Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship

A unique community of practice where rabbis hone their skills working with interfaith couples and families.


Interested in becoming a fellow?

Applications have closed. Get notified when we open applications for the next cohort.

Interested in becoming a fellow?

Our third two-year cohort will start in early 2022. We can notify you when applications open.

71% of progressive Jews marry someone who isn’t Jewish.
Be a leader in serving these couples.
Apply for the 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship.

The two-year Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship is an opportunity for rabbis to come together to deepen their practices of working with interfaith couples – both those who are seriously dating, engaged or newly married and those with young children. Rukin Fellows are mentored by 18Doors experts, receive access to specialized learning and resources, facilitate workshops and programs for interfaith couples, and are given preferred listing in 18Doors’ Officiation Referral Service. Fellows receive an $1,800 yearly stipend, as well as payment for each session of a program or workshop that they offer. Applications for the third cohort have now closed.

If you are interested in applying in the future, we encourage you to speak with Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship (

As a (Cohort 3) Rukin Rabbinic Fellow You Will:

  • Be part of a cohort of 15 rabbis from throughout the US and Canada.

  • Attend a virtual retreat with your colleagues and the 18Doors team from Monday, March 7- Wednesday, March 9, 2022 and a retreat (hopefully in person) in early 2023. There may also be a retreat from Sunday, October 23 – Tuesday, October 25, 2022 or from Sunday, November 13 – Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

  • Participate in webinars with leading experts in the field of interfaith inclusion and related fields every 4-6 weeks.

  • Participate in monthly virtual group coaching sessions with a small group of other Fellows where you will have the opportunity to discuss interfaith issues that are coming up for members of the group.

  • Check in with a mentor as often as you wish to discuss issues relating to your work with interfaith couples and families, related policy issues in your synagogue or organization, etc.

  • Use 18Doors codified curriculum to offer programs and workshops – both in person and virtual – in your area and/or nationally for interfaith couples with and without children. You will also have the opportunity to offer programs of your own creation with an interfaith component if you choose to do so. (All programs will be offered virtually until 18Doors determines it is safe to offer in person programming.)

  • Connect with local interfaith couples through the 18Doors Officiation Referral Service.

  • Receive a yearly stipend of $1,800 for attending the retreats and webinars, and $250/session for each program and workshop that you offer.

  • Have the opportunity to be part of an alumni network after completion of the Fellowship.

Participating in the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship has created a strong platform for me to expand my efforts to welcome interfaith couples and engage them in meaningful learning, ritual, and communal opportunities. From the opening retreat, which both prepared us and helped us build a sense of community amongst fellows, to opportunities for collaboration with other local organizations and to helping couples connect with officiants, I feel grateful for the opportunity to partner with 18Doors in this capacity. Recently, I was reminded of just how powerful this work can be after conducting the opening session of a workshop, where couples shared so openly and respectfully about the blessings and challenges they are facing. Hearing their stories inspires me to want to continue to be a supporting presence for them as they build their lives and families together.

– Rabbi Max Chaiken, Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, Boston, MA

Meet the 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellows

Third Cohort (2022-2024)

Stephanie Crawley

Rabbi Stephanie Crawley

Rabbi Stephanie Crawley (Washington, DC)

Rabbi Stephanie Crawley is the Associate Rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, DC, and co-leader of the Micah Storefront Project. She was ordained in 2018 by HUC-JIR (NY), where she was a Tisch Rabbinical Fellow, and is an alumna of Case Western Reserve University. Whether teaching, leading song-filled prayer, creating new rituals, engaging in justice work, or providing spiritual counseling, her ongoing project is to be a rabbi who is rooted, hopeful and fully human. Rabbi Crawley spends her free time writing poetry, reading and watching nature cameras. 

From a devoted interfaith family herself, Stephanie is excited to connect with all those who seek meaning and inspiration through Judaism. 

Sarah DePaolo

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo (Irvine, CA)

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, Calif., where she works with families and individuals from all walks of Jewish-ly connected life. Rabbi DePaolo was ordained by HUC-JIR in NY in 2017. She has been driven in her rabbinic work by a commitment to joyful exploration of Judaism, building community founded on caring relationships and the pursuit of justice.

Raised in an interfaith family, Rabbi DePaolo is excited to be a Rukin Fellow and to create opportunities for families of all kinds who wish to connect with Judaism in meaningful ways.

