Rabbi Herzl HefterRabbi Herzl Hefter, Rosh Beit Midrash is a graduate of Yeshiva University where he learned under the tutelage of Rabbi Yerucham Gorelick זצ”ל and Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik זצ”ל. He received smikha at Yeshivat Har Etzion where he studied under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein for ten years.  Rabbi Hefter has taught the Kollel fellows at Yeshivat Hamivtar, the Gruss Kollel of Yeshiva University and served as the head of the Bruria Scholars Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He also taught at Yeshivat Mekor Chaim in Moscow and served as Rosh Kollel of the first Torah MiZion Kollel in Cleveland, Ohio. He has written numerous articles related to modernity and Hasidic thought and was most recently a research fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

See R. Hefter’s article on the Mei HaShiloah and blog post concerning modern biblical scholarship. 

YakovPhotoDr. Yakov Azriel was born in New York and came to live in Israel after finishing his BA in English literature in Brooklyn College (summa cum laude) at the age of 21. When he came to Israel, he studied at Mercaz HaRav Kook for two years, and later on, completed an MA in Judaica. In May 2004 he received his doctorate (on the stories of Rabbi Nachman of Braslav). He is presently a lecturer at Herzog College and has taught at Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University, as well as yeshivah-high schools. Yakov is married and has seven children. He is also a published poet, with four full-length books of poetry: Threads From A Coat Of Many Colors: Poems on Genesis (2005); In The Shadow Of A Burning Bush: Poems on Exodus (2008); Beads For The Messiah’s Bride: Poems on Leviticus (2009); and Swimming In Moses’ Well: Poems on Numbers (2011), all published by Time Being Books, a literary press that specializes in poetry. Over 250 of his poems have been published in journals and magazines in the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, and his poems have won eighteen different awards in international poetry competitions. In addition, Yakov has twice been awarded fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture for his poetry.

Rabbi David Bigman has been the Rosh HaYeshiva at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa since 1995. He was born in 1954 and studied in the Beit Midrash in Skokie, Illinois, with Rabbi Aryeh Bakst in Detroit and in Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. He received his B.A. in economics with honors from Wayne State University. In 1976 he made aliyah and moved to Kibbutz Maale Gilboa, where he is a member to this day.  He was one of the founders of Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati laBanot (which later became Midreshet haBanot b’Ein Hanatz”iv). He is active in issues pertaining to society and halacha, including Mesuravei Get, the organization Maaglei Tzedek, and dialogue between secular and religious Israelis.

Prof. Tamar Ross is a professor of Jewish Philosophy at Bar Ilan University. She has scholarly expertise in the thought of Abraham Isaac Kook, the modern Musar movement and the ideology of Mitnaggedism, and Judaism and gender. She is the author of books and articles on Jewish ethics and theology, contemporary issues in traditional Jewish thought, philosophy of halakha, and Orthodox Jewish feminism.

DSC04079Dr. Shmuel Wygoda has been actively involved in Jewish Education, member of the founding team and Ram at Yeshivat Etz Chaim in Paris (1979-1982) and Educational Director of the Montreal Hebrew Academy (1987-1992). He joined the Mandel Institute as Senior Researcher in 1992. During those years, he initiated two Educational training programs for the Haredi Community in North America under the auspices of Torah Umesorah (and continues to be involved with this Organization to this day). In 1995 he was asked by Rabbi Dr. A. Lichtenstein to become the Dean of the Herzog College at Yeshivat Har Etzion. During his tenure, he initiated several programs including the creation of the Stella K. Abraham Beth Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz. In addition, from 2003-2012 he served as Research Fellow at the Jerusalem Van Leer Institute where he has served as Academic Director of the New Horizons for Educators program for the Senior Educators of the Religious Zionist community. He completed his tenure as Dean of the Herzog College in 2006 and since then serves as Head of the Jewish Philosophy Department. He holds a Ph.D (Summa cum laude) from the Hebrew University, and has taught at the Department of Jewish Philosophy. He is on the staff of the “Shluhei Zibbur” Project designed to enable students from the Haredi Community to study graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been awarded the Tenoudji Prize for Jewish Education in France in 2004. Dr. Wygoda has edited several books, published numerous articles and is currently writing a book on the Talmudic Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.