AOP Graduating Class of 2020/5780

The Class of 2020-5780 at their smicha/ordination ceremony on January 12, 2020: (from left to right) Rabbi Zeh José Amarante, Rabbi Caryn Aviv, Rabbi Alan Scott Bachman, Rabbi Shir Yaakov Feit, Hazzan Evlyn Gould, Rabbi Dara Lithwick, Rabbi Mem Mary Ellen Movshin, Hazzan Michele Rozansky, Rabbi Elca Rubinstein, Rabbi Pauline Tamari, and Rabbi Brett Tancer. Photo courtesy of Mashpi'ah Ruchanit Janice Rubin

May their gifts serve the world

and light the way for the future of Jewish Renewal!

• click here for video of the smicha ceremony 

click here to view the Smicha Ceremony Program Book

• click here to make a donation in honor of the Class of 2020-5780 •

Rabbi Zeh José Amarante (São Paulo, Brasil)

Rabbi Zeh was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. He received his degree in Civil Engineering in 1980 and his M.Sc.A. in 2008 and has been working with water public systems and environment for the last many years. He was a member of the board of Kehilat Shalom in São Paulo for twenty years and president of the board for two years. In 2012, after he began his rabbinic studies, he assumed roles in leading services and teaching. Rabbi Zeh is part of the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue (DCJ) in São Paulo. He also offers Torah courses and group study and performs lifecycles ceremonies. What drives Rabbi Zeh is bringing spirituality to the everyday life of people, embracing emotions and ambiguities, and connecting the renewed light of tradition to contemporary times. He is married to Esther Dzialowski Amarante, and together they have four children and nine grandchildren.


Rabbi Caryn Aviv (Denver, Colorado)

Rabbi Caryn is on the rabbinic team at Judaism Your Way in Denver, CO, where she directs the Open Tent Be Mitzvah program, co-leads High Holy Day services and musical Shabbat programs, facilitates Jewish learning, and crafts meaningful, transformative life-transition rituals with Jews and loved ones. Rabbi Caryn earned a Ph.D. in sociology and anthropology from Loyola University Chicago in 2002 and a BA/BFA in social theory and jazz performance from the New School in New York. As an academic, Caryn taught Jewish/Israel-Palestine Studies, Gender Studies, and Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Denver. She is a writer, musician, artist, activist, yogini, vegetarian food-experimenter, cyclist, book nerd, prankster, tree-hugger, partner to her beloved Dawn, and mother of an amazing fourteen-year-old.


Rabbi Alan Scott Bachman (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Rabbi Alan was born in Rochester, NY. He received his degree in Special Education and Psychology at Syracuse University in 1974 and J.D. from Gonzaga University in 1977. He also attended extracurricular classes at the Eastman School of Music. In his youth, he attended a Conservative synagogue with Orthodox services. He served as president of USY while in High School. Rabbi Alan is involved in interfaith activities, including serving as chair of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, chair of the annual interfaith event at the Mormon Tabernacle, and current chair of the North American Interfaith Network. Alan is a partner of the law firm Fetzer Simonsen Booth and Jenkins, while also being a professional musician with his talented wife Andalin, recording engineer, producer, and rabbinical intern at Ruach Hamidbar in Scottsdale, AZ. Andalin and Alan have three married children and nine grandchildren.


Rabbi Shir Yaakov Feit (Ulster County, New York)

Rabbi Shir Yaakov is a singer, composer, designer, producer, teacher, and Aba. He, his partner Emily, and their three daughters live in New York’s Hudson Valley, where they founded the Kol Hai: Hudson Valley Jewish Renewal community. He has recorded and released four albums of original music and co-founded and performs with The Darshan Project. His song “Broken-hearted” won the Jewish Daily Forward’s 2016 Soundtrack of Our Spirit songwriting contest. Professionally, Rabbi Shir Yaakov has served as Creative and Music Director for Romemu, Director of Engagement at ALEPH, ritual consultant for Eden Village Camp, and visiting faculty at Hebrew College and the Academy for Jewish Religion-NY. His journey through the ALEPH Ordination Program was supported by the Hillel International Office of Innovation’s Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs, Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.


Hazzan Evlyn Gould (Eugene, Oregon)

Hazzan Evlyn serves as the cantorial intern at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, OR and as Hazzanite at Temple Har Zion in Mt. Holly, NJ during the High Holy Days. She leads Shabbat services, offers a monthly “Shabbat Alive!” Renewal service, and teaches workshops in Embodied Spirituality and Continuum-Infused Movement Meditation. Hazzan Evlyn is also College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Professor Emerita of French at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her work has focused on teaching and studying nineteenth-century French literature, philosophy and psychoanalysis, salon culture, the performing arts, as well as issues in Jewish and European Studies. She is the author of Virtual Theater from Diderot to Mallarmé, The Fate of CarmenEngaging Europe, and Dreyfus and the Literature of the Third Republic. She is partner to her beloved Henry M. Ponedel and mom to Benjamin and Jesse.


