Spiritual Direction Faculty
Spiritual Directors – Mashpia Faculty
Rabbi Nadya Gross
Rabbi Nadya Gross is the Former Director of the AOP Hashpa’ah Training Program. She serves as Co-Rabbi of Pardes Levavot, a Jewish renewal congregation in Boulder, CO, together with her beloved, Rabbi Victor Gross. The two received Joint Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in recognition of their unique paradigm of spiritual partnering. Rabbi Nadya was trained from childhood in the Jewish mystical tradition, by her Israeli grandmother, and now transmits the teachings in a two-year wisdom school program. She is a teacher of Kaballah and spiritual practice and is guided by our wisdom tradition and Reb Zalman’s teaching in her private practice as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit – which focuses on individuals, couples, and clergy. She co-founded the Center for Spiritual Friendship in Boulder with Rabbi Ori Har, an interfaith center for hashpa’ah in many forms. She also proudly serves as faculty in the ‘Sage-ing Program,’ bringing her extensive experience with end-of-life care to that mentorship training program
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, HDD was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1998, and has smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as a rabbi and Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Director). He serves as rabbi at Mishkan Shalom, in Philadelphia, PA. A member of the Aleph Ordination Program VAAD and faculty, he has been involved in teaching, supervising, and training Jewish and Multifaith Spiritual Directors for over twenty years. He is co-founder/director with Rabbi Marcia Prager of the Davennen Leader’s Training Institute (www.DLTITraining.org); and is the Director for the ALEPH Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) Training Program. Shawn has been offering spiritual direction since 1999 through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, ALEPH and with individuals, teaching at Spiritual Director International conferences and Leadership Institutes, and working with people of all faith backgrounds. He is an active leader is faith and justice work, with POWER, PA: Faith in Action, is a liturgical, recording (www.rabbizevit.com) and performing artist, founder of www.menschwork.org; co-editor of “Brother Keepers: New Perspectives in Jewish Masculinity”; and author of “Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community”. See: (http://zevit.wpengine.com/
Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder
Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder, Rosh Hashpa’ah, was ordained by ALEPH in 2016 and currently serves as the rabbi of The Shul of New York, an inclusive post-denominational community in the East Village. A longtime spiritual director, trained through Lev Shomea, the first training program for Jewish Spiritual Directors, Rabbi Eva’s rabbinate and communal Jewish leadership have also been informed by her experiences in the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI), Kol Zimra Chant Leadership Training, and a variety of chaplaincy internships. She is certified in Jewish Mindfulness Meditation, Wise Eldering, as well as Jewish Yoga. She is a graduate of the Gamliel Institute, the educational arm of Kavod v’Nichum, the Jewish organization of bereavement and is active in local hevra kaddishah committees.
Rabbi Phyllis Berman
Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Ed.M., is a Mashpi’ah Ruchanit (trained by Lev Shomea) who received smicha from ALEPH in the first class of women rabbis in 2004. She co-leads Shabbatonim and Jewish holiday retreats as well as Jewish silent meditation retreats and assisted Rabbi Shefa Gold with four cohorts of Kol Zimra chant leaders’ training program. She was a long-time chair of B’nai/P’nai Or before it became ALEPH through its merger with The Shalom Center and was the summer program director for 12 years at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish Renewal Retreat Center in Accord, NY. She’s now retired from 37 years of creating and directing the Riverside Language Program in NYC, an intensive English-language “ulpan” for newly-arrived adult immigrants, refugees, and asylees from around the world. With her partner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, she has co-authored “Tales of Tikkun, A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven, and Freedom Journeys.” In July 2018, she taught “What in the (Four) Worlds is Jewish Renewal?” at the ALEPH Kallah as a tribute to Reb Zalman z”l.
Reb Sandra B. Cohen
Rabbi Lavey Yitzchak Derby
As a college student Rabbi Lavey began to explore the world of Kabbalah and Eastern European Hasidism, which became the foundation of his own spiritual life. He is blessed to have had remarkable mentors and teachers on this journey, including Reb Zalman, Rabbi David Cooper, Rabbi Art Green, Sylvia Boorstein, and Professor Melila Hellner-Eshed. He currently teaches Zohar and Hasidic Commentaries on Parshat HaShavua and leads meditation infused with Jewish wisdom. Rabbi Lavey was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and trained to be a spiritual director in Morei Derekh. He is an eighth-generation direct descendent of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, for whom he is named, and comes from a family line of rabbis that traces back to the 16th century.
Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Kate Fagan
Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Kate Fagan has smicha from ALEPH as a Rabbinic Pastor, Chaplain and Mashpi’ah Ruchanit. She serves as Founding Director of ALEPH’s Rabbinic Pastor Program, and as a hospital chaplain, as well as a spiritual director in private practice. RP Shulamit is a master storyteller, and teaches widely on pastoral care and end-of-life issues. See www.spiritualwell.com.
Rabbi Chaya Gusfield
Rabbi Chaya Gusfield, Spiritual Director, Board Certified Chaplain, and Teacher, was ordained as a rabbi in 2006 by the ALEPH Ordination Program. She currently serves as a Palliative Care chaplain at Kaiser Richmond and Oakland. She completed her training as a Spiritual Director in 2001 through the Mercy Center in Burlingame. Rabbi Gusfield has a longtime and deep connection with Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont and Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, California. She teaches Torah and leads Spiritual Direction groups using a variety of modalities including writing for deep reflection and sharing. Rabbi Gusfield works with the understanding that Judaism is for healing. She works closely with Buddhist teacher Eve Decker offering healing services and workshops. You can find Rabbi Gusfield’s writings on her blog at chayasgarden.wordpress.com.
Rabbi Shefa Gold
Rabbi Shefa Gold is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and also has rabbinic smicha from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP, The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice, in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. R’ Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayer-books. She teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community Building, and Meditation. Her 2-year training progam for chant leaders, “Kol Zimra,” trained rabbis, cantors and lay leaders to bring sacred Hebrew chant into their personal practice and public arenas. She is a resource faculty for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and a fellow for CLAL’s Rabbis without Borders. She was recently named “One of the 33 most Inspiring Rabbis in America,” by the Jewish Forward. R’ Shefa combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions to make her uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land, and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs published by Ben Yehuda Press, and The Magic of Hebrew Chant: Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love published by Jewish Lights.
Rabbi Ori Har
Rabbi Ori Har received ordination as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, Sage-ing Mentor and Rabbi from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She co-founded and directed the Conscious Learning Community – Center for Spiritual Friendship in Boulder, an interfaith center for Hashpa’ah in many forms. She serves as a trauma informed spiritual director as well as leading Sage-ing workshops. As a researcher in Consciousness, Rabbi Ori is also a practitioner of Embodied Awareness, Mondo Zen and Integral Life. Rabbi Ori has been an adult educator of Biblical Hebrew, Kabbalah and meditation for over twenty years, and is the author of God Speaks Here and Now: A Guide for Living. A native of Israel now living in Boulder, CO, Rabbi Ori is married, has two children, two step-children and is a savta of six grandchildren.
Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan
Rabbi Mark Novak
Rabbi Mark Novak received ordination as a Rabbi and Mashpia Ruchani from AOP, and is the founding Rabbi of MInyan Oneg Shabbat, Washington, DC’s Jewish Renewal community. (MinyanOnegShabbat.org) In addition to his work as a mashpia, he is a hazzan, musician (TheMarkNovakBand.com), composer, storyteller (Jewishstorytelling.com), and playwright. Mark experiences the creative process as a conduit in his relationship with the Divine. R’ Mark has been described as a ba’al simcha, a master of joy, and he brings that G!d given gift to all his work. Together with his wife, storyteller/juggler Renée Brachfeld, R’ Mark has served as Scholar/Artist in Residence at over 140 synagogues throughout the U/S and Canada. His project, A Year of Stories, is dedicated to the memory of Reb Zalman and can be found at www.rebmarko.com. R’ Mark leads all ALEPH chaverim in number of websites!
Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel
Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel is a poet and mystic through whom song and inspiration flow. She has recorded eight albums of original liturgical music. In 1982, she was the first woman to receive the title, Eshet Hazon/Woman of Vision and Midwife of the Soul. She has helped to build and sustain communities in Vancouver, BC, Hanover, NH, and Boston, MA. She currently serves as the rabbi of B’nai Or of Boston. In addition to serving as a Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, she is a Soul Memory Facilitator, and a Baba to two precious granddaughters.
