Our BJ Rabbinic Fellows
The BJ Rabbinic Fellowship
Our rabbinic fellows enrich our BJ community, and indeed, the fellows experience enables them to help reinvigorate Jewish life beyond BJ’s walls, in the greater New York City region and beyond. Our rabbinic fellows are integrated into every facet of synagogue life—services, life cycle events, Jewish learning and more—and go on to be leaders and innovators, carrying BJ’s values of inclusivity, innovation and social action out into the world.
Fellows engage the community in a variety of different settings: leading services, officiating at Minha Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, teaching in the Hebrew school and at holiday events, working with conversion candidates and participating in social justice opportunities. Certain key roles are divided and assigned to a specific fellow, such as overseeing the conversion process or serving as the rabbinic presence at morning minyan. Weekly meetings with the BJ Rabbis are an essential component of the fellowship and a valuable opportunity for gaining extraordinary insight into building, maintaining and growing holy communities.
The objective is to train rabbis in the “BJ model” with the goal of contributing to the revitalization of Jewish life beyond BJ. The fellows experience at BJ enables them to be agents of change beyond BJ, bringing new life, along with a guiding belief in the power of energetic, inclusive prayer, and a dedication to social justice.
Deborah Sacks Mintz (2019-Present)
Current BJ Rabbinic Fellow
Deborah Sacks Mintz is a third year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Originally from New York City, Deborah earned degrees in music performance and religious anthropology from the University of Michigan in 2009. Prior to her graduate studies at JTS, Deborah worked for nearly a decade in Jewish experiential education—at the Neve Hannah Children’s home in southern Israel, Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, the Brandeis Collegiate Institute in Los Angeles, and, most recently, served as Director of Education at Shir Chadash in New Orleans. A musician and ba’al tefila, Deborah serves on faculty at Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, facilitating workshops on empowered and songful prayer, as well as composing and recording new Jewish music.
Margo Hughes-Robinson (2018-Present)
Current BJ Rabbinic Fellow
Margo Hughes-Robinson is a third-year student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A New Yorker by birth, she grew up in communities all over the United States before attending Clark University, where she graduated in 2015 with degrees in Theatre and Jewish Studies. Margo is also a proud alumna of the Conservative Yeshiva Lishma Fellowship and the Hartman Rabbinic Student Seminar. During her time in rabbinical school, she has enjoyed professional endeavors with T’ruah, Kulanu, Inc., Fort Tryon Jewish Center in New York City, Adat Israel in Guatemala City, and as an Interfaith Educator at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. When she is not learning and teaching, Margo still occasionally appears onstage—most recently in Providence, RI, and in Jerusalem.
Abi Weber (2018-Present)
Current BJ Rabbinic Fellow
Abi Weber is a third-year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from Pomona College in 2011, where she studied the intersection of anthropology and religion. Before starting rabbinical school, Abi worked as an Employment Preparation Trainer for people experiencing homelessness and poverty, and also served as a Rabbinic Intern/Leadership Fellow at Mishkan Chicago. She recently completed a chaplaincy internship at Penn Medicine Princeton Health in Princeton, NJ, where she worked in the Critical Care Unit in addition to leading outpatient recovery groups focused on spirituality. Abi is a long-time devotee of Camp Ramah in the Poconos, where she has spent sixteen summers as a camper and staff member, and is an alum of Avodah and Moishe House.
Tobias Divack Moss (2017-2019)
Assistant Rabbi, Temple Israel, Minneapolis, MN
Tobias Divack Moss was ordained in 2019 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, and later graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in economics and history. After graduating, Tobias worked in business analytics in Thailand and New York, and studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. During rabbinical school he served as a chaplain intern at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and rabbinic intern at the North Fork Reform Synagogue.
Sarah Krinsky (2016-2018)
Assistant Rabbi, Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, D.C.
Sarah Krinsky was ordained in 2018 by the Jewish Theological Seminary. She grew up in Los Angeles, California, and attended Yale University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012. After graduating, Sarah spent a year as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. In rabbinical school, she enjoyed professional endeavors with the Rabbinical Assembly, Avodah, Gindling Hilltop Camp in Malibu, CA, Temple Sholom in Greenwich, CT, and the Spiritual Care Department at the National Institutes of Health. She is now the Assistant Rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.
Arielle Rosenberg serves Shir Tikvah in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Assistant Rabbi, with focuses on cultivating meaningful and embodied prayer life and organizing for immigrant and racial justice. Arielle was ordained in 2017 through Hebrew College, the transdenominational rabbinical school in Boston, MA. Before and during rabbinical school, Arielle worked as an organizer with migrant and workers’ rights organizations in Seattle, WA and Woodburn, OR, created multiple Jewish social justice curricula, both as the rabbinic intern at the Jewish Farm School and at AVODAH, and served as rabbinic intern at Congregation Beth Shalom of Traverse City, MI from 2012-2016.
