Who We Are
Alumni Microgrants 2015-2016

Our Alumni are…

…Spearheading Torah-Learning Initiatives

Zohar Bachiry
Jewish Pluralism Fellowship
Queens College
Mónica Gomery
Teen Beit Midrash
Cambridge, MA
Dvir Hadad
Beit Midrash Bein Hazmanim
Bar Ilan University
Goni Zilberman
Interfaith Learning
Ecome, Israel
Avital Morris
Teen Beit Midrash
Hyde Park, IL
Blair Nosan
Pickle-Torah Workshops
Detroit, MI
Pirkei Avot al Salat Perot
Ross Weissman
and Danny Shapiro
Virtual Learning Community

...Creating Online Resources

Jonathan Dine
Encoding the Talmud
Joel Goldstein
Hadar Alumni Torah
Elie Lehmann
Matchme Philanthropy

Laynie Soloman
and David Zvi Kalman
Queer Jewish Podcast

...Building Singing Communities

Zach Anziska
Leil Shishi
Brandeis University
Mónica Gomery
and Nomi Lerman
Let My People Sing!
Summer Retreat
Chana Raskin
A Chasidic Niggun Project
Daniel Schaefer
Seudah Shlishit Project
Boston, MA
  Avia Sandak
Niggunim Gatherings
Jerusalem, Israel

...Growing Minyanim

Hannah Kober
Kehilat Sha’ar
Brandeis University
Steven Philp
and Shira Dols
Beit Noam
Waltham, MA
Dorit Resnikoff
Minyan Dafna
Berkeley, CA
Rachel Rosenbluth
Seaside Shabbes
Tel Aviv, Israel

...Crafting and Publishing Torah

Tzipora Hait
Mental Health and Judaism
Danny Cohen
Journey to Freedom
Translation of a Haggadah
Jessica Belasco
Disability Haggadah Supplement
Online and Print

...Exploring the Intersection of Torah and Gender

Alexandra Berger-Polsky
Women’s Embodied Experiences
Published Essays
Tzipora Hait
and Beruria Steinmetz-Silber
Talking Tvilah (Mikvah)
Jerusalem, Israel
Jenny Koshner
Barnard College

The Jewish Pluralism Fellowship at Queens College

Zohar Bachiry (‘14)

The Jewish Pluralism Fellowship at Queens College (QC) will introduce students to the beauty of Jewish pluralism, training student leaders to facilitate greater understanding and Jewish unity between the various Jewish communities on campus. Five fellows will participate in a five-part series in Spring 2016 that will engage them in conversations about what Jewish pluralism means and how the Jewish people maintain unity given their diversity. Already in its second year, this year's fellowship will include Jewish learning with Hadar and will teach students how to community through Jewish learning.

I am a Queens College Hillel alum who has a major case of FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. The Jewish diversity at Queens College is unparalleled, and I want to capitalize on the opportunity to embrace Jewish unity and understanding, as well as celebrate our pluralism. I currently work full-time with the administration team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and also remain involved as a member of the Queens College Hillel Board of Directors, through which I will be running the fellowship. During my spare time, I love to dance, run, and work on my photography. If only I had some more free time :)

Boston’s Teen Beit Midrash

Mónica Gomery (‘10)

Boston’s Teen Beit Midrash (www.teenbeitmidrash.org) is a Jewish learning space for curious teens, serious in its approach to study and informal in atmosphere. Our learning sessions are framed around thought-provoking questions of modern significance. Historical context and technical reading skills are introduced over the course of the year, guiding students to challenge themselves in encountering classical Jewish texts on their own terms. With the close support of peers and teachers, the students develop their independence in navigating the Jewish textual tradition and bringing it into conversation with our lives today. This year our students are learning Perek Hachovel, and our curriculum emphasizes the skills students need to become a caring, responsible, and supportive chevruta.

Mónica Gomery is a student at the rabbinical school of Hebrew College. Her interests include poetry, niggunim, Talmud study, social justice, and pastoral care. She has served as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Ruach Ami in Santiago, Chile, as well as at Hebrew Senior Life in Dedham, MA. Mónica has been blessed to work as a Jewish educator and chaplain for children, teens and adults at a number of institutions. She has studied at Yeshivat Hadar, the Adamah Jewish Environmental Fellowship, and the Drisha Institute Artists Beit Midrash.

