Limmud AZ Presenters Biographies:
Pinchas Allouche is a well-respected and deeply loved rabbi, a sought-after lecturer, and an author of many essays on the Jewish faith, mysticism and social-criticism. He is the head rabbi at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Scottsdale, where he resides with his wife and eight children. Besides his impressive academic pedigree, he is richly-cultural, having lived in France, where he was born, South Africa, Israel and Italy. He is fluent in English, Hebrew, French and Italian. He received his rabbinic ordination in Milan, Italy in 1999. In March of 2013, Rabbi Allouche was listed in The Forward as “One of America’s 36 Most Inspiring Rabbis – Who Are Shaping 21st Century Judaism.”
Ada Anbar is an educator with a Ph.D in early childhood education from the University at Buffalo, with more than 40 years of professional experience from Preschool to Graduate school. She is now a full-time author specializing in parenting books, most noted of these is The Drama of the Mother-Child Bond. Ada is working on a new book, When Love Meets Dementia—What Everyone Needs to Know about Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD).
Ada Anbar holds a PhD in Early Childhood Education from the University at Buffalo. After a forty-year teaching career, she is now a full-time writer. The author of several parenting books, she wrote How to Choose a Nursery School—A Parent’s Guide to Preschool Education; The Secret of Natural Readers—How Preschool Children Learn to Read Without Formal Instruction; and The Drama of the Mother-Child Bond—What Every Woman Should Know About Motherhood, Career and Children.
Moshe Apelas is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in lieu of a Jewish chaplain while on active duty at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He is certified as a Jewish lay leader by Jewish Welfare Board. He is a software and power systems engineer and a member of Beth El synagogue. He was educated at West Coast Talmudical Seminary in North Hollywood, CA and holds a BSE in engineering sciences from Arizona State University.
David Benkof has taught and published widely about Jewish history, Hebrew grammar, homosexuality, and contemporary Jewish life. He is a crossword constructor, polyglot, entrepreneurial philanthropist, theater lover, and trivia buff. He has a master’s degree in modern Jewish history from Stanford, and he taught Hebrew grammar at Darche Noam/Shapell’s yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 2015, he became President of the DAGESH Hebrew Language Project (which uses technology to improve Ivrit pedagogy).
Bettencourt, Megan Feldman
Megan Feldman Bettencourt’s award-winning journalism has appeared in publications including The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday and The Daily Beast, as well as Glamour, Details and Southwest: The Magazine. Megan has reported from multiple countries and holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. Her critically-acclaimed book, TRIUMPH OF THE HEART: FORGIVENESS IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD, explores forgiveness through science and stories, and has been featured in The Telegraph, Salon, The Daily Beast, HuffPo Women, Psychology Today and The Baltimore Sun. Megan lives in Denver with her husband and son.
Jason Bonder, of Temple Emanuel of Tempe, grew up with two major passions in life –
Judaism and sports. Those two passions combined when Jason had the opportunity to
play professional baseball in Israel. Rabbi Jason hopes to show people of all ages how ancient texts and traditions do not have to be at odds with their secular interests and passions. Rabbi Jason is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He earned his Master’s Degree from the
Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, and his Bachelor’s Degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.
Rabbi Micah Caplan is the spiritual leader at Congregation Or Tzion in Scottsdale. Rabbi Caplan joined Congregation Or Tzion on July 1, 2010. He has long-standing ties to Phoenix having grown up here where his father served as Cantor and mother as Musical Director of Har Zion Congregation. Rabbi Caplan has led large congregations in Florida and California where he introduced exciting adult learning and youth programming.His vision is creating a place of learning, sharing and celebrating Jewish living together as a Kehillah Kedosha — a holy community. He is known for his warm, personal outreach. Rabbi Caplan and his wife Michelle are the proud parents of three beautiful children: Brianah (16), Julia (13) and Avi (8). Rabbi Caplan is an avid sports fan and his favorite teams are The Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is always willing to attend a game with anyone who wishes to take him.
Andrea Cohen, MSW, is the Youth Philanthropy Director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix. Andrea directs the development, outreach, and facilitation of the Foundation’s B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program. She loves helping teens and their families connect with wonderful nonprofit organizations, so they can donate their time and their philanthropic dollars to worthy causes.
