Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham feels blessed to have the privilege of living her two callings as both a doctor and a member of the Orthodox clergy. Rabba Carmella’s passion for teaching Torah and Talmud has been reflected in her teaching in both formal and informal settings ranging from the Drisha Community Beit Midrash and JOFA conferences to Jewish community centers and college Hillels. She developed and co-taught the Women’s Health and Niddah curriculum at Maharat utilizing her clinical medical experience.
While at Maharat, Rabba Carmella interned at the Hillels of Westchester, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Chaplaincy Program and served as a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Created Equal Seminar Fellowship.
Rabba Carmella cofounded and serves as Gaba’it of Shira Chadasha of White Plains and has served as Gaba’it of the Women’s Tefilla of the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. She tutors B’not Mitzvah, and assists families in planning meaningful s’machot.
Rabba Carmella earned her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She practiced at the Women’s Health Program, where she held a dual appointment in Internal Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology. She currently works in Oncology Medical Affairs for pharma. Rabba Carmella is married to physician Dr. Steven Kubersky and has three children.
Rabba Carmella serves as a community educator in Westchester, New York and the larger Jewish community.
Rabbi Tali Adler serves as faculty for Hadar. She holds bachelors degrees in political science and Jewish studies from Stern College for Women, where she graduated summa cum laude and won an award for her senior theses for excellence in Jewish history. Rabbi Tali has studied in a number of Jewish settings, including Midreshet Harova, Drisha, and Hadar, and has worked as a Jewish educator at BBYO and the Jewish Journey Project. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, during her time at Maharat, Rabbi Tali served as the clergy intern at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim and Harvard Hillel. Rabbi Tali lives in Washington Heights where she runs Kol B’Rama, a monthly partnership minyan.
Rabbi Rebecca Blady is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Base Hillel Berlin, a home-based, pluralistic Jewish community for young Jews in Berlin, Germany. For the past three years, she has worked with Hillel's Office of Innovation, first as a Fellow and then as Program Coordinator for the Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs. While at Maharat, she completed rabbinic internships at the Prospect Heights Shul and ImmerseNYC. Rabbi Rebecca holds a B.A. cum laude from Brandeis University and is a certified yoga instructor. A proud granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Rebecca advocates for every individual Jewish story. She lives in Berlin, Germany.
Rabba Avital Engelberg currently serves as Rabbanit at Congregation Beth Sholom in Providence, RI. Previously, she served for several years as Ramit at Midreshet Ein HaNatziv. Rabba Avital 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. Rabba Avital taught Talmud at 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.
Rabbanit Jenna Englender most recently served as Director of Outreach and Educational Initiatives at Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, CT. Before coming to Maharat, Shewas Assistant Director of Recruitment for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Rabbanit Jenna is a member of the founding cohort of the Hillel Rabbinic Entrepreneurs Fellowship and is a graduate of the Kevah Teaching Fellowship. She holds a B.A. cum laude from the Gallatin School at NYU and lives in Detroit with her husband, Sam and daughter, Maya.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein serves as the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program. She formerly served 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, and has studied at the Talmud Department of Hebrew University. Yaffa taught Talmud, Jewish law, and Liturgy at Pardes for over fifteen years, and served as the Founding Director of the Beit Midrash at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She has lectured at Limmud Events around the globe, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and Moishe House. She has participated in numerous Think Tanks on Adult Jewish Education, and has trained Rabbis and Educators from every Jewish denomination.
Rabbanit Chava Evans received a B.A. in Religion from Brown University. She was the recipient of the James Manning Medal for Excellence in Religious Studies and a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. She also trained as a painter and illustrator in both Israel and the United States, holds an M.F.A from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and worked for many years as a freelance illustrator and artist. Rabbanit Chava learned at the Nishmat Center for Advanced Torah Study and previously served as the Director of Jewish Life at the Bender JCC of Greater Washington in Rockville, MD. She is now a Chaplaincy Resident at Georgetown University Hospital.
