Cohort 2


Ahuvia_A-picRabbi Aura Bartfeld Ahuvia is rabbi to Congregation Shir Tikvah, a Reform and Renewal-affiliated shul located in Troy, Michigan, north of Detroit. Ordained as both rabbi and Mashpiah (spiritual guide), she brings a passion for community-building and experimentation, alongside an abiding respect for the deep wisdom embedded within Judaism. She is an accomplished guitarist and singer, as well as an innovative teacher, preferring active learning methods to involve students.

Originally from Milwaukee, Rabbi Ahuvia lived in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Woodstock, NY—her first pulpit—before moving back to Michigan. As a rabbinic student, she led the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, which she and her husband helped co-found. Before that, she served on the board of Ann Arbor’s Hebrew Day School, and spent four years as the program director for Beth Israel Congregation. Rabbi Aura holds two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, one in journalism and the second in Judaic Studies. Her master’s thesis focused on the childhood antecedents of synagogue affiliation.

Reb Aura sits on the board of ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and created “Clergy Camp,” a week-long, continuing professional development intensive for Renewal rabbis, cantors and rabbinic pastors, which debuted July, 2016. She is a member of OHALAH Rabbinical Association. Rabbi Aura enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, cooking and quilting. She and husband Aaron, a marketing professor who studies materialism and happiness, just celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have two grown sons, Isaac and Jonah.

Rabbi Aura Ahuvia founded The Psychedelic Rabbi in 2023, after her own explorations showed her the powerful healing capacities of plant-based medicines. Her practice helps people transform their lives through spiritual growth, personal development and healing.

Ordained at ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal as both rabbi and spiritual director, Rabbi Aura served five years as President of the ALEPH Board. As a student, she co-founded the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Havurah, and has since worked in pulpits in Ann Arbor, MI, Woodstock, NY, Troy, MI and San Francisco. A gifted guitarist and singer, Rabbi Aura also works freelance, leading weddings, concerts and speaking events. You can find her at


Alpert_A-picRabbi Alana Alpert serves as the rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah as well as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice (DJJ). Congregation T’chiyah is a small, intergenerational Reconstructionist congregation. DJJ organizes the Jewish community of metro Detroit to participate in movements for racial, social, and economic justice. Alana is a graduate of AVODAH: the Jewish Service Corps and ACTIVATE! The Community Organizing Fellowship of Social Justice Leadership. She has worked as an organizer at NY Jobs with Justice and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice.

During her time in rabbinical school, Alana assumed leadership around several issues including feminism, Israel/Palestine, GLBTIQ rights, and prison reform. She co-founded the Liberatory Minyan, a place for rabbinical students to explore the nexus between prayer and activism. The burnout epidemic, which has led to increasing demand from social change-workers for spiritual counseling, inspired her capstone project “Like a Burning Bush: Jewish Practice for Activists.”

While in rabbinical school Alana worked at Harvard Hillel, Temple Shir Tikva, the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education where she served Holocaust survivors. Alana was ordained at Hebrew College in Boston in 2014.


Basik_G-picRabbi Geoff Basik is the founding rabbi of Kol HaLev in Baltimore, a synagogue community that balances intellectual and spiritual curiosity with mindful practice. The community consensus is around engaging with Jewish resources in the service of leading lives of meaning, relationship and ethical action. Geoff worked for ten years at the Center for Jewish Education where he also led teen trips to Poland and Israel. He graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007. While Kol HaLev is affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement, Geoff is a member of both the RRA and Ohalah, the rabbinical association of the Jewish Renewal movement. Geoff has worked with the Alternatives to Violence Program in the Maryland Department of Corrections system and participated in The Mankind Project which trains men to be compassionate role models in our communities. With his wife of over 36 years, Geoff has enjoyed a lot of travel, two daughters, lots of dogs, yoga, a meditation community and, lately, a lot of gardening.


Rabbi David Baum is the first full-time rabbi/spiritual leader of Congregation Shaarei Kodesh in West Boca Raton. He was ordained by JTS in 2009 where he also received an MA in Jewish education. While in rabbinical school, David gained valuable and diverse experiences ranging from congregational work in the Northeast and South, to Hillel and organizational work, to social justice and community organizing. David is president of the Southeast Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, and a member of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Justice Commission. He is also the vice president of the Palm Beach Board of Rabbis, serves on the Levis JCC Board of Directors, and is an active member of the Boca Raton Interfaith Clergy Association. David has written chapters in two books and writes a blog for the Times Of Israel. David met his wife Alissa, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology who specializes in eating disorder treatment, at Camp Ramah Darom where he served on the staff in various capacities for nine summers. They have two children, Avraham (Avi) and Harrison.


