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WHP New Member Institute 2019 Faculty Bios

NOAH ARONSON 

After earning a degree in Jazz Composition and Piano from Berklee College of Music, he held the position of Composer-in-Residence at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA where he produced 4 albums of Jewish communal music with his mentor Cantor Jodi Sufrin. As a solo musician, Noah has released two full length albums and songbooks entitled 'Am I Awake' and 'Left Side of the Page.' Music from these albums are now sung in progressive communities and summer camps worldwide and has been included as part of the Cantorial curriculum at the Hebrew Union College's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York City. Renowned for his unique and engaging style of prayer leadership, he had the distinct honor of leading over 5,000 people in Shabbat worship at the 2013 URJ Biennial in San Diego, CA. Noah serves on the faculty of the annual Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira workshops in Oconomowoc, WI and the Shirei Chaggiah workshop in London, England. In 2015, Noah partnered with Behrman House, the largest distributor of Jewish educational materials, to create an innovative, music-based curriculum entitled Hebrew in Harmony. His music has also been featured on two compilations from the PJ Library series. Noah lives in New York City and is currently serving as the Creative Director of Sacred Music NY, a non-profit organization that organizes concerts and events around New York City bringing together spiritual musicians from diverse backgrounds to inspire interfaith dialogue and social change.

 

RABBI MATTHEW L. BERKOWITZ 

Rabbi Matthew L. Berkowitz is the Director of Israel Programs for The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and co-founder of Kol Ha-Ot, a Jerusalem-based venture devoted to exploring the arts and Jewish learning. For ten years (1999-2009), Matt served as the JTS Senior Rabbinic Fellow, organizing substantive adult learning throughout Florida and beyond. He is a member of The Wexner Heritage Program Faculty and has taught the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Denver-Boulder, Houston, Los Angeles and Phoenix groups. He completed his undergraduate work in International Relations and Middle East Studies, summa cum laude, at Colgate University. While in Israel, he studied at Pardes and The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. He was ordained from JTS in 1999 and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow alumnus (Class 6). An accomplished artist, Matt was formally trained in Jewish scribal art in Jerusalem and completed the writing of Megillat Esther, the illumination of several ketubbot, and a limited edition artist portfolio entitled Passover Landscapes: Illuminations on the Exodus, which was acquired by Yale University, exhibited at Yeshiva University Museum (April, 2006) and is on permanent exhibit at The Jewish Theological Seminary. The Lovell Haggadah (jointly published in 2008 by The Schechter Institute and Nirtzah Editions) is based on this work. In 2008-2009, he studied illustration and oil painting at The Jerusalem Studio School. Rabbi Berkowitz resides in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. www.rabbimattberkowitz.com 

 

RABBI DAVID INGBER  

Named by Newsweek as one of 2013’s top 50 most influential rabbis in the United States as well as by The Forward as one of the 50 most newsworthy and notable Jews in America, Rabbi David Ingber promotes a renewed Jewish mysticism that integrates meditative mindfulness and physical awareness into mainstream, post-modern Judaism. A major 21st century Jewish thinker and educator, his rich perspective, open heart and mind and full-bodied approach to Jewish learning has brought him to speak throughout the United States and worldwide throughout Canada, Europe and Israel. Rabbi David’s distinct approach to Torah, rabbinical teaching and ritualistic practice is informed by his own personal seeking and learning from a wide cross-section of sacred traditions and faiths. He is enlightened by Jewish mysticism and Chassidut, fusing these beliefs with those of other ancient philosophies and world views. Particular influences include 18th century Kabbalist and Founder of Chassidut, Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov; the great 19th century Ishbitzer Rebbe, R. Mordechai Leiner; and leading 20th century thinkers from Kabbalist Rav Abraham Isaac Kook to psychologist Carl Jung. Rabbi Ingber has taught at such eminent institutions as the Academy for Jewish Religion, Columbia University, CUNY, Jewish Theological Seminary, Limmud LA, New York University, the 92nd Street Y, Pardes, The Skirball Center at Temple Emmanuel and Yeshivat HADAR. He sits on the Board of Directors of Aleph and Synagogue 3000 Next Dor’s Working Group of Sacred Emergent Communities where he continues to teach.

 

RABBI ADAM KLIGFELD 

Rabbi Adam Kligfeld is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Los and in his decade of service to Beth Am, has spearheaded major efforts to reinvent the prayer experience in the community, both via the content and music of the service, and also the space itself. Rabbi Kligfeld came to Beth Am in 2009 after serving for nine years at Congregation Eitz Chaim in Monroe, NY. Rabbi Kligfeld teaches regularly in the Pressman Academy Day School and Religious School, along with being a teacher and story-teller in the ECC. In addition to teaching a regular, weekly class on Humash with Rashi, Rabbi Kligfeld teaches throughout the Rabbi Joel Rembaum Institute for Adult Education and Family Programming. Rabbi Kligfeld is an active member of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, a graduate of the Hartman Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, and is a newly-appointed rabbinic mentor in the CLI (Clergy Leadership Incubator.) One of his passions is building bridges and connections within the Jewish community, he’s deeply committed to interfaith work and is proud of recent communal partnerships and friendships created with local Muslim communities, including organizing a series of Shabbat dinners coinciding with Iftar meals to end Ramadan fasts. Rabbi Kligfeld served on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement for ten years. He is a 1995 graduate of Columbia College, magna cum laude, with a degree in psychology and Jewish history. He was ordained in 2000 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