Joshua Fixler

Rabbi Joshua Fixler

Rabbi Joshua Fixler (Houston, TX)

Joshua Fixler serves as Associate Rabbi at Congregation Emanu El in Houston, Texas. He is the president of the Houston Faith Leaders Coalition and a member of the steering committee for the Texas Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-TX). Rabbi Fixler was ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in May 2017. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Fixler was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Bonnie and Daniel Tisch Rabbinical Fellow. During his time at HUC-JIR, Joshua also completed an Advanced Professional Certificate in Management for Public & Nonprofit Organizations at New York University.

Jen Gubitz

Rabbi Jen Gubitz

Rabbi Jen Gubitz (Boston, MA)

With her humor and insight, Rabbi Jen Gubitz builds communities and creates content that elevates Jewish wisdom’s capacity to speak to our human condition. With over 15 years of experience in Jewish professional life, Jen is a graduate of Indiana University and was ordained in 2012 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (NY) where she was a Tisch Rabbinical Fellow. She trained in chaplaincy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and wrote her thesis on Jewish death education for children.

Jen runs Modern JewISH Couples and serves on the clergy team of Temple Shalom of Newton, Mass.

Meredith Kahan

Rabbi Meredith Kahan

Rabbi Meredith Kahan (Cincinnati, OH)

Rabbi Meredith Kahan serves as Senior Rabbi of Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio. She previously served as their Associate Rabbi & Educator for seven years. She received her social work degree from Ohio State, and was in 2013 from HUC-Cincinnati Rabbi Kahan’s professional passions include liturgy and sacred music; engaging families with young children; community-wide and multi-faith work; innovating in congregational programming and building affinity spaces.

She and her husband do their best to keep up with their three young children. Rabbi Kahan is honored to be a Rukin Fellow and to learn alongside colleagues who are dedicated to creating a more inclusive and affirming Jewish community.

Jen Lader

Rabbi Jen Lader

Rabbi Jen Lader (West Bloomfield, MI)

Rabbi Jen Lader hails from Austin, Texas, and has served at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Mich. since her ordination from HUC-JIR in 2012. In addition to her rabbinic portfolio, she specializes as a “youth guru,” running all teen-related endeavors and keeping up to date on the latest slang for the benefit of her elder colleagues. 

Rabbi Jen believes in the transformative power of a loving and open community. Her role is to connect people to each other, to guide them on their paths of self-discovery and to lengthen our chain of tradition, one link–one person–at a time. She is looking forward to learning and growing with 18Doors, and welcoming and engaging seekers with open arms.

Kolby Morris Dahary

Rabbi Kolby Morris Dahary

Rabbi Kolby Morris-Dahary (Denver, CO)

Rabbi Kolby Morris-Dahary (she/her) is part of the rabbinic team at Judaism Your Way in Denver, Colo. Rabbi Kolby received ordination from ALEPH Ordination Program in January 2022. She was raised in an interfaith family and this part of her story inspired a passion for interfaith inclusion. Her rabbinical thesis, “An Interfaith Tent,” is about a halachic paradigm shift surrounding interfaith wedding rituals. She is an experienced prayer leader, musicianand creator of devotional music.

She is thrilled to be a part of the Rukin Fellowship and dedicating her future learning to all of the incredible interfaith families that she has learned from in her life’s work.

Alexis Pinsky

Rabbi Alexis Pinsky

Rabbi Alexis Pinsky (Brooklyn, NY)

Rabbi Alexis Pinsky was ordained from the N.Y. campus of the Hebrew Union College’s Jewish Institute of Religion, and is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. She has most recently served as the Associate Rabbi/Educator at B’ShERT (Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple) in Brooklyn, N.Y. She previously served as Associate Rabbi at the historic Touro Synagogue in New Orleans as the Musical and Liturgical Clergy in Residence, and as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, La. where she focused on outreach and engagement to young families and young adults.

Rabbi Pinsky is passionate about connecting others to the richness and beauty of the Jewish tradition. She believes that and cultivating sacred ritual moments, music and formal and informal Jewish education is essential in working toward a more just world.

Eve Posen

Rabbi Eve Posen

Rabbi Eve Posen (Portland, OR)

Rabbi Eve Posen is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, Ore., where she teaches, preaches, inspires and engages all generations. A graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Rabbi Posen also holds an M.A. in Experiential Education from the American Jewish University. She is an enthusiastic educator who is passionate about working with families with young children, intergenerational education and community building. Rabbi Posen is active in the work of social justice and engaged with American Jewish World Service. She is mother to two children and an elderly dog, and is partnered to a wonderful human. 