Rabbinic Pastor & Mashpi’ah Ruchanit Sandra Wortzel
Rabbinic Pastor & Mashpi’ah Ruchanit Sandra Wortzel enjoys integrating the things she knows and loves: Expressive Arts, Jewish Renewal, Spiritual Direction, and her own soul-evolving experiences through artmaking. She encourages others to express their spirituality and yearnings through the arts in spiritual direction sessions, creative rituals, and through workshops/retreats that unite Jewish spirituality, the expressive arts and nature. Sandra grew up in NYC, and was a desert dweller in Tucson, AZ from 1975-2018. She and her husband moved to the Mendocino Coast in CA in early 2019 and now dwell among the redwoods. ‘Reb Sandra’ has dual ordination from Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal AOP. She served as a hospice chaplain for 6 years in Tucson, AZ. She was administrator, core faculty and supervisor for the Aleph Hashpa’ah training program (2014-2022) and continues to be a supervisor and adjunct faculty for the Hashpa’ah training. Reb Sandra is a Mashpiah for AOP students and in private practice. She is a graduate of Kol Zimra Hebrew Chant Training and Rabbi Nadya Gross’ “Wisdom School”. She and her husband Kenny have three children, four delightful grandchildren and a golden retriever named Zushya.
Mashpi’ah Ruchanit Hannah Salander
Hannah Salander, Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, Supervisor and Faculty, brings great sensitivity to supporting others in their spiritual formation. She is skilled in co-creating a space of holy listening where one may better discern how they are being called, and how to nurture a unique and loving relationship with the Divine. In addition to this ministry, Hannah is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Art Therapist, and has a clinical practice in Lafayette, Colorado. She has taught graduate studies at Naropa University in both transpersonal art and wilderness therapy and served for several years as a hospice chaplain and graduate student supervisor. Hannah is also a graduate of Rabbi Nadya Gross’, Secrets My Grandmother Told Me, a training rooted in the wisdom of relational Kabbalah. Finally, Hannah is a mother to her beloved three-year-old son, which has truly been the most holy and transformational work of her life. More information about Hannah can be found at: www.centersightcounseling.com
Mashpia Jon Gottsegen
Since receiving mashpia certification through ALEPH, Jon brings his variety of experience to create a passionate and compassionate presence for exploring the presence of Spirit with his mushpa’ot/im. He may include his training through ALEPH, DLTI or Torah Trek with Rabbi Mike Comins. He may also incorporate his years of men’s work, training in “parts work,” or earth based practices. He even draws on lessons learned through a long career in Information Systems for those wondering how to bring this work into the office or workaday world. While he loves all aspects of hashpa’ah, he is particularly fired up about spirituality in the wild, or wild spirituality. There is a particular kind of listening that occurs when opening to the more-than-human world, that we can learn from and bring to our lives, and we . can also follow models in the natural world. In the mytho-poetic sense, his work is one of pointing to the mystery in the curves and forks on the trail of your discernment. In this vein, Jon has studied with the Animas Valley Institute and is a certified Forest Bathing guide and holds Wilderness First Responder certification.
Rabbi Rev. Dr. Haviva Ner-David
Haviva Ner-David was ordained privately in 2006 by Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky, an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem, and then again in 2016 at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in NYC, where she studied in both the ministry and spiritual companioning programs. Haviva is also trained in Dream Work, Inner Child Work, and Nature Soul Work, and she brings that training into her spiritual companioning when appropriate. Calling herself a post-denominational inter-spiritual rabbi, her specialty is in mikveh and spiritual companioning–often, but not always, combining the two. She works with a wide range of clients of all ages, genders, and faith traditions. Haviva is the author or three spiritual journey memoirs — Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Towards Traditional Rabbinic Ordination; Chanah’s Voice: A Rabbi Struggles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing and Brightening; and Dreaming Against the Current: A Rabbi’s Soul Journey — as well as two novels — Hope Valley and To Die in Secret — and the children’s book, Yonah and the Mikveh Fish. Tikkun Olam is an important part of Haviva’s journey, as she is active in building a shared society among Jews and Arabs in the Galilee and runs the only mikveh in Israel open to all to immerse as they please. A strong believer in following the heart and living from the soul to create one’s unique spiritual journey, Haviva considers her spiritual direction work a calling. She is the mother of seven, has a cat and a dog, and lives with a degenerative genetic muscular disorder that has been both one of the biggest challenges and blessings of her life. She meets with directees via Zoom, unless they are in Israel, in which case she is happy to do a mix of Zoom and in person meetings when circumstances allow.
Dr. Joel L. Kushner
Dr. Joel L. Kushner’s early experiences in an apprenticeship with a hospital chaplain while studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland grew into a lifelong thread of work that bridges the spiritual and psychological and a passion for seeking meaning and authenticity focused in the spiritual realm.
Dr. Kushner is trained in counseling, clinical and organizational psychology and holds graduate degrees in counseling and clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University.
In 2005, Dr. Kushner founded the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity, the first of its kind in a seminary. Dr. Kushner was appointed the Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR in 2013 where he manages the pastoral internship process for rabbinical students. In 2017, he completed training as a spiritual director in the Morei Derekh program of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction.