Presenters at LimmudFest 2013
As of 6/7/13 - Updated frequently. Check back for new presenters weekly!
Y-Love, known for years as the world's first African-American Orthodox hip-hop artist, is now the first artist to come out of the closet before an album release. Y-Love's writing has been featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Advocate.com, and the Jerusalem Post, and he is a contributor to both Huffington Post Religion and Gay Voices. He is also a noted writer and pundit in the Jewish world. He blogs for Jewschool.com and Jewlicious.com and attends conferences worldwide where he speaks on his unique perspectives as a Jew of color in music.
In addition to his music, Y-Love is a prolific web programmer in the world of advertising. He worked on the 2012 campaigns for Dr Pepper, Honda, and Calvin Klein -- as well as the website for the NYC General Assembly for Occupy Wall Street.
Jeff Bernhardt is a writer, licensed clinical social worker, and Jewish educator. He is the Community of Caring Director at Temple Aliyah (Woodland Hills, CA). His book "On Sacred Ground: Jewish and Christian Clergy Reflect of Transformative Passages from the Five Books of Moses" was published in 2012. His writing has appeared in the anthologies "Rosh Hashanah Readings" and "Mentsh" and in the Los Angeles Times, the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, and Jewish newspapers around the United States. His plays "Mixed Blessings" and "Therapy" premiered in Los Angeles. His dramatic readings have been performed at synagogues, Hillels, JCCs and Jewish schools throughout the United States.
Julia Watts Belser
Julia Watts Belser received her rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, and her PhD in Religious Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Belser is currently Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, and serves as retreat director for Nehirim, a spiritual initiative for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews.
A wheelchair rider herself, Dr. Belser is the co-author of A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Midstream: A Journal of Jewish Thought; The Journal of Women and Religion, Kalliope: A Journal of Women's Art and Literature; and Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly.
Nili Simhai has served for over a decade as Director of the Teva Learning Center, now the Teva Learning Alliance. A recent winner of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Nili is considered an authority and leader of the Jewish environmental education movement. She has trained and counseled hundreds of educators in the pedagogy of Jewish environmental education and has put environmental sensibilities and programs squarely in the middle of Jewish educational programming and outreach. In addition, she is proud of her role in the creation of Teva’s Shomrei Chayyot, Yitziah, and “Bringing It Back to Our Schools” programs, as well as her contribution to the development of severalTeva curricula.
Passionate about all of Creation, Nili’s background includes study and work in ecological concerns ranging from wildlife conservation, wetland remediation, and entomology (Ohio State University) to ornithology (InternationalBirdwatching Center in Eilat, Smithsonian Institute) and natural history (Natural History Museum of Cleveland). She lives in the sustainably designed Round House of Millerton with her husband Yosh and her little boy, Tal.
**Being brought to LimmudFest 2013 by funds from the Covenant Foundation.
Richard Elliot Friedman
Richard Elliott Friedman is a biblical scholar and the Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia. He joined the faculty of the UGA Religion Department in 2006. Prior to his appointment there, he was the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization: Hebrew Bible; Near Eastern Languages and Literature at UCSD from 1984 until 2006. Dr. Friedman received his Th.D. in Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 1978; Th.M.in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University in 1974; M.H.L., Jewish Theological Seminary in 1971, and B.A., University of Miami in 1968. He is a winner of numerous awards and honors, including American Council of Learned Societies Fellow. He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford; and a Senior Fellow of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. He participated in the City of David Project archaeological excavations of biblical Jerusalem.
Maital Guttman is a filmmaker, activist, and entrepreneur who founded
Dewdrop Films. Her first film, entitled MECHINA: A PREPARATION,
explores the lives of six Israelis before they enter the army
(www.dewdropfilms.com/mechinathemovie). Maital self-produced a
nation-wide tour to more than 50,000 young people internationally.
Dewdrop Films upcoming piece, WHEN YOU STRIKE A WOMAN, follows one
South African woman's story of hope through the hardship of township
life. Born in Israel, Maital has taught, volunteered, and produced
documentary work in six continents, including New Orleans, Thailand,
Uruguay, Poland, Israel, Morocco, and Moldova. In 2011, Maital was
awarded a Dorot Fellowship, where she lived, volunteered, and produced
films and photography in Tel Aviv. Most recently, she is studying for
her MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler's Business School, with a concentration
in Management Consulting and Sustainable Enterprise. She interned and
will return to McKinsey and Company after her MBA, where she will be a
strategy and operations consultant.
Karmi Ingber is a renowned eclectic rabbinic figure & popular keynote speaker. His lectures are inspiring experiences: merging humor, stories & drama with deep life lessons. In Israel he trained over 300 rabbis to be community leaders worldwide. Karmi is also an experienced therapist and professional musician with two CDs and is now completing his first book on Kabalistic thought. He founded the Montreal Jewish Experience and moved to Atlanta four years ago to build The Kehilla & Young Kehilla.
Eric Jacobson is the Executive Director of the Georgia Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. While he has held several positions within the Council, since 1997 he has been the organization’s Executive Director.
Eric Jacobson was named one of the 100 most influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine in its February, 2007 and February 2008 editions, and received honorable mention in 2009 and 2010. Mr. Jacobson is a past-president of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the national trade association representing Developmental Disability Councils. He has been a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Home and Community-Based Services, and served on the steering committee for implementation of the Olmstead decision. He is also a member of the Statewide Interagency Coordinating Council.
He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Political Science and he received his Masters Degree in Urban Studies from Georgia State University in 1989. He is a 2008 graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
Myrtle Lewin, a recently retired professor of mathematics at Agnes Scott College, and has been involved with environmental work for a long time. Her passion for bringing Judaism and environmental causes brought her to organizing Tu B'Shvat tree plantings and programs in Atlanta and she chairs the Greening Group at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue. She has worked with groups of all ages teaching about the environment.
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, Raymond Schinazi Distinguished Research Professor of Jewish Bioethics, and Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Won the 2011 World Technology Network Award in Ethics, has recorded a TED Talk, was named one of Trust Across America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior, and was profiled in the November, 2011 Atlantic Magazine as a “Brave Thinker of 2011." Co-founder of two academic Jewish ethics societies, Dr. Wolpe co-authored the guide to Jewish end-of-life issues, Behoref Hayamim: In the Winter of Life.
Marshall Duke joined Emory's psychology faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor. One of Emory's most decorated faculty members, Duke was named a Candler professor in 1991. He has been a licensed clinical psychologist in Georgia since 1972. Duke has authored seven books and more than 70 articles. His numerous television appearances include slots on the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Most recently, his work on family rituals and family stories was featured in Bruce Feiler's book, "The secrets of happy families" and in Feiler's Sunday Styles column in the New York Times.
Robyn Faintich has over 17 years of Jewish communal professional experience in areas that include youth movements and community teen initiatives, early childhood education, congregational family education, and adult education. In 2010, Robyn launched a national Jewish education consulting firm, JewishGPS, LLC (www.jewishgps.com). She serves as the project director and a faculty member for Shevet: the Jewish Family Education Exchange. Robyn has finished coursework towards an EdD in Jewish Education Leadership at Northeastern University and Hebrew College and is pursuing a 2014 graduation.
Miriam Udel received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in 2008, having begun teaching at Emory in 2007. Her dissertation focused on the ethics of speech and conversation in modernist fiction, and it concentrated equally on Yiddish and other literatures. Pieces of her dissertation have been published in Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History and in a peer-reviewed festschrift for her graduate adviser, Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon, published by Harvard University Press. Udel is a Starr Fellow in Judaic Studies at Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies for academic year 2010-11, as well as a fellow of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. During her fellowship year, she is working on a book called Exuberance in Nihilism in Modern Jewish Literature. This monograph considers the Jewish rejection of the European "Bildungsroman" and the literary forms that were adopted by Yiddish and other Jewish writers instead, particularly the picaresque.
Zev is a professor at Emory University, does research and writes about the intersection between Bible and Torah study in the religious Jewish world, and was also the founder of AITZIM (Atlanta Institute of Torah and Zionism). He has many years of experience as an educator or Torah scholar.
Deborah Lipstadt is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory. Her most recent books are History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier; and the Eichmann Trial. A frequent Limmud participant [UK, FSU, South Africa, Australia, LA, Colorado, and Southeast], she has won Emory’s top teaching prize. She also loves to teach Jewish texts and has taught for the Wexner Foundation for over 20 years. She was sued for libel by Holocaust denier, David Irving. Her book, History on Trial has been optioned by BBC Films and Participant Media and is in active production.
Daron Joffe is not what most people envision when they think of farmers. Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur who lives to make a difference in the world by utilizing biodynamic methodologies in his farming practices. The South African native has an impressive production history and is a maverick within the organic farming movement. Actress Jennifer Garner thinks his turnips “rock” and billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson hired him to develop an organic farm and ‘farm to table’ experience at his exclusive New Jersey spa, “Natirar”. Known as “Farmer D”, Joffe was the founding farmer at Serenbe Farms in Palmetto Georgia, where he created a 25-acre biodynamic farm that continues to supply the community with fresh produce.
More information about Miriam
Harvard Magazine Articles by Miriam
YouTube video of Miriam's Eli Talk entitled "Discovering and Delighting in the Lost Ark of Yiddish"