Each Nehirim retreat features a mix of Nehirim staff, Nehirim core faculty, and guest teachers and scholars in residence from around the Jewish (and non-Jewish) worlds. Nehirim’s faculty includes some of today’s most innovative thinkers in the Jewish world: rabbis, bestselling authors, members of the “Forward 50,” and up-and-coming teachers and scholars who combine spiritual depth with intellectual rigor, accessibility with sophistication.
Core Faculty Members
S. Bear Bergman
S. Bear Bergman is a writer, a theater artist, an instigator, a gender-jammer, and a good example of what happens when you overeducate a contrarian. Ze is also the author of Butch Is a Noun (Suspect Thoughts Press, 2006) and three award-winning solo performances, as well as a frequent contributor to anthologies on all manner of topics.
Marla Brettschneider is Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire with a joint appointment in Political Science and Women’s Studies. She has just stepped down from her post for many years as Coordinator of Queer Studies to take on the Coordinatorship of Women’s Studies. Marla has written widely on Jewish politics, queer and other diversity matters; er most recent book The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives (SUNY 2006) won an IPPY (Independent Book Publishers Award) in the GLBT category.
David Dunn Bauer
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer is the Director of West Coast Programming for Nehirim and brings to his work over 20 years of professional theater experience, nine years in the congregational rabbinate, and 20 years of yoga practice, as well as academic study on sexuality and spirituality. David earned his B.A. in Theatre Studies and English Literature at Yale University, studied Talmud at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinical ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In 2011, he became the first Jew to earn the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, writing on “Blessings for the Erotic Body” and Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics. David interned at CBST in New York and from 2003 to 2010 served as the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Amherst, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Based now in San Francisco, he has a private practice in Queer Spiritual Counseling.
Rabbi Dev Felder Noily
Rabbi Dev Felder Noily develops readings of Jewish text and tradition to serve queer Jewish lives. A long-time member of Congregation ShaĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ar Zahav in San Francisco, Dev has served as a student rabbi there, as well as for LGBT-founded Jewish communities in Atlanta, GA and Amsterdam, Netherlands. She currently offers spiritual care in the transgender communities of Philadelphia, as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, and serves as rabbinic intern at Congregation Beth El of Bennington, VT. Dev also works with the Jewish Dialogue Group, facilitating conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other controversial issues.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ph.D.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She is also the director of Tel Shemesh, a website and community celebrating earth-based Jewish traditions, and the co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a training program in women’s spiritual leadership. Rabbi Jill Hammer was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. She also holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Connecticut. She is the author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons (Jewish Publication Society, 2006) and Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (Jewish Publication Society, 2001).
Shoshana Jedwab is a prize winning Jewish educator and the Jewish Studies Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel Middle School in NYC. She is the founding facilitator of the Makom Drum Circle at the JCC in Manhattan and is a percussionist and performance artist who has trained in bibliodrama and psychodrama. Shoshana has provided empowering drum circles to singles, student, training, and bereavement groups. Shoshana has performed with: Storahtelling, Chana Rothman, Debbie Friedman, Akiva Wharton, A Song of Solomon, Hebrew Mystical Chant with the Kirtan Rabbi, Andrew Hahn, and Tel Shemesh seasonal events.
Daniel Max is a Nutrition and Health Counselor, Shiatsu Practitioner, and Yoga Instructor. He began his studies in holistic health in Israel, his home country. Leaving Israel, Daniel traveled through Far East Asia studying various modalities of healing arts such as Chinese medical and Indian Ayurvedic therapies. Once settling in the US, Daniel completed his studies in the fields of shiatsu, nutrition and health counseling. Daniel is a graduate of Columbia University affiliated Institute of Integrative Nutrition and of the former Boston Institute of Shiatsu. Daniel is a nationally certified massage therapist as well as certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
Andrew Ramer lives in San Francisco. He writes a column, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Praxis,Ă˘â‚¬Âť for the gay menĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s spirituality journal, White Crane. He is the author of the groundbreaking gay classic,Two Flutes Playing and his next book, Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories, is forthcoming from Suspect Thoughts Press.
Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D.
Jacob J. Staub, Ph.D., was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1977 and has been on the faculty since 1983 (including 15 years as academic dean). Today, he serves as chair of the Department of Medieval Jewish Civilization, professor of Jewish philosophy and spirituality and director of the Jewish Spiritual Direction Program, which he was instrumental in developing. Spiritual direction is a contemplative practice that helps individuals discern GodĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s presence in their lives.
StaubĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s own spiritual quest led him to complete certification in mindfulness leadership training with Sylvia Boorstein, a widely respected teacher of mindfulness meditation. He teaches meditation and spirituality at RRC and has taught Jewish spiritual direction across North America, and served in 2008 as the Conference Spiritual Director for Spiritual Directors International.
Staub is the co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach and the author of The Creation of the World According to Gersonides. He has published over 100 articles on contemporary Jewish life and thought, queering Judaism, and medieval Jewish civilization. He is also a published poet.
Additional Faculty Members
Rebecca Alpert East2009
Rabbi Joel Alter QSNY2007 East2009 East2010
Rabbi Camille Angel West2009
Danny Arguetty Mens2011
Dr. Caryn Aviv QSNY2009 West2009
Dr. Zvi Bellin East2010 Gathering2011 QSSF2011
Gabriel Blau East2005 East2006 QSNY2007 QSNY2008
David Brodsky East2008
David Brody East2010
Ali Cannon QSSF2011
Rabbi Ayelet Cohen QSNY2009
Rafi Daugherty East2008 East2009 Men2010
Gregg Drinkwater West2008 QSNY2007 QSNY2009 Mens2011
Noach Dzmura East2006 West2008
Karen Erlichman West2008 West2009
Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell East2010
Becky Emet East2o1o
Sara Felder QSNY2007 West2008
Rabbi Rafael Goldstein QSDC2010
Miryam Kabakov Womens2009
Eli Kaplan-Wildmann East2008 East2009 East2010
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum QSNY2009
Shira Kline QSNY2007 Womens2009 Womens2011
Miryam Klotz Womens2010
Ilana Kramer East2010
Rabbi Elliot Kukla West2008 West2009
Professor Joy Ladin Womens2010 Womens2011
Sarah Lefton QSSF2011
Rabbi Joshua Lesser West2009
Rabbi Jane Littman West2008
Judith Z. Miller Womens2011
Ken Page East2005 East2006 East2007 East2008 East2009 East2010
Professor Ann Pellegrini QSNY2007
Vinny Prell QSNY2007 QSNY2008 QSNY2009
Rabbi Dawn Rose East2008
Day Schildkret West2009
Naomi Seidman QSNY2007
Shawn Shafner Mens2011
Nurit Shein East2010
Dr. Barbara Siminovich-Blok Womens2011
Jhos Singer West2008
Gella Solomon Womens2011
John Stasio East2009 Gathering2010
Laura Evonne Steinman East2008 East2009 Womens2009 Womens2011
Max Strassfeld West2009
Rabbi Julia Watts-Belser East2006 West2008 West2009
Alex Weissman East2010
Joe Weston Mens2011
Rabbi Alyssa Wise East2010