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Cohort III

Cohort III Profile

Cohort III is a diverse group of 21 educators. Participants range in age, affiliation, work experience, and areas of field interest.

Organizations represented:

Congregation Beth Shalom; Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh; Hillel of Greater Toronto; Hillel: Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest; NEXT: A Division of Birthrigh Israel Foundation; National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) Yachad; National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP); Pearlstone Center; SAR High School; Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation; The Brofnman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University; The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life; Toronto March of the Living; UJA’s Community Connect; Ulpanat Orot; Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future.

 

Cohort III Participants

Benjamin Berlow

Miriam Bessin

Lior Cyngiser

Jennifer Diamond

Erica Frankel

Carolyn Gerecht

Rachel Gildiner

Shmuel Greene

Talya Greenspoon

Meir Lipschitz

Elise Loterman

Lily Lozovsky

Leah Maas

Avi Narrow-Tilonsky

Morris Panitz

Kiva Rabinksy

Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse

Yoni Sarason

Alana Saxe

Rebecca Schrag

Shauna Waltman

 

 

Benji Berlow

Benjamin Berlow

Director of Jewish Student Life - Carnegie Mellon University for Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Benji Berlow graduated from Lafayette College with a double major in psychology and Jewish studies. After graduating, he started to work with Jewish life on campus at several college campuses in Milwaukee, Silicon Valley, and Pittsburgh. He found his passion in making Judaism and Jewish values accessible to young Jewish adults who think it does not or cannot apply to them and then challenge them continue through a journey of personal discovery. In addition to his 7 years of work with Hillel, Benji has worked as a Jewish educator, song-leader, and Israeli dance instructor for synagogues, families, youth groups, and various other community organizations. Currently, he is the Director of Jewish Student Life at Carnegie Mellon University and living in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and dog.

Miriam Besin

Miriam Bessin

Teacher - Ulpanat Orot. Toronto, Ontario.

Miriam Bessin was born and raised in Toronto. After graduating from Ulpanat Orot High School, Miriam spent a year pursuing Judaic Studies in Midreshet Harova in Jerusalem. She returned to Toronto where she completed her B.A. (Honours) in Religious Studies as well as a B.Ed. in Education at York University in 2007. She is currently teaching Judaic Studies and Physical Education and is the Athletic Director at Ulpanat Orot in Toronto.

Lior Cyngiser

Lior Cyngiser

Manager of Leadership Initiatives - UJA's Toronto Community Connect. Toronto, Ontario.

Lior Cyngiser is the Manager of Leadership Initiatives for UJA’s Community Connect. Community Connect is the UJA Federation’s arm that is committed to providing outlets and opportunities for adults between the ages of 21-35 years old to be engaged in Jewish community life in Toronto. As Manager of Leadership Initiatives, Lior oversees all of the Leadership Development for Canada Israel Experience Birthright-Israel trips across Canada. Previously, Lior was the Outreach Coordinator for the Birthright Israel Alumni Community in Toronto, Ontario. Lior holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary, Bachelor of Human Resources Management from York University and a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. Lior is married to Ilana and has a 2 year old son named Sam.

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond

Director of the York Region Initiative - Hillel of Greater Ontario. Toronto, Ontario.

Jenn was raised in New York where she attained a strong Jewish background at day school. Prior to attending the University of Maryland, she spent a year in Israel, falling in love with the country and strengthening her Jewish background. At the University of Maryland, Jenn studied Family Studies and Jewish Studies. She was also actively involved in Israel advocacy and Jewish life on campus. For the last 5 years she has worked for Hillel of Greater Toronto, first as Assistant Director of Israel Affairs and most recently as Director of the York Region Initiative, intended to expand Hillel into the local community where a majority of students live in effort to build a strong student community.

Erica Frankel

Erica Frankel

Manager of Student Life - The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. New York, New York.