Since getting his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2000, Anthony has written widely on the Israeli military and high-tech industry. His first biography was The Patron, the story of the entrepreneur and publisher, Salman Schocken. (Metropolitan Books 2004). For Harvard University Press he wrote two volumes on the historian of the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem and he is currently finishing a third volume.
Tony’s book on the Palestinian activist Sari Nusseibeh (Once Upon a Country, FSG 2007) was voted one of the best books of 2007 by Christian Science Monitor and Amazon.
Jarred Elias grew up in Johannesburg South Africa. Jarred is a Senior Certified Human Resources Professional and Jewish community lay leader. Recognized as a strategic thinker, he has been helping organizations develop successful human capital strategies for more than a decade. Jarred holds a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University and Masters of Administration from Northern Arizona University. His experience includes consulting on organizational development and strategy for large corporations, including some of the leading fortune 500 companies. Jarred and his wife Heather live in Central Phoenix with their daughter and two sons.
Linda Feldman, Director of Family Education, has been working at the BJE for over 19 years creating programs and bringing families into our Jewish world. From Chicago and Washington, D.C., her numerous teaching opportunities helped her to become a master educator. Linda was the former Director of the Temple Solel Preschool before joining the BJE. Linda created JEWISH BABY UNIVERSITY for Expectant Parents and BABY & ME SHABBAT for young families in addition to JEWISH MARRIAGE UNIVERSITY—a marriage preparation program. She administers the hands-on holiday experiences; Let’s Make Olive Oil for Hanukkah, and Let’s Make Matzah for Passover. Linda also works with seniors at various facilities bringing Yiddishkeit into their lives and residences. Through these and other creative programs, Linda helps participants experience Judaism and become part of our Jewish community.
A former high school English teacher and composition instructor at the university level with a Masters from ASU, Marcia was a member of National Speakers Association for twenty years. She has been a corporate trainer who presented to large audiences (1995-2000) in the US and overseas and toured for the Jewish Book Council in 2013 and 2015. As an award-winning author of six novels, she presents to Brandeis and Hadassah book groups, writers (Cave Creek Library, Phoenix Writers Group, Scottsdale Society for Women Writers, 2015) and academia on epigenetics (Society of Crypto-Judaic Studies, July 2015). Her novel, THE BLIND EYE–A Sephardic Journey was chosen as ONEBOOKAZ in 2015 to be read statewide. She was also chosen as a speaker for ELI Talks, a Jewish program for Education, Literacy and Inspiration, that will be released in January 2016 on You Tube. She will be speaking in Mexico, Seattle and Canada in 2016. Marcia grew up in South Florida and raised her family in AZ.
Detroit native, now living in Las Vegas, author, educator and public speaker, Joanne Gilbert, has dedicated the last 5 years to finding, interviewing and celebrating Polish Jewish and Gentile Women–now in their 80s-90s–who actively and successfully defied the Nazis. Based on Joanne’s research and 1st-hand interviews, the true stories in WOMEN OF VALOR: Polish Resisters to the Third Reich provide irrefutable evidence dispelling negative stereotypes that the Jews went “silently like sheep to the slaughter,” and that the Gentiles were all complicitors or bystanders.
Rabbi Mitch Goldstein grew up in London England where he attended the esteemed Carmel College, before going into business as a Recruitment Consultant. While in London he started to explore Judaism and eventually decided to attend Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem by the Western Wall. While there he was inspired to go into Jewish outreach and received Rabbinical ordination. He has served a Campus Rabbi at UC Santa Barbara, The University of Toronto before coming to Arizona state for JAC (Jewish Arizonans on Campus) with his amazing wife Chana. The Goldstein’s are known for providing a “Home away from home” at the JAC House, close to campus. Creating a relaxed and comfortable place to explore Judaism, enjoy a wonderful authentic shabbat experience and a fun place to socialize with other ASU Students.
