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 Mincha 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.
Sarah Krinsky (2016-Present)
Current BJ Rabbinic Fellow
Sarah Krinsky is a fourth year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Yale University, where she graduated with a Bachelors 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 has 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.
Arielle Rosenberg is a rabbinical student entering her final year at 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 has served as rabbinic intern at Congregation Beth Shalom of Traverse City, MI since 2012.
Rabbi Sarit Horwitz (2013-Present)
Current BJ Senior Rabbinic Fellow
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. Sarit has been working at BJ since 2013.
Alex Braver (2013-2016)
Alex is a rabbinic fellow at BJ and a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has also served as a student chaplain, studied at Yeshivat Hadar, and tutored remedial math and English at a charter school in Boston. He graduated from Brandeis University in 2009 with majors in history and politics.
Bryan Wexler (2014-2015)
Bryan Wexler is a Wexner Fellow and a second-year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary with a passion for Jewish learning and working with people. Bryan graduated from Brandeis University in 2009 with a B.A. in Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Philosophy. He then worked for two years as the Youth Director and Community Educator at Temple Aliyah, a Conservative synagogue in Needham, MA. Bryan and his wife, Rebecca, moved to New York in the summer of 2011.
Jonah Geffen (2011-2013)
Rabbinic Director, J Street
Rabbi Jonah Geffen is the Rabbinic Director for J Street in New York City. A fifth generation rabbi, Jonah served as Rabbinic Fellow at BJ for 2 years. For nearly 10 years Jonah has dedicated himself to teaching and promoting the cause of peace as refracted and understood by the Jewish tradition. He has been the Senior Coexistence Educator for Kivunim, was a senior educator in the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution’s Rodef Shalom program, and has been a trip facilitator and leader of the Peacemakers’ Beit Midrash.
Adam Roffman (2011-2013)
Associate Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel, Dallas, Texas
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
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.
Ezra Weinberg (2008-2009)
Rabbi at Mishkan Ha’am, Hastings on Hudson, NY
Rabbi Ezra Weinberg is primarily identified through his work as a rabbi, teacher, song leader, spiritual peace-builder, and an environmental activist. He has served 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, but the job he is most proud of is as “stay-at-home-dad” for his son Benjamin. Ezra was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
Esther Lederman (2008-2009)
Rabbi at Temple Micah, Washington, DC
Before moving to Washington, DC, Rabbi Lederman served as the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow. She was ordained in May 2008 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Prior to becoming a rabbi, she worked for seven years in the non-profit world. She held positions with the Israel Policy Forum in Washington, DC, directed a project on Middle East peace education for the Union for Reform Judaism, and served as the National Director of Habonim Dror North America, an international Zionist youth movement.
Brent Chaim Spodek (2006-2008)
Rabbi at Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Beacon, NY
Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek is the founding director of the Emek Project, an effort to cultivate deep Jewish life in the Hudson Valley. In recent years, he has served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at BJ. An experienced leader and creator of Jewish service learning experiences, Rabbi Spodek has taught extensively about spiritual approaches to justice work, Judaism and human rights and other topics in a wide variety of settings.
Chen Ben-Or Tsfoni (2006-2008)
Rabbi at 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)
Rabbi at Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA
Dara graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Feminist Studies and Religious Studies. She spent at year in Israel volunteering with Project Otzma. She returned to complete a Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School before enrolling in rabbinic school at the HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a member of the Executive Planning Committee for the 2009 Hazon Jewish Food Conference and she serves on the Los Angeles Regional Council of the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the board of Jumpstart.
Lauren Holtzblatt (2005-2007)
Rabbi at Congregation Adas Israel, Washington, DC
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt co-created three nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel — YP@AI (a community of Jewish Young Professionals [re]discovering their Jewish identities through programs, services, and events), MakomDC (a 21st century learning center offering dynamic programming and study around a variety of secular and religious topics), and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington (a Center dedicated to harnessing Jewish Mindfulness and contemplative practices).
Katie Mizrahi (2004-2006)
Rabbi at 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 at Beth Shalom Synagogue, Edmonton, Alberta
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 (2002-2004)
Director of Magalim (circles) at Congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco, CA
As director of congregational engagement for Synagogue 3000 for the past eight years, Rabbi Graf has been on the cutting edge of synagogue renewal and transformation, working with congregations around the country. A graduate of Columbia University, Rabbi Graf was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York in 2003. She has worked in congregations from New York to Juneau, Alaska, and is active in several major Jewish organizations.
Meir Feldman (2002-2004)
Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, 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
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)
Founding Rabbi at Ikar, Los Angeles, CA
In 2004 Rabbi Brous, Melissa Balaban and a handful of young entrepreneurial Jews set out to build IKAR, a laboratory for bold, imaginative Jewish practice – which quickly became one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the country and a model for inspiring Jews from the most marginalized to the most engaged. In 2013, Rabbi Brous blessed the President and Vice President at the Inaugural National Prayer Service and was recognized as the most influential Rabbi in the United States by Newsweek and the Daily Beast.
Felicia Sol (1999-2001)
Rabbi at B’nai Jeshurun, New York, NY
While studying at HUC-JIR in New York, Rabbi Sol began her involvement with B’nai Jeshurun as the Family and Youth Director, a position in which she served for three years. During that period, she produced and edited Pnei Shabbat, B’nai Jeshurun’s family’s prayerbook, and she also edited Zimrat Yah: Prayers and Songs for Shabbat and Festivals. After her ordination, she became a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at BJ, later joining Rabbis Bronstein and Matalon in their rabbinic partnership.
Eric Solomon (1999-2001)
Rabbi at Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, NC
Rabbi Eric M. Solomon is the spiritual leader of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raised in Columbia, MD, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland and 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 student of Talmud at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Joshua Levine Grater (1998-2000)
Rabbi at 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)
Rabbi, chaplain, mediator at Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Shosh Dworsky’s training in counseling and communication over the past twenty-five years has given her skills which she employs as mediator, counselor, educator, and chaplain. She received rabbinical ordination in 1998 (Jewish Theological Seminary of America) and worked with congregations in New York City and Portland, Oregon before returning to her native St. Paul and joining the staff at Carleton College as Associate Chaplain for Interfaith Life.
Yael Ridberg (1996-1998)
Rabbi at 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.