AOP New Students 2019-20

Binah Block (Cantorial), Longmont, CO. Binah became a theater professional at seventeen and later earned her Master of Fine Arts. Trained at Syracuse University, Point Park University, and Shakespeare and Co., she worked all over the country as an actor, director, and theater educator. Always singing, Binah also used her voice as a voice-over artist and a preschool music specialist. Coming to Judaism in her fifties, she has studied at ALEPH since 2007. In January 2020, she will complete her training as a Spiritual Director in the ALEPH Hashpa’ah Program. Her children, Erin and Ben, are her favorite songs.
Rami Efal (Rabbinic), New York, NY. Israeli-born Rami is the Executive Director of Zen Peacemakers International – a network for spiritual activism founded by Zen master Bernie Glassman – where he oversees the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Native American Bearing Witness retreats. A student of Zen Buddhism since 2005, he spent four years living in a Zen monastery and an urban temple. He is a graduate of School of Visual Arts, School for International Training, and The New York Center for Nonviolent Communication. Rami is a published and presented artist and also an associate contributor with JustLabs, a global multi-disciplinary human-rights think tank.
Hannah L. Ganezer (Rabbinic), Columbia, SC. Hannah has been an educator for over thirty years, specializing in early childhood and elementary education. She has taught in private and charter schools, as well as Jewish day schools, in Los Angeles, New York City, and Columbia, SC, where she lives. Hannah had been active in Conservative synagogues most of her life. She discovered Jewish Renewal through Lev Eisha – a women’s shul in Los Angeles – and Romemu. She is now active in a Renewal havurah called HaKerem, leading shiurim, Torah discussions, and planning services and holiday events. Hannah is the proud mother of two mensches, Jonathan and Joshua.
Josh Jeffreys (Rabbinic), Richmond, VA. Josh is the Jewish Chaplain and Director of Religious Life at the University of Richmond and is completing his Master of Business Administration. Raised in Cherry Hill, NJ, Josh graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a degree in Jewish Studies. While at Rutgers, Josh focused on Biblical and Rabbinic Judaism and wrote his honors thesis on irony in the Mishnah. Prior to joining UR, he worked for a variety of Jewish community institutions – including Hillel, BBYO, the JCC, as well as numerous congregational youth groups and schools. Josh and his partner Amy are welcoming their first child.
Amy Mook (Rabbinic), Port Townsend, WA. A lifelong learner of math, physics, and mysticism – one pursuit leading to another – Amy found her love of Torah in 2004 and, since then, has been immersed in Jewish learning and leadership, including graduating from DLTI 5. She is currently a frequent leyner, service leader, and teacher at two Jewish communities. Over the years Amy has been happily self-employed, wearing many hats: seamstress, publisher of educational nature games, editor, and web and graphic designer. She and husband Dean are long-time residents of Port Townsend, where they raised two grown sons.
Adrianne Pasternak (Rabbinic), Agoura Hills, CA. Adrianne has been a Jewish educator for twenty-five years. She holds a dual BA in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Literature and a master's degree in Education. Adrianne and husband Avi have four children, aged 10 to 25. She enjoys the outdoors, hiking or spending time at the beach with family and friends. When she becomes a rabbi, Adrianne hopes to continue her role as a Jewish educator and to serve as a spiritual leader in the special-needs community.
Eliza Slavet (Rabbinic), San Diego, CA. Eliza is the author of Racial Fever: Freud and the Jewish Question and many a haggadah for the Wicked Child. She received her undergraduate and master's degrees from Yale University and a PhD in Literature from University of California San Diego. She has taught university courses on psychoanalysis, Moses, literary theory, race and religion, and history of antisemitism. Eliza feels called to serve in interfaith contexts, including San Diego’s Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, which she co-founded in 2016. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two children, and two dogs.
Yoel Sykes (Rabbinic), Jerusalem, Israel. Yoel is a main prayer leader in the Jerusalem-based community of Nava Tehila. He travels to many Jewish communities around the world to lead musical prayer services, concerts, and workshops, sharing the prayer models developed in Nava Tehila. Yoel has composed many new melodies to traditional prayers that can now be heard and sung in synagogues across Israel and throughout the globe.
Sylvia Turner-Yanofsky (Rabbinic Pastor), Portsmouth, VA. Sylvia has been a physician in Texas, New Zealand, and Virginia, focusing on mental health of young children and creating a supportive milieu for their families. She believes the rabbinic-pastor path is a logical extension of her work among military children, and pastoral care is where she can integrate her training in music, dance, and spiritual care. Sylvia was a founding member of Shirat HaLev, a vocal quartet at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, and has served as a cantorial soloist and Jewish lay leader at Fort Sill, Fort Hood, as well as aboard a naval ship. She and her husband are proud of their growing navy family.
Margo Wolfson (Rabbinic) Manalapan, NJ. For over twenty years, Margo has taught religious school in a Reform synagogue in New Jersey, where she has led t'filah services, taught interactive Hebrew and Judaic programs, and tutored B’nai Mitzvah. She also led a youth choir and is a song leader who enjoys composing melodies for t’filah and drash-in-song. In addition, she helps lead and leyn at an independent minyan. An environmentalist, Margo teaches biology full-time at a community college in New Jersey. She and husband Charley are proud parents of three young adults.