The Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies is proud to announce the appointment of five distinguished faculty members, marking an exciting phase of growth and development in line with its strategic plan. These additions further strengthen Pardes’s commitment to delivering transformative Jewish education and fostering a vibrant and inclusive community.
“Because Pardes students create such a vibrant learning environment, we are blessed with one of the most stable, all-star faculty in the Jewish world,” said Rabbi Dr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, Director of the Pardes Year Program. “Our long-standing faculty is as dedicated to Pardes as Pardes is to them. Our continued growth creates welcome opportunities to add young energy and varied perspectives to our sage teaching faculty.”
Meet the new faculty members below:
Rabbi Haim Shalom is an alumnus of the Pardes Year program, and received rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. Haim has served as a congregational rabbi in the UK and Jerusalem, and holds degrees in Jewish History, Middle Eastern Studies and Jewish Education. As a member of the Pardes faculty, Haim will be serving as the new Director of Israel Studies, and looks forward to teaching his favorite subject of Aggadata (Rabbinic Folklore) alongside his Israel-related duties.
Rabbi Matthew Anisfeld is an alumnus of the Pardes Kollel, and recently received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Hadar. In addition to studying at Pardes, Matthew studied at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa. Matthew lives in Jerusalem with his wife Beth where he works as a Jewish educator and community organizer for Pardes, the Fuchsberg Center, and Hadar.As a member of the Pardes faculty, Matthew will be teaching Talmud and Halakha.
Rafael Polisuk moved to Israel from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and studied at the Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav. He co-founded and led the Beit Midrash groups initiative of B’nei Akiva Israel, teaching and empowering young Torah leadership around Israel. Rafael is a passionate social and spiritual activist on the Religious LGBTQ front, and will be teaching Mishnah at Pardes while studying for rabbinic ordination through Yashrut.
Rivkah Wietchner is a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Maharat, a graduate student at Bar Ilan University, and a member of the Israeli Rabbinate Network at the Hartman Institute. Rivka also holds an MA in Theory and Policy of Art from Bezalel Academy of Art. Hailing from Har Bracha, Israel, Rivka now lives in Jerusalem, where she works towards making Torah more relevant to our postmodern culture by bringing together cultural theories and deep Torah study. While teaching at Pardes, Rivkah will be working towards rabbinic ordination through Yashrut.
Yitz Muroff is an alum of several part-time and hourly programs at Pardes and has studied at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, Yeshivat Hadar, and Drisha. Yitz studied English Literature at Cornell University and worked with Kivunim and Ramah Israel. Yitz brings a queer approach and seeks to find deep spiritual meaning within texts that are often considered detached and technical.
The appointment of these five new faculty members exemplifies Pardes’s commitment to excellence in Jewish education. Their expertise and passion will further enrich the learning experiences and enable Pardes to serve and inspire learners of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs.
The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies (www.pardes.org.il) is an open, inclusive, diverse and intellectually challenging Jewish learning community based in Jerusalem with programs worldwide. Pardes cultivates a life-long love of Jewish learning, the Jewish people and Israel. Pardes inspires engagement in Jewish life — as communal and spiritual leaders, educators and active participants.