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Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance JOFA board bios

Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham is a physician and member of the Orthodox clergy. She has taught Torah and Talmud in both formal and informal settings ranging from the Drisha Community Beit Midrash and Jofa conferences, to Jewish community centers, synagogues and college Hillels. She also serves on the board of Uri L'Zedek. Carmella earned her BA degree from Barnard College and her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. At Mount Sinai, Carmella did her residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Women's Health. Afterwards she practiced at the Mount Sinai Women's Health Program with a dual appointment in Medicine and Ob-Gyn. In 2017, she was ordained by Yeshivat Maharat. Carmella currently works at a Pharmaceutical company in Medical Affairs specializing in Women's Cancers. 

Allie Alperovich is a partner at Ropes & Gray. Allie and her husband, Dr. Jeremy Simon, live in New York City with their daughters Emma and Hannah. Allie is actively involved in Jofa and is a member of its executive committee and serves on the Jofa Journal editorial board. Allie and her family are long-standing members of Darkhei Noam on the Upper West Side, where Allie served as treasurer and co-chair (twice).  She also serves on the board of American Friends of Itim.
Roselyn Bell is editor of the Jofa Journal. She lives in Highland Park, NJ, with her husband, Eli Leiter, and is the mother of three children, Daniel, Elisheva, and Alex Baskin, and proud grandmother of Ezra and Asher Stein. Roselyn was formerly the publications director of American Jewish Committee, and also edited publications for CAJE (Jewish Education News) and Hadassah (Hadassah Magazine). Roselyn also completed an M.A. in Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

Dr. Gail (Giti) Bendheim is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York. She takes a special interest in advanced women’s education both in America and Israel.  She was a founding member of The Orthodox Caucus, and serves on the Board of Education at SAR Academy, the board of Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University, and the Jofa Advisory Board.  She has also been an involved participant in Drisha and Matan. She chairs the Yoetzet Halacha Committee for American Friends of Nishmat. Dr. Bendheim writes occasionally on topics related to women and Judaism, and lives with her husband in Riverdale, New York.


Rachel Berke is a past President of the Akiba Academy of Dallas Board of Trustees and was a Trustee of Yavneh Academy of Dallas. She currently practices corporate and real estate law.  Previously, Rachel was an attorney at the New York and Dallas offices of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and in-house counsel for both Blockbuster Inc. and TXU Energy. Rachel is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and Cardozo School of Law.

Sarah Blechner is a Sr. Manager of Marketing and Creative Strategy for Charter Communications. She has worked in marketing and advertising for over 15 years with experience in branding, creative strategy, digital and social marketing, direct response and event marketing. In the past, she was the Marketing lead for the Jofa conference, creating a campaign that generated word of mouth buzz and press coverage with its edgy tone.

Sarah and her husband Josh are from New Rochelle, NY, and they are part of the leadership of the local partnership minyan, Kol Echad. Sarah was part of the founding committee for The Women’s Initiative for Jewish Studies, an organization within the Young Israel of New Rochelle. Her children, Leora (12), Eli (10), and Aliza (6) attend SAR Academy. Sarah was a member of the Board of Education from 2014-2017. She’s been a parent liaison and has served on multiple committees contributing marketing expertise. 


Behnam Dayanim is a partner at Paul Hastings, where he chairs both the firm's Advertising, Gaming, and Promotions practice and its Privacy and Cybersecurity practice.  Behnam has had extensive leadership experience in the Jewish community. He is currently treasurer and member of the executive committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, and treasurer and member of the boards of both Start Up Shul and PORAT.  Behnam is a past president of the board of Berman Hebrew Academy, was founding chair of the Lay Advisory Council to the Beltway Vaad of Greater Washington, and served as a national vice president and member of the executive committee of the Orthodox Union.  He also is an actor, appearing in the feature Renegades: The Requiem (Parts 1 and 2). Behnam and his family live in Silver Spring, MD.  

Paula Eiselt is an award-winning filmmaker and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in Film Production and Cinema Studies. Her feature film debut, 93QUEEN, premiered at the 2018 Hot Docs International Canadian Film Festival followed by an Academy Award qualifying national theatrical release in over 25 U.S cities.

