AOP Incoming Class 2020-21



We welcome our incoming class of nineteen rabbinic, rabbinic pastor, and cantorial talmidim. They bring rich and diverse life experiences to AOP and are united in their aspiration to bring their passion and talents to serve the Jewish people and the world.

- Rabbi Marcia Prager, Dean and Director




Debra Josephson Abrams (rabbinic pastor)

Debra holds a Doctor of Arts in English and education. A teacher of English, ESL, and EFL for over 30 years, she has been a US Department of State English Language Fellow in Russia and an English Language Specialist in South Korea. She is also an accomplished writer whose works, spanning different genres, appear in various publications. Debra became the first fellow in elder care and geropsychology at the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System upon completing a chaplain residency there. A transformative journey – lifelong wrestling with Judaism, combined with a desire to integrate it with her passion for providing spiritual care – led her to the Rabbinic Pastor Program, a decision made on the day of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh.

Zannah Breunig (rabbinic) - Bloomington, IN

Zannah works in the nonprofit world as an educator helping students and communities learn about the impacts of food on human health, animals, and the environment. They have worked in farmed-animal advocacy and have taught university courses in religious studies and women’s and gender studies, focusing on disability and transgender theories. In the future, Zannah hopes to continue engaging in social and environmental justice work through a Jewish spiritual lens.
 

Rivkah Coburn (rabbinic) - Portland, OR

Rivkah is a dancer, teacher, storyteller, and prayer leader. She has woven her experience into an interdisciplinary modality, “Tree of Life Practices,” for teaching Torah, prayer, leyning, and Jewish contemplative practices. She is an ordained Maggidah and Gabba’it, as well as a certified Jewish Embodiment Facilitator. To deepen her caregiving practice, Rivkah entered AOP’s Hashpa’ah: Training Program for Jewish Spiritual Directors and became a Mashpi’ah Ruchanit in 2020. As a rabbinic student, she hopes to expand her practice of embodying Torah, Kabbalah, and Jewish prayer and ritual.

Sara Eifler (rabbinic) - West Yarmouth, MA

Sara is the Program Director of Jewish Veg, a national nonprofit that inspires and assists Jews to adopt plant-based diets as an expression of Jewish values. She believes in a Jewish ethic of responsibility and care toward animals and the earth and is passionate about global food justice. Sara holds a degree in creative writing from Brandeis University and has written and performed poetry nationwide. She lives on Cape Cod with her wife Kendall.

 


Ariel Hendelman (cantorial) - Jerusalem, Israel

Ariel was born and raised in Sudbury, MA. After studying film and screenwriting in The New School in Manhattan, she began her career as a journalist, writing for publications like The Boston Phoenix, Bay Windows, and The Jerusalem Post. Ariel made Aliyah in 2013, moving to Jerusalem, and four years later she made a career change and became a grant writer for Israeli nonprofit organizations. She has also been leading chant and meditation circles in her neighborhood of Nachlaot on Shabbat mornings. By joining the Cantorial Program, she is pursuing her true passion and manifesting her spiritual calling more fully, as music is for Ariel a direct channel to and from the divine.

Marla Kolman Antebi (rabbinic) - Alameda, CA

Marla is an award-winning Jewish family educator, school director, social entrepreneur, and neo-mystic. She believes her mission is to nurture wonder and awe in children and elevate the sacred in our lives and on earth. She has a B.A. in child development, an M.S.W. in community organizing, and certification as a teacher of Jewish meditation. Marla has developed projects for Jewish camps and led peacemaker trainings, Israel trips, and interfaith gatherings – in the San Francisco Bay Area and abroad. A mussar devotee, she learns from everyone and everything. She spends her free time working in her glass mosaic studio and hiking with her husband and their two boys.

