Working Group on Emergent Sacred Communities

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The Working Group on Emergent Sacred Communities is a select group of emergent Jewish leaders who are committed to the establishment of transformative spiritual communities unbound by conventional expectations about what a synagogue is "supposed" to be. It includes pioneering rabbis, artists, and leaders who are reaching out through new forms of community to engage the unaffiliated and others who are not attracted to mainstream congregations.

Rabbi Daniel Alter
The DAT Minyan, Denver, Colorado

daniel.alterRabbi Daniel Alter is the Senior Rabbi of The DAT Minyan and Head of School at the Denver Academy of Torah (DAT). From 1999 through 2006, Rabbi Alter was the spiritual leader of the East Denver Orthodox Synagogue. A native of Toronto, Canada, he received his /smicha/ from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS). He holds a Bachelors Degree from Yeshiva College and a Masters Degree in Medieval Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School. Upon completion of his /smicha/, in 1997, he served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Ahawas Achim Bnai Jacob and David in West Orange, New Jersey. At the time he was also an Adjunct Professor of Jewish Studies at Stern College. Rabbi Alter was the founding rabbi of The DAT Minyan.

Rabbi Julia Andelman
Congregation Shaare Zedek, New York, New York

julia.andelmanJulia received her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2006 and has recently transitioned from the world of independent minyanim to the world of the Conservative synagogue, hoping to bring the spirited vitality, commitment to Jewish substance, and reflective, ethical practice of many independent communities with her to Congregation Shaare Zedek in New York. She now serves as the first woman rabbi in the synagogue's 169-year history.
Prior to attending rabbinical school, Julia studied traditional Jewish texts for three years at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and received her BA in Visual Arts from Harvard. A highly regarded shelichat tzibur (prayer leader) and a composer of Jewish music, Julia produced Pri Eitz Hadar, a CD of 19 eclectic prayer melodies from different Jewish musical traditions, with Kehilat Hadar in New York, and she is now working on her second CD, a compilation of Hebrew lullabies that will serve as a companion to a forthcoming children's book.

Rabbi Uri Ayalon
Yotzer Or, Jerusalem, Israel

Born in Argentina, Uri moved to Israel in 1977 at age 7. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Schechter Institute. Uri grew up in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, and did his military service in a Nachal unit with his peers from the Masorti youth movement (NOAM). Following his military service, he worked in a number of educational and social positions in the framework of the Masorti and Reform movements in Israel. Uri's fieldwork position for his rabbinic training is with Ma'ayan Hahinuch Hademokrati, a non-profit devoted to grassroots community education in disadvantaged neighborhoods across Israel. In this framework, he has founded and runs a Jewish-Arab summer camp for disadvantaged children in Jerusalem.

In 2003, Uri founded the Yotzer Or community based in low-income housing located in Talpiot, a Jerusalem neighborhood. This innovative community model begins with the needs of the population, with the goal of creating a vibrant Jewish and Israeli community that touches on central questions important to its members in everyday life, and provides a response at the various levels of community. Creative activity is the driving force behind the community, and its varied programming includes activities geared to all ages, families, the community, and the entire neighborhood. In addition, Uri serves as an educational consultant for the Israeli Air Force and works with Conservative congregations in Spain. Uri, his wife Rivka, and their daughters Ofir and Adi live in Jerusalem, in the Talpiot neighborhood.

Rabbi Andy Bachman
Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn Jews, Brooklyn, New York

bachmanRabbi Andy Bachman founded Brooklyn Jews with his wife Rachel Altstein and their three daughters, Audrey, Lois and Minna. Andy is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was executive director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life: Hillel at NYU from 1998-2004 and before that was Rabbi Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope.

Rabbi Sharon Brous
IKAR, Los Angeles, California

Rabbi BrousRabbi Sharon Brous is the founder and rabbi of IKAR, a vibrant new Jewish Spiritual Community in Los Angeles. She was included in the Forward's annual list of the 50 most influential members of the American Jewish community in 2004 (and again in 2005), which described her as "one of the most dynamic religious leaders to be ordained in recent years." Rabbi Brous is a regular commentator on National Public Radio, and speaks and writes frequently about emerging spiritual communities, human rights and conflict resolution.

Sharon was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and received a Master's Degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, where she also received her Bachelor's Degree in History. After ordination, she served as a Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City (BJ).