Dresner_H-picRabbi Hannah Dresner is the rabbi of Jewish Renewal congregation Or Shalom in Vancouver, BC. Ordained as both rabbi and mashpiah ruchanit by ALEPH, Hannah served Reform congregation B’nei Torah in Brentwood CA as visiting rabbi and has facilitated large-scale High Holiday services at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, where she also co-led a monthly chant and meditation group. Hannah comes to the rabbinate having piloted interdisciplinary curricula across the arts at Northwestern University. She was also the Curator of Education for the Spertus Museum of Judaica in Chicago. Hannah has offered Elul retreats for Jewish Renewal congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, combining journaling, movement, niggun, meditation and Chassidic text study into the practice of teshuvah. A painter, cook and avid singer, Hannah thinks of her rabbinate as an aspect of her artistic expression. She blogs for Rabbis Without Borders and is also a contributor to the Sh’ma and Maqom online journals. Married to child psychiatrist Ross Andelman, she is mother and stepmother of three young adult daughters.


Finegold_R-picMaharat Rachel (“Ra-khel”) Kohl Finegold has served as the rabbinic leader of Moriah Congregation in the north suburbs of Chicago since the fall of 2023. She strives to offer an approach to Judaism that is intellectually rigorous while also joyful and personally fulfilling. She brings Torah that is deeply rooted in traditional texts and also embraces the modern world. 

Rabba Finegold previously served as the Associate Rabba at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal for ten years, as the first Orthodox woman to serve as synagogue clergy in Canada. Prior to that, she served as a member of the clergy at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago for six years. In both congregations, Rabba Finegold was the driving force behind many new initiatives to engage young families in synagogue life, and spearheaded new offerings for young professionals in their 20s and 30s.  Rabba Finegold holds a BA in religion from Boston University, completed the Scholars Circle at the Drisha Institute in New York, and was ordained as part of the inaugural class of Yeshivat Maharat. Rabba Finegold served as the president of the Montreal Board of Rabbis and a vice president of the International Rabbinic Fellowship. Her first educational love is Jewish camp; she has served on the rabbinic staff of Camp Yavneh, and has been a participant and staff for M² – the Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. She participated in the second cohort of the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) Fellowship. 

A New York native, Rabba Finegold lives in Deerfield, IL with her husband, Rabbi Avi Finegold, and their three daughters.


Rabbi and Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) Sarah Bracha Gershuny is a writer, ritualist, musician, healer and teacher. Ordained twice – once as a Rabbi from Boston’s transdenominational Hebrew College Rabbinical School; once as a Kohenet from the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a contemporary wisdom school devoted to female expressions of Jewish leadership – she also holds a BA in History from Cambridge University, a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College, and continues to be passionately committed to the ongoing development and the unfoldment of her unique powers and intellect. Currently she is studying for her third ordination, as a SOPHIA: Shaman-Oracle-Priestess-Healer-Intuitive-Alchemist. From 2014-2020 Sarah Bracha served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Nevei Kodesh, a flagship Renewal synagogue in Boulder Colorado, where she still resides. She currently writes and teaches for, creates space for rituals spanning ecstatic dance, shamanic journey and active grieving, and is on a mission to transform human consciousness through direct spiritual transmission and fierce joy. 


Daniel HorwitzRabbi Dan Horwitz is committed to fostering a joyful Judaism that is inclusive, inspiring and relevant. A research-informed practitioner, in addition to rabbinic ordination, he holds a BA, three MAs and a JD. Now serving as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, he previously served as a rabbi of Adat Shalom Synagogue in Metro Detroit and as the CEO of the Alper JCC in Miami. Dan was the founding director and rabbi of The Well, which was repeatedly recognized as one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in North America. He also was the organizational rabbi for Moishe House, the global leader in engaging young Jewish adults in their 20s. Designated by the Jewish daily Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis, Dan is the author of the book Just Jewish: How to Engage Millennials and Build a Vibrant Jewish Future. He is a lover of hummus, playing basketball, and Jewish music jam sessions. He makes his home in Nashville with his spouse Miriam and their three rambunctious children.


Jacobs-Velde_D-picSince 2017, Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde has served as co-Rabbi of Oseh Shalom, in Laurel, MD, along with her husband, Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde, where they bring “out of the box” programming and structures into the 50+ year old Reconsructionist community. From an annual camping trip to a 6th grade “Rites of Passage” in the outdoors, to meditation, Hebrew chanting, “Grounding in Nature” Shabbat services, and the monthly “Making Prayer Real” class, she and Josh use their experiences as youth being alienated from traditional Judaism to create opportunities for connection, learning, healing and a sense of ownership and power that speak to the body, heart, mind and soul. 

Prior to Oseh Shalom, Rabbi Daria and her husband worked together to build Jewish community since 2010, including creating Zmanim, an innovative, nature-based Jewish community in northern CA. In addition, she has lived in northern Japan for three years, became friends with a Bedouin family during one of her 3 years living in Israel, traveled abroad and lived in 8 different parts of the United States. The question that followed her through these journeys over the decades was, “why be Jewish?” That journey ultimately led her into a deep connection with Judaism, studies and work as a rabbi, and a realization that Judaism could be a powerful pathway for healing brokenness in the world. 

Rabbi Daria was ordained from RRC in ’09, and is also a member of the Renewal rabbinical association, Ohalah. She received her Ed.M. from Harvard University in 2000, where she served as President of the Student Government. She is currently completing her certification in transformational women-centered coaching and facilitation and will soon begin her studies as a Vita Coach, which will support her work as a healer of brokenness in this world at an even deeper level.


Kaiman_A-picRabbi Ari Kaiman is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Atlanta, GA. Upon ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Ari served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Amoona in St. Louis for five years. During his tenure there Ari was instrumental in founding Makor, a young adult group.  He has also worked closely with the Miller Introduction to Judaism program through which he brought dozens of seekers to their home in Judaism. Ari loves to sing and pray with his community.  He loves a good conversation after a delicious Shabbat meal.  He loves learning with children, teens, and adults.  Ari and his wife, Emily, are graduates of the University of Florida and are the proud parents of Eliana, Amalia, Maayan, and Shai.


Kaiman_D-picRabbi Daniel S. Kaiman is a rabbi at Congregation B’nai Emunah, a progressive center for Jewish renewal in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With a strong focus on social activism and cultural programming, he is intimately involved in projects ranging from Hispanic and Burmese immigrant support services to an award winning pro-social bakery. A 2013 graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Dan sees the project of re-inventing small town Jewish life as a bellwether for a changing American Jewish landscape. He has partnered with the American Jewish World Service, Bend the Arc and Encounter Programs as an educator and facilitator. Dan has worked in synagogues and educational institutions from California to New Jersey, Georgia to Wisconsin, and many places in between.


Knopf_M-picRabbi Michael Knopf is the rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Virginia, where he has partnered with a dynamic and innovative community to inspire a renaissance, fusing heritage with contemporary relevance and imagination. Before his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011, Michael helped coordinate the nation’s largest preparatory program for conversion to Judaism, worked as a spiritual counselor at Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish addiction treatment facility, and served several congregations and educational institutions. Prior to assuming the pulpit at Temple Beth-El, Michael served as assistant rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA.

He was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis, publishes widely, releases two weekly podcasts, and is a regular contributor to Haaretz, Huffington Post, Jewish Values Online, and other publications. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Michael relishes spending time with his wife and two young children, and enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza.


Nickerson_J-picRabbi Joel Nickerson joined the clergy of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in the summer of 2019.  Prior to WBT, Rabbi Nickerson served as the co-senior rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles.  He has also worked on college campuses, both at Stanford University before he attended rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and upon ordination, as the Senior Jewish Educator at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel.  During his tenure at Penn Hillel, Rabbi Nickerson was responsible for running the Jewish Renaissance Project (JRP), dedicated to making Jewish learning relevant for students who were peripherally involved in Jewish life on campus.  His work with JRP at Penn was featured in Rabbi Mike Uram’s book, “Next Generation Judaism: How College Students and Hillel Can Help Reinvent Jewish Organizations” and referenced in Ron Wolfson’s book, “Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community.”  Rabbi Nickerson has a fascinating background that includes an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University, research about monogamous bonding at the Emory National Primate Research Center, and work in the CDC’s Rabies Lab. 

Outside his work at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Rabbi Nickerson serves on the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles Board of Rabbis and as a member of the Windward School DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging) Steering Committee.  He loves spending time with his wife, Julia, and their three daughters, enjoying a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop, BBQing in his backyard, paddle boarding, or taking advantage of the great outdoors.  Rabbi Nickerson is a caring and experienced rabbi, an engaging and personable leader whose innovative approach to prayer, programming, and small group organizing have been powerful additions to the Temple’s offerings.


