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Cohort V

 

COHORT V PROFILE:

Cohort V is a diverse group of 19 educators. Participants range in age, affiliation, work experience, and areas of field interest.

ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED:

Hillel International; Tanenbaum CHAT; J. Academy Camp-Schwartz/Reisman Centre; Congregation Sherith Israel; Michael- Ann Russell JCC; Ask Big Questions; Yeshiva University; Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; UJA’s Community Connect Toronto; Hazon; The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Congregation Adereth-El; Drisha Institute; Musical IQ; Gather the Jews; Jewish Federation of San Diego

 

Cohort V Participants

Kyle Borenstein

Dina Dryden

Aaron Finkelstein

Yaakov Frankiel

Evelyn Goldfinger

Stephanie Goldfarb

Aaron Katchen

Jon Kelsen

Keren Romm

Laura Tomes

Shmueli Perkel

Aaron Potek

Margalit Rosenthal

Adam Simon

Gideon Shloush

Jessica Taylor

Heather Wolfson

Sonia Wilk

 

 

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Kyle Borenstein

Teacher, Coordinator, Grade 9 Shabbaton Program,
TanenbaumCHAT Toronto, Ontario

Kyle Borenstein, a Toronto, Canada native, spent 2 years studying at Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem before attending Yeshiva University where he received his Bachelors in Business and Management. Upon graduating, Kyle participated in Yeshiva University’s Legacy Heritage Fellowship, a program in which he taught students from 6th-12th grade for two years at Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, TX. Simultaneously he completed his Master’s Degree from the Azrieli School of Jewish Education. Always looking for ways to improve his craft, Kyle has spent multiple summers attending the Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop. Kyle currently teaches Rabbinics and Tanach at TanenbaumCHAT, a Community Jewish high school in Toronto. There he is also the Coordinator of the Grade 9 Shabbaton Program, leading multiple Shabbaton retreats throughout the academic year. Kyle is also involved in different aspects of student activities at TanenbaumCHAT outside the walls of the classroom. In his free time Kyle plays ice hockey as well as coaches high school ice hockey. Kyle is excited for the opportunity to grow as an educator and to inspire a new generation of Jews, with a love of Judaism and a sense of commitment to the Jewish people as he continues to bring his love of teaching and learning both in and outside the classroom.

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Dina Dryden

Associate Director, J. Academy Camp,
Schwarz/Reisman Centre Toronto, Ontario

Dina Dryden is the Associate Director of J. Academy at the Schwarz/Reisman Centre. In this role she coordinates the camp staff through Rimon. Dina was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived in Israel for 11 years before moving to Toronto. She studied at the University of Toronto and earned a specialist degree in Physical Education and Health with a minor in Jewish Studies. Dina has been involved in Toronto’s Jewish community for the past 9 years in different community organizations as a camp counselor, youth group leader, homework club coordinator and instructor for seniors’ programs.

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Aaron Finkelstein

Assistant Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel, Nashville, TN

A native of Berkeley, CA., Rabbi Aaron Finkelstein attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied Political Science and Jewish Studies. After time in multiple yeshivot in Israel, he moved to New York to begin his study for smeikha [rabbinic ordination] at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School (YCT).  During his rabbinical studies, Aaron worked with Jewish youth in California, Poland, and Hungary, participated in ecumenical delegations to Ghana and Israel, and trained as a hospital chaplain. Aaron also served as a rabbinic intern in Potomac, Maryland, at Hunter College and in Riverdale, New York.  After receiving smeikha, Aaron served as the founding rabbi of the Prospect Heights Shul, a modern Orthodox community in Prospect Heights Brooklyn. Aaron’s efforts were later featured on the front page of the NY Jewish Week and the Prospect Heights Shul continues to grow and thrive. Subsequently, Aaron taught Judaic Studies at Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. There he rediscovered his love of teaching and working in a day school environment. Following their recent marriage in May, Aaron and his wife Julie Sugar moved to Nashville to serve as the Assistant Rabbi at Sherith Israel and a Judaic Studies teacher at Akiva School. Aaron is excited to work with all ages of kids and adults, is passionate about teaching midrash and parsha, and enjoys trying out new recipes for Shabbat or just a regular weeknight dinner

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Yaakov Frankiel

City Director and Educator,
NCSY and Columbus Torah Academy Columbus, OH

Yaakov has been an educator, inspirational leader and community builder for over 10 years. He is the co-founder of Beit Tfillah of Neve Yaakov and recieved his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovitz and the Rabbanut. He currently maintains dual positions as a Judaics teacher in Columbus Torah Academy and the NCSY City Director. They were awarded the Chapter of the Year title in 2014. Yaakov, his wife Shira, and their daughter, Shulamit currently live in Columbus, OH.