Sylvia Gotlib is a lifelong book lover with a Master’s degree in English. She taught English literature for several years. A book club member for well over 30 years, she currently participates in three different book clubs. Her involvement in Jewish Book Fair has been going strong over the past twenty years, both in Detroit and Arizona. She has co-chaired the event multiple times and been in charge of the book selection for the event. Sylvia has attended the Book Expo America publishing convention at least ten times, reads well over 100 books a year, and also reads multiple publications about books, both in print and online.
Grafstein, Sarah Leah
Reb Sarah Leah founded Ruach Hamidbar – Spirit of the Desert in 1989. She is committed to inspiring, educating and supporting people to joyfully experience and celebrate their Jewishness. Reb Sarah Leah blends her background in the arts and traditional Judaism with Jewish renewal spirituality, chassidut and kabbalah.
Her mentors include Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi from whom she received her Rabbinic ordination. Reb Sarah Leah is also an accomplished documentarian and is the producer of a growing multi-volume DVD library on the topic of Jewish Renewal. She is currently completing a feature documentary about Jewish Renewal. She co-leads Drum Shalom, a Jewish monthly and holiday drumming circle.
Marty Haberer is the Chief Development Officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix as well as for the Jewish Community Center,Valley of The Sun. He has been a Jewish Communal Professional for 29 years. His Journey has taken him and his family to Jewish communities in New York, New Jersey, Cincinnati, OH, Detroit, MI and most recently Sarasota, FL for the past 13 years. Marty has been married to Lori for 27 years and together they have a 22 year old Law student, Danielle and a 19 year old son Noah who wants to be a Paramedic/Firefighter. They also have two mischievous Dachshunds, Bailey and Marley who can always be counted on to keep life interesting at home.
Elaine Hirsch, Director of Adult Learning and The Jewish Community Library, is an award-winning Holocaust educator, having coordinated 23 annual conferences on the Holocaust for public & private school educators and Holocaust programs for students in Arizona. Elaine served as Director for the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, and is regional director for the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Elaine assists teachers with curriculum and conducts workshops on how to inculcate Jewish values and Israel into the classroom as well as operating the Library/Resource Center. As Director of Adult Learning, she fills BJE classrooms with exceptional teachers and classes on a wide range of Jewish topics. Elaine has assembled an amazing PASSAGES LECTURE SERIES for 2016. She earned a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University.
A retired labor lawyer and professor, Linda Hirshman is the author of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World; Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex; and A Woman’s Guide to Law School. She received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and taught Philosophy and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University, specializing in the study of social movements. In recent years, she has appeared on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, various NPR shows and the Colbert Report. She also has written for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Ms., Glamour, Slate, the Daily Beast, and Salon.com. She lives in New York City.
Rachel grew up in NJ, attended Rutgers University and worked as a Pharmaceutical Microbiologist in Israel prior to her move to Central Phoenix. Rachel has five adorable children and is married to Rabbi Yisroel Isaacs who is associated with Beth Joseph Congregation, Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth, Phoenix Hebrew Academy, and the Jewish Enrichment Center. Rachel currently uses her spare time to volunteer in the valley and has a passion for incorporating Torah ideas into everyday life.
Andre Ivory is the Outreach Director for the Bureau of Jewish Education and is a dynamic Jewish educator. Specializing in experiential Jewish education, Andre has served congregations and Jewish institutions in his hometown of Los Angeles, Toronto and Phoenix. Andre’s commitment to the Jewish community is driven by his love for the values: Torah, Avodah, and G’milut Chasadim. Andre serves as coordinator for ACT, a service learning project aimed at connecting young Jewish professionals with their basic Jewish values. In addition to his service with the BJE, he proudly serves as Religious School Director at Temple Beth Shalom in Sun City, AZ.
Kail, Debbie Yunker
Debbie Yunker Kail is the Executive Director of Hillel at Arizona State University, where she strengthens the Hillel experience by prioritizing pluralism, innovation, collaboration, and leadership development. Nationally, she serves on the core team for Hillel International’s Measuring Excellence Program and the Ezra Fellowship Steering Committee. Locally, she serves on the Camp Daisy and Harry Stein Advisory board and was on the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s NOWGen Task Force. She is a mentor for the Women’s Jewish Learning Center Women’s Leadership Institute and serves on the team that founded LimmudAZ. Debbie holds a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University and a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from New York University, and she was recently awarded the Pomegranate Prize from The Covenant Foundation.
