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Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship

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


Interested in applying to Cohort 5?

Applications will open in mid-August 2024. Click below if you’d like to be notified when applications to Cohort 5 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.

Learn more about Cohort 5 of the Fellowship here. If you have questions about the Fellowship, please be in touch with Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship (

Hear about the impact of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship on Cohort 3:

Hear about the impact the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship had on our Second Cohort.

The Rukin Fellowship has been extremely meaningful in developing my approach to working with interfaith, intercultural, and interethnic families with sensitivity, care, and inclusion. It has also ignited a fire within me to make sure that wherever I work and whatever I do, I am constantly advocating for greater advancement in inclusion for people of various backgrounds. I am excited to continue supporting and embodying the values I have learned through this program throughout my career.”

– Rabbi Andy Kahn, Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, Cohort 2

Meet the 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellows

Fourth Cohort (2023-2025)

Rabbi Eric Abbott

Rabbi Eric Abbott

Rabbi Eric Abbott (Bethesda, MD)

Rabbi Eric L. Abbott believes that Judaism can change lives and better the world, and he feels incredibly honored to lead Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC) in Bethesda, MD toward that shared vision. 
After attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he earned rabbinic ordination and a master’s in education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). In his spare time, Rabbi Abbott enjoys playing board games, reading, running, and spending time with his inspirational wife, Rabbi Eliana Fischel, his children, and his dog. 
Rabbi Eric is excited to explore how to continue supporting the many interfaith families in his community.

Rabbi Lia Bass

Rabbi Lia Bass

Rabbi Lia Bass (Arlington, VA)

Rabbi Lia Bass was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is the first Latinx ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY.  She is an innovative leader who believes that Judaism is a spiritual way to respond to the joys and sorrows of being human. She is a prolific fiber artist, and enjoys watching team sports. She thinks of herself as a coach of a spiritual team, empowering people to commit to their spiritual journeys as they stand in a firm Jewish foundation. She is excited to learn and grow in her understanding of interfaith families through the cohort! 

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz (Elkins Park, PA)

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA. She graduated from Brandeis University and was ordained at HUC-JIR, where she also earned an MA in Religious Education. Leah is a Past President of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and has published four children’s books, including Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants and Maybe It Happened This Way: Bible Stories Reimagined (with co-author Erica Wovsaniker). She is excited to participate in the Rukin Fellowship because she strives to empower individuals and families take ownership of their relationship to Judaism and decide for themselves how it will shape their lives.

Rabbi Jerry Blum

Rabbi Jerry Blum

Rabbi Jerry Blum (Great Neck, NY)

Rabbi Hazzan Jerry Blum is the first graduate in the history of the Academy for Jewish Religion to receive simultaneous ordinations as rabbi and cantor. He is also a graduate of the Davvenen Leadership Training Institute of the ALEPH Association for Jewish Renewal. His senior thesis, “Getting to Yes – Rethinking Kiddushin: A New Path for Uniting Loving Couples” describes his spiritual and halakhic journey towards a new understanding of marriage within the Jewish community and how we as clergy can build a stronger bond within that community through outreach to interfaith families.  
Rabbi Hazzan Blum is the rabbi at Temple Isaiah of Great Neck, and is a dad, husband, sabba, teacher, prayer leader, business consultant and occasional rock and roller. He loves to teach, sharing his passion for prayer, music, and all things Jewish, and is honored to be part of the fourth 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship.

Rabbi Sam Blumberg

Rabbi Sam Blumberg

Rabbi Sam Blumberg (Framingham, MA)

Rabbi Sam Blumberg has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Framingham, Massachusetts since 2020 and was ordained from Hebrew College in 2021. A graduate of the Pardes Educators Program and former day school teacher, Rabbi Blumberg is passionate about meaningful, accessible, and joyous Jewish living, and enjoys all aspects of synagogue life. 
Rabbi Blumberg and his wife Amalia are proud to share their lives with their children Zamir and Sol. As an 18Doors Fellow, he looks forward to thinking deeply about meeting families where they are and helping them uncover holy moments through Jewish rhythms and rituals.