93QUEEN was broadcast nationally on PBS’s POV, as well as, ARTE in France and Germany, UR in Sweden and yes Docu in Israel.

Previously, Paula was a POV/Wyncote film fellow, Sundance Documentary fellow and IFP Documentary Lab fellow. Her work has been supported by major film and arts institutions including PBS/ITVS, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, the International Documentary Association, and the New York State Council of Arts among others. 


Paula is currently an artist in residence at Concordia Studio founded by Laurene Powell Jobs and Academy Award winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim where she is developing her latest feature documentary. She is also serves as Senior Creative Consultant for the Maimonides Fund’s  inaugural Jewish Writers Initiative    

Paula lives in Teaneck, NJ with her husband David and their three children: Avinoam (10), Yoli (8) and Libbie (3). 

Sylvia Barack Fishman, Ph.D., is the Emerita Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life in Brandeis University's Department of Near Eastern Judaic Studies; and was the founding Co-Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She is the author of eight books--most recently Love, Marriage and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, and numerous articles about the sociology, literature and culture of American Jews, and the relationship between Israeli and American Jews. She currently serves as a Senior Research Scholar for ISGAP (Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy), and is Associate Editor of the Brandeis Series on American Jewish History, Culture, and Life. Prof. Fishman, who received her undergraduate degree from Stern College for Women and her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, is married to Philip Fishman and has three children and eight grandchildren. 
Blu Greenberg, Jofa’s founding president, has been involved in Jewish feminism for four decades. She was Conference Chair of both the first and the second International Conferences on Feminism and Orthodoxy. She chaired the NY Federation Task Force on Jewish Women and the AJC National Jewish Family Center, and was president of the Jewish Book Council. Dialogue is another long standing passion of hers, and she has participated in various inter- and intra-faith projects. Blu serves on the editorial board of Hadassah Magazine and the advisory board of Lilith. Blu is married to Rabbi Irving Greenberg; they have five children and 23 grandchildren.

Pam Greenwood initiated Jofa's Joan S. Meyers Torah Lending Project and serves as the current program coordinator. She has mentored many communities regarding the formation of women's tefillah groups. Pam was also the chair of the 2017 Jofa Conference.  Pam holds a B.A. from Columbia College, engaged in postgraduate study at Pardes and completed her M.S. in occupational therapy at Columbia University. She and her husband, Rabbi Matt Greenwood, are the parents of four children and they divide their time between West Orange, NJ and Jerusalem.

Dr. Mindy Feldman Hecht, EdD, Jofa board president, lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband and children. She is an active member at Darkhei Noam and is deeply committed to the promotion of partnership minyanim. Mindy received her doctorate in Applied Exercise Physiology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she researched innovative ways to improve school-based physical activity and cognitive outcomes in underserved populations. She currently serves as a full-time lecturer in the Biobehavioral Sciences Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. Mindy also serves on the Advisory Board of Hip Hop Public Health, a nonprofit that promotes health literacy. Previously, she served as the Chief Compliance Officer for Uri L'Zedek's Tav HaYosher (Ethical Seal) Restaurant program in NY. Mindy graduated from Columbia University with a BA and has a Master’s in Public Health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia. She is also an alumna of Migdal Oz.

Judy Heicklen, past Jofa board president, earned a BA in Economics from Princeton University and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She is a Managing Director at Credit Suisse and the mother of five daughters and three sons.  She also serves on the Boards of the Center for Jewish Life- Princeton Hillel and the International Beit Din.