Elana Kanter serves as the Director of the Women’s Jewish Learning Center and is one of the founding members of Limmud AZ. Rabbi Kanter has a B. A. in English Literature from Barnard College, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, as part of its first class of women rabbis. Rabbi Kanter also serves as co-rabbi of The New Shul of Scottsdale.In 1998, Rabbi Kanter received the Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators. Her goal in founding the Women’s Jewish Learning Center was/is to create opportunities for women to seriously engage with Jewish texts, ideas and values, to promote leadership and build community.
Kaplan, Bruce Eric
Bruce Eric Kaplan has been a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, for almost 25 years. He is also a television writer/producer who has worked on such shows as Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, and currently, Girls. He has just written a memoir entitled I Was A Child.
Richard Kasper, JD, is the President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix. With more than 20 years of experience in law, nonprofit governance, community building, and philanthropy, Rich brings valuable experience to his role as President and CEO at the Jewish Community Foundation. Professionally, he has enjoyed a successful law career, most recently as a partner with Ryan Rapp & Underwood PLC, where he provided legal counsel for many secular and Jewish nonprofit organizations, individuals, and publicly traded or closely held companies.
Gary Kenzer has been the North American Executive Director of Honest Reporting.com since 2006. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of Magen David Adom USA. Kenzer speaks all over North America in hundreds of venues including Limmud events in Houston, Miami, Baltimore, Bay Area near San Francisco, Winnipeg and last year at the first Limmud ever in Arizona.
David Krantz is a co-founder, president and chairperson of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, the parent organization of Jewcology, the Green Zionist Alliance, and, together with GreenFaith, Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. The editor of the Jewish Energy Guide, David is a National Science Foundation IGERT doctoral researcher and Wrigley fellow at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. He also serves on the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate board of directors; on the Interfaith Oceans founding team; and on the American Zionist Movement cabinet. David previously served as a leadership fellow at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and as a global-justice fellow at American Jewish World Service. David earned three master’s degrees, including one at the University of California, Berkeley, and two through a Steinberg Fellowship at New York University, where he studied Judaism and environmental policy.
Ora Kurland recently relocated to Phoenix from the New York area where she had been working as a teacher/ administrator in Jewish Education for over thirty years. She has also been an avid Israeli folk dancer since her college years. She has taught folk dancing to children and adults in a variety of settings, coordinated dance performances and has also presented teacher training workshops for the New York Board of Jewish Education and CAJE.
Aviya Kushner grew up in a Hebrew-speaking home in New York and is the author of The Grammar of God: A Journey Into the Words and Worlds of the Bible. (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) Once an International Jerusalem Post travel columnist, she now teaches in the nonfiction writing program at Columbia College Chicago. Her poems and essays have appeared in Harvard Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Wilson Quarterly, and many other publications. She is a contributing editor at A Public Space and a mentor for the National Yiddish Book Center.
Arthur Lavinsky is the spiritual leader of Beth El Congregation in Phoenix. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of Conservative (Masorti) rabbis and is a past president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix. He is also a retired Navy Chaplain having achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Rabbi Lavinsky has an extensive record of Israel advocacy and is currently on the board of Mercaz, the Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement.
A native of Israel, after completing his service in the IDF, Stav Lefler started studying in the School of Tourism in Israel and has training as a graphologist and handwriting expert. An active tour guide in Israel since 2000, his experience includes leading 82 Taglit-Birthright Israel groups and many others, most of them with the Jewish-American community. He represented Birthright at the GA of 2002 in Baltimore as the first tour guide on that stage. Stav studied Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University and Music at Rimon School.
Levi Levertov was born and raised in Phoenix, and later studied in schools in New York, Argentina and Toronto, culminating with his graduation in 2007 with a bachelors in Judaic Studies – Talmudic Law. He received his Rabbinical Ordination from the President of the Orthodox Rabbinate of Ontario. Levi has interned in Colombia, Russia, Canada and the USA.
He currently serves as a Rabbi for Chabad of Arizona and is the Director of Chabad of Downtown Phoenix and the Co-director, along with his wife Chani, of Smile on Seniors of Arizona.
John Linder grew up in Buffalo, New York and considers himself a lifelong Buffalo-booster. Though, having lived in the Valley of the Sun since 2008, he really doesn’t miss shoveling snow! Before coming to Temple Solel, Rabbi Linder served as a rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, Illinois. Rabbi Linder received a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2003. A 1980 Cum Laude graduate of Amherst College, Rabbi Linder became a rabbi at age 46 after earlier careers as a community and labor organizer and as an executive in his family’s scrap-metal recycling business in Buffalo. Rabbi Linder’s bride of 30 years is Nancy Levy Linder, and their son, David Joel, is a recent graduate of ASU with a Master’s Degree in the Science of Healthcare Delivery and is working for a local healthcare consulting company.
Morrine Maltzman is a professional musician and teacher who has channeled her creativity into a new business creating fabulous works of mosaic art. She has been involved in numerous installations of her work in hospitals and commercial buildings and continue to grow in her new art form.
Amalia Mark hails from Maryland where she attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre, with a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies. Prior to moving to Tucson, she worked as a Fellow with Repair the World: Baltimore. Amalia can most often be found enthusing about multi-faceted Jewish life, good books, and great libraries. Amalia loves to engage with interfaith and pluralistic Jewish dialogue and she is deeply passionate about human rights and (in)equality. Feel free to ask her about the over 120 books she read in 2015!
Doug Passon is a documentary filmmaker, lawyer, writer, and teacher. He currently serves as President and Creative Director of D Major Films, a documentary film production company that specializes in movies that foster social change. His latest documentary, Road to Eden is the story of a Jewish Musician traveling through the Deep South to uncover the deeper meaning of Sukkot. Road to Edenhas played at film festivals and congregations across North America and Europe.
Cindy Rogers is a certified yoga instructor who is blind. She is licensed with the National Yoga Alliance and has been teaching yoga since 2009. Cindy is a firm believer that the practice of yoga can be life changing.
Tracee Rosen is rabbi at Temple Gan Elohim in Sun City West. She is also the director of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning for the greater Phoenix area, and she teaches at Pardes Jewish Day School. She is a graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Prior to becoming a rabbi, she worked in the banking industry for 13 years
Ellen Sacks is the Associate Executive Director of Jewish Free Loan. She has over 15 years of
experience working with non-profit organizations, volunteers with several community groups including
Chanen Prechool at Congregation Beth Israel and the Women’s Jewish Learning Center (WJLC), and
is a mentor for the WJLC’s Women’s Leadership Institute. She holds a master’s degree in public
administration. Ellen lives in Phoenix with her husband, Josh, and two kids, Leah and Justin, who are
students at Pardes Jewish Day School.
Judy Schaffert teaches adult education classes at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, including a series on Jewish Views of the Afterlife. A former board president of the Jewish Tuition Organization, Jess Schwartz Jewish Community High School, and Temple Solel, she was honored to be a member of the first Phoenix Wexner Heritage Program cohort. Her formal academic degrees have nothing to do with Judaica, being a bachelor’s degree in English and a J.D./Mrs. She works for pay in the public service. Judy considers her experience raising two menschlich young men as her greatest qualification for life in general and teaching in particular.
Emily Schwartz manages the Money Moments education program at MidFirst Bank. As an educator,
she is passionate about helping community members take control of their finances by being informed
of resources and best practices. She holds a PhD and master’s degree from Arizona State, as well as
a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.
Rabbi Dean Shapiro serves Temple Emanuel of Tempe. For Rabbi Shapiro, synagogue is a place for personal growth and communal action, for enriching lives through learning, prayer, culture, and care for the vulnerable. He loves teaching people of all ages, and serving as a guide on Jewish journeys. Rabbi Dean received his Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and his Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard College. He also holds a Certificate in Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR. As a rabbinical student, Shapiro joined American Jewish World Service’s service learning trip to El Salvador, a profound experience of the Jewish value of social justice.
Rabbi Sharfman (Congregation Kehillah, Scottsdale) is a 37th generation rabbi. Her scholarly interests range from Chassidic/ mystical teachings and Jewish Thought (she has edited and translated various works) to trends in modern Jewish life and implications for synagogues and communal agencies.