Zvika Krieger (rabbinic) - Berkeley, CA

Zvika is Director of Responsible Innovation at Facebook. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, where he launched Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in thirteen countries. He was also the first-ever US Department of State Representative to Silicon Valley, as well as Senior Vice President of the Center for Middle East Peace. Zvika has been a Middle East correspondent and editor at The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Newsweek. He has a B.A. from Yale University, studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo, and attended Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion. He has held leadership positions at DC Minyan, has served on the board of the Jewish Studio Project and Sukkat Shalom/Milk + Honey, and has led Shabbat services around the world.

Laura Lenes (rabbinic)

Laura has served in synagogues across South Florida as a prayer leader, cantorial soloist, curriculum developer, and educator. Her work connects children and adults to Judaism, G-d, and each other through music, American Sign Language, drama, and movement. Sing Sign Simcha – a Jewish Mommy and Me program that she developed – is used across Florida and New York City. Laura has held leadership roles at Jewish national conferences and has been a music director in Hebrew schools and preschools, as well as an artist-in-residence at institutions across the country. She is currently working to record and publish a vast collection of songs, prayers, Jewish musical plays, and curriculums.

Ana Levy-Lyons (rabbinic) - New York, NY

Ana is a writer, speaker, and eco-activist. She is the author of No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments and a contributing editor for Tikkun magazine. She currently serves as the spiritual leader of a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Brooklyn. Ana is blessed to share her life path with her husband and ten-year-old twins, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where they are active members of Romemu. Starting rabbinical school represents both the end and the beginning of a long journey – Ana seeks to open deeper spiritual currents within and build her Jewish wisdom, leadership capacities, and public voice in service of the transformation of our world.

Paige Lincenberg (rabbinic) - Occidental, CA

Paige serves as the Student Rabbi – and sole clergy – of Temple B'nai Israel in Amarillo, TX. She is also a mentor for the Wilderness Torah’s outdoor Hebrew school, B’hootz, and the Retreat Manager for Or HaLev’s silent Jewish meditation retreats. She entered AOP as part of the first cohort of the Earth-Based Judaism Program. To best express her essence, Paige often shares the Hasidic tale of the rabbi’s child who would leave shul to pray in the woods. When the rabbi questioned it, saying that “the Divine is the same everywhere,” the wise child smilingly replied, “but I’m not.”

Lisa Machlin (rabbinic pastor) - Ithaca, NY

Lisa holds a B.S. in psychology from Towson State University and an M.A. in dance research and reconstruction from The City College of New York. Feeling the need to help people in a more direct way, she returned to school at Fairleigh Dickinson University, received a Bachelor of Science in nursing, and embarked on a career in both obstetrical and hospice nursing.  The experience of being present for patients and their families at sacred times in their lives has helped Lisa find her calling – to accompany people spiritually, rather than clinically, during life’s transitions. While missing her beloved late husband Paul, Lisa is grateful to be together with their four children during the current pandemic.

Laura Marder (rabbinic) - New York, NY

A graduate of the Pardes Educators Master’s Program, Laura has been working for over six years as a middle school Judaics teacher at Hannah Senesh Community Day School and has started a Jewish mindfulness program there. She shares her passion for intentional Judaism outside of school as well, leading a weekly Jewish meditation group for Beloved Brooklyn, where she is an intern. Laura participated in Romemu Yeshiva in 2019 and also writes and works for Lab Shul, My Jewish Learning, and the Pardes Institute. She loves to create rituals for lifecycle events and serves as a mikveh guide for ImmerseNYC. Laura feels blessed to enter AOP, on the path of becoming a rabbi like many who have mentored and inspired her.

Rachel Rose Reid (rabbinic) - London, United Kingdom

Rachel is ordained by the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and is an award-winning writer, storyteller, and artist, who has created commissions for Billy Bragg, BBC Radio, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Rachel is co-director of Yelala, a constellation of projects that renews and revives knowledge of Jewish women’s spiritual practices, rituals, and folk cultures for people of all genders. She is the Spiritual Educator for Sadeh Farm, the UK's only Jewish environmental community, and convenes multi-devotional circles in partnership with Sufi musician, Fahad Khalid. As an artist and ritualist, she produces festivals (Willesden Green Wassail; Mimouna London), which build genuine, joyful connections between Londoners.

