Cohort 1



Rabbi Ethan Bair grew up in Boston where he was raised by spiritual seekers who rediscovered their Judaism through the Jewish Renewal movement. A graduate of Oberlin College and a former Fulbright scholar to Germany, Rabbi Bair was ordained at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, in 2011. He wrote his rabbinic thesis on “Re-Envisioning Reform Jewish Prayer,” with Dr. Rachel Adler. While in rabbinical school, he was a recipient of the prestigious Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship which brought together future Reform and Conservative rabbis to learn about volunteer engagement, strategic planning and synagogue management. Stemming from this experience, Rabbi Bair would describe himself as a member of a new generation of Jewish leaders for whom denominations are secondary to transformational Jewish experience. Over the last six years, Ethan has served congregations in Ogden, Utah; Vancouver, British Columbia; Sun Valley, Idaho; and San Rafael, CA. Most recently, he worked at American Jewish World Service, a global Jewish non-profit working to realize human rights in the developing world. Before that, he served as Campus Rabbi at the University of Southern California Hillel. He enjoys running, hiking, singing, and welcoming Shabbat guests into his home with his wife, Nadya. She is a doctoral candidate in Art History, currently writing her dissertation.



Rabbi Rachael Bregman was raised outside of Boston as part of a family and a Jewish community committed to lovingkindness for all, charitable works and deeds, and regularly going out of one’s way for the betterment of others. Rachael earned a B.A. in Human Development and Psychology from Boston College in 1998 and an Ed. M. in Human Development from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in 2004. She was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy in March of 2007 as a chaplain candidate. She was ordained a rabbi in 2010 from HUC-JIR in New York. Since 2013 Rachael has been the Berman Family Rabbinate Rabbi at Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, Georgia. She is the co-founder of Glynn Clergy for Equity, a multi faith, multiracial community group which supports communal efforts to create systemic equity. Rachael is an avid baker and hiker. Most importantly, since 2015 she has been a mom. 



Rabbi Aderet Drucker is an innovative spiritual leader, inspired educator, trailblazing social entrepreneur, expert relationship-based community builder, and serves as the Executive Director of the Den Collective. After receiving her rabbinic ordination along with a concentration in pastoral care from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Aderet served as senior rabbi for a congregation in Northern California. She has also served as the Campus Rabbi for Hillel at the University of Maryland, where she was part of UMD’s Interfaith Campus Chaplaincy and a co-founder of UMD’s first Interfaith Student Fellowship. Rabbi Aderet is an expert community builder, trained by JOIN for Justice. She led a successful two-year community building listening project for an 850-household congregation in New York that resulted in successful communal action. Rabbi Aderet leads trainings for organizational boards and professionals seeking to impact systemic change within their organizations and communities. Rabbi Aderet holds a certificate in Mindful Leadership in Higher Education from NYU’s Of Many Institute For Multifaith Leadership, is an AJWS Global Justice Fellow, and a fellow of RRC’s Campus Chaplaincy for a Multifaith World. She is an alumnus of the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, and was selected to be in the inaugural cohort of the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) Fellowship. Rabbi Aderet serves on JWI’s Clergy Task Force, working to end domestic abuse in the Jewish community and also serves in the inaugural cohort of JCADA’s Rabbinic Ambassador Program. An experienced backpacker, Rabbi Aderet loves traveling, spending time by the water, cooking, and enjoys spontaneous dance parties with her husband, Brett, and two incredible children.



Rabbi Leora Frankel is the Rabbi of the Larchmont Temple team after serving Community Synagogue of Rye for the past nine years where she created many innovative programs, including a High Holiday Family Worship experience, an Ethical Parenting series and their popular Shabbat on the Beach services. Rabbi Frankel received the prestigious Young Pioneer Award from the Jewish Education Project and was selected to be a Rabbis Without Borders Rabbinic Fellow.

Rabbi Frankel grew up in central New Jersey, where she was very involved in the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea and its national senior leadership camp, Tel Yehudah. Following a gap year of study and volunteering in Israel, Rabbi Frankel earned dual bachelor’s degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) as well as a master’s degree in Jewish Education at JTS. She then returned to her Young Judaea roots, working as the National Director of Youth Leadership, before enrolling in HUC-JIR, where she received rabbinic ordination in 2012.

