Alumni Microgrants 2021-2022
Alumni Microgrants 2021-2022

Shemitah Programming at Summer Camp

Alex Goldfarb headshot

Alex Goldfarb

Amir runs farm education programming at Jewish summer camps across North America. This summer, we are excited to engage campers and staff in programming to teach about and bring to life what shemitah can mean for Jews in the Diaspora. Developing this curriculum serves as an opportunity to further explore our own practices as Jewish farmers, and continue sharing the Torah of Earth-based Judaism.

Alex has been working with Amir in various capacities since 2011 and currently serves as the Chair of its Board of Directors. He previously founded a social enterprise in Somaliland, and serves on the board of Firestarter - a Houston based nonprofit that facilitates intercommunal support networks and mutual aid for refugee and migrant communities. He studied with Yeshivat Hadar in the summer of 2021, and will begin rabbinical school in 2022.


אלוהים לובשת פראדה - God Wears Prada

Amitai Mintzer & Tamar Yichye headshot

Amitai Mintzer & Tamar Yichye

God Wears Prada: A Parashah Shiur you won’t find anywhere else! In our podcast, we discuss each week’s Parsha through the lens of a relevant concept from feminist and Queer theory that speaks to both the biblical story and our personal lives. The goal of our podcast is to create young, feminist, Israeli, and completely Jewish content.

Amitai is an alum of Yeshivat Ma'aleh Gilboa, the '19 Hadar summer program and the '20 Hadar Elul program. He volunteers for LGBTQ organizations. Currently, he is a student of the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program at Tel Aviv University.

Tamar is an alum of Midreshet Hashiluv Natur, the '19 Hadar summer program and 2019-2020 year program. Tamar studies creative writing in Jerusalem and works as a Social Media Manager.






Filial Piety: Essays on Grief

Anna Leah Berstein Simpson headshot

Anna Leah Berstein Simpson

I'll be writing a series of essays about my experiences as a young mourner, having lost my father when I was a child. The experience isn't uncommon, but, from what I've seen, receives little exposure and little discussion in the broader Jewish world. I hope to open discussions about different ways of relating to obligation, home, and grief.

Anna Leah Berstein Simpson was raised in Belgium and Maryland and earned a B.A. in Classical Archeology with a minor in French from Dartmouth College. She taught English in France on a French Government fellowship and worked as the Digital Content Manager for the Hadar Institute. Anna Leah is an alumna of the Kevah Teaching Fellowship, UJA-Federation of NY's YESH Institute, and the Mussar Institute, and she has also completed the core improv curriculum at the Magnet Theater. A Dorot Fellow, she lives in Jerusalem while pursuing an M.A in English and Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) at Bar-Ilan University.



Songs for Shmita

Batua Levine & Anat Hochberg headshots

Batya Levine & Anat Hochberg

Songs for Shmita is a collaborative album of music in honor of and inspired by this Shmita year. The album is a collection of original songs by Aly Halpert, Anat Hochberg, Arielle Korman, Molly Bajgot, Margot Seigle, Sol Weiss, Rena Branson & Batya Levine, exploring the themes of Shmita: release, restoration, redistribution.

Singing in community gives us the experience of playing an individual role in something so much greater than the sum of its parts, and helps us know the power that is possible when we syncopate, harmonize and align with each other in joy, hope, loss or praise. This music is an offering to help hold each of us and our communities in this time of release, and expand our relationships with shmita and this important cycle in Jewish time.

Batya Levine (they/she) uses song as a tool for cultivating healing and resilience in their work as a communal song leader, shaliach tzibur (Jewish prayer leader) and cultural organizer. Batya is a co-founder of Let My People Sing!, and composes original music made of Ashkenazi yearning, queer heart-medicine, and emunah (faith).

Anat Halevy Hochberg is a musician, educator, and software engineer based outside of Boston. She co-created the album Elul: Songs for Turning and has collaborated with artists including Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, Batya Levine, George Mordecai, and Aly Halpert. Her album, How can I keep (from) singing? is available on Bandcamp.



Spiritual uplifting for francophone community during sfirat ha Omer

Dr. Eliora Peretz headshot

Dr. Eliora Peretz

I will create a daily podcast of 5 minutes for each day of the Omer in French which will track the kabalistic calendar of this amazing mitzva. I will provide a Zoom class each week for 1h30 on each of the 7 lower sefirot involved in the counting of the omer.

Dr. Alexandra (Eliora) Peretz has completed her studies at Beit Midrash Har’el and is preparing for her final exams. This year Eliora has been awarded an advanced Torah fellow scholarship at the memorial foundation of Jewish culture in New York to research the mikvah ritual of the "Converting Bride". For the last decade she has been teaching talmud, halacha and mussar to francophone Jews in various settings.



