Cantors, Scholars, and Entertainers
Cantor Chaim Adler is the Chief Cantor of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem. He has performed with the Great Russian Tenors in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow with the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Cantor Adler also chose to perform Keulen, Germany to represent Jewish Religious Music for Pope Bendict XVI. The Pope told Cantor Adler – “You touched my heart with your singing”. In the last 10 years Cantor Adler performed the Memorial Prayer, E-l Maleh Rachamim, and the Kadish for thousands of people from all over the world on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, in Poland at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He has received the honor of lighting the Torch in the 61st Yom Ha`atzmaut Celebration as a Representative of the Orthodox Jews in Tel Aviv. Cantor Adler has also performed all over the world in concerts and prayers. He has received Gold Medals and an Honorary Diploma and has produced several CD’s and DVD’s.
Cantor Avi Albrecht has sung in every major city in the United States, Canada, and Israel, from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, and from the north of Edmonton, Canada, to the south of Miami, Florida, with hundreds of stops in between. He has enjoyed accolades and standing ovations at each concert. Cantor Albrecht has performed in major concert halls, including Carnegie Radio City, Merkin, 92nd Street Y, Lefrak, Colden Center, Whitman, and he has sung for some of the largest national conventions. At the special commemorative event celebrating the fifty-year anniversary of Israel, Cantor Albrecht was a soloist in the presence of former Israeli President Ezer Weizman. Another spectacular performance celebrating Israel’s fiftieth year was held in New York. Cantor Albrecht sang in the presence of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Consul General of Israel Avital, and many presidents and executive directors of major American Jewish organizations.
Nati Bar Am
Cantor Nati Bar Am is a native of Jerusalem. His father teaches music and his mother is a professional artist. Both parents imbued him with a love of music from the time he was a toddler.
The turning point in his life came when he attended services at The Jerusalem Great Synagogue for the first time. As he listened to the inspiring prayers chanted by world renowned Chief Cantor Naftali Herstik accompanied by the magnificent choir conducted by Elli Jaffe, Netanel determined that he would like to become a Chazzan.
Following his High School graduation, Netanel continued his Torah studies at Yeshivat Ateret Yisrael and at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook. He also began serious Cantorial study at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute where he was guided by its Dean, Chazzan Naftali Herstik, Raymond Goldstein and other master teachers. His musical talents and skills were further developed by his father and by Maestro Elli Jaffe. Netanel has been a featured soloist at many concerts of The Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute in Israel and abroad. He has been a member and soloist of The Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir and serves as guest Chazzan at that Synagogue.
During the past few years, Netanel has also been engaged by congregations in Israel and other countries to officiate as guest Chazzan. He has been a chazzan at Sea Point Congregation in Capetown, South Africa , at Zurich, Switzerland , Melbourne, Australia and more… . He has appeared as soloist with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra , the Kibbutz Lavi Music Festival and more… He has also, founded the “Kol Rinah” Choir, which officiated throughout Israel and abroad.
Netanel is currently serving as the cantor of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California.
Simon Cohen was born and grew up in London surrounded by cantorial and classical music. Today he is one of the leading international young cantors both in concert and in Synagogue being invited to perform with the most prestigious orchestras to excite and warm the hearts of thousands. Coming from such a rich musical background, his repertoire spans across the board, including performing in Italian, English, Hebrew, French and singing the traditional Cantorial classics, Opera, Israeli, Yiddish and even some Broadway!
He was influenced by his grandfather Rabbi and Chazan Eliezer Spector z”l and under the direction of his Father, Stanley Cohen y”la. He began his singing career in Shul (Synagogue) as a child soprano and created those magical moments where the beauty and purity of a child’s voice met with Prayer. Today he creates the same magical moments in Synagogue at Services or Wedding ceremonies with his own outstanding choir or on stage with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in front of thousands.
Simon’s voice has developed into a beautiful and powerful, flexible lyric tenor voice with a brilliant and exciting tone, across a wide dynamic spectrum. In both Synagogue and on stage his voice reveals instinctive musical sensitivity as well as a deep understanding of the text.
Simon studied at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute under the world renowned Cantor Naftali Herstik, Cantor Chaim Feifal and pianist composer Raymond Goldstein. He made Aliyah and married in 1995 and is presently living in Raanana with his wife Nechamah and 3 children.
He continues to be in great demand and officiates as Chazzan across Europe, United States and prestigious Synagogues in Israel. Simon continues to perform with leading Orchestra’s including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr Mordechai Sobol and Eli Jaffe.
Simon officiates at numerous Wedding Ceremonies, Chuppot, Shabbatot Chazzanut and Bar Mitsvot as well as concerts in Israel, London, New York, Miami, Canada, Budapest and places as far out as Istanbul.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Cantor Daniel Gildar studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, majoring in piano, theory and voice. In addition to his cantorial duties, Cantor Gildar has an international reputation as a highly skilled accompanist of both cantorial and secular music. He has participated in seven historic missions to Eastern and Central Europe under the auspices of the Chaim and Gila Weiner Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art, and has also been the accompanist for every concert produced by Cantors of the World.
Cantor Tsodik Greenwald has been blessed with a beautiful lyric tenor voice, and the ability to surf from the bottom of the vocal-range to the highest notes, with ease and clarity. His voice remains crystal-clear at all times, and that is a real “Gift of heaven”.
Born in New York, Zudik received his education at the Haredic (Ultra Orthodox) community. He then made Aliya (immigrated) to Israel where he got married. Today he is the proud father of four children. He learned Chazanut (the Cantorial art) with Cantor Moshe Stern and the conductor Maestro Eli Yaffe, who was astonished with the talent of young Greenwald.
Although he already had the experience of singing solos as a boy, over the last two years, Zudik placed himself in a respectable position at the Cantorial world. His performances left many listeners amazed, and enthusiastic. Many will say today that he will be one of the greatest cantors of our time. Mr. Levie Kanes, a master producer in the Cantorial world and who established “Cantors Centre”, was very quick to realize the great potential of the young cantor and produced for him – in alliance with Mona Rosenblum – a professional CD.
Zudik Greenwald had his début at the honorary concert for the great cantor Moshe Stern. Since then, he has sung in other productions such as “Voice and Music in the Shteitel”, “The Rebbe’s Dream”, “Music and Tales” with Jackie Levi, a special evening with the world famous opera tenor Yevgeni Shapovalov, and more. Recently, Greenwald was appointed Chief Cantor for the Jewish community of Frankfurt, Germany. There he walks in the shoes of his predecessor Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.
Yitzchak Meir Helfgot
Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. From the tender age of five, after hearing Moshe Koussevitzky’s recording of “Akavia Ben Mahalalel,” Yitzchok Meir knew what his life’s calling would be. At just eight years old, Cantor Helfgot recorded his first works, and then spent much of his childhood and teenage years studying voice and nussach (the art of prayer).
Cantor Helfgot held his first concert at twenty-three years old, performing three great works—Zibert’s “Mimkomcha,” Kwartin’s “Tiher Rabbi Yishmael” and Rosenblatt’s “Ad Hena”—all of which were masterfully executed and admired by those in attendance. It was at this point that the world began to realize the divine gift in Cantor Helfgot, taking us back to the Golden Age of Rosenblatt, Koussevitzky, Kwartin, Sirota and Hershman.
Truly living up to his name, Helfgot (literally translated as someone who helps G-d) rouses all who hear his golden voice to new spiritual heights. Leading the way in today’s revival of liturgical music, Cantor Helfgot has performed in concerts spanning six continents, where time after time he has left audiences spellbound. From New York to Beijing, from South Africa to Italy, and from Russia to Australia, Cantor Helfgot has drawn record crowds. Concertgoers agree it is almost impossible not to be warmed by the fire of his magnificent, soulful voice. Just when you think he has reached his peak, Helfgot takes you higher.
Cantor Helfgot currently serves as Chief Cantor of the Park East Synagogue in New York City. He appears regularly for Shabbatot around the world, and is currently booked for Shabbatot and concerts through the spring of 2008. Cantor Helfgot’s recent recording, entitled “Barchi Nafshi – Bless Hashem O My Soul” and his latest album “Avot,” have broken Jewish record sales.
Cantor Naftali Hershtik, the chief cantor emeritus of the magnificent Jerusalem Great Synagogue, is descended from a long line of chazzanim and ba’alei tefila. At the tender age of six he had already gained a reputation as a prodigy, able to interpret complicated cantorial recitatives with phenomenal skill. His musical education has been wide and varied, and he owes much to his first teacher, his late father. He also studied under Cantors Leib Glantz, Shlomo Ravitz, and Moshe Kossevitzky, and graduated from the Royal College of Music in London. Cantor Herstik possesses a rich and heartwarming tenor voice of rare quality, but the dominant characteristic of his interpretative originality lies in the unity of music and words. He has earned a worldwide reputation as a superb concert artist with rare elegance and class, and has sung with some of the most famous orchestras and finest choirs in the world. A number of these distinguished groups can be heard on his numerous recordings. Cantor Herstik is also the director of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute.
Rosenfeld was born in 1979 in Jerusalem with great cantorial and musical background. His cantorial Rosenfeld family was well renown in Hungary before the Second World War. His great-grandfather Moshe Yonah Schlesinger served as cantor and headed the choir in the Orthodox community shul in “Tshaba” near the border of Romania. His maternal grandfather Rabbi Mordechai Shalom Rochman served as a choral soloist with Moshe Koussevitzky in Warsaw. Later he became a young cantor and appeared in many communities in Romania. His Paternal grandfather, Rabbi Naftali Rosenfeld ran the prayer services at the very young age of 13 in various Hungarian communities and led the prayer services in Israel to this day. The prominent Cantor now serves as a cantor on Rosh Hashan and Yom Kippur in the famous Motevide Synagogue in the 16th district of Paris, France. He also serves as a guest cantor in many communities around the world including Der Shul in Miami Beach, The Bratislava Shul in Slovakia, The Bethal Synagogue in Brooklyn, The Hampton Synagogue with Rabbi Schneier, The Great Synagogue in Jerusalem and The BIalystok Synagogue in NYC. He also appears in concerts worldwide.
Cantor Yaakov Motzen is a native of Tel Aviv and the fifth generation of a family of Cantors. He attended well known Yeshivot in Israel and studied music and vocal technique with the late Yosef Goland, the principal baritone in the Berlin opera in the late 1920’s.
Yaakov studied liturgy with the renowned Cantor Yitzchak Eshel.
Yaakov served as vice president of the Nachala organization from 1973-1978, which was dedicated to entertaining wounded soldiers. Cantor Motzen held the position of Chief Cantor in Givatayim, Haifa, and Ramat Gan, and sang on Kol Yisrael radio and television. In 1978, Motzen went to Montreal to take the position of Cantor of Congregation Shomrim Laboker-Beth Yehuda-Shaarei Tefillah for nine years, and then became the Cantor of the Adath Israel Poalei Zedek Congregation for the next ten years until July, 1997. From 1997 to 2005 he served as the Cantor of Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto, Canada.
In November of 1987 and 1988, he joined several other outstanding cantors in a historical tour behind the Iron Curtain, organized by the American Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Arts and the Gila and Haim Wiener Foundation. Yaakov Motzen has performed in concert in many parts of the world, including Australia, South Africa, England, Israel, and many cities in North America. He has released over a dozen recordings of liturgical and Chassidic music.
Cantor Yaakov Motzen is currently serving as the Cantor of The Bal Harbour Synagogue, Florida.
Yaakov is a proud father of six children, and “saba” to seventeen grandchildren. When not “on the road”, he and his wife Marsha reside in Englewood, NJ.
With over 17 years of experience as a chazzan and Ba’al Koreh in South Florida, Michael Mizrahi has carved for himself a very impressive reputation. He has been invited as a guest Chazzan for many High Holiday programs across South Florida as well as cruises in the Caribbean. A Miami native, Michael began his career in Jewish leadership at the age of 15 as the official Ba’al Koreh at Magen David Synagogue of North Miami Beach. After graduating high school, he attended Yeshivat Chofetz Chaim of Vancouver as well as Miami for 5 years. Following his marriage in 2013, he continued his career as the Ba’al Koreh at Young Israel of Aventura. For the past 6 years, he has served as the Chazzan and Ba’al Koreh of the Moroccan minyan at the Aventura Chabad. In addition to leading weekly, Shabbat, and holiday services, Michael also tutors many boys in the South Florida community in preparation for their bar mitzvah. Michael specializes in Moroccan-Sephardic and Ashkenazi reading styles. He takes pride in making everyone feel comfortable and involved in Tefila services. Michael resides in Aventura with his wife Corinne and two children Jackie and Eitan.
Dudu Fisher is known throughout the world for his stirring performance as Jean Valjean in the hit show “Les Miserables,” but his career began in his native country, Israel. After three years of service in the Israel Defense Forces, Fisher studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music and studied privately with some of the great cantors of the previous generation. He was only 22 when he was invited to become the cantor of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. Fisher also traveled throughout the world, bringing traditional Chassidic, Yiddish, and Cantorial music to new audiences. Playing the lead in “Les Miserables” was a turning point in his career. It was the longest running show in Israel and catapulted him to stardom. In 1988 he was invited to London to take part in a royal command performance hosted by the Queen of England, a special version of “Les Miz” featuring artists from around the world. As an observant Jew, Fisher was the first actor on Broadway and the West End to be excused from performing on Friday nights, Saturday matinees, and all Jewish holidays. During his long career, Fisher has recorded over twenty albums, and he’s recently filmed an Emmy-nominated PBS special in the valley of Beit She’an, Israel. From the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, to Madison Square Garden in New York, from Singapore to Sao Paulo, Dudu Fisher spends most of the year traveling around the globe bringing joy to millions of people.
Avraham Fried is a legend in the world of Jewish music. He’s been entertaining Jewish audiences for thirty years, in numerous concerts and venues. His music integrates a wide range of musical styles, combining them with Jewish lyrics and themes, to create unforgettable melodies that become all-time favorites. Fried is incredibly prolific, and has produced thirty CDs, the latest of which are “Yankel, Yankel” and “Live in Israel,” which is offered as both a DVD and a double CD. Fried lives with his wife and their six children in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in 1977 in Jerusalem, Israel in 1977. His family moved to New Jersey when Shwekey was eight years old — he spent his earliest years in Mexico City where he sang in the Ateret Yosef Choir. He began his musical endeavors in earnest in the United States with his brother Yisroel Meir, singing with the Miami Boys Choir. Prior to embarking on a solo career in 2001, Shwekey was a successful wedding singer. Since the release of his debut album, Shomati, Shwekey has issued a steady stream of popular contemporary Jewish music albums, compilations, and DVDs, including Shwekey 2 (2002), Yedid (2004), Leshem Shomayim (2007), Ad Bli Dai (2009), Libi Bamizrach (2010), Cry No More (2012), Kolot (2014), We Are a Miracle (2016), and Those Were the Days (2017). In 2018, he delivered Musica, which peaked at number three on the Billboard World Albums chart.
8th Day, the Jewish Rock group co-founded by brothers Shmuel and Bentzi Marcus, is one of the most sought after music acts these days. With their latest hit album “Stronger Closer”, the group has now released eight studio albums that get air play regularly on the radio, and have been top sellers on the World Music, Alternative Rock and Jewish Music charts. Their last album “Slow Down” reached the #1 spot on iTunes World Music chart, #8 on Billboard’s Heatseekers, and #11 on the Billboard Top 100 selling World Music Albums. Critic are calling this latest album “Stronger Closer” the groups best yet. The band has played hundreds of sold out concerts across the globe with stops in Australia, Europe, Israel, Asia, South Africa, Canada, the Caribbean Islands and all over the United States. Their hit music video for “Ya’alili” has 6 million views on YouTube and helped drive 8th Day to the top of the Jewish Music charts. They followed that up with more fan favorites like “Celebrate”, “Miracle of Light”, and now their latest hit video “My Shtetl’s Calling”. The band got their start in Southern California where the Marcus brothers grew up in a very musical, Orthodox Jewish home. Their first shows were for small local community events, and performing for friends and family. As their music started to attain recognition they joined up with well known local musicians; popular rock drummer Rosy Rosenquist, Grammy nominated bassist Philip Bynoe, Klezmer aficionado Leo Chelyapov and began touring in earnest in 2007. 8th Day’s fresh and unique sound is complimented by their poetic lyrics and spirited vocal harmonies. What started as a fun family project, has now become a global phenomenon as their fan base continues to grow all over the world.
Gad Elbaz is an Israeli Superstar who is currently the most recognized name and face in Jewish music world wide. With millions of hits on his YouTube music videos, Gad is one of the top recording Artist, whose songs are played and covered around the globe. Through his soulful and contemporary sound, Gad has brought Jewish music to a new level, and continues to serve as a role model to his many fans. Gad is reaching audiences around the world as his music and message of unity are being embraced by Jewish communities worldwide. In 2009, he began a multi-city world tour to promote his music and message. His goal is to help people renew their faith through music and empower them to live their lives with an open heart, faith in themselves and faith in G-d.
