Limmud NY

Featured Presenters

Tali Adler

Tali Adler, a musmekhet of Yeshivat Maharat, received her undergraduate degree from Stern College, where she majored in Political Science and Jewish Studies. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, during her time at Yeshivat Maharat, Tali served as the clergy intern at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim and Harvard Hillel. Tali has studied in a number of Jewish institutions, including Drisha and Midreshet Harova. Tali’s participation in LimmudFest is sponsored by the Hadar Institute.

Noah Aronson

Noah Aronson is an energetic and soulful composer/performer whose unique musical style propels his music into communities across the country and in Israel. While studying Piano and Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music, Noah simultaneously held the position of Composer-in-Residence at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts; teaching and composing a wide-array of new liturgical works. Noah conducted the Manhattan HaZamir Choir from 2008-2010 and his choral music received an honorable mention in the 2009 GTM Young Composer’s Contest. Noah released his first solo Jewish album Am I Awake in May 2011 and the title song was a winner in the CAJE NewVoices Song Competition.
Noah is a founding member of the Jewish artist’s collective NuRootz as well as a member of the accapella group Six13. He also has the privilege of serving as the Assistant Music Director for the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial Conference.

Nechama Goldman Barash

Nechama Goldman Barash 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. She is a graduate of Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halacha program and has been certified to teach brides before their weddings, as well as qualifying as a sex educator through Yahel and the Eden Center. She also studied for three years in Matan’s advanced halakha program, Hilkhata.
She teaches contemporary halakha and Talmud at Matan and Pardes, as well as Talmud and women and halakha in Torah V’Avodah (TVA), a Bnei Akiva gap year program based in Matan. She is an active member of Beit Hillel and participates in interfaith dialogue through Roots, based in Gush Etzion, close to where she lives with her family. She is currently working on a book dealing with matters of gender and halakha. Nechama’s participation in LimmudFest is sponsored by the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies.

Merav Fine Braun

Merav Fine Braun is the Executive Director at Hunter College Hillel and a proud member of the Hillel movement. She is a graduate of NYU’s Wagner-Skirball dual Masters program in Nonprofit Management and Judaic Studies, and she holds a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Merav spent two years as engagement staff at Maryland Hillel in College Park focused on Greek Life and freshman engagement. Her combined six years there (four as a student, two as a professional) are her inspiration for a career with Hillel. Past roles include consulting with Leading Edge, the Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, and OneTable. Most recently, Merav served for two years as the Program Manager for Member Services at the Jewish Funders Network office in New York. Merav currently sits as the co-chair of JPro NYC, engaging early and mid-career Jewish nonprofit professionals. She is as passionate about supporting colleagues in professional development and career advancement as she is about supporting her students at Hunter Hillel.  In her spare time Merav practices and teaches yoga, cooks up a storm, and spends time outdoors with her husband, Adam and her son, Doron. You’re invited to their home in New Jersey for Shabbat dinner for freshly baked challah if you can brave NJ Transit. Merav’s participation in LimmudFest is sponsored by Hunter College Hillel.

Daniel Cainer

Multi-award-winning songwriter, storyteller, performer, broadcaster from London. Currently touring his ever-evolving, Jewish-themed, one-person show around the world. Daniel has also written scores for TV and radio and his music has launched at least one car and a range of washing machines.

Yaffa Epstein

Rabba Yaffa Epstein is the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program and oversees the development and curriculum for these dynamic lay leaders throughout the United States and North America who take part in the program. Yaffa has also served as a faculty member for the Wexner Heritage Program since 2015. Yaffa most recently served as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies where she implemented a comprehensive educational vision for advancement of the institute in North America. A member of the faculty for Pardes since 2004, Yaffa has also taught at Yeshivat Maharat, the Drisha Institute, the Dorot Fellowship, and Young Judaea on Talmud, Jewish liturgy, Jewish law, constructive disagreement, leadership and Women in Judaism. This will be her 8th Limmud NY!

Jonah Geffen

Jonah Geffen is the Senior Jewish Educator and Campus Rabbi at Hunter Hillel. Jonah has taught, led, and organized across the Jewish communal landscape at such places as J Street, The New Shul, Yeshivat Hadar, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Kivunim, and The Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution. Jonah attended Young Judaea Year Course, received his BA in History and Jewish Studies from Indiana University, an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and an MA in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was a Kollel Fellow at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, and a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. His writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the Huffington Post, among others. Jonah lives in Harlem with his beloved, Julia Mannes, and their two roller derby playing daughters. As a family they enjoy frequenting the parks and playgrounds of the world, watching cooking shows, and singing the Indiana University fight song. Jonah’s participation in LimmudFest is sponsored by Hunter College Hillel.

Peter Geffen

Peter Geffen is also founder of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC, former Director of the Israel Experience Program for the CRB Foundation and one of the most respected Israel education specialists in the world. He has been a social activist since serving as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965-66 and has been deeply involved in Arab-Jewish co-existence work since the early 1960’s. Peter served as Executive Director of The Center for Jewish History from 2003-05.  He has designed and conducted international travel programs for teenagers and adults since 1969 including the Kivunim summer teachers’ programs that have served over 1500 participants between 1999 and 2015. Peter was the recipient of the Covenant Award in 2012, the highest recognition given to a Jewish educator. He lives in New York City with his wife Susie Kessler and has 6 children, Rabbi Jonah Geffen and Julia Mannes; Rabbi Daniel and LuAnne Geffen, and Nessa Geffen and Micah Bookman, and 4 grandchildren, future Kivunim students: Bina, Shula, Eva and Gabriel.

David Ingber

David Ingber is the founder and spiritual director of Romemu in New York City, a mystical, progressive, openhearted, and integral Jewish community that promotes human flourishing in body, heart, mind, and spirit. Rabbi Ingber studied more than 20 years in Orthodox seminaries, and studied yoga and Tai Chi before meeting his beloved teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, of blessed memory. Rabbi Ingber is direct disciple and lineage holder in Reb Zalman’s lineage. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ariel, and is a proud father to his three greatest teachers, his sons Baer, Tal, and Or.

Susie Kessler

Former coordinator of the National Center for Jewish Healing, Susie brings knowledge of spiritual support and Jewish wisdom to all of her program areas. Her passion is helping people grow and heal from the inside out by uncovering and exploring their spiritual journey as well as by teaching techniques and practices that can help them find their deepest connection to themselves, to each other, and to the Divine. It is her belief that this kind of growth is the fertile ground that allows for true social change. Susie has been a member of the Upper West Side Jewish community for over 40 years and a member of the JCC staff since the building opened.

Orly Michaeli

By day, Orly helps bring thousands of teachers’ dreams to life by leveraging partnerships with cutting-edge companies and foundations. At DonorsChoose.org, she works with clients to meet their business goals while getting the next generation of students new libraries, microscopes, violins, and more to nurture their passions and education. By night, she runs Wominyan, a movement she founded to help Jewish women explore and author their identities. Seven Wominyan retreats, the cornerstone of the collective, have brought together more than 140 participants representing a wide range of backgrounds. Beyond weekend gatherings, she has organized events for growing communities in NYC, DC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Michal Nachmany

Michal Nachmany is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has taught liturgical, biblical and modern Hebrew for more than 20 years at synagogues and other institutions throughout New York City. In addition, Michal is a self-taught collage and mixed-media artist and educator. Her technique combines mixed media, including collage, printmaking, and sculptural installation, to sew together swatches of life through images, colors, and words.

Daniel Nevins

Daniel Nevins is the Pearl Resnick Dean of the JTS Rabbinical School. He also serves as dean of the Division of Religious Leadership, which includes the H.L. Miller Cantorial School, the Center for Pastoral Education, and the Block-Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts. Rabbi Nevins was ordained and received his MA from JTS; he earned his BA from Harvard College, where he studied Middle Eastern History. After ordination he worked for 13 years as rabbi of Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, MI. A scholar of contemporary Jewish law, Rabbi Nevins serves on The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he has written responsa on topics of science, technology, bioethics, sexuality and disability. His writings can be found at www.rabbinevins.com. Rabbi Nevins lives in NYC with his family. His participation in LimmudFest is sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Ora Horn Prouser

Ora Horn Prouser is the CEO and Academic Dean at The Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical, cantorial and graduate school in Yonkers, New York. She received her BA and PhD from The Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as a BA from Columbia University. She has published widely on the Bible focusing on disability studies, gender issues and literary analysis. She has also worked with the Melton Center for Jewish Education, the Davidson School of Education at JTS, and various educational institutions to develop curricula and approaches to Bible pedagogy for all levels and learning styles. Her book, Esau’s Blessing: How the Bible Embraces Those with Special Needs was recognized as a 2012 National Jewish Book Council finalist and as a Gold winner in the 2016 Special Needs Book Awards.

Karen Radkowsky

Karen is the founder and CEO of Impact:NPO. The firm specializes in research, measurement and brand positioning designed to help nonprofit organizations achieve greater impact among the various constituencies they serve. Karen is a founder of Limmud NY, and currently serves on Limmud’s International Advisory Council.

David Rosenn

Rabbi David Rosenn is the Executive Director of the Hebrew Free Loan Society. He oversees HFLS’s wide range of interest-free loan programs and spearheads the development of new programs to benefit New Yorkers in need.
Before joining HFLS, Rabbi Rosenn served as Executive Vice President of The New Israel Fund, the largest funder of social change nonprofits in Israel. Previously, he was Founder and Executive Director of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, a year-long full-time anti-poverty program with sites in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Rosenn graduated from Harvard University and holds a Master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), where he was ordained in 1997.