212 908 2539 info@limmudny.org

Featured Presenters 2013

Check out who’s joining us for Limmud NY 2013!

Each conference has its own unique flavor and shape, and our amazing slate of presenters helps us create that experience. The workshops, concerts, and learning sessions that they lead are just one facet of the Limmud NY experience – you’ll also have the opportunity to hop from service to service during Kabbalat Shabbat, take advantage of our new location’s fabulous facilities, and maybe even join an impromptu jam session in the lobby.

At Limmud NY, everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. Do you want to present at Limmud NY 2013? Register today and make it happen!

Jeffrey Yoskowitz

IMG_6681_2Jeffrey Yoskowitz is a writer, pickler and food entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of The Gefilteria, a purveyor of Old World Jewish foods in Brooklyn, NY whose products are available throughout the New York City area (gefilteria.com). He worked as a pickler for the Adamah Jewish Organic Farm and spreads pickling love around the world through workshops and demos. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Tablet and many other publications and he runs the website porkmemoirs.com.

Molly Livingstone

molly new1“I’m not an inventor. I’m an improver. I improve things that are broken,” Larry David once said. The word “improver” is also someone that improvises, Molly’s art form. Through her English-speaking comedy troupe, Hahafuch, based in Jerusalem, Molly spreads the message that Israel is funny. As well as performing sketches, videos, and improvisation, Molly also teaches improv workshops with an Israeli twist. Molly believes that comedy is the best platform for Hasbara. Don’t laugh; she’s being serious!

Shlomit & RebbeSoul

Shlomit levi - Singer- By mor Cochavi 3ברוסShlomit Levi, the golden voice of Orphaned Land and other renowned Israeli artists, returns to the sounds of her Yemenite ancestors with dramatic musical elements.
RebbeSoul has been featured on CNN International, was the cover story in Billboard magazine and achieved the #1 position on the CMJ world music charts in the USA and Canada. Known for his unique production, and signature balalaika and guitar playing, he created the Jewish Roots and World Music style.

Arthur Kurzweil

Arthur KurzweilArthur Kurzweil is a writer, teacher, and magician. He is a Jewish Heir Locator, dedicated to finding and informing members of the Jewish family about our extraordinary inheritance. He is the author of several books, including On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz and From Generation to Generation: How To Trace Your Jewish Genealogy.  Arthur is a member of the Society of American Magicians (founded by Harry Houdini) and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. His parrot’s name is Shabbos.

Vanessa Hidary

Vanessa Hidary, aka “The Hebrew Mamita,” is a solo performer/ spoken word artist and native New Yorker. She has appeared on “Def Poetry Jam” on HBO, and was featured in the short film “The Tribe.” Vanessa recently published her first book, “The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega.”

Leonid Feldman

Leonid Feldman is a living example of the drama of modern Jewish history. He has experienced total assimilation, Jewish rebirth, violent anti-Semitism, imprisonment in Russia as a Zionist activist, and freedom in the West. The spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, he is the first and only Soviet-born Conservative Rabbi in America. Rabbi Feldman’s emotional return to his hometown of Kishinev was featured on the NBC TODAY Show, and the Israeli National television.

Alison Laichter

Alison Laichter is a meditation teacher, urban planner, community organizer and founding director of the Jewish Meditation Center. She’s a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group $100k fellowship and one of the Jewish Week’s Visionary 36 Under 36. She studied engineering at The Cooper Union and urban planning at Columbia University. She’s been meditating since she was 15, including in the Himalayan, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel mountains, and teaches classes and retreats throughout the world.  

Yona Reiss

Rabbi Yona Reiss is the dean of Yeshiva University’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). He is a graduate of Yale Law School. He previously served as Director of the Beth Din of America, and worked as an associate at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

Ellen Alt

Ellen Alt is an artist, educator and community art facilitator. She has exhibited her mixed media artwork in the U.S., Israel, Germany, Russia, China and England.  She is on the Education faculty of Brandeis University, is Park Avenue Synagogue’s Artist-in-Residence, an instructor at the 92nd St Y,  & the K-8 art coordinator at Solomon Schechter Manhattan. She also organizes community-based art projects that focus on social change. She holds a BFA in art education and an MA in studio art.

