Kayla Arons Avraham graduated from Stern College with a BA in English Literature in 2009. Kayla is co-founder of Davar Skokie, a group which brings new educational opportunities to the larger Chicago area. She teaches weekly shiurim in her community, as well as Kallah classes to brides preparing for their weddings. Kayla serves as the JOFA Ambassador to Chicago, organizing events and programs to provide greater educational, ritual and spiritual opportunities for women throughout the Midwest. Kayla sits on the board of her synagogue in Skokie, where she lives with her husband and children.
Tali Schaum Broder, presently a resident of Efrat, grew up as a child of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Rabbi Weiss was her rabbi and role model in Torah and spiritual activism. One of Tali’s favorite activities growing up was giving divrei Torah in front of the entire HIR congregation. Her formal education began at SAR Academy and continued at Ma’ayanot High School. Summers were spent at Camp Moshava, first as camper then as staff, including summers in the Beit Midrash Program, where she both learned and taught Torah. Aliyah for Tali was a natural outgrowth of her strong religious Zionist upbringing, and after a year and a half at MMY in Israel Tali decided to make aliyah at age 20. She continued her education at Bar Ilan where she received her degrees in Educational Counseling and Tanach. During that time she served as a madricha at Tiferet and volunteered with NESTO, helping mentoring teen olim. She then spent 2 years post college studying at Migdal Oz, where she strengthened her skills and love of learning. Tali has earned a certificate in Couples Counseling and maintains a private practice, and has become a certified Kallah teacher, studying with Shani Taragin through the program in Gush Etzion. While she and her husband Yechiel lived in Jerusalem they were part of the Garin Torani in Neve Yaakov, where, among other activities, Tali tutored Ethiopian and Russian immigrant students, and occasionally gave divrei Torah to the women of the Garin. She was also instrumental in helping the Misrad HaChinuch to reestablish, for the first time in 32 years, the International Chidon HaTanach for Adults. She has worked in the Herzl Center and served as a guide at the Herzl Museum, leading tours in English and Hebrew for hundreds of Israeli high school students and English-speaking tourists. Tali, Yechiel and their almost two year old daughter Ayala are excited to relocate to Riverdale where Tali will continue her education at Yeshivat Maharat and pursue her dream of Torah and spiritual leadership.
Rebecca Blady is a freelance writer and digital media consultant living in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated cum laude from Brandeis University with highest honors in Politics and Journalism. At Brandeis, Rebecca served in numerous editorial positions on The Justice newspaper and as president of her campus Chabad. She also taught journalism to high school students at Genesis at Brandeis.
After college, Rebecca lived in Israel, where she taught and mentored at-risk youth, focusing on Ethiopian-Israeli populations in Ramla and Jerusalem. She also worked in Kiev, Ukraine, creating and facilitating “Yoga Day,” a program for young women to learn about Jewish values of physical and spiritual health. Prior to becoming a full-time student at Yeshivat Maharat, Rebecca worked in documentary film production as a producer and project manager.
Rebecca has done extensive research on theories of nationalism, completing an award-winning honors thesis on how contemporary Poland can morally take responsibility for its role in the Holocaust. She has also studied at Drisha and the International Center of Photography.
A proud granddaughter of four lively and loving Holocaust survivors, Rebecca advocates for a united global Jewish narrative and every individual Jewish story. Her writing can be found at http://rebeccablady.wordpress.com.
Jenna Englender graduated cum laude from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, with a BA in international politics, political psychology and Islamic history. Following college, she spent a year as the Communications Fellow for the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, after which she attended the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. While at Pardes, Jenna studied gemara, chumash, halakha and modern Jewish thought. She was particularly interested in the process of how halakha has been shaped around the needs and traditions of communities throughout Jewish history. In addition to her studies, Jenna was one of the few regular female attendees as well as a minyan coordinator for Pardes' Orthodox minyan. Jenna has spent the past two years managing recruitment for Pardes in their New York office. She has facilitated community conversations around conversion and mikveh through her role as co-founder of the Orthodox Converts Network. She is also a trained mikveh salon facilitator through ImmerseNYC. Jenna lives in New York with her husband and is an active member of the newly formed Beis community in Washington Heights.
Miriam Gross has been a Jewish educator for over 12 years. She holds a bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State College and a joint master’s degree in Jewish education from Hebrew College in Newton, MA and the Pardes Educators Program in Jerusalem. In 2009 she received her Rebbetzin ordination (married a Rabbi) and moved to Omaha, Nebraska where she was involved with fundraising, programming, teaching and outreach for the only orthodox shul in Nebraska. She is grateful to Yeshivat Maharat for giving her the opportunity to be ordained in her own right.
Miriam has experience in almost every form of Jewish education. She began her career as a youth director, and she has taught in Hebrew school, Jewish day school, and adult education. She created and directed a community Hebrew high school program for the Jewish Federation of Omaha that attracted Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated teens. Miriam currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and four children: Raya, Zoey, Joseph Zvi, and Meyer.
Marianne Novak received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Barnard College and her JD from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. After law school, she used her law degree in the non-profit arena as the Endowment Director at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. She helped start the Women’s Tefillah Group at Bais Abraham in St. Louis and taught many of the new members how to read Torah.
Marianne and her husband, Dr. Noam Stadlan, then moved to Skokie, Illinois. While pregnant with her first child, she had somewhat of a career change. She became a Gabbait for the Skokie Women’s Tefillah Group and began teaching many young participants for their Bat Mitzvah celebrations. Soon after, Marianne became an instructor for the Florence Melton School of Adult Education in the Chicago area. She has been teaching and developing curriculum for this program for over 16 years. Marianne has also taught Bible and developed curriculum for Chicagoland Jewish High School. She has lectured and taught for Hadassah, Yeshivah University Kollel Torah Mitzion, Matan in Chicago, Congregation Or Torah and Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob synagogue. She also writes a blog for the Times of Israel.
Marianne is excited to essentially be joining the ‘family business.’ Her father (a very enthusiastic supporter!), Rabbi David Novak, was a pulpit Rabbi most of her childhood and now holds the Shiff Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Marianne lives in Skokie, Illinois with her husband, Noam Stadlan and their children, Batsheva (16) and Hillel (13). Their eldest, Zehavya Stadlan (19), just completed her first year at NYU and is one of the founders of the Lehava partnership minyan at the Bronfman Center there.
Sixteen years ago, Marianne became an instructor for the Florence Melton School of Adult Education in the Chicago area and has also taught Bible and developed curriculum for Chicagoland Jewish High School. She has lectured and taught for Hadassah, Yeshivah University Kollel Torah Mitzion, Matan in Chicago, Congregation Or Torah and Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob synagogue.