Ruth Adar is a Reform rabbi, a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and an active participant in the East Bay Jewish scene since 1993. She is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Adar was on the National Outreach Staff for the Union of Reform Judaism, a position that attuned her to interfaith issues. She is well acquainted with both the Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions, as her studies at the University of Chicago were in History of Christianity and History of Religions.
Noa Albaum has spent the past decade working in the field of Jewish education and Jewish experiences. She currently serves as the program coordinator for the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco and as director of volunteer engagement for RUACH: Emotional and Spiritual Support. Noa holds a B.A. in English literature and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and is an alumna of the year fellowship at Yeshivat Hadar. She has also studied at the Drisha Institute, the Tikvah Center, and the Graduate Theological Union. Noa and her spouse, Ben Kramarz, helped found and host the Berkeley Kollel. In her spare time, Noa enjoys hiking, making use of libraries, and playing the cello.
Deena Aranoff is Faculty Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She teaches rabbinic literature, medieval patterns of Jewish thought, and the broader question of continuity and change in Jewish history. Her recent publications engage with the subject of childcare, maternity and the making of Jewish culture.
Tikva Farber is a winner of The 2016 Helen Diller Award for Excellence in Jewish Education (San Francisco-Bay Area and Sonoma County). She has taught Hebrew and Judaic Studies for over 30 years. Tikva teaches adults, teens, and children of all ages and focuses on Biblical, Prayerbook, and Modern Hebrew.
Rabbi Nicki Greninger is Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA. Rabbi Greninger was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Teaching. She was ordained as a Rabbi in 2008 from the New York campus of HUC-JIR, where she also earned a Masters of Arts in Religious Education. Rabbi Greninger serves on the Presidents Rabbinic Council of HUC-JIR, is the Northern California coordinator of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and previously served as a Co-Team Leader of Professional Learning for the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.
Darren Kleinberg received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Arizona State University, where he explored the intersection of sociology and theology through the prism of American Jewish identity. During the 19-20 academic year, he was a Visiting Scholar with the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is the author of Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg, Encounter, and the Changing Nature of American Jewish Identity. An ordained rabbi, Darren is the newly appointed CEO of HaMaqom | The Place.
Raizy Lichtenstein has taught Judaic Studies and English Literature in a wide variety of educational settings. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the Hebrew University. Raizy worked this year as a Jewish educator at HamaQom and Edah, and was a Senior Fellow at the Atiq Maker Kollel. She will teach Jewish Studies at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay starting this fall.
Robert Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Asian Studies and Latin American studies, and pursued doctoral work at Stanford University in religious studies, with a specialization in modern and contemporary Jewish thought. In 1999, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied at the Marshall Meyer Latin American Rabbinical Seminary and conducted research on religious and cultural identity within the Argentinian Jewish community. Over nearly two decades, Robert has taught students throughout the US, Latin America, and China as a college instructor, classroom teacher, and tutor. He currently serves as Director of Admissions at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, CA.
Etti Tassa has taught Hebrew language in the United States for 45 years. In addition to teaching at Jewish Day Schools around the Bay Area, she also taught at the UCSF summer Ulpan last Summer. She is passionate about connecting with and supporting her students as they explore the Hebrew language, and always makes sure to build community in her Hebrew classroom.
Ilan Vitemberg was born and raised on Kibbutz Megiddo in the Jisrael Valley in Northern Israel. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of the District of Columbia, with a degree in Theatre Arts focusing on the use of drama in Informal Education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults both as a formal and informal teacher. In 1999 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he immersed himself in finding new, creative ways to teach Judaism, Israel and Hebrew to people of all ages. Between 2002 to 2006 he was the director of the Diller Teen Fellows program and a Teen Program Consultant at the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco. Between 2002-2017 he was the Director of the Israel Education Initiative and Director of Education Support Services at Jewish LearningWorks. Currently he is a freelancer and an educational consultant locally and nationally. He lives in Oakland with his husband Peter with whom he also acts and performs as a member of the Up A Tree Puppetry duo.
Tamar Zaken, Associate Director, joined HaMaqom | The Place, in Spring, 2019. Tamar grew up in Oakland and moved to Israel as a teenager. For many years, Tamar directed service learning programs at Memizrach Shemesh, the Center for Jewish Social Activism based in Jerusalem. She graduated from the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received a MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York.
Most recently, Tamar served as the Shamash Resident at the JCC of the East Bay and as interim Director of New Generations at the New Israel Fund in San Francisco. She lives in the East Bay with her husband and two daughters. In her spare time, Tamar translates Sephardic Rabbinic texts to expose English speaking audiences to their inspiring message of inclusion and justice.