When Matisyahu emerged in 2004 with his debut album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise, his musical persona seemed a novelty to some. Here was a Hasidic Jew — dressed in a black suit with a broad-brimmed black hat worn over a yarmulke, and sporting a full, untrimmed beard — who nevertheless performed toasting raps about the glories of traditional Judaism over reggae beats in a dancehall style directly from Jamaica. Moreover, he punctuated his performances with stage diving. It may have seemed like a joke at first, but Matisyahu was serious about his craft, and his diverse style soon garnered Grammy nominations, gold record certifications, and a broad audience.
Matisyahu was born Matthew Miller on June 30, 1979, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Berkeley, California, which they eventually ditched for White Plains, New York. Miller initially rebelled against his traditional Jewish upbringing, considering himself a Deadhead and a hippie by his early teens. But at the age of 14, during a camping trip in Colorado, he reconciled himself to Judaism and visited Israel shortly thereafter. After returning to White Plains, he dropped out of high school and traveled the country to attend Phish concerts. Back at home again, he agreed to let his parents send him to a wilderness school in Bend, Oregon, where he became enamored of reggae and hip-hop, and began rapping at open-mike competitions. He returned to New York at 19 to attend the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, but also joined the Carlebach Shul, a synagogue where his musical interests were encouraged. Meeting a Lubavitch rabbi, he became interested in the strict Lubavitch Hasidic sect of Judaism and renamed himself Matisyahu.
Continuing to perform, Matisyahu assembled a backing band consisting of guitarist Aaron Dugan, bassist Josh Werner, and drummer Jonah David. The group recorded Shake Off the Dust…Arise, which was released by JDub Records in 2004. While touring in support of the album, Matisyahurecorded one of his February 2005 concerts and released the material as Live at Stubb’s, which was issued in April courtesy of Or Music before getting picked up for national distribution by Epic Records. Epic reissued it on August 23, 2005, as Matisyahu toured around the country and prepared a second studio album with producer Bill Laswell. The final product, Youth, appeared in March 2006 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album. A simultaneously released dub version of the album was made available to mail-order customers.
ZUSHA is a Hasidic/Soul/Folk band seeking to inspire the world through their original music, combining ancient tradition with modern melody.
Shlomo Gaisin (lead vocals, ukulele) and Zachariah “juke” Goldschmiedt (guitar, backup vocals), have traveled the world with the messages of torah and unity, playing to sold out audiences around the globe including New York, California, Jerusalem, Toronto, Russia, London and Australia.
Raised in Boro Park, Brooklyn, Shulem’s singular voice has gained widespread attention in the Chasidic community and beyond.
Lemmer made history as the first born-and-raised Orthodox singer to ever sign a major record deal in the U.S. His recent contract with Universal Music’s Decca Gold Label positions him as an artist primed to break through to a global audience with the release of his album, The Perfect Dream.
One of the most sought after Jewish singers today, Shulem has performed in front of a wide range of audiences across the Jewish spectrum as well as those of other faiths. Shulem provides an authentic taste of Jewish music and culture with his proud Jewish appearance and style.
He performed the National Anthem at San Francisco Giants Stadium
and G-d Bless America at Fenway Park and Citi Field.
Mendy Hershkowitz is an icon in the Jewish Music industry. He is the founder of Sonic Duo Inc, a diversified entertainment and media company, that has produced many Jewish Hit Albums and singles for the most famous Jewish Singers and performers.
Mendy is also known for being the Musical Director of the popular Sababa Band and has been performing internationally for many years. He is also the creator and founder of themusicalnote.com where you can find all Jewish Sheet Music, Mendy is a co-founder of now popular Jewish music streaming app ShiraLi.
Jessica Kirson is a powerhouse on stage. Jessica’s act is a hilariously relatable performance of sheer silliness, vulnerability and ridiculous characters. Her countless comedic character videos have racked up over 30 million views on social media. Her audience is multigenerational creating an excuse for large groups of friends and families to spend a night out together.
In an era where only 10% of all touring comedians are female, Jessica stands out as one of the strongest comedians regardless of gender. As her friend Dave Attell says, “I’d hate to follow her.”
This year, Jessica will be featured playing herself on the HBO series Crashing with Pete Holmes. She recently served as a consultant, producer and writer as well as acted in Robert De Niro’s film “The Comedian.” She has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, “The View, and “Kevin Can Wait.”
She was recently awarded “Best Female Comic” by the MAC association in New York City and received the prestigious Nightlife Award for “Best Stand-up Comedian.” And in her spare time, Jessica is a regular contributor to the “Howard Stern Show, where she produces and stars in prank calls for the program.
Jeff and Tessa Evason
“The finest act of its kind in the world.” – NBCCelebrity mind reading duo Jeff and Tessa Evason- The Evasons! Experience strong emotional reactions, laughter, amazement, and a real sense of connection. You won’t just sit back and watch the show. In no time, everyone will be eagerly participating in interactive mind-blowing feats of Second Sight and telepathy. And don’t be surprised if you and those around you react in ways you’ve never imagined! Tessa’s spot-on powers of perception are so captivating, you might gasp with surprise and unleash a spooked-out shriek!The mind reading duo has performed in over 35 countries across the globe and made numerous TV appearances on major networks like NBC, FOX, CBS, CW Network, Discovery Channel, Netflix and Amazon Prime. They’ve performed at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and at the Great American Comedy Festival in the Johnny Carson Theater.And they are the only mentalists in history to be featured performers at an NBA halftime show before a crowd of 20,000 people!When you see the Evasons, you’ll understand why on Penn & Teller’s international primetime TV show Fool Us, Penn & Teller said: “The kind of mental gymnastics that are done on this are unbelievable. This is one of those rare acts where the more you know about it, the more amazing it is. This act is so good – we’ve never seen better!”The Psychic Entertainers Association gave them its most prestigious award for distinguished professionalism. They were also the first recipients of “The Mentalism Award” from the Milbourne Christopher Foundation and the only mentalists ever to receive the “SARMOTI Award” which legendary magicians Siegfried and Roy present to their favorite act in Las Vegas.
Elizabeth Savetsky is a wife, mother, and accessories blogger who uses her platform to advocate for causes that are close to her heart. Through her blog and social media channels, Elizabeth shares her journey of fashionable motherhood, often featuring her two young daughters and new baby boy. She and her husband, Ira, a plastic surgeon, are vocal activists for Israel and the Jewish people and work with numerous non-profit, philanthropic movements to support their people and homeland. Elizabeth served as an Honorary Grand Marshal for the Celebrate Israel Parade for all of her advocacy for The State of Israel. She travels across the country to give talks on infertility and pregnancy loss, two topics with which she is intimately familiar. Elizabeth founded the “Real Love, Real Loss” movement on social media to destigmatize pregnancy loss for women on a global level. The movement went viral. Her mission is to empower people to stand up for what they believe in and live a life of kindness and fulfillment.
Dikla Weitzner lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and four kids. She worked as the Director of a summer day camp called Moshava Ba’ir Toronto from 2011-2018 – where camp had over 400 camp- ers aged 3-11, as well as over 170 staff members who she oversees. Dikla is currently the Director of Moshava of Wild Rose, a Bnei Akiva sleepover camp, located in Wisconsin. She chose this profession because she loves kids and planning programs for them. Her summer camp is centered on informal education – she believes kids can develop and learn so much in a camp setting. Her four children, aged 10-18, keep her in tune with what kids of all ages like to play and be active doing. Along with our team of counselors, Dikla promises to provide your children with a happy, stimulating, but most importantly, safe environment to spend their time in.
Jacob Steinmetz is eighteen years old and is currently a starting pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system. He is a 6’6 right hander who was selected early in the third round as the 77th overall pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball player draft. Upon being selected by the Diamondbacks, Jacob became the first Orthodox Jew to be selected into Major League Baseball. Jacob’s fastball was clocked as high as 97 miles per hour during his senior year of high school and his breaking ball has recorded spin rates that are well above Major League average.
Jacob graduated from the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway in 2021. He was committed to go to Fordham University on a baseball scholarship following high school but decided to sign with the Diamondbacks and become a professional baseball player. Besides for baseball, Jacob also played varsity basketball at HAFTR and was a member of the National Honors Society. During the spring of his senior year, Jacob moved to Florida for three months and attended Elev8 Baseball Academy while continuing his classes at HAFTR via zoom. This allowed him to pitch against high level junior college competition in front of professional scouts as he worked to raise his draft value. Jacob is from Woodmere, New York, and currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Elliot Steinmetz is the head coach of the Yeshiva University Maccabees men’s basketball team. Under Elliot’s leadership, in the 2019-20 season, the Macs won their second Skyline Conference Championship in the past three years going undefeated in conference play and advancing all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament before the season was cancelled due to COVID19. YU earned its first national ranking in school history, finishing the season as the 8th ranked team in the country. The Maccabees extended their nation longest win streak to 36 wins in a row by going 7-0 during the truncated 2020-21 season and finishing as the 3rd ranked team in the country . Elliot was named National Coach of the Year in NCAA Division III basketball by three separate outlets, along with various regional and conference awards. Elliot has transformed the Yeshiva University men’s basketball team into a nationally recognized program in just his sixth year at the helm, earning a career coaching record of 117-53. The Maccabees have finished with a winning record in each of the six years Elliot has led the team and earned a berth in the Skyline Conference Championships in each season. The Maccabees will start the 2021-2022 season as the #2 ranked team in the country.
Elliot is also a founding partner at Rosenberg & Steinmetz PC, a law firm with its practice focused on commercial real estate transactions and litigation. Elliot’s primary practice areas include bridge and mezzanine financing, preferred equity investments, acquisitions and sales, leases and joint ventures, along with other general commercial and corporate matters. Prior to forming RSPC, Elliot served as a senior vice president and associate general counsel for Seneca Mortgage Servicing LLC, where he was responsible for handling all corporate, litigation and insurance matters for the company. Before joining Seneca, Elliot was an associate general counsel at Arbor Realty Trust, Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust. Elliot’s prior experience included working as an associate in Weissmann Abruzzo LLP’s commercial real estate transactions practice.
Lisa Lancry has been an integral part of several Passover programs working as a Camp Director. For years she has worked diligently to provide children with fun filled, engaging activities in a warm, safe and stimulating environment. Mrs. Lancry completed her masters degree in Education from McGill University. She has vast experience working in experiential education for high schools, federation organizations and summer camps. Her expertise is in planning Shabbatonim, informal educational trips, holiday initiatives and specialty camp days.
Lisa has chosen a wonderful staff to ensure our campers have reputable, positive, dependable and hard working role models just like her. In addition to the creative activities our camp director and counsellors have planned, we will have special activities brought to the hotel daily for your children to enjoy.
Lisa Lancry’s Passover Day Camp Program has raised the standards of childcare in the pesach hotel industry with her well deserved reputation for warmth and caring. We are exceedingly proud of our Camp and it’s Director!
Dini Klein is a food host, recipe developer, former private chef, and founder of the Prep + Rally family meal prep service.
Prep + Rally was Dini’s solution to getting a wholesome dinner on the table on those busy weeknights when juggling mommy-ing and work life felt almost impossible. Her system now helps thousands of busy families all over the world get through the week stress-free with her uniquely designed meal plan structure.
Dini has created food content for brands such as Walmart, Starbucks, Weight Watchers, Popsugar, Barilla, Campbell’s and more. Her work with Tastemade airs on Roku, Amazon, and Apple TV and she’s appeared live on KTLA, The Hallmark Channel, KSDK and The CW sharing the Prep + Rally method. Her recipes have been published in cookbooks such as Starbucks Coffee, Dawn to Dusk, and Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers. Dini has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Goop and she’s on a mission to help every busy family enjoy more and stress less with the Prep + Rally system. Her first cookbook entitled Prep + Rally is due out Fall ’22.
Dini and her husband Mike live in Los Angeles with their three kids.
Be sure to follow @prepandrally and visit prepandrally.com for lots more meal prep inspo, cooking tips and oodles of unfiltered family fun!
Talia performs regularly at the hottest comedy clubs in NYC. The New York Post featured Talia as a “Hot Ticket” in a full-page article about her life and comedy. Additionally, Talia has been written about in The Wall Street Journal (“Keeping Kosher, With a Side of Jokes”), The Times of Israel, and The Jerusalem Post (“Toning It Down For The Rabbi”) and most recently (“NY Jewish Comics Laugh Through The Pandemic”). She is a regular contributor on Sirius XM and Cindy Adams’ Page Six column has quoted Talia’s jokes many times. She has appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and worked as a bankruptcy attorney at firms Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Paul, Weiss. Talia’s personal website is www.taliareese.com and on social media @taliareesecomic.
Alyssa Schechter lives in Lawrence, NY with husband Josh and three children: Julie (13), Charlie(11) Sophie (7). Alyssa enjoys creating and organizing programs and activities for HAFTR High School students. She focuses on making sure every student is engaged and is having an enjoyable and valuable experience. For the past 15+ years, Alyssa was a program director for day camps throughout the Jewish community. Most recently she was part of the programming team at Camp Lavi in Lakewood,PA. She loves working with children in the community so much, she even dedicated her Shabbosim for a few years and revamped the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst’s Youth program. Besides her wealth of experience and love of working with children of all ages, Alyssa has a passion for teaching. She earned her Masters Degree in elementary education and special education and used that to passionately engage 1st year students in Haftr’s Early Childhood division for many years.
She also enjoys swimming, going on trips with her family and planning awesome fun activities.
Considered the HOTTEST RISING STAR in the magic industry today, award-winning illusionist Eric Wilzig has captivated audiences worldwide with one of the LARGEST touring illusion shows in the country! Combining an explosive mix of cutting-edge illusions, daring escapes, outrageous stunts, cool music, and special effect lighting, The Extreme Magic of Eric can only be labeled as INTENSELY ENTERTAINING and totally DIFFERENT than anything else out there today!
With ovation-filled acts on NBC’s hit TV Show “America’s Got Talent” … live with Jimmy Fallon … sold-out shows at The Tropicana, Caesars, and The Resorts Hotel in Atlantic City … headline performances both nationally and internationally in Times Square, Las Vegas, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean … Eric and his lovely assistant Eliana bring a youthful modern vitality and passion to make magic cool again! It’s a high-energy show for the entire family that you just have to see to believe!
Celebrities have witnessed this global phenomenon as well. TV show host Nick Cannon proclaimed Eric’s magic on “America’s Got Talent” as “Simply Amazing!”; former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neil declares Eric’s show to be “like no other!”; TV actress Kelly Rutherford describes Eric as “charming, energetic, with incredible illusions”; Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson believes “Eric is insane — insanely good that is!”, and radio personality Carla Marie of the Elvis Duran Radio Show exclaimed, “Eric, you blew me away! Your magic is absolutely awesome!”
Don’t miss The Extreme Magic of Eric — get ready to be uniquely entertained as never before!
Jonathan Hajdu is the co-winemaker at Covenant Wines and the owner/winemaker at Hajdu Wines. Originally from Long Island, Jonathan started his winemaking career while studying in Melbourne Australia. From there, he took jobs at a number of wineries around the globe including Herzog Wine Cellars and Carmel Winery in Israel, before settling in northern California and accepting a full-time position as associate winemaker at Covenant in 2008. Today, Hajdu runs the operation’s 7,000-square-foot urban winery in downtown Berkeley, which produces about 10,000 cases per year. In 2018 he was chosen as one of Wine Enthusiasts 40 under 40.
Dr. Len Bielory
Dr. Bielory attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he completed his B.S. in Engineering (Fundamental Science) and a Masters in Molecular Biology (1976); M.D. degree from UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School (1976-1980); Internal Medicine training at the University of Maryland Hospital; subspecialty training in Allergy and Immunology and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a medical staff fellow in the – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where his research focus has been on the classic immune complex disorder – serum sickness. He was recruited back to his alma mater to direct the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Rutgers University (previously UMDNJ) – New Jersey Medical School where he has been for 25 years as Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology and directed the only training program in Allergy and Immunology in the State of New Jersey for 20 years. He is presently Professor of Medicine, Allergy, Immunology and Ophthalmology and has been appointed as a Research Associate to the Rutgers University Center
of Environmental Prediction. He is consistently selected as one of New Jersey and New York “Top Docs” in the New Jersey and New York metropolitan area surveys for the past 30 years. He was elected President of the University Hospital medical staff and then CEO and President of the University Physician Associates Faculty Practice Plan for New Jersey Medical School improving income generated from $80m to $380m over the course of 5 years. He has published several hundred publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is Section Editor on Ocular Allergy to the Current Opinion of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He was an Associate Editor of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, serves on several other editorial boards and as a reviewer for multiple journals. He continues to serve in various capacities in a variety of national organizations including committee chairs for various committees in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), World Allergy Organization, past Chairman of the NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Raynaud’s Treatment Trial; the program chairman for the ACAAI International Symposium on Complementary Interventions in Treatment of Asthma and Allergy; reviewer for the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Centers (NCCAM) of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERC). He has been appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to sit on the Clean Air Council advisory to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Dr. Bielory was appointed to United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Council of Experts Committees (Immunology as well as Respiratory and Allergy) and was an original member of the USP Medicare Model Formulary Committee mandated by the United Stated Congress. He is considered the top specialists in Ocular Allergy in the United States and international expert in inflammatory disorders of the anterior portion of the eye –as well as regional expert on pollen and climate change. He chairs the National Allergy Bureau that certifies pollen counting stations in the United States. He has successfully completed over 50 clinical research studies in asthma and allergic disorders. Active research focuses on new immune treatments for asthma and a rare disorder known as hereditary angioedema. He has been recently awarded an US Environmental Protection Agency grant focusing on Climate and Allergic Airway Disease that has supported many publications including in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Climate Change and Ragweed Pollination with several other publications on climate change under review.