For the past four years, Rabbi Brous has served on the faculty of REBOOT, a network of Jewish trend-setters, thinkers and activists, and is involved in several justice-oriented initiatives with the Progressive Jewish Alliance. She serves as adjunct faculty at Hebrew Union College and the University of Judaism, where she co-teaches a class on Social Justice and Spiritual Activism, and she serves as a fellow in the Jewish Life Network's Common Judaism Project.

Rabbi Brous is married to David Light, a comedy writer, and they have two daughters, Eva and Sami.

Jeremy Burton
Darkhei Noam, New York, New York

jeremy.burtonJeremy Burton is the Vice President of Strategic and Philanthropic Initiatives at the Jewish FundS for Justice (JFSJ), a public foundation dedicated to creating a just, fair and compassionate America. JFSJ pursues its purpose through philanthropy and capital programs, a leadership institute, and investments in base and alliance building for progressive movements. He is an editor and contributor to JSpot.org, a blog for Jewish perspectives on contemporary domestic social and economic justice issues.

Jeremy serves as co-chair of Darkhei Noam, a new sacred community on Manhattan's Upper West Side committed to building an inclusive, traditional and inspiring community rooted in davening and learning; as vice-chair of Bikkurim, a partnership of the United Jewish Communities, JESNA & the Kaminer Family Foundation to incubate new Jewish ideas; and on the board of Sh'ma, a journal of Jewish responsibility.

Before joining JFSJ, Jeremy was the Vice President of Programs for the Jewish Funders Network - an international association of grantmakers. He has served as Executive Director of Amos: The National Jewish Partnership for Social Justice, and worked for New York Mayor David Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President and Mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger, and for the New York State Assembly and Attorney General. In 1996 Jeremy was the director of Jewish outreach in New York for the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign. For many years Jeremy was a regular contributor to Beyond the Pale: the Progressive Jewish Radio Hour on WBAI New York.

Rabbi Menachem Cohen
Mitziut Jewish Community, East Rogers Park, Chicago.

menachem.cohenMenachem Cohen is the founding Rabbi of the Mitziut Jewish Community in Chicago and of Congregation B'nai haMidbar and the Black Rock JCC, the organized Jewish presence at Burning Man. For 11 years he has studied and practiced Jewish healing prayer with Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, founder of Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf, where Menachem received ordination. He has also studied Jewish Shamanic Healing with Rabbi Gershon Winkler at the Walkingstick Foundation and at Elat Chayyim. His other interests include halacha and the paradigm shift, how our text, liturgy and calendar lead us through our psycho-spiritual journeys, comic books and Jewish sub-cultures.

After graduating from Beloit College with a degree in English and a minor in Women's Studies he worked for Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly in Minneapolis and the Center on Deafness in Northbrook, IL. He then earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before pursuing the rabbinate.

Rabbi Dov Gartenberg
Panim Hadashot, Seattle, Washington

dov.gartenbergRabbi Dov Gartenberg has served as a pulpit rabbi, Jewish educator, scholar in residence, and innovator of Jewish outreach. Rabbi Dov grew up in a committed Reform Jewish household in California and was a student of comparative religions at UC Berkeley and Harvard University before training for the Rabbinate at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (Conservative). Rabbi Gartenberg served with distinction as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle for 16 years. In addition, he has spent many years in Israel studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Institute of Jewish Studies, as well as serving a leader of several Israel youth programs. He is currently a Fellow in the Center for Rabbinic Enrichment at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He is the founder and Director of Panim Hadashot, an innovative venture in Shabbat centered Jewish learning and outreach.

Rabbi Howard Goldsmith
Saviv, New York, New York

howard.goldsmithRabbi Howard Goldsmith is currently the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York where, in addition to his pulpit responsibilities, he is developing Saviv, a community for Reform and unaffiliated Jews in their 20s and 30s. While still in its infancy, hopefully Saviv will evolve into an open, welcoming, community in which young Jews can explore and express their Jewish identities and our tradition with activities based on the expressed Jewish interests of the community members. Saviv's focus is on liberal Judaism as an authentic, relevant religious and spiritual experience.

Rabbi Goldsmith was born and raised in the New York area. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and Marketing. After a few years of human resources consulting work with Sibson & Company, Howard attended Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion from which he received rabbinic ordination in May 2007. While at HUC he served a wide range of communities including: Eisner Camp, the Laramie Jewish Community Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, the Israel Religious Action Center, Syracuse University Hillel and Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. His rabbinic thesis was entitled: "Contemporary and Medieval Leadership: An Examination of Contemporary Leadership Practices and the Leadership of Rabbi Solomon ibn Adret". Through his research he discovered that the meta-issues faced by today's Reform Rabbis are surprisingly similar to those faced by Rabbi Solomon ibn Adret in Medieval Christian Spain.