 

DR. ELLIOT M. KRANZLER 

Elli Kranzler M.D. practices psychiatry in Manhattan and is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has published in the areas of bereavement, depression and child development. He is the Shliach Tzibbur at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and has recorded numerous Jewish music albums, including those of D’veykus and Journeys. He has performed throughout the country and in Israel, England and Australia. Recently, he has been involved in the synagogue renewal movement, speaking and leading Shabbatons, centered on the challenges of meaningful Jewish spirituality and engaging prayer. Elli is also a Wexner Heritage Alumnus from one of the first New York groups (1992-94).

 

PROFESSOR DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT 

Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, has published and taught about the Holocaust for close to 40 years. However, she is probably most widely known because of the libel lawsuit brought against her (1996) by David Irving for having called him a Holocaust denier. Irving then was then arguably the world’s leading denier. After a ten-week trial in London (2000), in an overwhelming victory for Lipstadt, the judge found Irving to be a “neo-Nazi polemicist” who “perverts” history and engages in “racist and anti-Semitic” discourse. The Daily Telegraph (London) described the trial as having “done for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations.” The Times (London) described it as “history has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory.” According to the New York Times, the trial “put an end to the pretense that Mr. Irving is anything but a self-promoting apologist for Hitler.” The movie DENIAL, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Wilkinson, with a screenplay by David Hare, tells the story of this legal battle. It is based on Lipstadt’s book History On Trial: My Day In Court With A Holocaust Denier (Harper Collins 2006) and recently reissued as DENIAL (Harper Collins 2016). The film was nominated for a BAFTA as one of the best British films of the year. Lipstadt has written most recently Holocaust: An American Understanding (Rutgers, 2016) which explores how America has understood and interpreted the Holocaust since 1945. Her previous book, The Eichmann Trial, (Schocken/Nextbook 2011) published in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Eichmann trial, was called by Publisher’s Weekly, “a penetrating and authoritative dissection of a landmark case and its after effects.” The New York Times Book Review described Lipstadt as having “done a great service by… recovering the event as a gripping legal drama, as well as a hinge moment in Israel’s history and in the world’s delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust.” She has also published Beyond Belief: The American Press And The Coming Of The Holocaust (Free Press, 1986), which surveys what the American press wrote about the persecution of the Jews in the years 1933-1945. She is currently writing a book, The Antisemitic Delusion: Letters to a Concerned Studentwhich will be published in 2018. At Emory she directs the website known as HDOT [Holocaust Denial on Trial/ www.hdot.org] which contains a complete archive of the proceedings of Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt. It also provides answers to frequent claims made by deniers. At Emory, Lipstadt has won the Emery Williams Teaching Award. She was selected for the award by alumni as the teacher who had most influenced them. Lipstadt was an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American response to the Holocaust. She has held Presidential appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (from Presidents Clinton and Obama) and was asked by President George W. Bush to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. She has a BA from the City College of New York and an MA and PhD from Brandeis University. 

RABBI SHIRA STUTMAN  

Rabbi Shira Stutman, Senior Rabbi at Washington, DC’s innovative Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, was named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Forward, among other national awards. At Sixth & I, she and her colleagues strive to create a spiritually connected, reflective, intellectually challenging and engaging Jewish community for the area’s large millennial population. When not at Sixth & I, Rabbi Stutman teaches for the Wexner Heritage program and at Jewish Federations across the United States, and is a board member of Jews United for Justice. She also speaks nationally on the topics of 21st century millennials, post-tribal religion in America, working with and supporting interfaith couples and building a welcoming and diverse Jewish community. Rabbi Stutman graduated from Columbia University and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She is also a proud graduate of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland.

 

Staff

RABBI B. ELKA ABRAHAMSON 

President, The Wexner Foundation 

Rabbi  B. Elka Abrahamson is President of The Wexner Foundation. She oversees the Foundation's full range of activities and, in partnership with Foundation chairmen Abigail and Leslie Wexner, imagines how the Foundation might further strengthen and educate Jewish professional and volunteer leaders in North America and public service leaders in the State of Israel. Rabbi Abrahamson has been associated with the Foundation for many years. For close to a decade she served as a member of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship's faculty and selection committee. She was the Director of the Graduate Fellowship Program and Vice President prior to assuming her current role in 2011.

A proud member of the Frozen Chosen, Elka, a native Minnesotan, earned her teaching degree from the University of Minnesota and spent the early years of her career creating curricula for Religious Schools and Informal educational settings, particularly Jewish camps. Her Jewish soul sprang to life at Camp Herzl in Wisconsin and her Jewish leadership blossomed at Camp Swig in Northern California. She is still a camper at heart. Ordained at HUC-JIR, New York, Elka began her career as associate rabbi at Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo, CA. and then, with her husband, Rabbi Martin (Misha) Zinkow, served as co-senior rabbi at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, MN. 