Elan Kornblum, known as “The Restaurant Guy” started the Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine in 2003 and ever since has expanded his online network to the #1 ranked kosher restaurant website in the world, an award-winning monthly newsletter, the largest kosher group on Facebook in the world with over 66,000 members, and a very popular Instagram page of over 31,000 followers.
He has eaten at over 1000 kosher restaurants on 4 continents (how does he stay in shape?), and is considered to be the #1 kosher restaurant influencer. He has revolutionized the way people get their restaurant information, been instrumental on where diners go out to eat and has bridged the gap as a liaison between customer and owner by teaching lessons, positive dialogue and respecting when reviewing.
He has launched numerous social projects including a Facebook group of over 1,000 which assists in getting volunteers at funerals and shiva for a minyan; the #foodieforward project that has helped special needs children and families in need enjoy their time at restaurants; and #foodiefitness, to get more people to be active all the while enjoying their dining experiences.
Elon Gold is a comedian and actor who has starred in FOX’s ‘Stacked’ and NBC’s ‘In-Laws’. His one hour stand up special on Netflix, “Elon Gold: Chosen & Taken” received wide acclaim from audiences and peers alike. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
He has made ten appearances on ‘The Tonight Show’ and had a recurring role on the FOX hit show, ‘Bones’.
Elon was a writer/performer on ABC’s ‘The Dana Carvey Show’ and has guest starred on ‘Frasier’, ‘The Mentalist’, ‘Chappelle’s Show’ among others.
He recently made stellar appearances on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” and Comedy Central’s “This Week At The Comedy Cellar”. His routines have gone viral and are shared by millions around the globe.
He is also currently featured in the HULU movie “The Binge” and in season 3 of HBO’s “Crashing” playing his most challenging role yet…himself.
Elon can next be seen opposite Larry David in a recurring role on the upcoming 11th season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.
Lizzy Savetsky is a digital influencer who uses her platform to advocate for causes that are close to her heart. She shares her journey of fashionable motherhood on her social media channels, often featuring her two young daughters and baby boy. Lizzy is an outspoken activist for Israel and the Jewish people and works with numerous non-profit, philanthropic movements to support her people and homeland. For her advocacy for The State of Israel, she was asked to serve as an Honorary Grand Marshal for the Celebrate Israel Parade. Lizzy founded the “Real Love, Real Loss” movement on social media to destigmatize pregnancy loss for Jewish women on a global level and single-handedly built a social media campaign to raise $57,000 for a Torah for the Israeli army in memory of the souls who never made it past the womb. Most recently, Lizzy developed her IGTV series, BASHERT, to help Jewish singles find love. Her mission is to empower people to stand up for what they believe in and live a life of kindness and fulfillment.
Robert J. Avrech is a prominent writer/producer in Hollywood.
Among his numerous credits are the classic thriller “Body Double” directed by Brian De Palma, starring Melanie Griffith, “A Stranger Among Us” directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet, also starring Melanie Griffith, “Behind These Walls” starring Ellen Burstyn and Laura Dern, “Scandal in a Small Town” starring Raquel Welch, and “The Devil’s Arithmetic” starring Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy, for which Avrech was awarded the prestigious Emmy award for Best Screenplay.
Avrech is also the author of the Young Adult novel The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden, and the e-book memoir How I Married Karen, which tells the improbable but true story of falling in love with his wife Karen, z’l, at age 9, their slow-motion romance and blissful marriage.
Avrech attended Yeshiva Flatbush elementary school and YU’s Brooklyn Talmudic Academy. He was the first Shomer Shabbos screenwriter to work in Hollywood.
Photo by Rick McGinnis
Shawn Levine brings poignant musicality to create uplifting moments. A New York City native, Shawn began his singing career as a soloist with the Miami Boys Choir. For over 25 years, Shawn has uplifted audiences across North America singing with various renowned Jewish a cappella groups, including his own created in 2008. Shawn is a trained ba’al tefilah with decades of experience coordinating and organizing minyanim. In his spare time, Shawn is the Director of Marketing for a sports uniform manufacturing company and continues the legacy of his family’s Judaica store, J.Levine. Shawn lives in South Florida with his wife, Melissa and three children, Logan, Darcy and Owen.
Israeli born and now a NYC International mega singer who is worldwide recognized as a top Jewish performer and has released several solo albums. Avi started singing at the young age of 8, and has performed with mega stars like Avihu Medina, Yehuda Poliker, Shlomi Shabbat and many more. Avi has dedicated his life to his passion; as a singer , song writer and producer. In 2017 Avi recorder his solo album “Kmo Eish” followed by a 2020 mega album “Ahavat Hinam”. Avi’s talents encompasses as a Sephardic Cantor performing in synagogues worldwide.
From Brooklyn to Israel to Mexico City to San Diego and now Miami, Mrs Yaffa Palti has been actively involved in community affairs, teaching, lecturing, and has led challah bakes and self development retreats for thousands of women across the US and around the world, for many years.
Yaffa is also a much sought after public lecturer, known for her charisma, depth and humor. She is often compared to a ray of sunshine, transforming any environment she encounters into one of warmth and light.
As a speaker, Yaffa lectures on many diverse topics, each one inspirational, motivational and transformational; all profound, enlightening and unique, and filled with joy and humor.
Yaffa comes from a Torah observant background, and was raised in a home infused with chessed and unconditional acceptance. She is a singer/songwriter and often blends together her lectures and melodies.
Yaffa has also been teaching Kallahs for two decades and she now educates future kallah teachers. She is a trained educator, life and relationships coach, as well as a certified addictions and substance abuse professional.
Nationally recognized registered dietitian-nutritionist Beth Warren—the Kosher Girl—is the founder and chief executive officer of Beth Warren Nutrition, LLC, a New York-based private practice. She is a two-time kosher nutrition and cookbook author Of LIVING A REAL LIFE WITH REAL FOOD, and SECRETS OF A KOSHER GIRL. As a veteran on-air nutrition expert, she works with RDTV, an Emmy-nominated producer, to leverage multi-platform media opportunities on broadcast, digital and social media. Beth has been sharing her kosher expertise and practical approach to healthy living for years. She has been featured on national and local tv & radio programs, like Fox5, NBC’s Daytime, and Sirius/XM Doctor’s radio station, along with print and online publications, including The NY Post, Women’s Health, Glamour, Shape,& Prevention. She created a YouTube channel, Beth Warren Nutrition, a blog, and currently writes a healthy recipe monthly column for Mishpacha magazine.
My name is Naomi Glustein and I am SO excited to be running the Kosherica PGA Day Camp!! My husband Zvi, and my children Ilan, Sari, Lior and Judah, can’t wait for the adventures and endless fun that this Pesach has in store! I have been spending the past 18 summers at sleepaway camp and day camp in different roles: counselor, division head, camp mother, and assistant director. During the year, I can be found teaching at a private Jewish preschool in Toronto where I am the head teacher, and have worked with hundreds of incredible parents and amazing children! I am always planning, and looking for, new and creative activities to bring to my classroom and can’t wait to bring some of these ideas to PGA!
I am so looking forward to meeting all of you this Pesach,and for all of the incredible and exciting things that we will do together! I can’t wait!
Amy Small has a degree in education and speech therapy. She is a fifth grade general studies teacher at Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst, NY where she also assists in creating events, activities, and trips for grades 1-8. Over the years, Amy has worked at different summer camps and has been the director of Pesach camp programs that have been the highlight of her campers’ Pesach experience. Amy looks forward to getting to know each and every one of her campers and their families and to make their Pesach one that is unforgettable.
Ellen Gastwirth holds a degree in education for grades N-6. She is credited with spending many years as a Religious School principal in New York. In addition, she was the camp director at multiple Pesach programs and the educational director of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. She enjoys creating musical productions and incorporating the children and their individual talents. Ellen’s goal is to create an environment that is fun and meaningful for children of all ages.
Since his debut performance for the HBO Sopranos Premiere on South Beach, Avi has been singing the hits of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, and Elvis Presley. Headlining at Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, The Wyndham Resort, the Vagabond Hotel, The PGA and Turnberry to name a few, Avi just completed his 4th album!
Ran has a 20+ year history of being an entertainer as well as providing interactive entertainment for high-energy, fun-filled memorable corporate and private events that feature his musical direction.
Ran is a singer, dancer, DJ, musical conductor and has been called the “Super Karaoke Host” by scores of satisfied clients. “Energy” defines him , and clients appreciate working with a professional whose own performances are like full entertainment crews. Ran has served as Master of Ceremonies for the annual Israel American Consul event held at CB Smith Park and as Entertainment Director and Emcee for Israel Independence Day at Marlins Park.
For the past 13 years, Ran has served as Emcee and Creative and Musical Director for the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce’s signature event, their annual YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE.
Maayan has a love and passion for dance and running youth programs. She started teaching dance in high school. Maayan has a dance school called Maayan Academy where aerobics, all different styles of dance, zumba and gymnastics, are taught. She is also a licensed Zumba instructor. Maayan ran her own Professional Sunday program for many years and then joined forces with JCCMP Girls Club, to make it into a professional Sunday program which incorporates Gymnastics, Dance, Art and Swim. She created the Maayan Davis Dance Ensemble a Dance group with which she choreographs dances and performs for many shows and organizations such as Zichron Shlomo, Mikimi, Ohr Nava, Ohel Sara, Chai Lifeline, Rachel’s Place, Ten Yad, Bnot Chaya Academy, Hamaspic, and many more. She has participated in many of these organizations’ projects, such as video productions including Newcomer, Journeys, English to a T, Dance With Me, Changed, Alexandra, Belle and the Baroness, Insight and others you may have heard of. She is also the choreographer for many dances, shows and events. I know you know her famous dance “Ayay” She established the Maayan Davis Entertainment program in which she Emcees and provides entertainment for Bat Mitzvas, birthday parties and other special events to liven up the party by engaging the guests. Her first bat Mitzvah job was when she was 16. She was also the dance director for many camps and this year she is being the camp director at Westpark Daycamp. She coordinates many hotel programs for all ages, baby to teens, creating fun activities and entertainment for all ages. She is currently one of the judges and owners of Girls Talent Tour, a talent show giving girls an opportunity to perform and express themselves creatively. On top of all that she is a mother of 5, and a RN. You can connect with her on Instagram @MaayanDavis.
Alan Chamo didn’t come into this world by magic, but he has made his world a magic one!
He was born in Buenos Aires. At the youthful age of 7 his uncle introduced him to the world of magic. He developed his other natural talents: Mentalism, Hypnosis, music and performing arts. Alan was brought up in diverse cultures and different countries. He learned the different customs, arts, languages, tastes and the festive moods of each country he visited and lived in. This valuable experience has helped Alan build an international profile as a mentalist and hypnotist.
During his tough years of recruitment in Israeli army, Alan polished his skills and became the first performing mentalist in the Israeli army. As such, he performed magic of the mind like
mind-reading, predictions, telekinesis etc in front of soldiers and officials for two years.
Because of his inborn talent he was in charge of organizing shows, coordinating actors, comedians, stage design, lights and sound in the army.
Alan has performed in the most watched Spanish-language programs in the U.S (Don Francisco, Despierta América, Lente Loco, República Deportiva among others) His television appearances have made him a permanent and noteworthy celebrity of Latin show business. He has performed for the most diverse audiences throughout the U.S in English, Spanish and Hebrew.
Alan has won many awards one of which is the international brotherhood of Magicians competition, held in Hong Kong in 1999.
Alan Chamo was the first mentalist also to perform live in “Premio Lo Nuestro”, the most prestigious awards ceremony within the Hispanic community in presence of 50 million viewers.
Alan’s success has led him to start producing his own television show which will be aired soon.
Today Alan is a favorite headliner of the major cruise lines and corporate clients worldwide. For the corporate world he creates special tailored shows highlighting the company message, brand or product within the show in a unique and spectacular way.
Younger than Merlin, more experienced than Harry Potter and more accessible than Houdini, Alan Chamo captivates and entertains audiences with his unique style, his charm and his vibrant personality.
Micah D. Halpern is a columnist, a social and political commentator, a television host, a fundraiser, a rabbi and an educator. Host of “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern”, a popular weekly program on JBS-TV, he also writes the columns “Above the Fold” for the Jerusalem Post and “Insighter” for Newsmax. He was the foreign affairs columnist for the Observer. His insight and analysis can now be found on his website “The Micah Report”.
Halpern is a dynamic speaker and lecturer who specializes in analyzing political and world events. He has been a commentator for ABC, CBS, Fox, i24News and is the go-to for a host of international media. Immediately following 9-11, he was the terror analyst for WCBS. He has appeared in documentaries on The Food Network, The Learning Channel, The History Channel and offered religious commentary for CNN, BBC and other outlets including Al Arabia.
The author of “THUGS”, which spent weeks on Amazon’s best seller list, “What You Need To Know About: Terror” and “On Line With Israel at the Millennium”, Micah has been invited for consultations in the White House and the Justice Department. He keeps CEO’s around the world up-to-date as a Vistage lecturer.
Micah Halpern is one of the only exclusively Kosher wine reviewers in the world. For fun, he hosts a Substack blog on chocolate chip cookies.
Scott A. Shay is a leading businessman, thought leader, and author of several widely read books on profound issues facing the Jewish community. Scott is the co-founder and Chairman of Signature Bank, well known as one of the best banks in New York for private business owners.
Scott earned a BA in Economics and a Masters in Management from Northwestern University, a valuable experience due to the commitment of his professors to high academic standards and the ideals of the university’s motto.
His third book, Conspiracy U: A Case Study, utilizes this motto as a backdrop to illustrate how his alma mater and academia in general have departed from these standards and ideals, sacrificing academic integrity and trustworthy scholarship in favor of Conspiracy Theories.
Scott is a distinguished leader in the Jewish community and an avid student of religion and its application to the world outside of the synagogue, church, or mosque. These interests are reflected in Conspiracy U, as well as his previous two books, In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism and Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry. Scott lives in New York City, NY.
Ben Seidman guest stars on the Netflix Original Brainchild produced by Pharrell. He appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us on the CW network and starred in two specials on Travel Channel. He was the highest rated performer for Princess Cruises and won the title Entertainer of the Year.
Seidman is the only person in history to be named the Resident Magician at Mandalay Bay, Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. After several thousand performances at numerous luxury casinos, Seidman became known as a powerful staple of the Vegas entertainment scene. His residency at Mandalay followed three-seasons consultanting for Mindfreak on A&E, during which he worked full-time, designing illusions for Criss Angel.
Now based in Los Angeles, Ben continues to travel bringing his one-man show across the world. He headlined the Atlantis Resort & Casino (Bahamas), The Royalton Riviera (Cancun) and performed a record-breaking one hundred and twenty shows at The Venetian (Macau China). Clients have flown him as far as Doha, Qatar for private and corporate events. Ben was voted Best Small Venue Artist by Campus Activities Magazine and spent three months in Stockholm, Sweden writing and directing magic for SVT, the biggest TV channel in Sweden.
Ben is a favorite at the world famous Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA, a headliner at Catch a Rising Star, and a frequent performer at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He has been featured in two Just For Laughs tours spanning 23 cities across Canada and appears in a feature film documenting the tour.
Seidman’s performances are jam packed with stand-up comedy, fascinating true stories, and world- renowned sleight-of-hand. His energy and playfulness are contagious as they spread through the audience and he never fails to give a sensational performance.
With his long and knowledgeable background, Eli is one of the most passionate and experienced wine experts out there. For almost two decades, Eli has been working with leading wineries including Yarden Golan Heights, Shirah, Tishbi, Galil Mountains, Hevron Heights, Cantina-Gabriele and others.
Eli is known for his love for bringing families and loved ones together, creating unforgettable memories, by introducing different varieties of fine wines to every occasion, with a wide range of wine selection from all over the world.
He’s been with “Victor kosher Wines” for over 18 years, and he’s best known for his honest sense and ability to pair the right wines to the right people, restaurants, and businesses.
Over the years, Eli has traveled the world and worked with viticulturists and winemakers to understand and witness the behind the scenes, of learning the profound process of bringing top quality wines from the vineyard to the bottle, to your table.
Eli has taught countless, high-end wine tastings and informative seminars, providing an important knowledge about different types of grapes, that grows in different soils and climates in the world, and how it effects the very unique taste of every bottle that is eventually sitting on the shelf.
Eli’s vision: “Each and every wine has a story behind it. I think that it is necessary to put more emphasis and educate more customers, travelers, foodies, restaurants, bloggers, home cooks, and the new to the wine world comers, about these unique stories and backgrounds, especially the kosher wines. My passion is to, hopefully, encourage everyone to be open to taste, try, appreciate, learn and enjoy the outstanding kosher wine selection that is now, more than ever, available all over the world”.
Dr. Chaim Zighelboim
Dr. Chaim Zighelboim was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. After graduating medical school at the Universidad Central de Venezuela with Magna Cum Laude Honors, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.