Rabba Rachel Kohl Finegold is the Director of Education and Spiritual Enrichment at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal, one of Canada’s largest synagogues. The first Orthodox woman to serve as synagogue clergy in Canada, Rachel has been the driving force behind many new initiatives to engage young families in synagogue life, and has spearheaded new offerings for young professionals in their 20s and 30s.
She previously served as a member of the clergy of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, is a graduate of the Drisha Scholars Circle in New York, and received her B.A. in Religion from Boston University. Rachel participated in the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a two-year fellowship to help rabbis become transformative change agents in the communities that they serve. Rachel is a board member of BJEC (Bronfman Jewish Education Centre) and serves on the editorial board of the JOFA Journal. In 2018, she received the Brenda and Samuel Gewurz Award for Jewish Educational Leadership. Rachel lives in Montreal with her husband, Rabbi Avi Finegold, and their three daughters.
Maharat Ruth Friedman is a member of the inaugural class of Maharat. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Yoni and their sons Ezra and Joebear, where she serves as Maharat at Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue. Maharat Ruth’s responsibilities include overseeing the conversion program, directing the mikvah, providing pastoral counseling, teaching in the community, and more.
Maharat Ruth is deeply committed to working to ensure that Jewish communal structures provide sensitivity and support to individuals and couples struggling with fertility challenges, and she is honored to serve on The Red Stone Advisory Committee.
She is a proud member of both the Chicago and Washington Boards of Rabbis, and she sits on the Executive Committee of the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, of which she is also a member. Maharat Ruth is also a founding member of the Beltway VAAD.
Rabbanit Hadas (Dasi) Fruchter is the founder and spiritual leader of the South Philadelphia Shtiebel, a new and inclusive Modern Orthodox community in South Philadelphia. Rabbanit Fruchter also holds the position of Halachic Advisor for Niddah and Women's Health at Beth Sholom Congregation. She has served as an Assistant Spiritual Leader at Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac, MD, the largest Modern Orthodox Congregation in the Washington Metropolitan area.Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, Rabbanit Fruchter was ordained by Maharat in June of 2016 upon completion of the Maharat Semikha Program combining a mastery of the texts of Orthodox Jewish law with pastoral education. She graduated summa cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, and completed an M.P.A. in Non-Profit Administration and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.
She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and was the Program Director at ImmerseNYC, New York’s only community mikvah project, in addition to teaching brides and grooms before their weddings. She completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale and was trained in community organizing through the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) Seminary Leadership Project.
Maharat Miriam Gonczarska grew up in Poland and lived in Warsaw prior to beginning her studies at Maharat. She became involved in the revival of Jewish life in Poland beginning in the early 1990s. Miriam pursued her studies in Israel at Nishmat, Matan, and Pardes. She has worked at the Lauder Foundation, Europe Magazine, Aish Hatorah Women’s College in Belarus, and the Hebrew Section of Polish Radio as journalist. She now works for the Jewish Community of Warsaw as a Jewish educator. She has been delegated by her community to study at Maharat. Miriam serves as a member of the Council of the Union of the Jewish Community of Poland and of the Religious Board of the Union. In addition, she is a member of the board of the Council of Christian and Jews and Bne’i Brith. Miriam is actively involved in the recently founded Second Generation Association in Poland. Miriam has written articles that have appeared in numerous publications and websites including www.jewish.org.pl.
Rabba Shani Gross is the Director of Education at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and former Hillel Fellow for Rabbinic Entrepreneurship. Rabba Shani served as the Rabbinic Intern at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim and Hunter Hillel. She was the Director of the Silicon Valley Beit Midrash, a pluralistic center of learning on the West Coast. Rabba Shani received her B.A. from Stern College and studied in Batei Midrash in the U.S. and Israel. She can usually be found with her husband Chaim running after their beautiful sons, Elan Zalman and Navon Yosef.
Rabbanit Goldie Guy serves as Rabbinics faculty at Carmel Academy. She holds a BA in Religion, and has studied at Migdal Oz, was a Collegiate Fellow at the Drisha Institute over four summers and completed the two-year Graduate Program for Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) at Stern College, where she served as the inaugural Jewish chaplaincy intern at North Shore University Hospital. She has taught at Columbia-Barnard Hillel, as a scholar-in-residence at Congregation Ahavas Torah in Woodside, Maryland, as an instructor in an undergraduate Talmud chabura at Stern College and as gemara faculty at Maharat.
Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe serves as Community Educator and Director of Mercaz Center for Adult Education in Beth Tfiloh synagogue in Baltimore, MD. She is a dynamic and thoughtful educator who is adding her experience to the richness and depth of the Mercaz programs. Rabbanit Bracha has spearheaded a variety of new educational opportunities for Beth Tfiloh men and women, on Shabbat and during the week.
Her love of tefilla and ritual led her to be an experienced gaba’it and organizer of women’s tefilla groups. She has taught many women and girls to leyn and is the voice of the JOFA Megillat Esther App. Rabbanit Bracha delights in learning with people of all ages, whether leading discussion groups with Bat Mitzvah girls and their moms, engaging with empty nesters, facilitating ‘Wise Aging’ programs, leading bereavement groups or simply teaching Torah and inspiring others to learn.
Rabbanit Bracha interned at United Orthodox Synagogue in Houston, Texas and at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York. She participated in chaplaincy programs at New York Presbyterian Hospital and at a maximum security women's prison.
Rabbanit Bracha is a 2017 graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, following a long career in hi-tech in Israel. She feels blessed to be following this path which nourishes and fills her soul.
Rabbi Lila Kagedan is a dual Canadian and American citizen, the first Orthodox woman to adopt the title of rabbi. Rabbi Kagedan holds degrees and certificates from Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The University of Toronto, Harvard University, The Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Massachusetts General Hospital and is a Shalom Hartman Institute RLI fellow. She is also a Hadassah Brandeis Institute-Gender, Culture, Religion and Law Research Associate. She was ordained in 2015, by Maharat and in early 2016 assumed a post at the New Jersey Orthodox synagogue Mount Freedom Jewish Center. She is now the senior rabbi at the Walnut Street Synagogue in Chelsea, MA. She is also the founder of the Sulam School in Brookline, MA. Rabbi Kagedan is an instructor of bioethics at New York Medical College and is a clinical ethicist as well as a chaplain in hospitals and hospices. She is currently studying for Yadin Yadin smicha.
Rabbi Eryn London, is a chaplain resident at New York Presbyterian - Weill Cornell Medical Center. She received smicha from Yeshviat Maharat in June 2017. She earned her B.A from Goucher College, where she majored in theatre which she combined with a double minor in psychology and Judaic studies. Eryn subsequently earned an M.A. at Goldsmiths, University of London. She specialized in applied drama: theatre in educational, community, and social contexts. Eryn made aliyah in February of 2010 and studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and for for three years at the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halachic Leadership at Midreshet Lindenbaum. She is one of the co-founders of “Gam Yachad”, a multi-denominational Beit Midrash for Israeli rabbinical students. Eryn served as the scholar in residence at the ACT Jewish Community in Canberra, Australia in 2016. She was also the rabbinic intern at Adath Shalom B'nai Israel in Chicago, Illinois, and at the Mt. Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph, New Jersey. In addition, Eryn has lectured in various communities in Israel, Canada, Colombia, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Rabba Claudia Marbach received semikha from Maharat in 2018. Rabba Claudia is the director of Teen Beit Midrash, a pluralistic and inclusive place for teens explore their identity and deepen their knowledge through the serious study of Talmud. She also runs a pop-up beit midrash for women in Boston, called One Night Shtender and co-runs a partnership minyan called Yedid Nefesh in Newton, MA. Rabba Claudia has served a middle school teacher at JCDS Boston, a pluralistic Jewish Day School, for fifteen years, where she developed the Rabbinics curriculum, taught tefillah and moral dilemmas. Rabba Claudia received her BA in English from Barnard College, and JD from Boston University. She studied at Michlala, Drisha and Pardes.