Rabbi Sarit Horwitz (2013-2017)
Rabbi, Beth Sholom Synagogue, Memphis, TN
Sarit was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2015, and has a masters degree in Jewish Women and Gender Studies. She completed her undergraduate studies at Columbia University and JTS’s List College’s joint program with degrees in psychology and Midrash. While studying at Columbia, Sarit served as a Resident Advisor and as the Director of Nightline, Columbia’s peer counseling hotline. She has work experience at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a unit head, served as the Rabbinic Intern at Yale University Hillel, and completed a chaplaincy internship at Bellevue Hospital.
Alex Braver (2013-2016)
Assistant Rabbi, Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus, OH
Alex Braver is the assistant Rabbi at Congregation Tifereth Israel, a warm and engaging synagogue community in Columbus. He loves getting to do everything from lunch-and-learn’s at a downtown law firm, to singing niggunim, to diving into playful activities with young families during Shabbat morning services. Alex was ordained in 2016 by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, with an MA in Midrash and Scriptural Exegesis, and a certificate in pastoral care and counseling. After graduating from Brandeis University in 2009, Alex taught math and English in a Boston charter school, helping students who were performing below grade-level. He then received a fellowship from Mechon Hadar for a full-time funded year of Jewish study before deciding to become a rabbi. He lives in Columbus with his husband (also named Alex), and their dog Benjy.
Jonah Geffen (2011-2013)
Spiritual Leader, Congregation Shaare Zedek, New York, NY
Rabbi Jonah Geffen serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaare Zedek. A member of the New Shul’s Rabbinic Havurah, Rabbi Geffen was the National Rabbinic Director for the J Street Education Fund. He has served as Senior Coexistence Educator for Kivunim, and as Senior Educator for the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution’s Rodef Shalom program. His writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the Huffington Post, among others. He received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the recipient of the 2013 United Synagogue Award for Congregational Leadership. He lives not far from his shul with his beloved, Julia Mannes, and their two daughters.
Adam Roffman (2011-2013)
Associate Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel, Dallas, TX
Rabbi Adam Roffman is a proud Schechter alum, a graduate of Amherst College with a degree in Political Science, and Circle in the Square Theatre School with a certificate in Musical Theatre Performance. He began his rabbinic education at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Rabbi Roffman graduated with a Masters in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was awarded the The Rabbi Max Gelb Memorial Prize in Talmud and the Israel H. Levinthal Prize in Homiletics.
Michelle Dardashti (2009-2011)
Associate University Chaplain for the Jewish Community, Brown University/Rabbi, Brown RISD Hillel, Providence, RI
Michelle Dardashti serves as the Rabbi of Brown RISD Hillel and Associate University Chaplain for the Jewish Community at Brown. Rabbi Dardashti was ordained and received a Masters in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to this position, she served as Director of Community Engagement at Temple Beth El in Stamford, Connecticut, where she worked to cultivate those at the fringes of community (potentially just entering or just exiting) through a grassroots model of engagement. Rabbi Dardashti and her husband, Nathan Sher, live in Providence with their children, Eden, Miya and Lavi.
Ezra Weinberg (2008-2009)
Jewish Life Manager, YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, New York, NY
Rabbi Ezra Weinberg is primarily identified through his work as a rabbi, teacher, song leader, spiritual peace-builder, and an environmental activist. He served as the rabbi at Mishkan Ha’am, Hastings on Hudson, NY until 2012. He additionally has worked at Eden Village Camp as the assistant director. He is a musician and skilled leader of prayer in a variety of denominational settings, and is a teacher of multi-faith education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The job he is most proud of, however, is being a “stay-at-home-dad” for his son Benjamin. Ezra was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
Esther Lederman (2008-2009)
Director of Congregational Innovation, Union for Reform Judaism, New York, NY
Rabbi Esther L. Lederman is the Director of Congregational Innovation at the Union for Reform Judaism. Prior to that role, she was the Associate Rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. She was ordained in May 2008 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. From 2010-2015, she and Michelle Citrin led an extremely popular alternative High Holiday experience for young, unaffiliated Jews in Washington D.C. Prior to becoming a rabbi, Esther spent several years working in the non-profit world. She held positions with the Israel Policy Forum and directed a project on Middle East peace education for the Union for Reform Judaism. Prior to that, she was the National Director of Habonim Dror North America. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from McGill University in 1996. Esther is very involved in the wider Jewish community, at both the national and local level. She sits on the national Board of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, chairs the Advisory council of Avodah in Washington, D.C., and serves on the national board of Ameinu, a national, progressive Zionist organization. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she now lives in Virginia with her husband and two children.
