Judaism teaches that constructive disagreement for the sake of heaven (Mahloket L’shem Shamayim) is the holy work needed to repair seemingly irreconcilable differences. But it doesn’t happen on its own.
Together, the Mahloket Matters fellows explore a methodology of text study that delves into complex and contradictory narratives. Then they apply this methodology in their own work by creating programs that increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political opinions, thereby improving civil discourse. For more information, visit the MM Fellowship home page, which contains further details about the program.
Pardes North America, in partnership with the Rabbinical Assembly, is honored to present its second RA Mahloket Matters Fellowship cohort, consisting of outstanding rabbinical educators.
Penina is a rabbi and educator and has been part of the leadership team in the education department at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD for the last 5 years. She will assume the role of Talmud Torah Director this summer. A recent graduate of the MTEI fellowship for educational leaders, Penina enjoys creating meaningful Jewish experiences for learners of all ages. She started a newsletter about life and Jewish teachings at rabbipenina.substack.com
Rabbi Charles L. Arian is the rabbi of Kehilat Shalom synagogue in Montgomery Village, Maryland. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and his Master’s degree and Rabbinic Ordination at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati , OH. He earned a Certificate in Jewish Educational Technology from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2017. Rabbi Arian was a Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow at CLAL. Previously, Rabbi Arian was the Jewish Staff Scholar at the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, MD. He has also served as rabbi of Ohev Sholom Synagogue in York, PA, and as a Hillel Rabbi at American University and at the University of Virginia. During the 1996-97 academic year, he was the Scholar-in-Residence at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, a Trappist monastery in northern California
Rabbi Joshua Cahan works with schools to strengthen their Tefilah culture and leadership. He served for 11 years as Tefilah Chair and Rabbinics Faculty at the Leffell School in Westchester, NY, and 8 summers as the Director of the Northwoods Kollel at Ramah Wisconsin. He holds Rabbinic Ordination and a Ph.D. in Talmud from JTS, and is the author of the Yedid Nefesh bencher and a forthcoming Haggadah.
Rabbi Ben Herman grew up in a traditional Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated with a BA and Comprehensive Honors in History, Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is married to Karina and they have 2 children: Ariela (6) and Leora (3).
Rabbi Herman has an enthusiasm which is contagious, a passion for Jewish living and a joy of meeting new people. His personal mission statement is Every Person Counts.
In his spare time Rabbi Herman enjoys running, biking and hiking; reading (especially historical fiction and the latest John Grisham novel) and going to farmers markets, performances and sporting events.
Abby Jacobson was born on a cattle ranch in central Florida, outside the small town of Davenport – at the last census, there were 1,200 people and 8,000 head of cattle in Davenport. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the George Washington University in 2002.
Then, never having left the East Coast of the United States, she got a passport and moved to Jerusalem, Israel, to attend the Conservative Yeshiva for two years, where she also happend to meet and marry her husband.
She received her rabbinic ordaination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2009, and has been the Rabbi of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City, OK, ever since.
She is also a former president and long-time board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma.
Mordecai Miller was born to Rabbi Meyer and Shulamith Miller in Greenwich, Connecticut. He grew up in Durban, South Africa and received his BA from the University of Natal, majoring in Philosophy and Hebrew. He attended HUC-JIR Cincinnati, Ohio and received ordination (MAHL) in 1974. He has served conservative pulpits since ordination (Temple of Aaron, St. Paul, MN; Shaaray Torah, Canton OH; Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel, St. Louis, MO and Beth Ami, Santa Rosa, CA). He is married to Susan (née Bayliss); daughter Sarah Miller, (Kol Emeth, Palo Alto CA) and (Rabbi) Micah Miller (April ée Honig), Etz Chayim, (Marietta GA).
Louis Polisson was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, where he also earned an MA in Jewish Thought focusing on Kabbalah and Hasidut. He currently serves as the rabbi of Congregation Or Atid of Wayland, Massachusetts. He is also a student and teacher of Jewish contemplative spirituality and meditation, as well as a musician and composer. Supported by a Hadar Alumni Micro-Grant, he and his wife Gabriella Feingold released an album of original Jewish and nature-based folk music in November 2018 – listen here.
Rabbi Miriam Green Potok will be beginning her first year teaching Jewish Studies at de Toledo High School in Los Angeles this fall. She is entering the world of day school education after serving as Spiritual Counselor and Spiritual Program Manager at Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish addiction rehab in Los Angeles. Miriam is excited to merge her passions for rabbinics, mentoring, and teaching in her new role as a Jewish educator. Her hobbies include learning Daf Yomi and propagating houseplants.
Rabbi Hazzan Marcia Tilchin is the founder and spiritual leader of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (https://www.jewishcollaborativeoc.org/), an organization that builds and strengthens community through innovative program collaboration with local and national non-profits, community leaders, houses of faith, artists, schools and outreach programs. A graduate of both the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Marcia has served congregations in Upper Nyack, NY and Tustin, CA. Deeply committed to interfaith collaboration and dialogue, Rabbi Tilchin is the current president of the Orange County Interfaith Network and a rabbinic presence championing local actions on environmental justice, permanent supportive housing, worker justice and refugee relief. Her husband, Scott Spitzer, is a professor of Political Science at California State University Fullerton and they have three young-adult children.
Rabbi Cara Weinstein Rosenthal currently serves as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights. At TBS, Rabbi Rosenthal is deeply engaged in social action and social justice education as well as family education and community-building. Previously, Rabbi Rosenthal served as the Family Engagement Specialist at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, where she guided congregations across North America in creating inclusive, relationship-focused synagogue communities. Before moving to Roslyn, Rabbi Rosenthal served as the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Israel in Freeport, NY.
Rabbi Rosenthal was ordained by the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Roslyn Heights with her husband, David, and their children, Sara and Eli.
Rabbi Neil Zuckerman came to Park Avenue Synagogue in 2010 as Director of Congregational Education and joined the clergy team as Rabbi in 2014. He previously served as Rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains from 1999-2009 and as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Maryland, in 2010. In addition, Rabbi Zuckerman has served as president of the Westchester County Board of Rabbis and has chaired the Israel Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly. A lifelong learner himself, Rabbi Zuckerman has been a rabbinic fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem in the Center for Rabbinic Enrichment (CRE), and looks forward to this opportunity to learn with rabbinic colleagues and the faculty at Pardes.