Rabbi Abrahamson, a dynamic speaker and an engaging teacher, is optimistic about the Jewish future owing to the remarkable leaders she encounters in her rabbinate, many of them Wexner Alumni. She has served as High Holiday Rabbi-in-Residence at Chicago Sinai Congregation for a decade and has been a scholar, advisor, or keynote speaker in a wide variety of settings including the American Jewish World Service, Women's Rabbinic Network, Hadar, the Jewish Federation of Columbus, Columbus Jewish Day School, Pew Study, and The Conversation. She has taken up Mussar in the last few years as both a student and teacher. Elka loves a good football game, especially if the Vikings (or Buckeyes) are winning. 

Rabbi Abrahamson has been published in magazines, books and journals including Moment, Shma, Jewels of Elul, and the CCAR Journal. She received the Bernard Reisman Award as an outstanding member of the professional Jewish community. Newsweek thinks she is one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. Elka and Misha - senior rabbi of Temple Israel, Columbus since 2004 - are Ima and Abba to four twenty-somethings millennials. 

ANGIE ATKINS 

Director, Wexner Heritage Alumni

Angie is the Director of Wexner Heritage Alumni. Previously, Angie founded, ran (and then sold) an international jewelry business which manufactured in Israel and wholesaled fine designer jewelry around the world for 22 years. Working with Israeli artists and “bootstrap entrepreneurs” exposed Angie to a very zesty, secular, “left” intellectual part of Israeli society. Upon graduating from the Wexner Heritage Program, Angie was moved to devote more of her life to giving back to the Jewish world. She joined the Wexner Foundation staff in 2010 as Director, Wexner Heritage Alumni, to help galvanize the already tremendous work of their alumni. Angie has built up platforms, venues and opportunities for our 2,100 WHP alumni to network and cross pollinate (both online and in person), to continue their high level Jewish and leadership learning, and to invigorate their dedication to the far-reaching communal work in which they already engage. She also is part of a core team of directors who run the Foundation’s newest program: Summits, the Network in Action, which provides a platform for alumni across all our programs to stack hands and work on major challenges facing the Jewish World and Israel. Angie’s personal/lay involvement in the Jewish world centers on learning and kiruv. Along with her husband Norman (also a Wexner Heritage Alum), she regularly hosts Shabbat minyans, seudot, and learning in her home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – the gatherings are unique in that they are trans-denominational, bringing many people together from across the spectrum of Jewish life. Angie serves on the Executive Committee on the board of Romemu, a shul dedicated to a Judaism that opens body, heart, mind and spirit to experience greater compassion, courage, and joy in our lives. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Base Hillel and Mechon Hadar. Angie has a BA in English from Yale University and three adult children: Zohar, Ari and Shira and, b’h, became a savta (to Azaria Raz) last summer during the WHP Alumni Council Meeting in Snowmass. Angie loves hiking, biking, all arts, all weather, all travel, all food, almost all music and cannot yet love all people, but tries.

RABBA YAFFA EPSTEIN 

Director, Wexner Heritage Program 

Rabba Yaffa Epstein, the incoming Director of the Wexner Heritage Program, most recently served as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. Yaffa has been a teacher of Talmud, Jewish Law, and Liturgy at Pardes for over a decade and has served as the Director of the Beit Midrash at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She has taught Talmud and Jewish Law at Yeshivat Maharat, The Drisha Institute and The Wexner Heritage Program. Yaffa has lectured at Limmud Events around the world, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

 

 

RABBI JAY HENRY MOSES  

Vice President, The Wexner Foundation

Rabbi Jay Henry Moses is Vice President of The Wexner Foundation, having served for many years as Director of the Wexner Heritage Program, North America’s premier Jewish leadership education program. He joined the staff of The Wexner Foundation in 2003.

Rabbi Moses got his start in Jewish leadership through NFTY, Reform Judaism’s youth movement. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English literature, magna cum laude. Having recently relocated to the territory of archrival Ohio State, he still bleeds maize and blue but is keeping quiet about it.

Rabbi Moses pursued rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was awarded a Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Ordained in 1997, Rabbi Moses served for five years as Associate Rabbi at Temple Sholom of Chicago. From 2002 to 2003, Rabbi Moses studied Jewish mysticism in Jerusalem where he also taught and mentored rabbinical students at HUC-JIR. He has participated in the Rabbinic Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an intensive study, meditation and retreat program.

Rabbi Moses sits on the board of the Columbus Jewish Day School. He is also on the board of Kavod, a non-profit tzedakah collective and is a member of the B’nai Ya’acov Council of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. 

Rabbi Moses has had essays published in fourbooks in the series on High Holiday prayers published by Jewish Lights Publications, as well as in many newspapers and magazines. 

He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Cantor Bat-Ami Moses, who serves as the Hazzan at Temple Israel, and their sons, Caleb and Ezekiel. An avid basketball player, he has lost a step taking it to the hole but makes up for it with decent (if streaky) shooting and the craftiness that comes with advancing age.