ALEPH Ordination Program is proud to introduce
the Smicha/Ordination Class of 2019/5779
May their gifts serve the world and light the way for the future of Jewish Renewal!
Hazzan Shayndel Adler (Davis, CA)
Hazzan Shayndel is a mother, a teacher, a liturgist, an ordained Kohenet (Hebrew priestess of embodied, earth-honoring, and feminist Jewish tradition) and a spiritual healer. She has served as student cantor at Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis since 2013, as a High Holiday cantor for eight years, and as a Jewish educator and songleader in various communities for over twenty-five years. She is also a Kol Zimra chant leader, a Soul Memory Discovery facilitator, a holistic health practitioner, and a teacher of “Uncovering the Voice,” a spiritual approach to singing. Hazzan Shayndel has been a professional educator since 1997 and currently works as a supervising teacher and education consultant for homeschooling families. Her specialty is Waldorf education. She earned her Teaching Credential and B.A. in Liberal Studies/Elementary Education from Humboldt State University and HHP certification from the Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.
Rabbi David R.E. Aladjem (Davis, CA)
Rabbi David is a teacher of Torah, liturgist, and mashpia (spiritual director). His great joy is to help uncover the Divine light that is hidden within our tradition, whether that be in prayer, in silence, in texts, or in food. He has led services at Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis for more than twenty-five years, serving as student rabbi for the last three. In his day job, he is a lawyer who seeks solutions to water and environmental problems in California. He received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s in Politics from Princeton University, and his undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. He is blessed to share his life with wife Margaret and two cats.
Hazzan Diana Brewer (Northampton, MA)
Hazzan Diana comes to the cantorate via a lifetime of music making. She received a B.A. in Music from Smith College and a Master’s in Early Music Vocal Performance from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. She delights in combining nearly twenty-five years of professional music performance with her passion for Jewish spirituality and transformative prayer experiences. Hazzan Diana now brings her gifts to the Jewish Community of Amherst and to The McAuley, an assisted living facility of the Mercy Community in West Hartford, CT. She is also honored to be a member of the leadership team of the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI).
Rabbinic Pastor Ruth Delfiner (Concord, MA)
R.P. Ruth was born in Vienna and came to the U.S. as a child. She attended college in Pennsylvania and did her graduate work at Harvard University, first the Divinity School and then the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. During the nineties, she and her young family lived in Houston, where she worked as a chaplain at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. After returning to New England, she did CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and became its Jewish Chaplain, a post she still holds. She also co-leads a women’s cancer group at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As a hospital chaplain, R.P. Ruth dedicates herself to providing compassionate care to all, Jewish and non-Jewish. She draws daily sustenance from her husband and daughter, and from her patients who share their wisdom and insights, as well as their struggles, with her.
Rabbi Laurie Franklin (Missoula, MT)
Rabbi Laurie graduated from the High School of Music and Art as a voice student and earned her B.S. in Botany from the University of Washington, where she was proud to row in the UW Women’s Crew during its first two years as a varsity sport. While in Washington, she was also an organic gardener and small-scale home farmer. Rabbi Laurie holds a commercial truck license and has worked in landscape construction and custom publishing. Her multifaceted background also includes being a tall ship crew sailor, a biophysics researcher, and a university-level adjunct faculty in scientific writing. For the last decade, Rabbi Laurie has served as the spiritual leader of Har Shalom in Missoula, MT. She and her husband Sandy have two dearly beloved children.
Rabbi Maury Hoberman (West Chester, PA)
Rabbi Maury graduated from Jefferson Medical College and the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, serving as a flight medical officer with the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He practiced otolaryngology – head and neck surgery for thirty years in West Chester, during which he had chaired the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Chester County Hospital and served on its board. Rabbi Maury is a founding member and trustee of the West Chester University Foundation and the Lasko Family Foundation, as well as a founding member of ACRE, the Alliance for Continuing Rabbinic Education. He was also an initiating force behind WCU’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies Department. He has served as president of Kesher Israel Congregation three times and is currently the Rabbi-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. A proud grandfather of four, Rabbi Maury lives happily with his partner, Joyce, and Alfie the Cat.
Hazzan Baruch Morris (Portland, OR)
Hazzan Baruch has been leading religious services since high school. His love of music and Judaism led him to become a cantorial soloist and lay service-leader with several congregations. Currently the Hazzan for P’nai Or of Portland – where he had also been Interim Spiritual Leader – he has led services and officiated at lifecycle events for congregations up and down the West Coast, as well as served for two years as the High Holy Days hazzan at Kol HaNeshama in Sarasota, FL. A professionally trained vocalist, Hazzan Baruch has been a conductor and arranger for several choirs and plays both the guitar and upright bass. He is married to Cassandra Sagan, a professional maggidah (storyteller), artist, writer, and educator. Between them they have five children and four grandchildren.
Rabbi Seth F. Oppenheimer (Mississippi State, MS)
Rabbi Seth is a teacher and sometime poet, essayist, and short-story writer. Since 2007 he has been the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Israel in Columbus, MS, where he had previously led lay services, taught religious school, and served as president. He is also a chaplain at a local hospital. Rabbi Seth is a frequent guest speaker on Judaism in academic settings as well as local churches. His day job is as Professor of Mathematics at Mississippi State University and Associate Dean for Research of its Shackouls Honors College. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. He has two adult children and one grandchild.
Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah (Boca Raton, FL)
Rabbi Amy has been a Jewish educator for over 30 years. She received her M.A. in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR, Los Angeles, and B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Her career path has included teaching, consulting, writing, visioning, and spiritual leadership. As a nationally certified Jewish Family Educator and a Spiritual Director (Morei Derekh program), Rabbi Amy enjoys working with all ages to help individuals access their own spark of Divinity. She has recorded a CD of originally composed Jewish meditative chants called “Im Lev Maleh, With a Full Heart” and is the author of a book on Jewish parenting (forthcoming from Ben Yehuda Press). She is married to Dr. Aryeh Pessah and together they are the proud parents of three amazing young adults.