Rabbi Marianne Novak received her BA in Political Science from Barnard College and her JD from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. She has served as the Endowment Director at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and also helped start the Women’s Tefillah Group at Bais Abraham. Rabbi Marianne then moved to Skokie, Illinois, became a Gabbait for the Skokie Women’s Tefillah Group, and taught Bat Mitzvah students. Rabbi Marianne is an instructor and curriculum developer for the Florence Melton Adult School of Jewish Learning and taught Tanakh at Rochelle Zelle Jewish High School. She has lectured for many Jewish organizations and synagogues, and writes a blog for the Times of Israel. Rabbi Marianne lives in Skokie with her husband Noam Stadlan and family.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis. Prior to that she was the Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox Jewish synagogue in University City, MO. She previously served as Acting Executive Director for Religions for Peace-USA, Program Coordinator for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and Secretariat for the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, the formal Jewish representative in international, interreligious dialogue. Rori is the co-chair of the North American Interfaith Youth Network of Religions for Peace, a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and co-editor of "InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook." She is married to Russel Neiss, a Software Engineer for Sefaria, and they have three children.
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 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.
Rabba Abby Brown Scheier is an educator, school administrator, and Jewish community volunteer in Montreal. Abby holds a degree in Religious Studies from York University; and pursued an M.A. in Bible at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a popular Torah teacher in the Montreal community, she works as a private tutor of Biblical Studies, and she runs a program for students of bat mitzvah age. Abby established a supplementary education high school of which she serves as principal, and is active in multiple capacities at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the synagogue of which her husband is the Senior Rabbi. Abby is married to Rabbi Adam Scheier, and together they have five daughters.
Rabbanit Tali Schaum Broder Tali Schaum Broder dreamt of the rabbinate as a teenager at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale - The Bayit. After gap-year study in Israel, Tali made aliyah and earned degrees in Educational Counseling and Tanakh from Bar Ilan University. She studied for two years at the Women’s Beit Midrash in Migdal Oz. Tali tutored at-risk youth in Jerusalem and was a guide at the Herzl Museum. She received certification in couples’ counseling and teaching Hilkhot Niddah. Tali returned to Riverdale to study at Maharat. She served as a
chaplain intern at Columbia and Weil-Cornell, and rabbinic intern at The National Synagogue and the Bayit. Tali lives in Riverdale with her husband Yechiel, and their daughters, Ayala and Lilach.
Rabbi Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld is Associate Professor in the Theology department at Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches Judaism, Bible, Comparative Religion and Jewish-Christian Relations. Her book, Isaac on Jewish and Christian Altars: Genesis 22 in Rashi and in the Glossa Ordinaria, compares medieval Jewish and Chrisitan approaches to the akedah, and she has also written on midrash, comparative theology, and dream interpretation. She is a member of Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel in Chicago. Rabbi Devorah holds an MA in Comparative Religion from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Rabba Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez is passionate about helping Jewish communal organizations be more intentional - more intentionally Jewish, more intentionally diverse, more intentionally equitable.
Melissa is currently the Manager of the Jewish Camp Initiative at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and serves on the Clergy Advisory Group for MACoM (Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah) and the leadership team for Limmud Southeast. She is also amongst the first cohort of women in the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta’s ACT: Agents of Change Training.
Rabba Melissa received semikha (rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Maharat in 2018 and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois in 2006. She has also learned intensively at Nishmat and Pardes in Jerusalem and previously worked for JEWISHcolorado, JCC Manhattan, Hillel International, and Global Day of Jewish Learning.)
