meet the 2021
tefillah community leader fellows
Shlomit Chelst is an energetic Modern Orthodox feminist living in the District of Columbia. She currently volunteers on the vaad of Rosh Pina, a partnership minyan in Northwest D.C. whose membership is mainly composed of young professionals. Her leadership role primarily focuses on community outreach, facilitating learning opportunities, and planning community holiday services. Shlomit works professionally as an environmental litigation consultant and earned a chemical engineering degree from the University of Maryland. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring middle schoolers, playing music, and nurturing the many plants she’s amassed over her time in quarantine.
Shelley Einfeld is a lawyer from Sydney, Australia. She was a founding member of the Sydney Women’s Tefilah Group in 1993 and continues to lead. For the past twenty years, Shelley has coordinated annual Purim megillah readings and Simchat Torah services for women and has helped facilitate life cycle celebrations such as Simchat Bat, Shabbat Kallah and Bat Mitzvah services, including teaching Bat Mitzvah girls (and others) to leyn. Shelley has been married to Paul Baram (also a lawyer) for almost 30 years and has two adult children, Liora and Ari.
Felicia Epstein works as a lawyer specializing in labour law in London. Originally from New York, she lived in Israel before moving to London. In Israel she worked as the international spokesperson and director of development for the Association for Civil Rights, conceived the JOFA gender-sensitive curriculum for Jewish primary schools and was a member of the advisory board which developed the curriculum. She lectures on biblical and midrashic texts, was founder of the Shirat Sarah women’s prayer group in Jerusalem, is a founder of the Kol Rina Minyan in London and a former trustee and director of London School of Jewish Studies. Her graduate work at Bar Ilan University focused on Bible commentaries and comparative legal institutions and she has lectured widely on biblical textual analysis in Israel at a number of institutions including Yakar, Matan, Midreshet Harovah, and the Ulpanat Gadera. Felicia writes on Jewish, feminist, and legal topics for the Jewish Chronicle and other publications.
Sharon Gabin is an adjunct professor of psychology at Adelphi University and SUNY of Old Westbury. In her spare time she is doing Daf Yomi with Rabbanit Michelle Farber, hosting local book club meetings and brainstorming events for the Five Towns Orthodox Feminists, an organization of like-minded women in the South Shore of Long Island, New York where she is a founding member. Prior to COVID the group met monthly for movie nights, shiurim and women's tefillah. The organization has a Facebook page and WhatsApp group to enable discussion regarding programs and trends in feminism and Jewish life. Sharon is excited to use what she learns in this program to reenergize her community as they prepare to meet in person again.
Adina Gamse is Managing Director and Gabbait of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism in Toronto and a gabbait at Toronto Partnership Minyan. Originally from London, Adina helped organise women's Megilat Esther and Simchat Torah leynings as an undergraduate at Cambridge University in London. Her involvement in Partnership Minyanim began at Minyan Tehillah in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she leyned regularly and joined the Gabbai team and the Ritual Committee. Adina has a PhD in Mathematics and loves introducing non-mathematicians to the joys of her subject; she combines this with her love of Jewish learning in her Limmud sessions on Mathematics and Mishna. In her free time she enjoys trampolining and flying trapeze.
Zahava Goldman Hurwitz is a Women’s Tefilla organizer at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland, a member of the shul board, and a co-chair of the shul’s Religious Committee. Over the past ten years she has become an enthusiastic leyner of Torah, Haftorah and Megillot. With an education spanning Bais Yaakov, Solomon Schecter, Jewish community day school, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Barnard, Zahava appreciates the spectrum of women’s engagement in religious life. She is a mom of three with a 20-plus year career in the federal government. Zahava and her husband, Michael, enjoy family trips to National Parks.
Davida Kollmar has served on the Gabbaut committee of her New York City shul for almost seven years and has been co-chair for the past two. She also has over ten years of experience reading at and organizing women's megillah readings on Purim. She is a graduate of NYU, GPATS, Stern College for Women, and Nishmat's Shana Ba'Aretz program. By day she works in New York City as a data scientist for a real estate data startup.
