The Wexner Foundation is launching a new way for our alumni, members, and fellows to meet, learn, discuss, and refresh their leadership toolbox. Calls will be lead by Angie Atkins, Director, Wexner Heritage Alumni.

Our debut online series, “36 Minutes LIVE: The Elul Series”, will consist of 6 stand-alone videoconferences during the month of Elul, geared to themes of the season. Select faculty (bios below) will lead sessions at various times of day so that our alumni, fellows, and members, from Israel to California and beyond, can come together and learn.

Please mark your calendars and click here to RSVP now for the following interactive sessions, which will begin with 18 minutes of concentrated teaching and then allow for up to 18 minutes of questions and discussion. 18 and 36 being auspicious numbers for Jewish conversation, these sessions will also take place on select Mondays and Thursdays during Elul. Traditionally market days when the Torah was read out loud in public squares (and is still read in many synagogues on these days), we invite you to come to the marketplace of ideas in the Wexner Network and join your transgeographical community of alumni, fellows, and members:

36 Minutes LIVE: The Elul Series

Thursday, August 28th (click here to watch a video of the web-call)
7:00 am PDT – 10:00 am EDT – 5:00 pm Israel time
MK Ruth Calderon
“Rav and the Butcher – a Yom Kippur Story”

Thursday, September 4th
12:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm EDT – 10:30pm Israel time
Raba Tamar Elad-Appelbaum
“The Charge to Be New Creations/Creators”

Thursday, September 11th
10:30 am PDT – 1:30 pm EDT – 8:30 pm Israel time
Nigel Savage 
“Shmita In The 21st Century – Why Does It Matter and What Does It Mean?”

Monday, September 15th
12:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm EDT  – 10:30 pm Israel time
Arna Poupko Fisher
“Faith and Family: The Religion of Relationships” 

Thursday, September 18th
7:30 am PDT – 10:30 am EDT – 5:30 pm Israel time 
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
“What Teshuvah Means for Us Today”

Monday, September 22nd
10:30 am PDT – 1:30 pm EDT – 8:30 pm Israel time
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
“There is Still Time! Preparing for the Days of Awe for Real”

Tech and RSVP Information
We will be using a new technology called Zoom, which is similar to Skype and Google Hangout. Zoom requires no downloading, allows for up to 100 people to participate, and is free to use. You will need to be at a computer, ipad, or smartphone with internet, camera, mic, and speakers to participate fully. If you don’t have a camera or mic at your computer, you can still “zoom in” – as long as you have internet and speakers you will be able to listen in, just like a conference call. You can also dial in from a phone as well, and will be in “listen only mode”. To register and receive instructions and texts which will be used during some of the sessions, please email Erika Stiel. You can register for as many sessions as you like – please mention in your RSVP which sessions specifically you plan to attend. As registration is limited to 100 participants each session, please register only for the sessions you are certain to attend.


MK Dr. Ruth Calderon serves as a Member of the Knesset on the Yesh Atid party slate. Previously, Ruth established the first Israeli secular, pluralistic and egalitarian Beth Midrash for women and men, and went on to found ALMA, which seeks to acquaint secular Israelis with Hebrew culture. She also created the first mixed secular and religious Tikkun Leyl Shavuot in Tel Aviv , a Limmud-style all night learning festival, which many cities in Israel and North America have replicated. Ruth earned her MA and Ph.D. degrees in Talmud from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her initial speech on the floor of the Knesset included personal anecdotes and talmudic quotations in a plea for mutual understanding and respect, and became a YouTube sensation. 

Raba Tamar Elad-Appelbaum is the founder of ZION: An Eretz Israeli Congregation in Jerusalem; and Vice President of the Masorti Rabbinical Assembly. Her work spans and links tradition and innovation, working toward Jewish spiritual and ethical renaissance. She devotes much of her energy to the renewal of community life in Israel and the struggle for human rights. Raba Elad-Appelbaum served as rabbi of Congregation Magen Avraham in the Negev; as a congregational rabbi in the New York suburbs alongside Rabbi Gordon Tucker; and as Assistant Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. She has been named by the Forward as one of the five most influential female religious leaders in Israel for her work promoting pluralism and Jewish religious freedom. 

Arna Poupko Fisher has taught classical Jewish texts to communal leaders and professionals — including for the Wexner Heritage Program — in more than 120 communities throughout North America, and recently gave keynote addresses at the Israeli Presidential Conference and the JCCA Biennial. Graduating from Yeshiva University with degrees in both Jewish education and medieval Jewish philosophy, Ms. Fisher continued her graduate work in the Doctoral programs of both the University of Toronto, and McGill University, where she has also taught.  She has had several national television appearances and has published on subjects pertaining to the relationship of Jewish Law to contemporary society. Ms. Fisher is currently on the faculty of the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where she teaches courses in the areas of Jewish theology and Hebrew Bible.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner is the Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Rabbi Pesner collaborates with Reform congregations and communities across North America and in Israel.  An alumnus of the North American Federation of Temple Youth and URJ Eisner Camp, he also leads the Campaign for Youth Engagement, a bold initiative to retain teens in Jewish life after they become b’nai mitzvah. Additionally, Rabbi Pesner teaches on all four campuses of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to joining the senior leadership of the URJ, Rabbi Pesner served as the Founding Director of Just Congregations, the groundbreaking community organizing effort of the URJ.  In that role, he led efforts to engage thousands of congregations to join together in successful campaigns for health care access, affordable housing, public education, gay and lesbian rights, nursing care workers’ rights, and living wage. In an earlier role as a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston, from 1999-2006, and a leader of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Rabbi Pesner led the Massachusetts “Affordable Care Today!”. That coalition successfully secured health care for more than half a million uninsured residents of the Commonwealth. 

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is currently the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University. He has also been appointed as Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King’s College London. Previously, Rabbi Sacks served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between September 1991 and September 2013. Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as “a light unto this nation” and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as “an intellectual giant,” Rabbi Sacks is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the press, both in Britain and around the world. In recognition of his work, Rabbi Sacks holds 16 honorary degrees and has won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 and The Becket Fund’s 2014 Canterbury Medallist for his role in the defense of religious liberty in the public square. He was knighted by Her Majesty, The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009. Of the 25 books he has published to date, a number of them have won literary awards, including two National Jewish Book Awards, one for A Letter in the Scroll, and one for Covenant & Conversation: Genesis. His Covenant & Conversation commentaries on the weekly Torah portion are read by thousands of people in Jewish communities around the world.

Nigel Savage, originally from Manchester, England, founded Hazon in 2000. Hazon has been recognized in the Slingshot 50 every year since inception. In 2008 Hazon was recognized by the Sierra Club as one of 50 leading faith-based environmental organizations and Nigel was named a member of the Forward 50, the annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish people in the United States. Nigel has spoken or taught in many of the American Jewish community’s leading venues, including the GA, The Wexner Foundation, Dorot, UJA-Federation, Wagner, Brandeis, and others. Before founding Hazon, Nigel was a professional fund manager in the City of London, the English equivalent of Wall Street. He has an MA in History from Georgetown, and learned at Pardes, Yakar, and the Hebrew University. He is a founder of LimmudNY and a member of its Advisory Board and from 2003 to 2012 served as a board member of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Nigel’s first public connection to Jews and food was via a cameo appearance in the cult Anglo-Jewish comic movie, “Leon The Pig Farmer”. He is also believed to be the first English Jew to have cycled across South Dakota on a recumbent bike.

August 28th

9:00 am PDT –
12:00 pm EDT – 5:00 pm Israel time

MK Ruth

“Rav and
the Butcher – a Yom Kippur Story”