Great leaders do work that is effective, sustainable and meaningful. At the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, we believe that this requires da’at, which, as understood in Hasidic literature, means a rich, spacious awareness that leads to righteous action. Da’at (from the word lada’at, “to know”) implies intimacy, a knowing grounded in trust and compassion. When we cultivate that kind of knowing, we become more aware of how things are interconnected, of the underlying Unity, its dazzlingly diverse manifestations and our own place within it. This awareness allows the necessary insight for leaders to evaluate their own behaviors, make wise decisions and find true joy in the work they do. Through personal investment in spiritual practices that support the cultivation of da’at, we all can better embody the characteristics of great leadership.
Jordan Bendat-Appell, Director of Regional Programming
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell is the co-founder and director of the Center for Jewish Mindfulness in Chicago. Jordan was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2008, after which he served as the rabbi at Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Glencoe, IL. Prior to pursuing his rabbinical path, Jordan studied Conservation Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, spent several months at Zen centers in California and France, and studied Jewish text at the Conservative Yeshiva and Machon Pardes in Jerusalem. He and his family live outside Chicago.
“The Institute for Jewish Spirituality represents the best of Jewish living through the practice and development of authentically Jewish, sustainable tools that help facilitate our becoming the people that we hope to be in this world.”
firstname.lastname@example.org • 646.248.7614
Mara Bernstein, Retreat and Programs Manager
Mara Bernstein comes to the Institute with a background in Jewish nonprofit program support and event management. She served as a program administrator at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she coordinated professional development fellowships for Jewish educators. Mara also has a background in museum education – she has served as an educator at the Museum at Eldridge Street and Fraunces Tavern Museum, and also leads neighborhood walking tours in New York City. A native of southern California, Mara received her BA in History and Judaic Studies from New York University. Mara enjoys swimming, cooking, and exploring her Upper West Side neighborhood.
email@example.com • 646.248.7582
Nancy Flam, Co-Director of Programs
Rabbi Nancy Flam was the first Director of the Institute and a co-founder of the Jewish Healing Center in 1991. She then directed the Jewish Community Healing Program of Ruach Ami: Bay Area Jewish Healing Center in San Francisco. She has served as a consultant for Synagogue 2000 and the National Center for Jewish Healing. Rabbi Flam earned her B.A. in Religion (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude) from Dartmouth College in 1982; her M.A. in Hebrew Literature from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1986, and was ordained in 1989.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 413.584.0187
Lisa Goldstein, Executive Director
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein is the Executive Director of the Institute; prior to that, she spent 15 years as Executive Director of Hillel of San Diego where she garnered local and national recognition for her devotion to students and her leadership. She has been a service learning group leader for the American Jewish World Service and as a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow in 2009-2010, she designed a new methodology for combining local justice work and contemplative practice within a Jewish framework.
“I have been an enthusiastic participant in Institute programs since 2002 and believe that the cultivation of spiritual practices as taught by the Institute has the potential to transform leadership in the Jewish community towards greater wisdom and commitment to right action in the world.”
email@example.com • 646.462.4263
Denise Lorentz-Kirchner, Director of Finance and Operations
Denise came to the Institute after working in a variety of institutions, from a Fortune 500 company to start-up E-commerce companies, to businesses in the garment and diamond worlds. Denise has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a double minor in Economics and Business Education from Salem University. She is a Boston native currently residing in Westchester, NY, with her husband and daughter.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 212.913.9201
Marc Margolius, Hevraya Director
Rabbi Marc Margolius directs the Institute’s programming for rabbis, cantors and educators who are alumni of our leadership training programs. In addition, he serves as spiritual leader of West End Synagogue on New York City’s Upper West Side. Previously, Rabbi Margolius directed the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project, an initiative supporting congregational educational transformation, and served as Director of Jewish Life and Identity for the Jewish Community Centers of Philadelphia. Rabbi Margolius received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University, and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is a graduate of the original cohort of the Rabbinic training program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
Zena Schulman, Communications and Publications Manager
Zena comes to the Institute after graduating from Tulane University with a BSM in Marketing, a secondary Jewish Studies major, and a Management minor. After growing up in Young Judaea, she stayed involved with the Jewish community through Hillel, as well as Tulane University for Israel. In her spare time, Zena enjoys dancing, laughing, hiking, and crafting.
email@example.com • 917.512.4067
Barbara K. Shuman, Director of Wise Aging
Barbara Shuman directs the Wise Aging Project. A graduate of IJS’s Kivvun Program, she brings 18 years of experience in coordinating the Union for Reform Judaism’s Kallah program of study and spirituality retreats. Barbara has been a URJ Board member since 1993, and was President of Pittsburgh’s Agency for Jewish Learning. Barbara has a BA from Brandeis University and a MA from Columbia University. She is also a Jewish Spiritual Director, having completed the Morei Derekh Training Program. When not involved with the IJS and her other commitments, she enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 646.491.9006
Jonathan Slater, Co-Director of Programs
Rabbi Jonathan Slater co-directs the Clergy Leadership Program and participates as staff in many other programs at the Institute, and is a graduate of the Institute’s first rabbinic cohort. He is the author of A Partner in Holiness: Deepening Mindfulness, Practicing Compassion and Enriching Our Lives through the Wisdom of R. Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev’s Kedushat Levi (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2014) and Mindful Jewish Living: Compassionate Practice (Aviv Press, 2004). Jonathan received his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1979, and served as rabbi at Beth Am in Santa Rosa, California, for 19 years. He is on the faculty of Makom: Center for Mindfulness at the JCC in Manhattan, teaching and leading mindfulness meditation.