Beit Hamidrash Bein Hazmanim

Dvir Hadad (‘15)

Yeshiva and Midrasha students from all around Israel met for two days of intense Torah learning. The program was planned like a Yeshiva, with morning and afternoon seder (havruta time) followed by a shiur. We davened together, shared meals, and learned some great Torah together. The day started with Shaharit at 8:00, and ended with Ma’ariv at 21:00. Our Beit Midrash is going to become a tradition, since there isn't (yet!) a mixed and egalitarian Beit Midrash prior to army service.

Dvir is an alumnus of Bar Ilan, Shiur Gimmel at Maale Gilboa, and is starting an M.A. in Tanakh this coming year.

Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash

Avital Morris

The Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash is a new Jewish learning program that will use chevruta learning to create a new community for middle and high school students in Chicago. The program aims to develop literacy in reading core Jewish texts, including Mishna, Midrash, and Talmud; to nurture a mature attitude to learning that builds on sociality and collaboration; and to motivate excitement about Judaism through the creative energy of Torah study.

Avital Morris is a third-year at the University of Chicago studying history and religious studies. She grew up in Manhattan and has previously learned at Midreshet Ein Hanatziv as well as at Hadar.



Pickle Torah

Blair Nosan (‘14)

Pickles and Torah - What could they possibly have in common besides that both are loved by Jews around the world? This series of learn-shops will bring fermentation and torah together to explore a Do-It-Yourself ethos in Judaism and in our relationships with food. Pickle Torah will lead participants in making a variety of fermented foods while diving deep into Jewish texts that prompt participant's thinking about themes of authority, creativity, and commitment as humans and as Jews.

Blair Nosan is a Jewish pickler, a self-titled "Spontaneous Preservationist." She was born in Detroit's suburbs, first learned to pickle at Adamah in the summer of 2008, and has been thinking about Jews, preservation, and transformation ever since. She lives in Detroit.

Pirkei Avot Al Salat Peirot—Torah over Fruit Salad

Ranash (‘13)

A study group on Masechet Avot will be held once every two weeks at my house in Rehavia, Jerusalem. Each week a fruit salad will be served and together we will contemplate the corpus of moral wisdom collected from the lives of the Rabbis, as we explore how it relates to our day to day life.

I work as a group facilitator and tour guide in the field of informal education through different organizations in Israel. Two years ago couple of co-workers of mine and I established a summer learning program called - "Elul Bashvil", for young Israelis between 20-30 years old. We hike the northern part of the Israel National trail for four weeks ending just moment before Rosh Hashana. The program allows us to pause and think. We learn and contemplate different topics that are relevant and important to our lives. This year, very recently, i moved to Jerusalem :) and I dedicate part of my time to studying music, practicing percussion in Musrarra.

The Online Learning Community

Danny Shapiro (‘13) and Ross Weissman (‘10-’11)

We are growing an online community of engaged Jewish educators, rabbis, and lay people from the US and Israel. We will provide curriculum that incorporates traditional Jewish sources and philosophy and will be facilitated by prominent teachers from Jerusalem via an online learning platform. This will be a unique learning option for Jewish leaders from around the world, seeking community while in the pursuit of high-level Torah Lishma.

Ross recently completed his master’s of education at Harvard, where he studied human wellness and educational innovation. He has worked on a range of interdisciplinary projects and studies in culture and education at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard’s Psychology Department, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has also worked on program management teams for a range of educational startups in the US and abroad. He is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and the Conservative Yeshiva. Ross is a published poet and an aspiring children’s author.

Danny is a rabbinical student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and expects to receive his MA and rabbinic ordination in May 2016. An alumnus of the Conservative Yeshiva and Hadar, Danny worked as a Senior Consultant at Boston University’s Computer Support Center. He has also been a technology and web design consultant for the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, spreading Torah study through online classes, podcasting, and the web. He most recently was the Summer Program Coordinator at the Conservative Yeshiva and is currently the Rabbinic Intern at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA.