Rabbi Dara Lithwick (Ottawa, Canada)

Rabbi Dara is passionate about building bridges between people and communities and promoting inclusion as a fundamental Jewish practice. As a constitutional and parliamentary affairs lawyer at the House of Commons of Canada, Dara serves on the House Administration’s Diversity Council, a group of committed employees working together to support diversity and inclusion across the organization. She is an advocate for LGBTQ2+ inclusion within diverse Jewish spaces, as well as for Jewish inclusion in LGBTQ2+ spaces, and was a Union for Reform Judaism JewV’Nation fellow in its LGBTQIA+ leadership cohort. Rabbi Dara is active at Temple Israel Ottawa, where she helps lead services and lifecycle events, teach adult and youth programs, and engage in outreach and social action initiatives. Rabbi Dara is also chairing a Canadian Council for Reform Judaism group to develop a Tikkun Olam strategy for Canada and is the Canadian representative to the URJ’s Commission on Social Action. Rabbi Dara and her partner love chasing their two children around Ottawa.


Rabbi Mem Mary Ellen Movshin (St. Louis, Missouri)

Rabbi Mem was born and grew up in St. Louis. Her academic background includes historical Romance linguistics and French medieval history and literature. She has worked as a scientific and medical translator for the National Library of Medicine and for commercially produced databases, as a grants administrator for St. Louis’ transit operator, and as a fundraiser and consultant to grassroots housing and domestic violence non-profit organizations. A member of Kol Rinah (Conservative), Shir Hadash (Reconstructionist), and Central Reform Congregation (Reform) congregations in St. Louis, Rabbi Mem finds spiritual fulfillment in a variety of Jewish traditions. She leads Shabbat morning Torah study and teaches Hebrew to both adults and children. She understands her rabbinate as teaching both Jews and non-Jews about Judaism, as well as supporting the community of emigres from the former Soviet Union, a community to which she has been close for more than thirty-five years.


Hazzan Michele Rozansky (Mequon, Wisconsin)

Hazzan Michele is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been practicing physical therapy for almost forty years. She works with children and adults living with chronic emotional, spiritual, and physical pain resulting from trauma. Her life purpose has recently led her to teaching licensed therapists. She co-founded the first Reconstructionist synagogue in Milwaukee in 1989 and has served as a cantorial soloist for twenty-six years. In her Hazzanit studies, she is uncovering the healing wisdom of teshuvah in Judaism and has begun to integrate healing work into her Jewish tradition. She plans to create the space for others to heal their personal teshuvah within a Shabbaton. Hazzan Michele is a mother and nana to four grandchildren. She lives with her beloved David and their cat Kali.


Rabbi Elca Rubinstein (São Paulo, Brasil)

Rabbi Elca is a Brazilian who feels she is a citizen of the world. She has a Ph.D. in Economics, taught in two Brazilian universities, worked for the Brazilian government, and spent eighteen years coordinating social projects in the World Bank in Washington, DC. After retirement, she decided to embrace her eldering process and was trained in Sage-ing and gerontology, and she opened a Death Cafe to better understand the aging process and death and dying. She entered the ALEPH Ordination Program in 2015 and is ordained at the age of 74. Rabbi Elca lives in São Paulo, Brasil, close to her three children and four grandchildren.


Rabbi Pauline Tamari (Woodstock, New York)

Rabbi Pauline was born in Brooklyn, NY and graduated from Yeshiva Rambam and Lawrence High School. She has a B.A. in Speech and Language Pathology and Ed.D. in Speech and Language Pathology. She taught and supervised clinicians at Queens College and Columbia University and was Executive Director of Starting Early, an early intervention program for children. She pioneered model programs for autistic toddlers and preschoolers and for medically fragile babies. She was founder and president of Early Childhood Resources where she developed “Bright Babies,” a curriculum for children from birth to age three. As a lay leader and Torah teacher, Rabbi Pauline provided leadership in a variety of chavurot and developed programs for Spiritual Parenting and Nurturing Spirituality in Young Children. She currently serves at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation and Temple Israel in New York. She is a writer and liturgist and has performed her one-woman show of memoir, “Joy of My Juicy Jewish Journey.” She has four children and ten grandchildren.


Rabbi Brett Tancer (Jupiter, Florida)

Rabbi Brett has been an accompanist, teacher, service leader, and instructor for more than thirty years. He began playing the piano at a very young age and later added the guitar and percussion instruments to his repertoire. He grew up first accompanying worship services as a child and went on to become a teacher, music instructor, a Songleader and teacher of Songleader theory, as well as a worship leader. While studying comparative religion with an emphasis in Jewish studies and music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he led services at Hillel and at youth-group weekends with the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. Rabbi Brett has always been fascinated by Jewish text and Jewish tradition and it was always his dream to become a rabbi. He began rabbinic studies in 2013 and currently serves as the Rabbinic Intern/Music Director at Temple Beth Am in Jupiter, FL.