The Rabbinic Chavurah
The Rabbinic Chavurah is a radical new program in synagogue leadership with this principle at its core: that our community will flourish by the wisdom(s) of a plurality of voices rather than one. We believe that a multiplicity in perspective gives rise to the abundance of discourse and more holistic learning.
Coordinated by our Core Rabbi, Zach Fredman, the Rabbinic Chavurah brings rabbis and wisdom teachers from diverse fields with various arena of expertise to share their approach within the vision of The New Shul.
BKS Music Teacher
Eran was Born and raised in Kfar-Saba, Israel, and in 2012 moved to New York City to complete his studies at the “New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music”. After graduating with excellency from the prestigious “Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts” (Givataim/Israel) in 2009, Eran served 3 years in the Israeli Defense Force as an “Excellent Musician”, a status awarded to him by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
Throughout his career he has collaborated with artists such as Jimmy Cobb, Mulgrew Miller, Sam Yahel, Yaron Gershovsky, Hollywood Anderson, Israeli mainstream artists Shlomo Gronich and Marina Maximilian Blumin, and many more. Also, he was one of the three guitarists (from all over the world) chosen to participate at the 2014 “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” artist residency program at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C, and has performed in festivals and venues in NYC as well as worldwide.
In May 2014 Eran graduated with honors from the “New School”, and is currently working as a full time performer, educator, band leader and recording artist.
Rishonim Tefillah Leader
Megan Sass is storyteller, musician, and teacher. She is a member of Storahtelling/LabShul, and also works with Temple Emanu-El, SAJ, and The JCC in Manhattan. She has worked as a song leader at several summer camps, including Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, IN, Passport NYC at the 92nd St. Y, and Camp Yomowha with The Washington Heights Y.
Arnan Raz is a music educator, Hebrew teacher and a Jazz musician. Originally from Merhavia Kibbutz, Israel. Arnan holds a degree in Music Performance from The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Arnan has been teaching Saxophone and Music in several schools around Israel such as Boyer School (Jerusalem), the prestigious MATAT camp of music and many others.
In New York, Arnan is also a music and Hebrew teacher at the Sephardic community center in Brooklyn. In addition, he is a Jazz performer that preforms his own music, along with many different musicians.
Jean came to The New Shul with background studio managing for photographers, most notably for New Shul member Marty Umans! Prior to that, she worked as a theatrical costume designer and stylist for photography, television commercials and films.
Big Kids Spirituality
Anielle Fredman is a graduate of Vassar College, where she studied religion, music, and education. Nowadays, she spends her time in various educational settings with Jewish children. In addition to teaching at The New Shul, Anielle works with Bar- and Bat-Mitzvah students in preparation for their personal ceremonies. During the week, she works at the NY Psychiatric Institute/Columbia researching child development and trauma. Anielle plans to eventually go back to school for a degree in child psychology.
Joy comes to The New Shul with an extensive background in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, with expertise in operations, client support, team building, marketing and development. Raised in Massachusetts, Joy grew up as a member of a Conservative shul and attended weekly Hebrew school. Joy has since been involved with numerous Jewish organizations both on professional and personal levels.
Joy attended Boston University, earning degrees in Psychology and Business Administration. Throughout her career, Joy has played a leading role in the growth and sustainability of programs on local, national and global levels.
Beyond Joy’s professional capability is her ‘glass half-full’ nature, her enthusiasm for making meaningful connections, a deep passion for enriching and sustaining the Jewish community, and her commitment to tikun olam including her volunteer efforts with sick children and Holocaust survivors.
Joy currently lives in Manhattan and is thrilled to be a part of The New Shul community.
From the beginning, Ellen Gould’s mission as Musical Director/Cantor has been to make the New Shul a singing community. “We don’t have a choir, we are the choir.”
Says Ellen, “I don’t need the attention of a solo singer –- I’ve been a performing professional for most of my life. My goal is to share with the community the joy of full-throated and full-hearted expression of the spirit that can only come through the use of its own voice.”
In the world of theater, Ellen is best known for her double Emmy award-winning musical “Bubbe Meises, Bubbe Stories.” Her many other performance credits include leading roles in productions from Lincoln Center to The Public Theatre, as well as featured roles on HBO, PBS-TV, and NPR. Her writing credits include “Confessions Of A Reformed Romantic,” “Seeing Stars,” “The Glass House,” and “Blessed is the Match” — all of which received New York productions.
Following the Off-Broadway run and national tour of “Bubbe Meises,” Ellen continued to perform the show for Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout the U.S. This experience renewed her interest in Jewish communal life. It also raised the question — “why can’t modern ritual be as transformative as theatre?” In 1999, Ellen co-founded The New Shul (with long-time friend and musical collaborator Holly Gewandter) where she continues to work on the answer.
A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Ellen is a graduate of Brandeis University, has an MFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was the recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship in ethnomusicology.