Interfaith Learning at Ecome

Goni Zilberman (‘10-’11)

This project will invite Jews, Muslims, Christians and people from different religious backgrounds to meet together and learn texts about gender from Jewish and Muslim law. The project will be held at EcoME- A home for peace and ecology located in the Dead Sea area and run by an Israeli, Palestinian, and international community.

Goni Zilberman was born in Kibbutz Yagur near Haifa. Nowadays she is based at "EcoME" center for peace and Ecology, as one of the leading Israeli-Palestinian team. At the age of 18, Goni started to work as a journalist, creating radio documentaries and researching for different TV news shows. In 2010-2011 she completed the year program at Yeshivat Hadar. For the last two years, Goni has been a group coordinator in the Interfaith Encounter Association, and has developed dialogue and interfaith projects related to art, yoga and non-violent communication. This past year, Goni documented a theater project shared by Israelis and Palestinians and did research for a documentary dealing with the economic aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last March, Goni directed her first short film "Tunnels" as part of her directors program at "Sam Spiegel" film school.

Encoding the Talmud

Jonathan Dine (‘10)

My project will encode and store the talmud as a set of entities and relationships in a graph database (a relatively new type of computer database). By formally modeling and encoding the logic of the Talmud in a graph database we can provide answers to scholarly questions about the creation and redaction of the talmud. For example, encoding sugyot and their types across the entire Talmud (or even just a few tractates) could very well tell us which chapters were edited by the same people.

Jonathan Dine is a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton focusing on IT program management, business analytics, and process improvement. Jon is an active lay leader of DC Minyan and Rosh Pina, he was a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in Summer 2010 and a student at the Pardes Institute in Summer 2008. Jonathan graduated from the University of Chicago where he took numerous courses in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature.

Hadar Alumni Torah Webpage

Joel Goldstein (‘12)

The goal of this project is to create a website for expressing original Torah from Hadar alumni (and friends). This website will be an outlet for vibrant Torah that results from the education given and inspired by Yeshivat Hadar. Eventually, it hopes to include source sheets and thoughts on the weekly פרשה, on חגים, and eventually הלכה and other subjects which alumni wish to present.

After a career in engineering, Joel discovered a love for teaching Torah while on a grant from Yeshivat Hadar as a campus scholar at the University of Michigan. He currently teaches high school Talmud at Charles E Smith JDS in Silver Spring. He moved there with his wife, Rachel, who is on a fellowship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Matchme Philanthropy

Elie Lehmann (‘10-’11, ‘11-’12)

Ready to expand the reach of your tzedakah dollars and grow the impact of nonprofits you love? Check out Matchme (www.matchme.org), a crowdfunding website for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to launch matching gift campaigns with 0% platform fee for individuals and nonprofits. Every donation through Matchme grows 2X, 3X or more. We take seriously the notion of "Olam chesed yibaneh" (Psalms 89:3), that the constructive power of giving sustains the world. Matchme utilizes the latest research and technology to empower a new generation of philanthropists. . Build your community of giving today with Matchme. #GiveMoreTogether

Elie Lehmann is a co-founder of Matchme and a rabbinical student at Hebrew College. This year Elie and his wife, Anya, are living in Tel Aviv. Torah learning and non-profit work have been the foci of Elie's work for the past several years. Prior to rabbinical school, Elie and Anya volunteered for a year on the Thailand/Burma border and in Kenya through American Jewish World Service. Elie is an alumnus of Hadar, Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. In his spare time Elie enjoys cooking, cycling around new neighborhoods, and finding cheap airfare for fun encounters.

Queer Jewish Podcast

Laynie Soloman ( ‘12, ‘12-’13, ‘13-’14) and David Zvi Kalman (‘09)

We are planning to begin a podcast series highlighting the narratives of queer/trans and Jewish people in North America. We will create space for folks to share stories that reflect their own experiences living with these two identities that intersect in meaningful and powerful ways. We hope to reflect a wide range of queer/trans experiences, and particularly highlight stories that share about encounters with ritual moments in Jewish life. We hope this project will bring knowledge and awareness to these experiences and give people a platform through which to share their stories.

