Funded in part by grants from the Vivian & Paul Olum Charitable Foundation and the Foh’s Foundation.

Click here to apply now

The T’ruah Israel Fellowship offers a select group of six students spending the academic year in Israel the opportunity for intensive study, experiential learning, development of a rabbinic voice, and cohort building. Fellows participate in monthly study sessions, special opportunities to see human rights issues on-the-ground (in addition to the regular Year-In-Israel program), and leadership training. Fellows also take leadership roles in guiding and facilitating the Year-in-Israel program for their fellow students. Meet our current and past fellows here. 

View our promotional flyer.

“The T’ruah Fellowship provided me with a unique and important opportunity to deepen my learning during my year in Israel. The fellowship cohort was an important space for me to process my personal experiences and evolving relationship to Israel while also helping me develop a more robust sense of the role I play as a rabbinic voice in shaping discourse around human rights issues in Israel and Palestine.”

—Ari Witkin, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

The Fellows work directly with T’ruah’s Rabbinic Educator in Israel (Rabbi Ian Chesir-Teran) and Israel Program Manager (Neta Dror), working with them to achieve a successful Year-in-Israel program. At times, they will also work closely with T’ruah’s Director of Rabbinic Training (Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson) and other staff. There will be opportunities during the year to meet T’ruah leadership.

Click here for online application

Application Timeline

  • Applications due Thursday, May 6, 2021
  • Interviews conducted via Zoom the week of May 10 and 17
  • Fellows notified by end of May
  • Fellowship commitments begin when students arrive in Israel

Israel Fellows Time Commitment

During the school year, we anticipate a time commitment of no more than 15 hours per month, as follows:

  • 6-8 hours on a tiyul one Friday per month (or an evening program)
  • 3 hours of fellows’ programming (one Monday night per month)
  • 4 hours spent on miscellaneous: recruiting, writing, program planning, etc.

Israel Fellows Compensation

The stipend for this position is $750. Additionally, fellows will participate in Year-in-Israel trips free of charge. As appropriate, we will facilitate applications to your rabbinical/cantorial school for course or volunteer credit.

Who Is Qualified to Be an Israel Fellow?

This fellowship is open to any North American rabbinical or cantorial student spending the 2021-2022 academic year in Israel. We are especially interested in students with proven strength in peer leadership, curiosity about new experiences and openness to different opinions, interest and experience in interdenominational learning environments, exceptional organizational skills, demonstrated interest in human rights/civil rights/social justice, and an ability to work with people of different backgrounds and ideologies.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming people, people of color, and those who grew up poor or working class are encouraged to apply.

Questions?

Contact Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, Director of Rabbinic Training:

lev@truah.org

    2022 Israel Fellows

  • Aliza Schwartz

    Aliza Schwartz (she/her) is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, expecting to graduate in 2024. Before rabbinical school, Aliza was based in Boston and given the enormous gift of growing up as a leader, organizer, and trainer there. Aliza’s spiritual and political home in Boston is Kavod, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial community led by young Jews, that lives out its values through vibrant Jewish ritual,transformative social justice organizing, and collective responsibility. Aliza served on Kavod’s board for four years and as Board President for two. She worked for three-and-a-half years at the New Israel Fund as Assistant Director for the New England Region, fundraising for and building community around progressive work in Israel/Palestine. She has been a strategy coach and trainer for IfNotNow, especially in the movement’s early years. Aliza is an alumna of AmeriCorps and JOIN for Justice’s Jewish Organizing Fellowship, and served as Community Organizer at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. Before that, Aliza spent a year in Israel/Palestine, most meaningfully working with Sudanese and Eritrean Refugees and asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv. Aliza strives to be playing music, throwing a frisbee, or hanging out with a dog as often as possible.

  • Julie Fishbach

    Julie Fishbach (she/her) is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, expecting to graduate in 2026. She grew up in the Bay Area, where she was active in Temple Isaiah’s youth groups, and worked as a counselor and Program Director at Camp Tawonga. She studied Sociocultural Anthropology and Theater at UC San Diego and completed coursework in Political Media while interning with the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington DC. After graduating in 2014, Julie moved to Chicago to pursue a career in comedy. She spent six years performing and directing for the Second City Training Center, while also teaching middle school. At the same time, Julie grew involved with Mishkan Chicago, working closely with the clergy as a Leadership Fellow and member of the Davening Team. Through leading Mishkan’s prayer services, she gained a deep appreciation for Judaism as a tool for inspiration, healing, and positive social change. Julie is passionate about youth advocacy and refugee rights. When she’s not performing or protesting, she loves baking, hiking, and learning about Jewish ritual.

