gabrielGabriel Abensour made aliya from France in 2008. He learned at Yeshivat Hakotel for five years and served in the IDF as a lone soldier. Gabriel is finishing an interdisciplinary BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at The Hebrew University together with studies in the Amirim Interdisciplinary Honours Programme in Humanities. He will begin completions towards an MA in History of the Jewish People at The Hebrew University in the Autumn of 2016.
adelmanRachel Adelman
has been a Professor of Hebrew Bible at the rabbinical school of Hebrew College in Boston since 2012. She provides a dynamic, open approach to text study, drawing on a wide range of sources, from Tanakh and classical midrash to modern Israeli poetry. She holds a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies from Matan/Baltimore Hebrew University and a Ph.D in Hebrew literature, with a specialty in midrash, from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Adelman`s first book, “The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha” (Brill, 2009) is based on her dissertation work. Her second book is entitled “The Female Ruse: Women’s Deception and Divine Sanction in the Hebrew Bible,” (Sheffield Press, 2015). When she is not writing books, papers, or divrei Torah, it is poetry that flows from her pen.


Gideon Admanit was born on Kibutz Yavneh. He served in Nachal and studied at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, Kollel Meretz and the Hartman Institute. He holds a BA in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy and an MA in Jewish Philosophy from The Hebrew University. He taught in Israeli high schools including Pelech and Hartman and spent two years on shlichut at Hebrew Academy of Montreal. Gideon teaches classes in Talmud and Parshat HaShavua for the elderly as well as for members of his community in Gilo. He volunteers on the helpline which protects women from violence. He is married to Dr. Bilhah Admanit. They have five children and eighteen grandchildren.

borghi-headshot-final-version-1Ellyse Borghi was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Ellyse has a BA in Jewish Civilization from Monash University and has studied in Batei Midrash in Israel, New York and Melbourne. As a lawyer she advocates for the rights of children and low-income families. She is passionate about working to release Agunot, has interned at the Centre for Women’s Justice in Jerusalem and is a committee member of Unchain My Heart in Melbourne. She teaches brides and bnot mitzvah and is a regular speaker on Shavuot and at Limmud. Ellyse is a board member of Shira Hadasha in Melbourne. Some of the more distant places where Ellyse has taught Torah are Hong Kong and Ghana. Ellyse hopes that through accessing membership in the Rabbinic tradition she will empower her community to take ownership of their intellectual, ethical and cultural heritage.

Bob photoBob Carroll is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he studied religion, computer science, and philosophy. He earned his smicha from Yeshiva University in New York in 1989. He has done doctoral work in comparative religion, Jewish Thought, and Jewish and Islamic Mysticism at Brandeis and New York University. A former university chaplain as well as a trained computer engineer, he has spent many years as a project manager for Fortune 500 companies as well as a consultant, manager and fundraiser for a variety of NGO’s working in fields as diverse as conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue, sustainable international development, and support for active duty and retired military personnel. He is a former soldier in an anti-terror unit of the Israel Defense Forces and served as the Program Director of Edah, the Modern Orthodox organization based in NY. He currently lives in Jerusalem and is the Director of Development & Communications for the Interfaith Encounter Association.

dede photoDeDe Jacobs-Komisar attended Nishmat and Orot Israel College, has a B.A. from Goucher College and an MFA from Yale School of Drama. She has contributed to The-Toast.net, The Forward, Bridges: A Journal for Women, Jewschool, and The Baltimore Jewish Times. Dede is currently working on an essay anthology on teen spirituality. She is active in the Israeli-Palestinian religious peace movement and was founder and artistic director of BamatMabat, a social change theater company in Jerusalem, as well as JCC Theaterworks in New Haven, CT. She is currently Institutional Giving Manager at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, MA. DeDe lives in Sharon, MA, with her husband, Yaakov and two sons, Nani and Itai.

13254629_112365569183120_2717993233722039180_o-1Hagit Dotan holds a BA from Hebrew University, a teaching certificate from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Talmud, Halakha and Jewish Thought from The Schechter Institute. She is a graduate of the Tehuda – Beit Midrash for Jewish Leadership, and a facilitator of the Beit Midrash of The Hartman Institute. Hagit holds a tour guide’s certificate from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. She writes study programs and guides learning sessions for parents in mixed schools on behalf of Tzav Pius. Hagit is the author and moderator of a study program for Bat Mitzvah girls and their mothers at the Jacob Herzog Center. She develops study evenings for groups and families on various Jewish topics. Hagit lives in Modi’in with her husband and five children.

Batya Jacobs photoBatya Jacobs teaches at Yerushalayim Torah Academy High School and specializes in Olim education and advocacy. She has a Master’s Degree in Judaic Studies and Jewish Education, and teaches Torah, history and civics. Utilizing interdisciplinary training and technology integration, her work includes designing and developing curriculum and its implementation, as well as administrating educational initiatives. Beit Midrash Har’el offers Batya the opportunity to pursue advanced halachic study in an enlightened environment, combined with daily chavruta learning.

elie-jesner-headshot-photo-2Elie Jesner is a psychotherapist, educator and writer. His work and research combine the three worlds of philosophy, psychoanalysis and Judaism. This is reflected in his education – three years at Yeshivat Har Etzion, MAs in Philosophy from Cambridge and Warwick University, 6 years psychoanalytic training at the UKCP recognised Philadelphia Association. He has also worked in finance for 10 years. He has established two pioneering projects in London, the JCoSS (high school) Pluralist Bet Midrash, and the Honest Theology Project (an adult education programme – in conjunction with the Louis Jacobs Foundation). He has also taught in a variety of other synagogues and institutions. As well as his writings appearing regularly in Ha’aretz and elsewhere, he is working on two book length manuscripts with a view to publishing them soon.

