Sarra Alpert is director of the Avodah Institute for Social Change. There and elsewhere, Sarra helps to build activist communities to support and challenge each other in transformative social justice movement-building in Jewish communal spaces and beyond.
Yonatan Arnon, MoveMeant's founder, is a dancer, mindfulness practitioner, experiential educator and rabbinical student at HUC-JIR NYC. Awarded the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism for his signature MoveMeant:Embodying Sacred Texts workshops.
Margaret Batiuchok, danceMB.com, teaches swing, ballroom, solo jazz, and more, in person and via Zoom. A Harvest Moon Ball champion, she co-founded and serves as president of the New York Swing Dance Society, and she launched the annual Midsummer Night Swing Series at Lincoln Center with Frankie Manning. She was inducted into the Living Legends of Dance in 2012 and the Swing Dance National Hall of Fame in 2005, and received the Gotham Swing Club Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Peter Beinart is editor-at-large of Jewish Currents, an MSNBC contributor, a professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York, and author of The Beinart Notebook newsletter on Substack.
Rabbanit Adena Berkowitz, Ph.D., is scholar in residence at Kol HaNeshamah and senior educator at Manhattan Jewish Experience. With a background in law, Jewish studies, and psychotherapy, she is the author of The Jewish Journey Haggadah. A practicing therapist, she lives in New York City with her husband, Rabbi Zev Brenner, and children.
Melissa Brown is a nationally certified Alexander teacher who has been teaching at the JCC for the past six years. She loves watching her wonderful JCC students connect with the work and improve their posture, move with more ease, and address pain and/or stress.
Rabbi Zev Brenner serves as president and executive producer of Talkline Communication Network, America's leading Jewish broadcast network. Its flagship show, Talkline With Zev Brenner, airs on four radio stations, including WOR 710 AM. In his 40 years of broadcasting, he has interviewed top newsmakers, prime ministers, presidents, and celebrities affecting the Jewish World. He's the founder of the Vorhand Shul's 9:15 am minyan.
Gale A. Brewer represents the 6th Council District, encompassing most of the Upper West Side. As Council member from 2002 to 2013 and as Manhattan Borough President from 2014 to 2021, she sponsored legislation that guaranteed five days of paid sick leave to most hourly workers; created the city's Open Data portal to publish all city data online; protected domestic workers from abusive practices; added caregivers to the city's anti-discrimination law; and banned criminal history questions from initial employment applications. She earned an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, did her undergraduate work at Columbia University and Bennington College, and has taught public policy at CUNY's Hunter College and Barnard College.
Hannah Brown is the movie and television critic for The Jerusalem Post. She was formerly a movie critic at the New York Post. She has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Jewish Quarterly, The Tel Aviv Review of Books, Jewish Insider, and other publications. Her novel, If I Could Tell You, is about four families raising children with autism. Her fiction has appeared in JewishFiction.net, jmww, Commentary, Story Quarterly, and in several anthologies published by Ang-Lit Press in Tel Aviv. She lives in Jerusalem with her sons, and they all used to live around the corner from the JCC.
Rabbi Naftali Citron is the rabbi of The Carlebach Shul and a teacher of Talmud, Kabbalah, and Chassidism. He frequently works with the JCC on the annual Day of Kabbalah.
Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen is the incoming dean of the Division of Religious Leadership and Pearl Resnick Dean of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her rabbinate has included roles at the New Israel Fund, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world's largest LGBTQ synagogue for Jews of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Rabbi Emily Cohen is the spiritual leader of West End Synagogue in NYC. A 2018 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, she crafts inclusive, expansive spaces for people to meet themselves, community, and the sacred. In 2021 Rabbi Emily was named one of New York Jewish Week's "36 Under 36." She lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé and the world's best cat, but tweets wherever you are @ThatRabbiCohen.
Galeet Dardashti, a descendent of a prestigious Persian legacy, continues her family's tradition of distinguished Jewish musicianship. She performs as a soloist and as a leader of an all-female Mizrachi band. Galeet is an assistant professor of Jewish Music and musician-in-residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary, specializing in Middle Eastern/Arab music in Israel. She offers residencies, lectures, and workshops on her artistic and academic work.
