Dr. Ágnes (Ági) Veto, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Religion at Vassar College, grew up in Budapest, where she undertook the study of Hebrew and Aramaic, and earned an undergraduate degree in biblical and Jewish Studies from Eotvos Lorand University. She received an advanced degree in Jewish Studies from the London University School of Oriental and African Studies and spent a year at Oxford Postgraduate Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She spent two years in Paris at the Sorbonne, at both the Institute Catholique and École Practique Des Hauts Études, as student, translator and teacher of English, and has studied Talmud at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Ms. Veto earned an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the Rothberg Graduate School of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a further M.A. at New York University, where she also teaches, and is currently completing a PhD in Jewish Studies with an emphasis on Talmud and Rabbinic literature.
Alana Suskin is an educator, activist, and widely-published writer. She holds BAs in Philosophy and Russian Linguistics, an MA in Philosophy and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, a master’s of rabbinic studies and ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California, and is a popular speaker and teacher around the country. She is a senior editor of the progressive blog Jewschool.com, called “The most important thing happening online in the Jewish community today,” by noted Jewish sociologists Ari Kelman & Steven M. Cohen. She has served on the boards of T’ruah, Jews United for Justice, and Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. As an outgrowth of her long-time peace-building and interfaith efforts, she is currently engaged in a project developing relationships between Jewish and Muslim communities in her region, together reaching out to and overcoming fear in communities unfamiliar with us and our religious practices and customs. She serves as Director of Strategic Communications with the Zionist, two-state policy organization, Americans for Peace Now and is a founding fellow of CLAL’s project, Rabbis Without Borders.
Daniella Pressner is the principal of the Akiva School in Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Jerusalem, Daniella grew up in Chicago and received her BA from Barnard College in Religion and Dance and her MA from Vanderbilt University in Jewish Studies. Her Masters thesis centered on an analysis of Bat Pharaoh's character and identity in ancient, medieval and modern times. She was a member of the Scholar’s Circle and the Summer Talmud Intensives at the Drisha Institute in NYC and has studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel, as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Daniella has served on the Board of HaYedion, is a past president of Jewish Family Service of Nashville and currently serves on the Board of the Jewish Middle School in Nashville. Daniella was awarded a DSLTI fellowship for future leaders of Jewish Day Schools and her writings have been published in the PEJE, Avi Chai, RAVSAK and JOFA journals. Daniella has taught nationally on curricular design & implementation, teacher/child differentiation and support and children and spirituality. She is married to Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel in Nashville and the mother of four spunky children.
Judith Levitan has worked for the last 10 years in the social justice sector as a lawyer, community legal education coordinator, and project manager. Prior to that she worked as a lawyer in a top tier commercial law firm. She currently works for Legal Aid NSW designing legal services for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged. She holds degrees in Law and Social Work from the University of NSW. Her honours thesis in social work examined community attitudes to domestic violence in the Orthodox Jewish community. Judith has studied in a number of Jewish settings including Midreshet HaRova and Nishmat.
Judith lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a founding member of the Jewish Alliance Against Domestic Violence, a voluntary organisation of women seeking to raise awareness about domestic violence and respectful relationships in the Sydney Jewish Community. For a number of years she has represented the NSW Jewish Community at various interfaith events. She is an active member of the Sydney Women’s Tefilah Group and teaches bat mitzvah students. Judith is interested in the intersection of Jewish law and feminism. She is excited to combine her professional skills and experience with Jewish learning as a student of Yeshivat Maharat.
Amalia Haas is a serial Jewish environmental entrepreneur, educational innovator, performer, and writer. She is a passionate advocate for bees and food animals, and a sought-after speaker on environmental and social justice issues. Her work was profiled in the 2010 book Kosher Nation and in GreenFaith’s Model Ethical & Sustainable Food Companies. Haas’ BeeHive Your Classroom transforms classrooms into hives and students into bees, complementing STEM curricula. Her BeeHive Your Business workshops apply hive decision-making methodologies to team building and goal-setting. Haas markets raw honey and plumbs Bee-Jewish connections at www.HoneyBeeJewish.com. With husband Adam Haas, she raises six children, ages 5 to 19, whom they hope will inherit a world that is safer and healthier for bees and humans alike.
Rabba Avital Engelberg was a fellow of the Halakha program at Midreshet Lindenbaum, and holds a B.A. in Theatre from Tel Aviv University, a Master’s degree in Talmud from Bar Ilan University, and a diploma in Group Facilitation. Avital taught Talmud at Yeshivat Maharat, and has taught and facilitated groups at various Jewish educational institutions in Israel, including Elul, Beit Midrash Alma, Midreshet Ein Prat, and Israel’s Bronfman Youth Fellowship Program. Today Avital teaches Talmud and Halacha in the Hartman Girls High school, and in Mechinat Ein Prat. She is also a board member of Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah movement.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein serves as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. She has studied at the Pardes Kollel, the Advanced Talmud Institute at Matan and the Talmud Department of Hebrew University. Yaffa has been a teacher of Talmud, Jewish law, and Liturgy at Pardes for over a decade, and has served as the Director of the Beit Midrash at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She has taught Talmud and Jewish Law at Yeshivat Maharat, The Wexner Heritage New Members Institute, The Drisha Institute, and Young Judaea. Yaffa has lectured at Limmud Events around the world, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
Dr. Erin Leib Smokler is the Director of Spiritual Development at Yeshivat Maharat, where she teaches Chassidut and Pastoral Torah. She earned her PhD and MA from the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought and her BA from Harvard University. She is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute. Dr. Leib Smokler previously served as Assistant Literary Editor of The New Republic magazine, and her writing has appeared there, as well as in The New York Times Book Review, The Jerusalem Report, and The Jewish Week.
Aliza Sperling teaches Jewish text and thought classes to adults throughout the Washington DC area, and consults on curriculum and educational issues for a variety of Jewish organizations. She helped develop the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project post-trip curriculum.
Aliza is the Director of Curriculum Development and Adult Education at Shalom Learning, a new model for bringing Jewish education into the 21st Century. Previously she served as the academic director of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of Greater Washington at the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning and taught Talmud and Tanakh to high school students at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. She founded and directed the Women’s Beit Midrash and Makom: Finding a Place for our Growing Girls at Ohev Sholom Congregation in Washington, DC. Prior to entering the world of Jewish education, she worked as an attorney at a private law firm and a public interest organization. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and J.D. from New York University School of Law. Aliza lives in Washington, DC with her husband and four children.
Miriam Udel currently works as an associate professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies at Emory University, where her teaching focuses on Yiddish language, literature, and culture. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, as well as a PhD in Comparative Literature from the same institution. She has also studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and MaTaN in Jerusalem. Her academic research interests include 20th-century Yiddish literature and culture, Jewish children’s literature, and American-Jewish literature. She is the author of Never Better!: The Modern Jewish Picaresque (University of Michigan Press, 2016), winner of a National Jewish Book Award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience. She is preparing an annotated, translated anthology of Yiddish children’s literature called Honey on the Page, slated to appear with New York University Press.