Rabbi Chuck Briskin

Rabbi Chuck Briskin

Rabbi Chuck Briskin (Newtown, PA)

Rabbi Chuck Briskin serves as the Senior Rabbi of Shir Ami Congregation in Newtown, PA. After he was ordained from HUC-JIR in 2001, he served congregations in Los Altos Hills, CA and San Pedro, CA before moving to Bucks County in 2018. 
Rabbi Briskin incorporates his passion for justice work, learning, and spiritual growth into his rabbinate. He is an alumnus of the IJS Clergy Leadership Program and currently serves on the Leadership Team for the Pennsylvania statewide project of the Religious Action Center. 
Rabbi Briskin is honored to be a Rukin Fellow and is looking forward to broadening his skills with colleagues in creating and sustaining inclusive communities.

Rabbi Rachel Brown

Rabbi Rachel Brown

Rabbi Rachel Brown (Cleveland, OH)

Rabbi Rachel Brown’s route to becoming a rabbi has included attaining a degree in architecture, apprenticing as a carpenter and woodworker, and traveling the Pacific Northwest by bicycle.   
Rabbi Brown believes that Judaism gives all who have access to it a way to connect to each other, to God, and a ritual language to express what can’t be expressed with words. Her visionary approach to Jewish life and Jewish education focuses on serving and creating avenues of entry for students and congregation members of all ages.  
She was ordained as a Rabbi by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles in 2005, and lives and serves the Jewish people in Cleveland, Ohio. Rabbi Brown is looking forward to her participation in 18Doors’ Rukin Fellowship and to deepening her awareness of issues facing interfaith families in order to better serve them.

David Eber

Rabbi David Eber

Rabbi David Eber (Naperville, IL)

Rabbi David Eber is the new rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom, an independent community in Naperville, Illinois. He graduated 2018 from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Prior to joining Beth Shalom he spent five years as Assistant Rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL where he led the implementation and design of a new religious school model. He is excited to join the Rukin Fellowship, because even as a person from a multi-faith family, he wants to deepen his learning on ways to make all who seek a home in Jewish community feel welcome and celebrated. 

Rabbi Aviva Fellman

Rabbi Aviva Fellman

Rabbi Aviva Fellman (Worcester, MA)

Rabbi Aviva Fellman has served the Greater Worcester community as Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel since 2014. Aviva knew she wanted to be a rabbi from age 8 because she felt that her presence in the community mattered and her participation was valued.

Aviva works tirelessly to break down barriers to inclusion and to foster acceptance and a sense of belonging of all in religious spaces. She helps individuals and families deepen their understanding of Judaism and traveling on their personal journeys and is excited to deepen her understanding as a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow. Aviva’s a married “Ema” of four.

Deborah Goldberg

Rabbi Deborah Goldberg

Rabbi Deborah Goldberg (New York, NY)

Deborah Goldberg is an assistant rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. Originally from outside Chicago, she was ordained by HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2021. Deborah was a camper, staff member, and unit head at URJ Camp OSRUI in Wisconsin and credits camp with helping her become a rabbi. She loves working with the 20s/30s community in NYC and with her Intro to Judaism students. Deborah is excited to deepen her skills and resources to serve interfaith families and to connect with other clergy who are asking big questions about the future of Judaism. 

Rabbi Eytan Hammerman

Rabbi Eytan Hammerman

Rabbi Eytan Hammerman (New York, NY)

Eytan Hammerman assumed the rabbinate at Temple Gates of Prayer in the Summer of 2022. He  previously served the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, NY and Temple Beth Shalom in Mahopac, NY, where he substantially grew both congregations. He is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City where he held the prestigious “Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership.” 
Among his interesting life experiences before entering Rabbinical School, as newlyweds, Rabbi Hammerman and Rebecca, his wife, were pivotal in the founding of a Masorti (Conservative) synagogue in Madrid, Spain.  They are the parents of three teenage daughters: Ary, Rena and Lani. 
Rabbi Hammerman’s views on interfaith inclusion take on and go up against the “old math” of the recent past, in which 1+1 (one Jew plus one non-Jew in a marriage) definitely equals zero future Jews in the newly-formed family. In his experience, he has seen this math play out quite differently and looks forward to learning further from 18Doors as to how to ensure a growing Jewish future. 