Brent Chaim Spodek (2006-2008)
Rabbi, Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Beacon, NY
Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, Hudson Valley Magazine as a Person to Watch and by Newsweek as “a rabbi to watch.” He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation. Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, he served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. Rabbi Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. To schedule a time to talk with Rabbi Brent, please use this link or be in touch with Faith Adams. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children, Noa and Abraham.
Chen Ben-Or Tsfoni (2006-2008)
Rabbi, Congregation Nigun Ha’Lev, Jezreel Valley, Israel
Rabbi Chen Ben-Or Tsfoni is the spiritual leader and one of the funders of Congregation Nigun Ha’Lev. She is part of a group of spirituals leaders how work to build and renew Israeli Judaism. Prior to becoming a Rabbi, she worked 10 years as a social worker and was one of the founders of “Ha’Midrasha” Educational Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Israel. She also works to educate teachers and students in public schools. She was ordained in November 2009 from HebrewUnion College- Jewish Institute of Religion in Israel.
Dara Frimmer (2005-2007)
Co-Senior Rabbi, Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA
Dara is graduate of Stanford University, holding a B.A. in Feminist Studies and Religious Studies. She received her Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She was ordained in 2006 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Since joining the Isaiah community in 2007, first as Assistant Rabbi and now as co-Senior, Dara is engaged in every aspect of congregational and life cycle events, with a focus on social justice and Israel. She is active with many local and national organizations, including American Jewish World Service, Bend the Arc, One LA-IAF, T’ruah, and RAC-CA. In her free time, Dara can be found shopping at the local farmer’s market, picking books to read for her next sabbatical, or pretending to follow Wisconsin sports teams.
Lauren Holtzblatt (2005-2007)
Co-Senior Rabbi, Adas Israel Congregation, Washington D.C.
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt is the co-senior rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and is celebrated by the Forward as one of the 32 most inspiring rabbis in the country. Last year, she was named one of Jewish Women’s International’s (JWI) “Women to Watch,” and is a current recipient of the coveted Schusterman Fellowship, a leadership development program for individuals who are committed to growing their leadership in the Jewish community. She co-created the acclaimed MakomDC adult learning curriculum, launched (and leads) the “Return Again” worship service, and directs the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, which has twice been recognized as one of America’s top innovative Jewish projects by the annual Slingshot Guide for Jewish Innovation. Previously, Rabbi Holtzblatt served as the Hillel Foundation Director of Campus Initiatives and as Associate Rabbi at the Yale University Hillel. She is married to Ari Holtzblatt, and their two children, Noa and Elijah, attend the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital.
Katie Mizrahi (2004-2006)
Rabbi, Or Shalom Jewish Community, San Francisco, CA
On the way to the rabbinate, Rabbi Mizrahi spent several years living in Jerusalem, where she devoted her time to human rights and peace education work, as well as intensive Jewish learning. During her rabbinical training she worked as a chaplain, a teacher, a student rabbi and a cantor in various communities. She was ordained through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2005. Since then, she served as a Visiting Rabbi for Kehilat Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem, and as Sabbatical Rabbi for West End Synagogue.
Kliel Rose (2003-2005)
Rabbi, Beth Shalom Synagogue, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Rabbi Y. Kliel Rose was born in Jerusalem to a rabbinical family and grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. Kliel earned a BA in Judaic studies from Gratz College, in Philadelphia, after which he studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). As a student, Kliel served a number of congregations in New York and one community in London, England, under the auspices of Masorati Olami. As a senior rabbinical student, Kliel received the prestigious Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellowship at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He was ordained in 2004. Previously he served as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach, Florida for 3 years, then was the Spiritual Leader of West End Synagogue in Nashville, Tennessee, where he served for 5 years. In 2014 Kliel was given the Rabbinical Human Rights Hero award by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Kliel was recognized for his involvement in interfaith justice work. Kliel and his wife Dorit Kosmin, are the proud parents of five beautiful and very active children.
Jessica Zimmerman-Graf (2002-2004)
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman-Graf is the current senior rabbi of Congregation Sherith Israel. A graduate of Columbia University, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2003. She has worked in congregations from New York City to Juneau, and is active in several major Jewish organizations. During her time in Florence, Italy, where she studied art history, she spent time exploring small Jewish communities to learn as much about them as she could. After college, she worked for a professor of astronomy and astrophysics. She worked with congregations around the country during her tenure as Director of Congregational Engagement for Synagogue 3000 from 2006-2014. She and her husband Jonathan are raising two children, Arielle and Zachary.
Meir Feldman (2002-2004)
Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth-El, Great Neck, NY
Rabbi Meir Feldman began his tenure at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck in July, 2009. During his years as a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Meir Feldman served for a year as a CLAL Intern with Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform rabbinical students. In fall 2001, he started the bi-weekly Park Slope Friday Night Minyan. From 2002-2004, he served as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at BJ.
Rachel Gartner (2001-2003)
Jewish Chaplaincy Director, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Rachel Gartner serves on the board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. She is a co-author of the Moving Tradition’s “Rosh Hodesh: It’s A Girl Thing Sourcebook,” and is the Director of Jewish Life at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002, Rabbi Gartner served as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow from 2001-2003.
Sharon Brous (2000-2002)
Founder & Senior Rabbi, IKAR, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Sharon Brous is the senior rabbi of IKAR, which she founded in 2004 shortly after her BJ Fellowship concluded. She has devoted her rabbinate to reinvigorating Jewish tradition and practice and advancing soulful, multi-faith justice work in Los Angeles and around the country. Her TED talk, “Reclaiming Religion,” has been viewed by more than 1.3 million people and translated into 19 languages. In 2013, she blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service, spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and at the opening of the Legacy Museum and Memorial in Montgomery, AL. She is an Auburn Senior Fellow, sits on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute-North America and REBOOT, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and the national steering committee for the Poor People’s Campaign.
Felicia Sol (1999-2001)
Rabbi, B’nai Jeshurun, New York, NY
Rabbi Sol has served as a rabbi at BJ since 2001, becoming the first woman to serve as a rabbi to the community in the congregation’s almost 200-year history. Rabbi Sol began her initial involvement with the BJ community when she was still a rabbinic student at Hebrew Union College. While serving as Family and Youth Director, she created Pnei Shabbat, B’nai Jeshurun’s families’ prayer book. After Rabbi Sol’s ordination, she became a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at BJ. During that time, Rabbi Sol edited Zimrat Yah: Prayers and Songs for Shabbat and Festivals. After two years under the mentorship of Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon and Marcelo Bronstein, Rabbi Sol joined her teachers in their rabbinic partnership. She received the 2005 PaceSetter Award and was honored in 2006 as a Partner in Justice by Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. Rabbi Sol was featured in the documentary All of the Above: Single, Clergy, Mother and has an essay in the book, Faithfully Feminist:Jewish, Christian and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Rabbi Sol earned a BA in Developmental Psychology and Education from Tufts University, a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, her Masters of Hebrew Letters (1996) and rabbinic ordination (1999) also from HUC-JIR. She currently serves on the board of Bend the Arc and co-chairs the rabbinic council of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Raised in Connecticut, she has a son and a daughter and lives on the Upper West Side.
Eric Solomon (1999-2001)
Rabbi, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, NC
Since 2005, Rabbi Eric M. Solomon has served as the spiritual leader of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC. Raised in Columbia, MD, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland. He then entered rabbinical school, spending three years in Jerusalem and three years in New York City. In Israel, he studied rabbinic literature at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies and then continued on as a Senior Educator at the Melton Center for Jewish Education and as a Talmud student at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Rabbi Solomon currently serves on the boards of Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and Urban Ministries of Wake County. He will travel to Guatemala in 2018 as a recently honored AJWS Global Justice Fellow. He also holds the title of Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Rabbi Solomon loves playing tennis and is an avid runner, having completed the New York Marathon in 2017. He is married to Rabbi Dr. Jennifer Solomon, founding Director of the Libi Eir Community Mikveh and Director of Spiritual Engagement at Beth Meyer Synagogue. Together, they are most proud of their three children: Meirav, Adiel, and Natan.
Joshua Levine Grater (1998-2000)
Rabbi, Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, Pasadena, CA
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater has been the spiritual leader of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in Pasadena, California, since 2003. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999 and served 2 years as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at BJ. He serves on the advisory board of J-Street and is one of the co-chairs of the Los Angeles J-Street Rabbinic Cabinet. He is a co-founder and currently a co-chair of Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI), an interfaith working group based in Los Angeles.
Shoshana Dworsky (1997-1999)
Associate Chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life, Carleton College/Rabbi, Temple Sholom, Eau Claire, WI
Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky serves as Associate Chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and as the rabbi of Temple Sholom in Eau Claire, WI – doing both jobs, and more, while living happily in her native St. Paul, MN.
Yael Ridberg (1996-1998)
Rabbi, Congregation Dor Hadash, San Diego, CA
A 1997 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Ridberg received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 in Communication Arts and Women’s Studies. Rabbi Ridberg served as the President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, as a member of the Rabbinic Council of the New Israel Fund, the Board of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, and has led a bereavement support group through the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and the Jewish Healing Center.