Tripp Dudley is an accomplished tabla player, drummer, and percussionist with performance experience in diverse musical traditions. His deep groove and virtuosity across multiple instruments have paved the way for his journeys around the world with many different artists. Tripp's strength with uncommon rhythmic cycles and polyrhythmic concepts led him to the tabla, a drum from the North Indian classical tradition. He has been a dedicated student of tabla for over 15 years, and was initiated as a formal disciple by Pandit Samir Chatterjee, continuing a teacher-student lineage that dates back almost 300 years. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and endorses Saluda cymbals.
Abby Eisenberg is an independent Jewish educator based in NYC. She and her team of educators are dedicated to helping learners around the globe connect to Jewish learning and living in ways that most resonate with them. Abby currently teaches at the Center for Conversion to Judaism, My Jewish Learning, and the Wexner Field Fellowship. She has a BA in history and an MA in Judaic studies.
Jeff Feig's passion for Jewish learning is evident from his participation on the boards of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the Shefa School, The Jewish Week, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is an investor living in Manhattan. He is actively involved in the Tikkun, which is named in memory of his brother.
Ruth Goodman is director of the Israeli Dance Institute, the annual Israel Folk Dance Festival, and is on the faculty of 92NY, where she specializes in Israeli folk dance. She is the founder and director of the Parparim Ensemble of Israeli dance and song and is an editor of Rokdim-Nirkoda magazine.
Harel Fenigstein has served as the JAFI- UJA NY Federation's Upper West Side shaliach (emissary) since 2019. Born and raised in Israel, he has worked in Jewish education, engaging Jewish communities with Israel. Harel has a degree in art history and theater from Tel Aviv University and he also worked as a content editor for infant-oriented TV channels (HOP! + BabyFirst), including working on Rechov Sumsum (the Israeli version of Sesame Street).
Tamara Fish is a co-founder of Khazbar, a resource and gathering place for Jews of Color. Previously, she served as a professor of religion at Manhattan College, assistant director of the Office of the University Chaplain at Columbia University, as a member of the Bend the Arc: New York leadership team, and president of Jewish Multiracial Network.
Aaron Friedman of The Bible Players has been kickin' tuchus and takin' names on the New York scene since 2008. He was named "Funniest Jew in NY" by Jewish Week.
Rabbi Lisa Gelber is rabbi at Congregation Habonim, a mother, marathon runner, spiritual director, breast cancer survivor, domestic violence advocate, and Peloton enthusiast. She lives, writes, runs, and spins in NYC with her Torah muse and soon-to-be bat mitzvah-aged daughter, Zahara.
Abbi Gezunt is a Glatt-Kosher drag queen from Five-Towns, NY, who is known for her outdated taste in pop music and for crashing your Shul's Kiddush. She prides herself on being a very serious educator and will serve you a heavy dose of Jewish learning with questionable humor and more glitter than you've asked for. She and her son are headed to the Queer Jewish Arts Festival this June to debut their family play - "It Gets Bitter".
Chef Maayan Glass led the kitchen of the famous Kimmel restaurant, after graduating from one of the top culinary schools in Israel. Later, he moved to Vienna to practice French cuisine with world-renowned chefs. After arriving in the United States, he started at an Israeli restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ and then moved on to his next challenge, as head chef of one of best known and loved Israeli restaurants in New York City, 12 Chairs Cafe.
Eric Goldstein was appointed UJA-Federation's CEO in 2014. Before joining UJA, Eric was a leading partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He has served on the boards of Yeshiva University's Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, Manhattan Day School, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), the Ramaz School, and Beth Din of America. In 2013, Eric received the Torch of Learning Award from American Friends of the Hebrew University. He was a participant in the Wexner Heritage Program. A native of Brooklyn, Eric lives in Manhattan with his wife, Tamar, and their four children.
Yelena Goltsman (she/her) is founder and co-president of RUSA LGTB (Russian-Speaking American LGBT Organization). Yelena recently returned from a trip to Poland, where she volunteered to assist Ukrainian refugees.
Sarit Golub is professor of psychology at CUNY's Graduate Center and Hunter College. She is a reproductive justice rights activist and co-chairs SAJ–Judaism That Stands for All's Reproductive Justice Committee.
Kobi Goodwin, MoveMeant's musical director. is a singer-songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, High Holiday cantorial soloist, and vegan craft-chocolate maker.