David Zvi Kalman is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on the impact of technology on Jewish and Islamic law. An alumnus of Hadar, Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa, and the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, he has taught and given lectures in both religious and academic settings and has written for Tablet and Haaretz. He is the editor of Seder Oneg Shabbos and the creator of AtoneNet. David Zvi also served as one of Hadar’s two Hadar Campus Scholars at Penn (the other person was his wife, which was very convenient).

Laynie Soloman is the Youth and Family Community Organizer at the Fort Tryon Jewish Center in Washington Heights, NY. Laynie has spent several years learning Torah the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and Yeshivat Hadar. Laynie is also pursuing an M.A. in Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary and trying to use every vegetable in their CSA.

Leil Shishi

Zach Anziska (week-long intensives ‘13, ‘14, and ‘15)

Leil Shishi is based on the Hassidic tradition of singing and rejoicing on Thursday night. As it is challenging to bring mindfulness and intentionality into the week, it is important for there to be a moment of transition between the weekday and Shabbat. On Thursday nights preceding or following Rosh Chodesh, I gather a religiously diverse group of students and community members to build, learn and explore Jewish niggunim in an intimate and warm space.

Currently a Senior at Brandeis University, Zach is studying Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. A ba'al tefillah who is also passionate about song leading, he enjoys blending neo-Hasidic, traditional, soul and classic styles. After a long hiatus, Zach has recently picked back up playing percussion and incorporates the cajón into his music.

Let My People Sing!

Mónica Gomery (‘10) and Nomi Lerman (‘13)

Let My People Sing! is a joyous and vibrant shabbaton that brings together lovers of song share in an array of Jewish song traditions. The weekend is structured around Shabbat, hour long song sharing and teaching sessions, and open unstructured singing. We see the array of Jewish songs as expansive, including but not limited to: songs based on liturgical text, niggunim, piyyutim, Jewish folk songs, Jewish chanting, Jewish labor songs, songs in Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic, songs written by Jews, sung by Jews, etc. The shabbaton is a pluralistic, intergenerational, and cross-cultural opportunity for transformation and community building through the simple act of singing with others.

Mónica Gomery is a student at the rabbinical school of Hebrew College. Her interests include poetry, niggunim, Talmud study, social justice, and pastoral care. She has served as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Ruach Ami in Santiago, Chile, as well as at Hebrew Senior Life in Dedham, MA. Mónica has been blessed to work as a Jewish educator and chaplain for children, teens and adults at a number of institutions. She has studied at Yeshivat Hadar, the Adamah Jewish Environmental Fellowship, and the Drisha Institute Artists Beit Midrash.

Nomi Lerman: I am a musician and story collector from Milwaukee, WI who is passionate about personal/collective healing processes and movement building. I have had training in jazz and blues guitar, which influence my current explorations with nigunim and Yiddish music. Some places and organizations I've spent time with include The Teva Learning Alliance, Adamah, Yiddish Farm, Yeshivat Hadar, the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, Eden Village, and Yiddishkayt.

A Chassidic Niggun Project

Chana Raskin (‘10, ‘11)

We will be recording an album of devotional nigunim from the Chabad chassidic tradition. The melodies will be sung by women who have been carrying these sacred melodies since childhood. The recordings will be available online for streaming/download, alongside album artwork and liner notes with chassidic and spiritual background for each nigun. Our dream is to share these nigunim with as much context and accuracy as possible with the broader progressive Jewish community. A quieter dream is that our project might create a platform for women in other chassidic communities to come forth, to sing and share with us their precious nigun traditions. Please G-d, the wider online release will remain anonymous.

Chana is a sister to seven precious siblings. She lives in the woods of the Hudson Valley, and is lucky to spend her moments harvesting and processing medicinal herbs, roots and flowers. The nigun keeps her, always.

Niggunim Gatherings in Jerusalem

Avia Sandak (‘15)

"על ידי ניגונים ומחיאת כף מתמתקין כל הדינים..." “Through nigunim and the clapping of hands all verdicts are sweetened.” The purpose of the nigunim project is very simple - to bring the special spirit of Yeshivat Hadar to the people of Jerusalem, to be an opportunity for Hadar alumni to gather and to warm our hearts in the cold Jerusalem winter nights.

Avia is a full-time student at Shalem College, studying liberal arts, and an alumna of the Mabua program at Ein Prat. Mabua is a four-month program serving Israelis who have completed military or national service, providing rigorous and round-the-clock text study, community development and leadership-building. She was born and raised in Ashdod.


Boston Seudah Shlishit Project

Daniel Schaefer (‘13)

The Boston Seudah Shlishit Project is a monthly seudah slishit for Jews in Boston filled with eating, singing, storytelling, and Torah. We engage young Jews in their 20s-40s with the joy and beauty of Shabbat's third meal. All events are welcoming, inclusive, accessible, and shomer-Shabbat friendly.

Daniel Schaefer is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College. He is passionate about Torah study, experiential learning, nature connection, and innovation. Prior to rabbinical school, he worked as a wilderness educator, ghostwriter, and social entrepreneur. He is an alum of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Torah Trek, and PresenTense. In addition to Hadar and Hebrew College, he has studied at HUC and the Hartman Institute.

Disability Haggadah Supplement

Jessica Belasco (‘12, ‘13-’14)

We will produce a haggadah supplement by Pesach 2016 that will draw connections between the disability experience and the themes of the haggadah text, allowing each to illuminate the other. We plan to push beyond the typical boundaries of the “haggadah supplement” genre by producing a supplement that isn’t simply pasted onto the haggadah, but rather engages contemporary concerns in a way that is based on deep learning of the text itself. This project will provide thoughtful, accessible, disability Torah both to disabled Jews, many of whom are deeply alienated and need to see themselves reflected in Jewish discussions, and to the Jewish world as a whole, where disability – especially disabled adulthood – is only just beginning to be taken seriously as a communal concern.

Jess is an alum of the 2012 and 2013 summer programs and the 2013-14 year program at Hadar. During her year at Hadar, she began to weave together her Torah learning experience and her disability advocacy experience by teaching shiurim about disability-informed Torah. She continued to expand this learning and teaching during the following year, which she spent in Israel as a Dorot fellow. Jess was a 2014 Hollander Social Justice Fellow at the National Havurah Institute and taught a course at the Institute this past summer entitled "Bikkur Cholim from the Inside Out." She is excited to continue teaching and learning now that she is back in New York.

Journey to Freedom: The Passover Seder as Process of Personal Growth

Danny Cohen (‘10)

Gabriel Strenger's book exploring the stages of the haggada meets the yearning of Jewish spiritual seekers for profound Torah that addresses the path and process of the spiritual journey. He takes readers step by step through the Seder, illuminating the nature and modes of the human psyche and soul with insights from the Jewish mystical and the psychoanalytic traditions. This project is to render a translation into an accessible idiom for an English-speaking audience.

Danny Cohen is profoundly grateful for the gift of being alive and feeling his soul’s connection with living Torah. He is drawn to the Torah and avoda (practice) that engages, opens, heals, and transforms the whole person. Danny was the founding director of Or HaLev, Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation, and has studied in a variety of yeshivot in Israel. Danny is currently training in Hakomi mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapy, teaching Jewish mindfulness meditation and Non-Violent Communication. He loves to support people in resolving and healing what impedes them, facilitating their journeys towards a life that is intimate with heart and soul. You can find him at www.thelivingheart.life.

Blog on Mental Health and Judaism

Tzipora Hait (‘09)

This blog is a space for short and informative articles on mental health issues and their intersection with Biblical stories and other Jewish sources. The goal of the blog is to give people a Jewish new lens through which to think and talk about the most pervasive mental health challenges that those around us may be struggling with.

Tzipora Hait grew up in Riverdale, New York, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University in 2009. After Brandeis, Tzipora spent time studying at Hadar (summer 09') and Drisha in New York. She moved to to Israel five years ago and completed a masters in social work. Tzipora currently works as a clinical social worker at Crossroads, a center for Anglo at-risk youth in Jerusalem, and as a Geriatric Care Manager at ElderOptions, a private agency providing guidance and support to older adults facing age-related challenges. Tzipora has also been an active volunteer at the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center since her arrival in Israel in 2010. She is excited for the opportunity to integrate her professional training and passion for Jewish life.

