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Kolot Staff

Rabbi Jacob Staub, '77, Ph.D., Acting Director, Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., graduated from RRC in 1977. Staub has served on the RRC faculty since 1983; he served as the College’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean from 1989 to 2004. He was instrumental in developing RRC’s Spiritual Direction Program and has taught Jewish spiritual direction across North America, including at Spiritual Directors International and the Spirituality Institute of Metivta. He is also a faculty member at Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality, and he directs Nehirim’s Shalshelet Mentoring Program.

His prior teaching experience includes appointments as assistant professor of religion at Lafayette College and as a Mellon Fellow in Jewish Philosophy at Washington University. He has served as rabbi of Bristol Jewish Center in Bristol, PA, and of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington, TX. Staub has served as chair of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy, of which has been a fellow. He has been vice president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and currently serves on its board. Jacob also has chaired the RRA’s Gevulot Committee and its Committee on Intermarriage.

Staub earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Arts and doctorate in religion from Temple University, where he specialized in medieval Jewish philosophy. He trained as a spiritual director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He completed certification in Mindfulness Leadership Training with Sylvia Boorstein and teaches meditation and contemplative practice at RRC.

Staub served as editor of The Reconstructionist from 1983 to 1989. He is the author of The Creation of the World According to Gersonides (1982) and of numerous articles, poems and essays. He is co-editor with Jeffrey L. Schein of Creative Jewish Education: A Reconstructionist Perspective (1985) and co-author with Rebecca T. Alpert of Exploring Judaism, A Reconstructionist Approach (1985, revised edition 2000).

Among the awards he has received are RRC’s Gladstone Award for Fine Teaching (1997), the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation’s President’s Award (1989), the RRA’s Yedei Emunah Award (2001) and RRC’s Keter Shem Tov (2004).

Contact Jacob Staub: 215.576.0800, ext. 119, jstaub@rrc.edu

Rabbi Roni Handler, Editor, Ritualwell.org

Roni Handler graduated from RRC in 2011 and now serves as its director of community learning and editor of Ritualwell. During her student years at RRC, Roni served the Reconstructionist community as the Sabbatical Rabbi for Or Hadash in Ft. Washington, PA, as an intern at Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore and at Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia. She also worked with youth and college students at Camp JRF, No’ar Hadash (Reconstructionist youth movement) and Brandeis University. In addition, Roni worked at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center and The Rashi School.

A native Philadelphian, Roni also has extensive experience teaching Hebrew/Religious School and conducting family education programs. She received her B.A. from The George Washington University in international affairs, with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies and a minor in anthropology. Roni earned a master's degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein program at Brandeis University.  

Contact Roni Handler: 215.576.0800, ext. 149, rhandler@rrc.edu

Lori Lefkovitz, Ph.D., Founding Director

While at RRC, Lori Lefkovitz, Ph.D., was the Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism, academic director for Kolot, and executive editor of Ritualwell.org. She also co-directed the Certificate Program in Jewish Women’s Studies jointly sponsored by Kolot and the Women’s Studies Program of Temple University. Currently, she serves as Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Lefkovitz received her master of arts and doctorate in English from Brown University. She was associate professor of English literature at Kenyon College.  

Lefkovitz is widely published in the fields of literature, critical theory and Jewish women’s studies. Her most recent book is In Scripture: The First Stories of Jewish Sexual Identity (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010). Read Lefkovitz's farewell letter.