Our Faculty

The following lists members of the Faculty for the Academic Year 2008’2009 or 2009’2010 or those who have an ongoing teaching commitment to The Academy for Jewish Religion.

Moshe Ariel  “ Hebrew
Certification to teach Hebrew in Ulpan, Tel Aviv, Israel; trained to teach foreign languages, The New School for Social Research, NY; Instructor of Hebrew, Methods of Language Instruction and Supervisor of Teachers, The New School University, New York.

Rabbi Vicki Axe  “ Choir
Bachelor of Music Education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; MA in Music Education from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; Degree in Sacred Music and Investiture as Cantor from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music; Doctor of Music, honorous causa from HUC-JIR; Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbinical Academy of America. Past president of both the American Conference of Cantors, and HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music Alumni Association. Rabbi, Congregation Shir Ami, Greenwich, CT.

Barbara Birnbaum  “ Bible
MA in Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Rabbi Debra Reed Blank  “ Liturgy
Rabbinical Ordination, Ph.D., Jewish Theological Seminary, Liturgy and Rabbinics, M.S., Columbia University, Library Science, Judaica emphasis, B.A., Indiana University, Religious Studies.

Cantor Alan Brava  “ Professional Skills
Director of Cantorial Studies, AJR. B.S.M, investiture as Cantor, Honorary Doctorate in Music, HUC-JIR.

Jerome Chanes  “ History, Hebrew
Faculty Scholar at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish
Studies and Adjunct Professor at Yeshiva University. Author of the award-winning A Dark Side of History: Antisemitism through the Ages, A Primer on the American Jewish Community, and Antisemitism: A Reference Handbook; editor of A Portrait of the American Jewish Community; contributing editor of the Forward; an author and editor of the second edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica.

Gerald Cohen  “ Cantorial Modes
B.A in music from Yale University; D.M.A in composition from Columbia University. He is Cantor at Shaarei Tikvah Congregation in Scarsdale, New York

Rabbi Melissa Crespy  “ Liturgy
Rabbinical Ordination, M.A. in Jewish Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Prizes in Homiletics, Rabbinics, Liturgy, Jewish History and Bible, M.B.A., Finance and International Business, New York University, New York, NY, B.A. (Honors), French Literature and Modern Languages, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Rabbinical Assembly: Membership Committee, Observance Committee, Humash Reading Committee, Commission on Placement, Nominations Committee, UJA-Federation Task Force on the Jewish Woman.

Stanley Dorn  “ Musical Skills
B.A., New York University, Studies at Mannes College of Music. Guitar studies with Alexander Bellow, Roselyn Dlugin, Eliot Fisk. Theory studies with Robert Cuckson, L. Poundie Burstein, David Loeb, Carl Schachter. Member, The Americas Vocal Ensemble. Chair, Guitar Department, Mannes Preparatory Division. Faculty, Mannes Extension Division.

Arline Duker, LCSW  “ Professional Skills
M.S.W., New York University; M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University; B.A., Barnard College; Licensed Clinical Social Worker, NJ; Certification by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis; Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Work, NYU.

Chaplain Dr. Aliza Erber  “ Hebrew
ALEPH Rabbinic Pastor Ordination, M.P.A., Long Island University, Certificate, Negotiation & Conflict Resolution in Health Care, Boston University/Harvard University, Teacher Certification, Hebrew Union College, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery, New York College of Podiatric Medicine, B.A., Hebrew & Speech Pathology, Hunter College ‘ Dual Major, In Progress: A.C.P.E., Chaplain Certification.

Rabbi Stephen David Franklin  “ Bible, Professional Skills
Rabbi, D.D., M.H.L., Hebrew Union College; B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, Williams College; Rabbi Emeritus of Riverdale Temple, Riverdale, NY. Past president of Riverdale Interfaith Clergy Conference and Greater New York Association of Reform Rabbis, member of the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Rabbi Henry Glazer  “ Philosophy
B.A., B.R.E., Yeshiva University, NY, Judaic studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, B.H.L., Jewish Theological Seminary, M.S.W., Wurzweiler School of Social Work, D.D., D.H.L., Jewish Theological Seminary.

Rabbi David Greenstein  “ Rabbinics, Mysticism, Jewish Thought
Past President and Rosh Ha-Yeshivah, The Academy for Jewish Religion; Ph.D, Kabbalah and Rabbinics, New York University; B.A., Philosophy, M.A., Talmud, Yeshiva University; M.F.A.,Queens College; Core Faculty member, The Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Congregation Emanu-El, New York; member, Associate Editor, The Journal of The Academy for Jewish Religion; Former member of Editorial Board, Conservative Judaism; has taught at SUNY-Stony Brook, Touro College, NYU, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Jewish Theological Seminary, and adult programs, including Meah and Melton; author of essays on Jewish thought and culture; member, AJS, Rabbinical Assembly, CAJE, NY Board of Rabbis; exhibiting artist for many years. Rabbi, Shomrei Emunah, Montclair, NJ.

Rabbi Jill Hammer  “ Midrash
Director of Spiritual Education, AJR. Rabbi, The Jewish Theological Seminary; M.A., Ph.D.; University of Connecticut, B.A., Brandeis University; Director, Tel Shemesh: A Website and Community Celebrating and Creating Earth-Based Jewish Traditions; has served as the editor of Living Text: The Journal of Contemporary Midrash, and of Journey, the journal of Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project of the JCC in Manhattan; author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblcial Women and The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons (2006); has taught ancient and contemporary midrash as well as bibliodrama and creative ritual at synagogues, retreats, and venues around the U.S.

Steven Harper  “ Technology
B.A., English/Theatre Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, Recipient: Artistic Achievement Award ‘ Afro American Cultural Center at Yale, Intensive 24 ‘ week instruction in M.S. programs, Quickbooks Intensive.

Cantor Natalia Hirshhorn  “ Choir, Musical Skills
Hazzan, The Academy for Jewish Religion; Music Director, Congregation Ansche Chesed, NYC; member, Long Island Composers Alliance; a performing soloist and noted author and recording artist of many liturgical and secular compositions; Vice-President of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music.

Rabbi Eric Hoffman  “ Talmud
Doctoral study in Talmud, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati; Rabbi, M.A., Hebrew Union College, NY; B.A., The Johns Hopkins University, Post-graduate study in rabbinics, The Hebrew University and Neve Schechter, Jerusalem.

Rabbi Jeffrey Hoffman  “ Liturgy, Rabbinics
Rabbi-in-Residence, AJR. Rabbi, M.A., D.H.L., Liturgy, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; B.A., SUNY; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, author of curricula in Jewish liturgy for Melton Center at JTS, served as rabbi for twenty years at Congregation Sons of Israel, Nyack, NY.

Varda Hubara  “ Hebrew
Director of Hebrew Studies, Academy for Jewish Religion; M.A., ESL, B.A., Hunter College, NY; past Educational Director, The Mazer School of Religious Studies, Park Avenue Synagogue, New York, NY; Certified Hebrew Teacher.

Rabbi David Ingber  “ Liturgy, Rabbinics
Rabbinic Ordination from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, studied Philosophy and Psychology at New York University, and learned at a wide range of yeshivot in Jerusalem and New York, from the ultra-orthodox Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, through to modern orthodox institutions including Beit Midrash leTorah and Yeshivat Chovovei Torah, served as the Rabbi in Residence at Elat Chayyim Retreat Center for two years. Founder, Spiritual Director of Romemu, New York, NY.

Rabbi Alan Abraham Kay  “ Professional Skills
Rabbi, The Academy for Jewish Religion; Ed.D., New York University; M.A., English, New York University; B.A., Brooklyn College/CUNY; Rabbi of Temple Beth Emeth of Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai, NY; Writer and author of many publications the most recent being, Make Your Own Passover Seder: A New Approach to Creating a Personal Family Celebration.

Cantor Lisa Klinger-Kantor  “ Nusah
Dean of Admissions, AJR. Hazzan, The Academy for Jewish Religion; M.A., Performance of Voice, New York University; B.A., Voice, Mannes College of Music. Cantor, Shaarei Shalom, Bellmore, NY. Extensive voice practice, teaching the art of singing to Cantors and Rabbis.

Rabbi Dr. Leonard Levin  “ Philosophy, Personal Theology
Rabbi, Ph.D., Jewish Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Brandeis University; B.A., University of Pennsylvania. Author of Seeing With Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish-Jewish Renaissanceand Why God Is Subject To Murphy’s Law; translator of Eliezer Schweid: The Classic Jewish Philosophers and Philosophy of the Bible and Isaac Heinemann: The Reasons for the Commandments; collaborated with Gordon Tucker on A.J. Heschel’s Heavenly Torah.

Rabbi Isaac Mann  “ Rabbinics
Rabbi, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; M.S., Doctoral candidate, Talmud, Yeshiva University; M.A., Medieval Jewish History, Harvard University; B.A., City College; Rabbi, Old Broadway Synagogue, NY; Chaplain, Metropolitan Hospital, NY and Bronx Lebanon Hospital, NY.

Rabbi Aryeh Meir  “ Mechina
M.H.L., D.H.L., Rabbi, Jewish Theological Seminary; M.S.S., Fordham University; B.A., University of Buffalo; Rabbi of West Clarkstown Jewish Center, Rockland County, NY; member, Rabbinical Assembly; former national staff member of the American Jewish Committee; authored a number of publications on Jewish communal issues.

Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky  “ Rabbinics
Rabbi, M.A., Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem; Ph.D. candidate Department of Talmud and Rabbinics-JTS; B.A., SUNY Binghamton, NY.; Teacher of Talmud and Halakhah at the Yeshiva of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Joseph Prouser  “ Philosophy
Rabbi, M.A., B.A., Liturgy, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, B.A., Religion, Columbia Unversity; Rabbi, Little Neck Jewish Center, NY; author of Noble Soul (on the Vilna Ger Tzedek), Koach Ha-Berakhah (a Siddur for Birkat Ha-Hammah) and numerous articles; member of the Joint Bet Din of the Conservative Movement; Program Chairman, Jewish Committee on Scouting, Boy Scouts of America.

Dr. Ora Horn Prouser  “ Bible
Executive Vice President, The Academy for Jewish Religion; Academic Dean, Professor of Bible, The Academy for Jewish Religion; Ph.D., B.A., Bible, Visiting Assistant Professor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; B.A., Columbia University; graduate studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; published numerous scholarly articles.

Rabbi Douglas Sagal  “ Professional Skills
B.A., History, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, M.A.H.L., Rabbinic Ordination, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, New York, Master in Sacred Theology, Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. Rabbi, Temple Emanuel, Westfield, NJ.

Rabbi David Schuck  “ Professional Skills
Rabbi, Jewish Theological Seminary ‘ Rabbinical School, Awards: Lillian M. Lowenfeld Prize in Practical Theology, Israel H. Levinthal Prize in Homiletics; B.A., Political Science, BA Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University, Awards: High Honors. Rabbi, Pelham Jewish Center, Pelham, NY.

Cantor Rena E. Shapiro  “ Cantillation
Cantor, The Academy for Jewish Religion; M.S. Education, Western Connecticut State College; B.S. cum laude Psychology, Jackson College, Tufts University; Cantor, Temple Beth-El, Poughkeepsie, NY; founder/conductor of Shalom Singers Community Choir and Quartet; Healing Service leader, Vassar Temple, Poughkeepsie, NY; Conductor, Board of Directors, Dutchess Interfaith Council, Poughkeepsie, NY; Cantor-in-Residence for choral workshops; concert violinist, Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach-Handel Festival Orchestra; private instructor.

Dr. Diane M. Sharon  “ Bible
Ph.D., M.A. Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; M.B.A., Finance, New York University; B.A., English Literature, SUNY at Stony Brook; former Assistant Professor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; taught comparative religion and Hebrew Bible at Fordham University, General Theological Seminary (Episcopal), the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning, and at other institutions of higher learning. Past Director of Curriculum Development for Hadassah-WZOA, after serving as National Education Director of Young Judaea, the Jewish Zionist Youth Movement of Hadassah. Author of Patterns of Destiny: Narrative Structures of Foundation and Doom in the Hebrew Bible, and the forthcoming JPS Commentary on Judges, as well as many scholarly articles.

Rabbi Leonard Sharzer  “ Bio-Ethics
Rabbi, M.A., Jewish Theological Seminary, M.S. (Surgery), University of Iowa Graduate College, A.B., Boston University College of Liberal Arts, M.D., Boston University School of Medicine. Senior Fellow in Bio-Ethics, Finkelstein Institute of Religious and Social Studies, JTS.

Cantor Murray E. Simon  “ Liturgy
Cantor, Music, Hebrew Union College; M.A., Boston Conservatory of Music; B.A., Sacred music, Hebrew Union College; B.A., Music in Performance, Temple University; Cantor, The Jewish Center, Princeton, NJ.

Rabbi Brent Spodek  “ Professional Skills
Rabbi, M.A., Jewish Theological Seminary, Thesis: The Jewish Response to Poverty: A Theology of Justice; Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, B.A., Wesleyan University, B.A., Political Theory; University of Wisconsin ‘ Madison. Rabbi-in-Residence and Director of Jewish Communal Relations, American Jewish World Service.

Hazzan Ramon Tasat  “ Cantorial Studies
Trained at the Manuel de Falla Conservatory and the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Argentina, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; Cantor, Shirat HaNefesh, Montgomery County, MD; President of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music; Musical advisor of the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Music Festival; and board member of the American Friends of Neot Kedumim; Internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, arranger and choral director.

Rabbi Bonita E Taylor  “ Chaplaincy
Rabbi, The Academy for Jewish Religion; M.A., Education, Columbia University, Hunter College (CUNY); Associate Director of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), The HealthCare Chaplaincy, NYC; CPE Supervisor, ACPE; Spiritual Advisor, Congregation Gan Eden, Maui, Hawaii; Board Member, Certified Chaplain, National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC); Member, New York Board of Rabbis.

Cantor Sol Zim  “ Nusah
Cantorial study at The Jewish Theological Seminary; M.A., New York University; B.A., Brooklyn College; Cantor, Hollis Hills Jewish Center (since 1964, life tenure); master-cantor, master coach, educator, concert performer, international recording artist of twenty cassettes and cd’s featuring all original music; Zimray Ent., Publisher, eleven books of original music used by rabbis, cantors and educators, The Cantors Assembly has endorsed Cantor Zim’s Shabbat Anthology ‘ A Musical Siddur as the standard synagogue music of Conservative congregations throughout America.