Guest Instructors

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl serves as the Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, the first woman to lead the large Reform congregation in its 180-year history. Rabbi Buchdahl was invested as a cantor and ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a Wexner Graduate fellow. She also earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale University. Born in Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, Rabbi Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as cantor or rabbi in North America.

Rabbi Buchdahl has been nationally recognized for her innovations in leading worship, which draw large crowds both in the congregation’s historic Main Sanctuary and via live stream and cable broadcast to viewers in more than 100 countries. Rabbi Buchdahl has been featured in dozens of news outlets and was listed as one of Newsweek’s “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis.”

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD, is an author, Jungian psychotherapist, and founding rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado. Ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, she is a leader in the international Jewish Renewal Movement and a renowned Jewish scholar and teacher.

Her cutting edge research on the impact and healing of collective trauma draws on the fields of neuroscience, psychology, Jewish literature and mythopoesis. Her groundbreaking work called Wounds Into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Trauma (Monkfish, 2019) employs interviews, case studies, and her own autobiographical narratives to demonstrate how trauma residue passes from generation to generation and how it can be transformed. Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Neveh Shalom in Boulder, CO, Tirzah maintains a private practice in depth psychology, and teaches nationally about modern applications of ancient wisdom and ancestral healing: how to transform patterns of suffering from our past and bring forth clarity, wisdom, and blessings for ourselves and those who come after us.

Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari

Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari is Senior Rabbi of Kol Tzedek, a vibrant, emergent congregation in West Philadelphia. Ari Lev is a White, queer, trans person, of Ashkenazi and Italian descent. He has worked as a Jewish educator, Hebrew School director, and prison chaplain.

Ari Lev trained at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in NYC, teaching, preaching, and providing pastoral care for congregants of all stripes while developing programing for people 55+. He has completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education, in both a Geriatric and Trauma Hospital. Ari Lev serves on the faculty of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva.

Rabbi David Jaffe

Rabbi David Jaffe leads the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project, which makes Jewish spiritual practices accessible to social change makers. He is the author of Changing the World from the Inside Out, which won a National Jewish Book Award. David serves on the Board of Directors of Torat Hayyim, an association of politically progressive Orthodox rabbis.

Rabbi Susan Leider

Rabbi Susan Leider is a leading West Coast voice in the Jewish and multifaith community, bringing warmth, joy and connection to Kol Shofar in Tiburon, California and beyond. At Kol Shofar, she is the first woman to hold a senior rabbinic position at a Northern California Conservative congregation. She was also the first woman to serve as Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Am, a historic Conservative Los Angeles synagogue. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Northern CA, on the board of the Marin Interfaith Council and also on the board of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest network of local faith and community-based organizations, responding to seemingly intractable problems, and overcoming racial, religious and socio-economic divisions. She has also served on the Placement Commission for the Conservative movement, helping colleagues across the nation find their congregational homes as pulpit rabbis. Her articles have appeared in the national adult education curriculum “Walking With,” Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles and The Jewish News of Northern California.

A gifted musician, Rabbi Leider reanimates liturgy by creating uplifting spiritual experience that are both inspiring, participatory and real. As educator, her experience ranges from an early childhood music specialty to teaching rabbinic texts to adults, to leading mediation for all ages. At the heart of her rabbinate is the belief that each person has a narrative to share with the community and it is through sharing these stories that we build stronger connections with each other.

She is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and lives in Sausalito.

Rabbi Dan Liben

Rabbi Daniel Liben was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1983 and became the spiritual leader of Temple Israel in 1991. His warm, friendly, and caring approach make all who enter the Temple feel at home. Rabbi Liben is committed to a vision of Temple Israel that supports the needs of Jewish families at every stage of life. In addition to counseling and guiding individuals and families as they face life-cycle events, he brings energy and enthusiasm to his role as teacher in a wide range of settings.

Rabbi Liben leads Family Education programs in the Nursery School, discusses the weekly Torah portion with our Religious School students, teaches adults from the bima or in Adult Education classes, and leads Israeli Folk Dancing on Thursday evenings. Rabbi Liben’s leadership has brought focus to Temple Israel’s mission to provide individuals and families with opportunities to learn and grow Jewishly in a nurturing and supportive community.

Rabbi Andrea London

Rabbi Andrea London is a nationally recognized leader who has served Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL since 2000 and as the congregation’s Senior Rabbi since July 2010. Rabbi London is deeply engaged in all aspects of congregational life, including worship, lifecycle events, counseling and support, adult education, youth education and programming, social justice, and interfaith relations.

She serves on the President’s Rabbinic Council of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is also the secretary of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and co-chair of the J Street rabbinic and cantorial cabinet. She served as the co-chair of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative in the Chicago area, and is a leader in interfaith relations and activism locally and nationally. Rabbi London has been actively involved with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality since 2001. She’s a graduate of the second rabbinic cohort and of the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program. She has a chapter in the recently published book, The Mussar Torah Commentary: A Spiritual Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life.

Cantor Julie Newman

Cantor Julie Newman is the founder of Tiferet – A Jewish Spirituality Project and one of the spiritual leaders of Chavurat Shirah, an experimental minyan in Pittsburgh. She received cantorial ordination and her Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College.