When she is off the bima, Rabbi Frankel loves to Israeli dance, practice guitar, and jog through Manor Park. She lives in Larchmont with her husband, Andrew Sage, and their children, Miriam, Judith, and Caleb. Rabbi Frankel grew up in East Brunswick, NJ and was active in the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea, eventually becoming its National Mazkira (President). Upon her return from Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel program, she completed the Dual Degree Program at Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, majoring in psychology and Bible, as well as an MA in Jewish Education at JTS. Following her graduate studies, Rabbi Frankel worked full time for Young Judaea and its high school leadership camp, Tel Yehudah. Before her student pulpit at Community Synagogue, she served as the Rabbinic Intern for B’nai Jeshurun’s Youth and Family Education Department in New York City. Rabbi Frankel lives in Port Chester, NY with her husband, Andrew, and their daughter, Miriam.



Rabbi Jeremy Gerber was the rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford, PA. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City. His academic career at JTS began in the undergraduate Joint Program with ColumbiaUniversity, where he earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Talmud & Rabbinics at JTS and Anthropology at Columbia. He also holds an MA in Jewish Education. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Gerber was a Gladstein Fellow in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership, and served as the rabbi of Beth Shalom of Lake Norman, NC, and the rabbinic intern at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ. Rabbi Gerber is also an associate chaplain at Widener University and the past president of the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium (SWIM). Rabbi Gerber grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, where his father is the Cantor in the Great Synagogue of Stockholm. His wife, Rebecca, hails from Brooklyn, NY, and works for a non-profit organization in CenterCity, Philadelphia. Rabbi Gerber is also the proud parent of a six-month old daughter, Caroline.



Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald is Senior Rabbi of Congregation HEA in Denver, Colorado.  Salomon served as President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors Council from 2018 to 2022 and he is a member of Governor Jared Polis’ interfaith clergy council.  He is an alumnus of the first CLI cohort, as well as Rabbis Without Borders and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.  He earned a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Irvine, an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and rabbinic ordination in 2008 from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.  Salomon was raised in southern California and is the son of immigrants from Peru.  He and his wife, Melanie, have three children: Hannah, Micah, and Koby (of blessed memory).  Salomon snowboards and cycles.  He and his family are very active in the annual Courage Classic cycling event to support the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado. 30s. His previous experience includes serving as a chaplain at UCLAMedicalCenter and directing the Lishma Program at CampRamah in California. He holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Irvine, an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and an MA in Rabbinic Studies from the American Jewish University. Rabbi Gruenwald also serves as a volunteer chaplain with the Denver Police Department. Salomon’s rabbinate is driven by a belief that the Jewish tradition is an enduring source of wisdom that can help us live deeper lives, connect with others, and improve the world. Rabbi Gruenwald was raised in southern California and is the son of Jewish immigrants from Peru. He and his wife, Melanie, have three children.



Rabbi Eytan Hammerman assumed the rabbinate at Temple Gates of Prayer in the Summer of 2022.  He previously served the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, NY and Temple Beth Shalom in Mahopac NY, where he substantially grew both congregations and brought innovative programming along with his trademark energy and enthusiasm. He is committed to doing the same at the Temple Gates, especially, finding ways of making Judaism and Conservative Judaism both relevant and meaningful to our 21st Century lives while also caring for the wider world.  

Rabbi Hammerman is a graduate of JTS and, with his wife Rebecca, Rabbi Hammerman helped in the founding of a Masorti (Conservative) synagogue in Madrid, Spain – Congregacion Bet El – and continues to serve on the Board of the international Masorti Movement among numerous, other Jewish and wider-community organizations.  Together with his family, which includes daughters Ary, Rena and Lani, he loves international travel, creative cooking and the great outdoors.



Rabbi Corey Helfand joined Ohr Kodesh Congregation (OKC) in July 2021. Prior to leading OKC, Rabbi Helfand served as the senior rabbi at Peninsula Sinai Congregation (PSC) in the Bay Area. Under his rabbinic leadership OKC is a thriving, sacred community known for its member engagement. 