  • Neil Hirsch

    Neil Hirsch (he/him) is a Jewish educator from Toronto and a member of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School class of 2024. Neil has been privileged to be involved with several other amazing organizations across the denominational spectrum, including the Drisha institute, and as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, Yeshivat Romemu, Mechon Pardes, and Adamah. Helping to foster communities that are inclusive and accessible is an important part of his work, as he seeks to bring people into closer relationship to themselves, each other, this miraculous world, and the Divine through Jewish tradition and environmentalism and justice work. He has worked with youth and young adults in experiential education at camps and Hebrew schools, and in pools, farms, and ski slopes around North America. Neil was a founding board member of OMEQ: Depth through Dialogue, a student organization seeking to create more nuanced understanding on campuses of Israelis, Palestinians, and the conflict. Neil has also worked as the co-director of Base: a pluralistic Beit Midrash in Toronto, the co-program leader at Gann Farm’s Shomrei Adamah inaugural program, and for years in non-profit operations. When not learning Torah, you can find him biking, hiking, or playing in the kitchen, where he loves all things that bubble, fizz, and stew.

  • Nicole Fix

    Nicole Fix (she/her) is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and is expected to graduate in 2023. Nicole is deeply committed to the expansion of Jewish and social engagement through the arts. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Monday Night, Nimrod International Journal for Prose and Poetry, Post Road Magazine, Go! Magazine, and Ritual Well. She is the recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant and was an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Nicole is a founder of Page 73 Productions, an award-winning New York City-based theater company, and also produced the monthly literary reading series The Lantern. During her time in rabbinical school, Nicole has worked for the School of Creative Judaism and The New Shul and was an iEngage Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. She holds a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

  • Sara LeMesh

    Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sara LeMesh (she/her) is a cantorial student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (‘26). Sara earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Rice University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Bard College-Conservatory of Music. After graduate school, Sara relocated to San Francisco where she freelanced as a professional opera singer and founded a startup committed to reducing isolation among vulnerable older adults. Sara is a passionate advocate for community services dedicated to reducing loneliness. As part of her Bat Mitzvah project, she volunteered with Bread & Roses Presents, a nonprofit that provides free, live, quality entertainment for people living within institutional settings. She continued to sing volunteer recitals throughout her young adult life, most recently transitioning to performing for incarcerated individuals in places like San Quentin State Prison. In her free time, Sara enjoys running, hiking, checking out modern art museums, and walking with her beloved rescue dog, Rosie.

  • Lilli Schvartsmann

    Lilli Schvartsmann (she/her), a Los Angeles native, has always found outlets to further her passion for Jewish education. A rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary expecting to graduate in 2024, Lilli works as a rabbinic intern at Hillel at Binghamton University, where she provides learning opportunities and pastoral care for students. In 2020, Lilli organized virtual learning festivals centered around the Jewish holidays, in which hundreds of students participated nationwide. Lilli has spent her summers as a division leader for USY on Wheels and as a teacher at Camp Ramah, and in her spare time she prepares students to become B’nai Mitzvah. Lilli spent one year serving in the Avodah Jewish Service Corps, and one year as a fellow at Hadar.

  • David Elitzer

    David Elitzer (he/him) is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion expecting to graduate in 2026. After graduating with a BA in Archaeology from Brown University, David was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study wartime cultural heritage destruction. During this time, he received an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London and an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies from the University of Cambridge. He has conducted archaeology and cultural heritage fieldwork in Israel, Turkey, Italy, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. While participating in a protest co-organized by T’ruah against Amazon and its collaboration with ICE on Tisha B’Av 5779/2019, David was inspired by the capacity of rabbinic leadership to motivate people to act for a more just society and decided to pursue the rabbinate himself. David grew up in New York City attending Congregation Rodeph Sholom. He prefers sesame bagels and has a dachshund named Earl.

    2021 Israel Fellows

  • No program due to COVID-19.

