2016 Speaker Bios
Watch the videos as they happen on Sunday November 20, right here on this page.
Main Videos Page | See the Schedule
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz
Teaching in English at 00:00 GMT | Presented by The Aleph Society
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is a teacher, philosopher, social critic and prolific author who has been hailed by Time magazine as a “once-in-a-millennium scholar.” His lifelong work in Jewish education earned him the Israel Prize, his country’s highest honor. Born in Jerusalem in 1937 to secular parents, Rabbi Steinsaltz studied physics and chemistry at the Hebrew University. He established several experimental schools and, at the age of 24, became Israel’s youngest school principal. In 1965, he began his monumental Hebrew translation and commentary on the Talmud. The Rabbi’s classic work of Kabbalah, The Thirteen Petalled Rose, was first published in 1980 and now appears in eight languages. In all, Rabbi Steinsaltz has authored some 60 books and hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from zoology to theology to social commentary.Continuing his work as a teacher and spiritual mentor, Rabbi Steinsaltz established a network of schools and educational institutions in Israel and the former Soviet Union. He has served as scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University. His honorary degrees include doctorates from Yeshiva University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Bar Ilan University, Brandeis University, and Florida International University. The new Koren Talmud Bavli with Rabbi Steinsaltz’s English translation and commentary is a winner of a National Jewish Book Award.
Teaching in Russian at 15:00 MSK from JCC St Petersburg
Андрей Боровский – Художник, искусствовед, музеолог. Член Международной Ассоциации искусствоведов (AIS).
Участник различных еврейских образовательных проектов, автор программ и методик по изобразительному искусству и традиционному еврейскому творчеству. Работает в Еврейском музее и центре толерантности в Москве.
Andrey Borovsky is a painter, art critic and Museologist. He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AIS), and of various Jewish educational projects. Andrey writes about and teaches on fine arts and traditional Jewish works. He works at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.
Teaching in English with Rabbi David Seidenberg at 3:00pm EST | Presented by JIFA
Sarah Chandler is the CCO (Chief Compassion Officer) and team leader at Jewish Initiative for Animals where she works to support Jewish institutions to establish meaningful food policies rooted in Jewish ethics and animal welfare. She recently served as the Director of Earth Based Spiritual Practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm and teaches, writes and consults on a national level on issues related to Judaism, the environment, mindfulness, food values, and farming.
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Teaching in English at 5:00pm EST | Presented by the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb has served Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation – a thriving serious progressive community of some 480 households in Bethesda, Maryland — for nearly two decades, since well before his 1997 ordination from Philadelphia’s Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University (1991) and a Wexner Graduate Fellow with a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary (2009), he is a Past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis. Fred currently serves as Chair of the national Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and as Immediate Past Chair of Maryland and Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light. Fred has written adult education curricula about Israel and progressive Zionism; writes and teaches widely on eco-Judaism; and contributes regularly to Moment Magazine among other publications. He lives in Washington DC with his wife Minna Scherlinder Morse and their glorious children.
Dr. Daniel Fainstein
Teaching in Spanish at 12:00pm CST | Presented by Universidad Hebraica, Mexico
Decano y profesor de Estudios Judaicos de la Universidad Hebraica. Completó con honores su formación académica en la Universidad de Buenos Aires, en la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén y en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, donde se doctoró en Ciencias Políticas y Sociales. Su tesis doctoral “Secularización, Profecía, y Liberación” fue distinguida con Mención Honorífica. Es profesor invitado y conferencista en prestigiadas instituciones académicas y educativas de América Latina, Estados Unidos, Europa e Israel. Sus temas de investigación y docencia incluyen la historia intelectual y social del Judaísmo, la sociología de la religión (los fundamentalismos religiosos y los procesos de secularización) la formación y capacitación de líderes educativos y religiosos. Dr. Daniel Fainstein is Dean and Professor of Jewish Studies and Education at the Hebraica University in Mexico City. He was educated in Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico where he received his PhD. He served as Dean of the Seminario Rabínico Latino Americano M.T. Meyer, was the Executive Director of the Board of Jewish Education of Argentina, and is currently a visiting professor and lecturer in many institutions in Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Israel.
Teaching in English with Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair at 5:00pm IST | Presented by OLAM
Dyonna Ginsburg is Executive Director of OLAM, a shared platform promoting global Jewish service and international development. Previously, Dyonna served as Director of Education and Service Learning at The Jewish Agency; Executive Director of Bema’aglei Tzedek, an Israeli social change NGO; and co-founder of Siach, a global network of Jewish social justice and environmental professionals. She has a BA in International Relations from Columbia University and an MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University.