Dr. Zighelboim continued his training with a fellowship in Gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Board Certified in Gastroenterology, Dr. Zighelboim was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and currently serves as Chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic Health System Northwest Wisconsin.
Known affectionately by his patients and colleagues as “Dr. Z”, Dr. Zighelboim is an enthusiastic advocate of a plant based diet as a path to integral wellness.
In his spare time, Dr. Z enjoys learning Torah and is also an avid fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Bucks.
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman has served as a Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of a large community in Sydney Australia since 1986. He and his wife Shternie had been sent there as emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Ulman heads an organizati on called FREE (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) which is responsible in connecting thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to their Jewish roots.
Rabbi Ulman also serves as a Rosh Beis Din (Senior Dayan) on the Sydney Beis Din and is the immediate Past President of the Rabbinical Council of NSW.
Rabbi Ulman has received smicha for Rabbonus (Yore Yore) as well as Dayonus (Yodin Yodin) from world renowned authorities including Rabbi Pinchos Hirschprung zt”l and yblch’t Rabbi Zalman Nehemia Goldberg shlit’a.
In his capacity as a Dayan and Posek, Rav Ulman regularly gives unique lectures and talks for Rabbonim, Yeshiva and Kollel students, as well as lay people, on the many diverse shayles and halachic matters that he deals with. These include topics such as geyrus (conversion), gittin (divorces), mamzeirus and possible solutions, halachic requirement in IVF and other fertility and genetics issues and many other subjects which are both topical and scholarly.
Rabbi Ulman, many of whose tshuves and psokim (responsa and rulings) were published, has been consulted by Australia’s Attorney-General for his views on suggested changes to the Family Law Act and by the Australian Cabinet for halachic outlook on stem cell research.
Rabbi Steven Weil
Steven Weil comes to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) following an 11-year tenure at the Orthodox Union. The son of a German cattle dealer, Steven grew up on a farm in Upstate New York. He attended Yeshiva University, concurrently completing his ordination at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (REITS) and a Master’s in Business Administration from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Steve began his career teaching, and then moved to pulpit work, first in Michigan and then in Beverly Hills, California. In 2009, Steve and his family returned to the East Coast to assume the position of Senior Managing Director of the Orthodox Union, where he led their institutional advancement and community engagement efforts.
Steve is deeply passionate about Jewish continuity, and engagement within and outside the Jewish community. He is an ardent proponent of Jewish education and the future of the Jewish people – its younger generation. With his life-long love and devotion to the state of Israel, Steve has channeled his talents and energy into fostering governmental and organizational relationships, in support of the Jewish homeland.
Steve is thrilled to be part of the FIDF family, and is excited to channel his skills in institutional advancement as well as his vast experience in the Jewish community to support Israel and its heroic guardians, the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Steve resides in New Jersey with his wife and is a proud father and grandfather.
Steve Savitsky was both the former President and Chairman of the Orthodox Union. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, a board member of Mesorah Heritage Foundation, and founder and President of the Kew Gardens Hills Eruv which led the movement for Eruvim across America. He was the Chairman of Mesivta Ohr Torah, and President of Congregation Nshei Chesed in Hewlett. He currently is President of the Bnai Zion Foundation, Chairman of Partners in Torah, on the executive committee of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and President of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway. He has traveled the world speaking and representing the Jewish community on many occasions. Mr. Savitsky has been in the Health Care industry for many years and has been CEO and founder of several public traded companies. He lives in Woodmere NY with his wife Genie and has been blessed with a large family of children, grand children and great grand children .
Alan M. Dershowitz
Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort,” “America’s most public Jewish defender” and “Israel’s single most visible defender – the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg.
He has also published more than 100 articles in magazines and journals such as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Nation, Commentary, Saturday Review, The Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, and more than 300 of his articles have appeared in syndication in 50 national daily newspapers. Professor Dershowitz is the author of 27 fiction and non-fiction works with a worldwide audience. His most recent titles include “an exceptional, action packed book,” The Trials of Zion, a novel which has been called “a thought-provoking page turner,” Rights From Wrong, The Case For Israel, The Case For Peace, Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking the Declaration of Independence and Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways, Finding Jefferson – A Lost Letter, A Remarkable Discovery, Shouting Fire and The First Amendment In An Age of Terrorism.
In addition to his numerous law review articles and books about criminal and constitutional law, he has written, taught and lectured about history, philosophy, psychology, literature, mathematics, theology, music, sports – and even delicatessens.
In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.” In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: “If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.” Professor Dershowitz has been awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree by Yeshiva University, the Hebrew Union College, Brooklyn College, Syracuse University, Tel Aviv University, New York City College and Haifa University.
Rabbi Sholom Dovber Lipskar
Since receiving ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn in 1968, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Lipskar has worked as an emissary for the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In 1969 he founded the Landow yeshiva Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He has served as its principal and dean of its elementary, academy, and high school studies. Directly responsible for the training of its rabbinical students. He has formulated a school-wide curriculum and manages a multi-million dollar budget.
In 1981 he founded The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside, Florida. As its head Rabbi he is both the spiritual leader and educational programmer for all ages. Also in 1981 Rabbi Lipskar founded the Aleph Insititute and the Educational Academy for the Elderly, both based in Surfside. The Aleph Institute is a non-profit national humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for both prisoners and military personnel and their families. Rabbi Lipskar has created alternative punishment philosophies and developed unique educational opportunities for the general public in the field of treatment of closed populations.
As director of the Educational Academy for the Elderly, Rabbi Lipskar develops pilot programs and restructures the educational priorities of elderly citizens, trying to positively alter their self-image.
Rabbi Lipskar is recognized as an international leader bringing Torah values to people from all walks of life.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
A distinguished communal Rabbi for over 35 years, Rabbi Riskin continues to change the face of modern Orthodox Jewry in Israel and the Diaspora. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Riskin graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1960, where he majored in Greek, Latin and English literatures. He received his Smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the eminent Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Riskin holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish History and was awarded his PhD from New York University’s department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature.
As a young rabbinical graduate, Rabbi Riskin became the founding rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, internationally renowned for its outreach to the entire Jewish community, as well as for its educational and social action programs. He became a major spokesperson for Modern Orthodoxy by pioneering the first women’s Advanced Talmud Study program (Kollelet) and the first synagogue service conducted for women by women in the early 70’s.
In 1983, Rabbi Riskin left his thriving career in Manhattan and pioneered the city of Efrat in Israel’s West Bank. Beginning as a small settlement, Efrat now numbers over 11,000 people with 28 synagogues, and is a thriving community in the Gush Etzion bloc.
With hard work, determination, vision and love of the Jewish people and the land of Israel Rabbi Riskin founded the Ohr Torah High Schools for young men and women. Over the past two decades it has developed into an important network of high schools, colleges, graduate programs, a yeshiva, programs in Russia and Great Britain, a rabbinical seminary, a women’s college of advanced Torah studies and a school for women advocates. Not content with merely educating students, each year scores of rabbis and teachers are sent to North and South America, England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs educate over 3,000 students each year from Israel, the U.S., England, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Rabbi Riskin speaks in communities all over world. His innovative and creative ideology of an authentic Halachic Judaism that is inclusive of every Jew and is exquisitely sensitive to universal human concerns has made him an outstanding figure in the modern Orthodox world. He is the author of five books, “Torah Lights, Exodus Defines the Birth of a Nation”, “Women and Jewish Divorce” , “The New Passover Haggadah”, AAround The Family [email protected], and ATorah Lights, Genesis Confronts Life, Love and Family”, scores of articles and monographs on Judaism and contemporary issues, as well as a weekly column which is syndicated worldwide. Given Rabbi Riskin’s illustrious career as rabbi and educator, city and institution builder, Rosh Yeshiva and public speaker, author and activist, he has been chronicled in major newspapers, magazines, and on TV and radio. He was described in a New York Times magazine feature article as, “teacher who cares… a charismatic speaker and widely respected Talmudic scholar: Rabbi Riskin sees as his major mission the preparation of a new generation of religious leaders, rooted in Judaism and secular learning, for Israel and the entire Jewish world.”
Rabbi Riskin has been married to Victoria since 1963; they have four married children and thirteen grandchildren all living in Efrat.
Rabbi Marc Schneier
Rabbi Marc Schneier is a leading personality and spokesperson for the Jewish community. The Forward, in its annual survey of Jewish leaders, named Rabbi Schneier one of the 50 most prominent Jews in the United States, and Newsweek Magazine named him one of America’s top 50 rabbis. As President and Founder of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and as one of the leading voices in the field of intergroup and race relations, reconciliation and understanding, Rabbi Schneier is at the forefront of strengthening ties among the Jewish, African-American, Latino and Asian-American ethnic communities, as well as promoting dialogue and cooperation among the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith communities. He has been honored by the United States Congress and the State of Israel as an advocate for human and civil rights and religious and ethnic tolerance. At the National Convention of the Democratic Party in Denver, Rabbi Schneier was among the religious leaders who led delegates in prayer at an interfaith gathering to kick off the convention; it was the first such forum at a Democratic convention. In 2008, Rabbi Schneier represented the American Jewish community in New Orleans at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) 50th annual convention, in New York at the national dinner of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), in Memphis at the 40th anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in Madrid at the World Conference on Dialogue convened by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and hosted by King Juan Carlos of Spain.
In January 2000, Rabbi Schneier’s book SHARED DREAMS was published which documents Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s relationship with the Jewish Community. Along with FFEU’s companion student guide program, the book tells the tale of Black and Jewish cooperation in the civil rights era to more than 12,000 students in more than 500 high schools, Hillel houses and historically Black colleges across America.
Rabbi Schneier also serves as Chairman of the World Jewish Congress United States, as well as its Commission on Intergroup Relations. He is the past President of the North American Board of Rabbis, a federation of presidents and past presidents of rabbinical boards from more than 50 major cities across the United States and Canada, and is past president of the New York Board of Rabbis, the world’s largest interdenominational rabbinic body representing the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements. Rabbi Schneier is founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach and The New York Synagogue in Manhattan. He serves on myriad boards and executive committees, including the Drum Major Institute, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations and The Jewish National Fund.
Rabbi Schneier has published and lectured extensively on the subject of intergroup relations and is a frequent guest on television and radio, appearing on such television programs as: The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), Good Day New York (FOX), CBS Sunday Edition, CBS Morning Show, CNN, Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, Religion & Ethics Weekly (PBS), on evening news programs WABC, WNBC, WCBS, FOX, WWOR, WPIX and radio programs on WABC, WBLS, WKTU, WCBS and NPR. He also played a rabbi in the Miramax motion picture, The Substance of Fire.
Rabbi Schneier is the recipient of many awards, including The Kelly Miller Smith Ecumenical Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. “Measure Of A Man Award”, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Civil Rights Leadership Award in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The New York State Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal, the American Civil Rights Education Services Civil Rights Award, and the Interfaith Award from the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Rabbi Schneier is a graduate of Yeshiva University and resides in New York City and Westhampton Beach. He is married to Tobi Rubinstein Schneier and is the proud father of Brendan.
Rabbi Eric Grossman
Rabbi Eric Grossman is an author, Bible scholar, education consultant, and podcaster. He lectures across North America at universities, federations, synagogues, and academic conferences on Biblical art, Jewish history, music and philosophy and his articles appear in scholarly and popular journals and around the web. He is a recipient of the Claus Nobel Educator of Distinction award and is a two-time recipient of the Hebrew University Bible Prize. His “Lesson Plans” is the leading podcast for parents, administrators, and teachers on educational theory. He is Head of School at the Akiva School of Montreal.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Rabbi Benjamin Blech is an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, author, and lecturer.
Rabbi Blech is the author of twenty highly acclaimed and best selling books, with combined sales of close to half a million copies, including three as part of the highly popular Idiot’s Guide series. His book, Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed, was chosen by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations as “the single best book on Judaism in our generation”. Together with an accompanying six hour video, filmed by the producers of 20/20, featuring Rabbi Blech, it is presently being used as the basis for study groups in numerous synagogues and universities around the country. His book Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide To Rising Above Life’s Financial Ups and Downs was featured in a full page article in the Sunday New York times and one of his recent works, If God is Good, Why Is The World So Bad?has been translated into Indonesian where it has had a powerful reception in the wake of the country’s tsunami, as well as into Portuguese .
In a national survey, (www.jewsweek.com) Rabbi Blech was ranked #16 in a listing of the 50 most influential Jews in America.
A recipient of the American Educator of the Year Award, he is a Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University since 1966 and has formed thousands of student-teacher relationships through his warm and caring style. Rabbi Blech is known for his ability to present complicated ideas in a clear and entertaining manner.
A tenth-generation rabbi, Rabbi Blech is Rabbi Emeritus of Young Israel of Oceanside, which he served for 37 years. He is a frequent lecturer in Jewish communities as far-flung as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Israel. Closer to home, he has served as Scholar-in-Residence at hundreds of synagogues throughout the United States and Canada and been active on behalf of countless Jewish causes.
His articles appear on a regular basis on the aish website, the largest Jewish website in the world reaching over three quarters of million people weekly, and his lectures on tape have an international following. He has appeared on national television (including the Oprah Winfrey Show); hosted a popular weekly radio program in New York; and written for Newsweek, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, in addition to a wide and varied number of scholarly publications.
As a result of his personal meeting with the late Pope John Paul II, he was instrumental in securing the loan of precious Jewish manuscripts for exhibition in Israel and he is presently involved in further negotiations for the return of precious Judaica held by the Vatican that may well prove to be of historic significance.
Rabbi Blech is an unusually eloquent and gifted speaker, as well as a profound contemporary theologian and religious spokesman, who has made a major impact on the many tens of thousands of people he has addressed. See his website at rabbibenjaminblech.com
Rabbi Mikhail Zalman Dubov
Born in Minsk, Belarus, MZ grew up in Brooklyn in an immigrant family which fled the USSR due to antisemitism. He attended public school until enrolling in the Boston College Carroll School of Management, from which he graduated with a B.S. in Operations & Business Consulting. During his time at BC, he became heavily involved in Israeli Advocacy, co-founding “Eagles for Israel.” While running diplomatic and cultural events, MZ met Rabbi Chananel Weiner, a student of Rabbi Noach Weinberg zt”l (the founder of Aish). Rabbi Weiner opened MZ’s eyes to the depth and beauty of his Jewish roots. After graduation and before jumping into the corporate world, MZ came to Aish to learn more and decided to stay, having found his calling in life. With seven years of Torah study under his belt, MZ received Rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Nachum Barowski and Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl. He acts as the Director of the FoundAISHons program, in which he teaches daily and serves as a mentor to students past and present. Rabbi MZ enjoys playing basketball, hiking, taking joyrides, listening to music, and teaching his kids about this wonderful world in which we live. He and his wife often host for Shabbat in their home in French Hill, Jerusalem.
Rabbi Steven Burg
Rabbi Steven Burg is the Chief Executive Officer of Aish, an international movement which services millions of Jews around the world. From his office overlooking the Western Wall at the Aish World Center in Jerusalem, Rabbi Burg oversees the many inspirational programs that Aish conducts in dozens of languages. He constantly travels the world to inspire communities with Jewish values and wisdom.Prior to coming to Aish, Rabbi Burg served as the Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, where he contributed to the fight against anti-Semitism and oversaw the Museum of Tolerance in New York City. Previously, he served as the Managing Director of the Orthodox Union (OU), and as International Director of NCSY, the largest international Jewish youth movement. Rabbi Burg founded the Jewish Student Union (JSU), a network of hundreds of public high school clubs that teach unaffiliated Jewish teens about their heritage, and the Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ), an Israel experience for unaffiliated Jewish teens.Rabbi Burg is a seasoned and popular speaker, a guest commentator on FoxNews, Newsmax, a columnist at Jewish News Syndicate, and has been published in the Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, The Jewish Week and many other publications.
Rabbi Ken Spiro
Rabbi Ken Spiro is an author, historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem. In addition, he is a licensed tour guide from the Israel Ministry of Tourism. Rabbi Spiro graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has an MA in History from The Vermont College of Norwich University and Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs such as B.B.C. Radio and TV., The National Geographic Channel, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Channel 4 England and Arutz Sheva-Israel National Radio. He is the author of WorldPerfect – The Jewish Impact on Civilization published by HCI books, Crash Course in Jewish History published by Targum Press and Destiny – Why a tiny nation plays such a huge role in history published by Geffen Publishing House. His writings and seminars can be accessed on www.kenspiro.com and www.aish.com.
Born and raised in the U.S. Rabbi Spiro has lived in Israel since 1982. He served in a combat infantry unit in the IDF. A father of five children, he currently lives in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Daniel Rowe
Rabbi Daniel Rowe is Executive Director of Aish UK. He holds a BA in Philosophy from UCL and an MPhil in Philosophy from Birkbeck College. He was a tank driver in the 401st Armoured Brigade of the IDF and studied for almost a decade in Israeli Yeshivot. He teaches in campuses, schools, and communities across the country.
Rabbi Rowe holds a BA in philosophy from University College London (UCL) and an MPhil in philosophy from Birkbeck College. He was a tank driver in the 401st Armoured Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces. Rabbi Rowe studied for almost a decade in Israel in various Talmudic institutes and is considered one of the most dynamic Jewish speakers in the UK, teaching in campuses, communities, and schools across the country.