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann is the rabbi of SAJ–Judaism that Stands for All on the Upper West Side. In addition to being the home of the first bat mitzvah in America, SAJ is also one of the only synagogues (if only?) that organizes its members to participate in abortion clinic escorting.
Rabbi Igael Gurin-Malous is a Talmud teacher, spiritual counselor, and educator teaching about Talmud, spirituality, addiction recovery, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He is the founding rabbi and CEO of T'Shuvah Center, a spiritual Jewish recovery community in NYC. He is also the Temple Israel of Hollywood Talmud scholar in residence. Igael serves on the board and faculty at the Academy of Jewish Religion of California.
Igal Harmelin is a trauma healer, spiritual director, and meditation teacher. He is a master practitioner of NARM (NeuroAffective Relational Model), a pioneering therapy designed for attachment and developmental trauma. He spent decades exploring mystical religion and spirituality and is currently pursuing rabbinic ordination at the Aleph Ordination Program. For more information, visit igalharmelin.com.
Michael Hayes, the proud owner of a "Buddha body," has more than 20 years experience teaching. His class will benefit anyone regardless of their individual anatomy, flexibility, age, or yoga background. Michael has been a licensed massage therapist for more than 20 years in New York City.
Yizhar Hess, Ph.D., is vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization. He represented the Masorti Movement in negotiations with the Israeli government regarding egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, and he is one of the leading voices in Israel promoting Jewish pluralism. Dr. Hess is a regular contributor to the Israeli press about the issue of religion and state.
Rabbi David Hoffman is president of The Honey Foundation.
Moshe Horn is a former Manhattan district attorney. He is now a professor at Cardozo Law School and a criminal defense lawyer specializing in Title 9 work, among other areas. Moshe is a frequent lecturer to high school and college students and parents on critical issues facing today's students. Moshe has been on the Tikkun planning committee, as well as its chief cookie baker, with Jeff Feig for 20 years, and is incredibly proud of the Tikkun that the JCC has built and considers it a highlight of the year.
Lisa Hurwitz is an emerging film director. The Automat, which premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival, is her debut film. Her next project, a narrative film set in Italy, is currently in development. In 2012 and 2013 she directed the Olympia Film Festival and from 2016 to 2018 worked as a programmer for the Stroum Jewish Community Center's Arts + Ideas programs and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival.
Stefani Jackenthal owns NTS Wine Tasting, specializing in fun and informative wine tastings and dinners. She crafts restaurant wine lists and taught wine classes at 92NY. Stefani is an active travel and wine journalist. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, Wine Enthusiast, and her book Wanderlust Wining explores wineries and outdoor activities in wine regions across the USA. stefjack.com
Rabbi Marisa James (she/her) is the director of social justice programming at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST),a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a long-time member of the CBST community. While living in Jerusalem for more than five years, Marisa worked for Encounter Programs, taught introduction to Judaism classes in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, studied at a wide variety of schools (including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, secular, and non-Jewish settings), and helped create and lead the rabbinical student program for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, where she most recently worked.
Shoshana Jedwab is a singer-songwriter, hand drummer, and sacred text teacher. She is a founding faculty member of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and serves as the Jewish life coordinator at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School, where she has taught Jewish studies for over three decades.
David Kaufman is a longtime teacher of Jewish history and scholar of the American Jewish experience. Following an academic career at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and at Hofstra University on Long Island, he now lives and works on the Upper West Side as an independent scholar and New York Jewish historian.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (she/her) is the senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), NYC's LGBTQS synaogue serving Jews of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Rachel Kunstadt is a multi-passionate theater maker, New York Jewish Week 36 Under 36 honoree, and Jewish educator and programmer. By day, she is the JCC's director of adult Jewish learning, overseeing Jewish education, Makom (Meditation + Spirituality), Ulpan (conversational Hebrew), and ImmerseNYC (open mikveh), plus co-heading holiday programs, like tonight's Tikkun. She studied the works of Stephen Sondheim at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study and holds an MFA in musical theatre writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Lior Zaltzman Lior Zaltzman is the deputy managing editor of Kveller, where she writes about Jewish parenting, pop culture, and, whenever she can, Paul Rudd. You can follow her on Twitter at @liorca and Instagram @lihyphenor.