Erica Frankel began taking dance classes and playing soccer at age 3. By age 5 she quit soccer (after kicking the ball to the other team “because they wanted it more” and winning ‘Best Singer on the Field’), and told her parents that she wanted to grow up to be a “multi-talented artist.” In 2008 she received her BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Erica is now a dancer, performer, arts advocate, and Jewish educator. Since 2008, Erica has worked as the Manager of Student Life at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, overseeing student engagement through fellowships, internships, leadership development, and service-learning immersion experiences. She participated in the first-ever cohort of the Harrison LAPID Fellowship for early career Hillel professionals, the first cohort of LimmudNY’s Community of Educators, and she has been a panelist and facilitator with the Jewish Studies Expansion Project (JSEP) and Hillel Institute. Erica is now working towards her Master’s Degree from NYU’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study and has recently received two Jewish Studies grants to study contemporary dance in Israel. Say hi at @ericafrankel, or at www.ericafrankel.com.

Carolyn Gerecht

Carolyn Gerecht

Youth Director - Congregation Beth Shalom. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Carolyn Gerecht was raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She currently works as the Youth Director at Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in Pittsburgh, where she oversees K–12th grade programming spanning four youth groups. Carolyn credits Capital Camps in Waynesboro, PA for inspiring her passion for communal Jewish learning, as well as her family, her own high school youth group experiences, trips to Israel, and her Religious Studies/Jewish Studies classes at the University of Pittsburgh. Carolyn will be leaving Congregation Beth Shalom this summer to study at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem from August to June, while participating in the third cohort of the Experiential Jewish Education certificate at YU. She will then return to Pittsburgh to oversee Jewish teen and family education at the community level. Go Bucs!

Rachel Gildiner

Rachel Gildiner

Associate Director of Student Engagement and Learning - Hillel's Schusterman International Center. Silver Spring, Maryland.

Rachel Gildiner is Associate Director of Student Engagement and Learning at Hillel’s Schusterman International Center. She directs Hillel’s initiatives to engage an increasing number of previously uninvolved Jewish students in Jewish life on college campuses. Rachel also facilitates Hillel’s network of Senior Jewish Educators (SJEs) as they work to deepen the Jewish content and experiences of students’ social networks. Rachel coordinates Hillel’s national student training, teaching students and staff about a relationship-based approach to expanding social networks and facilitating meaningful Jewish experiences and relationships for their peers. Rachel has a BA in Sociology from Columbia University, a BA in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary (List College), and an MA in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University. She currently serves on the List College Advisory Board. Rachel lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Adam, and their two children, Samuel and Vera.

Shmuel Greene

Shmuel Greene

Director of Teen Initiatives - The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life. Highland Park, New Jersey.

Shmuel Greene is the Director of Teen Initiatives of The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life. Shmuel has been a professional leader in formal and informal Jewish educational initiatives such as Rabbi of a congregation in Vancouver, Canada; Education Director at Rutgers Hillel; Founder and Director of The Friendship Circle of the North Shore of Boston; and as Director of the Mekor Chaim/Steinsaltz Ambassadors program. Shmuel was born in Minnesota and made Aliya to Israel in 1986. He served in the Israeli paratroopers and studied History, Jewish History and Jewish Thought at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since joining The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life in 2008, Shmuel has worked on creating and developing JTEENMW. JTEENMW is the all encompassing name given to the many diverse and exciting initiatives presented by the teen department of The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life. Ranging from formal classes to teen philanthropy, JTEENMW offers Jewish teens of MetroWest an exciting, innovative and meaningful menu of educational opportunities where everyone can find something to their liking and a way to connect. Shmuel lives in Highland Park with his wife, Esther, and 5 children.

Talya Greenspoon

Talya Greenspoon

Senior Program Specialist, JDC Entwine - American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). New York, New York.

