Biographies of Presenters

BIOGRAPHIES OF OUR PRESENTERS

 

Joey Baron.  Eight years ago, Joey gave up an increasingly meaningless career as an advertising creative director to start the Boston Jewish Music Festival with Jim Ball whom he had never even met.  Little did he know this would lead him down a never-ending path of exploring and advocating for a more innovative approach to Jewish culture in Greater Boston and beyond.  Now the Artistic Director of the Jewish Arts Collaborative, he has been a community organizer, kite salesman, flower deliverer, teacher, dorm director, occasional uber driver, and aspiring professional hearts player. Joey grew up in Mattapan, now lives in West Roxbury, and is eternally grateful to be a member of the Temple Aliyah community.

Steven Baum.  Steve received a degree in Cultural Anthropology and then used his marketable skill, fast typing, to enter the field of programming.  He eventually found his way Kurzweil Computer Products, the developer of the first reading machine for the Blind. While there, he also helped start Kurzweil Educational Products.  He played a leading role in the development of a reading machine software for the Blind, and also a reading assistant and educational scaffolding tool for people who can see, but cannot fluently read. He currently serves as a Vice President of Engineering at Kurzweil.  A past president of Temple Aliyah, Steve, his wife Lynn (to whom he is ecstatically married) and his son Nathaniel (of whom he is the proud father) have been enthusiastic members of Temple Aliyah for twenty years.  Steve is a frequent Torah reader at Temple Aliyah.

Julie Berger.  A long-time member of Temple Aliyah, Julie Berger has guided many families through the pre-planning and arranging of funerals for their loved ones and friends.  Prior to returning to school in 2002 to become a funeral director, she worked at Temple Emanuel and the JCC.  Julie has been a licensed director since 2008.   

Dr. David Bernat, Ph.D.  David is the Executive Director of Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and a Lecturer in Judaic Studies at UMass Amherst.  He is the author of Sign of the Covenant, and co-editor of Religion and Violence: The Biblical Heritage. David lectures actively in New England and in the Tri-State area, is a Meah faculty veteran, and has planned and led Israel tours with an archaeological focus.  An active outdoorsman, David also leads the Ropes and Challenge Course at the JCC’s Grossman Day Camp.  David has been a member of Temple Aliyah for many years.

Sabrina Burger.  Sabrina Burger lived in Israel for 12 years, where she studied English literature and linguistics at Hebrew University and attended the Bezalel School of Art and Design. She studied Rabbinic texts and Hasidic philosophy at the Nishmat Center for Advanced Torah Studies and Midreshet Bat Ayin.  Sabrina has taught for Ikkarim, Pathways, Ma'ayan and in private classes, where she integrates Torah, art, and parenting skills.

Jevin Eagle.  Jevin is a long-standing member of Temple Aliyah and a third year Rabbinic School student at Hebrew College.  In his prior business career he was Partner at consultancy McKinsey & Company, Senior Executive at Staples, and CEO of DavidsTea.  Jevin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Carter's, Inc. Jevin taught Kevah and Kavannah at Temple Aliyah this past summer to much critical acclaim.

Rabbi Leslie Gordon.  Rabbi Gordon, Temple Aliyah Rabbinic Associate, received her Rabbinic Ordination and Master of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  Rabbi Gordon has been an active member of the Temple Aliyah community since 1991, teaching and leading numerous classes and workshops.  She has served as our Interim Rabbi twice during Rabbi Perkins' sabbaticals, the interim Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Sharon and the Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Lowell.  Rabbi Gordon, the recipient of many awards, also teaches several conversion classes and classes for Jews by Choice in the Boston area.

Hannah Greenberg, ScD.  An epidemiologist, Hannah conducts clinical research on risk factors for chronic diseases, with primary areas of focus in environmental and dietary predictors for neurological diseases and the long-term effects from exposures early in life. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, to name a few, she has published extensively and presented a major medical conferences in the U.S. and internationally.  She is the founder of A Green Slate, a consulting company that helps families choose safe and healthy products for their homes. She and her family are new to our congregation. 

Rabbi William Kaufman, Ph.D.   Rabbi Kaufman, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary with a Masters of Hebrew Letters, and obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Boston University.  He served several synagogues and then found his spiritual and professional home at Temple Beth El in Fall River, where he served for twenty-five years (until retirement) and remains as Rabbi Emeritus.  Rabbi Kaufman has worked as an adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Rhode Island College, has published many articles, and is the author of seven books, including Contemporary Jewish Philosophies.  He and his wife Nathalie have been proud members of Temple Aliyah for almost a decade.

Alisa Levine.  Temple Aliyah's Director of Education, Alisa has worked for decades in the Greater Boston Jewish community, serving as Director of Education at Temple Israel of Sharon, Program Director at the Striar JCC in Stoughton, Jewish Family educator in Lexington, and as a teacher at several congregational schools and at The Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston.  Alisa holds a Masters Degree in Jewish Education and a Certificate in Jewish Family Education from Hebrew College.  She has been a member of Temple Aliyah for several decades, served as a past Sisterhood President, and raised her family in this, her spiritual home.

Keith Lewinstein, Ph.D Keith is Professor and Chair in the History Department at Bridgewater State University.  His research and teaching focus on Middle Eastern history, with particular attention to the early formation of Islam.  When not at work, participating in far too many meetings at synagogue, or enjoying his family, Keith sits at home awaiting invitations from friends to hike or attend Red Sox games.  Keith and his family have been members of Temple Aliyah since 2001.

Naomi Litrownik, MSW.  For several years, Naomi has brought her many decades of professional experience to enhance the spiritual life at Temple Aliyah.  A social worker by trade, Naomi has extensive training and experience in couples’ conflicts, the impact of illness, issues of aging, and stress management. She has also given numerous workshops on a wide variety issues.  In addition to holding an MSW, Naomi is certified as a Level I and II EMDR clinician and completed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Practicum at UMA Medical Center, Worcester.  Naomi has been a member of Temple Aliyah for many years, attends services regularly, and is a frequent Torah reader and Haftorah chanter.

Rabbi Carl M. Perkins. Rabbi Perkins, Temple Aliyah’s spiritual leader since 1991, was ordained and awarded a masters degree in Talmud and Rabbinics from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  Before pursuing the rabbinate, Rabbi Perkins practiced law for several years in Boston.  Rabbi Perkins teaches and lectures widely in the Boston area and is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. He is the author of the revised edition of Embracing Judaism and also of many articles, sermons in various journals, and responsa published on the Jewish Values Online website.

Elana Kling Perkins, LICSW.  Elana specializes in psycho-educational workshops and courses for parents of Jewish children, for those choosing Judaism, those in interfaith relationships, and grandparents of interfaith children. She has also served as a consultant to congregations, schools, and other agencies about increasing their welcome, better serving existing members, and sexual abuse in the Jewish community.  Elana has worked extensively as a therapist in the Boston area.  She is a co-founder of Perspectives: Jewish Living through the Lifecycle, which incorporates a Jewish dimension and sensibility in helping people successfully navigate life transitions.  Elana has been a member of the Temple Aliyah community for almost twenty five years.

Devora Rohr, Temple Aliyah Shabbat Educator. Devora attended Solomon Schechter Day School (Philadelphia) and Camp Ramah in the Poconos.  She spent a semester at Tichon Ramah Yerushalim (Ramah High School in Jerusalem), and a junior year abroad at Hebrew University. After college graduation, Devora served with City Year Boston in a K-8 school in Roxbury, worked at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland as the Education Office Administrator, and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Jewish Education at Hebrew College.  Devora and her wife Stephanie live in Newton with their child, Yona Aliza.

Harvey Shapiro, Ph.D. Dr. Harvey Shapiro is Clinical Associate Professor at Northeastern University where he has taught in the fields of education and Jewish studies, a combination reflected in the title of his recent book, Educational Theory and Jewish Studies in Conversation: From Volozhin to Buczacz (Lexington Books). Previously, he served as Associate Professor of Jewish Education and Dean of the Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College, prior to which he was the principal of two Jewish day schools and the director of a Jewish summer camp. He has published many articles in a variety of academic journals and awaits the 2017 publication of his latest book The Handbook on Violence in Education: Forms, Factors, and Preventions (Wiley Blackwell). Members of Temple Aliyah since 2003, Harvey and his wife Abby, an English teacher at Gann Academy, have three sons: Micah, David, and Daniel.

Michelle Silberman.  A certified Yoga and Pilates instructor, Michelle founded Temple Emanuel’s Yoga for the Soul Minyan.  She has been a Yoga and Pilates instructor for many years.

Marjorie Sokoll, MSW Marjorie is the Director of Jewish Life and Healing at Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston and the founder and director of JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections. In addition to her MSW, Marjorie holds a Certificate of Thanatology from the National Center for Death Education, and is a certified Reiki practitioner. She is a founding partner at the Kalsman Institute for Judaism and Health HUC-JIR and has been involved with Mayyim Hayyim since its inception.   Marjorie has studied in Israel and has lectured widely on Jewish healing, end-of-life, and bereavement.

Rabbi Donald Splansky, Ph.D.  Educated at Columbia College and Hebrew University, Rabbi Splansky was ordained and obtained a Ph.D. in rabbinic literature at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  Now retired, he served congregations in Cincinnati and Temple Beth Am in Framingham, and sat on the faculty of St. Marks School in Southborough.  He is married to Greta Lee and is the father of three children, including Temple Aliyah's Karen Farbman.

Erela YahalomErela Yahalom received her Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.  She was a flute teacher in the Performing Arts Department at the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna. She played with the Yad Harif Chamber Orchestra in Jerusalem, performed throughout Israel with the Tzafon woodwind quintet, and performed on stages around the world with the Jerusalem Folklore Ensemble. Erela is passionate about music and the Hebrew language, and has taught extensively and at many levels in various educational settings in the Boston area.