Rabbi Rowe has worked together with Rabbi Schiff since 2004. During that time Rabbi Rowe has been Educational Director of Aish UK and has overseen our cutting-edge educational initiatives that have played a crucial role in enhancing Jewish identity and commitment amongst teens and students across the country. In February 2016 Rabbi Rowe became Executive Director of Aish UK as Rabbi Schiff became the head of the Jewish Futures group of charities.
In addition to his work at Aish, Rabbi Rowe has been responsible for the creation and development number of programmes including the Forum for Jewish Leadership and the Aleinu Conference, together with the JLE, Seed and the RCUS. He also played an instrumental role in helping bring Aish and JLE together on campus for the Genesis Programme. Most recently, alongside his responsibilities at Aish UK, Rabbi Rowe has served as Coordinator for the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK for the last two years, playing a leading role in in the initiative which saw over 120,000 people taking part in community events across the UK in 2015.
Michal is the Director of Operations at Jewessence, an organization that enables growth-oriented women to connect to themselves, their heritage, and their unique strengths. Michal has an operations and business background from the Wharton School. Since her time there, she’s been involved in the American corporate world and in the fin-tech start-up world in Israel. She’s no stranger to developing companies and ideas from the ground up through execution and thrives on efficiency.
DR. ANTHONY R. (AVRAHAM YITZCHAK) DAVIDSON
Dr. Davidson draws upon his distinctive combination of experiences as a successful consultant, an entrepreneur, and a university dean to build businesses. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker who has addressed professionals, executives, and academics all over the world on a variety of topics and has over 60 publications, keynote speeches and presentations on various business topics, training, and development. He has been quoted and/or featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Crain’s New York Business, and has appeared on CNN, CDN, and WB11 Cable TV and is a recipient of the prestigious Literati Award for Excellence.
Most of all, Dr. Davidson enjoys researching, developing and delivering thematic speeches that illustrate Torah values and concepts as they relate to and synthesize with the professional world, leveraging his unique and different skill set and industry experience along with his dry, British wit, to deliver them to diverse audiences. His lectures/shiurim have been described by both Rabbis and scholars alike as eloquent, highly entertaining and occupying a unique space along the spectrum. As a next generation survivor, he also addresses Holocaust Remembrance gatherings. Dr. Davidson has been involved as a Scholar-in Residence, spiritual leader, and/or featured speaker at Pesach and other programs for over 35 years. After studying in Yeshivas Itri in Jerusalem, Israel he immigrated to the United States and prior to his current position as Dean at Fordham University, he was the founding Dean of NYU’s SCPS Division of Programs in Business, and the founding Dean of the Manhattanville College School of Business.
Dr. Davidson has been extensively involved in providing advice and professional services to charitable organizations, most notably the Child Life Society for Children with Cystic Fibrosis, the RCCS Cancer Society, Puah Center for Fertility, the Jewish Center for Special Education, and the Queens Torah Library. Dr. Davidson was instrumental in the formation and growth of Yeshiva Netzach David, a post high-school Yeshiva founded for the benefit of those students who wish to continue their Torah studies while pursuing a full-time college education, where he also gave a weekly shiur.
Rachel Burg is the Director of Camp Dina for Girls and a teacher at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey. She has worked in informal, mainstream and special education for over twenty years. A charismatic and inspirational speaker, Mrs. Burg has lectured extensively on parenting around the country. She is also a founding board member of Naaleh High School for Girls in Bergen County and currently resides in Bergenfield, NJ with her husband Rabbi Steven Burg and their six amazing kids.
Rabbi Ahron Yoel (AJ) Kushner
Rabbi Ahron Yoel (AJ) Kushner is an ordained rabbi and graduate of Telshe Rabbinical College. He continued his studies at Kollel Torah LIFE Institute, and in 2010 went on to become a rabbi at Agudas Achim Congregation in Canton, Ohio.
He is a member of the Agudas Harabonim of the Mid-West as well as the Vaad Harabonim of Cleveland.
He does various services for the Cleveland and Canton communities in addition to being a chaplain for the police department, prison system and the community hospital.
Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff
Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and winning the national competition ‘Jewish Stand-Up Comedian’ of the Year, Rabbi Hajioff traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach.
Rabbi Hajioff was the educational director of Birthright Israel Alumni in Manhattan, New York. He implemented programs for Birthright Israel and has led nearly thirty trips to Israel, Poland and Prague for hundreds of young professionals.
Rabbi Hajioff is on the full time faculty of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University. His very popular credited courses include courses on Jewish Philosophy, Mashiach, Jewish holidays, Shabbat and many others. He received the “Professor of the Year” award in Judaic Studies from the senior year students at Stern.
In 2016 Rabbi Hajioff created the Interactive Jewish Community. An organization that runs programming, events and trips for Jewish high school students, college students and young professionals all over NY and NJ.
His very popular books, Jew Got Questions and Will Jew Marry Me? were best sellers. His latest book “The Future – The Jewish Messiah, Israel and the End of Days” is available online at Amazon.com and in stores now.
Rabbi Hajioff lives in Wesley Hills with his wife Anita and their five children.
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter is University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University. From 2000-2005 he served as Dean of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute in Boston. He was the first Rabbi of the Young Israel of Sharon, MA, from 1977-1981, creating a new, vibrant and committed community. From 1981-2000, he served as the Rabbi of The Jewish Center in New York City, moving the congregation from 180 to over 600 members over the course of his tenure, and also served as Rabbi of the Maimonides Minyan in Brookline, MA from 2000-2005.
Dr. Schacter holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from Harvard University and received rabbinic ordination from Mesivta Torah Vodaath. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1973, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with the Abraham S. Goodhartz Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies. Dr. Schacter was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard from 1978-1980, Director of Yeshiva University’s Torah u-Madda Project from 1986-1997, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University from 1993-1999. In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University and in 2014 he was awarded the Chelst Grant for Publication Assistance from Yeshiva University. He also presently serves as a member of the faculty of The Wexner Foundation.
Dr. Schacter is co-author of the award winning A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy, and American Judaism published by Columbia University Press in 1996, author of The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways: Reflections on the Tish‘ah be-Av Kinot by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (2006) and close to one hundred articles and reviews in Hebrew and English. He is also the editor of Reverence, Righteousness and Rahamanut: Essays in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Leo Jung (1992), Jewish Tradition and The Nontraditional Jew (1992), and the award winning Judaism’s Encounter with other Cultures: Rejection or Integration? (1997), and co-editor of The Complete Service for the Period of Bereavement (1995) and New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations: In Honor of David Berger (Brill, 2012). He is the Founding Editor of The Torah u-Madda Journal, a prestigious academic publication which has gained international acclaim.
Rabbi Schacter holds a number of prominent Jewish communal positions. He served as Founding President of the Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations (COJO) of the Upper West Side from 1994-2000, is a member of the Board of Governors of the Orthodox Union and is on the Editorial Boards of Tradition, Jewish Action, BDD (Bechal Derachecha Da’ehu) and Jewish Educational Leadership. He was awarded several fellowships and grants to further his scholarly research. In November, 2007, Rabbi Schacter was the Scholar-in-Residence at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Nashville, TN and in March, 2016, was invited to address the opening plenary of the Jewish Funder’s Network Conference in La Jolla, CA.
Dr. Schacter is presently completing a new Hebrew edition of the autobiography of Rabbi Jacob Emden, an eighteenth century Jewish figure.
Rabbi M. Mendel Jacob Polichenco
Before Yom Kippur in the year 1993, Mendel received the blessing and consent of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson to accept the position of Rabbi for the Jewish Community of Tijuana, making him the first official Shliach (representative) of the Chabad movement, in Mexico.A few months later he received a second blessing, to marry Nechama Dina, daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Hakohen Rodal, one of the most prominent Rabbis in Italy. To date they have five beautiful children.Rabbi Polichenco’s dedication to the Community has given a lift up to Judaism in Tijuana. Since his arrival the installations have gone through a total makeover. He founded the first and only Jewish Day School in the state, opened a Mikve, a Kosher restaurant, bakery and catering service.His stamina, upright personality and oratory skills have taken him across Latin America, U.S.A. and Europe.Back home, he leads the Adult Education Program, Daily Services, Special Holiday Programs, Overnight Summer Camp, Bar and Bat Mitzva Group, Bikur Cholim Society and Chevra Kadisha, Youth Group and Welcome Committee for Immigrants from South America. He volunteers as a counselor in a Rehabilitation Clinic for addictions.Currently Rabbi Polichenco is the director and founder of Chabad Without Borders, based in Carmel Valley, CA where he serves as Rabbi and Educational Director and overseeing the branches that he opened in Mexico and California. He is also the only representative of the Jewish Agency for northwest Mexico. He is a certified Birthright guide, one of his passions is taking groups to Israel.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 3rd of January (16th of Tevet) in 1972.
His parents, Rabbi Engineer Abraham Yosef and Professor Yehudit Polichenco, also Argentinean, had only one daughter, Naomi. 13 years later they received a unexpected blessing from Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and a son was born whom they called Menachem Mendel Yakov.
Mendel’s formal Jewish education began in 1975. His father, unsatisfied with the existing standards of the other Jewish schools, founded Oholei Chinuch.
1985 – Yeshiva Ghedola – Buenos Aires.
1988 – Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim – Kiryat Gat, Israel.
1990 – Rabbinical College of America – Morristown, New Jersey
1992 – Graduates as a Bachelor on Rabbinics – RCA.
1993 – Receives Rabbinical ordination – Kfar Chabad, Israel.
2001 – Masters in Organizational Development, Ibero Americana University – México.
Before Yom Kippur in the year 1993, Mendel received the blessing and consent of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson to accept the position of Rabbi for the Jewish Community of Tijuana, making him the first official Shliach (representative) of the Chabad movement, in Mexico.
A few months later he received a second blessing, to marry Nechama Dina, daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Hakohen Rodal, one of the most prominent Rabbis in Italy. To date they have five beautiful children.
Rabbi Polichenco’s dedication to the Community has given a lift up to Judaism in Tijuana. Since his arrival the installations have gone through a total makeover. He founded the first and only Jewish Day School in the state, opened a Mikve, a Kosher restaurant, bakery and catering service.
His stamina, upright personality and oratory skills have taken him across Latin America, U.S.A. and Europe.
Back home, he leads the Adult Education Program, Daily Services, Special Holiday Programs, Overnight Summer Camp, Bar and Bat Mitzva Group, Bikur Cholim Society and Chevra Kadisha, Youth Group and Welcome Committee for Immigrants from South America. He volunteers as a counselor in a Rehabilitation Clinic for addictions
Currently Rabbi Polichenco is the director and founder of Chabad Without Borders, based in Carmel Valley, CA where he serves as Rabbi and Educational Director and overseeing the branches that he opened in Mexico and California. He is also the only representative of the Jewish Agency for northwest Mexico. He is a certified Birthright guide, one of his passions is taking groups to Israel.
Mendel keeps healthy by following a daily routine of swimming in the ocean, working out and running in the beach, biking to Shul, the occasional spear gun fishing and practicing Krav Maga.
He is fluent in Spanish, English and Hebrew.
Dr. David Pelcovitz
Dr. Pelcovitz holds the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Education at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School where he also teaches pastoral psychology courses and is special assistant to the president of the university.
Before assuming his position on the faculty of Yeshiva University, Dr. Pelcovitz was a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and director of psychology at North Shore University Hospital-NYU School of Medicine for over two decades. He has published and lectured extensively on a variety of topics including parenting, child abuse, trauma and loss.
Rabbi Chanan (Antony) Gordon
Rabbi Chanan (Antony) Gordon has become one of the most beloved and sought after speakers in the Jewish World. From his days as a stand-up comic in Johannesburg, South Africa, to organizing a major music concert while a student at Harvard Law School, to representing (as a wealth manager and business manager)some of the most prominent athletes and celebrities in the world, Rabbi Gordon’s life experiences are unique.
Rabbi Gordon has assumed several positions of national leadership in the Orthodox community including having been the Co-Chairman of the Agudath Israel Convention as well as the Chairman of the AJOP Convention in 2007. Rabbi Gordon has been the guest speaker at numerous seminars, retreats and conventions hosted by a broad range of organizations including the likes of Gateways, Aish Hatorah Partners Conference; Project Inspire, KMR, Upscale Getaways; Kosherluxus; Agudath Israel etc.
Rabbi Gordon is the co-author of the renowned article titled “Will Your Grandchild Be Jewish” (co-authored with Richard Horowitz, the President of Aish International), an analysis of the national Jewish population census carried out approximately every 10 years in America which has been translated into more than 10 languages and has been cited in some of the most prestigious publications in the world.
Rabbi Gordon’s unique ability to touch the hearts and souls of audiences on a broad range of topics with unique humor, real life stories and years of professional training has resulted in him becoming a regular contributor to several Jewish publications (such as Yated N’eman and The Jewish Journal) as well as hosting the acclaimed new podcast, The Antony Gordon Show (available on iTunes and Spotify) and weekly radio talk show, Straight Talk with Antony Gordon (broadcast on WSNT 620 AM in NY and WJPR 1640 AM in NJ)
Antony/Chanan is a Managing Director of MGO and is based in Los Angeles.
Never boring, always inspiring, nobody will leave their seat without some nuggets of wisdom for life.
Dr. Mendy Ganchrow
Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman
Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman is Rosh HaMesivta of Rambam Mesivta of Lawrence. He is noted for his leadership and activism on behalf of Jewish causes, leading demonstrations against former Nazis residing in the US, French acquiescence to anti-Semitism, Saudi support of terror, and supports a myriad of causes on behalf of Medinat Yisrael.
His continued efforts and protesting against Jakiw Palij, the last Nazi war criminal in the United States resulted in Palij’s deportation to Germany.
These efforts were recognized By the Department of Justice in a ceremony at the White House where they declared,“Deserving of special mention are several generations of high school students at Rambam Mesivta in Lawrence, Long Island, under the leadership of their revered teacher, Rabbi Zev Friedman, himself a child of Holocaust virus, never stopped crying out publicly for justice in this case.” Rabbi Friedman is a noted lecturer and Maggid Shiur in the Five Towns and has served as a scholar in residence across the United States, Europe and Israel.
Rabbi Friedman received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva Bnei Torah and his D.P.M. (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, after graduating Brooklyn College.
Dean Henry Abramson
Henry Abramson is a specialist in Jewish History and Thought, serving as a Dean of Touro College in Brooklyn, New York. A native of northern Ontario, Canada, he earned his PhD at the University of Toronto with a dissertation on the Jews of Ukraine, which was published by Harvard University in 1999. Before joining Touro College, he held various post-doctoral and visiting positions at Cornell, Oxford, Harvard and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research has been recognized with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and he received the Excellence in the Academy Award from the National Education Association. His most recent book is Torah from the Years of Wrath 1939-1943: The Historical Context of the Aish Kodesh. His online lectures in Jewish history and thought are viewed by 4,000 people daily.
Dr. Barbara Lauer-Listhaus
Dr. Barbara Lauer-Listhaus completed a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Yeshiva University Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and post-doctoral training in Adolescent and Adult Neuropsychology at the International Center for the Disabled in New York City. She works with children, adolescents and adults facing a wide range of mental health issues in her private practice in Hackensack and Livingston, New Jersey.
In 2001, Dr. Lauer-Listhaus was instrumental in developing an inclusive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She currently serves as a consultant for several organizations, and is on the Board of Yeshiva University Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and LifeTown New Jersey.
Her book, Flavors for Everyone: A Guide to Raising Siblings in a Special Needs Family provides an insider’s view—by a neuropsychologist who is also the mother of a special needs son—into the complex problems that families face when raising children with different abilities and personalities. She lectures internationally on parenting and grandparenting, marital and sibling issues, and the impact of divorce on families. Her book and lectures offer practical solutions for families to implement.
Dr. Lauer-Listhaus is the mother of four adult children and has four grandchildren.
Rabbi Shimon Isaacson
Rabbi Isaacson currently serves as the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Tzion, where he has been giving shiurim in Talmud, Halacha, Chumash and Jewish Philosophy for over 25 years. He also has lectured extensively in different venues on Jewish Education. Rabbi Isaacson brings a unique background and perspective to his classes. Before embarking on his career in Jewish Education, Rabbi Isaacson was a Tax Attorney at a leading, New York City law firm. Rabbi Isaacson also clerked for Justice Menachem Elon on the Israeli Supreme Court, where he developed his love for the interplay between Jewish and secular law. Rabbi Isaacson, an inspirational speaker and personality, has been a leading educator in Israel, and is well-known for his warmth, charisma and the clarity and lucidity of his shiurim. Rav Isaacson earned a Masters of Law, L.L.M. (Taxation) and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, and has Semicha from the Israeli Rabbinate and the Meretz Kollel in Mevaseret Tzion. His shiurim can be heard online at Naaleh.Com, YU Torah, the Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Tzion website and on You Tube. Rabbi Isaacson points to his Aliyah with his family in 1995 as a major turning point in his life. He currently lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with his wife Sharon, and their seven wonderful children, and their six beautiful grandchildren.