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Evelyn Goldfinger

Jewish Educational Theatre Director,
Michael-Ann Russell JCC North Miami, FL

Evelyn Goldfinger is a performer, playwright, director and researcher devoted to theater for young audiences and an educator. She comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She co-created and directed for 11 years the charitable theater company called Late which performed for underprivileged children at Hillel Argentina since 2003. Evelyn created El Toratron, a professional Jewish Educational Theatre ensemble to transmit Jewish values to children, young people and adults and since 2007 it has engaged over 10,000 spectators and toured internationally, with the support and recognition of organizations such as ROI and the Embassy of Israel in Argentina. Evelyn is the recipient of the prestigious Juan Cervera Award from ASSITEJ Spain given to research in theatre for children and she has been invited to present her work as a researcher in many congresses and forums throughout the world. Evelyn serves as the Jewish Educational Theatre (J.E.T.) Director of the J’s Cultural Arts Theater at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC. Evelyn is in charge of the creative process related to the new Jewish Educational division of J-CAT at MAR-JCC, which include classes for children such as Shalom Stars, training for educators and special presentations and shows.

 

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Stephanie Goldfarb

Director of Youth Philanthropy & Leadership,
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Chicago, IL

Stephanie Goldfarb works full-time as the Director of Youth Philanthropy & Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. She has been working with teens in experiential Jewish education for the past five years, and currently runs several informal Jewish education programs for high schoolers, including Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation and The Research Training Internship. Stephanie holds both a Masters of Clinical Social Work and a Masters of Gender Studies from Loyola University, and is currently working toward her clinical hours that will allow her to sit for her LCSW licensing exam. In addition to her professional degrees, Stephanie also holds the title of America’s Best Cook and can be frequently seen on The Food Network. Goldfarb sees food as a vehicle to combine all of her interests (Jewish community-building, food, and social justice) together. Specifically, she runs a twice-monthly supper club which benefits Chicago-based charities. Goldfarb uses food as a way to support the causes she cares most about, to feed the people she loves, to meet new people she is yet to love, and to empower people to get into the kitchen on their own. She is currently in development of a Jewish teen cooking class at a local synagogue.

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Aaron Katchen

Director ABQ Fellowship/Associate ED Hillel GTA, Hillel
Toronto, Ontario

Aaron Katchen has served as Associate Executive Director and Rabbi for Hillel of Greater Toronto since 2009, where a key part of his work includes advising the Ask Big Questions fellowship program. Prior to his work in Toronto, Aaron worked for Hillel in Winnipeg, at Brown University, and at Oxford University. Aaron completed his undergraduate studies at York University and studied for rabbinic ordination in Israel at the Pardes Institute. Aaron and his family enjoy spending their summers at camp.

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Jon Kelsen

Faculty, Drisha Institutel,
New York, NY

Jon Kelsen is the Rosh Kollel and Director of the June Kollel and teaches Talmud and Rabbinics at Drisha. A graduate of the Pardes Kollel, he received ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes and holds an MA in Jewish Civilization from Hebrew University

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Keren Romm

Co-Director of Student Activities,
TanenbaumCHAT Toronto, Ontario

Keren Romm is a graduate of the Concurrent Jewish Education Program at York University and the Pardes Educators Program in conjunction with Hebrew University.  She is currently in her 9th year in the classroom, fulfilling her passion for teaching Jewish Studies, and in her 7th year as Director of Student Activities, creating moments for genuine Jewish engagement and learning, and empowering student leaders.  Keren has taught in Israel and the US and is currently working at TanenbaumCHAT- Kimel Family Education Centre, where she is deeply fulfilled by her work both inside and outside the classroom; however, Keren is constantly looking for ways to further develop herself as an educator and is excited to be a part of Cohort V of the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education.

