Advisory Board

Dr. Aryeh Cohen

is Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism). He has taught at Hebew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Brandeis University. Dr. Cohen is the author of Rereading Talmud: Gender, Law and the Poetics of Sugyot (Scholars Press, 1998) and co-editor of Beginning/Again: Towards a Hermeneutics of Jewish Texts (Seven Bridges Press, 2002). He is also a member of the Sh’ma advisory board. Cohen is a popular lecturer on Talmud, on politics and on the contemporary Jewish scene. His writing on these topics and others has been published in Conservative Judasim, Sh’ma, The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, The Association of Jewish Studies Review, Tikkun, The Reconstructionist, Kerem, The Jewish Spectator, The Jewish Journal and elsewhere.

Carol Brennglass Spinner

has served as a primary community voice for the importance of Jewish Culture and for the inclusion of Jewish culture in Jewish education for the past 18 years. She currently serves as Founding Chair of AvodaArts, the organization for professional development and advocacy for the arts in Jewish education; AvodaArts has been recognized with a Covenant Grant and by Slingshot for its innovative work in traveling arts programs developed for Jewish education. Ms. Spinner is a member of Board of the JESNA, and is a past chair of the Foundation for Jewish Culture. She has been instrumental in creating numerous programs including the 6 Points Young Artist Fellowships, and the Public Arts Study Joint Masters degree at Hebrew Union College/ The Roski School of Fine Arts, at the University of Southern California. In addition to JESNA and the FJC, she serves on the board of The Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Advisory Board of Sh’ma, and on the New York Federation Task Force on Aging. Ms. Spinner holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from the University of So. California, in social science.

Dr. Charlotte Fonrobert

is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University. Her books include Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender, Jewish Conceptions and Practice of Space, and The Cambridge Companion to Rabbinic Literature. She is the Coordinator of the Text and Culture Speaker Series at Stanford.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

is the author of Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press), nominated for the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature and a 2009 Hadassah Book Club selecton, as well as editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press) and Yentl’s Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (Seal Press). Rabbi Ruttenberg is also co-editor, with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, of three books for the Jewish Publication Society’s Jewish Choices/Jewish Voices series: Sex and Intimacy, War and National Security, and Social Justice. In 2010, the Jewish Week recognized her as one of the “36 Under 36″ (36 most influential leaders under age 36) and the Forward recognized her as one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis. Rabbi Ruttenberg lives in the Chicago area with her husband and sons.

Devorah Zlochower

teaches Talmud at Yeshivat Hadar and Yeshivat Maharat. She served as Rosh Beit Midrash at Drisha Institute for over a decade. More recently, Devorah was Rosh Beit Midrash and Talmud instructor at SAR High School in Riverdale. Devorah serves on the advisory board of JOFA and on the parent board of Aaron School, a private special education school in Manhattan. Devorah’s writing and advocacy work has focused on religious feminism as well as on disabilities. She has an MA in political science from Columbia University Devorah lives in Riverdale with her husband, Rabbi Dov Linzer, and their two teenage sons.

Josh Rolnick

(Publisher) is a fiction writer whose short stories have won the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Choice Prize. His fiction has also appeared in Western Humanities Review, Bellingham Review, and Gulf Coast . He is the former managing editor of Moment , a magazine of Jewish culture, politics, and religion, and founder of the journal’s short story contest. Rolnick is also the former editorial director of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, a magazine covering best strategies for nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible businesses. He has reported for news organizations including the Associated Press , in Jerusalem and Trenton, N.J., and Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C . Rolnick is currently a director on the boards of trustees of the National Jewish Democratic Council, the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, and the Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation. He is a member of Moment ’s editorial advisory board.

Dr. Julian Levinson

is the Samuel Shetzer Professor of American Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan. He has published articles on Jewish American literature, Yiddish poetry, Holocaust Literature and Film, and the role of Jewish Studies in the multicultural academy. His book, Exiles on Main Street: Jewish American Writers and American Literary Culture, is forthcoming from Indiana University Press.

Dr. Lisa Grant

is Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Her research and teaching interests focus on adult Jewish learning, the professional development of Jewish leaders and the place of Israel in American Jewish life. She has published widely on these topics in a range of academic journals, books, and teaching guides. She is co-author with Ezra Kopelowitz of Israel Education Matters: A 21st Century Paradigm for Jewish Education (Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education: 2012). She is also a co-editor of The International Handbook of Jewish Education (Springer: 2011) with Helena Miller and Alex Pomson. Lisa is also a Fellow at the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education (, a resource center for institutions and individuals seeking to build collective Jewish life, with a focus on Jewish Peoplehood and Israel education.

Dr. Shaul Magid

is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University. His teaching focuses on Kabbalah, Hasidism and medieval and modern Jewish philosophy. He is the author of Hasidism on the Margin: Reconciliation, Antinomianism, and Messianism in Izbica and Radzin Hasidism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), From Metaphysics to Midrash: Myth, History of the Interpretation of Scripture in Lurianic Kabbalah (Indiana University Press, 2008), and American Post-Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society (Indiana University Press, 2013). He is presently completing a new book entitled Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism and the Christianization of Modern Judaism. He is editor of God’s Voice from the Void: Old and New Essays on Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (SUNY Press, 2001) and co-editor of Beginning Again: Toward a Hermeneutic of Jewish Texts (Seven Bridges Press, 2002). He is the editor of the book series “Post-rabbinic Judaisms” with Academic Studies Press.