Julie has been leading Jewish worship in Pittsburgh synagogues for more than 20 years. Passionate about Jewish prayer and contemplative practices, she has been active with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality for many years as a student and more recently, as a faculty member. She combines Jewish contemplative practices such as Piyut (ancient Hebrew poetry set to Jewish music from around the world) and Mussar with her yoga practice, having received certification from the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teachers Training program.

Rabbi Dorothy Richman

Dorothy Richman serves as the rabbi of Makor Or: Jewish Meditation Center and is a founding faculty member of the Romemu Yeshiva, a six-week immersive program of spiritual study and practice. Dorothy’s work centers on the spiritual practices of Torah study, meditaiton prayer, and justice. She recently released an album of original songs, Something of Mine, largely based on texts from the Jewish tradition, available on BandCamp.

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder is the rabbi of The Shul of New York, an inclusive non-denominational synagogue in the East Village of Manhattan. As a spiritual leader and artist, she designs transformative learning and ritual opportunities to provide seekers with joyful and creative approaches to Judaism.

R’ Eva received rabbinic ordination in the ALEPH Ordination Program and graduated from Lev Shomea where she trained to be a mashpiah, a Jewish Spiritual Director. An alumna of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Clergy Leadership Program and CLAL’s trans-denominational Rabbis Without Borders, she has also been trained as a teacher of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation, Wise Eldering and Jewish Yoga. Drawing on her skills as an artist, musician and dancer, she enjoys integrating the expressive arts into her rabbinic, teaching and chaplaincy work.

In addition, Rabbi Eva serves as ‘Rosh Hashpa’ah, the head of Spiritual Direction for the ALEPH Ordination Program, serving to support the spiritual development of the seminary students and faculty.

Cantor Elizabeth Shammash

Cantor Elizabeth Shammash began serving Adath Israel in Merion Station, PA after 13 years at Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, PA. She is a 2007 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and a member of the Cantors Assembly (CA) and the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). She was part of the first clergy cohort of IJS and the 4th cohort of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training and currently teaches with IJS’s Online Yoga Studio and Clergy Leadership Program.

She began her yoga studies in 1993 as part of her training as an opera singer and is passionate about helping others bring Judaism into the body, voice and heart through both methodical and creative embodied practice. Cantor Shammash was a recording artist for the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, performs regularly with her 3 CA colleagues as Divas on the Bima and is a passionate advocate for the Yiddish and Ladino languages. She is deeply grateful to her IJS mentors and colleagues for inspiring her in countless large and small ways.

Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner

Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner is the Jewish Spiritual Leader for Revitz House, and serves unaffiliated and independent Jews across the country. Additionally, she is nationally known for her effectiveness as a facilitator, speaker, writer, Torah commentator, and meditation leader. As a self-reflective person, she uses her life lessons to inform all of her work.

Rabbi Jenny Solomon

As a spiritual leader at Beth Meyer Synagogue and the founding director of Libi Eir Awakened Heart Community Mikveh in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rabbi Dr. Jenny Solomon compassionately inspires her congregants and students as they navigate their Jewish journeys. Rabbi Solomon received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and completed a doctorate in counseling from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. Solomon spent extensive time studying in Israel and was awarded a Wexner Fellowship. She is passionate about Jewish Mindfulness practice and has completed meditation teacher certification through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro

Kerith Spencer-Shapiro is the Senior Cantor of University Synagogue in Los Angeles, where she has served since 2014. A graduate of Hebrew Union College, she was the first female voice to be heard at the Eldridge Street Synagogue in New York City. She has lectured and appeared in concert internationally. Cantor Shapiro served on the board of the American Conference of Cantors from 2006-2018, as a trustee and as vice president of member relations and external partnerships. She is currently the cantorial liaison to the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Task Force on Women in the Rabbinate. Cantor Shapiro is an alumna of the IJS CLP1 cohort and completed IJS’ Jewish Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher Training.

Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Rabbi Toba Spitzer has served Congregation Dorshei Tzedek since she was ordained in 1997 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). She served as the President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association from 2007-2009, and was the first LGBTQ rabbi to head a national rabbinic organization. 

Rabbi Spitzer has been involved for many years in American Jewish efforts to help foster a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as work in the U.S. for economic and social justice. She  serves on the Board of T’ruah: The Rabbnic Call for Human Rights, and was a founding member of the Advisory Board of J Street. Rabbi Spitzer has a special interest in Jewish approaches to economic justice and the mindful use of money in daily life. 

Rabbi Elliot Tepperman

Rabbi Elliott Tepperman has been the spiritual leader of Bnai Keshet, in Montclair, NJ since 2002. His rabbinate embraces spiritually courageous Judaism and loving pursuit of shalom and justice for all people. He believes that Jewish practice is most transformational when deep internal work becomes a springboard for building community and engaging with the world. And likewise when we bring the profound and mundane challenges of our personal and public lives to bear on our Jewish study and worship.

Rabbi Tepperman is a founding member of the IAF-affiliated New Jersey Together, the Montclair Sanctuary Alliance and Faith in Action of Essex County. In 2019, he was honored by T’ruah as a Rabbinic Human Rights Hero. He was a member of Bend The Arcs 13th Selah cohort. He is a graduate of the IJS Rabbinic Cohort 4 and the first Jewish Meditation Teachers Training and has been teaching meditation for thirteen years.. He is a past President of the Montclair Clergy Association and he is currently serving as President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.