Zoë Lang is part of the leadership team for the Cambridge-Somerville Open Beit Midrash and serves on
the board and as gabbait for the Orthodox Minyan at Harvard Hillel. She works on the tech team at
Maimonides School in Brookline, MA and freelances as a web designer. A passionate advocate for
Jewish learning, she teaches a weekly parsha shiur and works as a Hebrew school teacher at Kehillath
Israel (Brookline, MA) and Temple Shalom (Newton, MA). Zoë is a member of the Orthodox Leadership
Project's second cohort and has had the privilege to learn at Bnot Sinai, Svara and Drisha.
Jessica Langer is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program where she helps to manage the program’s research grants portfolio and to identify new opportunities with a focus on finding novel therapeutics for Crohn’s disease patients. Jessica received her Ph.D. from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She is currently on the board of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck and is co-president and co-founder of the Teaneck Partnership Minyan. She also served on the founding board of Tiferet, a traditional egalitarian minyan in Highland Park, NJ.
Rachel Tessler Lopatin has a BA in Judaic Studies from the University of Michigan, a MSW from Columbia University and a MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She worked as the year round Assistant Director of Camp Ramah in the Poconos, the Program Director of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, and a substitute teacher/proctor/shadow at SAR Academy in New York, and at Hillel and Farber Day Schools in Detroit. She has been involved in various women's tefila initiatives in Chicago, Riverdale and, now, Detroit. She is currently the "rebbetzin" of Kehillat Etz Chayim - a modern Orthodox synagogue in Detroit where her husband is the rabbi. She has four kids and, in her spare time, likes to hike, make shidduchs, eat chocolate chips out of the bag, and drink too much Diet Coke.
Elise Loterman is originally from Toronto, Canada and now calls Melbourne, Australia home. She has a Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from York University and a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. Elise’s career began at Hillel Ontario working in programming and leadership roles. Since moving to Australia, she changed career paths and is now the Partner Manager at EzzyBills, a local startup. Four years ago, Elise co-founded the Women’s Orthodox Tefillah in Victoria (Wotiv) and has served as its President ever since. Elise is excited to participate in the fellowship and meet people in similar positions from around the world.
Brooke Pollak is a trained attorney who works as an estate administrator for a private bank. She received her BA in Judaic Studies from Yale University, is a graduate of the Drisha Institute's Beit Midrash Program, and received her JD from New York University. She co-chairs the Women’s Tefillah Committee for the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. In her spare time, Brooke loves reading, organizing, checking things off lists and drinking lattes. Brooke lives in White Plains, NY with her husband, Rabbi Yossi Pollak, and their two daughters.
Naomi Niederhoffer is originally from Montreal and lived in Israel for much of her young adult life. After serving in the IDF for two years as a medic on the Gaza border, she completed a bachelors and masters degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now Naomi lives in Toronto with her husband and is pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Toronto.
Anna Veronese was born and raised in Venice where her family members have been active participants in the Jewish community. She studied in Rome and Jerusalem, where she received a MA in History from Hebrew University. While in Rome, she co-created the first Italian Women Meghilla’s reading and helped lead promoted a women’s study group at the Italian Rabbinical Seminary. Anna lived in Israel for four years and studied in various Batei Midrash and participated in partnership minyanim. She currently lives in Paris where she works as a Knowledge Manager and recently joined the board of the first French Modern Orthodox Community in Paris. She is married to a French man and has three children and a cat.
Sandra Yerushalmi is a French Jewish activist, cultural coordinator, educator and artist. She currently coordinates the programs of Jewish studies at the Alliance Israelite Universelle. Sandra serves as a board member of her suburban synagogue, been a resident at the Moishe House Paris for four years, and is still an active member of LectureSefer organizing Torah reading by Orthodox women. Passionate about Judaism and Jewish identity, she's participated in seminars with international Jewish organizations such as Yesod, Paiedia, and ROI Community. She founded the art project Henna Judaica to strengthen Jewish identity through the renewed tradition of Jewish Henna.