She lived in Israel for many years, holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taught in Israeli schools, and worked as a tour guide and folk dance instructor there.
A past President of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, she is an alumna of the STAR PEER Rabbinic Executive Leadership Program, and founder of Pardes Jewish Day School.
Tina Sheinbein is the Executive Director of Jewish Free Loan. She has over 40 years of experience
working with non-profit organizations as a both a volunteer and a professional. Tina is the President
of the International Association of Jewish Free Loans, serves on the Advisory Council of the Women’s
Jewish Learning Center (WJLC) and is a mentor for the WJLC’s Women’s Leadership Institute. She
holds a masters of counseling degree from ASU. Tina lives in Phoenix with her husband, Irwin, four
children and five grandchildren. Tina and Irwin are members of Beth Joseph Congregation.
Myra Shindler is the director of the Bureau of Jewish Education and Hebrew High Principal, and is a lifelong Jewish educator. Through her endless energy, Mrs. Shindler has implemented a variety of experiential programming complementing the Hebrew High curriculum; including 8th grade Retreats, Hebrew High Care-a-van, and Bikkur Cholim Team, to name a few. During the 2014-15 school year, Hebrew High, under Mrs. Shindler’s guidance, successfully completed an extensive external review process for accreditation for Hebrew language credit through AdvancED Accreditation. Myra is a graduate of the University of Iowa, with a Masters degree in Jewish Studies from Spertus College of Judaica.
Jackie has been a nurse for 12 years, after working in the medical world in various roles for 16 years before committing to nursing. For the past 10 years her specialty has been Oncology. Jackie bases her practice on the concept of YOUR VOICE YOUR CHOICE; educating, supporting and guiding her clients in making healthcare decisions. After the life changing experience of helping her mother navigate Stage 3 Lung Cancer, she brings a tenacious spirit of advocacy and support to those facing serious health challenges. Jackie is knowledgeable in holistic healing modalities to support natural healing as an adjunct to traditional medicine.
Jack Silver is an ordained Madrikh and Rabbi. He affiliates with the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement. Additionally, Jack holds advanced degrees in Social Work and Psychiatric Administration and for the past 10 years has been the director of the Jewish Counseling Program with Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Jack is the past CEO of the Arizona State Hospital, and served as a Social Work Officer with the U.S. Army until his retirement in 1998.
Cary Silverstein is the President & CEO of the SMA, LLc & The Negotiating Edge, a consulting firm that mentors key executives and trains their organizations in negotiating skills. Cary’s passion is researching obscure aspects of Jewish history. He has presented on “The Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Jewish Cowboys of the Old West” at last year’s LimmudAZ. and at local Jewish organizations in Wisconsin. Cary is co-author with Larry Waldman, PhD. of the upcoming book, Overcoming Negotiaphobia: While Negotiating Your Way Through Life which will be available on Amazon.com in January 2016
Marieke Slovin is a performing musician, yogi, writer, and songwriter. She leads songwriting workshops and compose original music from spoken stories. In August 2013, she released a debut solo album of documentary songs called Marieke Slovin: Life in Story and Song. Marieke spent the past decade working as an interpretive park ranger for the National Park Service in Washington, Alaska, and Massachusetts. She has composed original songs from the oral histories of whalers and fishermen, factory workers, and people from around the world. Marieke earned a B.A. at Bates College; M.A. at Western Washington University; and Ph.D. at Prescott College. She currently lives in Prescott, Arizona with her husband, three cats, and Husky puppy.
Eva Stern is Senior Director of Training at Big Tent Judaism where she trains professionals and volunteer leaders to better find, welcome, and engage thousands in Jewish life each year. Eva is passionate about empowering Jewish communities to make Jewish life more welcoming, accessible, and relevant to those who have not found meaning or connection. For teaching Jewish communal leaders the critical skills to build more dynamic and inclusive Jewish communities, she received the 2010 Young Professional Award from JPro, and was recently named among the “36 under 36” blending Jewish values to create a more thriving and secure world.