Rabbi David Helfand

Rabbi David Helfand

Rabbi David Helfand (Atlanta, GA)

Passionate educator, community builder, and storyteller, Rabbi David Helfand is an Engagement Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in Atlanta. Trained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, CA, he also holds a Masters in Jewish Education. An avid sports enthusiast and avid reader, he also enjoys cooking and globe-trotting. It was in the Holy Land that Rabbi David met his best friend and now wife, Rebekah. Rabbi David believes in the power of connecting people to meaningful living through Judaism and beyond. Rabbi David is excited to learn with his Rukin Chevrutot (study partners) and grow through the holy work of 18Doors.

Rabbi Becky Hoffman

Rabbi Becky Hoffman

Rabbi Becky Hoffman (Northridge, CA)

Rabbi Becky Hoffman is the senior rabbi of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, California. She received her BA in Judaic Studies at UC San Diego and an MA in Education from the Fingerhut School of Education at American Jewish University. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2006. As part of the fellowship program, Rabbi Hoffman is looking forward to exploring the concept of saying “yes” and fostering inclusion in the Jewish community. 

Rabbi Emily Langowitz

Rabbi Emily Langowitz

Rabbi Emily Langowitz (Phoenix, AZ)

Rabbi Emily Langowitz is currently Jewish Engagement and Learning Manager at the Union for Reform Judaism. She previously served Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ and remains engaged in the Phoenix Jewish community. Rabbi Langowitz received a Masters in Hebrew Literature and was ordained at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is thrilled to continue her work in supporting interfaith couples and their families as an 18Doors Fellow. She lives in Phoenix, AZ with her wife, Meaghan, and their dog, Frank. 

Rabbi Ryan Leszner

Rabbi Ryan Leszner

Rabbi Ryan Leszner (Toronto, Canada)

Ryan Leszner serves as the Assistant Rabbi and Director of Jewish Living and Learning at Congregation Darchei Noam in Toronto, Canada. He was ordained from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2023. Ryan’s passion lies in providing educational musical experiences that connect people to Jewish wisdom, traditions, and communities. With a wealth of experience in youth education and worship, serving communities in Toronto, San Francisco, and Boston, he is committed to enriching the lives of learners, no matter their age. As an 18Doors fellow, Ryan is excited to further explore innovative ways to foster inclusive and meaningful Jewish connections for diverse communities. 

wendy love anderson

Rabbi Wendy Love Anderson

Rabbi Wendy Love Anderson (Albany, NY)

Rabbi Wendy Love Anderson is the rabbi of Temple Israel of Albany, New York. She was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion, where she received an M.A. in Jewish Studies, and she received a Ph.D in History of Christianity from the University of Chicago. She has written and taught about interfaith relations as a scholar while participating in interfaith-oriented programs through the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism as a congregant. Now she looks forward to welcoming interfaith families into her synagogue as a rabbi. 

rabbi alex matthews

Rabbi Alex Matthews

Rabbi Alex Matthews (Newburyport, MA)

Rabbi Alex Matthews serves as the Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Achim in Newburyport, MA, where he has been working since 2019. He also works part-time as a hospital chaplain.   

Rabbi Alex was ordained by Hebrew College in 2023. As a student, Rabbi Alex served as a fellow at the Center for Small Town Jewish Life in Maine. He comes to the rabbinate after spending a decade working as a vegetable farmer in New England and meeting his wife in the fields.

He is excited to be a Rukin Fellow and work towards creating more opportunities for meaningful, welcoming Jewish engagement.

Rabbi Sarah Newmark

Rabbi Sarah Newmark

Rabbi Sarah Newmark (Gig Harbor, WA)

I am a Reconstructionist rabbi living in Gig Harbor, Washington, where I work under the rubric of Locally Sourced Judaism. My work focuses on Jewish life cycle events, teaching, pastoral care, Jewish journeys and political activism. I am a certified Mussar facilitator and practitioner. I strongly believe in “big tent Judaism,” where everyone is invited into “the tent,” however their Judaism is lived. Most of the life cycle work I do is with interfaith families, who have taught me so much. I am very excited about learning more as a member of Cohort 4 of 18 Doors’ Rukin Fellowship.

