InterfaithFamily’s Rukin Rabbinic Fellows

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Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship

We’re excited to introduce you to our 11 InterfaithFamily Rukin Rabbinic Fellows who began the Fellowship in March 2019. They are available to connect with couples in Boston; Houston; Los Angeles; Montreal, Canada; Omaha; Philadelphia; Fort Lauderdale, FL; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis; and West Palm Beach, FL. You can also connect with people in our innovation hubs in Atlanta, Chicago and Boston and our affiliate in Cleveland. If you aren’t in one of these communities, contact us at rabbi@interfaithfamily.com.

IFF Rukin Rabbinic Fellows

All of our Rukin Fellows have a great deal of training and experience working with interfaith couples. Our fellows offer workshops and programs for seriously dating, engaged and newly married interfaith couples who do not yet have children. They are here to provide guidance and to help you find a welcome path into the Jewish community and access to inclusive resources.

In the 11 cities where we have Rukin Fellows, you can access:

  • Meetups for interfaith couples to socialize and discuss relevant issues
  • Workshops for seriously dating, engaged and newly married couples to reflect on their backgrounds, their differences and similarities and discuss their hopes, plans and dreams for the future
  • One-on-one consultations with a rabbi who can help answer your questions
  • Referrals to local organizations that welcome interfaith couples and families

You can read the eJewishPhilanthropy announcement here.

Are you a rabbi who’s interested in applying to be part of the next cohort of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship?  If so, click here for more information.

Inaugural Cohort (2019-2021)

Rabbi Max Chaiken (Los Angeles, CA)

Rabbi Max ChaikenOrdained in 2018 at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, Rabbi Max Chaiken serves as the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, CA. There he directs The Open Yad Project, a community of folks in their 20s and 30s, among other rabbinic responsibilities.

Rabbi Chaiken enjoys writing, especially music and poetry, and lives with his husband, Rabbi Danny Shapiro, and their dog, Oogie (short for Cookie Monster, in Hebrew!). As an InterfaithFamily Fellow, Rabbi Chaiken hopes to spark couples’ curiosity and love of Judaism, helping create ways to make our ancient tradition a meaningful part of contemporary life.

Rabbi Laura Rumpf (San Francisco, CA)

Rabbi Laura RumpfLaura Rumpf grew up in a loving interfaith home in San Francisco, CA, and graduated from Stanford University. She is happy to be back in her native Bay Area post-ordination from Hebrew Union College. Laura currently serves as a congregational rabbi at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, and delights in the diversity of ways her job calls her to engage her spiritual curiosity—from leading workshops on resilience for teenagers, to organizing interfaith social justice efforts.

Laura is particularly excited to participate in the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship, given that a meaningful thriving interfaith home helped her decide to become a rabbi. She looks forward to benefiting from the insights and experience of her fellow fellows, and to getting to know Bay Area couples and families of all faith backgrounds.

Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Rabbi Cheryl JacobsRabbi Cheryl Jacobs is the Director and co-founder of ISH, a welcoming, non-denominational spiritual service grounded in Jewish wisdom. Rabbi Jacobs creates an open dialogue with spiritual seekers everywhere and offers innovative resources to enable every individual to create the spiritual life that works best for them.

A graduate of William Smith College, she received a Master’s of Divinity from Yale University and Rabbinic Ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary. A chaplain for law enforcement, Rabbi Jacobs is committed to embracing interfaith families within Jewish life. Rabbi Jacobs is married to Rabbi Andrew Jacobs and mother to Abigail and Jonah. She is so honored and excited to be able to learn from her teachers and colleagues in the IFF Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship Program!

Rabbi Cookie Olshein (West Palm Beach, FL)

Rabbi Cookie OlsheinOrdained in 2008, Rabbi Cookie Lea Olshein is in her seventh year as the Rabbi of Temple Israel of West Palm Beach, Florida. A lawyer in Las Vegas for 10+ years before entering rabbinical school, she was ordained by HUC-JIR (LA). Her professional passions include teaching adult education, leading congregational Jewish music, bringing awareness to social justice issues, creating interfaith opportunities for dialogue and worship and facilitating workshops on spirituality in everyday life. She looks forward to meeting her new cohort and is excited to deepen her interfaith work through learning best practices to better serve the community.

 

Rabbi Braham David (Boston, MA)

Rabbi Braham DavidRabbi Braham David has proudly served as Director of the Jewish Discovery Institute (JDI) since 2007, expanding innovative interfaith outreach and conversion programming on behalf of the Conservative Movement in Boston. Since 2003, Rabbi David has also served as Rabbi of Temple Shalom in Medford, MA, an intimate and welcoming egalitarian Conservative congregation outside Boston. While there, he has envisioned and supported the Temple’s successful renewal process with a focus on welcoming young families, social action and dynamic interfaith outreach initiatives.