Howard's hobbies include cycling, hiking, skiing, cooking, wine, arguing about politics and kayaking. He and his wife, Rabbi Jennifer Goldsmith, live in Mamaroneck, New York.

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann
Kol Tzedek, Philadelphia, PA

lauren.herrmannLauren Grabelle Herrmann was ordained in 2006 by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She graduated with highest honors with a double major in political science and women's studies from Rutgers College in 1998. After college, Lauren spent a year in the first class of the Jewish Organizing Initiative in Boston. While learning at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, Lauren applied and was accepted to rabbinical school. During her rabbinical studies, Lauren served as a Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Intern at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST) in New York City, as well as a student rabbi in congregations in New Jersey, Boston, and Indianapolis. In Fall 2004, Lauren began organizing and building a new congregation in West Philadelphia. In December 2004, the synagogue hosted its first event, a Hanukkah Party held at a local progressive church. In this first year of its founding, the synagogue has flourished and grown into a dynamic and participatory community. Kol Tzedek, a name that was selected by members of the community, is now a legal organization and an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. Lauren lives with her husband Jonathan in West Philadelphia.

Rabbi David Ingber
Kehilat Romemu, New York, New York

david.ingberRabbi David Ingber's integrative approach spans traditional and renewal Judaism, as well as the psychological, philosophical, and contemplative teachings of a spectrum of traditions.

Rabbi 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 such as Beit Midrash leTorah and Yeshivat Chovovei Torah. Major influences include Rav Moshe Weinberger, David Goshen, and Rav DovBer Pinson. David received his smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

David's thought and teachings are informed by a similarly wide range of world-views. Particular influences include Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, Carl Jung, Ken Wilber, the Baal Shem Tov and the Ishbitzer Rebbe. He is illuminated by the teachings of Jewish mysticism and Chasidut, and fascinated by the intersection of these ideas with those of other Western and Eastern philosophies.

Rabbi David has also spent many years in specific study of other sacred traditions, and brings with him over 10 years of experience in the healing arts, including Yoga, Shiatsu, Pilates, Gyrotonics, Kung Fu, and Chen school Tai Chi. In addition, he is a certified Astrologer who weaves this ancient wisdom into his work.

With his extensive experience of so many wisdom traditions, Reb David brings a unique depth and breadth of understanding to his rabbinic work. He is deeply committed to comparative religious studies, and to integrating into Judaism those practices which consistently prove effective in opening a connection with the Divine.

In particular Rabbi David promotes a renewed Jewish emphasis on meditative practices, and is working for the integration of sacred body practices into mainstream Judaism.

Rabbi Ingber declares himself deeply committed to helping birth the next great unfolding of the Jewish narrative. "What we need is a living, breathing Judaism, not an object of veneration kept locked up in a box. We need a Judaism with calluses on its hands and dirt under its fingernails."

Rabbi David recently opened Kehilat Romemu - a Renewal shul in New York City.

Rabbi David Kalb
Yavneh, New York, New York

david.kalbRabbi Kalb is the founding Rabbi of Yavneh-The Jewish Living Project, a partnership minyan on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He is the first and only partnership minyan Rabbi in the world. A partnership minyan is a prayer group in which women read Torah, Haftorah and receive aliyot. Women also lead parts of the service such as kabbalat Shabbat, psukei d'zimrah, seder hotsat hatorah and seder kenisat torah. Women also give divray torah and serve in a leadership capacity in the minyan. Minyan is made up of 10 men and 10 women and men and women are separated by a mechitzah. The traditional liturgy is used.

Rabbi David Kalb can best be described as a Rabbi without Borders. He is interested in working and learning with the entire Jewish Community. He is a scholar, teacher, and activist. Not one to just "talk the talk," he puts himself on the line, re-vitalizing Jewish life in the process. He brings a new level of awareness to Jewish identity, linking tradition with modern experience. Well-versed in ancient Jewish texts and contemporary sources, Rabbi Kalb approaches scholarship as a living part of Jewish experience. He is the Head of Academic Fellowships at the Conference On Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (Claims Conference). He is also an Associate Faculty member of CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He has been an adjunct faculty member at the Academy for Jewish Religion, Touro College and at Norwalk Community College. Rabbi Kalb has also been a guest lecturer at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. He has also directed a number of research projects and developed curricula for a variety of diverse Jewish institutions on pluralism, politics, education, social action, Israel, Zionism and end of life issues. He is currently writing a Biography of Hillel Zeitlin.

