Our BJ Rabbinic Fellows

The BJ Rabbinic Fellowship

At the Annual BJ Fellows Retreat. Left to right, back row: Rabbis Dara Frimmer, Felicia Sol, Eric Solomon, Jonah Geffen, Marcelo Bronstein, Brent Spodek and Joshua Grater. Middle row: BJ Fellow Sarit Horwitz and Rabbis Yael Ridberg and Roly Matalon. Kneeling: Rabbis Adam Roffman, Michelle Dardashti and Rachel Gartner with BJ Fellow Alex Braver above.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.

 

Tobias Divack Moss (2017-Present)
Current BJ Rabbinic Fellow

Tobias Divack Moss is in his final year of the rabbinical program at 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 has 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

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, DC.

 

Arielle Rosenberg (2015-2017)arielle
Assistant Rabbi, Shir Tikvah, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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.

 

 Sarit HorwitzRabbi Sarit Horwitz (2013-2017)

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)

Assistant Rabbi, Congregation Tifereth Israel

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.

 

Bryan Wexler (2014-2015)byran_wexler_160_2_original-6181bfdf60e0d118889021ce7604d92e

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

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 / Rabbi, Brown RISD Hillel

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-weinbergEzra 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)
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)chen-tsfoni
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)
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-holtzblattLauren 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

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-zimmermanJessica Zimmerman-Graf (2002-2004)
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel, New York, NY

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 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-brousSharon 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

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 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)
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 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.