Teaching The Torah of Jewish Peoplehood
Sefi Kraut has had the privilege of teaching Judaic Studies since 2004. She began her professional career teaching Tanakh to middle school students at a Jewish day school in Paramus, NJ. Upon moving to Israel in 2013, Sefi taught in several gap year programs before joining the faculty of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators where she is thrilled to be involved in training the next generation of Jewish educators.
Additionally, Sefi is the Director of the Pardes Mahloket Matters project. She frequently leads Mahloket Matters fellowships and seminars for educators, rabbis, and lay leaders. Sefi has also co-created a new curriculum for teens called, “Mahloket Matters: Navigating Inner Challenges and Societal Discord through Jewish Text and Social-Emotional Learning.”
Rabbi Avi Strausberg
Rabbi Avi Strausberg is the Senior Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the Director of Congregational Learning of Temple of Aaron in St. Paul, Minnesota. Avi studied at Hadar as a year fellow, and served on our summer faculty in 2014. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education. While pursuing her studies, Avi was honored to serve as a rabbinic intern at Kehillath Israel and Temple Sinai. She has taught students of different ages and backgrounds at Kehillath Israel, Temple Sinai, Makor, and Hadar. Additionally, Avi has worked as a chaplain intern at Hebrew Senior Life and organized an anti-trafficking campaign as a rabbinic fellow at T’ruah. Energized by engaging creatively with Jewish text, she has written several theatre pieces inspired by the Torah and maintains a Daf Yomi haiku blog in which she writes daily Talmudic haikus. Avi is most grateful for her wife, Chana, and three children, Ori, Niv, and Amit.
Dr. Sara Labaton
Dr. Sara Labaton is Director of Teaching and Learning at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she serves as a conduit between the Kogod Research Center and program directors, overseeing programmatic excellence and ensuring that research topics and content are informed by the realities of the field and experience of program participants. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of North American David Hartman Center Fellows.
Sara received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Columbia University and a doctorate in Medieval Jewish Thought from the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU. Her doctoral thesis focused on the relationship between the esoteric and peshat hermeneutics in the commentaries of Abraham ibn Ezra, particularly with regard to ibn Ezra’s understanding of biblical cultic rituals.
Sara was a founding faculty member of Yeshivat Hadar, where she developed a Bible and Exegesis curriculum. She has taught in a variety of Jewish settings, most recently as a history instructor at the Frisch School. Her research interests include the intersection of ritual and relevance, ritual experimentation, and overcoming the binary of halakhic–non-halakhic/insider-outsider in Jewish ritual practice. As part of her participation in the Religious Worlds Seminar at the Interfaith Center of New York, Sara researched ways of integrating comparative religion into Jewish educational contexts.
Mikhael Reuven Kesher
Mikhael Reuven Kesher is a curator of educational experiences and resources, whose professional passion is supporting Jewish educators and learners in building informed, constructive, and committed relationships with am yisrael (the Jewish people) and medinat yisrael (the Jewish state). As a British-born Israeli-by-choice and American-in-the-making, he cares deeply about strengthening each Jew’s connection to global Jewry. Before joining The Jewish Education Project as Director, Israel Education, Mikhael worked at Harvard Hillel, MIT Hillel, and Hebrew College. He holds Master’s degrees in Philosophy (University of Cambridge), Near Eastern & Judaic Studies (Brandeis University), and Jewish professional leadership (Brandeis University). At home, Mikhael is an avid reader, ḥevruta enthusiast, and devoted abba to two young children.
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