Niles Elliot Goldstein
Niles Elliot Goldstein is Rabbi Emeritus of The New Shul, where he served as its spiritual leader from its founding in 1999 until 2009. Prior to The New Shul, Niles was a senior fellow at CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a program officer at The Steinhardt Foundation, and the assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in New Rochelle. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the New York Board of Rabbis.
Niles is the author or editor of nine books, including the award-winning Gonzo Judaism: A Bold Path for Renewing an Ancient Faith, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Forward, and Moment. He has been featured and interviewed in Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Report, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The Jewish Week, and Beliefnet, as well as on domestic and international television and radio.
Niles served as the voice behind “Ask the Rabbi” on the Microsoft Network. He is the national Jewish chaplain for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Niles holds an honors B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and received an M.A. and his Ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Niles teaches across the country and abroad on issues in mysticism and spirituality, values and leadership, the environment, and on new models for religious life in the 21st century.
Rabbi James Ponet
Currently the Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain, Emeritus, at Yale University, James Ponet served as director of Yale Hillel and Jewish Chaplain at Yale from September 1981 until July 2015. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale in Religious Studies and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained in 1973. After his ordination, Rabbi Ponet and his wife Elana lived and worked in Israel for eight years during which time the couple had three children. Ponet taught at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, the Shalom Hartman Institute, pursued doctoral work in medieval Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University and served in the IDF Artillery. Rabbi Ponet currently teaches a course entitled “The Book of Job and Injustice” at Yale Law School.
Reb Shir Yaakov Feit
Shir Yaakov is a rabbi, singer, composer, designer, producer, teacher and Aba. Shir Yaakov blends ancient and emerging wisdom to create a spiritual cultural Judaism that is contemporary, alive, and innovative. Shir Yaakov holds non-denominational rabbinic ordination, and works in formal and informal educational settings as a rabbi, teacher, and musician. Whether as Romemu’s Creative Director, lifecycle officiant, stage artist performing with The Epichorus or Darshan; in synagogues,yeshivas, and intentional communities around the world; and in Jewish, multi-faith, and non-affiliated spiritual contexts, Shir Yaakov weaves a tapestry of Kabbalistic wisdom, contemporary songwriting, and deep personal spirituality. He has recorded and released four albums of original music. As a spiritual leader, he facilitates ritual in a variety of contexts, from Chabad houses to multifaith, LGBTQ, & permaculture communities.
Rabbi Jonah Geffen
Rabbi Jonah Geffen serves as Rabbinic Director at J Street. He spent two years singing, davening, meditating and teaching as Rabbinic Fellow at B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side. For nearly ten years Jonah has dedicated himself to teaching and promoting the cause of peace as refracted and understood by the Jewish tradition. He served as Senior Coexistence Educator for Kivunim, was a Senior Educator for the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution’s Rodef Shalom program, and has been a trip facilitator and leader of the Peacemakers’ Beit Midrash with Encounter. Jonah attended Young Judaea Year Course, was a Kollel Fellow at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, and a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. Jonah received his BA in History and Jewish Studies from Indiana University, an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and received an MA in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Mama, teacher, speaker, and co-author of Art of Attention, Elena has taught yoga since 1999. After graduating from Cornell University in 1992 with a design degree, she worked as a textile and apparel designer for 6 years, and has been studying with master yoga teachers since 1997. Influenced by several traditions, Elena offers yoga and meditation as a way to approach our world with realistic reverence and gratitude. Her classes are a masterful, candid blend of artful alignment and attention cues for your body, mind and heart. As the Executive Producer of On Meditation, Elena is curating a film project about the relevance and benefits of meditation. She’s contributed to Yoga Journal, Yoga International, Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Well and Good NYC, Positively Positive, The Chalkboard Mag, TheDailyLove, and Elephant Journal, and current classes are available on YogaGlo.com.
Rabbi Stone Goodman
Rabbi James Stone Goodman serves Congregation Neve Shalom in St. Louis, Missouri. He is from Detroit, Michigan. He is a writer and musician who integrates story, poetry, and music in an incantational performance art form, producing seven CDs to date, the most recent Book of Healing. He founded One Life – Whole World Project, serving the underserved: addictions outreach, prison project, and mental illness support. He recently finished an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. His work can be sampled through two websites: www.stonegoodman.com and www.neveshalom.org.
Rabbi Zach Fredman
Rabbi Zach Fredman is at the cutting edge of Jewish meaning-making and creativity. He serves as rabbi and music director at the New Shul, a downtown community renowned for its dynamic programming, which seeks to envision how ancient and modern wisdoms can create a place for thriving Jewish investigation and congregation.
In 2011 Zach founded the Epichorus – an ensemble playing Middle Eastern roots music. Sounds from 1960’s Egypt, religious songs from Syrian Jews, Sufi trances and classical Arabic standards all find their way together. The Epichorus has carved a unique niche in the music of the East, and is joined now by Bollywood superstar, Priya Darshini. They will release their sophomore studio offering in 2016.