Rachel Dewan

Rachel Dewan E-RYT has been teaching yoga classes and workshops since 2003 in metro NY and Chicago. She has trained and taught with many leading yoga teachers in the US and studied with a variety of Torah scholars. Rachel completed the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Training in 2012 and has been teaching yoga in Jewish settings since 2009. It is her goal as a teacher to help her students awaken to their unique and divine nature through the practices of asana, breath, meditation and prayer.

Jane Eisner

Jane Eisner is Editor-in-Chief of the Forward, the authoritative news source for the American Jewish community for over a century. Under her leadership, the Forward has won numerous journalism awards and her editorials have been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists. Previously, she worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years.  She has taught at Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania. She authored “Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in our Democracy.”

Shulamit Seidler-Feller

Shulamit Seidler-Feller is a photographer and educator in New York City. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Reed College and an MFA in Photography from NYU. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Jerusalem Post, amNew York, & the Forward. Her teaching experience includes work for SAR High School, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Brandeis Collegiate Institute, The Jewish Lens, Camp Ramah, & the Center for Alternative Photography.  View her work at www.shulamitphotography.com.

Sarah Bunin Benor

Sarah Bunin Benor is Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University in 2004. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press, 2012) and the creator of the Jewish English Lexicon. She has lectured widely about Jewish languages and American Jewish identity, culture, and community.

Gitta Neufeld

Gitta Neufeld received the 2012 Covenant Foundation Award for Excellence in Education. As Director of the Allegra Franco School of Educational Leadership, she spearheads an innovative program which provides teacher training and adult education for woman of the Syrian community. She also lectures frequently across the metropolitan area. A graduate of Queens College and Pace University, she is completing her doctorate, focusing on the Syrian community. She also was a two-day Jeopardy winner.


Aryeh Ben David

Aryeh Ben David taught at the Pardes Institute for 20 years and served as the Director of Spiritual Education. He founded Ayeka: Soulful Jewish Education in 2008. Through its online program, Ayeka educates rabbis, teachers, and professionals how to bring Jewish wisdom from our minds to our hearts, to our souls, and to our lives. Ayeka has developed more than 2 years of curriculum devoted to promoting personal and spiritual growth. Aryeh lives in Efrat with his wife Sandra and their 6 children.

Dalia Davis

Dalia Davis directs Beit Midrash in Motion, an approach to Jewish text study incorporating movement and meditation for a fully embodied learning experience. She also explores Jewish ideas through dance as Artistic Director of Nishmat Hatzafon Performing Arts Company. Degrees in dance, Jewish Education and Talmud have allowed her to teach for the Foundation for Jewish Camp and serve as Rosh Beit Midrash for the Merkavah Institute. Dalia loves to explore the interface between Judaism and dance.

Gidi Grinstein

Gidi Grinstein is the founder and president of the Reut Institute, whose mission is to impact Israel and the Jewish world, making an indelibly Jewish, Israeli contribution. He is writing a book titled Flexigidity: On the Secret and Mechanisms of Jewish Survival, Security, Prosperity and Leadership in the Diaspora and Israel. He is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University Schools of Law & Economics, and was a Wexner Israel Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He is married with five children and enjoys long-distance running.

Ora Fruchter

Ora Fruchter is a Brooklyn based puppeteer, performer, director and educator. She collaborates with other musicians, clowns, and puppeteers to create highly visual theater, finding humor and lightness in dark themes and incorporating live music and actors along with puppets and objects. She performs with her companies Yellow Sneaker, Doppelskope and Creatures Teach Torah. The Famous Violinist, in progress, uses puppetry and music to explore where there is room for innovation in tradition.

Yaffa Epstein

Yaffa Epstein teaches Talmud, Jewish Law, and Liturgy at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Yaffa is a member of the Israeli Bar, and studied at the Pardes Kollel and the Advanced Talmud Institute at Matan. Yaffa has taught at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, Drisha Institute, Kayam Farm Kollel, the Lookstein Center, Ta Shma and Young Judea Year Course. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Talmud at Hebrew University.

Phyllis Trible

Phyllis Trible is an internationally-known biblical scholar and leader in text-based exploration of women and gender in scripture. She is currently University Professor at Wake Forest School of Divinity and was formerly Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary. The author of several books, as well as numerous articles, Trible lectures extensively around the globe. She provided expert commentary for Bill Moyers’ public television series, Genesis: A Living Conversation.

Ezra Weinberg

Ezra Weinberg is identified through his work as a rabbi, teacher, song leader, dance instructor, peace-builder, and environmental activist. He is a musician and skilled leader of prayer in a variety of denominational settings. He is a teacher of multifaith education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. As a teacher of conflict transformation, Ezra draws upon an experiential model of learning infused with the ancient wisdom of the Jewish calendar and Torah to help heal fractured relationships.

Kerry Olitzky

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky is Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, the only national independent organization bringing Judaism to interfaith families and the unaffiliated. He was recently named one of Newsweek’s 50 Leading Rabbis in North America. He has served as vice president of the Wexner Foundation and as Dean of Adult Jewish Learning & Living at Hebrew Union College, where he was on the faculty for 15 years. He has shaped training programs for clergy of all faiths, and worked in Jewish Twelve Step spirituality.

Steven Bayme

Steven Bayme is Director of the William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department, AJC and of its Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. He has been a visiting history professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary. His publications include Understanding Jewish History: Texts and Commentary, a survey of the Jewish historical experience; Jewish Arguments and Counter-Arguments, essays on contemporary Jewish life; and most recently, American Jewry’s Comfort Level, assessing challenges to American Jewry. 

Danielle Abrams

From Danielle Abrams’ legacy of Jewish bubbies and tummlers, and black Southern matriarchs, emerge a hybrid blend of personae and performances that reshuffle the quandaries about gender, race, and legacy. Abrams has performed for 20 years in many spaces including the Queens Museum, Jewish Museum, Detroit Institute of the Arts.  She has received support from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art and the New York Foundation for the Arts. 

Joan Nathan

Joan NathanJoan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks.  Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, named one of the 10 best cookbooks 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine, and Bon Appétit.  The mother of three grown children, she lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband Allan Gerson. For more information, go to joannathan.com.

Larry Jay Tish, The Black-Jew Dialogues

Larry Jay Tish is an actor, playwright, copywriter, poet, improv performer, and educator. As an actor, his film, TV, commercial, and voice over work in too numerous to mention. As a writer Larry has published short fiction, poetry, travel writing, and journalism. He is a founding member of StageCoach Improv, which performs improv comedy and teaches improv skills. He was a Standardized Patient Educator and coach for Harvard, Tufts, BU, and UMASS medical students.

Ron Jones, The Black-Jew Dialogues

Ron Jones has been an actor, director, playwright, and trainer developing socially relevant theater for over twenty-five years.  He has been a classroom teacher, as well as an artist in residence in over a dozen communities across Massachusetts.  He developed theatrical programming across a range of issues andhas been an instructor or guest lecturer at Harvard University, Wheelock College, Tufts University, Lesley University, and Curry College.

Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah LipstadtDeborah E. Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Her latest book, The Eichmann Trial, was published in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the trial’s start. Lipstadt’s 2006 book, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, the story of her libel trial against David Irving, is currently being developedinto a movie. At Emory, she directs Holocaust Denial on Trial, a website containing answers to frequent claims made by deniers.

Stephen Tobolowsky

Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in over 200 movies and television shows which include playing Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, Sammy Jankis in Memento and Mr. Bates in Freaky Friday. TV roles include characters on Seinfeld, Deadwood, Glee & Californication. He has written and performed true stories from his life – told from a unique Jewish perspective – in The Tobolowsky Files. His book, The Dangerous Animals Club, was just published.

Clive Lawton

Clive Lawton is a co-founder of Limmud in the UK and is now its Senior Consultant. He works worldwide as an education development consultant, is a magistrate, advisor to the UK Government on diversity issues, and scholar-in residence at London’s Jewish Cultural Centre. Clive has been a school principal, university lecturer, director of Liverpool’s city education services, a governor on London’s Police Board, chair of Tzedek, and lead columnist for the Jewish News. He broadcasts regularly on BBC radio.

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker is co-founder and Rosh Yeshiva at Mechon Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. He was faculty at the Drisha Institute, teaching Talmud and Halakhah in the Scholars Circle. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, earned a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics 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 in 2011 & 2012.

Larry Smith

Larry Smith is the founder of SMITH Magazine and SMITHTeens, homes of the Six-Word Memoir® project, now a bestselling book series, board game, and catalyst for personal expression across the world. SMITH Mag’s most recent book is Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life. Larry has spoken about mission building and storytelling at companies such as Twitter, Dell, Shutterfly, ESPN and Google, as well as foundations, nonprofits and classrooms across the world. He often finds himself in sixes and sevens.