Aaron Rotenberg (rabbinic) - Toronto, Canada

Aaron serves as the Spiritual Leader of Annex Shul in downtown Toronto. He spends his summers as the Educational Manager of Heart to Heart, a society-building summer camp program for Jewish and Palestinian teens. Aaron has worked in a variety of Jewish settings, which included serving as Interim Director of Hillel at University of Toronto and teaching music at The Toronto Heschel School. He graduated from the List College Joint Program, with degrees in Bible, psychology, and creative writing from both Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Aaron completed an MFA in film production from York University. His short films have been screened at film festivals locally and internationally.

Rebecca Schisler (rabbinic) - Jerusalem, Israel

Rebecca is a meditation teacher, Jewish educator, artist, and ritualist. A devoted student of contemplative practice, Rebecca teaches in meditation retreats with Or HaLev and The Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism. She taught mindfulness to children, teachers, and parents in California schools with Mindful Life Project. At the Pardes Institute, she is developing a curriculum on mindfulness-based skills for social/emotional learning and constructive conflict. Rebecca is trained in women’s initiatory arts and, as a lead facilitator with Wilderness Torah, has guided adolescents through nature-based rites of passage. She offers mindfulness coaching and mentoring to individuals, youths and families, and organizations.

Bruce Solomon (cantorial) - Bloomington, IN

Bruce is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he taught for 37 years, and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is a passionate teacher who has mentored many during his academic career, and his research has often been cited by other scholars. A guitar player since childhood, Bruce brought his musical and spiritual interests together when he learned to leyn Torah in 1990. He is co-founder of a Jewish Renewal minyan at Congregation Beth Shalom in Bloomington. After many years leading Shabbat and High Holiday services in modalities from traditional to Renewal, he is eager to deepen his ability to help his community pray.

Ilana Sumka (rabbinic) - Leuven, Belgium

Originally trained in community organizing in New York, Ilana received a Dorot Fellowship in 2004 to live and study in Israel. After two years studying at the Pardes Institute, she went on to serve as the Jerusalem director of Encounter. In 2012, Ilana founded the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, mobilizing Jews around the world to join Palestinians and Israelis in ending the occupation and bringing about a just, equitable, and peaceful future for all.  She is a trained Focusing teacher in Embodied Listening and a facilitator of Work That Reconnects. Ilana now lives in Belgium with her spouse and son and co-organizes the Leuven havurah, Ohel Yachdav. She is the founding director of Shleimut and is writing a memoir about the seven years she lived in Jerusalem.


Jericho Vincent (rabbinic) - New York, NY

Jericho is a writer, lecturer, and coach. While earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, they founded Horizons Academy, an afterschool program for at-risk teens. They went on to earn a master’s degree in public policy as a Pforzheimer Fellow at Harvard University. Jericho is the author of the memoir, Cut Me Loose, and the co-author of Legends of the Talmud. Their essays have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Salon, and The Forward. Jericho has been named to the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 and the Jewish Daily Forward’s Forward 50. They have lectured on trauma, gender, and transformation at colleges, organizations, and houses of worship across the country. Jericho is certified in IFS coaching and is currently working on a book about healing from trauma.

Ami Weintraub (rabbinic) - Pittsburgh, PA

A 2019 Kesher Fellow of ALEPH, Ami is the founder of Ratzon: Center for Healing and Resistance, a queer, Jewish, and anarchist community center in Pittsburgh. They support the Ratzon community by leading Jewish ritual for queer young adults, coordinating mutual aid projects and running Shulayim L’Shalom, a queer Jewish youth group. Ami is also an educator at local synagogues and Hebrew schools. They are a graduate of the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and a two-time graduate of the Romemu Yeshiva. In 2017 Ami received their undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in history, fiction writing, and Jewish studies.