Announcing the 2023-2024 Teaching Impact and Jewish Ideas Fellows

January 3, 2024

This fall, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion welcomed 42 incredible fellows from across North America to two selective year-long fellowships, the Teaching Impact Fellowship and Jewish Ideas Fellowship.

HUC-JIR’s School of Education (SOE), in partnership with the Office of Recruitment and Admissions (ORA), began its third iteration of the Teaching Impact Fellowship with 14 college-aged fellows. Led by Teaching Impact Fellowship Director Caryn Roman ’17 (MARE), the experience includes monthly learning sessions with HUC-JIR faculty and small-group mentorship from SOE alumni.

The fellowship was created after SOE and ORA recognized a pipeline gap in the cultivation of future Jewish educational leaders. While many college students and young adults choose to teach in religious schools, they (like other part-time Jewish educators) generally lack access to extensive professional learning, resources, and ongoing supportive mentorship in their settings.

Roman explained, “Our hope is that providing a positive and transformative professional development experience for these young adults now will encourage them to continue assuming professional or lay leadership roles in the Jewish community in the future. In this way, the Teaching Impact Fellowship offers value to these teachers, their learners, congregational educators, and our field of Jewish education as a whole.”

Investing in Jewish supplementary school teachers is important and necessary work for the future of Jewish education. Throughout the Teaching Impact Fellowship, teachers develop and deepen their pedagogic knowledge and skills, grow as educators and leaders, and build and strengthen their professional network. Teaching Impact Fellows have access to professional learning and leadership development with our world-class faculty, mentorship, and coaching with leading Jewish educators in the field, and a supportive cohort of peers.

In her application for the program, fellow Eliana Grossman, who teaches at Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, CA, noted, “Over the past few years, I have found that learning and simply existing in Jewish spaces is immensely meaningful and beneficial for not only my education but my personal growth as well. I am so excited to have another meaningful learning experience centered around Judaism with peers who share similar ambitions with me.”

Rabbi Laura Novak Winer ’95, Ed.D., MAJE ’94, Director of the Master of Educational Leadership Program (MEdL), shared, “This fellowship is responding to a real need in congregations and Jewish educational settings. It is an opportunity to provide fundamental learning and mentorship to young adult novice teachers who are curious about teaching and learning and seeking opportunities to grow. It also opens doors into the field of Jewish education and Jewish educational leadership. It is our hope that the fellows will walk through those doors as they consider the next steps on their professional journeys.”

Teaching is a challenging endeavor, yet it can be a deeply rewarding experience with the right support in place. We are thrilled to support a program that provides talented teachers with invaluable knowledge and skills, fosters their personal and professional growth, and helps launch the beginning of their Jewish leadership journey.

The Jewish Ideas Fellowship, led by Rabbi Rachel Gross-Prinz (MARE) ’16 ’19, Jewish Ideas Fellowship Director and Dean of Students at HUC-JIR in New York, is for early career Jewish leaders who want to dive into Jewish learning, improve their leadership skill set, and test new ideas in their communities. The 28 fellows, as part of its second cohort, hold an informal or formal leadership role or are seeking to grow and serve their local community more deeply.

Rabbi Gross-Prinz says, “The beauty of the Jewish Ideas Fellowship was summed up best by one of our fellows who wrote the following blessing for our study together: ‘Blessed are you Adonai, divine one, who gives us the power to contemplate and connect all at once.’ This blessing captures the dual goals for the fellowship; to learn Torah and contemplate the challenges of Jewish leadership while also building a generative, nurturing network of connections with peers across the country.”

She adds, “We gathered for the first time after October 7th and having this space now seems even more essential. Our bi-weekly time together has been grounding and a source of light at an otherwise devastating and disorienting time.”

As a personalized experience, participants experiment with skills and new ideas in their local community or organization, with support from peers and mentors; learn fundamentals of Jewish text, history, and philosophy from scholars and thought leaders; and co-create a community that prioritizes learning and growth.

Fellows describe themselves as committed to meaning-making in the Jewish community, advocates of innovative Jewish futures, and passionate about fostering accessible Jewish spaces. The fellows are selected for their extensive involvement in community organizing as well as professional and volunteer leadership at nonprofit organizations across North America. This rich background sets the stage for enlightening and meaningful discussions during every convened meeting.

