Tali Adler, originally from Cedarhurst, NY, graduated summa cum laude from Stern College for Women, where she double majored in political science and Jewish studies and completed a senior thesis entitled “Blood, Margins, and Danger: Menstrual Purity Laws and Spanish Crypto-Jewish Women in Early Modern Spain”, for which she won the departmental award for excellence in Jewish history. At Stern, Tali was the Opinions editor for The Observer, the official Stern College for Women newspaper, a tutor in the writing center, and co-founder of The Beacon, an student-run publication. Tali has studied in a number of Jewish settings, including Midreshet Harova, Drisha, and Yeshivat Hadar, and has worked as a Jewish educator at BBYO, where she designed and taught a three week class on Jewish theology entitled “God Talk,” and the Jewish Journey Project, where she teaches a Jewish debate class. Tali lives in Washington Heights where she runs Kol B’Rama, a monthly partnership minyan.
Dina Brawer was born in Milan, Italy and studied in Jerusalem and New York. She holds a BA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies from the University of London and an MA in Education and Psychology from the Institute of Education, London. For close to fifteen years she has worked alongside her husband, a congregational rabbi. In this capacity she developed creative community education programs and was involved in strategic community development. Together they have recently co-launched Mishkan: The Jewish Community Beyond Borders.
Dina’s interest and passion in Orthodox feminism was seeded at the 2003 Kolech conference in Jerusalem and nurtured through JOFA conferences and events. In 2013 she launched JOFA UK as a platform to engage in communal discussions around religion and gender. She frequently lectures, writes and occasionally broadcasts to wide and diverse audiences. She ranked 55 in The Jewish Chronicle’s Power 100 List of individuals who are most influential in shaping the UK Jewish community.
Claudia Marbach received her BA in English from Barnard College, her JD from Boston University, and has studied at Michlalah and Pardes. This past year, she had two internships -- one at Hebrew Senior Life Long Term Care at Newbridge on Charles as a Chaplain Intern dealing with end of life issues and the other as Congregational intern at Congregation Beth David in West Hartford. She also launched a pop-up beit midrash for women called One Night Shtender. This year she will be teaching a monthly Beit Midrash in West Hartford. Before starting at Yeshivat Maharat, Claudia was a middle school teacher at JCDS Boston, a pluralistic Jewish Day School, for fifteen years, where she developed a Rabbinics curriculum and taught tefillah, chagim, and moral reasoning. She has a particular interest in the teaching of pluralism, differentiated instruction and moral reasoning. She founded and co-runs a partnership minyan in Newton, MA, has been gabbait of a local women’s tefillah group, has tutored bnei mitzvot, and participates in interfaith dialogue through the Daughters of Abraham network.
Rabbanit Leah Sarna is the Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, IL. Originally from Newton, Massachusetts, Rabbanit Leah Sarna attended the Maimonides School and then went to study Torah in Israel at the Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz. Rabbanit Sarna earned her B.A. in Philosophy & Psychology in 2014 at Yale University, where she also led the Orthodox community and Dwight Hall: the Center for Social Justice and Community Service. During her college years, she had the privilege of continuing her Torah learning at the Drisha Collegiate Kollel and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership Summer Beit Midrash. After college, Rabbanit Sarna began four years of study at Yeshivat Maharat, where she received semikha in June 2018. Rabbanit Sarna was also a Wexner Graduate Fellow, a Hartman Rabbinical Student Fellow and a JOIN for Justice Rabbinic and Cantorial Leadership for Public Life Fellow.
Rabbanit Sarna has worked with youth at Camp Yavneh and the Dr. Beth Samuels Drisha High School Program, and she has been the clergy intern at Harvard Hillel, Ohev Sholom: The National Synagogue, and the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. She has also completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and served as a visiting chaplain at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. In her free time, she loves to bake bread and play pick-up sports. She is married to Ethan Schwartz, a doctoral student in Religion at Harvard University.
Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez is a social worker, writer, educator, advocate, and student at Yeshivat Maharat (2018). Melissa combine her personal, professional, and educational experiences in order to establish meaningful Jewish experiences and connections wherever she goes.
Melissa graduated with undergraduate degrees in Psychology & Social Behavior and Sociology from the University of California, Irvine and received a Masters in Social Work with a health care concentration from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Melissa worked in oncology, hospice, and prenatal health education before transitioning into development and donor relations for Jewish non-profits, all the while exploring her passion for writing and social media. Immediately before beginning her studies at Yeshivat Maharat she spent two years learning in the batei midrash of Nishmat and Pardes in Jerusalem.
While at Yeshivat Maharat Melissa has had the opportunity to intern at JCC Manhattan, Global Day of Jewish Learning, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale - The Bayit, and Hillel International. Melissa is passionate about the future of Jewish communal organizations, and the need to be more intentional about what that means.