He has lectured at a number of different synagogues, federations, Jewish community centers and institutions including The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, Limmud England, Limmud New York, Lishmah New York, JOFA, Edah, 92nd Street Y, New York Kollel at Hebrew Union Colleague, the Yemei Iyun in Tanakh (Bible Conference) at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and J Learn.

He has a long history of being involved in social action. He has appeared in major national and international media as a voice against environmental pollution, poverty, prejudice, anti-Semitism and terrorism.

Rabbi Kalb received his B.A. through the Joint Program between Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he majored in History and Talmud. His rabbinic ordination is from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hamivtar. He has also studied at Hebrew University and Yeshiva University. He was a member of the first class of the Meorot Fellowship. He is a graduate of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
Mechon Hadar / Kehilat Hadar, New York, New York

elie.kaufnerElie Kaunfer is executive director of Mechon Hadar: An Institute for Prayer, Personal Growth and Jewish Study (www.mechonhadar.org). This summer, Mechon Hadar is launching a full-time yeshiva that offers men and women an opportunity for traditional text study, egalitarian prayer and social action with a special focus on personal religious growth. He is a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar (www.kehilathadar.org), an egalitarian community committed to spirited traditional prayer, study and social action. In the past five years, Hadar has attracted over 2,500 people to its Shabbat and holiday services, weekly Beit Midrash and social action programming.

Elie is completing his rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he earned an MA in liturgy. Elie is a founding board member of Limmud NY and is on the advisory board of STAR: Synagogue Transformation and Renewal. He served as a faculty member for the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and has taught widely on subjects from the development of prayer to the involvement of young people in Jewish life. He is a former corporate fraud investigator and a former analyst at Morgan Stanley. The Forward Newspaper recently named him one of 50 Top Jewish Leaders.

Margie Klein
Moishe/Kavod House, Boston, Massachusetts

margie.kleinMargie Klein is the founder and coordinator of Moishe House Boston: Kavod Jewish Social Justice House, and a student at Hebrew College Rabbinical School. An NYC native, Margie attended Yale University, where she was a Jewish and activist leader on campus. At Yale, she and friends founded Jews in the Woods, a vibrant intercollegiate community of Jews from all backgrounds that continues to thrive.

Since college, Margie founded and led Project Democracy, a national youth voting iniative that mobilized 97,000 college students to vote in the 2004 election. Margie is co-editor of the new anthology Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice, Jewish Lights, and is currently coordinating a follow up conference and campaign to voice that social justice issues are religious community priorities in the '08 election. In her spare time, Margie is an avid cook and hip hop dancer.

Rabbi Jamie Korngold
Adventure Rabbi, Boulder, Colorado

jamie.korngoldRabbi Jamie S. Korngold serves as the spiritual leader of Adventure Rabbi. Rabbi Korngold received her ordination from Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, the academic, spiritual and professional development center for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Korngold is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the international rabbinic association of Reform Judaism) Chaver (The Boulder Colorado Rabbinical Council) and the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Association.

 

 

Itamar Lapid
The Spiritual Community at Shimshit, Shimshit, Israel

itamar.lapidItamar Lapid was raised and educated on Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar. He has, since, 1994, been an active staff member of the Midrasha at Oranim., where he currently coordinates two educational projects: "Mahog" The Center for Community Holidays and Ceremonies, and "Social Kashrut" a program that applies questions of social justice to community life. In addition, he is leading the "Havaya" initiative, which includes secular organizations seeking to grapple in-depth with the question of marriage in Israel. He studied Israel Studies and Jewish Thought at the Oranim College and holds a law degree from the Haifa University. He is a member of the Israeli Bar Association though is not currently practicing law. . Itamar lives in the rural community of Shimshit with his wife Moran and their two children Omer and Ziv. For the last five years Itamar has led a secular style congregation in Shimshit that celebrates Kabbalat Shabbat and observes holidays together. He likewise facilitates a local Jewish texts study group . Itamar believes in creating a distinct "Israeli halakha" that would constitute a much needed ideological expression of Zionism in Israel of the 21st century.

