About Mechon Hadar


Staff Bios Staff Bios

Andrew Belinfante

Andrew Belinfante is excited to join the team as Director of Programming at Mechon Hadar. He is a longtime Ramahnick having grown up as a camper and staff member at Camp Ramah in California. He also worked for Camp Ramah in the Berkshires as their year-round Program Coordinator bringing his total summers at Camp to fourteen. Andrew participated in United Synagogue’s Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel and he graduated from California State University Northridge with a degree in English. He has worked in both formal and experiential Jewish education for over eight years, including having worked in various Religious Schools in Los Angeles and as the Associate Director of a Hebrew School in Tribeca, New York. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Education at Bankstreet College in Manhattan.

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Rabbi Shai HeldRabbi Shai Held

Rabbi Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar. Before that, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakha at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A renowned lecturer and educator, Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. He has taught for institutions such as Drisha, Me'ah, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Rabbinic Training Institute, and currently serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage program. Shai has a PhD in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought and in the history of Zionism. His book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence was published by Indiana University Press in the fall of 2013, and can be found on Amazon.

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Avital HochsteinAvital Hochstein

Avital Campbell Hochstein is rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar and teaches Talmud at Yeshivat Hadar. She is the former rosh kollel at the Pardes Institute. A research fellow at Mechon Shalom Hartman, she has taught Talmud for several years at both institutions and was rosh beit midrash at the new Hartman High School for Girls. She is the co-author of The Place of Women in Midrash (Yedioth Ahronoth 2008). Avital is also a founder of Kehilat Shirah Hadashah in Jerusalem.

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Rabbi Elie KaunferRabbi Elie Kaunfer

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar. A graduate of Harvard College, he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also completed an MA and a doctorate in liturgy. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and in 2009 Newsweek named him one of  the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010).

Click here to learn more about Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities.

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 Rabbi Avi Killip

Rabbi Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug and Alumni Affairs at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College's pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women & Gender Studies. Avi has worked as a teacher and Jewish professional in two synagogues, an independent minyan, a mikveh, and a yeshiva.

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Ilana Mantell

Ilana Mantell is Mechon Hadar's Director of Operations. Ilana worked as the Director of Operations at the Kavana Cooperative, an innovative Jewish community in Seattle, WA, from 2008-2010. She then learned in Hadar's yeshiva as a full-time fellow from 2010-2012, and began to work for Hadar in 2012.

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Rabbi Aviva Richman

Rabbi Aviva Richman is a faculty member at Yeshivat Hadar. She has taught at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and she is a past Rosh Kollel of the Bet Midrash at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. She has also enjoyed teaching community-wide sessions for the Hadar Bet Midrash and at the National Havurah Institute. She studied in the Pardes Kollel and the Drisha Scholars' Circle and is was ordained by a private teacher. Particular interests include Halakhah, gender and sexuality in Judaism and niggunim. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Rabbinics at NYU.

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Jason RubensteinRabbi Jason Rubenstein

Rabbi Jason Rubenstein is Dean of Students at Yeshivat Hadar, where he also teaches Talmud and Jewish thought. Jason was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in May of 2011, and also holds an MA in Talmud from JTS and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College. An alumnus of the kollel of Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellows program at JTS, and the Graduate Fellowship in Jewish Law and Legal Theory of the Cardozo Center for Jewish Law, Jason has also led multiple programs for the Nesiya Institute.

Ariel Shapiro

Ariel Shapiro is the Associate Director of Communications and Development at Mechon Hadar. She was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After attending Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School, Ariel learned in Israel for a year at Midreshet Lindenbaum. Ariel graduated from Queens College where she majored in Comparative Literature and minored in Business and Liberal Arts. Ariel served as both the Hillel Club president and as a Comparative Literature Club officer during her time at Queens. In addition, she made Dean's List and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa among other honors. Ariel has worked for the UJA-Federation of New York among other Jewish organizations and is excited to now be at Hadar.

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Seth Slaton

Seth Slaton is the Associate Director of Programming and Operations for Mechon hadar. He is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he earned a degree in International Business. He has worked in the banking industry, lived in Israel, and has extensive experience in running programs at Jewish summer camps and synagogues.

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Jeremy Tabick

Jeremy Tabick is Content Manager at Mechon Hadar, curator of much of Mechon Hadar's online content. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a Masters in Physics, and is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has been involved in editing and producing educational resouces for Limmud, both in the UK and internationally, such as the Chavruta Project and Limmud On One Leg.

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Rabbi Ethan TuckerRabbi Ethan Tucker

Rabbi Ethan Tucker is co-founder and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Ethan was a faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where he taught Talmud and Halakhah in the Scholars' Circle. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He was named one of America’s Top 50 Rabbis by Newsweek in 2011 and 2012.

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Joey Weisenberg

Joey Weisenberg is a faculty member at Yeshivat Hadar in charge of all music education. He is a mandolinist, guitarist, singer, and percussionist based in New York City, who has performed and recorded in a wide variety of musical styles. Joey works as the Music Director at Brooklyn's oldest synagogue, the Kane Street Synagogue, and visits shuls and communities around the world as a musician-in-residence, in which he teaches his popular 'Spontaneous Jewish Choir" workshops. He is the author of Building Singing Communities, published by Mechon Hadar. His CD's "Joey's Nigunim Volumes I and II" are available at www.buildingsingingcommunities.com, and his instructional videos "Table Top Rhythms for Jewish Singing" can be found online. For more information, please visit www.joeyweisenberg.com.

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Dena Weiss

Dena Weiss is rosh beit midrash at Yeshivat Hadar. She earned a BA in Religious Studies from New York University and an MA in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She has studied and taught in a variety of Jewish educational settings including Drisha, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Pardes. For many years, she served as the editor in chief of the Mima'amakim journal of Jewish religious art.

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Devorah Zlochower

Devorah Zlochower teaches Talmud at Yeshivat Hadar and has taught Talmud at Yeshivat Maharat. She served as Rosh Beit Midrash, Director of Full-time Programs and Talmud and halakha instructor 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 boards of JOFA, Sh'ma and AJWS and on the parent board of Aaron Academy, a private special education school in Manhattan. She has written and lectured on topics relating to halakha, Talmud Torah, and women's religious leadership. Devorah's advocacy work has focused on religious feminism as well as on disabilities. Devorah has an MA in political science from Columbia University and was a member of Drisha Institute's first cohort of graduates from the Scholars' Circle. She lives in Riverdale with her husband, Rabbi Dov Linzer, and their two teenage sons.

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Staff Staff
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