Talya Greenspoon has been at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) for over 5 years and currently serves as a Senior Program Specialist for JDC Entwine. As a Jewish service learning educator, Talya develops Entwine’s Insider Service trips for college students and has led Entwine Insider Service trips for college students and young professionals to communities in Hungary, Ukraine, Israel, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Argentina, to name a few. Additionally, Talya manages Entwine’s Learning Networks in Houston and Dallas, Texas where she works with young adults to build awareness and develop local programming about global Jewish issues. Talya is a past participant in the Teva Seminar on Jewish Environmental Education and has lived and studied in Israel and South Africa. Talya attended New York University where she received her degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in Cultural Studies with a focus on Cultural Narratives and has called New York, and now Brooklyn, home ever since.

Meir Lipschitz

Meir Lipschitz

Rabbi - Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation. Stony Brook, New York.

Rabbi Meir Lipschitz is the Rabbi of the Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation and serves on the staff of the Hillel at Stony Brook University. Prior to this position he has worked for several schools, shuls, and outreach organizations most notably in the Yeshiva University Toronto Beit Midrash, Yeshiva University High School for Boys, Long Island NCSY, and Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence, New York. He received his Master of Science in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School in 2007 and his Semicha from YU/RIETS in 2010. Rabbi Lipschitz lives in Stony Brook with his wife Jordanna, a registered nurse, and their two year old son Zev.

Elise Loterman

Elise Loterman

Director of Jewish Student Life - Hillel of Greater Toronto. Toronto, Ontario.

Elise Loterman is completing her third year working for Hillel of Greater Toronto. After completing a Bachelor of Arts from York University with a double major in psychology and religious studies, Elise spent an incredible year in Israel learning and volunteering on the Otzma program. Upon returning from Israel, she pursued a Masters degree in Jewish Studies focusing on the place of women in traditional Jewish life. She has also worked for United Synagogue Youth and at Camp Ramah in California and been a madricha on Birthright Israel Trips and the March of the Living. One of her most interesting Jewish experiences was visiting and learning about the Jewish community in Uganda Through many informal Jewish experiences, Elise has become a more religiously committed Jew. She hopes to inspire the love of Judaism and passion in others that she has gained through her strong Jewish mentors and role models. Elise loves Israel, the outdoors and takes advantage of every opportunity to try a new flavor of ice cream.

Lily Lozovsky

Lily Lozovsky

Partner and Co-founder - Mission Metrix, Inc. New York, New York.

Lily Lozovsky is an innovative experiential educator, community organizer, and advocate working to engage young people in their local communities. She holds an MPA in Nonprofit Management and an MA in Jewish Studies from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and completed her undergraduate business degree at the Sy Syms School of Business. Lily is the co-founder of Mission Metrix, where she has consulted with nonprofit organizations such as AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Joshua Venture, and Wheeling Forward on communications and development projects. Previously, Lily spent four years as the Director of Planning and Leadership Development at the Shorefront YM-YWHA in Brighton Beach, a community center located in the heart of the Russian Jewish community. There, she spearheaded numerous local and overseas partnerships and oversaw the expansion of marketing, leadership and cultural arts programs. Lily is passionate about youth empowerment and has worked with organizations like DoSomething.org, Ashoka Youth Venture, Jewish Student Union, and the NYU Bronfman Center to develop programs focused on social entrepreneurship and community building. In her spare time, Lily takes drawing classes at the Art Students League of New York and drinks way too much tea. She plans to become a florist when (if) she retires.

Leah Maas

Leah Maas

Teen Program Coordinator and Masa Israel Representative - Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, Israel Program Center. West Orange, New Jersey.

Leah Maas serves as the Teen Program Coordinator and Masa Israel Representative at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest’s Israel Program Center. In her current position, Leah develops a curriculum that allows teens to explore their Jewish Identity, build a strong relationship with Israel, foster leadership skills, a passion for Tikun Olam and supervises Junior Staff. After spending a gap year in Israel on YJ Year Course-Shalem, Leah attended Rutgers University where she completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and Jewish studies and a Masters in Social Work. Leah loves to travel and spent time volunteering in Ukraine, Morocco, Greece, and Israel. Her past positions and experiences include Camp Coordinator for Kefiada Summer Camp in Israel, Coordinator of Volunteers Services at a hospice, Youth Group Advisor, and Social Worker at a home for Developmentally Disabled Adults. Leah is also a trained Mitzvah Clown, Doula, Radio host, Scuba Diver, loves art, music and plays guitar.

