What kind of RABBI will you be?
Educator, author, artist, musician, activist, organizer, poet, professor, pastoral caregiver, facilitator, counselor, healer, caretaker, spiritual guide, community builder, prayer leader, farmer, host, Eved Hashem, translator, peacemaker, performer, darshan, midwife, officiant, fundraiser, preacher…YOU!
When we asked our rabbinical alumni to describe their rabbinates, their responses were a reminder of the breadth and depth of rabbinic work—and how they each have taken their Hebrew College education out into the world to create a rabbinate that reflects their unique passions and gifts. Across the board, their descriptions reflect deep creativity, commitment, love of Torah, social action, and innovative spiritual and prayer leadership.
Rabbi Adina Allen`14
Rabbi as…creativity connector, community weaver, crafter of cohorts, organization builder, artist of paint and new paradigms.
Co-founder & Creative Director
Jewish Studio Project, Berkeley, CA
Rabbi Adina Allen is a spiritual leader, writer, and educator who grew up in an art studio where she learned firsthand the power of creativity for connecting to self and to the Sacred. She is cofounder and creative director of Jewish Studio Project (JSP), an organization that is seeding a future in which every person is connected to their creativity as a force for healing, liberation and social transformation. Based on the work of her mother, renowned art therapist Pat B. Allen, Adina developed the Jewish Studio Process, a methodology for unlocking creativity, which she has brought to thousands of activists, educators, artists, and clergy across the country. A national media contributor, popular speaker, and workshop leader, Adina’s writing can be found in scholarly as well as mainstream publications. She and her family live in Berkeley, CA.
Rabbi Ayalon Eliach`18
Rabbi as…architect of the future, catalyst for transcendence, connector, wisdom transmitter, advocate.
Chief Ideas Officer, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, Brooklyn, NY.
Born and raised in NYC’s Modern Orthodox community, Ayalon’s life journey has taken him through Yeshivat HaKotel, Yale College, Harvard Law School, Hebrew College Rabbinical School, and 35+ countries. Jewish wisdom has been his compass, and the Oneness of all has been its north star. He’s passionate about keeping that wisdom alive, relevant, and accessible for others. He lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn.
(Pictured: Ayalon with Hebrew College Dean Rabbi Kane Kanarek and Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisefeld.)
Rabbi Hannah Orden `10
Rabbi as…Anti-racism warrior, risk taker, op-ed writer, joy spreader, sower of seeds.
Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit, NJ.
Rabbi Hannah Orden has a strong commitment to community building and social action, evident in her work with Summit Interfaith Council, where she is a past president and a founding member of the Interfaith Council’s Anti-Racism Committee. She writes an occasional op-ed column for the Jewish Standard/Times of Israel.
Before coming to New Jersey, Rabbi Orden was the rabbi and education director for Temple B’nai Israel in Laconia, New Hampshire and served on the adjunct faculty for Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts where she earned her rabbinic ordination and Master of Arts in Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Orden has an extensive background in education, served as a chaplain for Elder Service Plan in Boston.
Rabbi Orden is the author of a full-length play, a young adult novel, and two adult novels as well as a series of poems based on the books of Exodus and Leviticus.
Rabbi Rachel Tali Kaplan`21
Rabbi as….supporter of the brokenhearted, non-anxious presence, worthiness warrior, deep diver, permission grantor.
Hospice Chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife, Dedham, MA
Rachel Tali Kaplan was ordained by Hebrew College in 2021 and completed her chaplaincy training at Hebrew SeniorLife in 2022. Rachel grew up in Maine, graduated with a BA in psychology from Grinnell College and spent a decade working on and managing organic vegetable farms in Connecticut, Georgia and Massachusetts.
When not working, Rachel loves exploring the outdoors, sharing time with loved ones, cooking, crafting, and running.
Rabbi Avi Killip`14
Rabbi as…national non-profit executive, podcast host, Torah writer, daf yomi learner, thought leader.
Executive Vice President at Hadar
A graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, Avi also holds Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University. She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Schusterman Fellow. Avi teaches as part of Hadar’s faculty and is host of Hadar’s podcasts, Responsa Radio and Ta Shma. She lives in Riverdale, NY with her husband and three children. Avi is proud to have recently joined the Board of Trustees of Hebrew College.
Rabbi Frankie Sandmel`22
Rabbi as… living room teacher, Jewish homebuilder, ritual crafter, amateur caterer, spiritual journey guide, tradition translator
Rabbi, Base Bay
Rabbi Frankie Sandmel (they/them), runs Base Bay where, together with their partner Elaina, they are building a vibrant, rooted, and resonant Jewish community out of their home in Oakland.
In their free time, Frankie is a fellow with SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva and they bake a lot of cookies.s
Rabbi Bryan Mann`18
Rabbi as…sukkah builder, queer activist, story gatherer, hevruta, counselor.
Rachlin Director for Jewish Student Life and Assistant Director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Rabbi Bryan Mann (he/him/his) joined Vassar in August 2020, coming from Tampa, FL, where he was serving as the senior rabbi of a small suburban synagogue. He is very excited to be back in the Northeast where he spent most of his life. He grew up in Penacook, NH. He received his BA in Jewish Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He received his Rabbinic Ordination, Masters in Jewish Studies, and a Certificate in Spirituality and Social Justice from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA.