    2020 Israel Fellows

  • Aaron Leven

    Aaron has spent most of his life deeply involved in Jewish community and education. He has spent 16 summers at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple camps serving as a counselor, Ropes Course Director,  and most recently as a Unit Head and Educator. A graduate of Emory University with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies, he spent his time outside of the classroom involved in Hillel, dancing, and rock climbing. Aaron’s love for Judaism, Israel, and social justice are all deeply connected, and as a result Aaron has participated in Avodah, AJWS’s volunteer summer in Uganda, Nativ, and Yeshivat Hadar’s year fellowship. Before rabbinical school, Aaron worked for OneTable as the New York Hub Manager, where he worked with the 20’s and 30’s community of the greater New York area in hosting their own Shabbat dinners and creating an individualized sacred practice. Aaron is a rabbinical student at JTS, expecting to graduate in 2023, where he is working to continue to pursue his passion of creating progressive, spiritual, and joyous Jewish community.

  • Amelia Wolf

    Amelia Wolf is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She grew up in Portland, Ore., and now lives in Brooklyn, where she is one of the founders and organizers of Minyan Atara, the Crown Heights Egalitarian Minyan. Prior to starting at JTS, Amelia had the privilege of learning at Hadar and Drisha,  and worked for Sefaria as communications and development associate to support its online library of Jewish texts. Amelia plans to leverage her education to teach Torah to people who have traditionally found themselves excluded from Jewish learning due to gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, or geographic location.

  • Kelly Whitehead

    Kelly Whitehead is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (’24). Kelly grew up in New York City before moving to Washington DC, where she graduated from American University (BA History ’15). Prior to rabbinical school, Kelly worked as the Youth Engagement Specialist at Temple Sinai in Washington D.C. Kelly’s love of the Jewish community formed during her summers at URJ Camp Harlam and throughout her involvement in the Reform Movement’s Jew V’Nation Jew of Color Fellowship. In her free time, Kelly loves practicing hot yoga, finding a good bagel, and explaining why New York is the best city in the world.

  • Elizabeth Breit

    Elizabeth Breit is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary expecting to graduate in 2022. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from Yale College and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Elizabeth has worked as a mediator in small claims court, chaplain, leader of adventure travel trips around the world, and teacher for kids ranging in age from 6-18 in French, Arabic, Hebrew, and Spanish. She loved all these jobs. They may seem wildly different, but in effect they were the same: accompanying people through challenges and new places, with all the thrill, fear, conflict, joy, sadness, curiosity, and being hopelessly-flat-out-terrifyingly lost that go with them. She is building her rabbinate on finding divinity in difficult places — divinity as hope, discovery, a new connection, or the view from the top of a mountain. In her spare time, Elizabeth is probably outside, upside down, or dancing.

  • Sara Blumenthal

    Sara Blumenthal is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College expecting to graduate in 2022. Before moving to Boston, Sara volunteered in peacebuilding organizations in Jerusalem and advised a synagogue middle school youth group in her native Chicago. She has been fortunate to have been active in various Jewish communities that sparked her desire to work for justice from a Jewish perspective. Sara has been a Jewish educator for children and adults alike and delights in teaching songs and Torah to engender meaningful connections to Judaism. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Sara earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies. In her free time, Sara enjoys listening to music, cooking, reading, taking long walks, strength training, and building community. 

  • Max Antman

    Max Antman is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, expecting to graduate in 2024. Originally from Evanston, IL, Max attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in English and Jewish Culture and Society. Max’s academic path sparked an interest in the interplay between Judaism and politics, leading him to pursue a career in political organizing through a Jewish lens. After working for the Illinois state government for a year, Max moved to Washington D.C. to join the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism as a Legislative Assistant, using Jewish text and history as a catalyst for organizing the Jewish community around meaningful policy change. He then served as a grassroots organizer for the United Nations Foundation’s campaign to combat malaria, organizing Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the eradication of this disease. In his free time, Max enjoys hiking, making music and traveling the world.

    2019 Israel Fellows

  • Amanda Weiss

    Amanda Katherine Weiss is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, expecting to graduate in 2023. Hailing from a small village in Rockland County, NY she has lived up and down the east coast for much of her life, excepting a four-year stint in Eugene, OR. A graduate of The George Washington University, Amanda majored in Judaic Studies and Psychology, holds a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Non-Profit Management from Gratz College, a Masters in Business Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and most recently, a Certificate in Jewish Education Specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults through Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. For over a decade, Amanda has worked as an informal Jewish educator with synagogues, yeshivot, and Hillels at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Cornell University. In her free time, you can find Amanda experimenting with different art forms, bargain hunting, or (slowly!) running.

