2020 Commemorative Torah Learning Instructors
Rabbi Jonathan Berkun
There is No Place Like Home: Finding Holiness Wherever We Are
Rabbi Jonathan Berkun is the spiritual leader of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, the second largest Conservative synagogue in the state of Florida, and is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He was raised in Pittsburgh where his father, Rabbi Alvin Berkun, was the Rabbi of Tree of Life Congregation from 1983 - 2006. The day after the attack, Rabbi Jonathan Berkun came to Pittsburgh to assist his father and Rabbi Myers in officiating funerals and attending vigils. Rabbi Berkun received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and served as President of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami and Vice President of the Rabbinic Cabinet for Jewish Federations of North America.
Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel
The Hidden Things Belong to HaShem: Accompanying Others Through Loss
Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel was born and raised in Israel. She is a Yoetzet Halacha, teaches Talmud and Halakha at Nishmat Seminary for women and is the director of Matan’s Advanced Halakha Program. Fraenkel became an international spokesperson for resilience after her son, Naftali Fraenkel, was kidnapped and murdered along with two other Israeli teens in 2014.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Pursuing Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Authentic Jewish Practice
Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which reaches more than 1.5 million people through nearly 850 congregations, 15 overnight camps, the Reform teen youth Movement NFTY, and the Religious Action Center in Washington DC. Prior to being installed as president of URJ, Rabbi Jacobs served as a congregational rabbi at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.
Rabbi Cheryl Klein
More than Zachor (Remember)
Rabbi Cheryl Klein is the spiritual leader of Reconstructionist Congregation Dor Hadash in Pittsburgh, where she served as the cantor for 33 years. She is a native Pittsburgher, graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and was the head of the former School of Advanced Jewish Studies (SAJS) in Pittsburgh for a number of years. Rabbi Cheryl is blessed with a 42- year marriage to husband, Mark, nachus from their four children (and spouses) and five beautiful grandchildren.
Rabbi Leon Morris
Becoming a Human Torah -- In Life and in Death
Rabbi Leon A. Morris is President of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. A native of Connellsville, PA, Leon was the founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan (now the Streicker Center) and was the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, NY. He and his family made aliyah to Israel in 2014.
Rabbi Jack Riemer
A Little Bit of Comfort for Those Who Mourn Today
Rabbi Jack Riemer is a product of Pittsburgh: born on the Hill District and raised on Phillips Avenue as a member of Poale Zedeck Congregation. He has gone on to become one of America's leading rabbis, who teaches rabbis from coast to coast and whose prayers appear in the prayerbooks of the Conservative and Reform movements in America and overseas.
Hazzan Henry Rosenblum
Using Cantillation to Interpret Torah
Hazzan Henry Rosenblum is beginning his eleventh year as the Hazzan of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in New York. A graduate of Brooklyn College with a BA in Philosophy, he completed his Cantorial studies at the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary. A former President of the Cantors Assembly, Hazzan Rosenblum served as Dean of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at JTS from 1998-2010.
Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
An Orthodox rabbi ordained by Yeshiva University, Rabbi Rothstein recently joined the staff of the Jewish Federations of North America as Rabbinic Scholar and public affairs advisor. Prior to coming to JFNA, he served as Rabbi-in-Residence at Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability, and spiritual educator at Carmel Academy of Greenwich. Growing up in a multi-racial Chabad family in Monsey, NY, Rabbi Rothstein sees himself as a human bridge, connecting disparate parts of the Jewish community. Rothstein is a member of the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI Fellowship and was listed as one of the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36.
Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz
As Memories Fade: Yizkor and Historical Amnesia
Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz is Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary. She is a renowned expert on Jewish American history with more than three decades of experience as a professor and institutional leader.
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, PhD
Randomness and Moral Agency: Lessons from the Book of Job and Beyond
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, PhD, is Vice-Chancellor for Rabbinic Life and Engagement at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the Senior Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY, and also a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. His most recent publication is a commentary on Pirkei Avot, part of the Rabbinical Assembly's Lev Shalem liturgical series.
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD
Drawing on Jewish Wisdom and Practice to Cultivate Resilience
The first woman rabbi to head a Jewish congregational union and a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD, became president of Reconstructing Judaism in 2014. Since then, she has drawn on her training as a rabbi and historian to be the Reconstructionist movement’s leading voice in the public square. Rabbi Waxman is the host of Hashivenu, a podcast about Jewish teachings and practice around resilience.
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit
Repairing the Soul and the World: Together in Healing and Justice
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit serves as rabbi at Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, PA. Visiting Rabbi for Congregation Dor Hadash from 2005-2008, Rabbi Shawn is the co-founder/director with Rabbi Marcia Prager of the Davennen Leader's Training Institute, and with Rabbi Nadya Gross is the Associate Director for the ALEPH Hashpa'ah (Spiritual Direction) program. He is a liturgical recording and performing artist, a founder of www.menschwork.org , co-editor of “Brother Keepers: New Perspectives in Jewish Masculinity," and author of “Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community." Rabbi Zevit serves as co-chair of the clergy caucus of POWER Interfaith PA.