Maggid Jim Brule received s’micha as a maggid from Reb Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum, in the line of Reb Shlomo Carlebach z”l and Reb Zalman Shachter-Sholomi z”l, nearly a decade ago. Jim is actively engaged in intensive multi-faith dialogues, including a multi-year partnership with a Baptist minister and a Muslim scholar. His school for Multi-Faith Transformational Storytelling has just completed its second year, and his faculty includes storytellers from many faith traditions. Jim revels in the joy of telling transformational stories—and awakening the maggid in each of us.
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener is a renewal-trained rabbi serving in Greenfield, MA. Rabbi Andrea has been a delegation leader (to Israel/West Bank/ Gaza) and a trainer for The Compassionate Listening Project since 1999. She brings her facilitation and communications skills to her work as a congregational rabbi. Rabbi Andrea is an avid student of the Piaseczner rebbe, Kalanymous Kalman Shapira, and is a trainee in Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra program. Previously she served as founding rabbi of P’nai Or of Central CT and then studied regional food systems at an intentional community in Rochester, New York for 2 years before coming to Greenfield. Rabbi Andrea had training in educational psychology in college and a pastoral care practicum with Reb Zalman OBM. She fostered a disordered child from ages 3-10 and became quite educated in a practical way about PDs. A reader on the current DSM-V description of Pervasive Developmental Disorder written by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, Rabbi Andrea also served on the Board of Directors of the National Attachment and Trauma Network from 2006-2008.
Rabbinic Pastor Simcha Raphael, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the DA’AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy and Training. Ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, he is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Religion and Theology of LaSalle University and, works as a psychotherapist and spiritual director in Philadelphia. A Fellow of the Rabbis Without Borders Network, he is author of the groundbreaking Jewish Views of the Afterlife. His website is www.daatinstitute.net.
Dr. Shabiha Sheikh is a first-generation Muslim woman from Edison, NJ. She graduated from Rutgers University with a PharmD and works as a pharmacist in a veterans’ nursing home. She is the co-leader of the Morris County Chapter of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom with Rabbi Debra Smith.
Rabbi Debra Smith (Reb Deb) is the founding Rabbi of Or Ha Lev Jewish Renewal Congregation in Succasunna, NJ. She is also a clinical social worker and marriage and family therapist. She is co-leader, with Ms. Shabiha Sheikh, of the Morris County Chapter of the national organization, Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom. Rabbi Debra is the Rabbi in Residence at the Drew Theological School. She is a frequent speaker in mosques and churches on the topic of multi-faith issues. She received rabbinic ordination from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and a Masters in Jewish Studies from Gratz College in Philadelphia.
Leah Vincent is the author of Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood and the co-author of Legends of the Talmud. She has lectured on sexual assault, trauma, and Judaism at colleges, organizations, and synagogues across the country. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and the Forward. Leah was a Pforzheimer Fellow at Harvard, where she earned a master’s degree in public policy and trained in Adaptive Leadership. Named to the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 and the Jewish Daily Forward’s Forward 50, she has organized numerous advocacy initiatives. Leah is currently at work on a book about healing from trauma.
Rabbi Uzi Weingarten holds a Masters degree in Jewish Education and has studied spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica. He studied compassionate communication with internationally acclaimed teachers (Marshall Rosenberg, Selwa Said, and others), and is certified as an Advanced Trainer of Effective Communication Strategies. Uzi created the transformational Communicating with Compassion course, which he has taught since 2002 to great acclaim.