  • Tyler Dratch

    Tyler Dratch is a Rabbinical Student at Hebrew College in Newton. Massachusetts, part of the class of 2021. Before moving to Boston, he served as a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism advocating for economic justice and disability rights issues. During his time at the RAC, Tyler staffed the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar and worked with teens from across the country, engaging students in the treasure of Jewish texts that calls us to pursue justice. He graduated from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary with Bachelors Degrees in Political Science and Hebrew Bible. Tyler is an educator of fellow learners ten to ninety-one years old.  In his free time Tyler enjoys hiking, playing the guitar, and studying Torah. He is excited to work alongside other rabbinical students to deeply see the complexities of Israel and build our own rabbinic voices.

  • Chayva Lehrman

    Chayva is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, expecting to graduate in 2022. She feels very fortunate to be starting a career that incorporates her love of Jewish community, music, spirituality, social justice, and learning. Chayva grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area at Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills. While at Wellesley College, she studied Linguistics and Middle Eastern Studies, studied abroad in Amman, Jordan, and returned to serve as the Hillel President and Representative to the Middle East Task Force. She moved to Washington, D.C. after graduating, where she professionalized her interest in international affairs in the offices of Congressman Henry Waxman and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Upon leaving USAID, she moved to Philadelphia, where she found a love for Reconstructionist Judaism. Chayva hopes to invest her rabbinate in building meaning-making communities that are deeply inclusive, in which we see the humanity in each other. To transition into rabbinical school, she hiked 1300 miles of the Appalachian Trail and biked the Portuguese route of the Camino de Santiago. She loves hiking, blues and swing dancing, soccer, and traveling simply.

  • Dave Yedid

    Dave is a student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, pursuing rabbinic ordination as a Wexner Graduate Fellow and Davidson Scholar, expecting to graduate in 2022. Raised in Port Washington, New York, Dave graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in Geography. At Middlebury, he was a pioneer in the Jewish, LGBT, and dance communities. After graduating, he learned at Yeshivat Hadar in New York, his first foray into Jewish text learning. For six summers, he worked at Ramah in the Rockies as a madrich, Tikvah madrich, and rosh eidah. There, he combined his passions for guiding Jewish youth, leading wilderness trips, and experiential education. Deepening his passion for direct care, Dave was a field guide for New Vision Wilderness, where he supported young adults and teens to heal from traumas of surviving abuse, suicidal ideation, and addiction. He is a founding staff member and Rabbinic Intern at BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy. In his free time, you can find him roasting veggies or dancing. Inspired by the model of rabbi as healer, Dave hopes to expand mental health, addiction, and trauma care resources within the Jewish community.

     

  • Sienna Lotenberg

    Sienna Lotenberg is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, expecting to graduate in 2023. Born and raised outside Washington, DC, she fell in love with Judaism at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA. Prior to rabbinical school, Sienna lived in Providence, RI, while earning her bachelor’s degree in History and Judaic Studies from Brown University, where she wrote her senior thesis on American Jewish feminist history, looking specifically at the Brown Women’s Minyan (1973-78) and its original liturgy. While in college, she served as student president of Brown RISD Hillel, was a leader and coordinator of Hillel’s Reform Minyan, and taught religious school at Temple Beth-El. When she’s not in school, she enjoys cooking, eating, dancing, and reading academic books.

  • Mikey Hess Webber

    Mikey Hess Webber hails from Baltimore MD. She is so excited to be working toward her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2021.

    In her years leading up to rabbinical school, Mikey’s career centered primarily around the mentorship of Jewish teens. She spent five years working with BBYO and another three as the Youth Director at Oseh Shalom Congregation in Laurel MD. She was also a member of JUFJ’s inaugural Baltimore cohort of Jeremiah Fellows – an opportunity for her to explore how Jewish values, culture and community can support the goals of economic and social justice.

    Mikey has worked for Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and the Jewish Learning Venture – an organization that engages people with special needs and their families, supporting their ability to access a range of Jewish educational experiences.

    From 2011-2013, Mikey lived on Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael. There, she worked in the fish ponds and then as a traveling pizza maker. She had the opportunity to connect with people across Israel as she fed them and participated in their simchas. It is during this time in Israel that she developed a deeply complex and nuanced relationship with the place and the people. Since her time in Israel, as the political climate grows more polarized, she has become passionate about raising up the humanity and diverse narratives that too often get forgotten in conversations about the conflict. This passion has led to her completion, in May 2018, of a Master’s Concentration in Israel Education through the ICenter in Chicago.

    In her free time, Mikey is an avid gardener and spends a lot of time in the dirt. She also spends a lot of time with her cat, Reuben and her husband, Scott.

    2018 Israel Fellows

  • Abi Weber

    Abi Weber, a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary (expected graduation: 2021), was born in Philadelphia but soon became an enthusiastic Chicagoan. After graduating from Pomona College in 2011, she was a fellow in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. during which she worked at a non-profit organization that provides employment training and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Abi was a Leadership Fellow at Mishkan Chicago, a dynamic spiritual community that works to engage people on the fringes of Judaism, where she saw firsthand how Jewish connection can have a transformative effect on individuals and the world at large.  After several years of working in the social justice field, Abi decided to continue on this path by becoming a Jewish leader. She is an alumna of SVARA: The Traditionally Radical Yeshiva; Camp Ramah in the Poconos; and many other fabulous Jewish organizations that helped shape her love of Judaism today.

  • Talia Stein

    Talia is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College Rabbinical School, where she is also pursuing a Masters of Jewish Education and anticipates graduating in 2020. Talia grew up in the great city of Philadelphia before moving to Maryland to study economics and public policy at University of Maryland. After school, she moved to Chicago to participate in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. In AVODAH, Talia worked to organize clergy around workers’ rights, and in particular, an increase to the Illinois state minimum wage. Before rabbinical school, Talia was living in Seattle enjoying all of the natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer and working at the Hillel at University of Washington. There, she ran Hillel’s social justice and undergrad programming. When she is not working or in school, you can find her watching or playing football (Go Eagles), hiking, cooking, and exploring new cities.

  • Shani Abramowitz

    Shani Abramowitz is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), expected to graduate in 2021. Before entering rabbinical school, Shani was a year-long fellow at Mechon Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva on the Upper West Side of New York. Shani was born and raised in Chicago, and attended Brandeis University, where she studied English Literature, psychology, and history. Shani has worked previously with J Street as a regional and Rabbinical school organizer, and is looking forward to learning, traveling, and growing with the T’ruah Israel Fellowship!
  • Becca Richman

    Becca is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, expected to graduate in 2019, and a resident of sunny, West Philadelphia. Born in Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Becca was raised by avid bicyclist parents and the activism-oriented Adat Shalom community. Becca is a graduate of Brandeis University, where she studied Child Development and Environmental Studies. As a student, Becca created the Brandeis Community Garden and co-founded the Brandeis Reconstructionist Organization. Becca also served Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, MA as their Informal Education Coordinator for three years. After graduating, Becca worked at a housing partnership, where she managed federal housing vouchers, facilitated a client support group, and established a partnership with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC). Becca is a proud member of the Camp JRF community, where she was a camper, counselor, and Senior Staff. Becca’s rabbinical path is rooted in her commitment to Jewish values, community building, and collaborative social justice. As a rabbi one day, Becca hopes to honor brokenness and redemption as holy parts of communal healing.

  • Margo Hughes-Robinson

    Margo Hughes-Robinson will graduate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2021. Prior to studying at JTS, Margo graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA, where she graduated with degrees in Theatre and Jewish Studies, and at the Year Program at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. She is a passionate interfaith organizer and educator, teaching Jewish-Christian Bible classes and working with groups like the New York Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee and Standing UPtown for Justice. Growing up in a family that lived in New York, San Francisco, North Carolina and France, and more, Margo loves meeting and working with all kinds of Jewish communities. This summer, she served as the Global Teaching Fellow Central America, working with emerging Jewish communities in Guatemala and Costa Rica. In her spare time, Margo loves practicing acroyoga, writing, and traveling with her husband David (and sometimes their dog, Zelda!)
  • Alexandra Stein

    Alexandra Stein is expected to graduate from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2022. She grew up in Washington, D.C., and earned her B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale in 2011. After working on the counseling team of a therapeutic high school as a participant in Avodah, Alexandra spent a year studying conflict resolution in Tel Aviv. Most recently, as the Independent Living Skills Coordinator at College Living Experience in Rockville, she has spent the past few years working with neurodiverse young adults who are starting college or work. She loves teaching, and is passionate about building communities that are empathic and social-justice oriented. When not at work or school, Alexandra can be found reading fiction, going on (easy) hikes, participating in protests, and visiting museums.