Storch, Elana Bernstein
Elana Bernstein Storch is a native of New York’s Upper East Side transplanted to the Wild West in Arizona. She views Shortcuts to Shabbat seminars as a market with a Mitzvah. Through these presentations she not only inspired, but she has the opportunity to inspire others to fulfill the Mitzvot of Shabbat.
Rabbi Shmuel Tiechtel, founding Director of Chabad at ASU, is the longest serving active Rabbi at ASU. He and his wife Chana moved from Brooklyn to Tempe over 12 years ago with the hope to build a warm and inviting Jewish Student Center in the heart of the ASU community. They have accomplished just that, and over the years have established a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place for everyone to feel accepted. They’ve provided crisis counseling, helped bring Kosher food options to the ASU campus and have served thousands and thousands of Shabbat dinners, Passover Seders and holiday meals. Rabbi Shmuel has taught hundreds of classes at ASU, and is a source of spiritual guidance, advice, and an inspiring educator and leader of Jewish life. Rabbi Shmuel is well-versed in Jewish law and Jewish philosophy and was ordained at the Rabbinical College of America, a faculty associate at ASU, and is a member of the Council of Religious Advisors at ASU. Rabbi Shmuel and Chana are proud parents of 4 children.
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson is the Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, Director of Jewish Studies, and Professor of History at Arizona State University. Born in Israel in 1950, she received a B.A. in 1973 and Ph.D in 1978. Hava has taught at Columbia University, Emory University, Iindiana University and ASU. She is the author of 2 books, 50 essays, 20 book reviews and 20 encyclopedic essays, and the editor of 16 books.
Amy’s warmth, wisdom, humor and kindness permeate her yoga classes allowing her students the opportunity to feel nurtured, engaged and challenged. Her 15 plus years of practice and deep love of yoga shines through in every class, as she strives to meet each student wherever they are, both on and off the mat. Highly influenced by Astanga, Anusara and Bikram styles of yoga Amy’s teaching style is compassionate and instructive often drawing couples and multiple generations of family members to her classes. Off the mat, she enjoys hiking, biking and indulging her senses at the local farmers market.
Eran Vaisben is the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Pardes Day School of Scottsdale. He has 15 years of experience working in the field of Jewish education as both a teacher and a school director. Eran is holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Davis. He is a big fan of modern Israeli satire that try to make sense of the Israelis’ crazy life in the wild Middle East.
Michael Wasserman serves as co-Rabbi of The New Shul with his wife, Rabbi Elana Kanter. He is a graduate of Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative. He has published numerous articles in professional and academic journals; his most recent article, “The Vendor Trap: Why Selling Spirituality Doesn’t Work” appeared in eJewishphilanthopy.
Hershl Weberman served on the board of NAOEJ (North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry) in the mid ’80s and has traveled to Ethiopia 4 times. He has spoken close to 400 times about the plight of Ethiopian Jews.
Most of Steve’s career has been devoted to helping organizations and the people working within them achieve greater levels of success. He is also co-author (with Rabbi Robin Damsky) of Find, Fulfill Flourish, a self-help guide for formulating a personal purpose and charting a path forward. In the course of writing Shakespeare’s Conspirator, Steve became an expert on Amelia Bassano Lanier, a Jewish woman who some scholars believe wrote many Shakespearean scripts. Steve speaks with book clubs and other groups on the Shakespeare authorship puzzle, the clues inside the scripts that suggest Amelia Bassano Lanier was a hidden playwright, and the correlation between her life and the chronology of Shakespeare’s scripts.
Rebecca Wolf is a lawyer and occupational therapist. She is deeply committed to the Jewish value of tikkun olam, and believes that it is every Jew’s responsibility to help make the world a better place. When Rebecca is not helping individuals with disabilities–both as a lawyer and an occupational therapist–she enjoys practicing yoga, swimming and hiking with her husband, Evan, and their young son, Ronen.
Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash. He is a modern Orthodox Rabbi, activist, educator, author, motivational speaker, social entrepreneur, the founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, the Orthodox Jewish social justice organization, and the founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute. In March 2012 and in March 2013, Newsweek called Yanklowitz one of the most influential rabbis in America.