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Alumni Microgrant Recipients 2013-2014
Beverly Socher-Lerner (Summer Fellow 2007)
Beverly is organizing Friday night family services as part of a week-long after school program. The program will invite parents to participate with their children in spiritually uplifting prayer experiences as part of the regular rhythms of Jewish family life. By returning to these Friday night family experiences month after month, taking the time to step back and appreciate, family and community become part of regular practice.
To learn more or get involved, email Beverly.
Beverly Socher-Lerner is a Yeshivat Hadar Alumni from 2007, and has run synagogue schools in Maryland and New Jersey for the last ten years. She holds a B.A. from University of Maryland in Jewish Studies, and an M.S.Ed. from University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as a member of the organizing committee of Minyan Tikvah in Philadelphia where she lives with her wife, Naomi.
Lily Nagy-Deak (Year Fellow 2012-2013)
Lily plans to coordinate a weekly Beit Midrash which meets at a local Madison synagogue. The program will provide an amazing opportunity to deepen Jewish learning, as many attendees have never studied in hevruta nor worked this closely with Jewish text. Each week the facilitator will choose a topic and present relevant texts. Participants will spend part of their time learning in hevruta, and part in a large group discussion. The Beit Midrash is open to anyone interested in learning, no prior Jewish-text or Hebrew experience is needed.
To learn more or get involved, email Lily.
Lily Nagy-Deak is currently the Interim Education Director at Beth Israel Center in Madison, WI, and an active member of the Madison Minyan. She graduated from Brandeis in 2011 with a double-major in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, and Theatre Arts; and studied at Yeshivat Hadar from 2012-2013 as an Education Fellow. Lily is always ready to go on a hike, read a good novel, or play a round of Settlers of Catan.
Michal Birnbaum (Year Fellow 2011-2012)
Washington Heights, NY
Michal is coordinating a Shabbaton for the students of the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. Sixty students will come together in a student’s home in Westchester, NY. The core event of the Shabbaton will be dinner. Shabbat will provide an opportunity to introduce the different Jewish rituals - Kabbalat Shabbat, Kiddush and of course singing! The students will have the opportunity to stay over night and join for davening and Shabbat lunch as well. This shabbaton will allow Jews who don't have a strong Jewish background to be exposed to the Jewish practice of Shabbat. Shabbat will allow students to ask questions about Judaism in an open, welcoming environment that they don’t have access to during the busy school week.
To learn more or get involved, email Michal.
Michal Birnbaum grew up in Israel. She served in the IDF for three years as a reporter at the IDF radio station ("Galey Tzahal"). Michal currently studies at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in NYC.
Maya Rosen (Summer Fellow 2012 and 2013) and Alex Polsky (Summer Fellow 2009)
Maya and Alex are creating an online store for women's tzitzit (tallit katan). Many women find that regular men's-cut tzitzit that are sold in stores don't fit their bodies comfortably and/or don't fit well under typically cut women's shirts. The sad reality is that this relatively minor logistical fact is keeping many women from participating in this important mitzvah. They look forward to increasing both the observance of the mitzvah of tzitzit for women and also to fostering conversation on the subject in our communities and the larger Jewish world.
To learn more, get involved or order tzitzit, email Maya.
Maya Rosen is currently studying at Princeton University. She spent last year at Midreshet Ein HaNatziv and the past two summers studying at Yeshivat Hadar. She originally hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is very excited about this new opportunity to make one of her favorite mitzvot more egalitarian and accessible.
Alex Polsky, originally from Upstate New York, now lives in Jerusalem, and is currently pursuing an MPH at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. She loves to sew, and runs a small business sewing tallitot and other Judaica. She looks forward to this newest application of her sewing abilities toward the promotion of egalitarian Jewish practice.
Gahl Pratt Pardes (Summer Fellow 2013)
Judaism in Full Contact will be a 10-week exploratory, grassroots Jewish literacy initiative in Calgary, Canada. Using a "learning together" study group model, this project aims to spark a love of Torah and increase its accessibility among a diverse group of Jewish learners across denominational and generational lines. Working outside of any institutional or congregational frameworks, this series of sessions will include a combination of lectures and hevruta study with an eye towards building a foundational understanding of the structure of the written Torah and the Rabbinic tradition.
To learn more or get involved, email Gahl.
Gahl Pratt Pardes is a writer, director, and an alum of Yeshivat Hadar. She is passionate about the intersection of traditionalism and feminism and has enjoyed spending the last few years traveling the world and investigating globalization, justice, and Torah. She currently lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband.
Natalie Haziza (Summer Fellow 2011)
A’ofa Eshkona is a Workshop on shlichut tzibbur in Sepharadi Nusach. This weekly workshop will be comprised of two parts. In the first part students will learn the halachot of shlichut tzibbur based on halachic works such as the Shulchan Aruch, Ben Ish Chai, Kaf HaHaim. The second part of the workshop will be led by a ba'al tefillah who will teach the tunes and basic makams of Moroccan nusach of Shabbat prayers. Upon completion of the workshop, recordings of Sephardi Nusach sung in women’s voices will be posted to the web.
To learn more or get involved, email Natalie.
Natalie Haziza lives in Jerusalem and is actively involved in the egalitarian community of Jerusalem, mostly with the communities of Sod Siach and Degel Yehuda. She is currently completing a post-baccalaureate in psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, working in a lab, and teaching film and academic writing at Sapir College.
Elchanan Clingman (Winter Learning Seminar Alumni)
Washington Heights, NY
This project is an attempt to create an alternative community space beyond the synagogue, on Shabbat. Attending synagogue as a place of worship, house of study, and source of community, is becoming less and less of an imperative for young Jewish people in the community, and Elchanan believes the model for Jewish engagement on Shabbat needs to be changed. On a very small level, he is attempting to change that model, by providing kiddushes, where delicious Torah and food will be served, shared, and enjoyed. It is his hope that in time, the small community of engaged kiddush-lovers, will evolve into a sustainable community of worshipers.
To learn more or get involved, email Elchanan.
Lawrence Elchanan Clingman is 28 and lives in Washington Heights. Born in South Africa, much of his Jewish identity is influenced by his family and the broader South African Jewish community, as well as from his travels around the world in Europe, and study in yeshivot in Safed and Bat Ayin. As an immigrant, and professional entrepreneur, he believes in the imperatives of adaptation, innovation and constant iteration to achieve both personal and communal goals in light of technological and social changes in modern life. It is his privilege to be working with so many others in the community, and around New York, in the attempt to discover and create relevancy for our tradition in 2013 and beyond.
Bethany Slater (Summer Fellow 2010, Year Fellow 2011-2012)
In coordination with the Moishe Kavod House community in Boston, Bethany will run two rounds of learning sessions, during the fall and winter. The sessions are taught by Moishe House community members for the community at large and run 4-5 weeks. This fall Bethany is coordinating two sessions, one in Cambridge/Summerville and the other in Brookline which she is also teaching. In the winter she will be coordinating three sessions for 5 weeks in three separate neighborhoods.
To learn more or get involved, email Bethany.
Bethany Slater is a PhD candidate at Boston College in Comparative Theology. She is also a house member at the Moishe Kavod House where she is involved in fostering intentional Jewish community in the Boston area among Jews in their 20's and 30's. She is also active in interfaith dialogue in Boston both formally and informally. She is delighted to have the support of Yeshivat Hadar.
Eli Philip (Summer Fellow 2013)
Kehilat Sha'ar is a new independent, egalitarian and vibrant community at Brandeis University. Kehilat Sha'ar is founded on values of inclusivity, communal experience and spirited engagement with Judaism. The community is centered around a Shabbat experience of prayer services and a communal meal, and will continue to expand to include more projects.
To learn more or get involved, email Eli.
Eli Philip was born and raised in Petah Tikva, Israel in a Haredi ultra-Orthodox community until the age of 10. His family moved to Philadelphia, where he attended a pluralistic day school, which shaped his religious identity and led him to study at Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa for a year. Today Eli is a junior at Brandeis University, majoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Social Policy.
Adi Shilo (Year Fellow 2010-2011)
Adi is organizing a Women’s discussion group in Jerusalem. The primary purpose of the group is to remove the veil of concealment from the topics of sexuality and femininity. The women's group will meet regularly and create a space in which women can raise questions and discuss the issues that arise from these topics and are usually not addressed. The group will also study and investigate sexuality and femininity through studying Jewish texts in their historical and social contexts.
To learn more or get involved, email Adi.
Adi Shilo grew up in the settlement of Talmon and attended high school in Ulpanat Ofra. She did national service in South Tel Aviv after which she spent a semester studying at the Israeli Leadership Institute at Ein Prat and a year studying at Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan. Upon return to Israel, Adi was a counselor on the gap year program Nativ, after which she spent a number of months traveling in India before she again became a counselor for a service learning program in Israel called Yahel. Today, she is a student studying philosophy and Jewish thought. Adi currently lives in Jerusalem.