Kehillat Sha’ar

Hannah Kober (Winter learning Seminar ‘14, ‘15 Singing Communities Intensive ‘14)

Kehillat Sha’ar is Brandeis’ vibrant, independent, and egalitarian Jewish community. Our mission is to create a non-denominational space where students can participate in and engage with meaningful Jewish experiences. Kehilliat Sha’ar strives to create an open and spirited environment for students from all backgrounds through Kabbalat Shabbat and other services, shabbat meals, Jewish learning, engaging in song, and educational programming.

I am a senior at Brandeis University studying Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Language, and Linguistics. I am currently writing a thesis on the motivational shifts in Jewish students who are studying Arabic at Israeli universities. At Brandeis, I was in involved in the founding of Kehillat Sha'ar, and served as its gabbai for two years. I also am the musical director of Brandeis Ba'note, and have been involved with the Shira Chadasha minyan at Brandeis and with J Street U.

Beit Noam

Steven Philp (‘12, ‘13) and Shira Dols (‘13-’14)

Beit Noam is a compassionate and creative living room minyan for anyone interested in learning about, wrestling with, and digging deeply into Judaism. We hope to offer monthly services that balance the experimental and traditional, regularly opportunities for text study, and a community for celebrating the holidays. All are welcome - from those thoroughly educated in our shared tradition to individuals who are just discovering what Judaism means to them.

Steven is a first-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College. This past spring, he received his Master of Studies from the University of Oxford. His thesis addressed the intersection of trauma, memory, and ritual. In 2014, he received his Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago. His research there addressed responses to sexual abuse within the Jewish community, with a focus on innovative liturgies. He was the founding rabbinic intern for Mishkan Chicago, an independent spiritual community that was recently included in the Slingshot Guide. Growing up in California and Hawaii, Steven was born Roman Catholic, discovered interfaith work in college, and eventually wandered into the Jewish community.

Shira grew up in St. Paul, MN and is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew College. After several years of experimentation and soul-searching in high school and college, Shira decided to convert to Judaism. She received a BA in psychology from the College of Saint Benedict in MN and studied at Yeshivat Hadar in New York City. Shira then spent two years working as the administrative assistant at the Dorothy Day Center, a homeless shelter in St. Paul. Her passion for social justice work and text study motivated her to continue serving both Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and she decided to pursue a degree in rabbinic studies. Shira hopes to become a congregational leader and/or a chaplain when she graduates.

Minyan Dafna Lay-Leader Shabbaton

Dorit Resnikoff (‘14)

Minyan Dafna will run an intensive, immersive, community Shabbaton focused on teaching community members skills to be able to lead davening or read Torah. We hope this Shabbaton will strengthen the community’s commitment to egalitarian values by encouraging more lay-leading, especially by encouraging more women to learn how to lead and read. We also intend to use this time together in intense learning to provide an opportunity for community members to share their skills with each other, exchanging tunes, nusach, trope and other ideas.

Dorit Resnikoff was raised in Berkeley, CA and after a short stint on the East Coast and an amazing summer at Yeshivat Hadar has returned to her roots in the Bay. She is currently involved with the planning committee of Minyan Dafna in Berkeley, and hopes to see a growth in tradition-egalitarian involvement within the San Francisco Bay Area.

TLV Seaside Shabbes

Rachel Rosenbluth (‘15)

TLV Sea Side Shabbes is an ecstatic, contemplative Shabbes gathering on shores of Tel Aviv. Monthly, 50-150 people of all different backgrounds and religious affiliations gather to welcome Shabbat. The davening weaves together Carlebach tunes, meditation, and kavanot for a joyous prayer gathering. The project hopes to grow to include Shabbat dinner, havdallah gathering, and a torah learning group.