Rabba Dr. Anat Sharbat serves as part of the clergy team at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. She is a CLI fellow. Dr. Sharbat graduated from Bar-Ilan University with an M.A. cum laude and a Ph.D. in Talmud. She was born and raised in Israel.
Rabba Ramie Smith is a graduate of Yeshiva University with a BA in English communications with an emphasis in television writing and public relations, and a focus on Women's Studies. Rabba Ramie combined her training at Yeshivat Maharat with her experience in media, hosting and producing "The Joy of Text," JOFA's innovative podcast on Judaism and sexuality for three years, and acting as the executive producer at Aleph Beta, a website that produces animated Torah videos. She worked with Manhattan College's Inside Outside programme teaching criminal justice ethics at the Rose M. Singer Center at Rikers Island Jail. Her congregational experience includes cultivating a vibrant teen community at Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac, Maryland, and serving as assistant Rabba and director of adult education and programming at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York. Most recently she has been teaching Talmud at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. Rabba Ramie Smith will serve as the JOFA UK Scholar for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Rabbanit Aliza Sperling teaches Jewish texts and thought in the Washington DC area, and designs curricula and educational programs for various Jewish schools and organizations. She serves as a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation and is the founder of HerTorah, a women’s Torah study program in DC. Rabbanit Aliza received her B.A. from Barnard College and J.D. from New York University School of Law. She also studied at Michlalah, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Masoret, MaTaN Jerusalem and MaTaN HaSharon. Rabbanit Aliza lives in Washington, DC with her husband Josh Milner and their children Moed, Yona, Batya and Orly.
Maharat Victoria Sutton is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, CA. Prior to studying for ordination at Yeshivat Maharat, Victoria spent one year studying Talmud at Mechon Hadar. A graduate of Barnard College, with a BA in Biological Sciences, she also holds a Grand Diploma in Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. She is currently the rabbinic fellow for synagogue initiatives at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, and has served as the intern for synagogue education at Ohav Sholom, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Merrick, NY. She was an educational intern at SAR High School, and has taught in the Drisha High School and Women’s Collegiate Programs. Involved in various community organizations, Victoria is the Social Action/Social Justice co-chair for BJ’s 20’s and 30’s group, co-chair of the BJ/SPSA homeless shelter, and a board member at Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay. Victoria also served as a Victim Intervention Advocate at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she is trained to provide emotional support in the Emergency Room to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. She completed the Rabbis Without Borders rabbinical student fellowship, and participated in the RRC’s Retreat for Jewish and Muslim Emerging Religious Leaders and the YCT Interfaith Fellowship. Victoria has been awarded the UJA- Federation PENS Scholarship from the Wiener Educational Center.
Rabbanit Alissa Thomas Newborn is a member of the spiritual leadership at B'nai David-Judea Congregation, an Orthodox shul in Los Angeles. She received her semicha from Yeshivat Maharat and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Classical Studies Archaeology and Ancient History. Rabbanit Alissa is also a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) through Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). She has specialties in Psychiatric Care, Palliative Care, and End of Life Care. She has worked as a chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital. She was also a writer for the Center for Jewish End of Life Care at Metropolitan Jewish Health System. She is currently a per diem chaplain for Grateful Palliative Care and Hospice. Rabbanit Alissa is on the board of NAJC and on the board of the Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Clergy Roundtable and the Pico-Robertson Mental Health Neighborhood. In 2017, she was chosen as one of the Forward50, the Forward's annual list of the 50 most influential, accomplished, and interesting American Jews.
Darshanit Dr. Miriam Udel is associate professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies at Emory University, focusing on modern Jewish literatures and cultures, especially Yiddish. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She’s studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and MaTaN and directed Drisha’s Dr. Beth Samuels Summer High School Program. Her first book, Never Better!: The Modern Jewish Picaresque (University of Michigan Press, 2016), won a National Jewish Book Award. Her anthology of Yiddish children’s literature, Honey on the Page, will appear with New York University Press in October 2020.