Rabbi Helfand received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary as well as a Master’s degree in Talmud and Jewish law and a concentration in pastoral care. He was a recipient of the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship and studied entrepreneurship rabbinics, with an emphasis on visioning and community building.

A Midwest native, Rabbi Helfand is a diehard Kansas City sports fan. He is married to Jenny Ackerman, a clinical social worker, and together they have three children: Eden Leora, Matan Judah, and Jonah Gavriel.

He enjoys all things outdoors, watching and playing sports, and living up to his name, Rabbi MacGyver. Rabbi Helfand is a master community builder, a gifted teacher, speaker, pastoral presence, and storyteller. Be prepared to learn, laugh and deepen your love with Judaism. 



Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann is the founder and rabbi at Mishkan Chicago, a dynamic spiritual community founded in 2011 whose mission is to spread inspired, down-to-earth Judaism and to reach out to people who have felt on the edges of Jewish life-young adults, LGBT Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships and non-Jewish partners, and is a welcoming space for all. Lizzi was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2010 and, while there, trained at IKAR- first on the davening team, then as a rabbinic intern, and then as the first Revson Rabbinic Fellow. Lizzi grew up on the South Side of Chicago, is a Young Judaea Year Course alum, graduated with honors from Stanford University in 2004, and was a 2012 fellow with Rabbis Without Borders.



Rabbi Heidi Hoover is the rabbi of Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek, a Reform synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. She was ordained in 2011 by the Academy for Jewish Religion (New York) and holds a MA in Jewish Studies from Gratz College. She was a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, has been profiled in the New York Times, and has guest blogged for The Lutheran magazine. She is a participant in the Sacred Stories Project, a joint venture between Clal and the National Museum of American Jewish History. Her interests include the relationship between Jews and Germany, the experience and history of conversion to Judaism (she is a Jew by choice), and assumptions made about religious identity based on appearance and other superficial characteristics. Before rabbinical school, she had a career in publishing technology as a consultant and trainer. Rabbi Hoover seeks to model a Judaism that is open, joyful and also sustaining in hard times. She works to bring anyone interested in Judaism into a living tradition, helping them become knowledgeable about it and empowering them to wrestle with it and make it their own. She feels honored to be leading a Jewish community that is warm, loving, supportive and open. She and her husband live in Brooklyn with their two wonderful daughters, and love to sing karaoke, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and go to see musical theater.



Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman has just returned home to Minnesota to serve Beth Jacob Congregation as Assistant Rabbi. She is working on the launch of Afikim, a community Hebrew immersion Jewish afterschool program for young children. Ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2010, she previously served Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA, as well as Jewish communities in Russia, Israel, and across the southern U.S. Rabbi Emma is passionate about engaging folks of all ages to live empowered Jewish lives: to build community where we truly see one another, to daven with inspiration, to listen for Torah speaking to us today, and to take responsibility for the world we inhabit. She is animated by the American folk singing and worldwide Jewish piyut chanting traditions. Rabbi Emma is married to Benj Kamm. Their toddler, Otto, moves them daily.


Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie (he/him) is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2016. Rabbi Amichai is a founding member of the Jewish Emergent Network, serves on the Leadership Council of the New York Jewish Agenda, is a member of the Global Justice Fellowship of the American Jewish World Service, the Advisory Council for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an advisor to teh Jerusalem Open House, and is a founding faculty member of the Reboot Network.

Rabbi Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, a “rock star” by the New York Times, a “Judaic Pied Piper” by the Denver Westword, a “maverick spiritual leader” by The Times of Israel and “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the Jewish Week.  In June 2017 Rabbi Amichai published the JOY Proposal, offering a new response to the reality of Intermarriage and taking on a personal position on this issue, including his resignation from the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement.

In 2022 Rabbi Amichai began publishing Below the Bible Belt, a daily digital project extended over 42 months, critically queering and re-reading all 929 chapters of the Hebrew Bible.

Amichai is Abba to Alice, Ezra and Charlotte.



Rabbi Shoshana Newman Leis, co-Rabbi at the Pleasantville Community Synagogue, has served as Director of Youth and Family Education at Romemu, a start-up synagogue in New York City. Prior to this, she served for seven years as rabbi (with her husband, Rabbi Ben Newman) at Har Shalom Center for Jewish Living in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Dartmouth College, she also studied at St. Petersburg University, the Conservative Yeshiva, and the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Shosh also serves as part-time rabbi of Hebrew Congregation of Somers. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband, Rabbi Ben Newman, their two children, Ari and Isaiah, and two dogs, Toto and Oz. She loves to sing and spend time in nature – and is always up for a nature walk!