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Laura Tomes

Director of Educational Research and Innovation,
Hillel International Washington, DC

Laura joined Hillel International in July 2014 as the Director of Educational Research and Innovation. Her work focuses on helping Hillel professionals who are not formally trained educators to facilitate Jewish learning for students. Laura is originally from the U.K and came to the U.S in 2008 to work on a Ph.D. on informal Jewish education in congregational Hebrew schools, which she completed in 2013. While a graduate student, she also taught Jewish history at Beth Tfiloh community day school, 8th grade Hebrew school, and worked as a curator at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. She is currently the Kiev senior research fellow at the George Washington University, and adjunct faculty in the M.A program in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts.

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Shmueli Perkel

Creative Director,
Musical IQ Engelwood, NJ

Shmueli co-founded Musical IQ in 2006 with a small series of flagship educational programs which have since grown both in content, scope and reach – engaging over 35 thousand participants of all ages each year. Musical IQ offers a variety of unique and interactive workshops, school assembly programs and performances featuring some of Broadway’s finest talent. Growing up in South Africa, Shmueli’s love for music and the ethnic cultures of the African continent have imbued a deep sense of the power of music and its ability to both educate and inspire people. Musical IQ programs aim to harness this power in a fun and carefully crafted framework to enable participants to discover and taste their innate creativity as well as to help build bonds of community and togetherness.  Shmueli holds a BA in Government Strategy and Diplomacy (Magna Cum Lauda) from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). Shmueli lives with his wife and 2 children in Englewood, NJ.

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Aaron Potek

Rabbi, NU Hillel
Chicago, IL

Rabbi Aaron Potek has been serving as the campus rabbi for Northwestern University’s Hillel since July 2013 after receiving ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in NY. During his last year of studies Aaron also served as the rabbinic intern at Hunter College and Harvard University Hillels, and he has also worked as an educator for the Nesiya Institute, Impact: Boston and Genesis. Following graduation from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Industrial and Operations Engineering, Aaron lived for two years in Israel, where he studied at Pardes and Yeshivat Har Etzion. Beginning in August of 2015, Aaron will be serving as the Rabbi-Educator for Gather the Jews in Washington, D.C.

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Margalit Rosenthal

Senior Director, Birthright Israel Experience,
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

Margalit C. Rosenthal is the Senior Director, Birthright Israel Experience at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where she oversees “LA Way” community trips as well as post-trip engagement strategies and initiatives. She recently participated in the pilot cohort of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Global Justice Fellowship. Margalit holds a Masters in Public Administration, with a focus in public and non-profit management and policy, and an MA in Hebrew & Judaic Studies from NYU’s Wagner/Skirball Dual Degree Program, where she was a Jewish Foundation for Education of Women Fellow. During graduate school, Margalit participated in a service-learning program in Senegal with American Jewish World Service, traveled to Istanbul and Berlin with JDC Entwine, and served as the graduate student life program coordinator at The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life-NYU Hillel. She has worked in social entrepreneurship, innovation, and philanthropy with Joshua Venture Group and Slingshot, and has done freelance work for The Jewish Federation of San Diego County and Herring Consulting. Prior to graduate school, Margalit worked in Jewish cultural arts in Washington, D.C. Originally from San Diego, Margalit spent a gap-year in Israel on Nativ (a program of USCJ) before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the Honors Program at University of Maryland with a BA in English Language and Literature and minor in Jewish Studies.

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Adam Simon

San Diego Director,
NCSY San Diego, CA

Adam Simon is a multi-faceted Jewish Educator living in San Diego, CA. He is originally from Los Angeles, CA and spent a number of years learning and living in Jerusalem (where he received Rabbinic Ordination and Bachelors in Talmudic Law and Philosophy). He is currently the San Diego Director and West Coast Director of Innovation for NCSY and teaches Chumash and Film at SCY High School. He is passionate about Torah, Jewish Education, Jewish Values and having fun. He loves learning, teaching, cooking, eating, creating things, spending time with his family and, most of all, bringing it all together to find balance.