A Jewish Ideas Fellow from the first cohort said, “I often would go it alone before and now am very committed to maintaining the networks of fellow leaders that I’ve built through this fellowship and building new networks wherever I go. The constructive feedback, pushback, and ideation in our Adaptive Leadership sessions and chevruta were amazing! I also got a better sense of what is going on in the broader world of Jewish creatives and I am so grateful for that.”

These fellows, each nominated by a supervisor or leader in the field, were selected from a competitive pool of qualified candidates. Fortified with the skills and networks of the program, they will be better prepared to fulfill their Jewish leadership path.

Introducing the 2023-2024 HUC-JIR Teaching Impact Fellows

Camila Brown, Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA
Parker Geffen, Congregation Beth Israel, Bellingham, WA
Kellan Moss, Congregation Beth Israel, Bellingham, WA
Lillian Feldman, Temple Sinai & Congregation Beth-El, Berkeley, CA
Jordan Hoffman, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Cincinnati, OH
Noah Shapiro, Temple Micah, Washington, DC
Macey Schwartz, Jewish Explorers & Temple Sinai, Denver, CO
Jessica Winograd, University of Florida Hillel, Gainesville, FL
Lily Harris, Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA
Amanda Taylor, Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, NJ
Jordan Davidson, Temple Emanu-El, San Diego, CA
Sofia Fichera, Shomrei Torah, Santa Rosa, CA
Estie Spike-Neaman, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle, WA
Eliana Grossman, Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego, CA

Info graphic with photos of Teaching Impact Fellows 2023-2024


Introducing the 2023-2024 HUC-JIR Jewish Ideas Fellows

David Eden “Ed” Abraham, New Orleans, LA
Julian Albright, St. Louis, MO
Lucy Beckett, Springboard Ezra (Jewish Education) Fellow at Hillel at UCLA and Moishe House Resident, Los Angeles, CA
Jacob Brickman, Jewish Education Coordinator at Western Hillel, London, ON, Canada
Becca Carin, Springboard Ezra Fellow at Boston University Hillel, Boston, MA
Daniel Crasnow, Ezra Jewish Education Fellow at Mizzou Hillel, Columbia, MO
Grace Elizabeth Dy, Events and Outreach Manager for the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Zoe Felber Bluffestone, Springboard Intrapreneurship Specialist at Hillel of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Sophie Friedman, Ezra Jewish Education Fellow at Hillel at FSU, Tallahassee, FL
Jason Goodman, Senior Associate for Program Development at AJC’s Project Interchange, Washington, D.C.
Jade Gordon, Springboard Social Justice Fellow at Tulane Hillel and Moishe House Resident, New Orleans, LA
Sarah Gronlund-Jacob, Community Liaison for Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, Los Angeles, CA
Zachary Harper, Service Leader at Solel Congregation, Mississauga, ON, Canada
Gabby Helf, Events and Engagement Coordinator at Mount Zion Temple, Saint Paul, MN
Jessi Hersman, Education, Engagement, and DEI Coordinator at Temple Beth-El, Northbrook, IL
Ethan Hughes, Executive Assistant and Special Events Coordinator at Ish, Cincinnati, OH
Rose Kantorczyk, Communications Associate at SOJOURN, Houston, TX
Josh Kauffman, Active Duty Service Member and Graduate Student, Augusta, GA
Sam Kauffman, Division of Finance and Administration Director at the Administrative Office of the Courts, Little Rock, AR
Lilian Kleinberg, Religious School Teacher and Administrative Assistant at Temple Sinai, Brookline, MA
Chloe Koren, RN Coordinator, NM
Kenneth Lyonswright, Senior Director of Liturgical Music and Pastoral Care at Congregation Sukkat Shalom, Wilmette, IL
Jo Matta, Springboard Ezra Jewish Education Fellow at University of Pennsylvania Hillel, Philadelphia, PA
Yaffa Muhlbaum, Springboard Social Justice Fellow at Oberlin College Hillel, Oberlin OH
Jesse Rothschild, Associate General Manager of Audible Theater at Baseline Theatrical, New York, NY
Hannah Snyder, Program Associate at Berkeley Hillel, Berkeley, CA
Maddie Solomon, Assistant Director of Jewish Outreach & Partnerships at the Anti-Defamation League and Moishe House Resident, Boston, MA
Jordan Wade, Communications and Member Engagement Manager at Judea Reform Congregation, Durham, NC

Info graphic with photos of Teaching Impact Fellows 2023-2024