Rabbi Melanie Levav is the founding executive director of Shomer Collective, a Jewish start-up focused on improving end-of-life care and conversations inspired by Jewish wisdom. Melanie is a board-certified chaplain, licensed social worker, and proud lifelong New Yorker.
Sheila Lewis leads writing and arts programs for children and adults, including Meditate Write Now, a writing group at the JCC.
Sheldon Lewis has led Change Your Brain with Meditation workshops and teaches meditation for healthcare practices in the New York metro area.
Alan Light is a music journalist, author, and co-host of the daily music talk show Debatable on SiriusXM. The former editor-in-chief of Vibe and Spin magazines, he is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Alan's books include The Holy or the Broken and Let's Go Crazy, and he co-wrote best-selling memoirs by Gregg Allman and Peter Frampton.
Bill Lipsey is the founder and chairman of The Honey Foundation.
Evie Litwok is the executive director of Witness to Mass Incarceration, which operates to place formerly incarcerated women and LGBTQIA+ people at the forefront of the movement to end mass incarceration.
Jeremiah Lockwood is a scholar and musician working in the fields of Jewish studies, performance studies, and ethnomusicology. He is the founder of the band The Sway Machinery, and a 2022–23 Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellow. His work engages with issues arising from peering into the archive and imagining the power of “lost” forms of expression to articulate keenly felt needs in the present.
Ruth Messinger is the social justice activist in residence at The Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and global ambassador for American Jewish World Service, an organization she previously ran. Previously, she was in city elected office for 20 years.
Stuart B Meyers is a dance-theater artist and ritualist. Works include *The Shabbos Queen,* Witch Dance, Kopfkino (head cinema), Be Your Own Yenta!, and Pride Inside. He is a Brooklyn Arts Council, NEA, and Berlin Arts Council grantee; a New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks resident artist; a Center for Performance Art artist in residence; a 2018 danceWebber; and a hypnotist; and studies tarot, morphology, and dreams through a Kabbalistic lineage.
Rabbi Adam Mintz is the founder and rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox community on the Upper West Side. He is also on the Talmud faculty of Maharat, the only institution in America that gives Orthodox rabbinic ordination to women.
Ruby Namdar was born in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His latest novel The Ruined House (2013) won the Sapir Prize, Israel's most prestigious literary award. The English edition, translated by Hillel Halkin, was published in the U.S. by Harper Collins in 2017 and was named “a masterpiece of modern religious literature” by The New York Times.
Matt Nosanchuk is president and co-founder of the New York Jewish Agenda, a new organization working to amplify the voices of the pluralistic and diverse New York Jewish community. A lawyer, he served as the liaison to the American Jewish community in the Obama White House and was a member of the National Security Council staff.
Daniel Ori is an Israeli-born bassist, composer, and producer, and a prominent voice in the New York contemporary jazz and world music scene. He has performed worldwide and collaborated with notable jazz musicians such as Lionel Loueke, Dave Liebman, Tim Hagans, Oz Noy, Mark Turner and Kenwood Dennard, to name a few. Daniel is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music as well as a winner of the 2009 ASCAP Jazz Composers Award. Daniel has released two solo albums, and is currently leading and co-leading multiple projects. His music has been described as fresh, communicative, lyrical, and rhythmic, blending modern jazz with Middle Eastern roots and pan-African influences.
Rabbi Yael Rapport (she/her) was ordained by the Reform Movement’s HUC-JIR in 2015. She is currently the associate rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQS synagogue of New York City. Some of her favorite parts of her work as a rabbi are teaching students of every age, supervising rabbinical and cantorial interns as they step into their roles as Jewish leaders, and innovating ritual and experiential learning—preferably outside! Prior to her work at CBST, she served as a chaplain resident at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, focusing on inpatient and outpatient oncology and the Gender Affirmation Surgical Unit.
Rabbi Mira Rivera serves as associate rabbi and board-certified chaplain at Kehillat Romemu in New York City and rabbinic mentor at Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy.
Avery Robinson is a culinary historian, educator, and researcher. He has written over 100 pages on kugel, baked challah for 300+ on an open fire, and has taught thousands how to make delicious homemade bagels. Avery is an editor for The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization and co-founder of Rye Revival, a nonprofit promoting rye as a climate change mitigation strategy.
