Maggid Jim Brule (he/him) 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 (she/her) 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.
Oran Hesterman, Ph.D. (he/him) President and CEO of Fair Food Network, is committed to weaving together his professional work in sustainable food systems and his dedication to caring for others and the earth in keeping with the traditions and ethics of justice rooted in his Jewish heritage. He is a certified Sage-ing Mentor and leads workshops nationally and internationally with his wife Lucinda Kurtz, that help people discover their inner elder while gaining new perspectives on what it means to grow older in today’s culture. He has been an active member of the Jewish community from his early days in North Pacific Coast Young Judea and Temple Beth El in Berkeley, CA to his present participation in Pardes Hannah in Ann Arbor, MI and his co-founding of Or Tzafon, the Jewish Retreat Center in Northern Michigan. He also facilitated the support of the Sacred Foods Project to ALEPH and co-led a Conflict Resolution Seminar to Egypt and Israel as part of his Kellogg Fellowship. After more than 35 years of experience as a scientist, farmer, philanthropist, businessman, educator, and passionate advocate, Oran B. Hesterman is grateful to turn his attention to helping others harvest the fruits of their life’s wisdom.
Lucinda Kurtz, M.A. (she/her) is a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner and Sage-ing Vatika, who focuses her practice and teachings on helping people achieve full manifestation of their potential. Her powerful energetic practices help embed our relationship with Spirit in our bodies, lifting us up to our highest connection to the One. As an Energy Healer, Lucinda combines hands-on energy healing and shamanic practices with kabbalistic spiritual understanding to create a unique healing modality to help each individual create a healthy and joyful life. In her ongoing Kabbalah classes and retreats, Lucinda uses this mystical path of deep relationship between self and the Divine as a powerful avenue to help students gain greater self- awareness and personal transformation. Lucinda and her husband, Oran Hesterman, both certified Sage-ing Mentors, lead Sage-ing classes nationally and internationally that help people discover their life’s wisdom and explore their soul’s journey. In addition, they teach an on-line Sage-ing class that brings the potential for healing and harvesting our life experience to a wide multi-denominational group of people of all ages. In her Pardes Hannah Renewal community in Ann Arbor, MI, she leads monthly Rosh Chodesh groups, and yearly Omer journeys to help seekers open to revelation.
Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit (he/him) was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a young adult he lived for twelve years in Israel and received rabbinic ordination at The Jerusalem Seminary in 1990. He earned a Ph.D. in Talmud from U.C. Berkeley in 2001. Natan has taught at Bard College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. He is currently a member of the Va’ad (steering committee and core faculty) of the Aleph Ordination Program, and serves as Chair of their Rabbinic Texts department. He is also the Director of the AOP’s new Earth Based Judaism Track. Natan is Founder of Organic Torah, a non-profit which fosters holistic thinking about Judaism, environment and society. He publishes his writings in periodicals, writes a monthly blog for Organic Torah and is currently competing work on a book. He teaches and speaks in synagogues, campuses and other venues across the country. He lives in Newton, MA with his wife Ilana, their two sons and their dog, Pele (named for the Hebrew word for wonder, and also the Hawaiian goddess, not the soccer player).
Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael (she/her) is an “unorthodox” visionary rabbi. She has served four congregations, and is currently the spiritual leader for Darkaynu, an independent congregation in the Philadelphia area. She is a singer/songwriter/liturgist (with 6 CDs to her name), and the author of two children’s books: Angels for Dreamtime and New Moon. She does tallit painting and Shechinah Oracle readings, and teaches about spirituality and the Jewish mysteries. In her spare time Reb Rayzel offers musical Shabbat services and concerts and leads Jewish spiritual travel adventures. For more information on all her many projects, see her website: www.shechinah.com.
Rabbinic Pastor Simcha Raphael, Ph.D. (he/him) 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 (she/her) 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) (she/her) 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 (she/her) 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 (he/him) 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.