Cohort 5

(2021-2023)

Doug Alpert is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami- Kansas City’s non-affiliated, urban, progressive synagogue. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion-New York in 2012.  He also holds a Masters in Judaic Studies from the Siegal College of Jewish Studies and a JD degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Doug is on the Missouri Coordinating Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign, Co-Chaired by Rev. Drs. William Barber and Liz Theoharris.  He is also the immediate past president of Missouri Healthcare for All, an ally with Stand Up KC-the fight for low wage workers, the Faith Co-Chair for Missouri Jobs With Justice, a board member of Missouri Faith Voices and serves on the Missouri executive committee of the NAACP. He is a member of MORE2-the Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity.  Doug was a featured speaker at the Kansas City Women’s March in 2017 and the Jewish representative speaker for many years at the annual Gay Pride Interfaith Service. He is the immediate past president of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City. Doug has run ten marathons.  He loves to travel with his wife, Fay and enjoys cooking and music, particularly jazz.  He is the father of three sons, and recently became a step-Zadie.

 

Ari Averbach is the senior rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim in Thousands Oak, CA. Ari grew up in southern California and attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, spending several years working in film and television. Ari’s volunteering, especially with Jewish World Watch, a non-profit organization fighting genocide in Darfur and Congo, changed his career path. Through this work, he was a guest lecturer at synagogues, churches, schools and summer camps around Southern California. Ari was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies where he earned the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence. During rabbinical school he earned certification in chaplaincy at Children’s Hospital and served as the rabbinic intern at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. Ari previously served as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, IL. He currently serves on the board of the Harold M. Schulweis Institute and is an advisor on medical ethics at the local hospital. Ari is married to Vanessa, a high school English teacher. They and their three children spend free time going for long walks, doing crossword puzzles, and riding bikes.

 

Emily Barton has been the rabbi of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines, IA, since July 2017. She received her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where she also earned an MA in Bible, an MA of Sacred Music and was a Gladstein Fellow in Entrepreneurial Rabbinics. A former pastry chef who worked for several years on both coasts of the U.S., Emily also worked as a chaplain for a year and a half in a Seattle trauma hospital before rabbinical school. Emily holds a B.Com in International Business and a BA in English Literature from McGill University as well as a Baking and Pastry A.O.S. from The Culinary Institute of America. She has served communities in Manhattan, the Bronx, Baltimore, upstate New York, Seattle and Beersheva, Israel. Emily is a former Rabbis without Borders Student Fellow, an Encounter Davar Acher Fellow, an AIPAC Leffell Fellow, and an American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellow. She is working with her congregational leadership to build the only community mikveh in the state of Iowa and is collaborating on the new Rabbinical Assembly/Cantors Assembly Clergy Manual.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading and is proud to be a Blue Ribbon winner in needlework at the Iowa State Fair.

Josh Breindel is the rabbi of Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley in Sudbury, MA.  After graduating from Brandeis University, Josh was inspired to consider the rabbinate when his youth group students told him that it would be inconceivable for him to follow any other path.  He received Master’s degrees in Jewish Studies and in Jewish Education from Hebrew College (Boston) and was ordained in the second class of the College’s Rabbinical School. Josh was the rabbi of Temple Anshe Amunim in the Berkshires for nine years.  He was the first rabbi to serve as the president of the local interfaith clergy council and has warm memories of leading services on the lawn at Tanglewood.  Josh continues to serve as a rabbinic advisor to the Barrington Stage Company. Known as the “Sci-Fi Rabbi”, Josh lectures on Jewish speculative fiction and folktales throughout New England.  Josh offers weekly “Rabbi Reflections” on the radio-show “Chagigah” (WERS) and actively works to foster collaborations among the religious communities in Boston’s MetroWest region. When not petting his cats, Josh can be found hiking in the New England hills with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children, Elijah (10) and Eliana (8). 

 

Cari Bricklin-Small is the rabbi of Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester MA.  A graduate of the University of Virginia, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009.  She began her rabbinic career as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ and came to Winchester in 2014.  She contributed two pieces to the upcoming CCAR Clergy Manual, wrote study guides for The Torah: A Women’s Commentary and Haftarot for Special Sabbaths (Women of Reform Judaism) and The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Study Guide (URJ Press), and co-edited The Gender Gap: A Congregational Guide to Beginning the Conversation About Men’s Involvement in Synagogue Life (URJ Press).  Cari is an active member of the Winchester Interfaith Council. Cari is married to David, a clinical psychologist, and they are the proud parents of Asher Guy and Dove Rae.  Cari is avid baker, occasional knitter, and frequent crossfit-er and peloton-er. She keeps her office stocked with dark chocolate, a habit she learned from her grandfather, in the hope that someone will plop down on her sofa and find some comfort.  She also keeps a container of dog treats around since she is often accompanied by her beloved golden retriever, Otto. 

 

Jordana Chernow-Reader is the associate rabbi at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. She was ordained from Hebrew Union College where she also received an MA in Jewish Education. She has a BA with honors in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Pitzer College and a MSc in Political Science from the University of Edinburgh, where she was a Rotary International Scholar. Jordana served as the rabbi-educator at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, OH (2015-2020) where she developed curricula around teen mental health. Prior to that she was the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Beth Torah in Ventura, CA (2011-2015). Jordana was a fellow in the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute Leadership program and a Rabbi Balfour Brickner Clergy Fellow in social justice leadership at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She received training from the LGBT Center of Cleveland and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center in advocacy for sexual assault victims. Jordana has been active on issues of bio-ethics, immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, and women’s rights. She has written for RJ.org and the Cleveland Jewish News on women’s rights and the Torah. Jordana is married to Dr. Luke Reader and they have two children, Julian and Eleanor, and a kitten named Cleo. 

 

Alon Ferency is the rabbi at Heska Amuna Synagogue in Knoxville, TN since 2010. After graduating Harvard with a focus on Israeli-Palestinian economic integration, Alon biked from Seattle to Boston. He then did a stint with the Peace Corps in Cameroon as a community health organizer. Upon his return to the US, Alon worked in the music industry in Los Angeles. He earned an MA in Informal Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and rabbinical ordination from the Ziegler School.  Alon has been the rabbi-in-residence at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN and he was the religious consultant on Burt Reynolds’ The Last Movie Star. He is an editor to the Rabbinical Assembly’s editions of Pirke Avot and Esther and he is at work on a book titled, Genesis: The Work of Creation. An alumnus of the Tikvah Fellowship and Leadership Knoxville, Alon is active locally in the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Superintendent’s Task Force on Disparities in Educational Outcomes. He produces meditations for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and InsightTimer and leads mindfulness practices and table-top role play using the Hebrew Bible and Jewish folklore. Alon does yoga, reads science fiction, and plays soccer. He and his wife, Karen, are parents to Elhanan, Avishai, Adin, and Kaya.

 

Robyn Fisher is the rabbi of Beth Or in Miami, FL. Her community focuses on reaching out to those disconnected from traditional Jewish communal models, including those of the LGBTQ+, artistic, and young professional communities. She is committed to creating deep social impact through her involvement in PACT (People Acting in Community Together) and DART’s (Direct Action and Research Training Center) CARE for Creation environmental justice project. Robyn is the co-chair of the Multi-faith Coalition of Miami, empowering local clergy to act together for the social good and a fellow with JOIN for Justice. Robyn received her BS in Business Administration from American University and her JD from the University of Miami School of Law. Prior to joining Beth Or, she served for 10 years as the Hillel Director of Student Engagement and as the Jewish Chaplain at the University of Miami. While at UM, she was a Campus Fellow with the Sholom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Robyn was ordained by the Mesifta Adas Wolkowisk Rabbinical Academy and is a member of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Robyn is married to Randy Fisher and is the proud mother of three fabulous young adults, Evan, Ally and Kara.

Chase Foster is the Rabbi for Engagement and Learning at jHUB, a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Cleveland and Jewish Education Center of Cleveland whose mission is to connect interfaith couples and families and young adults to Jewish life. He started his rabbinic career as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, TX. Chase was born and raised in Cincinnati, the product of an interfaith marriage, and he found his voice and passion in various staff positions over many summers at the URJ’s Goldman Union Camp Institute (Zionsville, IN) and in local and regional youth groups. He earned a B.A. from Purdue University, and a Master of Hebrew Literature and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Chase currently serves on the boards of the Purdue University Hillel Foundation and the Young Leadership Division of the Cleveland Federation. Chase loves hiking with his wife and dog, and reenacting the TV show, Chopped, with whatever is lying around the kitchen. He enjoys leading singing on his guitar and playing sports. 

 

Andy Gordon serves as the rabbi of Bolton Street Synagogue in Baltimore, MD. Previously, he served as associate rabbi at Temple Sinai of Roslyn, NY and was the first assistant rabbi at Scarsdale Synagogue in Westchester, NY. Andy grew up in Toledo, Ohio and was inspired to join the rabbinate because of his teacher, Rabbi Edward Garsek. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Andy received his BA in History and Judaic Studies. In 2008, he received his rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.  Andy has been committed to community organizing and justice work through BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development) and has been active in the interfaith community through ICJS (Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies). Andy is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time outdoors, travelling, hiking, and rooting for his beloved Michigan Wolverines. Andy and his husband Brian are the proud parents of Caleb, age 8.