Yael Rapport

Rabbi Yael Rapport

Rabbi Yael Rapport (New York, NY)

Rabbi Yael Rapport (she/her/hers) is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah – The LGBTQ Synagogue (CBT) of New York City. Prior to her work at CBST, she served as a Chaplain Resident in the Mount Sinai Health System focusing on inpatient and outpatient oncology and the Gender Affirmation Surgical Unit. Her passions include visual art, new food traditions, and she is certified as a yoga teacher.

Peter Rigler

Rabbi Peter Rigler

Rabbi Peter Rigler (Broomall, PA)

Rabbi Peter Rigler is the Rabbi of Temple Sholom in Broomall, Pa. Rabbi Rigler was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002. He served as the Associate Rabbi at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, Pa. for seven years. He engages in all aspects of Jewish living, including: leading worship services; officiating  weddings, funerals, b’nai mitzvah ceremonies and baby namings; and teaching in the Religious School and Lifelong Learning program.

His wife, Rabbi Stacy Rigler, is the A.R.J.E. Director. They have three children: Maya, Nathan, and Eli. Rabbi Rigler loves running and time with his family. He leads with warmth, humor, knowledge and a rich passion for Reform Judaism.

Elana Rosen Brown

Rabbi Elana Rosen Brown

Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown (San Rafael, CA)

Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown is an Associate Rabbi at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, Calif. where she has served since 2014. In this role, she leads adult learning and social justice initiatives and strives to co-create a community that is fully inclusive of interfaith/Jewish-ish/multifaith families. A native East Coaster, Elana grew up in Hartford, Conn. and has lived all over the world.

Elana serves on the boards of the Marin Interfaith Council, the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative, and RAC California’s Leadership Team. Alongside her deep love for Judaism, Elana is a practicing Buddhist. She is grateful to her partner, Dan, for the joyous multifaith home they have created together with their cats Beniko and Sherwood.

Adam Rosenwasser

Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser

Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser (Kensington, MD)

Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Md. in the suburbs of Washington, DC. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of Michigan and was ordained from the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009. He finds pastoral work incredibly meaningful, and he is excited and honored to join the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship to be able to better help guide folks of all backgrounds and experiences in their Jewish journeys. 

Simone Schicker

Rabbi Simone Schicker

Rabbi Simone Schicker (Kalamazoo, MI)

Rabbi Simone Schicker has been the spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo, Mich. since her ordination from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2018. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas and was raised in an interfaith family. She is excited for the opportunity to learn from colleagues and teachers on the topic of interfaith engagement, and to bring her learning to all those in and around Southwest Mich. Rabbi Schicker is active in interfaith work in Kalamazoo and was recognized for her work as Clergy of the Year by ISAAC.

Jodie Siff

Rabbi Jodie Siff

Rabbi Jodie Siff (Plandome, NY)

Rabbi Jodie Siff grew up  in Plandome, N.Y. and  has been serving the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore community as their Rabbi for 23 years. Jodie works at with the synagogue’s nursery school and the older adult community.

A mentor through the Elaine Breslow Institute at Beit T’Shuvah, she works to support Jewish professionals and individuals who are yearning to create sacred space and build sacred relationships in their work and lives. Jodie embraces and expounds the concept, you don’t have to be an addict to be in recovery and she works to help others create a daily practice of reflection and integration. She is also a registered yoga teacher. Jodie and her husband Peter are the proud parents of four young adults.

Second Cohort (2021-2023)

Rabbi Melissa Buyer Witman

Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman (New York, NY)

Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Israel of the City of New York. She received a Masters in Hebrew Letters, Jewish Education and Rabbinic Ordination from HUC, LA. She has been on the cutting edge of innovative educational programs for nearly 18 years. Additionally, she serves as an active member of the clergy team that makes living and learning Judaism relevant and meaningful for Jews and those that love them. Rabbi Buyer-Witman is the editor for the CCAR’s Mishkan HaNefesh for Youth and serves as the Dean of faculty for the URJ’s Crane Lake and Eisner Camps.

Rabbi Buyer-Witman comes from a loving family that includes members of multiple faith traditions. As a Fellow, she will continue to harness her passion to create inclusive communities that see diversity as a blessing.

Emily Cohen

Rabbi Emily Cohen

Rabbi Emily Cohen (New York, NY)

Rabbi Emily Cohen is the rabbi of West End Synagogue: a Reconstructionist community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She graduated in 2018 from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and prior to joining West End spent two years as the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Resident with Lab/Shul in New York City. An artist from an early age, Rabbi Emily’s “side projects” have included Passover parodies (“The Hamilton Haggadah”), a podcast (“Jew Too? Tales of the Mixed Multitude”) and a great deal of Jewish music. She also writes regularly for Alma.