Rabbi Allison Poirier

Rabbi Allison Poirier

Rabbi Allison Poirier (Framingham, MA)

Rabbi Allison Poirier serves as the rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, MA. She was born and raised in Medfield, MA and was ordained by Hebrew College in 2019. Rabbi Poirier grew up in an interfaith family, and is looking forward to learning more about serving interfaith Jewish families.

Lindy Reznick

Rabbi Lindy Reznick

Rabbi Lindy Reznick (Redlands, CA)

Rabbi Lindy Reznick is The Founding Rabbi of Bet Ahava, House of Love, an interfaith spiritual community which was established in 2022. The community is grounded in Jewish values, celebrates Jewish holidays, and uplifts the souls of all who join us for worship, learning and social action. Most recently she served Congregation Emanu El of Redlands, California as Senior Rabbi, as well as served as School Rabbi and Jewish Studies Director at Milken Community Schools. Rabbi Reznick also served as Rabbi Educator at Wilshire Boulevard Temple and many Jewish institutions in the Los Angeles area. She is a proud member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and Southern California Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Reznick is currently participating in a clergy fellowship with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and was just awarded an Interfaith Fellowship with 18Doors. When not teaching, leading, or praying, Rabbi Reznick can be found exploring the beauty of our national parks, dancing her heart out, or meditating anywhere.

Rabbi Rachel Safman

Rabbi Rachel Safman

Rabbi Rachel Safman (Owings Mills, MD)

Rabbi Rachel Safman recently assumed the position of senior rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Owings Mills, Maryland. A graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies in Los Angeles, she is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly and of the RA’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. 

Rachel is interested in exploring the spaces the rabbinic tradition creates for welcoming the “stranger” in ways that are meaningful and substantive, not just symbolic. She believes that Judaism is at its strongest when infused with the insights of other traditions and our communities most vibrant when we embrace all who come to learn and celebrate with us. Prior to entering the rabbinate, Rachel was a professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. She is the grateful partner of Daniel Robinson and proud mother of three kids, aged 12, 7 and 3.

Rabbi Sarah Shulman

Rabbi Sarah Shulman

Rabbi Sarah Shulman (Denver, CO)

Rabbi Sarah Shulman serves as a congregational rabbi at the Hebrew Educational Alliance in Denver, Colorado. Rabbi Shulman is passionate about community building through Jewish educational experiences. She was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi with dual Masters degrees in Education and Rabbinic Studies from American Jewish University. Originally from Seattle, Rabbi Shulman attended Stanford University, where she received a B.A. in Human Biology and Creative Writing. 
Rabbi Shulman has launched several different Jewish organizations and educational programs in North America, including most recently founding Camp Ramah in Northern California. She began her career as a Jewish day school teacher and administrator in the Bay Area. Throughout her career, Rabbi Shulman has served several congregations, Jewish camps, and Jewish social justice organizations, including AJWS and Hazon. She has been a Schusterman Fellow, DeLeT fellow, and Lefell Israel fellow. She also has an impressive athletic background, having competed in IRONMAN world championships and other ultra-endurance events as an accomplished swimmer, runner, and cyclist. 
Rabbi Shulman lives in Denver with her husband Nate and their daughters Lielle (7) and Meital (2). She looks forward to joining the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship program to extend a welcoming spirit into policy and action and learn from other fellows and the staff at 18Doors.

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer (Schenectady, NY)

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Agudat Achim in Schenectady, NY since his 2019 ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, with a Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. He is President of the Capital District Board of Rabbi’s and Cantors and an active member of the Schenectady Clergy Against Hate interfaith group. He is excited for the opportunity to learn from colleagues and teachers on the topic of interfaith engagement, and to bring that learning to the capital region. 

Rabbi Spitzer lives with his partner, Rachael Besser, and their three kids, Ellie, Jonah, and Zakai. He enjoys growing, cooking, and eating vegetables; podcasts and audiobooks; and vacations to the beach. 