Mrs. Sharon Isaacson is the Assistant Director of Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY), where she has been teaching Parshanut, Tanach and Jewish Thought for the past 24 years. Before making Aliyah in 1995, Mrs. Isaacson was an Adjunct Professor in the Bible Department at Stern College, and she wrote her Masters Thesis on the Parshanut of the Ramban and his use of Midrash, at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University. Mrs. Isaacson is a beloved and inspirational teacher at MMY, and is a role model to her students and alumni. She lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with her husband Shimon, their seven wonderful children, and their six beautiful grandchildren.
Rabbi Yitz Novak
Rabbi Yitz Novak has been involved with AIPAC for more than ten years, initially as a lay activist, and currently, as AIPAC Northeast Synagogue Initiative Director working with leading pulpit rabbis and synagogues to grow, engage, and mobilize pro-Israel activism in the American Jewish community. In this role, Yitz has engaged with Senior Administration officials, members of Congress, decision-makers, and thought-leaders impacting the U.S.-Israel relationship. He has tremendous expertise on current affairs in the Middle East, the composition of Congress, and the relationship between American and Israeli Jewry. Yitz resides in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his family.
Rabbi Daniel Wolnerman
Rabbi Daniel Wolnerman is the Mashgiach Ruchani and Director of Institutional Advancement at Sha’arei Bina Torah Academy for Girls in Hollywood, Florida. After receiving rabbinic ordination from Aish HaTorah and the Chief Justice of the Rabbinical High Court in Jerusalem, Rabbi Wolnerman worked in Jewish outreach for nearly a decade. During this time he interacted with thousands of university students and young professionals, serving as the Hillel Rabbi at the University of Florida, University of Miami, and serving as the Director of the Jewish Professional Networks and Rabbi with Aish HaTorah Toronto. Rabbi Wolnerman is a former National Collegiate Debate champion, which not only helps him understand the argumentation of the Talmud, but does not help him win arguments with his wife. He is passionate about teaching Torah and does so in a way which is relatable across a wide spectrum of audiences, conveying deep and meaningful ideas using stories, humor, and personal experience.
Dr. Ethan Dubin is a native of Dallas, Texas. He attended Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Denver, Colorado and Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Queens, New York. Dr. Dubin received his B.A. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Rice University magna cum laude. He attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins/Bayview Hospital and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Maryland. He has been practicing gastroenterology in Baltimore for the last 27 years. He has been an attending and lecturer at Sinai Hospital and has authored numerous articles on many different topics. He has given Grand Rounds at various institutions on hepatitis and other common GI issues. He has an interest in developing new GI equipment, which he has patented and is the lead investigator in a current research project. Dr. Dubin is also an inventor of biomedical devices.
Dr. Hinda Dubin is a native of Edmonton, Alberta Canada. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her B.A from the Johns Hopkins University in Humanistic Studies with Honors. Dr. Dubin completed her medical training and residency in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine where she served as faculty for many years and as the Coordinator of Brief Psychosocial Therapies Training at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry Residency Training Program. Currently she is the Director of Psychiatry Education and Training for the State of Maryland. Dr. Dubin is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and a distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Dubin is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the Clinician Teacher of the Year Award, the Walter Weintraub Award for Teaching Excellence and has received annual teaching commendations from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Dubin has lectured internationally on cognitive behavioral therapy and women’s mental health issues. She also has a private practice in Baltimore. Her areas of expertise include cognitive behavioral therapy, mood and anxiety disorders and women’s mental health issues throughout the lifecycle.
Rabbi Eli Slomnicki
Rabbi Eli Slomnicki is known for his passion for student growth and development. Rabbi Slomnicki aspires to embody the Biblical maxim of “חנוך לנער על פי דרכו – educate a child according to their way.” He is a beloved teacher who develops meaningful relationships with his students.
Rabbi Slomnicki currently serves as a senior administrator at the Ramaz upper School. Rabbi Slomnicki has also served as the Assistant Principal of Yeshiva University High School for Girls. Additionally, Rabbi Slomnicki was the Assistant Rabbi of Youth at Young Israel of Great Neck and was recently the camp rabbi at Camp Lavi.
Rabbi Slomnicki earned his BA in Philosophy from Yeshiva College, his MA in Jewish Secondary Education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and administration and his Rabbinic ordination from Beit Medrash L’Talmud in Queens, NY. He resides in Great Neck, NY with his wife Elissa and their 5 children.
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, founder of the Tanach Study Center www.tanach.org, is an internationally acclaimed bible scholar and pioneer of Jewish Education on the internet. His essays on Parshat ha’Shavua reflect his vibrant thematic-analytical approach, blending the methods of modern scholarship with traditional approaches. As a rebbe at Yeshivat Har Etzion, he is best known for his ability to teach students how to study Tanach. Rabbi Leibtag also teaches at Yeshivat Shaalavim, Midreshet Lindenbaum, & Matan; and routinely lectures around the globe, primarily as a Scholar in Residence in communities in North America.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson
One of America’s premier Jewish scholars in Torah and Jewish mysticism, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson is one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world today, lecturing to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on six continents and in forty states, and serving as teacher and mentor to thousands across the globe. He is considered to be one of the most successful, passionate and mesmerizing communicators of Judaism today, culling his ideas from the entire spectrum of Jewish thought and making them relevant to contemporary audiences.
Rabbi YY Jacobson was the first rabbi ever to be invited by the Pentagon to deliver the religious keynote to the US military Chief of Chaplains and to the National Security Agency. At the conference he was hailed “The Jewish Billy Graham.”
Rabbi Jacobson founded and serves as dean of TheYeshiva.net, teaching, via the web, one of the largest Torah classes in the world today, with thousands of students globally. Formerly, he served as editor-in-chief of the largest Yiddish English newspaper existing today, The Algemeiner Journal, and as spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Shmuel in New York.
Born in 1972 in Brooklyn, NY, Rabbi Jacobson grew up at the feet of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, absorbing his teachings and writings. In 1988, at the age of 15, a young Jacobson began serving on a small team of “oral scribes” and human tape recorders. They were charged with memorizing and transcribing three to seven hours of talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory, which were presented on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays, when recording devices are not used.
Rabbi Jacobson is the author of “A Tale of Two Souls”—a 150 audio series on the teachings of the Chassidic classic, the Tanya. He has written more than 1000 articles on diverse themes of Jewish thought, including: Biblical and Talmudic studies, Jewish law, Kabbalah and Chassidism, Jewish history, psychology, philosophy, education, relationships, Israel, and current events.
Over the last fifteen years, Rabbi Jacobson traveled to hundreds of communities, schools, and universities across the globe, educating and inspiring people of all backgrounds with the majestic depth of Torah and Judaism.
RABBI DR. YOSEF P. GLASSMAN, MD
A board certified physician in Internal Medicine & Geriatrics, Rabbi Dr. Glassman taught clinical geriatrics at both Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools in Boston after his fellowship in geriatrics in Boston.
Prior to medical specialization, he studied at Yeshiva Shalom Rav in Tzfat, he served in the IDF medical corps as a lieutenant deep in the Negev. and served as the chief house physician in a continuous care retirement community in Hod HaSharon, Israel.
This was followed by a directorship in clinical diabetes research at Hadassah Ein Kerem University Medical Center in Jerusalem. And, while in Jerusalem, he trained as a certified mohel by Rabbi Yehuda Giat of Mercaz HaRav.
He received rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Dovid Shochet of Toronto, after having been taught by Rabbi Nachman Wilhelm at Yeshivas Hilchos Olam.
Rabbi Dr. Glassman writes for, and has appeared in several features in OU, Hidabroot, Baltimore Jewish Times, Jewish Advocate, the NJ Jewish Link, and The Jewish Journal, among others for his work in integrative and preventive geriatrics. Additionally, he was recently featured on USA Today, the cover of Ami Magazine and on i24 News for his work fighting for the rights of older and frail patients in the state of New Jersey.
Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt
Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD, MACP, FIDSA, FSHEA is the Associate Rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere. He has been giving a Daf Yomi shiur for 30 years and gives a weekly gemara be’iyun shiur, daily halacha shiurim, and many other classes including a daily on-line Dirshu Mishnah Brurah yomi shiur on OU Torah (all of first 5 volumes available online with the 6th volume in progress). An international lecturer on medical and halachic issues, Rabbi Dr. Glatt has authored two seforim through ArtScroll: Visiting the Sick and Women in the Talmud.
Board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Rabbi Dr. Glatt is Chairman of Medicine and Chief of Infectious Diseases / Hospital Epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau, and a full Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. A spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, he previously, was the President & CEO of St. Joseph Hospital; Executive Vice President at Mercy Medical Center; and Associate Dean at NY Medical College. He recently received the 2020 NY American College of Physicians Laureate Award and was named a Master of the American College of Physicians.
A graduate of Yeshiva University (class valedictorian), he received his MD from Columbia University and did an internal medicine residency/chief residency at Brookdale University Medical Center, and a fellowship in infectious diseases at SUNY Health Sciences Center (Brooklyn). The author of several hundred scientific journal articles, book chapters and presentations, he has served on editorial boards and as a reviewer for many prestigious journals, has worked on many government, hospital, medical school and public health committees, and has been frequently interviewed by print, television and on-line media.
Binyamin Davidson is known as and sought after for being a Baal Koreh with a particular focus on reading the Torah with both grammatical and cantorial precision. Since age thirteen, Binyamin has devoted himself to studying the rules and phenomena that govern Classical Hebrew dikduk, giving him a reputation as not only a professional Baal Koreh, but a perfectionist as well. 2019 will be Binyamin’s tenth year as a Baal Koreh on Pesach programs, and his second consecutive Pesach with Kosherica. After graduating from high school, Binyamin spent two years studying at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel, before eventually returning to New York to pursue a career in engineering. Binyamin is currently studying mathematics and computer and informational sciences at Fordham University in Manhattan. Binyamin is also proud to have spent seven summers as a part of the NCSY Summer Kollel, attending as a camper, as a staff member, and in an administrative capacity.
Nicolas Muzin, MD, JD, is the founder and Chairman of Stonington Global, where he focuses on strategic international advisory and private equity work and practices as an attorney.
Nick served at the highest levels of Republican politics, as Chief of Staff to two current U.S. Senators, Director of Coalitions for the House Republican Majority, and Senior Advisor to a presidential campaign. The New York Times has called him one of “Washington’s most influential deal-makers” and The Jerusalem Post has described his work as “jaw-dropping.”
A licensed physician, Nick’s first job in politics came when he took a semester off from his studies at Yale Law School to serve as Counsel for the Republican National Committee during the re-election of President George W. Bush. In 2008, Nick was Senior Medical Advisor to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
In 2010, Nick managed the campaign of now-Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who was elected as the first black Republican from the South since Reconstruction. With Nick as Chief of Staff, Scott was elected leader of the tea party class of 87 freshmen members of Congress and was subsequently appointed to the Senate.
From 2013-2014, Nick served as Director of Coalitions for the House Republican Conference, under the leadership of Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). In this position, Nick coordinated strategy and outreach for all 234 Republican majority members of Congress.
In July 2014, Nick was named Senior Advisor & Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). He also served as Senior Advisor on the Cruz presidential campaign, which The Washington Post called “the best run campaign of 2016.”
Nick has a law degree from Yale Law School, a medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a B.A. from Yeshiva University.
Dr. Jeremy Berg
Dr. Jeremy Berg is a triple board-certified physician in Internal Medicine, Pulmonology, and Critical Care. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children. Dr. Berg is currently the Pulmonary Medical Director of Alteas Health, a company that provides specialized, focused care for residents of senior care communities.
In medicine, Dr. Berg’s first and greatest love was the Intensive Care Units, thus leading him down the path of training in Internal Medicine as well as Pulmonary Medicine.
During medical school Dr. Berg was invited to a Jewish medical ethics lecture that was being given by a quest lecturer, none other than the renowned Rabbi Doctor Akiva Tatz which had a profound and lasting effect on him.
Prior to Dr. Berg’s initiation into the Torah Jewish community, he was a collegiate wrestler at a Big Ten University.
In his free time, Dr. Berg enjoys being with his family, swimming, and is involved in the Daf yomi Shiur at his Shul. Dr. Berg has an ongoing association with Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz with whom he learns with live online once a week, and whom he has a direct line available for any medical ethical issues that arise in his practice.
Rabbi Maimon Miller
Rabbi Maimon Miller’s uniqueness can best be described as the perfect blend of head Rabbi of a large community, spiritual leader and skilled counselor to his community, innovative “chazzan” leading prayer meditations at inspiring locales, holding a leadership role as an advisor to his family’s wellness business and most importantly a dedicated husband and father to his beautiful family.
He comes from a rich culture of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi backgrounds and has an impressive educational history. The groundwork for his Rabbinic role was paved in Manhattan’s Edmond J. Safra Synagogue and he has held the post of head Rabbi of Aish San Diego for 3 years, uniting and serving the large Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities.
Rabbi Miller ambition drives him to achieve great accomplishments for his community and the unique projects he is devoted to.
Nikki Davidson has been working in digital marketing since 2009. After graduating with honors from New York University, she obtained a Masters of Science in Sport Business Management and began a career in the sports industry, combining her love for soccer with her professional expertise. Currently, Nikki is Manager of Content Marketing for the Coaches’ Voice, and prior to that, Digital Content Strategist at the Topps Company. She also consults for companies and non-profits across a range of industries, is a contributing author to various sports and non-sports publications and blogs, and speaks regularly to different audiences on a variety of topics in business, both in the US and abroad. Nikki is also highly invested in the advancement and empowerment of women in business, and in sports business in particular.
Building upon many years of Jewish education, including study in Israel, Nikki has researched, written and delivered lectures in multiple areas of Jewish thought, including tefilah, Pirkei Avot and Kiddush Hashem. She is especially passionate in showing how these concepts can be woven into everyday life.
When not watching/playing soccer, Nikki enjoys travel, theater and all things Winston Churchill. She currently resides in London.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post and Newsweek call “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is for many the face of Judaism in the modern world and one of the world’s most respected values and spiritual voices. He is one of the leading defenders of Israel and appears as a regular guest in international media outlets. Rabbi Shmuley is also one of the world’s most respected and oft-quoted relationship experts. An international best-selling author of 31 books, Rabbi Shmuley’s works have been serialized in major international publications and translated into 20 languages.
Rabbi Shmuley first came to world attention through his founding of the Oxford University L’Chaim Society, an organization of Oxford students that within three years of its founding in 1988 had become the second largest student organization in Oxford’s history.
At the university, where Rabbi Shmuley served as rabbi to the students for eleven years, he played host to, and debated, some of the world’s leading thinkers, statesmen, and entertainers including Benjamin Netanyahu, Mikhail Gorbachev, Prof. Stephen Hawking, Shimon Peres, Deepak Chopra, Elie Wiesel, Yitzchak Shamir, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Simon Wiesenthal, Michael Jackson, Boy George, Leonard Nimoy, and Prof. Colin Blakemore, to name but a few. The organization’s former presidents and members include New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti.
Rabbi Shmuley is one of America’s most sought-after television and radio guests, having appeared on shows ranging from Oprah to The Today Show to The View to Dr. Phil to The O’Reilley Factor to Good Morning America, and nearly everything in-between, including regular appearances on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. He was also the subject of a full-length BBC documentary, Moses of Oxford. He has been profiled in many of the world’s leading publications, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The London Times, The L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, Politico, The New York Observer, and The Washington Post.
Rabbi Abraham Cohen
Rabbi Abraham Cohen was ordained from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva, Brooklyn NY, in 1987. Since receiving his ordination Rabbi Cohen has worked as a Shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Following his Smicha, Rabbi Cohen married the daughter of Chabad Shliach in Mexico, Rosa Swued from Mexico City. They settled in Montreal and labored tirelessly with many members of the community to bring awareness and Jewish identity to their lives. Rabbi Cohen gives weekly lectures to members of the community as well as counselling to individuals and families alike. Many families are in the path of Torah and Mitzvos thanks to his involvement and dedication with their day to day life.
In 1997, through the efforts of many dedicated members of the Jewish Community in Montreal, Rabbi Cohen led a campaign to erect the first and only edifice in the country which houses the Chabad Seminary of Canada – Ben Weider Educational Centre. The Seminary, named in memory of the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn , provides a post-secondary education of the highest caliber for hundreds of young Jewish women, coming from the world over, enabling them to contribute to the continuity, strength and growth of the Jewish people. The graduates are raising today proud Jewish families and assuming positions of Shlichus, emissaries of the Rebbe, as well as occupying Leadership roles in communities throughout the world. Hundreds of Alumni’s have opened new schools and Jewish centers around the globe. Rabbi Cohen is responsible for the Administration and Financial departments of the Centre.
In 2010 Rabbi Cohen was appointed spiritual leader of Congregation Zichron Kedoshim in Montreal. The synagogue, which was built in 1965 by survivors of the Holocaust, is dedicated to memory of the six million who perished during World War II. Over the years the synagogue merged with Chabad and became Chabad Zichron Kedoshim. Rabbi Cohen serves as Lecturer and Rabbi Emeritus.
In 2018 Rabbi Cohen was approached by community leaders and activists to serve as Chaplain and Spiritual leader for a department of the SPVM , the Police Force of the City of Montreal. Rabbi Cohen attends to the needs and requests of the Jewish officers with all matters related to their Jewish heritage.