Rabbi Emily is part of the growing population of American Jews raised by one Jewish parent and one parent of another faith. Her interfaith roots lead her to look always to the edges of Jewish community and to center the voices that are least heard. 

Rabbi Alex Greenbaum

Rabbi Alex Greenbaum (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rabbi Alex Greenbaum is one of the rabbis of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills in Pittsburgh with congregational experience from Augusta, GA, Staten Island, NY, and Alpena, MI. He was ordained in 1997 by the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a MHL from the University of Judaism, LA, and a BA in Poli-Sci/Pre-Law from Michigan State University. Originally from Detroit, he is married to Rabbi Amy Greenbaum, his associate rabbi (they were the first rabbinic couple in its 100-year history to graduate together from JTS). Together, with their three boys and one girl, they have lived in Pittsburgh since 2002. Alex cannot wait to work with 18Doors! He has worked with InterfaithFamily since 2001 and believes that there is no better place in the world that connects interfaith couples and embracing rabbis.

Rabbi Denise Handlarski

Rabbi Denise Handlarski (Toronto, Ontario)

Rabbi Denise Handlarski is the founder and spiritual leader of the online community Secular Synagogue and the author of “The A-Z of Intermarriage” published by New Jewish Press/University of Toronto Press. She also works as a Jewish Doula and a university professor for teacher candidates. Denise is delighted to be a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow; she loves speaking to couples and families about how to create a dynamic and meaningful cultural life.

Rabbi Emily Hyatt

Rabbi Emily Hyatt (Denver, CO)

Rabbi Emily Hyatt is a congregational rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO, where she is proud to serve, teach and help grow the Jewish community in her own hometown. Rabbi Hyatt was ordained at HUC-JIR (Los Angeles) and holds a M.A. in Jewish Education from the Hebrew College in Boston and an MBA from Indiana University.

Rabbi Hyatt loves helping individuals and families find meaning in community, tradition, learning and identity and is excited to be working with the Rukin Fellowship to create even more opportunities for diverse families of all kinds to make a home in the Jewish community.

Rabbi Andy Kahn

Rabbi Andy Kahn (New York, NY)

Andy Kahn is the assistant Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. He grew up in Tacoma, WA, attended Kenyon College for his BA, Queen’s University and Jewish Theological Seminary for graduate school, and was ordained by HUC-JIR New York in 2018. He is excited to work with 18Doors to help create a Jewish world that embraces people of all backgrounds, and is willing to both enrich and be enriched by all who seek a connection to Judaism, regardless of their Jewish status.

Rabbi Jessica Lowenthal

Rabbi Jessica Lowenthal (Boston, MA)

Rabbi Jessica Lowenthal is the Rabbi and education director at Temple Beth Shalom in Melrose, MA. She works with a diverse array of people, both Jewish and Jewish adjacent, to create meaningful and fulfilling rituals and foster a loving and open community. A teacher at heart, Rabbi Jessica is passionate about helping each individual find their own pathway into Judaism. She is particularly excited to be a Rukin Fellow and embrace families of all background who want to bring Judaism into their lives.

Rabbi Jessica met her husband, Phil Weber, at the dog park, beginning as a two dog family. They have since expanded to include two boys, Louis and Max. 

Rabbi Steven Philp

Rabbi Steven Philp (Chicago, IL)

Steven Philp is an Associate Rabbi at Mishkan Chicago. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Steven earned an M.St. in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford and an M.Div. and M.S.W. from the University of Chicago.

Steven grew up in California and Hawaii, as a Roman Catholic with a strong Protestant heritage. He became passionate about interfaith work while in college, a path that eventually led him to convert to Judaism. Steven is excited to work with 18Doors, helping others find communities that affirm their whole selves. He currently lives in Lakeview with his husband Toby, cat Miso and dog Momilani.

Rabbi Ari Saks

Rabbi Ari Saks (Huntington, NY)

Rabbi Ari Saks, a Rabbi Without Borders fellow, is in his eighth year out of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and in his third year as senior rabbi of the Huntington Jewish Center. Over the course of his rabbinic career, Rabbi Saks has launched many innovative programs to infuse passion and energy into his communities.

Rabbi Saks has a deep passion for working with interfaith families whether they raise their families with one religion or two religions. At the same time, Rabbi Saks works closely with Jewish parents who are navigating the complexities of having children marry someone of a different faith.