Tamar Friedman (Summer Fellow 2012) and Eliana Machefsky (Winter Learning Seminar Alumni)
University of Pennsylvania
Tamar and Eliana will be running a series of three workshops designed to develop the skills of their community members so that they have the confidence to take on leadership roles within services. Many students who attend Shira Chadasha services at the University of Pennsylvania did not grow up leading Kabbalat Shabbat, receiving aliyot to the Torah, or performing haghbah for their communities. The three workshops-- Torah Skills, Service Leading Strategies, and D'var Torah Writing-- are designed to strengthen the skills necessary to actively and comfortably participate in services.
To learn more or get involved, email Tamar.
Tamar Friedman and Eliana Machefsky are the current co-chairs of Shira Chadasha at UPenn Hillel. Tamar, who studied at Mechon Hadar during the summer of 2012, is a Junior majoring in Political Science. Eliana participated in the 2013 Winter Learning Seminar, and is a Senior studying Political Science.
Lizzie Burrows (Summer Fellow 2013)
The West Philly Eruv project is an extension of the University City Eruv, which will allow religious students to move into more affordable housing and provide residents with the infrastructure to better keep Shabbat. It will require a lot of fundraising, building community education and support, and finding and training dedicated eruv-checkers. Lizzie hopes the project will bring together the disconnected groups in cooperation and neighborly goodwill.
To learn more or get involved, email Lizzie.
Lizzie Burrows is an organizer in West Philadelphia who is trying to enhance Jewish life and build cohesive community. She is a tango dancer, improv comedian, and feminist blogger. Though her calendar is packed, she spends her free moments snuggling rabbits and skyping her sister and far-flung friends.
David Zvi Kalman (Summer Fellow 2009)
Open Quorum is a platform for Jewish public media, with an initial focus on online audio programming. The organization serves: (1) to make sophisticated Jewish ideas, practices, and conversations accessible and entertaining to the general Jewish population and (2) to create, curate, and promote modern creative Jewish expression, including Torah-infused poetry, music, and avenues of observance.
To learn more or get involved, email David Zvi.
David Zvi Kalman is a doctoral student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on Jewish and Islamic law. He and his wife Yael serve as the Hadar Campus Scholars at Penn. Recently, he was involved in creation of www.atonenet.com.
Neria Greniman (Summer Fellow 2010)
The Interfaith Young Leaders Sustainability Project brings together Muslim, Christian, and Jewish students based in Israel for a series of interactive workshops on human and religious coexistence and environmental sustainability. The program will lead young emerging leaders in the Negev out into nature, and allow them to engage with each other in dialogue, around the subjects of faith, ecology, sustainability, identity and land. The participants will learn about each other, and about the ecological and environmental challenges which we share in the Holy Land and the region, and of the important potential which they have as agents of faith and cultural values in helping their community rise to these challenges.
To learn more or get involved, email Neria.
Neria Greniman is project coordinator at the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and is completing his B.A. in Geography and Environmental Planning at Ben Gurion University. Born in Jerusalem, Neria has spent time studying in various Jewish study and leadership programs, including Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa, Yeshivat Hadar and Yeshivat Talpiyot. He is also a proud alumni of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.
Hannah Kapnik (Summer Fellow 2009, Year Fellow 2010-2011)
Come & Listen is a podcast that presents remarkable ideas from interviews with great Jewish thinkers, interwoven with conversation between sisters-co-hosts, all with highest possible production quality. Come & Listen offers both learning and narratives that are in-depth and relevant for 20-60 year-olds seeking engagement with meaningful thought and ideas. We catalyze, make accessible, and extend adult Jewish education in a way that marries heart and mind, without financial or theological barriers to participation. This grant will allow us to create The Come & Listeners’ Guide for exploring each episode. Groups can use clips from the podcast and accompanying questions to facilitate meaningful discussions, and to gather community around the podcasts.
To learn more or get involved, visit the website.
Hannah Kapnik Ashar is the Director of Jewish Content and Co-Host of Come & Listen. She studied at Yeshivat Hadar, the Pardes Institute, and majored in Jewish Studies at Wellesley College. She is a serial Jewish project entrepreneur, a marriage coach, and a new mom!