Jodie Gordon is a rabbi at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, a Reform congregation in Great Barrington, MA where she has served since her ordination from HUC-JIR in 2014. She earned her BA from Brandeis University, majoring both in Sociology and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Jodie grew up with strong connections in the Reform movement, especially through her time at URJ Eisner Camp, which instilled in her a lifelong love for Jewish learning and the Berkshires. Her path to the rabbinate was paved with invaluable experiences in a variety of Jewish communal institutions, including the Hillel at the University of Wisconsin, The JCC in Manhattan, and Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project.  Jodie is part of the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship Alumni program of HUC. She is also the co-host of the OMfG Podcast: JewiWisdom for Unprecedented Times. Jodie and her husband Josh are the proud parents of Lola and Goldie, who are consistently the greatest teachers she has ever had. 

 

Rachel Greengrass is the associate rabbi and Jewish Life Coordinator of Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, FL. Ordained from HUC-JIR in 2008, she earned an MA in Hebrew Literature and another MA in Religious Education. Rachel serves as chair of the CCAR Resolutions Committee, is a RAC Balfour-Brickner Fellow, a Clal Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and a Hartman Rabbinic Fellow. A founding member of RAC-Florida, she is currently President of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami. Rachel is a Mussar instructor and practitioner and her original prayers and rituals appear in the CCAR Rabbi’s Manual and on ritualwell.org. Rachel authored the chapter “The Planet in Peril” in Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority: Our Jewish Obligation to Social Justice (CCAR Press) and an upcoming chapter on justice in our court system in The Social Justice Torah Commentary (CCAR Press). She has been a featured panelist twice on NPR’s All Things Considered. Rachel is safezone certified, which means she is an official advocate for the LGBTQ community. She is an avid reader, guitar player, challah baker, mom and wife.

Rabbi Seth Haaz is Senior Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA. He received his B.A. in Economics from Tufts University and his M.A. in Interdepartmental Studies and his Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Seth’s special contributions at Har Zion include a Multifaith Engagement initiative, an emergency fundraising campaign, a redesign of the structure and culture of the Board of Directors, and a reimagination of the standard synagogue model for the ritual of b’nei mitzvah. Before joining Har Zion in 2018, Seth served for nine years as rabbi of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown, CT. Prior to ordination, Seth served as rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Amsterdam, NY. Seth has been a member of the Rabbinic Assembly Resolutions Committee and a regular guest on local radio stations speaking about values, holidays, and interfaith relations. He was also active with Solomon Schechter School of Greater Hartford, the Ethics Committee at Middlesex Hospital, American Jewish World Service, and Camp Ramah. Seth’s work in Clinical Pastoral Education and training as a Chaplain Candidate Program Officer in the U.S. Navy inspired his passion for a strong Jewish community that cares for those in need. His article, “K’hillot M’khabbdot: A Response to the Baby Boom Generation through a Reclamation of the Mitzvah of Kibbud Av Va’eim,” was published in Conservative Judaism.

Bracha Jaffe serves as the associate rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in Bronx, NY. Among her many tasks are facilitating tefillot, teaching Torah in a variety of settings, accompanying converts along their path, answering halakhic questions, offering a pastoral presence at times of crisis and mourning, crafting and orchestrating lifecycle events, and connecting with families and singles, young and old. Previously, Rabbanit Bracha was Community Educator and Director of Mercaz Center for Adult Education in Beth Tfiloh synagogue in Baltimore, MD, where she spearheaded a variety of new educational opportunities for Beth Tfiloh men and women. She also participated in chaplaincy programs at New York Presbyterian Hospital and at a maximum-security women’s prison. Bracha is an experienced gaba’it and organizer of women’s tefillah groups and partnership minyanim. She has taught many women and girls to leyn and is the voice of the JOFA Megillat Esther and Megillat Rut apps. Bracha is a 2017 graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, following a long career as a real-time software engineer, protocol expert, and project manager. She lived in Israel for over 35 years, beginning in high school, and considers herself to be half-American and half-Israeli. Her four children and seven grandchildren were all born, and live, in Israel. Some of her favorite pastimes are kickboxing and reading English books to her grandchildren. Bracha lives in Riverdale, NY with her husband Martin.

 

Lila Kagedan is a rabbi, clinical ethicist and educator working in academic, pastoral and clinical settings. She holds degrees and certificates from Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The University of Toronto, Harvard University, The Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Massachusetts General Hospital and is a Shalom Hartman Institute rabbinic senior fellow and faculty member. She is also a Hadassah Brandeis Institute-Gender, Culture, Religion and Law Research Associate. Lila was ordained in 2015 by Yeshivat Maharat where she became the first Orthodox woman to claim the title rabbi. She served, until recently, as the rabbi of the Walnut Street Synagogue in Chelsea, MA. She was also the founder of the Sulam School in Brookline, MA. She continues to serve as a rabbi at various locations in the Massachusetts Jewish community including the Jewish Federation (CJP) and Mayyim Hayyim community mikvah. She sits on the board of the Young Israel of Brookline where she is also on the COVID taskforce. She is the director of biomedical ethics and a professor of bioethics in the faculty of medicine and dentistry of New York Medical College. Lila will be using her CLI Fellowship to imagine and develop a new model of an, intergenerational, pluralistic, spiritual community devoted to resource sharing, tzedek (justice), chesed (compassion) and prayer that involves collaboration between existing synagogues.