Rabbi Daniel Z. Stein

Rabbi Daniel Z. Stein

Rabbi Daniel Z. Stein (San Francisco, CA)

Rabbi Daniel Z. Stein is a creative faith leader who is committed to building dynamic, spiritually engaged communities. He has been privileged to serve as the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Shalom in San Francisco’s East Bay since 2016.   

Rabbi Stein was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and is currently a doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. In 2024 he will be the Rabbi Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University.   
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Daniel is also an accomplished musician; he received his undergraduate degree at The College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. 

Rabbi Simon Stratford

Rabbi Simon Stratford

Rabbi Simon Stratford (Cincinnati, OH)

Rabbi Simon Stratford serves as the Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, OH., where he works with individuals of all ages and families of diverse backgrounds. Before being ordained in 2017 by HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Rabbi Stratford received his BA in Social Work from Michigan State University. As a rabbi, he is in the business of building and sustaining sacred Jewish community, the foundation of which rests upon meaningful personal relationships. 
He is thrilled to be a part of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship and learn from colleagues and experts on matters of multi-faith inclusion.

Rabbi Howard Tilman

Rabbi Howard Tilman

Rabbi Howard Tilman (Scotch Plains, NJ)

Rabbi Howard Tilman joined Congregation Beth Israel in July 2017 and has enthusiastically embraced this growing community. Through partnerships with professional staff and lay leadership, he has worked to enliven the synagogue’s religious services, educational opportunities, and family programming. Rabbi Tilman loves spending time with the congregation’s many learners of all ages and enjoys bringing modern and classical perspectives, as well as humor, to all of his teachings. He previously served as a member of the clergy team of the Jacksonville Jewish Center, where he worked in a variety of roles, including supervising Shabbat and Holiday programming, teen educational programming, and Israel advocacy. He was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in May 2014. 
Rabbi Tilman is very excited to be an 18Doors Fellow and to share his learning with the Scotch Plains community and all of the families in the area.

Meet the 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship Alumni

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 Senior Rabbi of Har Mishpacha Jewish community in Steamboat Springs, CO. 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, musician and 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 (New York, 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 previously served as the Associate Rabbi/Educator at B’ShERT (Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple) in New York, N.Y., the 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.

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 Director of the Gottesman Center for Jewish Living and the The Selma and Lawrence Ruben Center for 20s + 30s at the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan on the Upper West Side of New York City. She served as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue of New York City, from 2016-2022. Prior to her work at CBST, she worked as a Chaplain Resident in the Mount Sinai Health System at Mount Sinai Beth Israel 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)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion  

“18Doors helped challenge my assumptions in relation to interfaith couples and families while also pushing me to think critically about the complex stumbling blocks that interfaith families may face in our congregations. I grew tremendously in meeting faith leaders of Islam, Catholicism, Presbyterian, and Lutheran congregations to seek common ground in our work with interfaith families. I am blessed to have had this opportunity to strengthen my own ability to facilitate deep and meaningful conversations among our interfaith families as well as learn how I might better support couples and families on their Jewish journeys.”

Emily Cohen

Rabbi Emily Cohen

Rabbi Emily Cohen (New York, NY)

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College 

“The 18Doors fellowship was an opportunity to explore great questions. I appreciate the chance I had as a fellow to engage in conversation about today’s Jewish community. Connecting with other clergy and experts in the field of interfaith and multicultural families, and deepening my ability to serve more of our community, was a gift that I’m glad to be able to carry into the rest of my rabbinate. ”

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)

International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism 

“I found it inspiring to be amongst colleagues engaged in this work and always love opportunity to learn from other rabbinic colleagues. I also value many of our webinars and the bonding of the retreat experience. I hope this will lead to greater inclusion of diverse couples and families in Jewish life.”

emily hyatt

Rabbi Emily Hyatt

Rabbi Emily Hyatt (Denver, CO)

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 

“More than anything, my time in the Rukin Fellowship with 18Doors helped me to see Jewish life through the eyes of our community, and to better understand what it feels like to experience Jewish moments or make Jewish choices as a member of an interfaith family. I now feel better equipped to welcome and support our community through their Jewish experiences.”