As a queer rabbi, he is particularly interested in the ways spirituality informs queerness and queerness informs spirituality.
On-campus or off you will likely catch him hanging out with his dog Babka, enjoying something fantasy-related (book, movie, tv show, video game), and/or hiking somewhere in the Hudson Valley.
Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer`14
Rabbi as…hope-cultivator, listener, sherpa, tuning fork, ensemble leader, complacency-resister.
Rosh Tefilla and Artist-in-Residence, Hebrew College
Jessica Kate Meyer is a prayer leader, storyteller, vocalist, and rabbi, who served as rabbi-hazzan at Romemu in NYC, and most recently, at The Kitchen in San Francisco. She has studied sacred Jewish music with masters from Ashkenazi and Mizrahi traditions and has performed as a vocalist with ensembles in the United States and Israel. In a previous life, Jessica appeared in film, theater, and television projects in Europe and the United States: most notably, as a principal role in the Oscar-winning film, The Pianist.
Rabbi Ben Barer`18
Rabbi as…Torah enthusiast, guide, listening ear, teacher, text person (a la Heschel,) mentor, role model, scholar, father, cheerleader.
High School Jewish Text Teacher, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD.
Raised in Vancouver, BC (go Canucks!), Ben’s Jewish journey has included Conservative and Orthodox day schools, being bar-mitzvah’ed at the largest Renewal congregation in Canada, a year spent in the south of Israel, and an all-boys ultra-Orthodox yeshiva high school. Pluralism has been Ben’s lived experience of Judaism, and he is passionate about making Jewish texts and traditions relevant, and accessible to all who seek them.
He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Deborah and two kids.
Rabbi Laura Bellows`18
Rabbi as…movement builder, public ritual designer, Jewish climate content consultant, network weaver, interfaith collaborator.
Director of Spiritual Activism and Education at Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Boston, MA
Laura Bellows works to build climate-resilient, justice-seeking, spiritually-rooted communities centered in Jewish wisdom. She serves as the Director of Spiritual Activism and Education at Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, where she guides American Jews — from the climate-concerned to long-time activists — to anchor in joy, Torah, arts & music; metabolize climate grief and anxiety; and move to courageous action.
Before Dayenu, Laura served as an experiential educator, curriculum and ritual designer, and program manager in a variety of collaborative, pluralistic settings, including as Director of Teen Learning at Hebrew College, Director of Genesis and BIMA at Brandeis, Teva’s inaugural Director of Congregation and Community Programs, as a teaching fellow at BCI, and visiting artist or educator at campuses across the country.
Laura received her B.A. at Oberlin College and her M.A. and smicha at Hebrew College. A longtime climate activist and artist, Laura moonlights as a soferet (scribe) and freelance rabbi for congregations and couples in the Boston area.
(Photo: Bora Chung | Survival Media Project)
Rabbi Ilana Zeitman`19
Rabbi as…tradition translator and transmitter, curriculum developer, sounding board, design thinker, ritualist, status quo pusher.
Senior Rabbi, GatherDC
Rabbi Ilana Zietman (she/her) is a pluralistic rabbi who loves to create Jewish experiences and foster communities that are relevant, thought-provoking, and — most importantly — welcoming. As the rabbi at GatherDC, a Jewish organization serving Jewish 20s and 30s throughout the DC area, you can find Rabbi Ilana teaching a large assortment of Jewish learning cohorts, facilitating retreats, offering “alternative” approaches to Jewish holidays, providing pastoral care and Jewish guidance to community members, and officiating lifecycle events.
Rabbi Ilana received her rabbinic ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in 2019. She currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Jack, their son, Jesse and furbaby, Ella.
Rabbi Sam Blumberg`20
Rabbi as…teacher for all ages and stages, holy witness, ancient wisdom translator, calm presence, community connector, listening ear, facilitator, motivator.
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, he is passionate about meaningful, accessible, and joyous Jewish living, and enjoys all aspects of synagogue life and the rhythms of the Jewish calendar.
Rabbi Yael Werber`22
Rabbi as pastoral caregiver, community builder, prayer leader, spiritual guide, cheerleader, ritual creator.
Rabbi, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City
Rabbi Yael Werber was ordained at Hebrew College Rabbinical School in May 2022. Rabbi Werber is deeply in love with Torah, and with finding new meaning in our ancient text. She is very grateful she gets to spend her days immersed in Torah study, prayer, and caring for the CBST community.
She also loves a good adventure and spent the past few summers living in an off-grid cabin. She’s hoping joining CBST as the assistant rabbi will be at least as good an adventure, if not better.
Rabbi Werber is an avid reader, swimmer, and walk in the woods-er (with her dog and best companion, Ebbie). Before Rabbinical school, she spent time doing many eclectic things, including farming (proud alumna of the Adamah program), and writing a children’s book (Spring For Sophie, published by Simon & Schuster).