Jaffa Men's Circle

Eliyahu Freedman headshot

Eliyahu Freedman

The Jaffa Men's Circle is a monthly collective that seeks to create a sacred space for support, process and growth. Inspired by feminist values, the Circle aims to perpetuate a healthier culture of masculinity that is essential for a truly egalitarian society. The Circle exists in the wider context of Men's Circles around the world, and seeks to connect with like-minded group in order to create a sustainable movement that works towards a more just and equal world for all.

Eliyahu Freedman (he/him) is an Iraqi Jew living along the Mediterranean Coast in the ancient city of Jaffa. A fluent speaker of Hebrew and Arabic, he is currently studying in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where his research focuses on the influential 10th century non-rabbinic work of Jewish Law in Judeo-Arabic by Ya'qub al-Qirqisani (Kitab al-Anwar).



The Feminine Mystic

Hannah Kapnik Ashar & Naama Sadan headshots

Hannah Kapnik Ashar & Naama Sadan

We are visioning how best to bring the sacred and practical teachings of Yemima Avital z''l into American Jewish communities and bookshelves. Our approach includes compiling and translating these healing teachings into English.

Naama is currently completing a Ph.D. in Environmental Education at the Hebrew University and is a visiting student researcher at UC Berkeley. She serves as the Director of Development and Sustainability at Atiq: Jewish Maker Institute. Before coming to Berkeley, she taught Judaic Studies in Beit Midrash programs at the University of Haifa, Oranim College, and at the Hebrew University as well as teaching and developing programs in Geography, Urban Planning, and Sustainability to high school students and teachers in Jerusalem. After learning about Yemima teachings from her grandmother, she started practicing Yemima’s method in 2010 and has found it to be an anchor in her life since.

Hannah is a fellow in Hadar's Advanced Kollel. She is Faculty at the Bronfman Fellowship, where she also worked as the Manager of the Fellowship Year Experience. Before coming to Hadar, she was the Associate Spiritual Leader of Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder, Colorado. She is a birth doula. Hannah sees Yemima's teachings as one of the great Jewish tools for spiritual midwifery.




Shoot! A Short-Form Explanatory Jewish Podcast

Jesse Paikin headshot

Jesse Paikin

One big Jewish question each episode, exploring some of the most foundational curiosities about Judaism. With answers that have integrity and inspiration, and the stories behind the questions. And always where to turn next to learn more. All in around 30 minutes or less.

Rabbi Jesse Paikin is a teacher, spiritual leader, and strategic thinker. Most recently, he served as a rabbi with the Jewish Emergent Network - a group of seven path‐breaking communities revitalizing the field of engagement through traditionally rooted, creative, rich, and meaningful Jewish practice. He has worked as an educator across the globe, with a focus on Talmud, mussar, and spirituality, and has also trained as a practitioner in psychotherapy and spiritual care. Jesse is an alum of Yeshivat Hadar (Summer 2016), and has studied at York University, University of Toronto, NYU, and the National Theatre School of Canada.



Biblical Hebrew Grammar: Anatomy and Physiology Coloring Pages

Liat Melnick headshot

Liat Melnick

The nikudot (vowels) and nikudot patterns are Hebrew anatomy. Understanding how nikudot patterns create meaning is the physiology of leshon hakodesh, our holy language. Modeled after anatomy and physiology textbooks used to learn the human body and pulling from several excellent Hebrew grammar text books, these coloring pages will support students looking to deepen their handle on Biblical Hebrew.

Liat teaches Biblical Hebrew and tefillah to all ages. They like to stop and smell the roses.




A Queer Nigun Project

Rena Branson & Ari Pomerantz headshots

Rena Branson & Ari Pomerantz

Since 2018, A Queer Nigun Project has been offering solace, sweetness, healing, and meaning through our singing events and recordings, shifting to the virtual realm during the pandemic. QNP has three primary facets: (1) hosting monthly gatherings for LGBTQIA+ Jews to learn and sing nigunim together, (2) maintaining a Soundcloud online that features recordings of Jewish songs (mostly nigunim) recorded and/or composed by queer Jews, and (3) sending recordings to folks who are incarcerated in NYC jails and request to receive Jewish content. Learn more about the how and why of our work at

Rena Branson (they/she) is a Jewish composer, ritual leader, and educator who uplifts personal and collective healing through song. Rena works as the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir and leads prayer as part of the Cultural Organizing Team for Linke Fligl (, a queer Jewish farm. Rena's first original album will come out later this year! In the meantime, you can enjoy their single on Spotify and more music at

Ari Pomerantz helps run the jail component of the Queer Nigun Project. He was a Hadar fellow in Summer 2017, Year 2017-2018, and 2018-2019.



Chassidishe Nigun Album, Shaleshudes, & Concert

Rena Branson & Simcha Halpert-Hanson headshots

Rena Branson & Simcha Halpert-Hanson

This summer, a group of Hadar alums and friends will gather to teach each other some of our favorite Chassidishe nigunim and record an album together in-studio. We will host an outdoor, socially-distanced shaleshudes (on Nipmuc/Pokumtuk land, Northampton, MA) and teach a selection of these tunes in community, as well as perform the full set of melodies in a Zoom concert. The project will center queer and trans voices.

