The ALEPH Advisory Council
The ALEPH Advisory Council unites creative and innovative visionaries to support ALEPH and Jewish Renewal. Members of the Advisory Council are chosen for their collective wealth of experience and imagination. It is not their job to facilitate the everyday running of the organization or to formulate ALEPH's core vision and direction -- those tasks belong to ALEPH staff and to the Board of Directors, respectively -- but to lend their wisdom and insight to our shared work of renewing Judaism. We are grateful to them for their time, energy, and heart.
Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn is a rabbi, gardener, permaculturalist, teacher, singer, spiritual director, peace activist. He has been a member of Kibbutz Lotan for 22 years, the only kibbutz that is also an ecovillage. In the Kibbutz’s Center for Creative Ecology, Rabbi Simcha Daniel teaches courses in Peace and Social Justice and Jewish Approaches to the Environment.
Rabbi Malka Drucker is the author of more than 20 books for adults and children, among them Women and Judaism, Celebrating Life: Jewish Rites of Passage, and White Fire: a Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders. Ordained as a mashpi’ah (spiritual director) by ALEPH, she is the founding Rabbi of HaMakom in Santa Fe, NM.
Gabbai Seth Fishman identifies himself as a “simple yid” who had the great mazal of twenty-five years of access to his Rebbe, Reb Zalman (z’tzvkl). Seth met Zalman at the 1989 Kallah after which he began serving as an editor, translator and eventual blogger of his teachings, (see his web-site, JRHasidus.org). Born in Brooklyn, Seth earned a BA in Music from Yale and an MBA from Wharton. For the past three years, Seth has been a spiritual leader to Congregation Tzedek V'Shalom, Newtown PA, for Shabbat and High Holiday Services. Seth has a real passion for everything Zalman and loves speaking to groups about Reb Zalman’s legacy. He is currently translating his Sefer Yishmru Daat into English.
Rabbi Jeff Fox, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat, was the first graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Upon graduation he served as the Rabbi of Kehilat Kesher: The Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood for seven years. In Rabbi Fox’s tenure at Kesher, the community grew three-fold from thirty families to nearly one hundred. During that time Rabbi Fox also taught at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah as well as the Florence Melton Adult Education School in Bergen County. He also served on the board of the Synagogue Leadership Initiative of the UJA of NNJ. Rabbi Fox is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute. He has also been a member of the faculty of the Drisha Institute, the Florence Melton Adult Education School in Westchester County as well as Yeshivat Hadar. In 2016 he was named one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis by the Forward.
Rabbi Jill Hammer is an author, educator, midrashist, and ritualist. She is the co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Rabbi Hammer is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, the forthcoming The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries, The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership, and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Rabbi Hammer was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Rabbi Hayyim Herring is an author, presenter and nonprofit organizational futurist, with a specialty in Jewish community. He has worked as a congregational rabbi, senior federation executive and executive director at a national Jewish foundation, and holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Management. Hayim’s publications include Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today: Creating Vibrant Centers of Jewish Life (Alban Institute 2012) and Keeping the Faith in Rabbis: A Community Conversation about Rabbinical Education, co-authored with Ellie Roscher (Avenida Books, December 2014), an anthology of essays from rabbis, lay people and academics across the denominational spectrum, critically exploring the question, “What goes into the making of a 21st Century Rabbinical Leader?”
Rabbinic Pastor Eve Ilsen is a teacher, storyteller, singer, writer, artist and psychotherapist. She has engaged in her work from Israel to Alaska. Eve now lives in Boulder, CO with two cats, Mazal & Brachah, surrounded by blessings and memories of her beloved Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l.
Rabbi Burt Jacobson was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1966. He was involved in the creation of both the Havurah and Jewish Renewal movements. In 1984 he founded Kehilla Community Synagogue in Berkeley (now in Piedmont). Rabbi Burt currently serves as Founding Rabbi of Kehilla. He has been a student of the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov for twenty-five years, and is engaged in writing a book that reconstructs the life and spiritual philosophy of the Ba’al Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism. Rabbi Burt celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a rabbi in 2006. He has been greatly influenced by the work of Martin Buber, the Baal Shem Tov, and Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Rodger Kamenetz is an award-winning poet, author, and teacher. Of his eleven books, best known is The Jew in the Lotus, the story of a group of rabbis – among them Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l – making a holy pilgrimage through India to meet with the Dalai Lama. His account of their historic dialogue became an international bestseller, prompting a reevaluation of Judaism in the light of Buddhist thought. His follow-up, Stalking Elijah received the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought. His book on Jewish teachings about dreams and dreamwork, The History of Last Night’s Dream, has been called “audacious,” “fascinating,” “beautifully written,” “poetic,” and “revolutionary.” He lives in New Orleans where he devotes himself now to his work with clients who seek spiritual direction through dreams.
Rabbi Lori Klein was ordained as a rabbi by ALEPH, and serves as an oncology hospital chaplain at Stanford University Medical Center. She served as chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal from 2009 to 2012.
Rabbi Yocheved Mintz was ordained by Academy for Jewish Religion, California, and was also awarded the degree of Master of Rabbinical Studies. In January, 2012, she earned the additional title of Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Director) through the ALEPH Hashpaah certification program. From 2008 to 2012, Rabbi Mintz served as President of OHALAH, the professional rabbinical organization of rabbis for Jewish Renewal. She recently retired as rabbi of Valley Outreach Synagogue, now known as Congregation P’nai Tikvah. The first female president of and an active member of the Las Vegas Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Mintz is also on the boards of both the Clark County Ministerial Association and the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada.
Rabbi Jeremy Parnes is the spiritual leader of the Beth Jacob Synagogue in Regina Saskatchewan and received smicha from the ALEPH Rabbinic Program in 2012. A previous chair of ALEPH, Jeremy also spent twenty years working in sales management and training and a decade in the area of community development. He has worked in and for non-profit community groups and has consulted on inner-city issues including community planning, visioning and development projects.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro holds rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College and a PhD from Union Graduate School. He has created and led a synagogue, worked as a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies, been initiated into the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta Hinduism, and published some thirty or so books. Today he is a freelance theologian.
Rabbi David Zaslow was ordained in 1995 by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, under the mentorship of Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfeld z”l. Since 1996, he’s been honored to be the spiritual leader of Havurah Shir Hadash, a Jewish Renewal congregation in Ashland, Oregon founded by Reb Aryeh. A very special part of his work is to help congregations that are in transition. In this capacity he was honored to serve B’nai Or of Boston for two years, and P’nai Or of Portland, Oregon for almost three years. His most recent book is Jesus: First-Century Rabbi (Paraclete Press); he is also author of Ivdu Et Hashem b’Simcha, a Jewish Renewal prayerbook. Today he travels around the country leading interfaith workshops in synagogues and churches. He is one of the founding members of OHALAH, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.