Teaching in English with Rabbi Joshua Ratner at 1:00pm EST | Presented by Hazon
Jessica Haller is an environmental professional and sustainability champion. As a Leader with The Climate Reality Project, she has engaged hundreds of people on climate issues through presentations and local action. She serves on the board of Hazon, the Riverdale Nature Preservancy, and the advisory board of Eden Village Camp. Jessica’s involvement in sustainability is local and global – from chairing the steering committee for the Riverdale YMCA Sunday Market, to being a delegate for the UNDP–ARC conference “Many Heavens, One Earth” at Windsor Castle in England. She currently runs the expense management company Itemize. Jessica is a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council, she holds a MPA from Columbia University’s program in Environmental Science and Policy, and is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Teaching in English at 21:00 IST
Devorah Katz teaches both formally and informally in Israel. She is the founding editor of ChallahCrumbs.com and a weekly podcast. Devorah writes curriculum for institutions and organizations in Israel and the United States. She and her husband have also opened an artisan bakery in Israel.
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
Teaching in English at 11:00am EST from the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan | Presented by Mechon Hadar
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar. Elie has previously worked as a journalist, banker, and corporate fraud investigator. A graduate of Harvard College, he completed his doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was also ordained. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of the independent minyan Kehilat Hadar and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010). You can continue to learn about the prayerbook with Elie through Project Zug, Hadar’s online learning tool that pairs Israeli and Diaspora Jews to learn courses together in Bible, Talmud, Jewish philosophy, Art and more.
Rabbi Gregory Kotler
Teaching in Russian at 10:00am IST from Haifa, Israel | Presented by The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
Выпускник Еврейского университета, Хибру Юнион колледжа и Института лидерства в образовании Мандель в Иерусалиме. Раввин русскоязычной реформистской общины “Шират ха-Ям” (Хайфа) и секретарь раввинского суда по вопросам гиюра Израильского реформистского движения. Rabbi Gregory Kotler is a graduate of the Hebrew University, Hebrew Union College and the Mandel Institute for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem. He serves as the spiritual leader of the Russian-speaking Reform Congregation Shirat ha-Yam in Haifa, and is the Secretary of the Rabbinic Court of Reform Judaism in Israel.
Teaching in Hebrew at 17:30 GMT | Presented by Teva Ivri
Einat Kramer is Director of Israeli NGO Teva Ivri (“Jewish Nature”), engaged nationally in increasing the connection between Judaism and environmental discourse in Israel. Einat lectures in Israel and abroad, and appears regularly on Israeli television and radio – she currently has a weekly slot on Channel 1 in which she connects a socio-environmental topic with the Parasha. Einat lives in the Galilee Mountains in a pluralistic Jewish community village, where secular and religious live together as one community. Einat has an MA in Jewish Education and is a graduate of several leadership programs.
Rabbi Guershon Kwasniewski
Teaching in Portuguese with Rabbi Uri Lam at 7:00pm BRST
Since 1996, Rabbi Guershon Kwasniewski has been the religious Leader of SIBRA – Sociedade Israelita Brasileira de Cultura e Beneficência – in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He attended rabbinical studies at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina and at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, Israel and will soon receive his Smichá. Rabbi Kwasniewski is also Journalist and Speaker. He is the coordinator of the Inter-Faith Dialogue Group of Porto Alegre. He is married and has two children.
Rabbi Uri Lam
Teaching in Portuguese with Rabbi Guershon Kwasniewski at 7:00pm BRST
Rabbi Uri Lam is the spiritual and community leader of Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM) in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais St, Brazil, affiliated to WUPJ (World Union for Progressive Judaism). Psychologist and M.A. in Philosophy, he is also a publisher and translator of several books into Portuguese, as Maimonides’s Guide of the Perplexed Parts 1 & 2 (Moreh Nevuchim) – the first comprehensive translation to Portuguese; Part 3 is underway. Rabbi Lam is the founder of the Forum for Jewish-Catholic Dialogue of Bahia and, as a member of the ICCJ (International Council of Christians and Jews), was in Rome for the 50th Anniversary of the Nostra Aetate and at the meeting with Pope Francis.
Rabbi Joshua Ratner
Teaching in English with Jessica Haller at 1:00pm EST | Presented by Hazon
Rabbi Joshua Ratner is the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New Haven and as Associate Rabbi of the Joseph Slifka Center For Jewish Life at Yale University. Additionally he serves on the board for Hazon. Josh served as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in Cheshire, CT, from 2012-2014. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2012, he was a Joseph Neubauer Fellow and also earned a Master’s Degree in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. As a student he travelled with the AJWS Rabbinical School Delegation and was part of CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders fellowship. Josh believes that Judaism offers a unique language and wisdom for addressing environmental stewardship and food justice. Inspired by Hazon’s successes, he looks forward to playing a leading role in Jewish sustainability. Josh is married to Dr. Elena Ratner and they are the proud parents of Dimitri, Eli, Gabby and Sasha.
Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair
Teaching in English with Dyonna Ginsburg at 5:00pm IST | Presented by OLAM
Yedidya Sinclair is Environmental and Social Director at an Africa-focused solar development center. Before moving to Israel he worked as an economist in the UK government. A Jewish educator as well as an economist, he served as campus rabbi at Cambridge University, UK. Yedidya holds orthodox rabbinic ordination and degrees from Oxford and Harvard. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children.