2022 / 5782 Cohort
Adela Basayne (she/her) is the Program Director at Havurah Shalom, bringing her experience as an educator, trainer, mediator, organizational development consultant, and body-centered therapist to this position. Adela earned a BA in Theater Arts, minor in Religious Studies, from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MA in Whole Systems Design/Organizational Systems Renewal from Antioch University, Seattle. In all her different arenas of work, the through line has been commitment to nurturing the human capacity to make and sustain desired changes, supporting growth, and diminishing suffering; Adela is passionate about the body, group processes and systems.
Rena Branson (they/she) is a Jewish composer, ritual leader, and educator who uplifts personal and collective healing through song. They founded A Queer Nigun Project, which organizes community singing events for LGBTQIA2S+ folks and sends Jewish spiritual audio content to people who are incarcerated in NYC jails. Rena writes new tunes for liturgy and teaches traditional Hasidic melodies, expanding access to their power for all seekers. She is a Reiki practitioner and also serves as the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir on unceded Lenni Lenape land in Philadelphia. You can enjoy Rena’s original music on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Youtube. Learn more at renabranson.com
Rabbi Rachael Bregman (she/her) has been the Berman Family Rabbinate Rabbi in Brunswick, GA since 2013. She is a fellow at Rabbis Without Borders and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Rachael is a co-founder of Tzedek Georgia, the Reform Movement’s social justice arm for the state of Georgia, and of the Glynn Clergy for Equity–a clergy group committed to ameliorating the damages of racism through building relationships across community sectors. Beyond Judaism and justice, Rachael has engaged in many outdoor pursuits, bakes semi-professionally, was a Lieutenant in the US Navy and is a mom to both a tiny human and a rescue dog.
Rabbi Daniel Brenner (he/him) serves as the Vice President of Education for Moving Traditions, where he weaves together ancient wisdom, developmental psychology, social pedagogy, embodied practice, and pop culture to help a diverse network of rabbis, educators, and volunteer leaders who mentor teens. Prior to joining Moving Traditions in 2011, Daniel led educational programs for CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Auburn Theological Seminary, and the Birthright Israel Foundation. Brenner is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; he furthered his studies with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg and Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z’l), and for the last five years he has been obsessed with studying and teaching shtetl dance. He lives with his beloved, Dr. Lisa Brenner, in Montclair, New Jersey and they are the proud parents of three young adults.
Sam Hipschman (they/them, he/him) is a collaborator, facilitator, and community builder who aims to nurture spaces that celebrate and center the mixed multitude of the Jewish community. Currently, they serve as Director of Community Organizing and Engagement at Lab/Shul, an experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in New York City, and as a clinician in private practice working predominantly with trans, nonbinary, and queer people. Sam loves to craft, bake, and make friends with every dog they meet.
Shira Kline (she, her) is a performance and ritual artist, recognized as a revolutionary educator and named one of the new re-engineers of Jewish life today. Co-founder of Storahtelling and Lab/Shul, she serves as Spiritual Leader, weaving liturgy, text, story and song. Shira practices in the field of sacred play. She is known in the sanctuary as a spiritual adventurist and to the under-five set as ShirLaLa while she tours extensively locally and globally with a vibrant invitation to connect, for a new and realized conscious world. Among these endeavors, Shira travels with her queer, gender non conforming kiddie-rock band, has been featured on NPR for creative spiritual work in the pandemic, designs and produces tailored programming for PJ Library International, Hava Nashira, HUC-JIR Seminary, SLBC, amongst numerous international training conferences, hosted a podcast interviewing queer Jewish leaders, and has recorded four award-winning albums. Expansive and imaginative, she’s here with an invitation to nourish and ignite expression of the spirit. At home in Brooklyn, unceded Lenape lands, she lives to cook, dance, and play with her beloved and their daughter.
Autumn Leonard (she/they) inherited a love of equality from her parents who braved laws against interracial marriage and got legally hitched in 1960. Her love of storytelling began when she was eight years old and accidentally stumbled into a stage debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. That combination of justice and story has infused her work ever since. Autumn has been leading racial and social justice trainings since 2001. A mother of two, Autumn believes avidly in the importance of play in education, that liberation begins in our bodies, and that you’re never too young or too old to start talking and taking action about race! She applies playfulness and progressive education techniques to leading workshops and conversations for parents and kids about race, using yoga and mindfulness techniques.
Mariana Pardes (she/her) is a somatic practitioner who believes that embodied practices are integral to embracing the depth and breadth of our humanity and to nurturing our liberation at personal, collective, and structural levels. In her private practice, Somatic Therapy Philly, she approaches 1:1 session work through a multidimensional lens that is informed by her lived experience and healing journey as a queer woman from an Ashkenazi-Argentine immigrant family. Mariana also has experience as a social researcher, educator, and community organizer on projects relevant to LGBTQIA+, Latine, Jewish, and low-income communities. She holds an M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.
Amy Price (she/her) loves all things outdoors, homesteading and cooking for friends. She lives in Chamblee, GA, with her husband, son and ever-changing number of chickens. Professionally, she supports people with disabilities to find job opportunities and dream big for their lives. She also works for Repair the World organizing educational opportunities and for Ramah Darom where she plants the garden and leads hikes. She spent time at Isabella Freedman working for The Teva Learning Center doing outdoor environmental education. This is where her passion developed for exploring the connection between Judaism and the natural world. She also spent time farming at a youth village in Rwanda.
Eliana Rubin (they/she) is a queer Jewish femme living in Durham, North Carolina on unceded Shakori & Eno land. Eliana has dedicated their life as a politicized healer and cultural organizer to transforming impacts of intergenerational trauma and oppression. They are a somatic practitioner trained with Generative Somatics and running their own business, Somatic Sanctuary. Her practice is informed by a decade of experience working with plants and people including: full spectrum doula work; farming and herbalism; gaining a Masters Degree in Embodiment Studies; writing about embodied, collective safety as a challenge to militarized borders, policing, and ethno-nationalism; and Theater of the Oppressed facilitation. Eliana deeply believes in the power of beauty and pleasure as transgressive forces towards embodied connections with land and lineage. www.doraeliana.com
Rory Michelle Sullivan
Rory Michelle Sullivan (she/her), as a songwriter, musician, and Jewish educator, creates and leads joyful song and moving melodies that connect us to the deepest parts of ourselves and facilitates experiences that inspire individuals to become the most self-realized version of themselves. Her catchy, singable musical, RISING IN LOVE, is the modern-day coming of age story in which interracial Jewish couple Rosie and Scott must overcome their deepest fears to make modern love work. She believes that there is magic in the intimacy of theater, ritual, and singing together. Noted on Jewish Rock Radio and at URJ Biennial as an Emerging Artist, Rory Michelle is poised to become an influential leader in contemporary Jewish music and education nation-wide. From tiny babies to the eldest members of our communities, from lively camp and synagogue Shabbat programs to intimate healing services, Rory Michelle has touched thousands of individuals with her enchanting voice and spirit.