Rabbi Dev Noily is Senior Rabbi at Kehilla Community Synagogue, a Jewish Renewal congregation with a deep commitment to justice work and joyful spiritual practice in Oakland, CA.  Dev brings kavanot to support and deepen Kehilla’s core of spiritual practice, while continuing to make its walls more porous—bringing its practice to the streets, and inviting an ever-wider circle into the community. In 2011, while serving as the director of Kehilla School, Dev initiated Kehillat Ha’Adamah, a partnership with Urban Adamah that weaves farm-based experiential learning and food justice themes into the fabric of Jewish time. Dev is a 2009 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and there annually to co-teach a mini-course on LGBTQ inclusion. While in Philadelphia, Dev began an ongoing relationship with the Jewish Dialogue Group, facilitating difficult conversations among Jews about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the Bay Area, Dev serves on the board of the Interfaith Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, on the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Chaplaincy Advisory Board, and plays trumpet with Congregation Sha’ar Zahav’s house band Gay iz Mir. Dev is parent to poet Jesse Lev, who just became a bar mitzvah, and partner to circus theater artist Sara Felder.



Rabbi Michael Ragozin began his tenure at Congregation Shirat Hayam in July 2015.  He draws from the best of Jewish tradition to create open, accessible and meaningful experiences which leave you feeling welcome, connected, and enriched.  He is particularly committed to helping everyone find their own Jewish practice.

Previously, he led Congregation Sha’are Shalom in Leesburg, Virginia where membership increased by thirty-two percent and religious school enrollment by eighty percent during his seven year tenure.

Rabbi Michael learned the aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabet) at age 25 and fell in love with Jewish life while living in Jerusalem and studying at Pardes.  Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Michael was a baker (from age 9 – 14), taught Algebra through Teach for America, and worked in technology.  He is married to Sarah; their children, Liora, Noam, and Aleza, were born in 2007, 2009 and 2018.  He enjoys basketball and the outdoors.



Rabbi Elyse Seidner-Joseph, MD, received smicha in 2013 from ALEPH. Her passion for creating Jewish community that addresses adult needs and desires led to her founding Makom Kadosh: The Jewish Fellowship of Chester County (JFCC) in 2010. The JFCC meets in a cozy farmhouse on the property of a retreat center, and currently offers Friday night services and a pot-luck veggie dinner twice a month, a once-a-month Shabbat morning experience (meditation, chanting, or a hike), holiday services and celebrations, and adult learning. Interfaith engagement is an essential element in Elyse’s life. She is a member of the Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship, serves the poor at a local Catholic church weekly, and co-creates an annual women’s multi-faith seder. Elyse leads a Daughters of Abraham reading group and initiated a local multi-faith clergy reading group. She has been a guest speaker at American Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, UCC, UU, and independent churches. Elyse’s senior t’shuvah was on the kashrut status of in vitro meat. She received an MD from Columbia and practiced gastroenterology for almost twenty years. Elyse has been married to clarinetist Kenny Joseph for thirty years; they are the parents of two adult children. Other passions include reading novels, the Philadelphia Flyers, classical music, and playing uklele and Scrabble.



Rabbi Dean Shapiro has been a member of the Beth Shalom community since 2007 when he led High Holy Day services as a rabbinical student. He became our full-time rabbi in 2008, following his ordination from Hebrew Union College.

After three years with us in Auckland, he returned to the United States where he served as Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in greater Phoenix, Arizona. Rabbi Dean is delighted to have made a homecoming to the Beth Shalom community some ten years later. We too, are so pleased he’s back with us in New Zealand.

Rabbi Dean is known for his warmth and laughter. Through his sermons and teachings, he makes us think and inspire us to do good in the world. Children enjoy his stories, and the delight he takes in being part of their learning. Many of us have appreciated Rabbi Dean’s comforting, soulful presence at pinnacle moments in our lives, including our children’s births, bnei mitzvah, weddings, conversions, and funerals.

