Elad Nehorai has spent most of his adult life creating and nurturing communities. From the time he started a small online arts magazine (before such a thing was common) in college, to his efforts as an online marketer for startups, to his viral campaign "I Have A Therapist," to his present-day work with Hevria, a community for creative Jews, and Torah Trumps Hate, a community for progressive orthodox Jews, Elad cares about nothing more than connecting people who are desperately looking for a community that doesn't exist in the physical world.
Avram, like his namesake Abraham, says that as Jews our task is to be the boundary crossers and to push for what is needed and what is right - rather than what is easy and what is acceptable. Base Hillel presents a new model of young adult engagement for people that want ancient Jewish ideas + rituals but in modern spaces. It is a space to explore the things that mean the most to them and to see how their friends and ancestors wrestle with those ideas as well.
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the President & Dean of the Valley Beit Midrash (Jewish pluralistic adult learning & leadership), the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek (Jewish Social Justice), the Founder and CEO of The Shamayim Institute (Jewish animal advocacy), the Founder and President of YATOM, (Jewish foster and adoption network), and the author of sixteen books on Jewish ethics. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America and the Forward named him one of the 50 most influential Jews.
Alexander Zeldin is the former Senior Communications Associate at the American Jewish Committee (AJC). He is currently a strategic planning senior analyst for American Express. Alex graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Political Science. As talented and creative as he is in his day job, Alex is also an active writer and political pundit. You can find his work in publications such as The Jewish Daily Forward and Tablet Magazine. You can always reach out to him directly at his Twitter account: @Wonko_the_sane_ just be sure you are bringing your A-game, because he sure will be.
We began our conversation with a bit of myth-busting. When some imagine communities in Africa it is easy to envision a dusty village by the side of the road. Rabbi Elie talked about the diversity in the many global Jewish communities. Some are, indeed, subsistence farmers while others work in the medical field and are very much connected to the broader world through more traditional avenues.
Bluth is currently studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Har El, a co-ed Orthodox Rabbinical program in Jerusalem. She is the Founder and Educational Director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a program for Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice volunteer work, focused on Jewish learning. Born in Toronto to two amateur Klezmorim, Bluth lives in a plant-filled home in Yafo.
Working in the school system, and conducting suicide risk assessments almost once every other week, Dr Natalya Bogopolskaya was interested in better understanding what protective factors communities can help build in its members to better cope with stressors, mental health illnesses, and traumatic events as well as what kind of negative life events people are truly wired to handle.