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Gideon Shloush

Rabbi, Congregation Adereth El
New York, NY

Rabbi Gideon Shloush has been an important part of the remarkable resurgence at Congregation Adereth El. Located in the heart of New York City – serving the Murray Hill, Gramercy Park, and Kips Bay neighborhoods of Manhattan -this Synagogue is New York’s oldest Congregation on the same site. In 2002 Gideon was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. The following year he was appointed as the Director of Rabbinic Learning and Enrichment at the RCA. In 2006 he was hired by RIETS to oversee the Rabbinic Internship and Training Program at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Gideon is an adjunct professor at Stern College where he teaches Tanach and Jewish Studies. Over the past decade he has served in leadership capacities within the RCA, the New York Board of Rabbis, RIETS Rabbinic Alumni and the Beth Din of America.

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Jessica Taylor

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

 Jessica Taylor was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and has worked at UJA-Community Connect (CoCo) since 2012.  Jessica has completed Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology, but rather than practicing in that field, she found her passion lay in Jewish communal work.  Jessica grew up with a sense of Jewish pride instilled in her through her family and the Jewish day school system.  But it was after participating in the Young Adult March of the Living (MOL) that she began to truly take ownership of her Jewish Identity.  It was the MOL experience that inspired Jessica to start working in the community, while also getting more involved through participating in and chairing fundraising events, and becoming a Birthright and MOL trip leader.  Jessica began her work at CoCo overseeing their large-scale volunteer fundraising events, and now holds the position of Manager of Leadership Initiatives. In this role Jessica oversees the training and coordination of Taglit-Birthright Israel madrichim for Canada Israel experience. Throughout her career as a Jewish professional she hopes to continue to find ways help individuals connect with their Jewish identity and to work on building community that is interesting and meaningful to each generation. When not busy with community work, Jessica loves spending time with family and friends, especially at her family cottage on Lake Simcoe. She enjoys leading an active lifestyle and being outdoors, and can often be found participating in Pilates, triathlon training, wakesurfing, and snow skiing.  Jessica is excited to join EJE Cohort V!

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Heather Wolfson

Sr. Director of Community Partnerships,
Jewish Federation of San Diego County San Diego, CA

Heather Wolfson is dedicated to building a vibrant Jewish future. She is currently the Senior Director, Community Partnerships at the Jewish Federation in San Diego. Previously, she lived in LA and was a nonprofit management consultant and the part-time Managing Director of the Avi Schaefer Fund. Prior, she served as the Western Regional Director for NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Prior she worked for MAZON:  A Jewish Response to Hunger and the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.  Outside of work, Heather has been involved in many activities.  She is a member of the ROI Community, has participated in the Emma and Jeremiah (Progressive Jewish Alliance/Bend the Arc) Fellowships and serves on local community committees. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a dual B.A. in journalism and communication and her M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.

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Sonia Wilk

Teva Education Coordinator,
Hazon Falls Village, CT

Born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, Sonia left home in 2008. For many years, Sonia considered herself a professional wanderer. She has lived all over the country and the world, “collecting experiences,” learning, and teaching. Along the way, she figured out that what really makes her heart sing is education, specifically, through a Jewish, experiential lens. In the fall of 2012, Sonia taught as an educator for the Teva program and has since become Teva’s Education Coordinator. In this role she supervises 10 educators who share the wisdom of Jewish tradition and its connection to the land with day school students through exploring the woods of the Connecticut Berkshires. And she loves every minute of it! When she’s not out discovering new wonders in the natural world or chasing groups of kids up mountains, Sonia can often be found lying in a hammock or spending time with her bird, Emunah (sometimes simultaneously). She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the many passionate and talented people who are part of this cohort.

“I really appreciate the way the program was designed and the diversity of the people in my cohort. Everything about this program was intentional and it was evident throughout. It challenged me as a participant and I am grateful for the opportunity to take time to learn and to meet people of such a high caliber.”

Dina Dryden, Associate Director, J. Academy Camp, Schwarz/Reisman Centre Toronto
"I love being a part of a thoughtful and sophisticated educational program. It really is an impressive group and it feels great for me to be surrounded by like minded individuals and educators. I'm excited to spend time with my cohort over the course of the year, to learn from them and with them."

Aaron Finkelstein, Assistant Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel