November 9 Conference Presenters

Dr. Miriam Heller Stern is Vice Provost for Educational Strategy, National Director of the School of Education and Associate Professor at HUC-JIR.  She is passionate about empowering Jewish educational leaders and teachers to engage in their work intentionally, skillfully and creatively. She is the founder of Beit HaYotzer/the Creativity Braintrust, an initiative based at HUC-JIR designed to catalyze creative thinking and artistic expression through Jewish education and leadership, funded by the Covenant Foundation. Stern is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Mandel Senior Leadership Fellowship at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University. She earned her MA in history and PhD in Social Sciences, Policy and Educational Practice at Stanford University.

Rabbi Bec Richman (Cedarbaum Prize Winner) is a mama, soferet (scribe), Hebrew calligrapher, and potter who serves on the faculty of the Jewish Studio Project. Bec facilitates scribal arts workshops, community writing projects, and participatory Torah repairs in communities and schools around the country. Her pottery integrates hand-carved Hebrew lettering, and she creates custom ketubot with handwritten calligraphy. Bec is a co-founder of B’Yadeinu, a Jewish community art studio that integrates Torah, visual art, and music. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Bec lives in Cleveland Heights, OH with her partner and two kiddos. Bec’s artwork can be found at

Dvir Cahana (Jewish Artist of the Week) is enrolled at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He founded the Moishe House in Montreal and sat on their regional advisory board. Dvir received Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 recognition for launching The Amen Institute, where artists and rabbis come together to inspire the creation of sermons and art work.

Jeffrey Gold (Stolen Beam) is a (mostly) retired clinical psychologist who worked throughout his professional career with traumatized children, adolescents and their families. Along with Devorah Jacobson, he is co-chair of the Reparations Committee of the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA) in Amherst, MA.

After serving as a Hillel Director for almost 2 decades,  Devorah Jacobson (Stolen Beam) has served for over 20  years as  the rabbi and chaplain at  JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow MA,  a  continuum of care campus including long-term care and hospice services. In addition, she enjoys volunteering in various pursuits and is an active member of the Jewish Community of Amherst where she serves  on the Cemetery Committee, the Tikkun Olam Committee,  and is the co-chair (with Jeff Gold) of the Reparations Committee. She lives with her wife, Margaret Mastrangelo, in Hadley, and they both are avid travellers, hikers and cyclists, and ride annually for the Pan Mass Challenge to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Their son, Jacob, lives in Tel Aviv.

Sarra Lev (MishMash) teaches Talmud and Midrash at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She has taught adult education in many contexts including synagogues, Jewish Alive & American, the Feminist Center of the American Jewish Congress, Me’ah, and Bat Kol: A Feminist House of Study, which she co-founded. She participated in a national project exploring Talmud and Pedagogy, and her book on intersex in early rabbinic texts is due to come out next year. She specializes in gender in rabbinic texts, and delights in teaching. 

Eliana Light (The Deep Dive) envisions a joyful, vibrant, heart-centered Judaism that speaks to the soul and moves the spirit, reminding us that we all are One. She offers professional development to educators, clergy, and lay leaders to elevate and deepen their prayer gatherings, allowing them to offer more meaningful experiences to more people. She is also a sought-after songwriter and performer of catchy, content-rich tunes for all ages, has put out three albums of original music, and is the founder and co-host of the Light Lab Podcast. Eliana received her Master’s in Jewish Education from the Davidson school at JTS in 2016 and is based in Durham, North Carolina.

Rabbi Michelle Greenfield (Cedarbaum Prize Winner) is Rabbi and Torah School Director at Kol Tzedek Synagogue in Philadelphia. She is a 2012 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  Rabbi Michelle believes in Jewish education that honors each child, inviting them to bring their whole selves to our communities and classrooms.  She has a background in special education and has worked with agencies and synagogues to create programs for children with disabilities and their families. In her 15 years of work in the Philadelphia Jewish Community, she has worked for Jewish Learning Venture, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and many local synagogues.  

Rabbi Caryn Aviv (Repair & Remedy) is Rabbinic and Program Director at Judaism Your Way.  She loves to create and facilitate transformative Jewish experiences that spark joy and meaning for Jews and loved ones.  Caryn earned a PhD in sociology, and taught Jewish Studies and sociology before transitioning to the rabbinate.   

Liora Ostroff (Jewish World History Through the Arts) launched the K-6th grade education program, Kollel, at New Synagogue Project (NSP) in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2021. She prioritizes building community, finding joy in Judaism, and encouraging enthusiastic inquiry into our traditions. In addition to running NSP Kollel, she is the Curator-in-Residence at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore, where she developed a contemporary art exhibition, A Fence Around the Torah: Safety and Unsafety in Jewish Life, and is now working on an exhibition of paintings by Yefim Ladyzhensky (1911-1982), focusing on memories and impressions from his youth in early 20th-century Odessa.

Cantor Eric Schulmiller (Mural of Jewish Living Values) was ordained in 1999 with a master’s degree in Sacred Music from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion.  His commissioned musical settings of liturgical music have been performed at synagogues throughout New York including Temple Emanuel and Temple Rodef Sholom of Manhattan. He has served joyfully as cantor at The Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore since 1999, where he also oversees the synagogue’s social action and youth programming. Cantor Eric is a regular contributor to the Jewish Daily Forward, where he writes about the intersection of Judaism and pop culture. He has also written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and humor pieces for The New Yorker. 

Deborah Eisenbach-Budner (Havurah Shalom Family Cooperative Jewish Education Model) is the Education Director of Havurah Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue, Portland. Previously, she was the Education Director of Temple Israel, Boston, and Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA. She holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education, a B.A. in Religion, and has studied at the Pardes Institute and with the Wexner Fellowship in Leadership Development.

Pam Sommers (Tikkun Ha’Ir) grew up in Chicago and attended Anshe Emet Day School. She attributes her love of Torah, Haftarah and, especially, cantillation to her teachers there. Their inspiration led to her tutoring her sons, and eventually to her work as an accomplished B’nai Mitzvah tutor of well over one hundred young men and women at Adat Shalom and elsewhere.

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