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Rabbi Megan Doherty serves the Mishkan Ha’am Reconstructionist Community in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. From 2010-2014, she served as Senior Jewish Fellow and Associate Rabbi at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. After being ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007, Rabbi Doherty made aliyah and spent three years in Israel, where she worked as a teacher and spiritual director and spent time enjoying delicious produce and walking her dog. Originally from Seattle, she now lives in New Haven, CT with her wife and daughter. As part of Resetting the Table, Megan looks forward to connecting with a diverse group of Jews committed to dialogue through and across differences of opinion and practice, and to expanding her toolbox of facilitation skills for difficult conversations.
Justin Scott Finkelstein is an Executive Administrative Assistant at American Friends of The Hebrew University, where he assists with donor reporting and recognition and with the alumni program. He is also an Associate Scholar in Foreign Policy Research Institute’s (FPRI) Program on the Middle East and is the inaugural Harvey Sicherman Scholar, a position established to memorialize the late president of FPRI. His research focuses on issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israeli and Palestinian public opinion on the two-state solution, and Israeli domestic politics. Justin previously worked as a Program Associate for the Study of the U.S. Institute on Religious Pluralism and Democracy — a State Department-funded program that brings undergraduate students from the Middle East to America for education about religious diversity, democracy and dialogue. He has lectured and published on behalf of FPRI, written about Israeli and Palestinian issues for Foreign Policy Blogs, and worked as an editorial assistant. Justin received a Master’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University in 2012, where he was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship in the summer of 2011 to study Arabic at the Middlebury Arabic School. He has traveled to and studied in Morocco and Israel. He chose to be in the Facilitation Fellowship in order to learn how to better participate in and mediate dialogue across ideological divides on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Jon Henkin is currently a Grants Management Associate at UJA-Federation of New York, based in Manhattan. He graduated in 2015 with a Master’s of Science degree in Social Research from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Prior to that, in 2009 he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in History from Columbia University and in Midrash (Rabbinic Biblical Interpretation) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Jon chose to be in the Fellowship in order to bring a voice of tolerance to discussions about Israel, and translate those skills into other arenas of discussion as well. He has been involved with Jewish groups across the spectrum of affiliations and is very excited to be part of the Facilitation Fellowship community!
Sammy is thrilled to be back in New York City in this role as the 20s and 30s and Birthright Passport Program Director at the JCC Manhattan. He came to New York after leading the Becker Center at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, a groundbreaking initiative to reexamine how Cincinnati attracts and engages Jewish young adults. Prior to that role, he spent three years living in New York City and working on the business side of the professional theatre industry, including as an assistant on the producing team for the Off-Broadway production of My Name is Asher Lev and Operations Director of the New York International Fringe Festival. Sammy is a graduate of Syracuse University, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. In addition to schoolwork at Syracuse, he was the President and Music Director of the Jewish a cappella group, Oy Cappella. Outside of work, he is an indoor cycling instructor, Cincinnati sports nut, and an avid musical theatre fan. Sammy is excited to be in the Fellowship so he can be a better Jewish leader who can create meaningful conversations and programs for Jewish millennials!
Adina Mermelstein Konikoff is a passionate advocate and skilled Jewish communal professional with a decade of experience in program development, facilitation, and strategic organizing aimed at engaging and supporting leaders to take action consistent with their values. Most recently as a Senior Organizer at AJWS, Adina trained and inspired Jewish leaders around the country to mobilize the American Jewish community around the human rights of marginalized people in the developing world. She has worked with hundreds of rabbis and leaders to support them in living their values of seeking greater justice for all. She is a transplant to the suburbs of Manhattan, where she lives in White Plains with her husband Ari, daughter Amalya and son Yonah. Adina graduated from Boston University with degrees in psychology and Spanish and is a Selah Leadership Fellow. At this ever-critical time in the conflict, Adina is eager to expand her facilitation skills through the lens of conflict mediation and chaplaincy.