    2017 Israel Fellows

  • Ariel Root Wolpe

    Ariel Root Wolpe is a third year rabbinical student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She originally hails from Philadelphia, PA, and received her B.A. in religion and music at Emory University, where she was active on the Inter-Faith Council and religious life. Ariel has produced three albums with interfaith, folk and Jewish music, with the goal of creating connection and meaning through her melodies and lyrics. For the last four years, Ariel has volunteered with Wilderness Torah, a grassroots organization dedicated to re-connecting Jewish learning and prayer with nature. She believes that spiritual music and earth-based learning are essential to healing ourselves and our world, and that Judaism offers a unique partnership with the two. To hear Ariel’s music and learn more about her, visit www.arielwolpe.com.

  • Ari Witkin

    Ari Witkin, a Minneapolis native and Goucher College graduate, is a third year rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Prior to joining the RRC community, he spent 5 years loving living in Baltimore where he worked as a community organizer engaging religious communities in violence prevention and youth advocacy campaigns and as an experiential educator at the Pearlstone Center. While at RRC, Ari has served as the development manager for the Jewish Farm School, and as Rabbinic intern at Kol Ami Congregation in Boca Raton, FL, and Hillel at Drexel University. Among other things, Ari is passionate about environmental stewardship and community building.

  • Morris Panitz

    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 worked within the field of Jewish, environmental education from 2009-2014, participating in the Adamah Fellowship, serving as a farm apprentice at Ocean Air Farms, and leading the educational team at the Pearlstone Center. There, he managed the Jewish Community Gardening Collective and served as 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. In August, 2014, Morris and his wife, Elana, relocated to Los Angeles, where he has now completed two years of rabbinical school at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Certificate in Jewish, experiential education program and a member of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

  • Deborah Goldberg

    Deborah Goldberg is a first year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to enrolling at HUC-JIR, Deborah served as the Teen Programs Coordinator at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago, IL. In this role, she managed all aspects of JCUA’s teen social justice program, Or Tzedek. Before working for JCUA, Deborah was an Eisendrath legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She is passionate about providing spaces for teens to explore their identity and root causes of social justice issues and developing opportunities for teens to engage in advocacy and community organizing work. She spent her summers as a camper and staff member at URJ Camp OSRUI in Oconomowoc, WI. Deborah graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with majors in history and political science. When she’s not working or studying, Deborah can be found hiking through a national park or reading a good book.

  • Jessica Fisher

    Jessica Fisher is a second year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Before beginning rabbinical school she ran the Chicago Diller Teen Fellows, a leadership development program for Jewish teens, and worked at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, she first moved to New York to attend the joint program between Columbia University and JTS, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in the History of Social Inequality in the Americas and Midrash. Jessica is also a certified natural foods chef and has taught cooking classes and published articles on food and Judaism.

  • Nora Feinstein

    Nora Feinstein is a first year student at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Before starting rabbinical school, Nora served as a Program Associate at the Schusterman Family Foundation in DC. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she pursued a course of study in literature, history, and people watching. Nora hails from Baltimore, though there’s a piece of her heart in South Carolina where her family now lives. She is passionate about pursuing interfaith work, exploring the intersection of religion and social justice, and co-creating Jewish communities that are relevant, resonant, and empowering. Nora is a StartingBloc Fellow and a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She enjoys yoga, live music, hiking, and public radio.

    2016 Israel Fellows

  • Nathan Roller

    Nathan Roller is a third year rabbinical student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at The American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is originally from Marin County, CA. He recieved his B.A. in Religion from Whitman College where he also served as co-president of the campus Hillel. Before going to rabbinical school, he worked at Santa Barbara Hillel and as a fundraiser for environmental and progressive non-profits. Nathan has always had a strong passion for interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue, organizing a Jewish Diversity Film Festival at Whitman, and an Israeli-Palestinian Film Festival in Santa Barbara. Since starting rabbinical school, he has continued to be active in interfaith dialogue, attending and planning various conferences with Jewish, Christian and Muslim seminarians. Jewish Lights recently published the study guide he wrote, with Rabbi Bradley Shavit Arton, to Rabbi Artson’s latest book God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology.