He is a dynamic speaker who engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Speaking topics have included the Origins of Tefilla, Kabbalah Mysticism, and Judaism 101. He speaks fluently in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew and Yiddish.
Rabbi Cohen lives with his wife and children in Montreal
Dr. Friedman earned her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and is an award winning professor in the College of Education at Towson University. She has published and presented internationally on development within the K-12 setting against the backdrop of grit, growth mindset, and the gift of failure. She enjoys exploring topics within neuroeducation and social psychology. Dr. Friedman publishes a parenting blog and is a children’s book author; she’s presented professional development workshops in schools, has served as a manuscript reviewer for academic education journals and has served as a discussion panel editor for JHU – making her a valuable and relatable resource for both parents and teachers in the quest for thinking critically about the evolution of the parent/child and teacher/student relationship. Dr. Friedman is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. She has a black belt in martial arts, a pilot’s license, and enjoys competing in triathlons. Dr. Friedman is inspired daily by her husband and three children who she loves hiking with in her free time.
Rabbi Dr. Yosef Glassman
As a specialist in Jewish cannabinoid therapeutics, Rabbi Dr. Yosef Glassman is board certified physician in Internal Medicine & Geriatrics. After his fellowship in general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, he taught clinical geriatrics at both Tufts and Harvard Medical Schools. During this period, Dr. Glassman obtained s’micha from the President of the Toronto Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Dovid Schochet, after having studied both at Yeshivos Hilchos Olam and Shalom Rav in Tzfat. While living in Israel, Dr. Glassman served as a lieutenant in IDF medical corps near Dimona, and as a physician for members of the Israeli Knesset while directing a unit for clinical research at Hadassah Ein Kerem University Medical Center. While directing the department in Jerusalem, he was also certified as a mohel by Rabbi Yehuda Giat of Mercaz HaRav.
Rabbi Dr. Glassman writes for, and has appeared in several features in OU, Hidabroot, Baltimore Jewish Times, Jewish Advocate, the Huffington Post and the NJ Jewish Link for his work in integrative geriatrics and cannabinoid therapeutics.
As trustee for the LifeLineLegalfund.com, he has appeared on on ABC News, CBS News, FoxNews, the USA Today Network, the cover of Ami Magazine, the Jerusalem Post and interviewed on i24 News for his work fighting for the rights of older and frail patients in the US.
Dr. Glassman currently directs the hospitalist program at the community hospital in Lakewood, NJ as he and his family eagerly await the Moshiach and an imminent return to Israel to complete his final project, Go2IsraelNow.com.
If you have ever stayed in one of the Catskills’ well known kosher hotels, been to a Pesach program, or on a Kosherica cruise you probably met Sid Weg. Sid’s many interests and talents have enabled him to develop programs that have captured his audiences’ interests.
Professionally, he holds graduate degrees in science, guidance and administration. He has been a faculty member at several colleges over many years and is currently a senior instructor at a college of CUNY (The City University of New York).
Sarah Pachter is a dynamic, motivational speaker who has lectured throughout the US and Israel. For the past thirteen years Sarah has passionately taught women of all ages and levels of Jewish observance, drawing in large crowds with her innovative and personal touch. In addition to lecturing for many organizations, schools, and synagogues, she is a Kallah teacher, dating coach, and mentor. Sarah runs growth groups in private homes and meets with individuals for one-on-one private sessions.
Sarah has been featured on the Radio, is a regular columnist, and a freelance writer for the Jewish Press, Aish.com and the Jewish Home as well as many other publications. She has authored Small Choices Big Changes published by Targum Press. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and five children.
Her new book Is it Ever Enough? by Feldheim will be released soon. Here is what people are saying:
Is It Ever Enough? is an extraordinary work of surpassing enthusiasm and intelligence — infused with psychological sensitivity and personal warmth — by one of the most aspiring writers of our time. There is nothing theoretical in Sarah’s delightfully written insights; every page is a call to arms that will change your mind and touch your heart.Just like her previous Small Choices, Big Changes, here is an engaging beacon of light for the dignity of man. Without instruction or moralization, the author entices and invites the reader to participate with pleasure and responsibility upon a rethink of one’s conduct. Do yourself a favor and read this enchanting book. ~ Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Sarah Pachter is a person who “walks her talk.” Her sincerity and credible experience combine with a readable style to make a book that can potentially guide you on your journey towards becoming the person you want to be. ~ Rebbetzin Tziporah (Heller) Gottlieb
Sarah Pachter helps all readers with practical methods toward positive change. The author uses Torah concepts to help the reader through today’s complicated modern world, helping every one of us find our own way to look within and feel that indeed, we are enough. ~ Rabbi M. Gary Neuman, psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has been a congregational Rabbi for over 30 years, and previously
served pulpits in Montreal, Quebec and Mount Vernon, New York. He has always been deeply engaged in community affairs, and currently serves on the board of directors of the UJA-Federation of New York and the American Jewish Committee-NY. When he lived in Montreal, Rabbi Steinmetz served as a Vice President of the Montreal Federation, and held executive positions in the Montreal Hillel and the Canadian Jewish Congress. He has written for many publications including The Washington Post, The Daily News, The Globe and Mail, La Presse,
The Jewish Journal, Haaretz, and The Jerusalem Post.
Rabbi Steinmetz received his ordination from Yeshiva University, where he was a fellow of the Gruss Kollel Elyon and has an M.A. in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, and an M.A. in Education from Adelphi University. He is married to Lisa Schwartz, and they have four children.
Rabbi Mark Wildes
Rabbi Mark Wildes is the Founder of Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), a highly successful Jewish outreach and educational program that engages young unaffiliated Jewish men and women with Judaism and the Jewish community. He is also the author of Beyond the Instant: Jewish Wisdom for Lasting Happiness in a Fast-Paced Social Media World (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) and The 40 Second Challenge: Daily Jewish Insights To Prepare For The High Holidays (Kodesh Press, 2021)
Rabbi Wildes earned a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University, a Law Degree from the Cardozo School of Law, a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Yeshiva University). After serving in rabbinic positions at Ohab Zedek, Kehilath Jeshurun and teaching at Ramaz and Stern College, Rabbi Wildes established MJE – dedicated to engaging NYC’s unaffiliated Jewish professionals. In its 23 years of existence, MJE has reconnected thousands of previously unaffiliated Jewish men and women with Judaism and the Jewish community, hundreds of whom are today living committed Jewish lives and sending their children to Jewish Day Schools. Operating from its three locations in the city, with a talented staff of 15 professionals, MJE’s inspirational Shabbat dinners, beginners services, retreats, educational classes, holiday events, and trips to Israel have touched the lives of thousands of young Jews and provided a venue through which 346 Jewish couples have married.
Rabbi Mark also teaches an outreach training seminar at RIETS, Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, training new leaders for the future. He and his wife Jill and their 4 children live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where they maintain an open home for newcomers and friends.
Dr. Payam Benson
Dr. Payam Benson is board certified physician in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. He is the Regional Medical Director for St Barnabas Health System as well as the Designated Institutional Official and Director of Medical Education of Prime Healthcare at St. Clare Hospital, St. Mary General Hospital. He is interested in all aspects of patient care. After graduating from Yeshiva University as an undergraduate Magna Cum Laude, he then went on to Albert Einstein University and subsequently completed his residency in Internal Medicine and his fellowship in Nephrology at the University Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Benson is currently on staff at Community Medical Center in New Jersey. While still being interested in academic medicine, he is the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education at Touro Medical School and Clinical Professor at St George Medical School. He looks forward to discussing enthralling medical issues facing society currently. Dr. Benson resides in Teaneck with his wife and three children and enjoys physical fitness in his free time.
Dr. Dov Zakheim
Dov S. Zakheim is a Senior Fellow at CNA Corp. and a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and DoD Chief Financial Officer (2001-2004) and DOD coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan (2002-2004). From 1985 to 1987 he was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. He is an Executive Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations. He has served on government commissions and the Defense Business Board and chaired the National Intelligence Council’s International Business Practices Advisory Panel. He has a B.A. from Columbia and a D.Phil. from Oxford and earned his rabbinic ordination from the noted Gaon Rabbi Shmuel Walkin zt”l. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences.
Dr. Zakheim is the author of Flight of the Lavi: Inside a US-Israeli Crisis (Putnam’s, 1996), A Vulcan’s Tale: How the Bush Administration Mismanaged the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (Brookings, 2011), Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage (Maggid, 2016), The Prince and the Emperors: The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince (Maggid 2021) as well as hundreds of monographs, chapters in edited volumes, articles and book reviews on national security issues, Jewish history, and Halakhic themes. His writings have been translated into Arabic, French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese and Norwegian. He appears frequently in the media and is a regular contributor to The Hill and The National Interest.
Dr. Zakheim sits on several corporate, think tank and non-profit boards including the American Jewish Committee and the Friends of the Jewish Chapel of the United States Naval Academy. He chairs the Advisory Board of the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune and is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. He previously served on the board of the American Friends of Bet Hatefutsoth, and YCT Rabbinical School.
Dr. Zakheim is the recipient of numerous awards for his government, professional and civic work, including the Defense Department’s highest civilian award three times, the United States Navy’s Award for Distinguished Public Service and the Achdut Yisrael Award from Yeshivat Sha’alvim.
Farley Weiss is the former president of The National Council of Young Israel which is one of the major Jewish organizations in America that represents over 110 Synagogues and around 100,000 Jews. Farley is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy.
Aliza Isaacs recently received her B.A. in Computer Science from Barnard College, after which she spent time learning in YU’s Graduate Program for Advanced Talmudic Studies. During her time at Barnard, Aliza was actively involved in Jewish communal life and served as the Yavneh president. She currently works as a software engineer at Google and enjoys learning and lecturing on Torah topics, both formally and informally. Originally from Lawrence, NY, Aliza now lives in Washington Heights and hopes to make aliyah in the coming summer.
Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom
Rav Yitzchak Etshalom was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne, Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary and Yeshivat Har Etzion before receiving Semicha from the Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, Rabbi Itzhak Kolitz. Rav Etshalom has been a dynamic and exciting educator in the Los Angeles community since his return in 1985. His ability to reach out to today’s youth and share with them his passion for Jewish learning and Jewish life has enriched many young lives. He launched the Beit Midrash program at YULA Girls High School as well as opening the Beit Midrash at Shalhevet, where he currently serves as Rosh Beit Midrash. Rav Etshalom directs the Tanach Masters Program at YULA Boys’ High School as well as being as a sought-after Scholar in Residence throughout the country and in Israel. He lectures annually at the prestigious “Ymei Iyyun” Tanakh Seminar at Herzog College. In addition, he teaches Daf Yomi and a popular Navi series at the Young Israel of Century City and his podcasts on Daf Yomi (www.dafyomiyicc.org) have attracted an international following, as have his Tanakh podcasts, many of which are available at www.yutorah.org and at www.ou.org, as well as on Spotify, iTunes and other popular podcast platforms. His critically acclaimed series “Between the Lines of the Bible” is a methodological guide to the study of Tanakh. He currently writes a weekly lecture for Yeshivat Har Etzion’s Virtual Beit Midrash on the books of Amos and Hoshea and his book on Amos will be published as part of the Koren Maggid Studies in Tanakh. Rabbi Etshalom lives in Los Angeles with his wife Stefanie, also a dynamic educator and their five children live in Alon Shevut, Washington Heights and Los Angeles.
Paul Shaviv is a well-known lecturer for synagogues and Adult Education courses in Toronto, Manhattan and Florida. He loves talking about interesting, unknown and unfamiliar corners of Jewish history. Originally from the UK, he has lived in North America for many years. In 2010 he was awarded the Max M. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Jewish Education. Paul is a graduate of both Cambridge and Oxford Universities; he has written and broadcast extensively on Jewish history and Israeli-Jewish affairs. He is married to Michelle Stein, and has three children, ten grandchildren, and “far too many books”!
Dr. Ethan Schuman
Dr. Ethan Schuman is one of the leading cosmetic dentists in St. Louis. He is trained as a shochet and mohel. Dr. Schuman has lectured in South Africa, Uganda, Nairobi, Madagascar, Italy Los Angeles, NJ and St. Louis. He is also a Watch/Clock maker, wood/metal worker, and plays the violin. He Frequently travels the world to serve Jews and search for Jewish History and artifacts. Additionally Dr. Schuman is the founder of an online Yiddish Weekly Parsha Group.
Rabbi Avi Bossewitch
Rabbi Avi Bossewitch grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He attended Yeshiva University where he received his BS in Computers, Masters in Jewish Educational Leadership, and Smicha. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Jewish Educational Leadership and Innovation at the Azrieli Graduate School with a focus on positive psychology. Rabbi Bossewitch began his career as a teaching fellow at the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute, during which time his passion was kindled for Rabbi Soloveitchik’s teachings. After serving as the inaugural Middle School Director at the Maimonides School, Rabbi Bossewitch joined the Hebrew Academy (RASG) of Miami as the inaugural Dean of Academics & Innovation. His continued professional training includes educational leadership and innovation, 21st century learning models, and partnering with global curriculum leaders. Rabbi Bossewitch is a certified trainer in the Fierce™ communication and leadership framework, a trained instructional coach, and a past participant in the Art of Leadership Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rabbi Bossewitch also received a specialization in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a specialization in entrepreneurship from the Wharton Business school. Rabbi Bossewitch is known for his unique style, integrating classical Jewish texts and commentaries with modern theories of educational psychology, behavioral science, and cutting-edge research. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife Shuli and their five children.
Joel Steinmetz has been giving a weekly shiur in Woodmere for the past 18 years on a wide variety of topics including the laws of shemittah, the laws of Shabbos, the laws of ribbis, laws of damages, Masechta Avodah Zara, Masechta Beitzah and more. He also gives the daf yomi shiur in the Young Israel of Woodmere and is a frequent lecturer on holiday topics.
Mr. Steinmetz is co-founder of a financial technology company specializing in private securities and digital securities. He is a highly sought after speaker in the financial industry on issues ranging from capital markets structure and regulations to innovative digital technologies. Mr. Steinmetz has lectured on the nexus of these areas giving shiurim on Halacha topics of modern day commerce, halachah’s approach to electronic trading of equity and debt and, more recently, its approach to digital assets.
Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen
Rabbi Michael Taubes
Rabbi Michael Taubes has been involved in Jewish education, formal as well as informal, for over forty years, serving both in the classroom and in various administrative posts. He is presently a Rosh Yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and at The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy-Yeshiva University High School for Boys. In addition, he is the spiritual leader of Congregation Zichron Mordechai in Teaneck, New Jersey, and delivers regular Shiurim and lectures both there and at the Beis Medrash of Bergen County, housed in Teaneck’s Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, as well as at other venues.
A graduate of Yeshiva College and a musmach of RIETS at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Taubes helped found The Jewish Learning Experience of Bergen County, a flourishing adult outreach institution. He is the author of The Practical Torah, a collection of articles on topics in Halachah based on the weekly Parshah, as well as of numerous essays on an array of Torah subjects which have appeared in various Jewish publications. He has also done work for ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications as a writer and editor, co-edited High Holiday Machzorim and a Siddur featuring the insights of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and has been involved in several Torah literature projects under the auspices of the Orthodox Union and others.
Rabbi Baruch Taub
Rabbi Baruch Taub is the founding Rav and Rabbi Emeritus of the Beth Avraham Yoseph Congregation of Toronto (BAYT). Rabbi Taub established The BAYT together with visionary philanthropist Joseph Tanenbaum z”l and 12 families in 1981. At the time of his retirement in 2010 the congregation had grown to become the largest congregations in North America.
In addition to the multiple Minyanim and classes/shiurim BAYT houses a Kollel of Torah scholars which has enhanced the level of learning throughout the community.
Before returning to his native Toronto Rabbi Taub served with distinction as the National Director of NCSY.
Rabbi Taub is a Yadin Yadin musmach Of The N
Rabbi Baruch Taub holds an M.A degree from Loyola College Baltimore/Maryland and a Doctorate in Judaic Studies from Maimonides College.
Rabbi Taub is the author of several books including: GedolaHateshuva, Ka
Rabbi Taub has made Aliya and currently lives in Netanya with his Rebbetzin Malkah
Rabbi David Avigdor
Rabbi David Avigdor was the spiritual leader of Congregation Bikur Cholim Sheves Achim in New Haven CT for 35 years. He is the son of the famous scholar and author Rabbi I. C. Avigdor who was the senior pulpit Rabbi in West Hartford CT for over 55 years. Rabbi David Avigdor was the rabbi and cantor of the synagogue and was also the founder and director of the Mizmor L’Dovid Jewish Boys choir for 15 years. He conducted concerts and special singing events in CT and NY throughout the years. In 2005 Congregation Bikur Cholim honored him for “Dedicated Leadership” with an anniversary tribute dinner. Rabbi Avigdor has been a Regional Vice President of Agudath Israel of America and has assisted the Agudah for many years in running Agudath Israel’s annual conventions in New York, New Jersey, and CT.