Manuel Rojas began his formal dance training at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, his hometown. His dance career began with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, followed by Milwaukee Ballet, and Paul Pellicorro's DanceSport (ballroom). He has toured the Caribbean, South America, South Africa, Europe, Canada, Japan, China, and the U.S.
Seth Rogovoy has been writing for The Forward for over three decades. Seth is the author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet (Scribner, 2009), an analysis of the singer/songwriter's life and work from a Jewish angle, and The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music (Algonquin Books, 2000), the all-time bestselling guide to klezmer music.
Cantor Sam Rosen (he/him), a native of Sugar Land, Texas, graduated with degrees in music (ethnomusicology) and Jewish studies from the University of Texas at Austin. After five years in Austin, he moved to New York City and earned a master’s degree in Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He became an active member of CBST, participating in the renowned CBST Chorus for three years. In May 2022, he was invested as cantor at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and will be CBST's full-time cantor beginning this August. An avid home cook, Sam loves sharing recipes and culinary creations with friends and family, near and far.
Joyce Rosenzweig (she/her) is a sought-after collaborative artist, conductor, master class presenter, lecturer, coach, arranger, and authority on Jewish art and synagogue music. Joyce is a dedicated educator of cantors and synagogue musicians, having served for more than three decades on the faculty of Hebrew Union College Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York, where she holds the title of faculty-artist in Jewish music and performance. She has been an adjunct professor and Lippitz Mentor in the Sacred Arts at the Jewish Theological Seminary since 2004. She teaches courses in Yiddish, Israeli, and Sephardic song repertoire, modal harmony, and is the conductor of the HUC Chorus. She has served as music director of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan since 1994, where she has created one of the most dynamic and emulated Shabbat and High Holiday worship experiences today.
Miriam Rubin is a ritual artist, trauma-informed healer, and educator who reimagines Earth-based Jewish ritual as a process for creating safety and intimacy with the more-than-human world. Miriam works as a somatic healer, spiritual leader, b-mitzvah guide, and ritualist at Miriam's Wellness. She previously served as the director of membership and programming at Romemu. Learn more about her work at miriamswellness.com.
Tobi Rubinstein is the author of the best-seller The House Of Faith & Fashion. The Collection of essays fusies fashion, style, and beauty with deep Judiac and Torah teachings, ranging from Megillah of Ruth to The Met Ball. Tobi Rubinstein is an ordained rabbi, rebbitzen, and has a 40-year career in fashion.
Jodi Rudoren is editor-in-chief of The Forward, the nation's leading Jewish news organization. Before joining The Forward in 2019, she spent 21 years at The New York Times, including a stint as Jerusalem bureau chief. Jodi lives in Montclair, New Jersey, has twins finishing ninth grade, and writes a weekly column called "Looking Forward."
Rabbi Joanna Samuels is chief executive officer of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Prior to joining the JCC, she was the founding executive director of Educational Alliance's Manny Cantor Center, where her work at the Manny Cantor Center was featured in The New York Times, New York Daily News, and The Forward.
Basya Schechter is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, , and music teacher. She is the lead singer and founder of the world/folk rock band Pharaoh's Daughter and has released two solo albums. Raised in the Hasidic Jewish community of Borough Park, Brooklyn, Schechter left Orthodoxy after high school but maintained a love for the traditional Jewish music of her youth. Her own music often blends concepts from Jewish music with a variety of styles and sounds from Eastern Europe, the Arab world, and Africa, among others.
Julie Potash Slavin (aka Hesta Prynn) is a blue-chip DJ, licensed clinical therapist, and host on SiriusXM radio, where she explores music as a medium for human connection.
Frederick Schjang has been a fixture at conferences and workshops in the fitness and wellness industry nationally for decades. His current projects include his own online Feldenkrais Method membership program.
Rachel Shapira is the poet behind some of the best-known and the most-performed Israeli songs, among them שיר של יום חולין; מה אברך; נחמה; פרח משוגע כמו צמח בר;
Dafna Shetreet is a researcher of German-Jewish philosophy and German literature. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the German department at NYU.
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, cellist Valeriya Sholokhova is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Bonnie Hampton and David Geber. Valeriya is a laureate of several international competitions and has participated in a number of summer music festivals, such as The Perlman Music Program, Kronberg Academy, Spoleto Festival USA, Orchestra of the Americas, and Thy Chamber Music Festival, where she was principal cellist. Valeriya is an in-demand freelancer in New York City, and in her free time enjoys travel, languages, and photography.