Lee M. Leviter is a Trial Examiner at the NYC Office of Collective Bargaining, where he resolves disputes between public sector unions and New York City. Prior to joining OCB, Lee was an associate for three years at a law firm where he helped represent public-sector labor unions and represented rent-regulated tenants on a pro bono basis. Lee is also an alumni of the AVODAH Fellowship, which supports young Jewish professionals engaged in the antipoverty field. Additionally, he holds degrees from the New York University School of Law and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Lee is excited to be a part of the Resetting the Table Fellowship because he believes that creating spaces for American Jews to engage in open and honest dialogue is a needed step towards confronting the moral, ethical, and political dimensions of the conflict.
Leah Reiser is a graduate student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College; she is pursuing her Masters of Social Work degree, with an emphasis in Global Social Work and Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. Prior to graduate school, Leah worked as a Program Director for LitWorld, a global literacy non-profit, building social-emotional literacy-based empowerment programming for women and children in the developing world. Through her work with LitWorld, Leah spent a year in Jerusalem working at the Hand in Hand School: Center for Jewish-Arab Education; there, she worked to create and implement arts- and mindfulness-based afterschool programming. She has a professional background in theatre and a BFA from The Boston Conservatory. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband Daniel, a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College. They enjoy walks in Prospect Park, playing board games, and drinking coffee. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with Resetting the Table to build healing conversations within the Jewish community through honest, compassionate dialogue.
Moshe Samuels is an accomplished Jewish educator, with prior experience serving as community emissary of the Jewish Agency to Birmingham, Alabama, Israel fellow at the University of Western Ontario, delegation head to Camp Ramah in Canada, educational Director of the Masorti (Conservative) youth movement in Israel, and Director of ‘Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa’ (a service-learning Masa program, spear-heading the field of Jewish peoplehood and leadership training). Inspired by his own personal journey and committed to impacting even more members of the Jewish “tribe”, Moshe founded The Wandering Jew, which aspires to be a laboratory that will develop the most innovative and personalized materials in the field of Jewish education today. He is currently on Shlichut (service) for the Jewish Agency, serving as the Director of Israel Engagement at Bnai Jeshurun Synagogue. Moshe chose to join the Fellowship to gain skills that will help him engage American Jews from his congregation and across the UWS in healthy and productive conversations about Israel, a pivotal part of his role as the Shaliach to such a critical community as BJ.
Franny Silverman is a creator of theatre, ritual and experiential Jewish learning opportunities for humans of all ages. She is the Director of Youth Education for Brooklyn’s independent progressive synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu. As a founding member and former Associate Artistic Director of Storahtelling-Lab/Shul — and as a founding member of Northwoods Ramah Theater Company – she has created and performed numerous new Jewish theatre for stage and ritual settings in addition to NY and regional theatre work. Drawing from her background in ritual and devised theater, she officiates tailor-made life-cycle ceremonies for families and couples. Franny lives in Brooklyn with her beloved partner and toddler, and is looking forward to learning from Resetting the Table’s diverse cohort and strengthening Jewish communities by creating safe spaces for tough conversations.
Talia is in her first year at Hebrew College Rabbinical School. For the past three years, she served as the Director of Jewish Student Life at the Hillel at University of Washington running Hillel’s social justice and undergraduate programming. Previously, she participated in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in Chicago, where she organized clergy around workers’ rights and an increase in the state minimum wage. Talia grew up in Philadelphia and studied economics at the University of Maryland. When she is not working or in school, you can find Talia watching or playing football (Go Eagles), hiking, and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops. Through this Fellowship, Talia seeks to develop the skills and confidence to be able to facilitate difficult conversations in a variety of settings, deescalate heated situations, and shift the framework of both formal and informal conversations to one that is constructive.
After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in cultural anthropology, Amir spent a summer in Uganda on a service program with American Jewish World Service. Amir participated in Otzma, a volunteer/learning program in Israel, followed by two years at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. While at Pardes, Amir fell in love with learning and found meaning in bringing together Jews around Jewish space and ritual. Amir is a student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Wexner Fellow and hails from Columbus, OH. Amir chose to be in the Fellowship to learn facilitation skills in general and bring Israel into conversation in particular