Our Alumni



Rahel Berkovits Rahellectures in Mishnah, Talmud, halakhah, and the status of women in Judaism at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she has been teaching for almost twenty years. She recently published the book “A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish”.  She is a founding member of Congregation Shirah Hadasha, a halakhic partnership minyan, and she is the Halakhic Editor for TaShma JOFA’s Halakhic Source-guide Series. Rahel lives in Jerusalem with her husband and four children.Rahel is grateful to have R. Hefter and R. Sperber as her teachers- for their vision and courage have enabled her (and women of the world) to find their rightful place in the chain of tradition.


Jewish Women [CD ROM]: http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Women-Comprehensive-Historical-Encyclopedia/dp/0827608675A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish: http://www.amazon.com/Daughters-Recitation-Mourners-Kaddish-Learn/dp/0578093081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326366589&sr=8-1

BrettMoshe Bernstein is a rabbinic student / tax attorney who lives in Miami Beach with his wife and son. Having spent one year learning at Yeshivat Hamivtar after law school, and having completed one semester of rabbinic coursework at RIETS after an LLM in tax, he has been striving to balance his passion for learning and teaching Torah while developing his career as an attorney. This program presents a valuable opportunity for him to engage in serious Torah study with a motivated peer group and qualified teacher–something that would otherwise be impracticable given his work schedule.

Rivka (Becky) Bierman is fascinated by the interplay of theory and practice in different contexts, including those of halacha, agriculture and Zionism. She particularly enjoys studying halachic responsa. Becky works as an independent translator and editor. She grew up in Washington Grove, MD and made aliyah in 2004. Becky holds an M.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign and a B.S. in Plant Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has published academically on crop sciences for example: Bierman, R.E., Riechers, D.E., Sprague, C.L., Bollero, G. and Pedersen, W.L. (2006) Fungicide-herbicide interaction in soybean (Glycine max). Crop Protection 25: 134-139.

JocelynJocelyn Eckert worked as a biomedical researcher in the US before coming to Israel in 2011 to learn at Midreshet Nishmat for two years. Since then she has made aliyah, gotten married, and is looking to continue learning, with the hopes of teaching limudei kodesh. She is excited for the opportunity to study Yoreh Deah with Rabbi Hefter, since this subject is rarely offered to women. She feels that this unique program represents a great step forward in women’s learning.

Bio pictureTamar Friedman works as a Marketing Associate at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, located in Jerusalem. She is also a Junior Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, and is conducting research for FPRI’s Program on the Middle East from Israel. Tamar is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her B.A. in Political Science. In the past, she has done Jewish learning at Midreshet Be’er and Mechon Hadar. 

meeshDr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy has an AB in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and a MA and PhD from New York University. Her dissertation explored the courageous manner in which the rabbis of the Talmud created a new criminal punishment system. Meesh has taught at NYU, Drisha, and Midreshet Lindenbaum, and currently teaches Talmud at Pardes where she also directs and teaches the Social Justice Track. Meesh is committed to continuing to teach Torah and serve the Jewish people. She feels that Smicha grants her communal recognition for her efforts and achievements in the study of Torah and empowers her further  to be successful in the field of her passion – Jewish education for young adults.

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Lev Israel is a native of Albany, NY. He studied Computer Science and Philosophy at Boston University, and moved to Israel in 1999.  Before learning at Har-El, he studied at Darchei Noam, The Bat Ayin Yeshiva, and Sulam Yaakov.  He is architect and senior engineer at Sefaria, helping to build a free and open online collection of Torah texts and tools for teachers.  With smicha, he plans to continue to explore and share the depths of Torah, and feels a unique calling to be present to the challenges and opportunities that new technologies bring to the world.

meir photoMeir Klibanoff-Ron was born in Israel and lives in Jerusalem.  He is married to the director and poet Lea Klibanoff Ron.  Meir believes that Beit Midrash Har’el’s vision of a halachic Judaism that faces contemporary challenges head on and offers solutions is the way to make Torah relevant today. He is passionate about Judaism and democracy and equality between the sexes. His position at the Israel Postal Bank has given Meir the opportunity to better know the weaker classes of Israeli society and helped him cultivate sensitivity to marginalized groups. Meir is studying sociology and art at the Open University.

Elie Lehmann headshotElie Lehmann is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College and co-founder of Matchme Philanthropy. This year Elie and his wife, Anya, are living in Tel Aviv. Torah learning and non-profit work have been the foci of Elie’s life for the past several years. Prior to rabbinical school, Elie and Anya volunteered for a year on the Thailand/Burma border and in Kenya through American Jewish World Service. Elie is an alumnus of Mechon Hadar, Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. In his spare time Elie enjoys cooking, cycling around new neighborhoods, and finding cheap airfare for fun encounters.

Ariel (748x1024)

Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from Harvard University. His dissertation, “Beyond the Letters: The Question of Language in the Teachings of Rabbi Dov Baer of Mezritch,” explores the philosophy of language of one of the great maggid. Ariel, his wife and two children are moving to Ann Arbor from Jerusalem, where he has been teaching and studying for the past four years. In addition to several scholarly and popular articles on Kabbalah and Hasidism, he is a co-editor of the two-volume collection Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings From Around the Maggid’s Table  (Jewish Lights, 2013), and editor of the recent From the Depth of the Well: An Anthology of Jewish Mysticism  (Paulist Press, 2014). The choice to pursue smicha reflects his wish to teach Jewish sources from a place within the living tradition, giving shape to contemporary Jewish thought and theology in addition to chronicling its past.

A sample of Ariel’s publications https://www.academia.edu/4688166/Speaking_Torah_Spiritual_Teachings_from_Around_the_Maggids_Table_2_vol._


headshot of Sarah MulhernSarah Mulhern is a fourth year rabbinical student at Hebrew College, where she is also working towards a Masters in Jewish Education, and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She has also learned at Pardes, Yeshivat Hadar, and Drisha and is a graduate of Brandeis University. During rabbinical school, Sarah has interned in pulpits, social justice organizations, community mikvaot, and as a hospital chaplain. She is also sought after as an adult educator. Before pursuing smicha, Sarah worked at the American Jewish World Service as a curriculum developer and experiential educator. In Jerusalem for the year, Sarah generally lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband, Rabbi William Friedman. Sarah enjoys cooking and hosting, singing, the novels of Jane Austen, and reading feminist blogs. She is honored to have the opportunity to learn with Rav Hefter and be a part of this exciting project.

Amirit photoAmirit Rosen has been active in Inter-faith dialogue for many years and today has a leadership role in an initiative for interfaith dialogue in the south of Israel that includes diverse local religious leaders from the area. Amirit is a master’s student at The Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies. She is also studying in a chaplaincy course about confronting the fear and anger that arise from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Amirit teaches Hebrew at an ulpan in East Jerusalem where Palestinians come to learn Hebrew in order to join the work force.  Amirit believes that religion can truly be part of the solution to today’s conflicts.  In her own words, “Religion touches on people’s identity, core values, and their ability to connect to a spirit of hope despite the difficult reality around them.”