In addition to serving the Beth Shalom community, Rabbi Dean is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University. He directs The Joseph Project for the Global Future, a training ground to prepare clergy people to lead their communities through climate change and crisis.

During his rabbinate Rabbi Dean has traveled to Guatemala and lobbied the US Congress as a Global Justice Fellow with American Jewish World Service. He has studied at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program, and was part of the inaugural cohort of CLAL’s Clergy Leadership Initiative. His writings have been included in Mishkan HaSeder: A Passover Hagaddah, and the forthcoming volume Sacred Earth, both from CCAR Press. He has also served on various committees and working groups as part of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the American Reform Rabbinate.

Prior to rabbinical school, he worked for twelve years in the movie business. His best-known film was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He is a graduate of Harvard College.

Rabbi Dean grew up in the beach communities of Southern California. He is married to Haim Ainsworth, who was raised in Taranaki, and together they have a teenage son, Jacob. Rabbi Dean’s favourite place in greater Auckland is Piha, where he loves to hike and enjoy the wind-swept beaches.


Rabbi Lori Shaprio is founder of Open Temple in Venice, CA. Lori’s rabbinate is dedicated to reaching unaffiliated and intermarried families and seekers. Previously the Director of Jewish Life and Senior Consultant for Interfaith Relations and Outreach at the University of Southern California Hillel, Lori’s transdenominational rabbinate was informed by her studies at the American Jewish University, years living in Israel studying within an Orthodox Jewish framework and graduation from both the Academy for Jewish Religion/California (MA in Rabbinics) as well as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (MA in Jewish Studies). Rabbi Lori and Open Temple developed when she was part of the inaugural cohort of the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a training ground for innovation in the rabbinate, directed by Rabbi Sid Schwarz. Rabbi Lori and Open Temple were then admitted as a member of Upstart Labs’ 10th Cohort and as a member of David Cygielman’s Open Dor Project. Rabbi Lori is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction program with the Yedidya Center for Spiritual Direction and is a member of Spiritual Directors International. Rabbi Lori is a member of the current cohort of the Interfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiative and is a proud Lion of Judah. Rabbi Lori is a member of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the Sandra Caplan Beit Din. She and her husband, Dr. Joel Shapiro, live in the Venice canals with their two daughters and labradoodle.


Rabbi David Singer was named by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis, David Singer is CEO of Limmud North America, an organization animating Jewish communities by connecting Jews from diverse backgrounds with transformative learning and each other. 

He previously served as Executive Director of UC San Diego Hillel and, before that, Associate Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, where he was the Director and Founding Rabbi of Makom, a young spiritual community recognized by Slingshot 14-15 as one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in North America. 

David received rabbinic ordination at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2012 and is a graduate of Clal’s Clergy Leadership Incubator and Rabbis Without Borders. David studied history at the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. He is the author of many articles as well as “Yisrael Sheli,” a religious school textbook about Israel.

David is married to Danielle Rugoff, with whom he raises their son and a french bulldog, Jackson.



Rabbi Aaron Weininger is an assistant rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota where he seeks to connect each person’s spark to the warmth of community. Aaron is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (2007) and received ordination from JTS in 2012 where he was a Schusterman Rabbinic Fellow. As the first openly gay person to enroll in the JTS rabbinical school, Aaron believes community can be transformed when the wisdom of inherited tradition encounters the depth of lived experience. As part of his rabbinic studies, Aaron trained as a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital Center and at the Educational Alliance with isolated and homeless older adults on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. During his two years at Park Slope Jewish Center, he experimented with new approaches to B’nai Mitzvah learning, engaged 20s and 30s in Brooklyn, and created an innovative prayer leading team for Kabbalat Shabbat. In his final year at JTS, the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship brought him to the Bible Belt to serve Congregation Emanuel in Statesville, North Carolina. Deeply committed to cross-denominational learning, Aaron trained in congregation-based community organizing and studied in the Shalom Hartman Rabbinical Student Seminar in Israel. He addressed the importance of chaplaincy at the opening plenary of the 2011 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America and the same year spoke about LGBT inclusion for the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable at the White House. Aaron is an alumnus of Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship.

Is this page useful and interesting? Please consider sharing it with your social networks!