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2012 New Rabbinical Students

Every fall RRC looks forward to an influx of diverse experience and new energy—in the form of our entering class. And the new students of 2012-13 are a perfect example. They share a commitment to social justice, and a love of learning intertwined with a love of Judaism. Following are just a few of the many interesting facts about them.

Jake Best Adler has worked as a case manager for the Jewish United Fund Uptown Cafe—a kosher meal program for low-income individuals at the Dina and Eli Field EZRA Multi-Service Center in Chicago. As a Nadiv Fellow for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, he taught teens about poverty issues from a Jewish perspective. At Earlham College he was the convener of the Jewish Student Union and served on a committee working to build communication between Jewish, Palestinian and Lebanese students.   Elyssa Cohen worked as the programming assistant at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City for the past two years. Prior to that, she served as a community organizer for Keshet in Boston (through the Jewish Organizing Initiative Fellowship program). She has taught children and adults in various Jewish community settings; she served as a youth educator at Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA, and Temple Emmanuel in Newtown, MA.
Emily Cohen was a founding member of Macalester College’s multifaith council and received the Macalester Civil Discourse Award for her work on an interfaith initiative addressing the Israel/Palestine conflict. Through Macalester’s Jewish Organization, she co-led High Holiday and Shabbat services on campus. Music is her passion; she has been involved with many choral groups, ensembles and bands. Emily spent a year in Yunnan, China, as a teaching fellow with Teach for China.  She also tutored underprivileged youth in Minneapolis through City of Lakes, an Americorps project.   David Eber participated in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in New Orleans starting in its inaugural year, 2008-09; he served as a community organizer for the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. He was the volunteer coordinator for the 2012 Limmud New Orleans and has worked as a specialized support supervisor and job trainer for adults with developmental disabilities. David also has been active with Pursue: A Jewish Social Justice Partnership.
Rayna Grossman worked as an education specialist for Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a civil rights organization that works to assure fair and equal housing in Buffalo, NY. She also has worked for Child and Family Services in the women’s shelter, working with women and children escaping domestic violence and abuse, and at Prevention Focus Inc, working to equip at-risk teens with skills and information to make safer, healthier choices. She grew up at Reconstructionist congregation Temple Sinai in Amherst, NY; there she was a board member and ritual committee member.    Kami Knapp coordinated the speaker's bureau for the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center in Seattle. She taught religious school, and helped run the summer camp program at West London Synagogue while pursuing postgraduate studies in England. Kami also worked as lead discharge planner at a mental health hospital in Kirkland, WA. As a volunteer with the International Refugee Committee, she was a consultant for the Somali Bantu Community Center and mentored a Somali Bantu family.
Joshua Krulwich-Klatt has served as a development associate for the Sisters of Charity in New York City and as a bibliographical coordinator for Dorot, an organization supporting education, cultural institutions and social change in Israel. He has consulted for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Outward Bound USA and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Josh has been active with Brotherhood Synagogue in New York City, where served on committees and participated in adult education courses.   Michael Pollack interned with Keep Jerusalem—an educational non-profit advocating for Israeli sovereignty of Jerusalem— and served as a peer educator on Judaism, nutrition and animal rights. He has held multiple leadership positions with Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. His volunteer work has taken him to Capitol Hill, the Golan Heights, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Michael studied at Yeshivat Ohr Someyach, and he was an active member of theMaryland Jewish Experience and University of Maryland Hillel.
Jessica Rosenberg has worked in several community organizing and activism posts in Minneapolis: as community director of the Bancroft Neighborhood Association, as leadership-year intern for the University of Minnesota GLBTA programs office and as facilitator for a Jewish white privilege study group. She also has volunteered with the Trans Faith Organizing Group and has studied at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. While in Minneapolis, Jessica was active in Reconstructionist Congregation Mayim Rabim. She was raised at Reconstructionst congregation Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA.   Hannah Spiro, an accomplished singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, recently recorded her fourth album, which is composed of original and interpretative Jewish prayer.  She spent three summers interning on Capitol Hill. At the University of Maryland at College Park, Hannah served as president of both Hamsa (the LGBT Jewish community) and the Reform Jewish Community. She received a scholar’s award from the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research to engage in biblical research.
Ariel Tarash has devoted most of her career to Jewish community service—working for Hillel, the Union of Reform Judaism and Jewish Federations. She served as a clinical social worker for both Hospice of Wake County and Jewish Family Services of Durham-Chapel Hill, in North Carolina. An active leader in the Kehillah Synagogue, she served on the board and on the hevreh kaddishah and ritual committees. Ariel completed the Ohr Ayn Sof Jewish Contemplative Meditation Program with Rabbi David Cooper, and was a mikveh guide at the Libi Eir Mikveh in Raleigh.   Diane Tracht served as co-president of Haverford College’s Jewish student union. She spent the 2011–12 academic year living in Jerusalem and studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. While in Israel she participated in Encounter, an organization that provides education about Palestinian narratives and experiences and is devoted to conflict transformation. In 2011, while studying at Middlebury College, she was awarded the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace.
Marley Weiner has served for the past two years as program associate for the Jewish Outreach Institute. In 2012, she was the Shabbat programming co-chair for Limmud New York. She has also served as research intern at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. While in college, Marley was actively involved in Columbia University Hillel and served on its board. In 2009, Marley served as the Lily Safra Research Intern at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.