Evan Hochberg is Associate Vice President, Israel and Overseas, at The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Evan commenced his career at the Anti-Defamation League. He has served as a law clerk at the Maryland Court of Appeals and the South African Constitutional Court, a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and Senior Counsel at the Legal Counsel Division of the New York City Law Department. Prior to his position at JFNA, he was Director of International Special Projects at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), where he served as Chief Operating Officer at the World Jewish Restitution Organization. Mr. Hochberg graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University and cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Carolyn Hochstadter runs her own law firm, specializing in business and bankruptcy law. She also enjoys engaging with students as an Adjunct Professor for Thomas Jefferson University's Center for Digital Health, teaching a course on the Legal Aspects for Entrepreneurship.  Carolyn sits as an Arbitrator and Mediator for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, handling commercial disputes.  In the international space, she helps clients navigate U.S. law and especially loves to work in their language of choice, including Hebrew, French, Arabic and German.  Carolyn’s firm is certified as a woman owned business enterprise, and she sits on the Certification Committee of WBEC-East.  Carolyn has served on Jofa’s Board of Trustees and Journal Editorial Board for over a decade.  It is in the Jofa spirit that Carolyn has taken on leadership roles as President of Lechu Neranena, her local partnership minyan, and on the Boards of Kohelet Yeshiva and the Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce. She received her J.D. and M.A. from Columbia University, and her B.A. from Barnard College, where she met her ever supportive spouse Adam Dicker. They are the proud parents and grandparents of Michal, Josh and Benny, Shimshon and Zoe, and Yehuda.

Gail Katz is Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for the dental platform of Danaher Corporation. Gail has served on the Jofa board for over a decade and has led the Ta Shma source guide project since its inception. In addition, Gail serves on the Board of B’nai David-Judea Congregation in Los Angeles, CA where she chaired the committee that raised the funds for and recruited Morateinu Alissa Newborn-Thomas to serve as the first female clergy member of the shul. Gail is also on the Board of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills, CA where her interests include working with school leadership on ways to increase female presence and role models on the Judaic studies staff. Gail was a member of the Drisha Board and participated in the Wexner Heritage Program in Los Angeles.  
Dr. Monique (Nicky) Katz retired on June 30, 2015 from the active practice of Radiology, but is currently teaching Anatomy at Columbia University. She is a former Director of Radiology at the Irving Pavilion at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. Nicky originated the design for several pieces of radiological equipment, has published articles in radiology, and has made multiple presentations to the medical societies of which she is a member. Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology, Nicky received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and B.A. from Vassar College. 


Michael Kellman is the Senior Gabbai of the Hebrew Institute of White Plains, a co-Founder of Shira Chadasha of White Plains, and one of the first Co-Chairs of Darkhei Noam in Manhattan. A co-producer of the original JOFA Megillat Esther CD, he has been an active supporter of Jofa since the first conference. Michael consults with companies on how to build better software products. He lives in White Plains with his wife Idana Goldberg and their three feminist children.

Batya S. Levin, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, graduated from Barnard College and practices Elder Law in New York City. She worked as an interviewer on Jofa's Beit Din Study and was a writer and editor of the Jofa Guide to Jewish Divorce and the Beit Din System. Batya chairs the Jofa Agunah Task Force and works with Agunah l'Agunah -- a mentoring group of former agunot.


She also serves on the Jofa Bylaws committee. She is a former President of the Riverdale Seniors Services, a former National Vice-President of AMIT Women and a Vice President of the Riverdale Jewish Community Relations Council. Batya is married and her children and grandchildren live in Israel. In a former life, she was a potter. 

Tamar Lindenbaum is an analyst at Warwick Park Partners, where she focuses on investments in medical technology startups. She attended SAR High School, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, Midreshet Ein Hanatziv, and most recently, Barnard College, where she was the co-chair of the Beit Midrash program. She graduated from Barnard in 2018 with a B.A. in History of Science and Medicine, with a thesis about female medical consumers and patient agency. When she's not adventuring, Tamar lives in Brooklyn with her partner, Sabina.    

