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Our 2014-2015 Conveners
Aliza Abrams is the Director of the Department of Jewish Service Learning at Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). She holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College for Women and a Masters in Social Work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Aliza’s career began at the CJF as the Presidential Fellow in the Department of Community Initiatives. Through the CJF, Aliza has worked with thousands of college students, led over 20 different service missions around the world and has sent over 3,000 students on Torah Tours, a program which enhances Synagogues across North America over a variety of Jewish holidays. As a member of the inaugural Wexner Field Fellows program through the Wexner Foundation, Aliza is looking for new opportunities to strengthen her skills as a Jewish educator. As a convener in Resetting the Table, Aliza hopes to network with others in the field of education, and learn new and creative ways to bring Israel education and conversation about Israel back to her work and community.
Mollie Shira Andron is currently getting her Master’s in Jewish Education with a specialization in experiential education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previous to graduate school Mollie worked at The Jewish Education Project as part of the LOMED initiative, which aims to help synagogues create alternative Hebrew school models. Prior to that Mollie taught at The Heschel School as a kindergarten and second grade teacher. Mollie is a freelance environmental educator with The TEVA Learning Alliance, and works as a performer and educator withStorahtelling. She also facilitates a monthly 8th grade girl’s group at Temple Emanu-El. Mollie has spent her past few summers at Eden Village Camp as both the Spiritual Director and a Tribe Leader. Mollie spent her childhood growing up between the US and Israel and is excited by the opportunity to engage young Jews in conversations around Israel. When Mollie is not busy running around she loves camping, hiking, visiting museums, drinking tea, singing, and spending time with friends and family. She is really excited to be a Convener Fellow.
Sarah Chandler (co-Convener with Rabbi Ezra Weinberg) serves as the Director of Earth Based Spiritual Practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm at Isabella Freedman. She is a Jewish experiential educator, community activist, and spiritual leader. She has her M.A. in Jewish Communal and Experiential Education and Hebrew Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Sarah is a student of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute and a recent graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training, and is studying the use of images for creative transformation in the School of Images with Dr. Catherine Shainberg. As a convener for Resetting the Table, Sarah seeks to support individuals looking to align their spiritual practice with their value system.
Michael Gorn was born in Tomsk, Siberia and moved to the United States with his family in 1992. His first involvement in Jewish life began after his Taglit Birthright trip with Columbia University Hillel in 2001. Michael became a madrich with the Chicago based group Shorashim in 2003 and later joined Ezra Olami as a madrich as well. After completing the Dor Chadash Leadership Development Institute conducted by JCH of Bensonhurst in 2009, Michael became even more passionate about the importance of participating in Jewish community life. He started volunteering with Limmud FSU in 2009, and eventually joined their PR committee. In 2011, he joined the Russian Leadership Division board at UJA Federation of NY and in 2012 he joined the Commission of Jewish Peoplehood of New York taskforce. Michael has served on the programming committee of RJeneration since 2011, planning and helping organize Israel related lectures, film screenings and educational events. He recently accepted the invitation to join RJeneration’s board of directors. In his professional life, Michael works in IT as a system administrator. Through the Resetting the Table fellowship, Michael is hoping to bring together Russian-American Jews living in New York City and engage them in serious conversations about Israel, get them to learn more and to become active participants in helping transform our community’s interactions on Israel.
Alona Nir is the Central Shlicha (emissary) for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). Alona has been working in the field of informal Jewish education for more than 15 years, starting as a licensed tour guide for Jewish Teens from around the world. For the last 4 years she has been the director of “Neshama,” a semester long program in Israel for seniors of a Conservative Day School from New Jersey. She received her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Alona has just finished her 3rd year as a rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. Alona served as a board member for the Jerusalem Open House (the GLBT center) and as a trainer for new volunteers at Hoshen, the GLBT educational organization in Israel. Alona hopes to draw from the Resetting the Table fellowship to build dialogue among Americans and Israelis who are staffing URJ summer camps – from camp directors to bunk counselors.
Hindy Poupko is Managing Director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Since 2008, Hindy has served as Director of Israel and International Affairs at JCRC andas Executive Director of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, a network of over 40 young professional organizations. Previously, Hindy was a Senior Associate at Brand Sphere, a political consulting firm, where she worked on print and radio advertising for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign. Prior to that, she served as a communications intern for Hon. Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ. Hindy has a master’s degree in Public Policy and Israel Studies from New York University and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow Alum. She earned her B.A. at Stern College for Women (Yeshiva University) and was subsequently chosen as a Yeshiva University Presidential Fellow. In November 2012, Hindy was named to the Forward’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in America.
A native of Washington DC, Jason Rubenstein came to Hadar because of its commitment to intellectual and moral openness on the one hand, and the existential commitment and rich communal life on the other. Jason’s primary responsibilities at Hadar are maintaining it as a place where students and faculty alike engage their studies and one another with their whole hearts and minds. In his writing and teaching, Jason tries to bring existential and emotional concepts to the study of Jewish thought, injecting life (and believability) into often-avoided concepts like revelation, resurrection, miracles. With Resetting the Table, Jason is looking to bring together young people in Hadar’s demographic – deeply observant, unidentified or problematically identified with any particular movement – around topics that are often divisive, touching as they do on identity as much as on ideas: Israel, LGBTQ status, and disappointments with Torah itself.
Adee Telem is a NYC-based social entrepreneur, fundraiser and business development professional. Adee is looking forward to bringing together New York Jews from across the religious and political spectrum to explore how a shared love of Israel can lead to different forms of pro-Israel advocacy. She serves as New York Region Finance Director for J Street, a political advocacy organization mobilizing broad support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Adee is also co-founder of the London based fundraising and philanthropy strategy firm The Social Investment Consultancy. She was selected as one of 25 Emerging Leaders in Conflict Resolution by the U.S. Department of State and the Washington-Ireland Program and as one of the top 65 American-Jewish Leaders by the Center for Leadership Initiatives. In 2013, she was awarded a fellowship for social entrepreneurs at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. Adee was born in Israel, raised in Maryland and is a New Yorker by choice.
Jimmy Taber is the Director of New Generations – NY, the New Israel Fund’s young activist community. He spent 2011-2012 in Israel working for the Joint Distribution Committee’s Center for International Migration and Integration managing Israel’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program for asylum seekers and migrant workers. Prior to his work at the JDC, Jimmy received his MA and MBA from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership. Jimmy looks forward to building relationships with a diverse group of Jewish community leaders working to create a more positive discourse regarding Israel.