Born in Brooklyn New York, Rabbi David Avigdor attended Torah Vodaath High School and Beis Medrash and graduated with a BA from Touro College in 1976. Rabbi Avigdor received his ordination in 1975 from Yeshiva Torah Vodaath that was signed by Rabbi Gedalia Schorr Zal and Rabbi Dov Ber Rifkin Zal. In 1973-1974 Rabbi Avigdor studied under the tutelage of the famous Grand Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva Torah ORE, in Jerusalem Israel. In 1990 Rabbi Avigdor received the professional Alumnus award from Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, the Israel Freedom Award from the State of Israel Bonds and in 1992 the Community Service Award from Agudath Israel of America. He and his beloved wife Susanne lecture internationally about the trials and tribulations that both families suffered during World War II and the amazing connections between their families that they only learned about after their marriage.
Rabbi Avigdor graduated from the University of Bridgeport Law School in 1981 and has practiced law in the State of CT for the past 40 years. Rabbi Avigdor was a young member of the choir of Chazzan Dovid Werdiger and sang shoulder to shoulder with his son Mordechai. Rabbi Avigdor has officiated and led various services and lectures in different forums throughout the years. He also lectured about the “Shoah” in Sydney Australia at the Central Synagogue. In 2015 he was the rabbi and cantor conducting services on the Royal Caribbean “Quantum of the Seas”. In 2019 he officiated as the rabbi and cantor of the “Drohobych Synagogue” in the Ukraine on Yom Kippur and led a holiday service at the “Nozyk” Synagogue in Warsaw Poland for Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Avigdor has served in High Holiday cantorial positions in Belle Harbor NY, The Agudas Achim Synagogue in West Hartford CT, the Raleigh Hotel in the Catskill mountains, the Brothers of Joseph Synagogue in Norwich CT and the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett NY.
Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the U.S., founded in 1897. Mr. Klein is widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish activists in the United States. Morton Klein is a child of Holocaust survivors, born in a displaced persons camp in Gunzberg, Germany.
The National Jewish weekly, The Forward, named Morton Klein one of the top five Jewish leaders in the U.S. today, stating “It’s impossible to deny that Klein has been extraordinarily effective.” The U.S. Department of State has awarded Klein a “Certificate of Appreciation” “in recognition of outstanding contributions to national and international affairs,” after he delivered a major address there. He received the World Zionist Organization Award for Outstanding Leadership, the only leader recognized at the World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland and presented by philanthropist Dr. Miri Adelson in August 2022. He is a member of the International Board of Governors of Ariel University in Israel.
Morton Klein worked in three administrations as an economist in Washington, D.C. He has served as a biostatistician at UCLA School of Public Health and the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., having worked closely with two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. He received the Jabotinsky Award from The Christians and Jews United for Israel group. Mr. Klein was also a lecturer in mathematics and statistics at Temple University.
The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent named Morton Klein one of the top dozen “Jewish activists of the century.” The NY Jewish Week (largest Federation paper) has named him one of the top ten Jewish leaders who have made a difference. The Jerusalem Post has called the ZOA, “one of the most important and influential groups in the U.S. today.” The Wall Street Journal called Morton Klein “heroic and the most credible advocate for Israel on the American Jewish scene today,” and we should “snap a salute to those who were right about Oslo and Arafat all along, including Morton Klein who was wise, brave, and unflinchingly honest. When the history of the American Jewish struggle in these years is written, Mr. Klein will emerge as an outsized figure.”
The New York Times, in a profile called “Public Lives,” called Morton Klein, “a man who ferrets out antisemitism wherever it is, a rare voice from the outset in the American Jewish community against the Oslo Accords, and an iconoclast who is a prolific speechmaker, writer, and Congressional lobbyist.”
Mort Klein’s successful campaigns against anti-Israel bias in leading textbooks, travel guides, universities, churches, and the media, as well as his work on Capitol Hill, were the subject of 40 feature stories both in the U.S. and Israel. His scientific research on nutrition and heart disease was cited by Discover Magazine as one of the Top 50 Scientific Studies of 1992. Mort Klein has been invited to testify before the U.S. Congress, Including the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Judiciary Committee, and the Israeli Knesset. Mr. Klein led the fight to reinterpret Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish students from harassment and discrimination. He was the sole Jewish leader initially supporting the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act.
He traveled to Germany and persuaded the publishers of Baedeker’s, the world’s leading travel guide, to correct the many anti-Israel errors in its guides to Israel and Jerusalem. He launched a campaign to correct dozens of anti-Israel errors in D.C. Heath’s “The Enduring Vision,” the most widely used American high school and college history textbook.
Mr. Klein is quoted internationally and has appeared in the media in countries including the U.S.A., Israel, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Holland, etc. More than 400 of his articles and letters have been published in newspapers, magazines, and scientific journals around the world, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Washington Times, USA Today, Congressional Quarterly, New Republic, New Yorker, Commentary, Near East Report, Reform Judaism, Breitbart, Algemeiner, Jerusalem Post & other leading Jewish papers, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Ha’aretz & Maariv (Israel), Canadian Jewish News, Journal of Preventive Medicine, Journal of Epidemiology.
Morton Klein has appeared on TV and radio including ABC’s World News Tonight (four-minute segment on ZOA “Lobbying for Israel”), NBC National News, CNN, Fox-TV, CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, C-Span, VOA, Israel TV/Radio. Lines from his speeches appear in the respected volume entitled “Great Jewish Quotations,” He is on the speaker’s bureau of UJC, and Israel Bonds.
Mr. Klein is married to Rita, has a married daughter Rachael, and four grandchildren.
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb is the rabbi of Kehillat HaEla, the centerpiece of a growing neighborhood – co-founded by Rabbi Gottlieb – which is located in the suburbs of Ramat Beit Shemesh. He also serves as the director of Tzalash, an organization dedicated towards helping religious soldiers maintain their religious commitment and emotional well-being throughout their service in the IDF. Additionally, Rabbi Gottlieb is a Ra”m at Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush).
Prior to his aliyah to Israel in August, 2010, Rabbi Gottlieb served as rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, in Baltimore, MD.
Rabbi Gottlieb received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, where he was also a member of their prestigious Wexner Kollel Elyon. In addition to co-editing two rabbinic journals, he is the author of Ateret Yaakov, a book of in-depth essays about a wide range of halachic topics. And most recently, Rabbi Gottlieb authored Ve-Ha’Er Einenu, a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking essays on the weekly Torah portion, which was distributed to soldiers throughout the IDF.
A highly regarded speaker and teacher, Rabbi Gottlieb has served as a Scholar in Residence for numerous communities in the United States, Canada, England, South Africa, and Israel.
Over 1,000 of Rabbi Gottlieb’s classes and articles are available online at www.yutorah.org and via podcast at www.kmtt.libsyn.com . Additionally, he hosts the Daily Divrei Torah whatsapp groups where he posts short daily Torah thoughts for over 500 subscribers.
Rabbi Gottlieb is married to Ilana, the director of Midreshet AMIT, and they are blessed with four children.
Rabbi Avrohom Lipszyc
Rabbi Avrohom Lipszyc, is the spiritual leader of The Jewish Center – Chabad of Miami, founder and director of The Jewish Mind, published author, lecturer and international speaker. Rabbi Lipszyc received his ordination at Chabad Lubavitch’s Central Yeshivah, Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch -770. As a Rabbinical Student, he was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to serve the Jewish community of Caracas, Venezuela, for two years, after which he was sent to Kiev, USSR, in 1990, to help establish a Higher Jewish Studies Center, and to San Jose, Costa Rica, to run a children’s camp.
At the tender age of 13, Avrohom went to Los Angeles, California for High School, where he was introduced to the caring, loving, and embracing outreach work of the Rebbe. His involvement with Senior Homes, Addiction Rehabilitation Centers, Correction Facility Outreach, and Public School Wednesday Hour, set the foundation for what would become Rabbi Lipszyc’s hallmark of respect, love, and willingness to learn from, and to teach, everyone, regardless of age, background, affiliation or persuasion. After High school, Avrohom went on to begin his Higher Judaic Studies in Israel, having his first experience of a hands-on love for his country, its people, and its young men and women who protected their land.
Upon marriage, Rabbi Lipszyc established the Chabad Center of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, serving and educating the Courthouse on Jewish matters. After which he was brought into the Rabbinical College, Yeshivah Gedolah Lubavitch of Miami Beach, as a lecturer and as a personal mentor for its students.
However, Rabbi Lipszyc’s heart remained to the service of the greater community, embracing the wider spectrum of society, in which the secular, religious, Jewish, gentile, atheist and agnostic represented the full rainbow of G-d’s children.
It wasn’t long until Rabbi Lipszyc’s talent was recognized in his blending Torah and psychology as one, in fully embracing G-d’s gift of knowledge and sensitivity to mankind. Hence, his guiding light became the Chassidic teachings of being a Knowing Heart, bringing the timeless teachings of Judaism to our world of modernity.
Rabbi Nissim Hilu
Rabbi Nissim Hilu– One Kosher
Rabbi Hilu is one of the most respected Rabbi’s in Kashrut. He is also an Entrepreneur and a leader in the implementation of kosher improvement. He has created cohesive training and awareness programs in Mexico, Colombia and Panama.
He has over 26 years of experience in kosher quality systems in the food industry. He is works extensively in food management and implements policies to improve the kosher world.
Founder, General Manager – 2007 to date
New and Efficient Kosher Options, S.A. de C.V. (One Kosher)
Consulting, supervision and industrial logistics.
He provides Kosher certification with offices in Mexico, Colombia and Panama.
He provides Certification of prestigious restaurants and resorts programs in Mexico City, Acapulco, Riviera, Vallarta, Huatulco, Domincan resorts.
45 people in charge.
Rabbi Hilu is a writer of articles on kosher and general interest in magazines such as Expansión and Entrepeneur.
He is a Representative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Kosher issues.
REPRESENTATIONS OF FOREIGN KOSHER AGENCIES
B.S. in Kosher Quality Systems – June 1984 to August 1985
Toras Chaim College, USA.
Jewish Law and Theology – August 1985 to February 1988
Kol Torah College, Israel.
Kosher Standards and Standards Update and Risk Analysis – March to September 1988.
Heart K, USA.
Smicha from rabbi Obadia Joseph zl 1988
Smicha from Rabbi Joseph Ades zl
Smicha from Rabbi Mordechay Eliahu zl
Smicha from rabbi Shlomo Majpud
Diploma from rabbi Izchak Joseph shlita.
Instructor training – January 1989 to March 1993
Maor Abraham Institute, Mexico
Diploma in GMP and kosher systems for food industries – April 1993 to September 1994.
Noam Institute, Israel
Diploma in Kosher Quality Systems Management – April 1993 to September 1994
Kolel Givat Shaul, Israel.
Diploma in Quality Systems Management – June 1998
Birkat Shmuel University, Israel.
Industrial degree in Kosher System, Food Area – 1998 to 2003.
Kol Tora, Israel
Alan Dorfman, M.S., M.A. is the founder and director of Elevation Tutoring (www.elevationtutoring.com) which helps students across the country to raise scores, reduce stress, and position themselves for success. He graduated with honors from The University of Pennsylvania, and also holds a Master’s degree in Childhood Education and Special Education. Alan has years of experience hosting engaging and interactive entertainment at Passover programs.
Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt
Born in Jerusalem and raised in Moscow, Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt is the Rabbi of the Altneu Synagogue in New York, Manhattan’s fastest-growing shul. He studied in Bnei Brak’s Ponevezh Yeshiva, Jerusalem’s Chevron Yeshiva, and continued his post-graduate studies at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey, and at Yeshivas Ohr Reuven in Suffern, New York. He received rabbinic ordination from Rav Dovid Cohen and Rav Yosef Chevroni of the Chevron Yeshiva (Givat Mordechai) and Rav Betzalel Rudinsky of Yeshivas Ohr Reuven. Rabbi Goldschmidt and his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Haaretz, Mishpacha, Kikar Shabbat, Kan TV, the Headlines podcast, and the Forward, among others. Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt is a writer living in New York City. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Vox, Vogue, Salon, Glamour, Business Insider, Los Angeles Review of Books, Jewish Review of Books, and Religion & Politics, among others. She has taught journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. Previously, she was the Life editor at the Forward, and a reporter for Haaretz. Avital does pastoral work alongside her husband Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt in their synagogue, the Altneu, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Rabbi Sholom Kesselman
Rabbi Sholom Kesselman is prominent Rav and Kashrus expert from Los Angeles CA.
He is also a gifted teacher, lecturer and author; who has lectured and written on a number of topics, including: Halacha, Hashkafa, Chassidus and Jewish Philosophy.
He is blessed with a wonderful wife – Leah, and is the proud father of 5 beautiful children.
Yoni Katz is a student at Yeshiva University and a member of Hatzalah of Washington Heights, New York. Yoni is the CEO of Bergen Communications, a consulting firm focused on the supply of communications equipment and communications services support to first responders, fire departments and law enforcement.
A native Chicagoan, entrepreneur, and Spartan Racer, Ari Shabat is a high energy lecturer on topics such as mental toughness, emotional resilience and limit pushing, all through the lens of Jewish wisdom. Ari is passionate about sharing empowering Torah lessons to those familiar and unfamiliar with Jewish values.
After decades of involvement with NCSY, Ari recently began outreach for adults, leading trips to Israel as a MoMENtum Trip Leader for hundreds of unaffiliated Jewish men. With his uplifting and motivational talks, and his weekly video – Ari Shabat 4 Shabbat – Ari inspires thousands of Jews worldwide toward their personal tafkid.
Ari was co-founder and CEO of Pharmore Drugs before selling to CVS in 2017, and is now Founder and CEO of Reside Admissions, designing innovative tech for the healthcare industry. With a strong focus on personal growth and fitness, he loves to crush all-terrain obstacle course races…with his family, who all race too. Ari and his wife, Shana have four children and live in Chicago.
Gideon (Gidi) Grinstein
Gidi Grinstein has spent his career in the service of Israel and the Jewish People, always seeking to make a significant and distinct contribution to humanity. Gidi began his career working on Israeli-Palestinian peace, including as the youngest member of the Israeli delegation for the Camp David Summit with Clinton, Barak and Arafat. He is one of the foremost experts on Israeli-Palestinian relations, including the Oslo Process and the Permanent Status Agreement, and has been involved in dozens of diplomatic initiatives in so-called ‘track II’ and ‘back channels’. Gidi’s coming book titled Lessons in Peace Making builds on his amazing experiences at the epicenter of historic Middle East and Israel-US diplomacy. In that early phase of his career, Gidi also founded and led the Israeli team that designed the Birthright Israel Program into its current shape, making it big-bettable for major Jewish philanthropists, thereby making a formative contribution to the Jewish People’s largest generational project of our time.
Following his government service, Gidi launched the Reut Institute, which is one of Israel’s leading research, strategy and leadership groups. In 2010, Gidi and Reut pioneered the strategic effort against the delegitimization of Israel and the BDS Movement, and has led on this effort ever since. He also leads a comprehensive effort to create ‘legitimacy surplus’ by engaging the American center and other potential partners of Israel and local Jewish communities. In addition, Gidi is one of the leading experts on the relations between Israel and World Jewry. Most recently, his work focused on the potential crisis in the alliance between Israel and the USA, and his podcast on this subject rose to be the most listened to podcast on the subject. His current focus is on the future of American Jewry.
In 2004, Gidi published his seminal book: Flexigidity: The Secret of Jewish Adaptability, which offers a unique systemic view of the history of the Jewish People and its ‘secrete sauce’ for resilience, recurring prosperity and permanent leadership. The ideas of Flexigidity underlie Gidi’s work on the future of American Jewry.
Following Gidi’s government service, he founded Yesodot Group for reforming Israel’s electoral system. Yesodot created a visionary platform that has since been accepted by key leaders in Israel. Through this effort, Gidi became an expert on constitutional reforms in Israel, and has been active in trying to address the current crisis in Israel.
One of Gidi’s biggest initiatives is TOM – Tikkun Olam Makers – which is a bold Israeli- Jewish-American global humanitarian project, that specializes in frugal innovation and has operated across Israel and in 35 countries and 47 universities, including in Bahrain, UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey and the Palestinian Areas. TOM has won multiple accolades including ‘the next big idea of the Jewish People’ (2017), Blackstone Charitable Trust Award (2019) and the InnoDip Award for innovation in Israeli diplomacy (2020). In recent years, TOM was nicknamed a “Superhero startup coming out of Israel”, “The TEDx of Social Action”, and one of “fifteen Israeli companies to watch” in Forbes.
Gidi is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Israel Fellow, and of Tel-Aviv University Schools of Law and Economics. He served with distinction in the Israeli Navy and is a long distance runner, having run nine marathons, married to Betty and they have five children.
Dr. Tamir Aldad
Dr. Tamir Aldad is a fellowship trained addiction psychiatrist and the founder and CEO of Mindful Care — the award winning first-ever psychiatric urgent care in the United States. After graduating medical school, Dr. Aldad completed his residency and fellowship training at Northwell Health. He also conducted several years of behavioral health research as a physician scientist at Yale School of Medicine. He also earned an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Dr. Aldad is passionate about acute mental health issues, public mental health and improving access to affordable care. Through the founding of Mindful Care, he aims to bring the Urgent Care model to mental health by offering same-day access to psychiatric care, including medication to stabilize symptoms in addition to group and individual therapy.
Rabbi Yitzchak Lasry
Rabbi Yitzchak Lasry is the Rabbi of Tehilat Yitzchak Center. Sephardic Community, in Holywood FL.