Contributors (A→Z)



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Nader Abdallah is a translator living in Jerusalem.
Alter Abelson
Scholar, poet, and translator Alter Abelson was born in Lithuania on July 17, 1880, and grew up in Manhattan, where he studied John Keats, John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Percy Shelley. In 1903 he received his Master of Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary and in 1920 received a law degree from the New Jersey Law School (now Rutgers). Abelson, who served as a rabbi in synagogues in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, also served as a chaplain for the New York Board of Rabbis from 1947 to his retirement in 1960. Abelson authored four poetry collections, Helen and Shulamith (Whittier Books, 1959), Songs of Labor (Paebar Co. Publishers, 1947), Sonnets of Motherhood (1938), and Sambatyon and Other Poems (The Ariel Publications, 1931), and translated work by the Hebrew poets Judah Halevi and Chaim Nachman Bialik. He died in 1964.
Israel Abrahams
Israel Abrahams, MA (honoris causa) (b. London, November 26, 1858; d. Cambridge, October 6, 1925) was one of the most distinguished Jewish scholars of his generation. He wrote a number of classics on Judaism, most notably, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (1896). In 1902, after teaching for several years at Jews' College, Abrahams succeeded Solomon Schechter, who was moving to New York to head the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, as reader in Talmudic and Rabbinic literature at the University of Cambridge. He received the honorary degree Master of Arts (MA) from the University in late May 1902. In 1914, he published A Companion to the Authorised Prayer Book, a helpful commentary on and supplement to the prayer book edited by Simeon Singer.
Thabet Abu Rass (translation)
Dr. Thabet Abu Rass (or Abu Ras; Arabic: الدكتور ثابت ابو راس, Hebrew: ד״ר ת׳אבת אבו-ראס) is a political geographer and lecturer at Sapir College. In his last position, he directed the Negev branch of Adalah - the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and in this framework dealt with promoting the rights of the Arab-Bedouins in the Negev. In addition, Abu Rass has served as co-chairman of the Hand in Hand Association for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel and has served as Director of the Shatil Branch in the Negev and as the Director of the Abu Basma Project of the New Israel Fund and the Joint Distribution Committee .
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Herbert M. Adler (1876–1940). A lawyer and lay scholar. Completed the translation of the set of maḥzorim begun by Arthur Davis. He was appointed Director of Education in 1922 by the Central Committee for Jewish Education (for the UK and the British Commonwealth), a position in which he served until 1929. He was the nephew of the then Chief Rabbi, Hermann Adler.
Rasheed Agbaria (translation)
Rasheed Agbaria is a Haifa-based writer, translator, and software engineer. His three published works, so far, are הזר ברחוב צהיון (סיפורת), חלום ליל פחד, and שירה לא תזרח השמש, רומן. He is also the author of the "10 Commandments of Rasheed Aqbaria" (on Facebook).
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Shmuel Yosef Agnon שמואל יוסף עגנון‎ (also, Shai Agnon or S. Y. Agnon ש"י עגנון) (July 17, 1888 – February 17, 1970) was a Nobel Prize laureate writer and one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. Agnon was born in Polish Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, and died in Jerusalem, Israel. His works deal with the conflict between the traditional Jewish life and language and the modern world. They also attempt to recapture the fading traditions of the Yiddish shtetl. In a wider context, he also contributed to broadening the characteristic conception of the narrator's role in literature. Agnon shared the Nobel Prize with the poet Nelly Sachs in 1966.
Sanford Akselrad
Rabbi Sanford Akselrad (1957- ) is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in Las Vegas, Nevada, a position he has held since 1988. Rabbi Akselrad moved to Las Vegas for the job and has been a leader in the local Jewish community ever since. He started Project Ezra during the recession to help Jewish community members find jobs, and established the NextGen program to bring young adults in their twenties and thirties back to the temple. For over twenty years Rabbi Akselrad was a member of the board of the Nevada Governor’s Council on Holocaust education, a topic that was the focus of his rabbinical thesis. He was the founding president of the Clark County Board of Rabbis and has served on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Jewish Family Services, and the Humana Hospital Pastoral Advisory Board. He was also the chair of the Federation’s Community Relations Council (CRC). Rabbi Akselrad is a board member of the Anti-Defamation League Nevada region office and the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada.