Rabbi Saks participates in interfaith family lifecycle events as much as possible while upholding the standards of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement. He is excited to work with 18Doors to further enhance his understanding of the needs of interfaith families, to learn best practices for engaging them and to develop a network of like-minded clergy.

Rabbi Michael Satz

Rabbi Michael Satz (Morristown, NJ)

Rabbi Michael Satz is the rabbi of Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, NJ. Ordained by HUC-JIR in 2007, he has served communities in Cherry Hill, NJ, San Diego, CA, and Toronto, ON, but his native St. Louis is always in his heart. Rabbi Satz studies and teaches about the literature and practice of Mussar, the Jewish study of virtue. He also loves to play classic country songs on guitar and until a recent knee injury, practice the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga. He is married to Rabbi Janice Elster and together they have two boys, Eitan and Ami. Rabbi Satz is looking forward to learning with this cohort of rabbis to think about how the Jewish community of the present and future can be more welcoming to all.

Rabbi Daniel Sher

Rabbi Daniel Sher (Pacific Palisades, CA)

Ordained in 2018 at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, Rabbi Daniel Sher serves as the Youth and Family Rabbi at Kehillat Israel in the Pacific Palisades, CA. There he works with families of all ages, ranging from preschool through 20s and 30s, among other rabbinic responsibilities.

Rabbi Sher enjoys spending time staying active, exploring the beauty of the city he lives in. Of course that is all the more fun with his wife Jennifer, and kids Levi and Sami. As a southern California native, Rabbi Sher loves to now experience this city through a completely different lens. As an 18Doors Fellow, Rabbi Sher hopes to activate couples’ engagement with the beauty and relevance of the Jewish experience, and witness for themselves the meaning it can add to our modern lives.

Rabbi Michael Shulman

Rabbi Michael Shulman (Nashville, TN)

Rabbi Michael Shulman, RJE is a native of Cleveland, OH, and currently is the Director of Education and Next Generation Programming at The Temple in Nashville, TN. The product of both Jewish and Catholic education, Rabbi Shulman holds degrees from Georgetown University, Xavier University and HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Shulman believes that Judaism becomes most meaningful in the context of community. For years, he has worked with children and adults of all ages and backgrounds to build connections and open doors to Jewish life. As a Fellow, Rabbi Shulman looks forward to finding new and innovative ways to build and ensure our Jewish future for all of the members of our diverse community.

Rabbi Greg Weisman

Rabbi Greg Weisman (Boca Raton, FL)

Rabbi Greg Weisman has served Temple Beth El of Boca Raton since his ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles in 2013. He is deeply involved in the congregation’s social action and social justice work, the Early Learning Center and Religious School, and guides the congregation’s Introduction to Judaism and conversion programs. He serves a variety of communal organizations, including the board of rabbis and the interfaith clergy council. He and his wife Tami Weisman, RJE, a Jewish educator, live in Boca Raton with their three daughters. His experience in interfaith work, both within the congregation and in the community, is what excites him to be part of 18Doors’ Fellowship.

Rabbi Michal Woll

Rabbi Michal Woll (Milwaukee, WI)

Rabbi Michal Woll is rabbi of Congregation Shir Hadash in Milwaukee and a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She is a third career rabbi, with corporate and clinical experience that manifests through her interests in end-of-life care and medical ethics. Rabbi Michal brings love of music, learning, justice and creativity to her rabbinate. At Shir, Michal is fostering a more urban, inclusive, progressive and activist Jewish presence in the city of Milwaukee, where she is involved in interfaith justice work and dialogue.

Rabbi Michal lives with her husband, author Jon M. Sweeney, their daughters Ana and Sima, and their aging mutt, Max. In 2013, Michal and Jon co-authored the book, Mixed-Up Love: Relationships, Family, and Religious Identity in the 21st Century (Hachette). Their relationship and family has been profiled in national media. Michal is excited to join the community of fellows and to create new possibilities for interfaith couples and families in Brew City with the support of 18Doors.

Todd Zinn

Rabbi Todd Zinn

Rabbi Todd Zinn (Chicago, IL)

Rabbi Todd Zinn is a Rabbi at Chicago Sinai Congregation in Chicago, Illinois. In his work, he focuses on dynamic educational programming, meaningful social action work, impactful social justice campaigns, developing deep relationships with other faith communities and engaging individuals and families. Rabbi Zinn was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, California. Before coming to Chicago, Rabbi Zinn worked with college students at the University of Southern California, at Beit T’shuva—a residential addiction treatment facility, and in congregations throughout Southern California.

