Dr. Isa Aron – Co-Director
Isa Aron is Professor of Jewish Education, HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in philosophy from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. in philosophy of education from the University of Chicago, and did post-doctoral work at the Center for the Study of Social Intervention at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She teaches courses in teaching, philosophy of education and organizational change, and is the founding director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education’s Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE). Dr. Aron’s publications include Becoming a Congregation of Learners, The Self-Renewing Congregation, and Sacred Strategies: Transforming Congregations from Functional to Visionary, with Steven M. Cohen, Larry Hoffman and Ari Y. Kelman.
Rabbi Bradley Solmsen – Co-Director
Bradley Solmsen serves as the North American Director of Youth Engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). For eleven years Bradley served as Director of Brandeis University’s Office of High School Programs which includes BIMA, Genesis, and Impact: Boston. Rabbi Solmsen was ordained at The Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and received a masters degree in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Bradley is currently pursuing a doctorate in Jewish education at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School. He has extensive experience as a Jewish educator in Israel and North America working with teenagers and college students and training Jewish educators. Bradley is married to Aliza Kline and is the proud abba of Ela, Gila and Nomi.
Lisa Langer – Associate Director
Lisa Langer, RJE has served as an educational leader at the URJ, the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco, and Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California. She has been a visiting lecturer and Alumna-in-Residence at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and is currently a Clinical Faculty Mentor for the Executive M.A. program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education and a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Lisa lives in Menlo Park, California with her husband, Dan K. Siegel and their sons, Jacob and Ben.
Diane Tickton Schuster – Congregational Inquiry Coordinator
Diane Tickton Schuster is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. Previously she served as director of HUC’s Institute for Teaching Jewish Adults and taught at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, the American Jewish University, and Brandeis University’s Institute for Informal Jewish Education. Her book, Jewish Lives, Jewish Learning, was a finalist for the 2004 National Jewish Book Award in education. Her other publications include A Journey of Heart and Mind (with Lisa Grant, Meredith Woocher, and Steven M. Cohen), A Covenant of Dreams, and Women’s Lives Through Time, as well as numerous articles about Jewish education. Recently Diane conducted a national study of Jewish choral singers and began inquiry about the spiritual practices of Jewish “doubters.” A lifelong singer, she is the co-founder of Kol HaEmek: The Jewish Community Chorale of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. She received her BA from the University of Michigan, MSW from U. C. Berkeley, and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. She and her husband, Professor Emeritus Jack H. Schuster, reside in Claremont, California, and are the proud parents of Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis and Ariana Schuster, CPA.
Dr. Michelle Lynn-Sachs is an independent consultant and researcher, focusing on Jewish education, congregations, organizational change, and leadership. She applies lessons learned from scholarship and practice to help congregations imagine, execute, and promote powerful Jewish learning. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. Michelle’s professional experience bridges the worlds of academia and Jewish communal life. She was a member of the faculty at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York; in both institutions, Michelle’s teaching and research focused on leadership for Jewish education in the congregational setting. Prior to these academic positions, Michelle was a researcher and consultant for the Experiment in Congregational Education; the Director of Education at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Ontario; and a mentor and supervisor for education students at both JTS and HUC-JIR. She also served on the advisory boards of the Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators and the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education. Michelle holds a bachelor of arts degree in Literature and Society from Brown University (1993); master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC (1996); and a doctorate in Education and Jewish Studies from New York University (2007). She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow while at HUC and a Beam Family Fellow at New York University.
Anna Marx – Project Manager
Anna Marx brings a decade of experience in Jewish professional life, focused on innovative approaches to Jewish education and engagement. In addition to her work revolutionizing b’nai mitzvah, Anna works as an independent evaluation and nonprofit management consultant for Jewish organizations. Previously, she served as Project Manager for The Jewish Education Project, Research Assistant and Intern at JESNA, and Program Associate for Project Welcome (URJ San Francisco). Anna holds an MPA in Nonprofit Management and an MA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from NYU as well as a BA in Political Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She lives in the greater Philadelphia area with her husband, Cantor Jamie Marx, and their children Eliana and Isaac.
Elena Dufner – Project Coordinator
Elena Dufner is Project Manager for the Union for Reform Judaism’s Campaign for Youth Engagement. Previously she served as the Youth Director at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX, where she helped to transform the youth culture of San Antonio’s only Reform congregation. Elena grew up in the Reform movement, where she spent many years at URJ Greene Family Camp. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives and works in New York City.
Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, RJE, has a rabbinate that focuses on Jewish education, teaching and helping youth develop deep and meaningful connections to Judaism. She recently completed a twelve-year tenure as a specialist in adolescents and experiential education at the Union for Reform Judaism. Laura has led education and change efforts at Jewish schools, synagogues and camps throughout the United States. Laura is the editor of several curricula, including Sacred Choices: Adolescent Relationships and Sexual Ethics (2005 and 2007) and has been published in a variety of academic and online journals. Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education and rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Laura is pursuing a doctorate in Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Graduate Education. Laura is currently serving as the First Vice-President of the Board of the National Association of Temple Educators. Laura lives in Fresno, CA with her husband, Rabbi Rick Winer and their sons, Saul and Max.
Irene Lehrer Sandalow comes to the BMR after spending three years at The Jewish Education Project promoting parent leadership in Jewish Day Schools. Previously, she spent six years at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs where she educated, mobilized, and organized members of the Jewish community in local and national social justice campaigns. She also directed the Jewish -Muslim Community Building Initiative. Irene held positions in project management and research at the UJA-Federation of New York and the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Irene holds an MS in nonprofit management from The New School and a BA from Brandeis University. Having grown up in Belgium, Irene is fluent in French, Dutch, Hebrew and a bissel Yiddish. She and her husband, Nathan Sandalow, are the proud parents of Eli and Abe, and are devoted Blackhawks fans.
Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz - Senior Consultant
Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz (BA, George Washington University; MAHE, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion) is the Senior Director, as well as the Director of Curriculum Resources at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. She has been a day school principal, congregational school director, and camp educator. Nachama is the author of numerous student materials and teacher resources, including The Ultimate Jewish Teacher’s Handbook (ARE, 2003). She is nationally known and respected for her curricular work, especially in the use of Understanding by Design. Her recent work has taken her into issues of Hebrew education in our part-time educational settings.
Sharon Feiman-Nemser is the Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University with a joint appointment in Education and Jewish Studies. Before coming to Brandeis in 2001, she served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and Michigan State University where she directed innovative teacher education programs and did research on teacher education and learning to teach. She is the founding director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, a research center focused on the pedagogy of Jewish studies and the education of Jewish educators. Her latest book, Teachers as Learners, was published in 2012 by Harvard Education Press.
Dr. Rob Weinberg – Change Consultant
Rob Weinberg serves as National Director of the Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE) and as Project Manager of the Jim Joseph Foundation Educational Initiative (JJF-EI) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He holds a BA in philosophy from the University of Minnesota and MS and Ph.D in organizational behavior from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Since 2001 Rob has directed the ECE in working with congregations and local agencies to re-imagine and transform congregational education and to strengthen synagogues as critical centers of Jewish life in North America. The ECE has partnered with agencies and engaged congregations in New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. His recent publications include “Finding New Models: Alternatives to Religious School” in What We Know Now about Jewish Education. Rob also oversees the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative at HUC-JIR.Through a generous grant from the Foundation, the Initiative seeks to attract and train the next generations of talented, high achieving Jewish educators prepared to provide compelling experiences of Jewish learning and living to youth, teens, and young adults. Rob has taught at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and its Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Having grown up in NFTY and on staff of OSRUI, Rob lives in Evanston, IL and belongs to Temple Beth Israel. In his “spare time” Rob builds furniture and performs as part of the musical group “Kol Sasson.”