Sara Shulevitz Vorhand is a criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor and rebbitzen licensed in the Supreme Court of the United States New York, Florida, Michigan, and federal jurisdictions. She has handled many high-profile cases, won numerous awards as a defense attorney, has been recognized as a top attorney nationally, and has been featured in international media. She attended Bais Yaakov and starred in Legal Fashionista.
Rabbi Mia Simring received ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015. She works in the New York City correctional system (Rikers) as a Jewish chaplain.
Steven Skybell most recently starred off-Broadway as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, for which he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. His other Broadway credits include: the 2016 revival of Fiddler on the Roof (Lazar Wolf); Pal Joey; Wicked; The Full Monty; LOVE!VALOUR!COMPASSION!; Cafe Crown; and Ah, Wilderness! His additional off-Broadway credits include: Babette's Feast, Cymbeline, and Antigone in New York (Obie Award). He has taught acting at NYU, The Juilliard School, Yale University School of Drama, and American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.
Allison Talis is a yoga teacher, trauma-informed movement facilitator, theater director, and somatic soul guide. She worked as the national wellness consultant with the Joyful Heart Foundation, utilizing her Emotion in Motion method with survivors of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence.
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is the author of Jewish Literacy, the most widely sold book on Judaism of the last three decades. He is the author of Words that Hurt, Words that Heal, and of The New York Times best-seller Rebbe. He was hailed by Talk Magazine as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States.
Dubbs Weinblatt is the founder and CEO of Thank You For Coming Out, which strives to inspire authenticity and belonging by uplifting, centering, and celebrating LGBTQIA+ stories and identities. Recently, they were named one of Logo's NewNowNext 6 Inspiring LGBTQ Jewish Activists You Should Be Following.
Rabbi Yael Werber (she/her) was recently ordained by Hebrew College in Newton, MA, and will serve as Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s (CBST’s) assistant rabbi beginning in August. She is an avid reader, swimmer, and walk-in- the- woodser (with her dog and best companion, Ebbie). Before rabbinical school, she spent time doing many eclectic things, including farming (proud alumna of the Adamah program), writing a children's book (Spring For Sophie, published by Simon & Schuster), and working in restaurants. Since starting at Hebrew College five years ago, Rabbi Werber has fallen even more deeply in love with Torah, and has been grateful to spend the last few years serving as a rabbinic intern in communities in upstate New York and Newton, and as a Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Intern at CBST.
Maya Wertheimer is an Israeli television and film actress known for her portrayal of Hadas on the 2011 drama series Alifim, as well as the role of Deborah on The New Black.
MusicTalks offers uniquely personal and informal concerts, featuring a diverse range of musical styles performed by the finest artists in New York City. Breaking the barrier between audience and the stage, MusicTalks infuses interactive conversation into the concert experience, providing a bridge for both artists and audience to express and develop their full artistic selves. Audiences form new connections to the music and artists and leave the concert with an experience that truly makes Music Talk.
Elisha Wiesel is a recovering Wall Street executive. After retiring from a 25-year financial markets career at Goldman Sachs at the end of 2019, he served as one of the lead technologists in Mike Bloomberg's 2020 presidential campaign. In his most recent board position at Good Shepherd Services, Elisha raised millions of dollars for New York's neediest by convening “Midnight Madness.” where hundreds of finance professionals stayed up all night solving elaborate puzzles on the city streets. He is the only child of Holocaust survivor, author, professor, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel.
Rabbi Dave Yedid (he/him) was just ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He is proud to be part of the clergy team at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST). Dave is leaving the Upper West Side with his partner Daniel Eisenberg for Colorado, to launch Base Denver. He loves cooking, dancing, and being in the natural world.
Isaac Zablocki is the director of film programs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. He is the founder of the Other Israel FIlm Festival, ReelAbilities Film Festival, The Israel Film Center, and Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival. He is one of the leading presenters of Jewish film in the country and teaches and lectures on that subject area, as well as on film as a tool for social change and education. He studied film at Columbia University and developed independent film productions.
Asaf Zamir is an Israeli politician and diplomat. He served in the municipal government of Tel Aviv and was eventually elected to the Israeli Knesset as part of the Blue and White party. Currently he serves as the consul general of Israel in New York.