“I am constantly amazed and inspired at how the focused, sustained and honest inner work of our participants generates such deep personal transformation, inspired leadership and strong commitment to ease human suffering and sustain the world.”
email@example.com • 212.913.9198
Lisa Zbar, Development Director
Lisa Zbar comes to the Institute after a career making films about Judaism, Islam, access to health care, and other social issues. She was president of Brooklyn’s congregation Kolot Chayeinu and co-founded Shir Chadash: The Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus. Lisa has participated in two Institute programs; from 2006-2008, she participated in Vetaher Libeynu, and she is a graduate of the 2nd cohort of the Kivvun program.
“Through Vetaher Libeynu I discovered the transformative power of integrating mindfulness practices and Judaism. I hope that through my work I can introduce others to the riches that await us in these various traditions.”
firstname.lastname@example.org • 646.867.2512
Larry Schwartz, Chair
Larry Schwartz spent 25 years as a principal of the company that created the Lugz and British Knights shoe brands. He retired from his business recently to spend more time cultivating his Jewish spiritual practice and helping the Institute grow and develop; he is a member of many Institute board committees. He cofounded the Jewish Meditation Center of Montclair and teaches Jewish meditation at Romemu and at elementary and middle schools in the city. Larry also invests in Impact companies and funds and currently serves on the board of one of those companies.
“The Institute means so much to me because it deeply touches and inspires so many people and is helping to revitalize Judaism throughout North America.”
Nancy Kaplan Belsky is Vice Chair of the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation and on the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Her previous board experience includes Vice Chair of the Rashi Reform Jewish Day School and Chair of the Governing Board of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston. Nancy has focused her efforts on enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. Her current interest includes responding to the needs of seniors, specifically those living with Alzheimer’s. Nancy is a Kivvun graduate; her love for Jewish study has motivated her to study text at Hebrew College and participate in numerous study groups, including Mussar. She and her husband, Mark, live in Waban, MA; they are members of the Reform congregation, Temple Beth Elohim. Nancy and Mark’s pride and joy are their family.
Jeannie Blaustein, Ph.D., D. Ministry is: a clinical psychologist and pastoral counselor; the immediate past president and current board chair of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in NYC; president of the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation; and, on the advisory board of LitWorld—a non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainable literacy worldwide. Jeannie lives in Manhattan with her husband Peter Bokor and is the mother of two daughters.
Dorian S. Goldman
Dorian Goldman, Vice-Chair, is a trustee of the Goldman family real estate holding company. She is a member of the Friends of Ben Gurion University, the American Jewish Committee, and is a member of the Conservative Congregation in Pleasantville, New York.
Ann Greenstein is active in the greater Chicago Jewish community and currently serves as President of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago.
“I became interested in the work of the Institute because I was convinced that there was a different way to see and to inhabit this world beyond what I already knew and understood and I wanted to explore that within a Jewish framework.”
Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter
Rabbi Rex D Perlmeter is the Founding Director of the Jewish Wellness Center of Montclair. He credits the vision of this provider of holistic teachings and services leading toward personal and communal sh’leimut in large part to the inspiration received from his participation in several of the programs of the Institute. A former member of the Senior Staff of the Union for Reform Judaism, he resides in New Jersey with his wife, Rabbi Rachel Hertzman and family.
Terry Rosenberg has a 25-year career as an executive coach and organizational consultant, specializing in leadership development and communication. Over the last 15 years she has focused on working with nonprofits, specializing in synagogue change initiatives and board development. She currently serves on the boards of Mayyim Hayyim in Boston and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
“The Institute matters to me because true leadership requires personal transformation. The Institute creates Jewish leaders who illuminate the values of justice, compassion, and truthfulness in the communities they inspire and serve.”
Daniel Scharf, MD, has been a cardiologist in Kansas City since 1977 and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri in KC. For many years he has been an active participant in the life of his Jewish community. He has served as President of the Jewish Heritage Foundation, a member of the Jewish Community Foundation and is currently the chair of the Financial Resource Development Committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater KC. Dan participated in the second cohort of the Institute’s Kivvun program.
Amanda Silver is a leadership and organizational development consultant to non-profit and social change organizations around the country. She also serves as senior training consultant at Dartmouth College. As a coach, trainer and facilitator, Amanda draws on mindfulness, emotional-intelligence, and strength-based approaches to create the conditions that allow individuals, teams and organizations to thrive. Amanda serves as a board member for the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and the Selah Leadership Program.
“As a recent graduate of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training program, I admire the Institute as a unique organization in which my passion for social justice, Jewish spiritual practice, and mindfulness intersect in an integrated way.”
Steven Targum, MD, is a psychiatrist and clinical researcher who consults widely to the pharmaceutical industry regarding the design and implementation of clinical trials for new psychotropic drugs. He has founded several clinical consulting companies that focus on quality assurance and data integrity for drug development. Steve is active in Jewish communal organizations; In 2011, he and his wife, Carol were honored at the Spring Benefit of Boston’s Mayyim Chayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh.
Larry Yermack, Treasurer
Larry Yermack has spent his professional career applying technology to the nation’s surface transportation network. He was the creator of the E-ZPass toll collection system in the Northeast, has held several government positions including first deputy transportation commissioner for New York City, was president of a 400-person transportation engineering firm, and now is a strategic advisor to a large international engineering firm. His passion is Jewish Spiritual Practice; along with Rabbi Chai Levy, Larry recently started Congregation Kol Shofar’s Center for Jewish Spirituality in Marin County, California. He teaches Jewish Meditation weekly and at occasional retreats.
“The Institute is important to me because it provides the tools to integrate spiritual practices into a full meaningful Jewish life.”