Itamar LandauItamar Landau was born in Haifa, grew up in California, and now lives in Jerusalem. He carries a B.A. in both Mathematics and Physics and is currently pursuing a PhD in Computational Neuroscience at the Hebrew University. He was a year-long fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in New York and a member of the Sulam Yaakov Beit Midrash in Jerusalem for three years before joining Beit Midrash Har’el. After a late start to learning Torah he is slowly but surely making his way through Rashi on the Chumash with occasional excursions in memorizing Mishnayot and plenty of detours into the Pachad Yitzchok.

Rose photoRose Landowne is a graduate of the Drisha Scholars’ Circle, Stern College, Columbia University School of Social Work, and Bank Street College of Education.  Rose lives in New York City and spends about 4 months of the year in Israel. She keeps up with the sources and shiurim online when she is not there.  She has two chavrutas for the program, and they are working on Kashrut and Shabbat.

imageIdit Mevorach Shaag grew up in a national-religiuos community in Haifa. She studied at many institutions including Midreshst Lindenbaum, Ein Prat and Yeshivat Talpiot. Idit earned her BA from Ben Gurion University in Political Science and Israel studies. After several years in Yeruham, she moved to Jerusalem to work on her MA in Jewish studies.

NoamNoam Pratzer grew up in Toronto and lives in Jerusalem. He is currently working on his PhD in philosophy and towards being licensed as a lawyer in both Israel and Canada. Noam holds a BA and MA from University of Penn.  He received smicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg in 2013. Noam feels that it is important to be part of a Beit Midrash where gender equality in learning is axiomatic and where the interaction of theology and halacha is seen as a virtue and a necessity. Noam hopes to use the knowledge, tools and relationships that he builds at Beit Midrash Har’el, together with his academic training in legal theory, to teach and write about the rich resources the halachic tradition holds for creating progressive-halachic Jewish communities.

Mordechai- photoRabbi Mordechai Rackover is a Montreal native and graduate of McGill University. Mordechai spent eight years learning in Yeshivat Hamivtar, Yeshivat Bat Ayin, the Pardes Educators Program and Hebrew University Graduate School. Mordechai holds smicha Yoreh Yoreh from Rabbi Daniel Landes and Orach Haim from Rabbi Zalman Nehemia Goldberg. Currently Mordechai is teaching at Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon Massachusetts where he lives with his wife Nechama Lea and their four children. Mordechai is a renowned amateur chef and photographer.

Deborah Renert 2Deborah Renert grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. She received a BA from Brandeis, an MS in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and an MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University. She worked professionally in New York running a kosher senior center at the Riverdale YMHA, counseling immigrants from the FSU at NYANA, and counseling and assisting holocaust survivors at the Claims Conference. Deborah lives in Jerusalem where she serves on the Board of the JSPCA and volunteers assisting holocaust survivors.

shani-rosenbaum-headshot3Shani Rosenbaum is originally from Seattle, WA and holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Following a year as a Dorot Fellow in Israel, she served as Program Coordinator for Encounter, an educational NGO fostering constructive engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Jewish community. Shani has also worked with Bema’aglei Tzedek and with the Hotline for Migrants and Refugees, and has studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum, Matan, and Yeshivat Kol Isha. In addition to her studies at Harel, she currently serves as Program Manager for OLAM, a joint platform for promoting Jewish engagement in global service and international development.

Mindy photoMindy Schimmel is originally from Brookline, MA. She studied at Maimonides School, but has lived in Jerusalem for nearly 25 years, where she was joined by her husband Benjamin and, later, their daughter Yona. She has a BA in Sociology from Harvard, as well as an MA in Statistics and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Mindy works part-time doing statistical consulting and editing (and has a tendency to try to apply statistics in her Torah studies). She has previously studied at Michlelet Bruria, currently at Beit Midrash Har’el, Matan and Pardes.  She has studied hilchot nidda, kashrut, ishut, avelut and this year is studying hilchot Shabbat.  She has also studied Tanakh (she’s currently doing “929”), Midrash and Talmud.

joshuaschwartzattishpicture-croppedJoshua Schwartz
 is a doctoral candidate at in the Skirball department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies, at New York University, focusing in Jewish mysticism. He has been a fellow in both the Northwoods and the Pardes kollel and is a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alumnus. As a translator, his work can be found in Seder Oneg Shabbos (http://shabb.es) and in the soon-to-be released anthology The Torah of Music, published by Mechon Hadar Press.

Ross Weissman-2 (1)Ross Weissman completed his master’s degree in education from Harvard University, where he also worked in research exploring public health challenges facing religious communities. Most recently he served as a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an educator for Kevah in Boston, and a project manager consultant for OneTable. Before coming to Harel, Ross trained and studied African Grey Parrots and founded an entirely free environmental education summer camp in northwest Alaska. He is an alumnus of  Yeshivat Hadar.