Bluth is a spiritual seeker, community organizer, permaculture enthusiast, and niggun singer. She loves learning Torah and hosting gatherings. Both in Canada (where she grew up) and now in Israel, she has been dedicated to building meaningful, spiritual and sustainable Jewish communities. She has had valuable experiences doing environmental field research in East Africa, and volunteered on sustainable farms in Israel and in Kenya, where she strengthened her interest in spiritual, personal and community development. Bluth lives in Jerusalem, where she is studying for smicha and learning at Yakar, Beit Midrash Har El, and Yeshivat Kol Isha.

Engaging Women’s Embodied Experiences in Egalitarian Religious Communities

Alexandra Berger-Polsky (‘09)

Through a series of essays and opinion pieces, I hope to promote a conversation on topics such as pregnancy, birth, pregnancy loss, sexuality, and women's embodied experience. I aim to "build up the feminine" – reclaiming the representation of women from a place of true equality that is achieved in egalitarian communities. This project is a complement to my participation in Yeshivat Kol Isha, which is a new post-denominational women's yeshiva founded by Rabba Dr. Melanie Landau. Yeshivat Kol Isha celebrates feminist spirituality while focusing on the learning of Hilkhot Niddah.

Originally from upstate New York, Alexandra Berger-Polsky holds a BA in Biology from Columbia University and is currently pursuing an MPH at Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. She works as the director of 'Lada'at - Choose Well', the Center for Promotion of Healthy Sexuality in Jerusalem. Alex is a former Yeshivat Hadar Fellow, a recipient of the Dorot Fellowship, and a co-founder of Minyan Sod Siach in Jerusalem. Alex now lives in Jerusalem with her husband.

Talking Tvilah: A Mikvah Discussion Group

Tzipora Hait (‘09) and Beruria Steinmetz-Silber (‘10)

We will organize and co-facilitate a group for women who are new to the Mikvah experience. The goal of this group is to provide a safe and comfortable place for women to examine the meaning of their ritual immersion and connect with other women looking to do the same. We aim to bring meaning, context, and conversation to the Mikvah experience through cultural, religious, and personal exploration. The group will meet for four sessions, which will cover a range of topics relating to Mikvah through personal reflection, group dialogue, and text study.

Tzipora Hait grew up in Riverdale, New York, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University in 2009. After Brandeis, Tzipora spent time studying at Hadar (summer 09') and Drisha in New York. She moved to to Israel five years ago and completed a masters in social work. Tzipora currently works as a clinical social worker at Crossroads, a center for Anglo at-risk youth in Jerusalem, and as a Geriatric Care Manager at ElderOptions, a private agency providing guidance and support to older adults facing age-related challenges. Tzipora has also been an active volunteer at the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center since her arrival in Israel in 2010. She is excited for the opportunity to integrate her professional training and passion for Jewish life.

After growing up in New York City, Beruria earned her BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Beruria has learned Torah in Drisha, Migdal Oz, and Yeshivat Hadar (Summer 2010). Beruria moved to Israel in 2011. As a Dorot Fellow, she volunteered with at-risk youth at Crossroads, studied Hebrew literature, and continued learning Torah. Since then, Beruria has completed her MSW from Hebrew University. She now works as coordinator for Drisha's programs in Israel and at the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center. Beruria lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Gilad. She looks forward to joining her chevruta, Tzipora, in this project!


Jenny Koshner (‘15, ‘15-’16)

Lada’at is a pilot project that brings together college-aged Jewish women from diverse backgrounds to explore the intersection of Judaism and sexuality in their lives. At weekly-facilitated meetings, participants engage with Jewish texts and ideas and discuss how they interact with different facets of identity as a Jewish woman. Topics will include: gender, sexuality and pleasure, communication and consent, and personal autonomy. Lada’at takes the form of a semester-long seminar. Personal narratives and experiences are shared verbally and expressed creatively, and each session includes a variety of collaborative group activities.

Jenny Koshner is a full-time student at Hadar and an alumna of the summer zman. She graduated from Barnard College, where she studied Environmental Sciences and Religion. She has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, studying and living its different histories and cultures, and spent several years studying the El Yunque Rainforest, the Green Roofs of New York City, and Acacia orchards in the Arava Desert. Jenny is passionate about pluralism and diversity, social justice and equality, and Judaism as a way of life.

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