 

Susan Leider has served as senior rabbi at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, California since 2012, where she also serves as the director for the Center for Jewish Spirituality.  She was the first woman to hold a senior rabbinic position at a Northern California Conservative congregation and was also the first woman to serve as associate rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. Susan serves on the board of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest network of local faith and community-based organizations, on the Clergy Council of Roots and has served on the Rabbinical Assembly Placement Commission.  Her articles have appeared in the national adult education curriculum “Walking With,” and the publications of Conservative Judaism, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles and The Jewish News of Northern California. At the local level, Susan serves on the Northern California Board of Rabbis Executive Committee and on the Marin Interfaith Council board, where she helped to found the “Love Lives in Marin” initiative. A graduate of the Clergy Leadership Program at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS), Susan is a frequent leader of IJS virtual meditations. She began her Jewish journey at Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, California, where she converted to Judaism guided by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson.  A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, Susan was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2006, and lives in Sausalito.  Together with her husband Jeff, they are parents to their three adult children: Jessie, Sarah and Talia.

Daniel Millner is the rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Israel, in Austin, TX. He graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2008 with a B.A in Jewish and Religious Studies, and then attended Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel from 2008-2010. During his studies in Israel, Rabbi Dan worked as an intern at the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. From Israel, Rabbi Dan attended Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a Modern Orthodox rabbinical school in Riverdale, NY, where he received smicha (rabbinic ordination) in 2014. Since arriving in Austin in 2014, Rabbi Dan established the Austin Community Eruv as well as the Orthodox Chevre Kaddisha of Austin. He is also on the Jewish Education Council for Shalom Austin, and a member of the Catholic-Jewish Modern Orthodox Religious Dialogue. Rabbi Dan was commissioned as a chaplain in the Air National Guard with the rank of Major in 2019, serving the 149th Fighter Wing at JBSA-Lackland, Air Force Base at San Antonio. Rabbi Dan is the first Jewish chaplain to serve in the Texas Military Forces. Rabbi Dan loves playing his mandolin, Clawhammer banjo, guitar, harmonica, spoons, and Highland Bagpipes. Rabbi Dan is married to Yael, a native of Berlin, Germany, and is the proud father of Netanel (Nati), and Eliav (Avi).

Danny Moss is the rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, CT. Prior to that position he served as the associate rabbi at Temple Israel in Westport, CT. Danny is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. He was ordained at HUC-JIR. Danny spent fifteen of his most treasured summers at URJ Camp Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) in Oconomowoc, WI where he became a songleader. He is still a songleader at heart.  Danny has been a guide for teen tours to Europe and Israel and also served as a critical care hospital chaplain. He worked at congregations in Boston, Brooklyn and Wyoming and, just before entering rabbinical school, he worked as an educator at Temple Micah in Washington, DC. From 2017-2019, Danny participated in a fellowship for emerging justice leaders through Auburn Theological Seminary. Locally, he organizes in CONECT, an interfaith collective of roughly 40 congregations effecting social change in Southern Connecticut. Danny is married to Susan, who is also a rabbi. In an incredible stroke of luck, she shares his geeky love of Star Wars. A highlight of their honeymoon was co-piloting the Millennium Falcon.

 

Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Israel: Center for Jewish Life in Eugene, Oregon, since her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2015. Prior to rabbinical training, she worked as a Jewish environmental educator with the Teva Learning Alliance and was a New Israel Fund-Shatil Social Justice Fellow. She grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY and has studied and lived in Costa Rica and Jerusalem. Ruhi Sophia graduated from Smith College in 2007.  Since moving to Eugene, Ruhi Sophia has been active in local, regional and national interfaith social justice organizing including work with T’ruah, the Poor People’s Campaign, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice and 350.org. She writes a monthly op-ed for her local newspaper, bringing a Torah lens to current events.  As a trained vocalist and student of Joey Weisenberg and the Nava Tehila community in Jerusalem, Ruhi Sophia leads and composes liturgical music for her community, and often leads chants and songs at local rallies and protests. Ruhi Sophia is married to Rabbi Jacob Siegel, a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Their household involves a lot of Torah and musical gatherings. They also can their own salsa, jams and pickles, and bake their own sourdough bread and crackers. Most of all, Ruhi Sophia enjoys learning from and adventuring with her daughters.

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