Rabbi David received his ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. He is delighted for the opportunity to serve as a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow with IFF to learn how to better serve interfaith couples in our Jewish communities.

Rabbi Karen Bogard (St. Louis, MO)

Rabbi Karen BogardKaren Bogard grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and graduated from Newcomb College at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She then continued her studies at the rabbinical school of Hebrew Union College (HUC) where she met her husband, Daniel Bogard. After ordination at the Cincinnati campus they began sharing a pulpit at Anshai Emeth in Peoria, Illinois. After five amazing years in Peoria, Karen and Daniel continued their co-rabbi model at Adath Israel in Cincinnati, Ohio, for two years. Karen is so excited to now be serving Central Reform Congregation and living in St. Louis. Through the various congregations, Karen has spent much time developing programs for multi-faith families; something she loves doing and feels passionate about. She is excited to work with InterfaithFamily and the rest of the fellowship cohort because she wants to continue to find meaningful ways to connect with multi-faith couples and families as well as broaden her programming knowledge and meet other people who are passionate about this work.

Rabbi Steven Abraham (Omaha, NE)

Rabbi Steven AbrahamRabbi Steven Abraham is the Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in Omaha, NE. Steven graduated from the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also received a M.A. in Jewish Education. Prior to attending JTS, he earned his B.S. in Business Management from the University of Baltimore. Most recently, Rabbi Abraham earned a Certificate from the Interfaith Families Engagement program at Hebrew College.

Rabbi Abraham currently sits on multiple boards including the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands and the national board of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He is married to Shira J. Abraham. They have two children, Naama (7) and Leor (4). Rabbi Abraham is excited to work with like-minded colleagues in the IFF Fellowship to learn best practices for today’s couples.

Rabbi Elyssa Cherney (Philadelphia, PA)

Rabbi Elyssa CherneyRabbi Elyssa Cherney leads lifecycle rituals for couples and families in Philadelphia who aren’t affiliated with a particular synagogue. The most important aspect of her work is helping others mark time through rituals big and small. She created the website tacklingtorah.com to help people connect their Judaism to holy moments in their lives. She looks forward to helping others explore how to talk about Jewish traditions in interfaith homes as a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow with InterfaithFamily! She is grateful to her husband Alan and daughter Ava Jane for supporting her in this work.

 

Rabbi Boris Dolin (Montreal, Quebec)

Rabbi Boris DolinRabbi Boris Dolin is the rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal, Quebec. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and received an M.A. in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Before moving to Montreal, Boris served as the rabbi of Beit Polska, the Union of Progressive Congregations in Poland, where he led a multi-congregational community working to help rebuild Jewish life in Poland. His rabbinate has focused on bringing participatory music, experiences in nature, interfaith dialogue and creative spirituality to his congregants. Boris lives in Montreal with his wife Sarah and his children Elijah, Ezra and Nehama. He is excited to represent Canada in the first Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship cohort, and hopes to help create a more welcoming and inclusive Jewish community in Montreal and in Canada.

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss (Houston, TX)

Rabbi Hausman-WeissRabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss was ordained by HUC in Cincinnati, OH, with an MA in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters. He studied at HUC in Jerusalem and LA, as well as the UJ Rabbinic program. In his first pulpit at Temple Emanuel as the Rabbinic Director of Education and Outreach, he served the Jewish community of Birmingham, AL, for 12 years. Rabbi Scott is the founding Rabbi of Shma Koleinu in Houston, TX.  Shma Koleinu is a synagogue without walls, membership or dues. They serve all Jews, Jewish families and those who love them, without requiring a financial or membership commitment.

Rabbi Scott is excited to join the pilot InterfaithFamily Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship cohort because he loves the work he does as a Rabbi in serving all families. He especially loves serving interfaith families because they are often the most open to what Judaism, Jewish ritual and tradition can offer.

Rabbi Daniel Weiner (Seattle, WA)

Rabbi Daniel WeinerSenior Rabbi Daniel Weiner believes passionately in building Judaism for the 21st century and in healing the world through social justice. Temple De Hirsch Sinai has grown to more than 5,000 members and 1,600 families in two campuses in Seattle and Bellevue since he took charge in 2001. His innovations in worship include producing “rabcasts” on video, bringing services to travelers and shut-ins on the internet and leading a rock band in popular Rock Shabbat services. He tweets @rocknrabbidanny.

Rabbi Weiner is married to Cindy Tepper Weiner. They are the proud parents of Julia and Benjamin.  He frequently enjoys the glorious climes of the Pacific Northwest while walking their black lab, Sadie. Rabbi Weiner is profoundly grateful and honored to serve as a Rukin Fellow with InterfaithFamily, an organization that sensitively and insightfully responds to the critical needs of a growing part of the American Jewish community.

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About InterfaithFamily

InterfaithFamily is the premier resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our new Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship will provide offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have suggestions, please contact network@interfaithfamily.com.