Dr. Martin O. Cohen has lectured once a month for the past two decades on Jewish history and bible at the Orangetown Jewish Center, and has taught at other synagogues and Jewish culture clubs. He taught Jewish history for three semesters at the Reuben Gittleman Hebrew Day School. Dr. Cohen is a mainstay instructor with the Learning Collaborative at New City Jewish Center and with the Road Scholar (nee Elderhostel) summer program. Dr. Cohen has been a faculty member at Midreshet Rockland for many years.
Rabbi David Berkman has served the New City Jewish Center since his ordination in 1991. Originally from Chicago, the rabbi grew up in a home that was deeply committed to the social justice message of the 1960s era Reform Movement. Rabbi Berkman's somewhat unconventional path to the rabbinate began at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA. Working primarily with interactive sound sculpture and performance art, his work frequently carries political undertones and social commentary. Holocaust imagery also, plays an important role in his personal vision and has found expression in many of his "live" pieces as well as in prints, drawings and poetry.
Rabbi Joshua Finkelstein joined Montebello Jewish Center with over twenty years of pulpit experience within the Conservative Movement serving congregations in New York and New Jersey. He received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York. Rabbi Finkelstein was a Visiting Lecturer at JTS, where he taught the first-year seminar required of all rabbinical students guiding them to recognize and communicate the meaning and vitality of Jewish rituals and texts.
Leslie Goldress has taught Melton and Midreshet since their inception in Rockland. A Jewish educator for over 40 years, she has a graduate degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Leslie served as Educational Director of the NCJC for over 20 years. She has taught Dramas of Jewish Living, a Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning core class, Melton graduate courses on American Jewish Experience, Contemporary Jewish Issues, Israel, and the Development of the Jewish Denominations.
Dr. Rabbi Jill Hackell received her M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and practiced pediatrics for several years. She worked for over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, where she did clinical research on new vaccines for children. She was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical school. Rabbi Hackell is the rabbi at the West Clarkstown Jewish Center and has been on the faculty of AJR.
Sharon Halper has been in the field of Jewish education for three decades, first in the field of informal youth education and as a Reform congregational educator and then as a Melton Adult Mini-School Teacher and Director. Sharon has also served as regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Reuben Modek serves as spiritual director of Hebrew Learning Circles, and Makom HaLev Community in Nyack, NY. Ordained by both the Aleph Semicha Program and The Academy for Jewish Religion, he has served as the Rabbi and Educational Director for a number of Renewal and Conservative communities since 1990. A native Israeli, Rabbi Modek has led programs on Jewish Spirituality and Torah in Israel, Germany, England and the US. He is the author of the innovative Legacy Passage Bar/t Mitzvah Program, celebrating a child’s whole self, and served as educator in the Solomon Schachter Day School system. Rabbi Modek has studied closely with the Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi. He continues Rabbi Schachter’s legacy of an open-minded Judaism for the 21 st Century