Inaugural Cohort (2019-2022)

Rabbi Steven Abraham

Rabbi Steven Abraham (Omaha, NE)

Rabbi Steven Abraham is the Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in Omaha, NE. Steven graduated from the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also received a M.A. in Jewish Education. Prior to attending JTS, he earned his B.S. in Business Management from the University of Baltimore. Most recently, Rabbi Abraham earned a Certificate from the Interfaith Families Engagement program at Hebrew College.

Rabbi Abraham currently sits on multiple boards including the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands and the national board of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He has two wonderful children, Naama (8) and Leor (5). Rabbi Abraham is thrilled to be working with like-minded colleagues in the 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship and the 18Doors Team.

Rabbi Karen Bogard

Rabbi Karen Bogard (St. Louis, MO)

Karen Bogard grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and graduated from Newcomb College at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She then continued her studies at the rabbinical school of Hebrew Union College (HUC) where she met her husband, Daniel Bogard. After ordination at the Cincinnati campus they began sharing a pulpit at Anshai Emeth in Peoria, Illinois. After five amazing years in Peoria, Karen and Daniel continued their co-rabbi model at Adath Israel in Cincinnati, Ohio, for two years. Karen is so excited to now be serving Central Reform Congregation and living in St. Louis. Through the various congregations, Karen has spent much time developing programs for multi-faith families; something she loves doing and feels passionate about. She has very much loved her work with 18Doors and the rest of the fellowship cohort. The couples she has met and programs she has run have helped deepen connections, spark conversations, and show first hand the importance of this work and message. 

Rabbi Max Chaiken

Rabbi Max Chaiken

Rabbi Max Chaiken (Boston, MA)

Rabbi Max Chaiken recently relocated to Massachusetts with his husband and their dog (Oogie) to begin serving as the Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Andover. Previously, he was the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, California, where he served since his ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles in 2018. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from Brown University, and is a proud alum of the URJ Camp Harlam and URJ Kutz Camp.

A skilled musician, Rabbi Max has a passion for creative ritual, Hebrew and helping folks find meaning in Jewish life, wherever and whenever he meets them. He looks forward to connecting with you soon!

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney (Philadelphia, PA)

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney leads lifecycle rituals for couples and families in Philadelphia who aren’t affiliated with a particular synagogue. The most important aspect of her work is helping others mark time through rituals big and small. She created the website to help people connect their Judaism to holy moments in their lives.

Rabbi Elyssa engages the Philadelphia Jewish community at pop-up style events or co-hosting with other local Jewish non-profits. As a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, she loves helping others explore how to talk about Jewish traditions in their interfaith homes. Rabbi Elyssa acts as a spiritual guide helping families navigate the joys and challenges of bringing different religious and/or cultural identities to the table. She is grateful to her partner Alan and kiddos Ava Jane and Zeke for supporting her in this work. 

Rabbi Braham David

Rabbi Braham David (Boston, MA)

Rabbi Braham David has proudly served as Director of the Jewish Discovery Institute (JDI) since 2007, expanding innovative interfaith outreach and conversion programming on behalf of the Conservative Movement in Boston. Since 2003, Rabbi David has also served as Rabbi of Temple Shalom in Medford, MA, an intimate and welcoming egalitarian Conservative congregation outside Boston. While there, he has envisioned and supported the Temple’s successful renewal process with a focus on welcoming young families, social action and dynamic interfaith outreach initiatives.

Rabbi David received his ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. He is delighted for the opportunity to serve as a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow with 18Doors to learn how to better serve interfaith couples in our Jewish communities.

Rabbi Boris Dolin

Rabbi Boris Dolin (Montreal, Quebec)

Rabbi Boris Dolin is the rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal, Quebec. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and received an M.A. in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Before moving to Montreal, Boris served as the rabbi of Beit Polska, the Union of Progressive Congregations in Poland, where he led a multi-congregational community working to help rebuild Jewish life in Poland. His rabbinate has focused on bringing participatory music, experiences in nature, interfaith dialogue and creative spirituality to his congregants. Boris lives in Montreal with his wife, Sarah, and his children, Elijah, Ezra and Nehama. He is excited to represent Canada in the first Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship cohort and hopes to help create a more welcoming and inclusive Jewish community in Montreal and in Canada.

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss (Houston, TX)

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss was ordained by HUC in Cincinnati, OH in 1999, with an MA in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters. He studied at HUC in Jerusalem and LA, as well as the UJ Rabbinic program. In his first pulpit at Temple Emanuel as the Rabbinic Director of Education and Outreach, he served the Jewish community of Birmingham, AL, for 12 years.

