Base BKLYN. Prior to her life in Jewish innovation, Faith was a policy analyst in the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau. She holds a BA in History from Brandeis University, an MPA, and MA in Judaic Studies from NYU. She grew up in Charlotte, NC and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jon and their son Yehuda.
Jon Leener is a Base co-founder and the Rabbi at Base Brooklyn in Williamsburg. Jon was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. His writings on Judaism and Israel have appeared in The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Jewish Week, and Huffington Post. Jon also regularly blogs for Times of Israel. Before entering rabbinical school, Jon studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Communication Arts, specializing in Film and Jewish Studies. At Wisconsin, Jon received Hillel’s Student Leadership Award for his efforts in combating anti-antisemitism on campus. As a Jewish educator, Jon aims to make Judaism more lively, relevant, and accessible to Jews of all backgrounds.
Sandra Lilienthal is a 2015 winner of the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and a 2016 ELI Talk speaker. She is a frequent speaker at Jewish education conferences, synagogues and other Jewish organizations. Sandra has great enthusiasm for teaching Judaism as a living religion, and infusing true passion for it among those who study with her.
Jeremiah Lockwood’s music career began with over a decade of apprenticeship to the legendary Piedmont Blues musician Carolina Slim, playing in the subways of New York City. He also trained under his grandfather Cantor Jacob Konigsberg and performed in his choir. Jeremiah’s band The Sway Machinery seeks inspiration from diverse realms of experience related to the cultural geography of New York City. His solo guitar and voice record, LOCKWOOD, was released in the fall of 2014 on System Dialing Records. The most recent Sway Machinery LP, entitled Purity and Danger, was released in the spring of 2015 to critical acclaim, and in 2016 his album Kol Nidre was released. Jeremiah is currently a PhD Candidate at Stanford University, where he is working on an ethnographic study of contemporary Chassidic cantors.
Elan Margulies is the Director of Teva, a program of Hazon. Elan aims to inspire joy and reverence for the natural world by introducing students to earth-based Jewish traditions and the wonders right outside their door. He works to transform Jewish education through experiential learning that fosters Jewish, ecological, and food sustainability.
Avram Mlotek is a co-founder of Base Hillel. The Forward recently listed him as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis, and in 2012 he was recognized by the Jewish Week as one of the “leading innovators in Jewish life today” as part of their “36 Under 36” Section. A native Yiddish speaker, Avram is the grandson of noted Yiddish song collectors and Holocaust refugees.
Elad Nehorai is a blogger, writer, and marketer who has spent most of his adult life creating and nurturing online communities. From the time he started a small online arts magazine (before such a thing was common) in college, to his efforts as an online marketer for startups, to his viral campaign “I Have A Therapist,” to his present-day communities of Pop Chassid, Hevria, and CrowdMed, Elad cares about nothing more than connecting people who are desperately looking for a community that doesn’t exist in the physical world. Elad’s work has been viewed by over 10 million people, and has been discussed in places like ABC World News, Mashable, Yahoo, the New York Daily News, Tablet, and more. He has written in places like the Guardian and the Huffington Post. He is constantly on the lookout for new projects and ideas.
Rivka Nehorai is an outspoken activist for recovering artists, insisting that raw, redemptive art-making is the means for mental and spiritual health. Rivka graduated from Rutgers University in painting, and displays her work at rivka.gallery. She has three little ladies, who confuse, explain, and beautify everything.
Abigail Pogrebin was a broadcast producer for Fred Friendly, Charlie Rose and Bill Moyers at PBS, then for Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes. She has also been published in many magazines and newspapers, and she moderates her own interview series at The JCC in Manhattan called “What Everyone’s Talking About.” Her guests have included Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Brokaw, Nora Ephron, Nicholas Kristof and Mario Batali. She lives in Manhattan and is currently the President of Central Synagogue. Abigail is the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish, for which she interviewed everyone from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Steven Spielberg about Jewish identity, as well as One and the Same and the forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew (Fig Tree Books, March 2017).
Dorit Price-Levine is Program Manager and Lead Facilitator and Coach at Resetting the Table, which seeks to bridge the divide between American Jews to talk, study, and deliberate together about Israel. She has a background in law, community mediation, and foreign policy work, both in DC and on the ground in the Middle East. Dorit holds a J.D. from Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) where she was awarded the Prosser Prize in Refugee Studies. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania magna cum laude in Political Science and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Aviva Richman is on the faculty at Mechon Hadar in Manhattan where she teaches Talmud and Jewish law. Aviva received ordination from Rabbi Danny Landes in Jerusalem. She is a doctoral candidate at NYU in rabbinic literature as a Wexner fellow. Originally from Baltimore, Aviva has enjoyed calling home to a wide array of Jewish communities, from Orthodox Zionist to Hassidic to Havurah. She has taught at Limmud LA, Limmud Toronto and Limmud UK.
Isaiah Rothstein was born and raised in Monsey, NY, the youngest of three boys. Growing up in a mixed-raced Lubavitch family, he identifies proudly as a Jew of Color. After a year and a half of yeshiva study in Israel, Isaiah attended Binghamton University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Music. Isaiah has ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and a master’s from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He has authored numerous articles featured on myjewishlearning.com, Bchol Lashon, the Jewish Ledger and Tablet. Isaiah is a singer/song-writer and plans to release “The King’s Gate,” his first album, this year! Isaiah works as the spiritual advisor at Carmel Academy of Greeenwich, CT, and at The Beis Community in Washington Heights, where he currently lives.
Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff is a Jewish storyteller, poet, educator, facilitator, and coach. She is the founder and director of The Golden Door: Storytelling for Social Justice, an organization that brings storytellers and facilitators to schools to coach teachers, educate students, and help build safe, encouraging, and equitable classroom communities. Her CD, The Growing Season, comprised of her original stories, was commissioned by the Macks Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore. Jennifer’s story, Binah and the Broken Pieces, is featured in New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family. Her story, Rina and the Exodus, is featured in Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration, both edited by Goldie Milgram. The Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jewish Women’s Archive blog, and the Philadelphia Jewish Voice blog have published Jennifer’s poetry.
Chaim Seidler-Feller recently celebrated his fortieth year of working with students and faculty as the Executive Director of the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA. He is currently Director Emeritus and also serves as Director of the Hartman Fellowship for Campus Professionals. Chaim was ordained in 1971 at Yeshiva University where he completed a Masters in Rabbinic Literature. He is also a faculty member of the Shalom Hartman Institute,North America, of the Harvey Fields Institute of the New Israel Fund and of the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He was a founding member of Americans for Peace Now. The International Hillel Center has granted Chaim the Hillel Professional Recognition Award “for blending the love of Jewish tradition with the modern intellectual approach of the university.” Chaim was a rabbinic consultant to Barbra Streisand during the making of the film Yentl.
Doreen Seidler-Feller earned her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Clinical Psychology in 1980. She serves as Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where she teaches courses to medical students and residents in Systems Based Healthcare and in Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy. Her clinical practice of individual and couples therapy also draws heavily on her expertise in sexual disorders. She is a teacher and public speaker in national and international Jewish settings on topics involving relationships, ethics, sexuality, marriage and Holocaust related psychological themes. She and her husband are known for co-teaching innovative seminars on sexuality and Judaism combining Jewish text study with psychological insight.
Sion Setton is the Principal of Yeshivah Prep High School. He is the founding Chairman of the Downtown Va’ad and serves as an affiliate Chaplain at New York University. Rabbi Setton currently teaches Sephardic university students at NYU’s Bronfman Center for Jewish life on behalf of the Sephardic Community Alliance. He has Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, has served as Director of Youth at the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue and as the Rabbi at Congregation Magen David of Manhattan.
Yiscah Smith is a spiritual activist who speaks to the spiritual dimension of authentic living. As one who transitioned from a Chabad man to an observant woman, she presents topics in an accessible and vivid style, from both a personal and a text-based perspective. Yiscah lives in Jerusalem and teaches at Pardes and the Conservative Yeshiva on Jewish spirituality. In her private practice she provides spiritual guidance for authentic living. She is also a guest speaker both in Israel and abroad.
Abby Stein is a Jewish educator, speaker, and trans activist. She was born and raised in a Chasidic family of rabbinic descent. In that world Abby attended Yeshiva, completing a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Chasidic world to explore different worldviews. In 2015 Abby came out as a Woman of trans experience. Her story has been covered in the New York Times, New York Post, Jewish Daily Forward, Kveller, and Daily Mail, and she has done live appearances on Fox News, CNN, HuffPost Live, ShowTime and more. In 2016 Abby was named by The Jewish Week as one of the 36 Under 36 young Jews who are affecting change in the world. She is a third year student at Columbia University.
Tizmoret is in its 21st year as Queens College Hillel’s professional Jewish a cappella group. Tizmoret draws singers from colleges throughout the New York City area and has taken Jewish collegiate a cappella to the next level, performing classic Jewish melodies, American pop music and contemporary Israeli tunes. They have produced seven CDs, as well as two EPs. Tizmoret has performed for college campuses, countless b’nei-mitzvah and synagogues, and various music festivals across the Eastern United States. They have performed in Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, and at the annual White House Hanukkah party in 2014, have won numerous singing competitions, and are up-and-coming competitors in the 2017 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA).
Dena Weiss is the Rosh Beit Midrash of Yeshivat Hadar, a non-denominational, Halakhic, egalitarian immersive Jewish Learning institution in NYC. Dena earned her BA in Religious Studies from NYU and her MA in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She is an alum of Drisha, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Pardes. This is her second Limmud NY after a bit of a hiatus and is excited to return to learning with such a diverse and motivated group of lovers of Jewish Learning.
Sharon Weiss-Greenberg is the Executive Director of JOFA. She has held a variety of professional roles including Director of Recruitment at Yeshivat Maharat, Rosh Moshava (Head of Camp) at Camp Stone and co-director and Orthodox adviser of the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Harvard Hillel. Sharon was the first Orthodox woman chaplain at Harvard University. She was recently named one of the “Forward 50” and a “36 Under 36” Jewish Week awardee. Sharon can be reached at email@example.com.
Tzemah Yoreh studied Bible and comparative literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he earned his first PhD in 2004. He is finishing a second PhD in early Christianity at University of Toronto. He was ordained as a Humanist Rabbi in 2015. He has written many books on biblical criticism and humanist liturgy found at modernscriptures.com. Tzemah lives in New York and is a resident at the CLAL institute for Jewish Leadership.