Rabbi Andy Kahn

Rabbi Andy Kahn (New York, NY)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“This fellowship has helped me understand more clearly the facts on the ground of the contemporary American Jewish community. Through webinars and discussion groups, I’ve learned about the sociological trends that will drive the future of our community, and how to get ahead of the curve to be able to serve with an eye to sensitivity, inclusion, and celebration of families of mixed heritage, religion, and culture. It has also given me many opportunities to connect with clergy colleagues of various backgrounds, beliefs, and locales to understand more fully a wider breadth of liberal Jewish perspectives and experiences throughout North America, as well as new friends to rely on as we forge the future together.” 

Rabbi Jessica Lowenthal

Rabbi Jessica Lowenthal (Boston, MA)

Hebrew College 

“It was an honor to be part of the Rukin Rabbinic fellowship as we explored current questions in the modern Jewish world. The fellowship gave me a chance to talk about complex issues with other colleagues, exposed us to current research on interfaith-related topics, and allowed us to meet incredible rabbis who have been doing amazing interfaith work for decades. I feel even more confident in my work with all members of the Jewish community after being a part of this program. ”

Rabbi Steven Philp

Rabbi Steven Philp (Chicago, IL)

Jewish Theological Seminary 

“The Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship connected me with a cohort of individuals thinking creatively and courageously about how we can welcome people, couples, and households of many backgrounds into our communities. I was encouraged to think expansively about what Jewish community can and should look like – and came away excited about a vibrant and diverse Jewish future.”

Rabbi Ari Saks

Rabbi Ari Saks (Huntington, NY)

Jewish Theological Seminary 

“The Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship gave me access to wonderful resources, teachers, and colleagues who are thinking deeply about how we reach out to interfaith families. I’ve gained many insights that have positively impacted my work in reaching out to interfaith families. I look forward to continuing to build these relationships with fellow alumni of the Fellowship and am extremely excited about the work we can do together. Thank you to 18Doors for this incredible opportunity!”

Rabbi Michael Satz

Rabbi Michael Satz (Morristown, NJ)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“Being a part of this fellowship with so many dynamic colleagues pushed me to think about the boundaries of Jewishness and the Jewish community. I came to see fluid boundaries as a blessing for the Jewish people as we continually evolve and grow. Each person who comes to me has a story, and it is my mission to help them find a place in this expanding story of the Jews.”

Rabbi Daniel Sher

Rabbi Daniel Sher (Pacific Palisades, CA)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“My time in the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship was a powerful and uplifting experience. Not only was I able to wrestle with the most relevant situations of interfaith relationships but I got to do so in a collaborative, nurturing space with incredible colleagues from around the country. I was pushed to think more intentionally and thoughtfully about how to best serve the Jewish people, which undoubtedly comes from unquestioned tolerance and acceptance for all. I now understand the work that 18Doors does to be a vital part of my rabbinic journey.”

Rabbi Michael Shulman

Rabbi Michael Shulman (Nashville, TN)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“As a the Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, I was able to gain a deeper understanding and practical knowledge of the needs of the variety of interfaith families.  18Doors has helped me focus efforts to create more opportunities for interfaith families to access meaningful Jewish experiences in our community.”

Rabbi Greg Weisman

Rabbi Greg Weisman (Boca Raton, FL)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“As a part of Cohort 2 of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship, I had the opportunity to learn from colleagues around the North American Jewish community. We supported and challenged each other as we explored new and time-tested ways of welcoming families of all different makeups into the Jewish community. As the fellowship came to an end, I find myself with a much more nuanced appreciation for the challenges and opportunities that multi-faith families have, and see the potential they bring to the Jewish community.”

Todd Zinn

Rabbi Todd Zinn

Rabbi Todd Zinn (Chicago, IL)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“The Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship was an opportunity to build relationships with fellow clergy, to ask big questions, and to wrestle with those answers. Through learning and discussion, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the changing American Jewish community and how we can best understand those changes. It is important for modern rabbis and leaders to be constantly working to improve the ways we include, accept, and celebrate our families. This fellowship gave me that opportunity.”

Inaugural Cohort (2019-2022)

Rabbi Karen Bogard

Rabbi Karen Bogard (St. Louis, MO)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“I loved my fellowship experience with 18Doors. They took something I was already passionate about and gave me tools and a network to connect with and learn from. What I gained from the supportive and amazing staff, innovative guest speakers, couples and families I connected with, and other clergy in my cohort will guide and enhance my rabbinate for many years to come.”

Rabbi Max Chaiken

Rabbi Max Chaiken

Rabbi Max Chaiken (Boston, MA)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“As a fellow, I was honored to meet couples and families and help them integrate Judaism into their sacred moments in ways that were meaningful, contemporary, relevant, and accessible. The fellowship offered me the chance to learn and develop my rabbinate in service of all sorts of different folks exploring Judaism, and I am forever grateful for the partnership of my colleagues and the staff of 18Doors for the invaluable service provided to us as fellows, and in turn to all sorts of folks throughout the country.”

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney (Philadelphia, PA)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“18Doors provided me with fellow rabbis to think deeply about what role multi-faith families can play in the future of the Jewish world. I feel so grateful to get to provide families with accessible Jewish resources as they grow their religious and spiritual lives. Thank you to 18Doors and the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship for the gift of this rich learning and the skillset to enhance the work I do as a rabbi in the evolving Jewish world!”

Rabbi Braham David

Rabbi Braham David (Boston, MA)

Jewish Theological Seminary  

“My participation in the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provided me with a strong foundation to expand my rabbinate to better serve interfaith couples and families. The professional development, from the opening retreat to continuing webinars, expanded my thinking by exposing me to a variety of thinkers and professionals who have viewed the rise of intermarriage with creativity and hope. I learned a great deal from my cohort of Fellows and 18Doors staff, and continue to seek their advice and counsel. Most of all, I learned from the dozens of interfaith couples I met with at coffee shop meetups, Couples and Conversation classes, mezuzah hangings and other events. They taught me that being a friendly, non-judgmental rabbinic presence is the first, critical step in welcoming interfaith couples.”

Rabbi Boris Dolin

Rabbi Boris Dolin (Montreal, Quebec)

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College 

“Being part of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my rabbinic career.  It was a great opportunity to reflect on my own Jewish values while at the same time learning to be a greater advocate for all people who connect with Judaism and Jewish community.  I have grown as a leader and have built so many great relationships through the program. I will always be a supporter of 18Doors!”

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss (Houston, TX)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“The Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship was a truly meaningful and engaging program that helped me grow in depth and breadth in my efforts to serve interfaith families. The cohort was a source of great learning, and the role it played especially during COVID was a lifeline of professional connection that meant the world to me. The opportunity to participate in and speak at a convening in Atlanta was also a tremendous eye-opening experience as to what is possible on a community-wide basis.”

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Jewish Theological Seminary. 
“The Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship allowed me to further explore my deep commitment to ensuring that Judaism is totally accessible to all people and my desire to help empower others to discover their best selves without judgement. My teachers and colleagues at 18Doors helped me to hone my skills in order to best understand and connect with individuals and families to provide those seeking spiritual fulfillment a comfortable and warm environment. 18Doors has taught me that special events should be just that – special – and to do that it must reflect the couple or family who is holding such an event.  I am committed to working with my families to ensure that they create a warm memory that will last them a lifetime.”

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 (Seattle, WA)

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion 

“Being a part of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship has enlivened my connection to wonderful individuals, couples, and families of all backgrounds who are looking to infuse Judaism into their lives. I’ve grown creatively in ritual officiation, and I feel inspired to foster a deeper sense of belonging and openness when meeting people where they are in the rabbinic support they seek.”

Rabbi Daniel Weiner

Rabbi Daniel Weiner (Seattle, WA)

Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion 

“I am honored to have been a part of the first cohort of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship at 18Doors. The insight and resources I received, and the camaraderie and connection we forged, were instrumental in expanding my perspective and approach to supporting multi-heritage families. I am grateful for this important opportunity.”