  • Leora Kling Perkins

    Leora Kling Perkins, from Needham, MA, is a second year Rabbinical Student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to enrolling at JTS, she spent three years working at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston as Program Coordinator for the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy, training and connecting nearly 400 tutors each year to public school students in the Boston area. A graduate of Brandeis University, she double-majored in Women & Gender Studies and Economics, and was a leader in the Hillel community. She then studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and, upon her return to the Boston area, served as a fellow with JOIN For Justice, a Jewish organizing fellowship. She spends much of her time helping to run independent minyanim, hiking, and cooking local vegetarian food.

  • Bryan Mann

    Bryan Mann, a Temple University graduate, is a queer rabbinical student entering his fourth year at Hebrew College. A member of the Moishe Kavod House and Keshet Boston, he is actively engaged in social justice work to combat police brutality, fight for a living wage, and promote the full inclusion of LGBTQ people. In addition to his full time studies, Bryan teaches Hebrew at Temple Sinai in Brookline. He enjoys performing slam poetry at the The House Slam in Roxbury, MA and leading Shabbat services. Bryan grew up in Penacook, NH and now lives in Newton Center, MA.

  • Jennifer Mager

    Jennifer Mager is a first year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She is originally from Cos Cob, Connecticut and studied engineering at Brown University. She received a B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. In addition to her career in engineering, Jennifer was active in the Jewish community in Peoria, Illinois, as a volunteer for Congregation Anshai Emeth and board member of the Jewish Federation of Peoria. She also served as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2014-2015, Jennifer attended the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies Year Program / Social Justice Track in Jerusalem, Israel. She volunteers for the ATZUM Task Force on Human Trafficking in Israel. Jennifer is excited to learn more about human rights issues and social justice work in Israel today.

  • Sarah Berman

    Sarah Berman is a first year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. An art historian and archaeologist, she worked for more than 10 years in the curatorial department at the Seattle Art Museum. There, she researched the museum’s permanent collections with a focus on provenance (history of ownership)–especially WWII era–and curated the Ancient Mediterranean and Islamic Art collections, encompassing objects from four continents, ranging in date from 7000 BCE to the present. She has also taught courses in the Jewish community ranging from the archaeology of Israel/Palestine to ethics to Jewish humor. She received her BA and MA from Brown University, and originally hails from Madison, WI.

    2015 Israel Fellows

  • Dan Slipakoff

    Dan Slipakoff, of Philadelphia, PA, is thrilled to begin his rabbinic studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Dan has a Master’s in Social Work from Temple University and has spent the last year interning with POWER, an interfaith community organizing group focused on making Philadelphia a city of equal opportunity for all residents. He has also spent time working with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia and Tribe 12, an engagement group for local Jews in their 20s and 30s. Dan is looking forward to the T’ruah Fellowship with an open mind as an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue and for a chance to experience as much of Israel as possible.

  • Sarah Krinsky

    Sarah Krinsky is a second year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She grew up in Los Angeles, California and went to Yale University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in 2012. At Yale, she was very involved in the Slifka Center for Jewish Life (which houses Yale’s Hillel), serving as the Hillel co-president her junior year of college. After graduating, Sarah spent a year as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the “RAC”). At the RAC, she advocated on topics such as women’s issues, reproductive rights, immigration reform, judicial nominations and others. Sarah has had many meaningful experiences in Jewish education – some of her favorites include her many years at Gindling Hilltop Camp in Malibu, CA; teaching Hebrew School at the Yale Hillel Children’s School; and facilitating the RAC’s high school L’taken seminars – and is deeply invested in Jewish social justice.

  • Shelley Goldman

    Shelley Goldman is entering her fifth year as a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Before entering rabbinical school she was a community organizer with youth at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan and with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in history with minors in art and women’s studies. As a rabbinical student, Shelley has served congregations in Woodstock, NY and Media, PA. She has also worked as a rabbinic intern with elders at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life and students at Haverford College, Brandeis University, and local religious schools. This summer she is doing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Shelley enjoys leading davenning, sacred Hebrew chanting, weaving, and going to the movies!