Amichai Lau-Lavie
Storahtelling/RituaLAB, New York, New York

laulavieAmichai Lau Lavie is an Israeli-born mythologist, storyteller and teacher of Judaic Literature, recently hailed by Time Out NY as 'Super Star of David' and 'iconoclastic mystic,' and as 'one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world' by the NY Jewish Week. Amichai was a Synagogue 2000 fellow, a consultant to the Reboot Network, and the recipient of a Joshua Venture Fellowship award 2002-2004. He serves on the advisory committee of Bikkurim, an incubator for new Jewish ideas, and is a member of the Synagogue 3000 Leadership Network.

Amichai studied at various yeshivot, including the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Elul Center in Jerusalem. Between 1992 and 1996 he directed the summer programs at Melitz: the Jewish Zionist Centers in Jerusalem, focusing on the integration of Jewish education via the arts. His theatrical experience as a writer and performer includes the Theatre Company Jerusalem, The Acco Theatre Group in Israel and the Avodah Dance Ensemble in the U.S. Between 1997-2000 he served as Artist-in-Residence at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City. Amichai is the theatrical representative for Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross.

Rabbi David Lazar
RIKMA, Israel

david.lazarDavid Lazar immigrated to Israel from Los Angeles, California in 1975. He served in the IDF through Hesder, a type military service that enables combining military service with yeshiva studies, in David's case at 'Kerem B'Yavneh.' In 1980 David was one of the founders of Moshav Gan Or in Netzarim in the Gaza Strip.

David studied for his first and second degree both at the Hebrew University and at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinic ordination from Schechter in 1983. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows program of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. In the past, David has served as the educational coordinator for Congregation Mevakshei Derekh and the Rabbi of Congregation 'Ya'ar Ramot' in Jerusalem. During this time - since the mid 1990s - David has also served as the chaplain for the Israel AIDS Task Force.

In 2000, David, in collaboration with Israeli businessmen Eli Wurtman and Jacob Ner David, founded RIKMA - Spiritual Community Leadership Development. RIKMA is devoted to the cultivation and advancement of professional community leadership in Israel.

For much of the last decade, David has been working with the GLBT community in Israel, teaching and counseling. He has been active in the Jerusalem Open House since it's inception and has, in the last five years, been officiating at same-gender weddings on a regular basis.

Since 2003, David has served as the rabbi of Kehilat Tiferet Shalom in Ramat Aviv, during which time the community has grown from 38 to 140 member units.

He and his wife Sascha are parents to five daughters, Gavriella, Devora, Avigail, Yael and Noa.

Rabbi Shoshana Leis
Congregation Tehillah, Riverdale, New York

shoshana.leisRabbi Shoshana Leis is serving in her second year as Rabbi of Congregation Tehillah, a dynamic and inclusive Jewish community in Riverdale, New York. She graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she received the Reconstructionist Student Association's award for her work in social action as well as the Morton Schein Education Fellowship. Shoshana received a B.A. in Russian studies from Dartmouth College, and studied at St. Petersburg University in Russia, the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies in New York City.

A participant in Synagogue 3000's Working Group on Emergent Sacred Communities, Shoshana is committed to thinking outside of the box in developing synagogue models that meet the spiritual and intellectual needs of 21st century Jewish families, and inspire an ongoing commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world. As a recipient of the Legacy Heritage Innovator award, Shoshana is leading a team of innovators and educators within the Tehillah community to implement Shira Hadasha, a project in which smaller communities within the community (havurot) are being nurtured to allow for deepened Jewish engagement and more empowered lay leadership.

Shoshana's passions include singing and studying Kabbalah and Hasidut, often with her husband Rabbi Ben Newman who serves as assistant Rabbi of Congregation M'vakshe Derekh in Scarsdale.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, Chicago, Illinois

asher.lopatinRabbi Asher Lopatin is the spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, a leading modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago. He received his ordination from Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, and from Yeshiva University in New York as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, and he is an honorary alumnus of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He holds an M.Phil. in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University as well as a BA in International Relations and Islamic Studies from Boston University. His doctoral work, also at Oxford University, has been on Islamic Fundamentalist attitudes toward Jews. In that connection he has authored a chapter in Muslim Jewish Relations, titled: "The Uncircumcised Jewish Heart in Islamic and Qur'anic Thought", and has written articles for Sh'ma and other publications regarding Islamic fundamentalism.

Rabbi Lopatin won a Rhodes Scholarship in 1987 from Massachusetts. He has also been a Truman Scholar, Boston University Trustee Scholar and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. His interest in being a pulpit rabbi stemmed from a large degree from his leadership in Jewish life at Hillel at Boston University and at the Jewish Society at Oxford University. He has been honored by his Yeshiva, Yeshivas Brisk, as alumni of the year in 1996 and by the American Jewish Congress as a 1998 Young Leadership Awardee. He was also honored by his alma mater Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, founded by Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, zt"l, as the Pillar of Maimonides for the year 2000. Rabbi Lopatin is married to Rachel Tessler Lopatin (MSW from Columbia University and MA from JTS) who is a Jewish communal worker and a native of Detroit. In 2001 they were awarded the Keter Torah Award by the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago. Together they are the proud parents of Shayna Charlotte, Cara Abigail and Judah George Itzik Lopatin.

Rabbi Lopatin is a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, as well as a member of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. The Jewish Council for Urban Affairs, Edah, Religious Zionists of America and the New Israel Fund have all named Rabbi Lopatin to their Rabbinic Advisory Committees. Rabbi Lopatin is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman's Institute. He is a portion-of-the-week columnist for the Chicago Jewish News, frequently contributing articles to local and national Jewish papers.

Rabbi Ayala Miron
Kehilat Bavat Ayin, Rosh HaAyin, Israel

ayala.mironAyala Sha'ashoua-Miron was born and raised in the northern reaches of Tel Aviv (today Ramat Aviv), to parents of Iraqi origin. She holds a BA from Tel Aviv University and an MA from the UCLA film school. She lived with her family in Los Angeles, where she taught Jewish studies in a Waldorf school. Coming back to Israel, Ayala joined the education and research department of the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Museum, and created two short documentaries unfolding the story of the Iraqi Jewish Diaspora.

Ayala has recently completed her studies at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, where she was ordained in November 2005. She is the founding rabbi of kehilat Bavat Ayin in Rosh HaAyin, a promising Kehila of the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ).

Ayala, her husband Avi and their sons Nitzan, Noam and Itamar live in the village of Zur Yigal.

Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum
Kavana, Seattle, WA

rachel.nussbaumRachel Nussbaum is the Rabbi and Executive Director of Kavana, an emergent community in Seattle. Her passions include teaching rabbinic texts (particularly Midrash), serving as a pastoral counselor, leading spirited and musical prayer services, and challenging people to see Judaism as a catalyst for change in the world. Rachel was a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, and the Benjamin N. Duke Leadership Award. She is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and received degrees from Duke University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her hobbies include playing softball and the piano (both with more enthusiasm than talent!), hiking, solving Sudoku puzzles, reading, and spending time with her husband, Noam Pianko.

Rabbi Ofer Sabath-Beit Halachmi
Kehilat Tzur Hadassah, Tzur Hadassa, Israel

ofer.beithalachmiOfer Sabath-Beit Halachmi graduated cum laude in his undergraduate studies and received a teaching certificate and a M.A. in the field of Jewish Thought at Oranim at Haifa University. Beit-Halachmi was deeply influenced by a professor to bring the values of "Torah with the way of the world" into broader circles of Israeli society. Beit-Halachmi has taught Talmud to adults, Haifa University students, and at various other schools. He led a group called "Young Melody" which was designed to develop dialogue between different streams of Judaism. Beit-Halachmi is a fellow in the Rikma program and a member of Amitei Emet, which brings together Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and secular students. During his rabbinical studies, Beit-Halachmi served as the rabbinical advisor of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's Young Adult Leadership Forum, and currently serves as rabbi of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's Tzur Hadassah congregation. He has lectured and published articles in Israel and the US and edits the El Halev compendium of original prayers and blessings for lifecycle events. Beit-Halachmi's rabbinical thesis is entitled "The Ten Commandments as the Foundation for a Binding Way of Life for the Secular Jew."

Rabbi Marc Soloway
Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder, Colorado

solowayRabbi Marc Soloway has served as spiritual leader of Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder, Colorado since August 2004. Marc's rabbinic training included two years in London (Leo Baeck College), two years at The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and two years at The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (University of Judaism, Los Angeles), where he was ordained in May 2004. During his time in LA, Marc served as the rabbinic intern at Sinai Temple under Rabbi David Wolpe.

Prior to embarking on his rabbinic path, Marc was an actor on the British stage and television, as well as a massage therapist. He still occasionally performs his one-man show, The Empty Chair, which combines music, movement and soulful Jewish storytelling. In 1997 and 1998, Marc was co-chair of the UK's extraordinary Jewish education conference, Limmud, which has played a central role in Marc's Jewish journey.