Yehuda Kurtzer

Yehuda Kurtzer is President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for North American 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 most critical challenges. Yehuda was a co-founder of Brookline’s Washington Square Minyan. He lives in Riverdale with his wife Stephanie Ives and their two sons.

Fanya Gottesfeld Heller

Fanya Gottesfeld Heller was born in a small Ukrainian village. She and her family hid from the Nazis for two years with the help of righteous gentiles. Her book, Love in a World of Sorrow, documents her wartime existence and complex relationships with her rescuers. A film version of her memoir, Teenage Witness: The Fanya Heller Story, has aired on PBS. Fanya serves on the boards of numerous institutions and charitable organizations. She has 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Eli Valley

Eli Valley, Artist in Residence at The Jewish Daily Forward, is a writer and artist whose work has been published in New York MagazineThe Daily BeastGawkerSaveurHa’aretz and elsewhere. His art has been labeled “ferociously repugnant” by Commentary and “hilarious” by The Comics Journal. A 2012-2013 LABA Fellow, Eli is the author of The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe and is currently finishing his first novel. His website is www.EVComics.com and he tweets at @elivalley.

Deborah Dash Moore

Deborah Dash Moore is Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Director of the Frankel Center of Judaic Studies. A historian of American Jews, she has published books on New York Jews, on GI Jews, and co-edited Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Her recent project City of Promises: A History of Jews in New York just appeared.

David Solomon

David Solomon is a globally-roaming scholar, teacher, writer and translator. Currently based in Sydney, Australia as Neshama Life scholar-in-residence, he is writing the first-ever English translation of the fundamental kabbalistic text, Tiqunei HaZohar. David teaches Jewish History, Tanach, Jewish Philosophy, Hebrew, and Kabbalah. He is, however, perhaps best known for his dynamic presentation of The Whole of Jewish History in One Hour. To listen to his talks online, visit www.inonehour.net.

Ruth Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger is the executive director of American Jewish World Service, a humanitarian organization providing support to grassroots social change projects throughout the world. Prior to assuming this role in 1998, Ms. Messinger was in public service in New York City for 20 years, including having served as Manhattan borough president.

David Ingber

David Ingber, Rabbi, is the founder and Spiritual Director of Romemu, NYC’s Jewish Renewal Community. David studied in Orthodox yeshivot before receiving ordination from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. 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. He has taught at JTS, Pardes, and Skirball.

Benjamin Blech

Benjamin BlechBenjamin Blech is an internationally-recognized educator, religious leader, author, and lecturer. He is the author of twelve highly-acclaimed and best-selling books, with combined sales of close to half a million copies. Blech’s most recent book, The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican, was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 special. A recipient of the American Educator of the Year Award, he has been a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University since 1966.

Shoshana Boyd Gelfand

Shoshana Boyd Gelfand is Director of JHub, a program of the London-based Pears Foundation. JHub promotes social action, innovation and entrepreneurship in the British Jewish community by providing office space, mentoring, networking, seed grants, and professional development. Previously, she was  Chief Executive of the UK Movement for Reform Judaism and Vice President of the Wexner Heritage Foundation in New York. Rabbi Boyd Gelfand was ordained in 1993 at the Jewish Theological Seminary and now lives in London with her husband and three children.

Shawn Landres

Shawn LandresShawn Landres is an entrepreneur and writer looking for the common good at the intersection of learning, creativity, and global network building. His work as co-founder & CEO of Jumpstart, a research & design lab that the Jerusalem Post says has “changed the global conversation about Jewish innovation,” has earned wide recognition, from the Forward 50 to the White House, as well as CNN.comGOOD, and Fast.Co.EXIST.  Shawn lives in Santa Monica with his wife Zuzana and their two young daughters.

Daniel Gordis

Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He is a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, in print and on-line. Gordis’ latest book, The Promise of Israel, was released in August. A recent winner of the National Jewish Book Award, he has been called “one of Israel’s most thoughtful observers.” Gordis joined Shalem in 2007 to help found Israel’s first liberal arts college.

Girls in Trouble

Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabins is a poet, composer, performer and Torah teacher.  She tours internationally with Girls in Trouble, with whom she has released two albums to critical acclaim, performing her song cycle about the complicated lives of Biblical women.  In addition to numerous fellowships and awards, Alicia holds a MA in Jewish Studies from JTS and a MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson.  She recently moved from Brooklyn to Portland, OR with her husband, bassist Aaron Hartman, and their daughter Sylvia.