Phillips_L-picRabbi Laurie Phillips (z”l) was the creator and director of BEINEINU, an independent initiative offering personalized pathways to Jewish life and learning. Based on the havurah model, pods (groups of up to 10 households) are being established in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Harlem. Laurie began her professional life teaching the deaf in Baltimore City Public Schools. She holds a BA in education, special education, an MA in Leadership in Teaching, Curriculum and Supervision and was ordained by HUC, Los Angeles in 2003. Profoundly impacted by her participation in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute, Laurie set out on a path of intentionally cultivating her own spiritual journey. She worked for JCC Association as the associate director for the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, co-creating Lechu Lachem, a program designed to immerse camp directors in a personal exploration of their relationship with Judaism. Laurie served as the director of education for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles and for Congregation Habonim in Manhattan. She participated in the Mandel Senior Educator program and the Rabbinic Leadership Institute of the Shalom Hartman Institute. Laurie was a trained birth doula and deeply committed to empowering women to reclaim mikveh through education and crafting individual experiences and is also a teacher of mindfulness. Laurie lived in Harlem with her husband Howard, step-son Adam and their dog Daisy.



Rabbi David Segal was born and raised in Houston, TX and will graduate from University of Houston School of Law with a J.D. in 2024, after which he will clerk for a federal judge in Houston. David graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Classics and Jewish Studies. After graduation, he worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) in Washington, DC on a range of domestic political issues as well as interfaith dialogue. He was ordained as a rabbi in May 2010 by HUC-JIR in New York. During rabbinic school, David spent summers interning as a hospital chaplain in Seattle, WA and as a community organizer with the URJ’s Just Congregations in Boston, MA. After ordination, David served as the rabbi of the Aspen Jewish Congregation, alongside his wife and co-clergy Cantor Rollin Simmons, for seven years. In 2017, David and his wife and two children moved to his hometown of Houston, where he returned to the RAC to found their Texas state organizing project. He led RAC-TX for four years, until he decided that law school was the next step in his professional journey. During law school, David has interned with a federal judge and a voting rights advocacy organization, and he has studied First Amendment, religion and law, civil rights, and American political thought. David was named by the Jewish Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.l chaplain in Seattle, WA and as a community organizer with the URJ’s Just Congregations in Boston, MA. David was named by the Jewish Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and is on the board of the Aspen Homeless Shelter and the Pitkin County Senior Services Council. He writes a monthly column for the Aspen Times, blogs occasionally, and dabbles in stand-up comedy. David has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado since July 2010, along with his wife and co-clergy, Cantor Rollin Simmons, and their two children.


Rabbi Deborah Silver is an Associate Rabbi at IKAR.  Most recently she served as the Rabbi of Shir Chadash, New Orleans, having followed her ordination from the Ziegler School with six years as Assistant Rabbi at Adat Ari El, Valley Village. Since her return to LA, she worked as an adjunct professor at the Ziegler School, and co-authored two teshuvot for the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee of Jewish Law and Standards.

Rabbi Silver was born and brought up in London, England. She holds a Master’s degree in Hebrew Studies from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and a further MA in Theory and Practice of Literary Translation from the University of Essex, England. After completing her studies she worked as an attorney at Mishcon de Reya, and at BPP Law School as an assistant professor, before setting herself on a new path midlife to make manifest her growing wish to serve the Jewish people and our tradition, using music, prayer, poetry and yoga alongside traditional text and rituals to explore its riches.

Swedroe_G-picRabbi Gail Swedroe is the associate rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas. She graduated from UC-Santa Barbara with a degree in Religious Studies and received rabbinic ordination in 2012 from the Jewish Theological Seminary with a concentration in Pastoral Care. Additionally, she is part of CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders. From 2012-2014 she was the assistant director and campus rabbi at the Hillel at the University of Florida, working with lay leaders to bring their vision of Jewish life on campus to fruition.


Wall_G-picRabbi Greg Wall is the spiritual leader of Beit Chaverim Synagogue in Westport, CT. He received smicha from HaRav Don Channen of Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim in 2006, as well as from HaRav Zalman Nechemya Goldberg in 2007 and HaRav Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen in 2009. Previously he served as rabbi of the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, in NYC’s East Village. While at Sixth Street, Greg created the Center for Jewish Arts and Literacy, presenting nightly classes in Jewish literacy and thought followed by world class cutting edge performances of music, spoken word and theater, as well as visual art exhibitions and installations. Greg is a celebrated musician and recording artist whose innovative downtown blend of jazz, world music and Jewish sounds has filled the halls of top venues in NYC such as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, The Village Vanguard and Joe’s Pub, to stages of major festivals throughout North America, Europe and Israel.


Wax_S-picRabbi Seth Wax is Jewish Chaplain at Williams College. Rabbi Seth grew up in the Boston area and has been on a search that has brought him through Jewish communities and Buddhist monasteries to Harvard Divinity School and the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College before coming to Williams College in the summer of 2017. He has a special interest in exploring how to live a meaningful, engaged life that is infused with learning, contemplation, community, and deep interfaith engagement. Before coming to Williams, he was the rabbi at Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights, NY. He is also a trained spiritual director and offers one-on-one and group sessions for those looking to bring more awareness and attention to their inner spiritual lives.

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