Avi Narrow Tilonsky

Avi Narrow-Tilonsky

Program Manager, Kohelet Fellowships - YU Center for the Jewish Future. New York, New York.

Rabbi Avi Narrow-Tilonsky manages a Torah learning program for parents of day schools, called the Kohelet Fellowships, through Yeshiva University. Avi received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 2011. Simultaneously he completed a master’s degree in public administration at Baruch College. Prior to beginning these programs, he studied economics at Yeshiva University, worked for Jewish non-profits, including Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, and taught in various synagogues. Besides his studies, Avi enjoys reading, biking, and traveling.

Morris Panitz

Morris Panitz

Program Director - Pearlstone Center. Baltimore, Maryland.

Morris Panitz grew up in Norfolk, Virginia and attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he earned a double degree in Philosophy and Jewish studies. He participated in the Adamah Fellowship at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, and served as a farm apprentice at Ocean Air farms before joining the team at the Pearlstone Center in February 2011. He has managed the Jewish Community Gardening Collective, helping local Jewish institutions create educational gardens. He is currently the Program Director at the Pearlstone Center, overseeing a wide array of innovative educational programs, including farm-based field trips, conferences and retreats, immersive programs, and service learning.

Kiva Rabinksy

Kiva Rabinksy

Director of Israel Programs - YU Center for the Jewish Future. Jerusalem, Israel.

Kiva Rabinsky lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Deb, and is the Israel Program Director for Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Kiva made Aliya in 2003 where he learned in yeshiva and subsequently studied at Bar Ilan University and served in the IDF. Kiva spent two years in Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught at the Yeshiva Atlanta High School and earned a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management. During the summers, Kiva has served as the Head Counselor at Camp Stone and currently runs Yeshiva University’s Counterpoint Israel program.

Susanne Rosenhouse

Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse

Social Media Coordinator - The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP). Dallas, Texas.

Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse is originally from Orange County, California and only began her formal Jewish education when she was admitted to Yeshiva University’s Stern College in 1998. After YU, she began working for the National Jewish Outreach Program as a Program Coordinator, where she was the point person for rabbis and synagogues in 32 states and gained extensive knowledge of the United States’ Jewish communal landscape. In 2008, she took on the role of Social Media Coordinator for NJOP and has transformed their social media platform into one of the go-to places for Jewish education and experiences on the social web. Susanne was deemed a “Social Media Rock Star” when included in the Jewish Week’s prestigious “36 Under 36” listing in 2010. She is a member of the ROI Community of Jewish innovators and has spoken on Jewish synergy and bringing our ages-old religion to modern audiences at the South By Southwest Conference in Austin, TX in 2011. Susanne was also one of the organizers of ParnasaFest, a series of networking events for unemployed members of the Jewish community, which taught attendees how to harness and embrace social media in order to extend their personal brand and find new opportunities. She now works remotely for NJOP from Dallas where she lives with her husband and 1-year-old daughter.

Jonathan Sarason

Yoni Sarason

Midwest Regional Director - NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Chicago, Illinois.