Dr. Neil Gillman

has served the past several years as the Chair of the Sh’ma Advisory Committee. He is the author of several books and essays, including Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew (winner of the 1991 National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought); Conservative Judaism: A New Century; The Way into Encountering God in Judaism; Gabriel Marcel on Religious Knowledge; The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought ; and The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians. His most recent book is Traces of God: Seeing God in Torah, History and Everyday Life. One of Dr. Gillman’s recent essays, an excursus on eschatology, appeared in Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (ed. David Lieber, 2001). He was a member of the Commission on the Philosophy of Conservative Judaism, which produced Emet Ve’Emunah, the first statement of principles for Conservative Judaism. A popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Gillman has served as scholar-in-residence in many Conservative and Reform congregations. In the summer of 2002, Dr. Gillman taught two courses on the philosophies of Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel at the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow on behalf of Project Judaica. Dr. Gillman is the Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy at JTS.

Noam Pianko

is Samuel and Althea Stroum Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and International Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Noam’s scholarship explores the national question in modern Jewish thought in Europe, Palestine, and the United States.He recently published , Zionism and the Roads not Taken:Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn (Indiana University Press 2010) and has contributed articles to Jewish Social Studies, American Jewish History, American Studies, and The Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Born in New York City, Noam now lives in Seattle with his wife Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum and two daughters, Yona and Mia. Noam’s blog at

Rabbi Or Rose

is Associate Dean and Director of Informal Education at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. He is the co-editor of Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice and God in All Moments: Mystical & Practical Wisdom from the Hasidic Masters.

Rabbi Richard Hirsh

is the Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and teaches future rabbis at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He was the editor of the journal The Reconstructionist from 1996-2006. He has previously served congregations in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Toronto, was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis and Jewish Chaplaincy Service (1988-1993) and was on the staff of the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council (1987-1988). Rabbi Hirsh received his BA in Jewish Studies from Hofstra University (1975), his MA in religion with a specialization in the New Testament from Temple University (1981), and was graduated as a rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1981). Rabbi Hirsh was the chair of the “Reconstructionist Commission on the Role of the Rabbi” and the author of its report, The Rabbi- Congregation Relationship: A Vision for the 21st Century. His commentaries are featured in A Night of Questions, the Reconstructionist Haggadah and the Reconstructionist High Holiday prayerbook. He is also the author of the books The Journey of Mourning and Welcoming Children in the Reconstructionist Guide to Jewish Practice series. His articles have appeared regularly in the magazines The Reconstructionist and Reconstructionism Today, as well as in many other Jewish and general publications. For over a dozen years he has contributed commentary on the weekly Torah portion for the Jewish Exponent and the New Jersey Jewish News.

Shawn Landres

is an entrepreneur, writer, and network curator looking for the common good at the intersection of innovation, learning, and global bridge building. As co-founder & CEO of Jumpstart, a research & design laboratory that the Jerusalem Post says has “changed the global conversation about Jewish innovation,” he helps visionary philanthropic & nonprofit leaders of Jewish & interreligious causes find the perspective & connections they need to achieve impact, build stronger communities, and transform the world. He lives in Santa Monica with his wife Zuzana Riemer Landres and two young daughters. Shawn’s leadership in faith-based social innovation has earned wide recognition, including recent articles in GOOD and FastCo.EXIST. Just a year after Jumpstart’s launch, the Forward named Shawn to its list of the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders, calling him “an essential thinker in explaining the new Jewish spirituality and culture.” Jewcy named him to the “Big Jewcy 100” in 2011. In 2012, Shawn received a Ted Comet Exemplar Award, given once every four years by the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America and the World Council of Jewish Communal Service for “outstanding leadership & furthering international cooperation benefiting the Jewish people.” Most recently, the White House featured Shawn as a “spotlight innovator” and speaker at its Faith-based Social Innovators Conference. Shawn was an inaugural (2009) Ariane de Rothschild Fellow (Social Entrepreneurship & Cross-Cultural Network) and an International Nahum Goldmann Fellow (2010, 2012); he is a member of the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, the Selah Leadership Network, and the New Leaders Project. He is a charter co-chair at-large of the Clinton Foundation Millennium Network Leadership Council. In addition to Sh'ma, he serves on the Program Committee for the American Academy of Religion and he is Advisor on Faith-Based and Interreligious Innovation to The Nexus: Global Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. He holds degrees in Religious Studies and Social Anthropology from Columbia University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Oxford. Shawn has co-edited four books on topics as diverse as the practice of ethnography; the interreligious impact of the film The Passion of the Christ; the intersection of religion, violence, memory, and place; and a campaign biography of Bill Clinton.

Susan Berrin

(Editor) is Editor of Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility. She is also Editor of two landmark Jewish anthologies, Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology (Jason Aronson Publishers) and A Heart of Wisdom: Making the Jewish Journey from Midlife through the Elder Years (Jewish Lights Publishing). Her writing has been included in several anthologies including Praise Her Works: Conversations With Biblical Women and The Women’s Passover Companion: Women’s Reflections on the Festival of Freedom. Susan is a member of the Academic Board of the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, and also serves on the board of Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism. She lives outside Palo Alto, California.

Yossi Abramowitz

, founding CEO of Jewish Family & Life, lives on Kibbutz Ketura with his wife Susan Silverman and their five children. He is an activist, writer and social entrepreneur, and blogs on