Carol Kaufman Newman has served on the Jofa board since its inception in 1997, and served as President from 2003-2010. Long a standard-bearer in championing women's rights and education initiatives in Orthodox Judaism, she was the founding president of the Drisha Institute of New York. She was also a founder of the Women's Tefillah Group of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and was on the board and served as treasurer of the Women's Tefillah Network. Carol Kaufman Newman holds an MA in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education. For a number of years she ran the education/docent program at The Yeshiva University Museum of New York. 
Ann Baidack Pava is the immediate past chair of National Women's Philanthropy of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). During her two-year tenure (2013-2015) she traveled the world speaking to women about their philanthropy and its impact on the Jewish people. Under her leadership the Women's Philanthropy Campaign of the Jewish Federation of North America increased by 3 million dollars. She is a past recipient of the JFNA Kipnes-Wilson Friedland Award for outstanding women philanthropists, the ADL Torch of Liberty Award and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's Lay Leadership Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. A passionate advocate of Jewish Day School Education, she served as the founding president of the Hebrew High School of New England, the region's first Jewish high school serving the communities of Western Massachusetts and Greater Hartford and New Haven Connecticut. She currently serves as an officer of JOFA.


Ann is the current campaign Chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.  She has served on the board of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance since 2003 and was recently appointed to the board of GPATS at Yeshiva University. Ann was also recently appointed to the board of Yeshiva Maharat, the first Orthodox institute to ordain women as rabbis. Ann and her husband Jeremy Pava live in West Hartford, CT. They have three children and a daughter in law, Harvey and his wife Devorah, and Nate and Devorah, both students at Brandeis University.

Dr. Laura Shaw-Frank is the Director of the Contemporary Jewish Life Department at the American Jewish Committee where she works on Israel-Diaspora relations, Israel education, Jewish literacy, and American Jewish communal life. A long time Jewish educator, Laura held administrative and educational positions at Yeshivat Maharat and SAR High School prior to her work at AJC. Laura has lectured widely across the country at conferences, synagogues, university Hillels, and adult education institutes and has published articles on subjects including Israel education, Jewish marriage and divorce in America, modern Orthodoxy, and Orthodox women’s leadership. Laura holds a PhD in Jewish history from the University of Maryland, College Park and undergraduate and law degrees from Columbia University. A proud founding board member of Jofa, Laura lives in Riverdale, NY with her family.


Pam Scheininger,  past Jofa board president, works as a Court Attorney Referee in New York County Family Court and is an adjunct professor at CUNY's New York College of Technology. She is also past president of Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ and Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, NJ; past chair of the Netivot Shalom Youth Committee, and past president of the Parents’ Association at Yavneh Academy. Pam earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Toronto, and a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law. She has studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and is a 2011-2013 Northern NJ Berrie Leadership Program Fellow. Pam lives in Teaneck with her four children. 
Noam Stadlan, MD is Vice-Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery at NorthShore University Healthcare system, and Assistant Professor, Division of Neurosurgery, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. He specializes in surgery of the spine and has published articles related to spine research as well as authored chapters on surgical technique. He served as chairman of the ethics committee of the Neurological and Orthopedic Institute of Chicago and currently is chairman of the Professional Conduct and Ethics committee of the North American Spine Society. He contributed a chapter on the Orthodox Jewish view of abortion to a soon to be published textbook on the topic of abortion, and a chapter on the definition of death to the volume on that topic published by the International Rabbinical Federation/Koren publishers.


He has also published articles related to brain death in Hakirah and Meorot, and on the blog of the Rabbinical Council of America. He has served as President of Congregation Or Torah in Skokie, and on the board of the Halachic Organ Donation Society. He currently serves on the board of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy. In 2014 he co-founded DAVAR Skokie, an organization devoted to providing a forum for educational voices vital for the Orthodox Jewish community. He is the proud father of three. His wife, Marianne Novak, teaches adult Jewish education, tutors bar and bat mitzvah students, and is a student at Yeshivat Maharat.
Abigail Tambor has volunteered for Jofa for many years – on the branding of Jofa, Shabbat T'lamdeini, the Journal editorial committee, and as co-chair of the 6th International Conference Program Committee in 2007 and currently serves as an officer on the Jofa Executive Committee. Abigail is also the Chair of the Board of Yeshivat Maharat, the first yeshiva to ordain women to serve as Orthodox clergy. She was instrumental in the formation of the Yavneh minyan, a partnership minyan that meets on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  She is married to Shai Tambor and is the proud mother of four children. 

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