Rabbi Scott is the founding Rabbi of Shma Koleinu in Houston, TX. Shma Koleinu is a synagogue without walls and without requiring a financial or membership commitment, that serves all Jews, Jewish families and those who love them. Rabbi Scott is proud to be a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, as he continues to develop and grow in his ability to serve all who seek out Jewish life and experience. He especially loves working with interfaith couples and families, because they are often the most open to what Judaism, Jewish ritual and tradition can offer. 

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs is the director and co-founder of ISH, a welcoming, non-denominational spiritual service grounded in Jewish wisdom. Rabbi Jacobs creates an open dialogue with spiritual seekers everywhere and offers innovative resources to enable every individual to create the spiritual life that works best for them.

A graduate of William Smith College, she received a Master’s of Divinity from Yale University and Rabbinic Ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary. A chaplain for law enforcement, Rabbi Jacobs is committed to embracing interfaith families within Jewish life. Rabbi Jacobs is married to Rabbi Andrew Jacobs and mother to Abigail and Jonah. The joy in making a difference in the lives of interfaith families has been equaled only with the pride of learning with the amazing staff and colleagues at 18Doors!

Rabbi Cookie Olshein

Rabbi Cookie Olshein (Tempe, AZ)

Ordained in 2008, Rabbi Olshein began her tenure in June 2021 as the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Tempe, AZ. She was most recently the Resident Rabbinic Scholar of Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson/Las Vegas, NV, and before that spent eight years as the rabbi of Temple Israel of West Palm Beach, FL, and four years as Assistant/Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, TX. A lawyer in Las Vegas for 10+ years before entering rabbinical school, she was ordained by HUC-JIR (LA).

Her professional passions include teaching adult education, leading congregational Jewish music, bringing awareness to social justice issues, creating interfaith opportunities for dialogue and worship and facilitating workshops on spirituality in everyday life. She loves learning with her 18Doors cohort and is excited to deepen her interfaith work through learning best practices to better serve the community.

Rabbi Laura Rumpf

Rabbi Laura Rumpf (San Francisco, CA)

Laura Rumpf grew up in a loving interfaith home in San Francisco, CA, and graduated from Stanford University. She is happy to be back in her native Bay Area post-ordination from Hebrew Union College. Laura currently serves as a congregational rabbi at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, and delights in the diversity of ways her job calls her to engage her spiritual curiosity—from leading workshops on resilience for teenagers, to organizing interfaith social justice efforts.

Laura is grateful to the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship for introducing her to so many warm, inspiring couples and individuals. She enjoys journeying with those who seek support from 18Doors, and helping them find a spiritual home that’s meaningful and meets them where they are.

Rabbi Daniel Weiner

Rabbi Daniel Weiner (Seattle, WA)

Rabbi Daniel Weiner believes passionately in building Judaism for the 21st century and in healing the world through social justice. Temple De Hirsch Sinai has grown to more than 5,000 members and 1,600 families in two campuses in Seattle and Bellevue since he took charge in 2001. His innovations in worship include producing “rabcasts” on video, bringing services to travelers and shut-ins on the internet and leading a rock band in popular Rock Shabbat services. He tweets @rocknrabbidanny.

Rabbi Weiner is married to Cindy Tepper Weiner. They are the proud parents of Julia and Benjamin.  He frequently enjoys the glorious climes of the Pacific Northwest while walking their black lab, Sadie. Rabbi Weiner is profoundly grateful and honored to serve as a Rukin Fellow with 18Doors, an organization that sensitively and insightfully responds to the critical needs of a growing part of the American Jewish community. His experience as a Rukin Fellow has enhanced his perspective, providing critical resources to meet the evolving needs of multi-heritage families.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications for the fellowship open?

Applications for the third fellowship cohort are now open, and they will remain open through November 28, 2021. Applications for the fourth fellowship cohort will open in the fall of 2022.

From where do you have to have been ordained to apply to the fellowship?

In order to apply to the Fellowship, you must already be an ordained rabbi. Additionally, we only accept applicants who were ordained at the following institutions: AJRCA, The Academy of Jewish Religion (NY), AJU Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, ALEPH, Hebrew College, HUC-JIR. IISHJ, JTS, Leo Baeck College and RRC.

How many rabbis are in a cohort?

Our first cohort had 11 rabbis. Cohort Two has 15 rabbis. We expect to select 15 rabbis for Cohort Three.