Yoni is a strong believer in peer-education and community. In many ways, his upbringing represents the spectrum of the American Jewish community. Although his father is a Rabbi, ordained in the Reform movement, and a professor at Hebrew Union College, Yoni grew up in a Conservative Shul, while living in an Orthodox neighborhood. He even attended a chavura for chaggim. On top of all of that, his household was imbued with a strong current of secular Zionism. He grew up watching Shalom Sesame, celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, and eating Sufganyiot on Hannukah. Although Yoni’s first trip to Israel was with his family before starting high school, he made multiple return trips, including a semester at the University of Haifa, a summer in Jerusalem as a PresenTense Global Fellow, and several rounds as a madrich for Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis,Yoni started several organizations geared towards building young Jewish adult community, including TheStLouJew.com, the St. Louis Moishe House, and Next Dor STL. Currently the Midwest Regional Director for NEXT, Yoni now works with Jewish communities around the area in order to help them elevate their engagement strategies and collaborations.

Alana Saxe

Alana Saxe

Director - Toronto March of the Living. Toronto, Ontario.

Alana Saxe is from Toronto, Canada, and is currently the Director of the Toronto March of the Living. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, Alana moved to Washington D.C. where she served as an AVODAH intern and later worked as the Jewish Student Life Coordinator at the University of Maryland Hillel. Subsequently, Alana completed her MSW at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work while working in various roles at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Volunteering in the community was a value instilled in Alana at a young age and she continues to do so in a number of capacities. In her free time Alana loves trivia, movies that arguably only she finds funny, and traveling any time the opportunity presents itself.

Rebecca Schrag

Rebecca Schrag

Program Director – National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) Yachad. New York, New York.

Rebecca Schrag is the Program Director of Senior Yachad where she organizes educational and recreational programs for Yachad’s teen and young adult clients, with developmental disabilities, in the New York metropolitan area. Rebecca supervises Yachad’s Youth Leadership Council, comprised of active high school representatives who strive to bring inclusion projects to their respective communities. Rebecca also serves as the program director for Yad B’ Yad Israel, a summer leadership program for individuals with and without disabilities, which tours Israel. Rebecca obtained a Master of Social Work degree from New York University. She also received her Bachelor of Social Work degree, with minors in Psychology, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, from New York University. Rebecca devotes much of her time to informal Jewish community work, as well as to formal Jewish education. She has taught Judaic Studies in schools in New Jersey and Connecticut and worked as a madricha at a seminary in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel. Rebecca most enjoys spending her time traveling Israel with different kinds of people as she has staffed 15 organized Israel trips (and counting) though Birthright, Israel 2.0, Aish HaTorah, and Yachad. This summer will mark Rebecca’s 21st summer at camp; for she believes that a bulk of one’s character is shaped during the summer months. Rebecca is excited to learn alongside her peers and grow professionally from the certificate program.

Shauna Bornstein

Shauna Waltman

Director - UJA's Toronto Community Connect. Toronto, Ontario.

Shauna Waltman is a business school graduate who took “the road less travelled” and is now the Director of UJA’s Community Connect, an organization dedicated to building Jewish community with and for Jewish young adults in their twenties and thirties. Prior to her current role, Shauna managed Toronto’s Birthright Israel Alumni Community, the second largest alumni community in North America, where she developed a leading model for alumni follow up. In her spare time, she organizes and leads Canada’s Young Adult March of the Living and serves on the board for her alma mater, Western University’s, Hillel. Shauna was one of two recipients of the prestigious Jewish Communal Service Association of North America’s Young Professional Award (2011) and holds a Masters in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus College. Shauna lives in Toronto with her husband, Jeremy, and their two children, Hannah and Judah who are teaching her the true meaning of “the next generation.”

"I am part of a strong cohort of peers who are passionate and committed to the field of Experiential Jewish Education and who are resources to draw upon moving forward. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn from such amazing people and educators."

Elise Loterman, Director of Engagement, Hillel of Greater Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Cohort III)
"The ubiquitous qualities of dedication, openness, and genuine curiosity amongst the participants in the program created a platform for intellectual discovery, emotional vulnerability, and holistic growth… I learned much from conversations with colleagues, and it seems like there’s a never-ending well of wisdom to glean from the participants and leaders of the program."

Morris Panitz, Program Director, Pearlstone Center, Baltimore, MD (Cohort III)