& Worship Leaders
Rabbi Adina Allen (she/her) is a spiritual leader, writer, and educator who grew up in an art studio where she learned firsthand the power of creativity for connecting to self and to the Sacred. She is cofounder and creative director of Jewish Studio Project (JSP), an organization that is seeding a future in which every person is connected to their creativity as a force for healing, liberation, and social transformation. Based on the work of her mother, renowned art therapist Pat B. Allen, Adina developed the Jewish Studio Process, a methodology for unlocking creativity, which she has brought to thousands of activists, educators, artists, and clergy across the country. A national media contributor, popular speaker, and workshop leader, Adina’s writing can be found in scholarly as well as mainstream publications, and on her website at www.adina-allen.com. Her first book, The Place of All Possibility: a Torah of Creativity will be published this spring by Ayin Press. Adina and her family live in Berkeley, CA.
CNN Anchor and Chief Political Correspondent
Dana Bash is CNN's chief political correspondent, anchor of “Inside Politics with Dana Bash” and co-anchor of “State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash”. Bash is based in Washington, D.C., where she covers both campaigns and Congress and regularly serves as a moderator for CNN's political town hall specials. The great-granddaughter of Holocaust victims and granddaughter of refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe, Dana has spoken and written widely on antisemitism and discrimination in America. Earlier this year, Bash reported from Auschwitz, the concentration camp and killing center in German-occupied Poland where the Nazis systematically murdered approximately one million Jews, including her maternal great-grandparents. Bash is a member of Temple Micah in Washington, DC.
Cantor-Rabbi Shani Ben-Or is the first person to become a Reform ordained cantor in Israel. Her home congregation is Kehilat Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem. She has served in cantorial roles in Israel and around the world: as the cantorial soloist of the United Jewish Congregation in Hong Kong and as student cantor of Central Synagogue in New York. In 2013, she established T’lamim, a community of young Reform Jewish adults in Israel. Together with Boaz Dorot, she is the co-founder of the Nigunim Ensemble, a pioneering ensemble that creates, arranges, and performs sacred music to accompany religious services throughout Israel.
Today Shani runs the Ashkenazi track of Ashira Tehilot at the Schechter Institute Rabbinical School, a hub for community leaders focused on prayer and music. She is also head of multi-cultural programing at Hebrew University, with an emphasis on initiatives bridging gaps between east and west Jerusalem.
Cantor David Berger has been the cantor of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, IL since 2014 and is a member of the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors. He has also served as the cantor of Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah in Manhattan Beach, CA. Cantor Berger is pursuing a PhD at the Chicago Theological Seminary in Medieval Rabbinics. Recognized as an up-and-coming voice in the Jewish musical scene, Cantor Berger has been featured as a soloist and a scholar in residence at the North American Jewish Choral Festival.
Lutheran Pastor, Founder of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver, CO and Author
Nadia Bolz-Weber (she/her) is an ordained Lutheran Pastor, founder of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver, Co, the creator and host of The Confessional and the author of three New York Times bestselling memoirs: Pastrix; The Cranky, Beautiful Faith Of A Sinner & Saint (2013 and re-released in 2021), Accidental Saints; Finding God In All The Wrong People (2015) and SHAMELESS; A Sexual Reformation (2019).
Jennifer Brodkey kaufman
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her) of Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento is the Chair of the North American Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism.
She has served on the URJ Board since 2003, including as Chair of the Commission on Social Action and Chair of the Resolutions Committee, helped develop the URJ Ethics Code, served on the URJ Ethics Council, and is a member of the CCAR’s Task Force on Women in the Rabbinate. She also helped create the Israel and Reform Zionism Committee, and served on the leadership team of RAC-California and on the Camp Newman Advisory Board.
David Broza (he/him) is an internationally renowned Israeli singer-songwriter, recognized for his dynamic guitar performances and humanitarian efforts. His signature sound brings together the influence of Spanish flamenco, American folk, rock and roll, and poetry. Social justice and peace advocacy are embedded in Broza’s work; his 1977 hit song “Yihye Tov” remains an Israeli peace anthem. With over 40 albums released, many of which are multiplatinum, in English, Hebrew, and Spanish, Broza continues to tour globally both as a solo musician and with his various musical projects.
Second Gentleman of the United States
Douglas Emhoff is the second gentleman of the United States. He is married to the 49th vice president of the United States Kamala Harris and is the first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president. In his role, Mr. Emhoff is working to share the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration with the American people. He has met with Jewish communities across the country and the world and has become a leading voice on combating antisemitism and hatred wherever it exists.
Rabbi danIEL Freelander
Rabbi Daniel Freelander (he/him) served as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and as Senior Vice President of the URJ. He has served on the staff of the Reform Movement for over 45 years.
Danny and Cantor Jeff Klepper have composed and performed dozens of familiar Jewish songs as "Kol B'Seder' since 1973, including Shalom Rav and Lo Alecha.
Journalist & Author
David Gregory is an author and journalist. He most recently served as a political analyst and contributor for CNN. He spent nearly twenty years at NBC News, serving as Chief White House Correspondent during 9-11 and for the entirety of the Bush presidency as well as moderating Meet the Press. David is the author of How’s Your Faith, a memoir about his faith journey amid the rough and tumble of broadcast news. David has taught courses about the changing media landscape and its impact on our knowledge and citizenship at Tufts and Georgetown University. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and chairs the Board of Trustees at Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire.
Lawrence A. Hoffman (he/him), professor emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion- New York, is known for his spiritual approach to synagogue consultation. Rabbi Hoffman has written several books, including My People's Prayer Book.
Rabbi Hoffman served as visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame, lectured at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the University of Southern California, and the Yale Divinity School.
In 1994, he co-founded "Synagogue 2000," a trans-denominational project to envision the ideal synagogue "as moral and spiritual center" for the 21st century.
Marques Hollie (he/they) is a theatre artist, storyteller, classically trained musician, and ritualist (currently) based in Philadelphia, facilitating holy sparks globally. Marques was previously a member of the URJ's JewV'Nation Fellowship.
A longtime and devoted creative change agent, Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him) is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Previously, he spent 20 years as a visionary spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple (WRT) in Scarsdale, New York. Before that, during his tenure as the rabbi of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, he created the first homeless shelter in a New York City synagogue. Rabbi Jacobs has studied for two decades at Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute, where he is a senior rabbinic fellow.
Member of Knesset
MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv (he/him) is an Israeli politician and lawyer, serving as the first Reform Rabbi in the Knesset and number three in the Israeli Labor Party. Previous to his Knesset term, Rabbi Kariv was the President and CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ). For the last 20 years, Rabbi Kariv has been an active and committed member in the IMPJ. Rabbi Kariv also previously served as the Associate Director of the Israel Religious Action Center.
Rabbi Kariv was a very active member in the Constitution Committee, which worked on creating a Constitution for the State of Israel. He has also served as a Board member of the Joint Institute for Jewish Studies, established by the Jewish Agency, following the recommendations of the Ne'eman Commission on conversion. In addition, he served as a Board member of Hemdat: The Israel Association for the Promotion of Freedom of Science, Religion and Culture. Rabbi Kariv currently sits on the board of Panim: For Jewish Renewal Organization, an advocacy organization working to promote pluralistic Judaism in Israel, and also serves on the Executive of the WZO, and Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
RABBI Esther L. Lederman
Vice President, Leaders in Action, URJ
Rabbi Esther L. Lederman serves as Vice President of Leaders in Action at the URJ. Prior to that role, she was the URJ’s Director of Congregational Innovation & Leadership. From 2009-20015, Rabbi Lederman was the Associate Rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, DC. She was ordained in May 2008 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from McGill University. Rabbi Lederman sits on several boards: T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Habonim Dror Foundation, and Ameinu. She also serves on the board of the Federation of Greater Washington. She makes her home in Arlington with her two children and husband, Scott Gant, a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and a proud alum of NFTY!
Executive Director, Aspen Institute's Religion & Society Program
Simran Jeet Singh is the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program and the author of a national bestseller, The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life. Simran’s thought leadership on bias, empathy, and justice extends across corporate, university, and government settings. He writes regularly for major news outlets. In 2020, TIME Magazine recognized him as one of sixteen people fighting more a more equal America.
The original songs of Cantor Jeff Klepper (he/him), such as the universally beloved ‘Shalom Rav,’ are known throughout the Jewish world. He was one of the first cantors to champion congregational singing and to use a guitar in Jewish worship.
In 2005, he received an Honorary Doctorate from HUC-JIR in recognition of his 25th year in the cantorate. Jeff is a past-president of the Chicago-Milwaukee Association of Cantors, and a member of the American Conference of Cantors, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and CAJE.
Senior Minister and Public Theologian, Middle Church, NYC
The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D. (she/her) uses her gifts as author, activist, preacher, public theologian toward creating an antiracist, just, fully welcoming society.
Dr. Lewis advocates for racial equality, gun control, economic justice, equal rights for all sexual orientations/genders and marriage equality. Dr. Lewis created two national television programs: Just Faith on MSNBC.com and Chapter and Verse at PBS. Her books include The Power of Stories; Ten Essential Strategies (with John Janka); Becoming Like Creoles (with Curtiss de Young, et al); and a children’s book, You Are So Wonderful!
Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA. Rabbi Mates-Muchin focuses her efforts in serving her community through worship, pastoral care, social justice work, and encouraging the recognition of the vast diversity within the Jewish community. As the first Chinese American Rabbi, she has spoken broadly on the changing nature of the American Jewish community and how established Jewish institutions can become more inclusive.
URJ Vice President, Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Yolanda Savage-Narva (she/her) is the assistant vice president of Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) for the Union for Reform Judaism. For more than 20 years, Yolanda collaborated with Tribal governments to strengthen public health systems, promoted pedestrian safety and advocacy and coining the phrase, “Walking is a civil right,” and advancing health equity in states and territories. Most recently, Yolanda was the executive director with Operation Understanding DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting understanding, cooperation, and respect while fighting to eradicate racism, antisemitism, and all forms of discrimination.
Julie Silver (she/her) is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music. She tours throughout the world, and has been engaging audiences with her lyrical guitar playing and dynamic stage presence for nearly twenty years.
By the time she was 18, she was leading raucous song sessions throughout the Reform Jewish movement. She has released some of the most successful albums of original Jewish music (Together, From Strength to Strength, Walk With Me, and Beyond Tomorrow). Her songs have become woven into the fabric of American Judaism that they have become “standards”.
Peri Smilow (she/her) is a contemporary Jewish music composer/performer/recording artist and national touring musician. She has enjoyed a 25+ year career travelling both within the US and internationally using music as a tool for social change and Jewish connectivity.
Peri is also an educator and non-profit entrepreneur with experience creating, running and consulting to change-making non-profit organizations. Peri currently serves as the Executive Director of the Shards of Light Foundation and as Artist-in-Residence at Hevreh of Southern Berkshires in Great Barrington, MA. She is a board member of Music to Life, a non-profit organization connecting socially conscious musicians with the mentors, resources and training needed to realize their bold visions for community change. Peri is proud to be the recipient of an ARZA lifetime achievement award.
Rabbi Ariel Tovlev (he/him or they/them) is an educator, poet, public speaker, and spiritual seeker. He has an MFA in poetry from Chapman University, a MAJE from HUC-JIR, and is a life-long student of Mussar. They have been published in Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells, Prophetic Voices: Renewing and Reimagining Haftarah, and The First Fifty Years: A Jubilee in Prose and Poetry Honoring Women Rabbis. Rabbi Tovlev lives with his spouse Cantor Ze’evi Tovlev in the DMV.
Cantor Rosalie Will (she/her) is a communal prayer consultant and scholar-in-resident, founder and Executive Director of Sing Unto God, author of Songleading: A Work of Art, and a consultant to the URJ. She brings more than 25 years of experience in training songleaders, leading worship, and creating singing communities. Rosalie mentors clergy in the field and consults on issues of worship, music, and synagogue transition and change.
From 2001 until 2017, Cantor Will served as Cantor of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland. She was ordained from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of HUC-JIR in New York and served as Vice-President for Member Relations of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC).
Cantor Natalie Young is an award-winning composer whose music is being used by communities all over the world. Her gift for writing beautiful and memorable melodies has made prayer experiences accessible for worshippers young and old. The power of music is something she takes seriously not just in her music writing, but how she connects with people and crafts services as a cantor. Natalie proudly serves as the cantor at Beth Emet the Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL. She is also privileged to be able to share her musical gifts and teachings with communities as a cantor/composer-in-residence throughout the year.