How has the fellowship changed as result of the coronavirus pandemic?

Before the pandemic, fellows offered all workshops and programs in person. As a result of the pandemic, all offerings are currently virtual. When it is safe to do so, fellows can return to offering workshops and programs in person, though they may still, in consultation with the Fellowship Director, decide to offer some workshops and programs virtually (to both local and national participants, depending on the situation). 

In what communities does 18Doors have fellows?

We have fellows throughout the United States and Canada.

What experience and qualities should applicants have?

We are seeking rabbis who already have some experience working with interfaith couples and families, and who want to take their work to the next level. Applicants must be non-judgmental and willing to “meet couples where they are.” They should also be patient listeners, relationship-builders and connectors.

Is there anything I should do before applying?

We encourage all potential applicants to reach out to Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship, before beginning their application.  You can schedule a 15 minute or half hour appointment with her at or email her at

How long is the fellowship and what are the dates?

The fellowship is for two years. The third cohort will begin with an opening virtual retreat that will take place Monday, March 7 – Wednesday, March 9, 2022 and will continue until the end of February 2024.

Is there a stipend for participating in the fellowship?

Yes. All fellows will receive a yearly stipend of $1,800, plus $250 for each session of a program or workshop that they offer.

How much time do I need to devote to the fellowship?

The time that fellows devote to the fellowship will vary from week to week. We expect that fellows will spend approximately 15-18 hours/month. This time will include participating in webinars, group coaching sessions and mentoring; recruiting, planning for and facilitating workshops and programs; and communicating with local couples who have made requests for Jewish clergy through the 18Doors Officiation Referral Service and reporting their activities back to 18Doors.

What is the purpose of the workshops and programs fellows offer to interfaith couples?

The purpose of these workshops and programs is to empower couples to become more skilled at navigating their interfaith relationships, to help them individually determine what is important to them from their background and faith tradition, and to increase their engagement with Jewish life and the Jewish community in ways that are right for them and their families.

Who will I be offering workshops and programs for?

Fellows will facilitate multi-session workshops and individual programs for interfaith couples (seriously dating, engaged and newly married) who do not yet have children and/or for interfaith couples who have young children (birth through age 6) using codified 18Doors curriculum – or they can offer programs of their own creation for these demographics, so long as they are approved by the Director of the Fellowship. Fellows will have input as to whether these programs are offered locally or nationally on Zoom.

How will I find the couples to participate in the workshops and programs that I offer?

It is expected that each applicant to the fellowship will already have a network of interfaith couples whom they have worked with – either through officiation of lifecycle events or in some other capacity. Additionally, fellows will connect with interfaith couples through the 18Doors Officiation Referral Service, who they will encourage to participate in workshops and programs. 18Doors will also provide marketing support.

Will I have the opportunity to officiate lifecycles through 18Doors’ Officiation Referral Service?

Yes. Each Fellow will receive a preferred listing in the 18Doors Officiation Referral Service and can expect to be contacted by many people seeking officiants for weddings, baby namings and other lifecycle events. The number of people that contact the fellow regarding officiation will vary based on the size of the community and other factors. Fellows work privately with these couples and are able to determine the fees they will receive for officiation. Fellows are not obligated to officiate lifecycle events – the decision is up to them.

What are the webinars that take place every 4-6 weeks like?

We invite different presenters who are experts in working with interfaith couples and families and in related fields to lead webinars for our fellows. Past presenters have included: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, founding Spiritual leader of Lab/Shul and author of “Joy: A Proposal”; Kasper ter Kuile, co-author of “How We Gather”; Susan Katz Miller, author of “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family”; and Fern Chertok of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.

The March 2022 retreat will be virtual, but when there is a return to in person retreats, do fellows have to pay expenses related to the retreat?

The fellowship retreat is heavily subsidized by 18Doors. Fellows are expected to pay expenses related to their travel to and from the retreat. 18Doors provides accommodations and meals throughout the retreat. There are limited scholarship funds available to help cover the costs of travel in cases of financial need.

Will there be any retreats other than the virtual retreat from March 7 – March 9, 2022 and the (hopefully in person) retreat in early 2023?

While it is not definite, there may be a retreat from Sunday, October 23 – Tuesday, October 25, 2022 or from Sunday, November 13 – Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

Where will future in person retreats be? What kind of food will be served?

We have not finalized the locations of the upcoming retreats. The food is “kosher style.” All food served during the retreat will be dairy or pareve. We will do our best to accommodate any food allergies or dietary restrictions that participants may have.