  • Sarah Fort Sholklapper

    Sarah Fort Sholklapper is a rabbinical student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University. A native of the DC area, she graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Government and International Politics, concentrating in the Middle East and North Africa, with the intention of going into foreign service. However, between being president of her Hillel-Jewish Student Association and her involvement in Jewish experiential education, she found her passion for creating community. This led her to move to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue Conservative ordination. Being always inspired in her own practice though others’ passion, she and her husband–a fellow rabbinical student–traveled to the Russian Far East in summer 2013 to serve as ‘camp rabbis’ for the JDC-supported Bar & Bat Mitzvah Family Camp in Birobidzhan, Russia. This past year she served as the Jewish Student Life Coordinator for AJU College, and was a fellow with NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change.

  • Lexi Erdheim

    Lexi Erdheim is a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR. She is originally from Livingston, NJ and attended Barnard College, where she majored in religion. She wrote her senior thesis on media representations of Mormons during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Lexi is excited to be working with T’ruah again after serving as their Israel Advocacy Intern her senior year of college. She was also the Co-Director of the Columbia/Barnard Interfaith Collective, an organization focused on creating interfaith understanding and dialogue on campus and interned for World Faith, an international interfaith organization aimed at fostering dialogue through action. Prior to rabbinical school, Lexi worked as a rabbis’ assistant and a Hebrew School teacher at Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ.

  • Nate DeGroot

    Entering his fifth year at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, Nate DeGroot finds himself, more than ever, sustained and motivated by moments of connection – be it in conversation, song, dance, nature, sport, food, activism, or anything else. Nate is on his rabbinic journey with the continued goal of being a part of and inspiring intentional community that seeks out, savors, and believes in these moments of connectedness. Nate arrived at Hebrew College directly from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where he majored in Human and Organizational Development. Nate has spent his time outside of rabbinical school facilitating experiential education opportunities for teens and young adults around the country and world, teaching in various classrooms, working with students at Hillel, and serving as rabbi for a small congregation in New Hampshire. This year, Nate is excited to explore more deeply a framework of trauma and healing when it comes to the complexities of and our relationships to Israel.

    2014 Israel Fellows

  • Elana Nemitoff

    Elana Nemitoff completed her first year of Rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, and is excited to be taking a year off in order to improve her Hebrew and explore the landscape of Judaism in Israel. Having received a B.A. in psychology from Washington University in St Louis in 2012, Elana is working with kids with special needs. Hailing from Kansas City, Kansas, Elana is thrilled for the opportunity to continue exploring the ger in Israel, including who they are and how they fit into the quilt of civil society life. Elana has spent the last three summers working at the URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), in Zionsville IN.

  • Rabbi Philip Gibbs

    Rabbi Philip Gibbs was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2017. He is originally from Marietta, Georgia. At Washington University in St. Louis, he participated in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities–an intense academic program that gives students the analytical tools to understand a topic in a fuller historical and philosophical context. Through this program he studied the construction of gender in classical rabbinic literature. During his undergraduate years, Philip volunteered with an after-school science program in St. Louis public schools. He also traveled to Uganda with American Jewish World Service to volunteer and learn about grassroots development. Following his love of the outdoors, Philip has spent his summers as a counselor at Ramah Outdoor Adventure in Colorado.

  • Rabbi Elana Friedman

    Rabbi Elana Friedman graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Before entering rabbinical school in 2010, Elana spent seven years working for the Fund for the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization that runs campaigns for environmental and progressive causes. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Environmental Studies. As a rabbinical student, Elana worked as the rabbinic intern of Hillel at Temple University, served as chaplaincy intern for a community of elders at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, and as a mentor for an interfaith teen program, Walking the Walk. Elana also had the privilege of serving as the Reconstructionist Student Association President, the RRC Purim Spielmeister and is the bass guitar player for an RRC inspired house band, titled “The Ritual Committee.”

  • Joshua Mikutis

    Josh Mikutis is a 4th Year Rabbinical Student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute in New York City and a 2nd Year Masters Student of Jewish Nonprofit Management at the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, he attended Haverford College where he graduated with Honors in Religion and History. After graduating, he was an AVODAH Corps Member in New York City where he worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group in the Immigrant Protection Unit. In his first year of rabbinical school in Jerusalem, he was a T’ruah Israel Fellow and worked to plan a trip to visit Reform communities in the Former Soviet Union over Passover. Since then, he was worked at a Reform Jewish summer camp in Belarus and completed a unit of CPE while at DOROT in New York City. This year, he will be interning at the 92nd Street Y.

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