Judaism. In recent years, Nir has been active in frame-
works promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue,
particularly in the context of the Jewish-Palestinian
conflict. He works as a teaching fellow in Prime, a
research institute, and is beginning his tenure as the
rabbi at the Neve Hannah institution in Kiryat Gat.
Orna Piltz
was raised and educated in the Neve Magen
neighborhood of Ramat Hasharon, which at the time
was populated by families serving in the Army. The Yom
Kippur War and War of Attrition were formative influ-
ences. After a year of study at Bruria College in
Jerusalem, she served as a teacher-soldier in Moshav
Sde Trumot in the Beit Shean Valley and as a brigade
education officer in the north. Upon completing her
military service, Orna returned to Jerusalem, received
her B.A. in English Literature at the Hebrew University,
and worked as a teacher, journalist covering women’s
issues, and award-winning writer of essays and stories
for adults and children. In 2000 she moved to Beit
Daniel and took on the position of program director.
During her rabbinical studies, Orna taught in Beit
Midrash programs in IMPJ congregations, at community
centers, and at Alma College, where she previously had
taught lifecycle ceremonies and edited the book
She was awarded her M.A. in Comparative
Literature at Tel Aviv University in 2004. Over the
past two years, she has concentrated mainly on leading
groups for mothers and daughters about to become
bat mitzvah
a program for the IMPJ’s Education
Department that she has been introducing to teachers
and implementing at schools, and which provided the
subject for her rabbinical thesis. During her final year
of rabbinical studies, she joined the staff of the HUC-
JIR Education Department and taught in the Israeli
Rabbinical Program. As a rabbi, she seeks to continue
to develop study groups relating to women’s lifecycle.
Oshrat Morag
was exposed to a pluralistic Jewish her-
itage combined with profound Zionist commitment
through the diverse background of her Orthodox
maternal grandparents and her father’s upbringing at
Kibbutz Kfar Hamaccabi. Oshrat studied at the Reali
High School in Haifa and was a counselor and leader
in the Scouts. Upon completing her military service as
an officer in the Air Force, she received a B.A. in polit-
ical science from the Hebrew University and worked in
the Jewish Agency for Israel as a counselor for groups
from North America visiting Israel. This work exposed
her to egalitarian and liberal Judaism, inspired her to
adopt a Progressive Jewish lifestyle, and led her to
study for an M.A. degree in the field of women’s stud-
ies in Judaism and Bible,
cum laude
at the Shechter
Institute. During her rabbinical studies, Oshrat worked
with empowerment groups for women and
taught youngsters in pre-Army preparatory
programs, led a parents’ group in the pre-school at Kol
Haneshama, volunteered in an organization that helps
children from disadvantaged neighborhoods, and
established a group that visits children in the hospital
on Rosh Chodesh. She wrote her rabbinical thesis on
Poetry as Midrash” and has just begun her Ph.D.
studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati under the supervision
of Professor Rachel Adler in the field of feminism and
Judaism while also serving as a Hillel rabbi in Indiana.
Gili Zidkiyahu
comes from a family rooted in Iraq,
Riga, Hebron, Jerusalem, and Netanya, and her moth-
er’s side of the family is raising the eighth generation
in Israel. Gili’s exposure to issues of faith and tradition
began in the fifth grade, when she was a student in the
first year of the new Tali School in Hod Hasharon and
adopted feminism in defining her beliefs and views.
During her military service she was an education NCO
and later an officer. Her post-IDF trip as an emissary of
the Scouts to the U.S., where she worked in a Reform
summer camp, rekindled dormant religious feelings.
Gili studied for her B.A. degree in Jerusalem and
Haifa and received her M.A. in the Gender Program
at Bar Ilan University. She provided a decade of volun-
teer service at Haifa’s Woman to Woman feminist
center and rape crisis center, and coordinated an
educational program for youngsters to prevent sexual
violence. She found a home in Ohel Avraham
Congregation, and was among the founders of the
seminar center, which later became the Lokey
Intenational Academy of Jewish Studies at the Leo
Baeck Education Center. Together with Ofek Meir she
led the Beit Midrash for Educational Leadership, a posi-
tion that enabled her to learn as she taught. With the
encouragement of Rabbi Dan Pratt, Gili joined the
Israeli Rabbinical Program and began to combine her
feminist activities with Progressive Judaism by initiat-
ing and leading a Rosh Chodesh group for women at
Ohel Avraham Congregation, an experience that pro-
vided the inspiration for her rabbinical thesis. Gili spent
two years as an educational and community emissary
to the Liberal movement in England, during which
time she attended courses in the rabbinical program
at Leo Baeck College. Upon her return to Israel, Gili
served in a rabbinical position in the Open House for
Pride and Tolerance in Jerusalem. She is currently
serving a rabbinical position at Ra’anan Congregation.
Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Annual Report
| Page 19