Simcha Halpert-Hanson (they/them) is a teacher, song facilitator, drummer, and ritual leader. Simcha has led tefillah workshops, klaf (holy parchment) production workshops, text study and facilitated rhythmic and songful prayer experiences in many communities across the Northeast. They're the founder of Avodas Lev Western Mass and co-founder of the projects Nishmat Shoom, TransHallel, and Queer Jewish Farmers. Simcha is currently in their third year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College.

Rena Branson (they/she) is a Jewish composer, ritual leader, and educator who uplifts personal and collective healing through song. Rena works as the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir and leads prayer as part of the Cultural Organizing Team for Linke Fligl (, a queer Jewish farm. Rena's first original album will come out later this year! In the meantime, you can enjoy their single on Spotify and more music at


Hadar Beit Midrash in TLV

Tal Hoffmann headshot

Tal Hoffmann & Gefen Vizner Lavi

At Hadar Brit Midrash in TLV we will hold series of evening classes together with egalitarian Tefila that will bring together the alumni community in central Israel. It will also be an opportunity to make Hadar more well known among the general public. In the future, we would like to grow our activity further to create a broad Hadar learning community in central Israel.

Tal is an alumna of summer 2015 and one of the founders of Hadar Kabalat Shabbat in Jerusalem. She currently lives in Tel Aviv and works in Hi-Tech.









Human Front

Tamir Golan headshot

Tamir Golan

“Human Front” is an independent Jerusalem organization that collects food and voluntarily distributes it to needy communities and families. Human Front’s activity currently takes place three days a week and centers around the collection of food staples - mainly fruits and vegetables - that would otherwise be discarded, from the wholesale market and other suppliers, the cooking and packaging of the food, and its distribution to individuals and families that are not able to buy food or cook for themselves. Our vision is that as a by-product of our current activities, we will create an extensive and diverse community network based on communal activity and mutual support, which may serve as an alternative to the existing social infrastructures.

Tamir is an alum of Yeshivat Ma'aleh Gilboa and the '20 Hadar Elul program. He studies computer science and computational biology in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and works at ELSC institute for Brain Science.



Religious LGBTQ Confessions

Michal Schonberg headshot

Michal Schonberg

The Facebook page Religious LGBTQ Confessions, a place for the LGBTQ people from religious communities to write anonymously about their experiences, struggles, and ask questions. It creates a safe space for them and for supporters as well - friends, teachers, spiritual figures, and families. The page has been part of the long anticipated change in religious Israeli community towards LGBTQ issues. I hope to expand the page to other platforms and maintain the enviorment it has created in the four years.

Michal Schonberg (she/they) lives in Jerusalem. Michal is a bi activist for the religious LGBTQ community, former counselor in the Open House for pride and tolerance, nanny, and data analyst.



Der Tkhines Proyekt

Noam Lerman headshot

Noam Lerman

Yiddish Tkhines are Ashkenazi supplications that were regularly written and prayed by, and centered the experiences of women, trans, and gender non-conforming people. Der Tkhines Proyekt offers resources and interactive workshops which teach new melodies paired with old Yiddish tkhines, and uplifts the tradition of zogn tkhines, of speaking and writing spontaneous prayers as practiced by generations of Jewish grandmothers and trAncestors.

Rabbi Noam Lerman (they/them) is a trans Jewish educator, musician, story-collector, ritual-holder, Restorative Justice Circle Keeper, and soferex (Hebrew scribe). They received their rabbinical ordination from Hebrew College in 2020. Noam serves as an associate clergy member at Lab/Shul, and as the rabbi and Jewish student advisor at Smith College. They founded Der Tkhines Proyekt, which provides experimental and songful workshops that give life to Yiddish Tkhines, Ashkenazi spontaneous supplications that were once regularly written and prayed by women, trans, and gender non-conforming people. They are one of the co-founders of Let My People Sing!, an intergenerational and liberatory Jewish singing retreat that uplifts diasporic singing traditions. Noam is a facilitator for Tzelem, a spiritual community- building group for Jewish trans teens. They have previously acted as a chaplain for elders, incarcerated youth, and previously incarcerated fathers resiliently fighting for survival and healing.


מנין שוויוני בירושלים

Matthew Anisfeld headshot

Matthew Anisfeld

.אנחנו בונים מניין שוויוני לתפילה בשבת. ניפגש בשבת בבוקר להתפלל ולשיר ביחד, ואז ננשנש טיפה קידוש

.מת'יו גר בירושלים ולומד מרחוק בכולל המתקדם של הדר. הוא אוהב מוסיקה מקהלתית ובילוי זמן עם חברים.





Shabbat Haaretz

Amit Rubin headshot

Amit Rubin

פרויקט בית מדרש לאמנים ותערוכה