Stew Albert
Stewart Edward "Stew" Albert (December 4, 1939 – January 30, 2006) was an early member of the Yippies, an anti-Vietnam War political activist, and an important figure in the New Left movement of the 1960s.
Ben-Tsiyon Alfes
Ben-Tsiyon (also Ben-Zion) Alfes (Hebrew: בן-ציון אלפס‎) (1851-1941) was a rabbi, author, prolific author of Yiddish religious literature, commentator and compiler of prayers in vernacular Yiddish. His most well-known book is Maaseh Alfes (Tales of Alfes). The last work he saw published, written at age 90, was an autobiography titled "The Life Story of the Maase Alfes." Another work, Toledot ve-Zikhronot, also an autobiography, but with a different focus, was published posthumously.
David Algaze
Rabbi David L. Algaze, originally of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the founder and spiritual leader of Ḥavurat Yisrael, Forest Hills, New York. He received his smikhah from Rabbi Joseph Messas, Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel, and from Rabbi Ezra Basry, head of the Bet-Din of Jerusalem. Rabbi Algaze founded Eli, a city in Samaria, in 1984. In 1989 he founded The Coalition for Israel. He has been Rosh Yeshivah of Ohr Torah Institute and a delegate of the Soviet Union. A graduate of the University of Buenos Aires, he holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Columbia University and a Master of Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary. The Rabbi has been a Fellow of the Herbert Lehman Institute of Ethics, a Columbia University President's Fellow, and a Kent Fellow of the Danfourth Foundation. A sepharadi rabbi, his forefathers include the Maharit, Rabbi Yomtov Algaze, who was Rishon Letzion, chief rabbi of the ancient Jewish community of Eretz Yisrael, and Rabbi Shlomo Algaze, the chief rabbi who excommunicated Shabbetai Tzvi.
Adina Allen
Rabbi Adina Allen is a spiritual leader, writer and designer of transformative learning opportunities. Integrating a lifetime of experience in the creative arts with her rabbinic training Adina provides a unique and enlivening approach to Judaism. Her original research using painting, text study and reflective writing to generate contemporary midrash was published in the Winter 2013 edition of the CCAR Journal. Adina has taught Jewish text through a wide variety of creative arts modalities at institutions including Hillels, synagogues, and Jewish communal organizations across the country and abroad. As a recipient of the CIRCLE Fellowship Adina designed and facilitated a semester-long curriculum “Art as Inquiry into Interfaith Leadership” that resulted in an exhibition of the art and writing produced by participants. Adina is co-founder of the Movement Minyan, a method that explores Jewish liturgy through embodied practice, and was the 2012 National Havurah Summer Institute Liturgist in Residence. Former Assistant Editor of Tikkun magazine, Adina is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post and her work has been published in Tikkun, The Journal for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and State of Formation, among others. Ordained by Hebrew College in 2014 Adina is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
Katy Z. Allen
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen is the founder and spiritual leader of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, a non-traditional congregation that holds services outdoors all year. She began her career as a biology teacher, turned to writing and editing educational materials, then started teaching Hebrew school and became involved in family and adult education before entering rabbinical school. She received a Masters of Arts in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton, MA, in 1999, and rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 2005 and became a Board Certified Chaplain through Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains. For ten years, Katy served as a staff chaplain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and then as a hospice chaplain. She is the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network (www.jewishclimate.org) and the facilitator of the One Earth Collaborative (www.oneearth.today), a project of Open Spirit in Framingham, MA, where she engages with the community as an eco-chaplain. lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah. She blogs about Torah and Earth at www.mayantikvah.blogspot.com.
Yehoyada Amir
Yehoyada Amir is a Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College – Jerusalem. His attention is drawn to religious, humanistic approaches to Jewish existence in light of modernity, the memory of the Shoa, and the unique responsibility of Israeli Jews. For ten years (1999-2009) Rabbi Amir served as the director of HUC's Israel Rabbinic Program. Rabbi Amir is an active member of Maram, the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and served in various periods as a board member of the council. He has a leading role in contemporary theological-religious, social and ethical discourse in Israel's Reform Movement as well as in neighboring circles.
Rabbi Julia Andelman
As JTS’s director of community engagement, Rabbi Julia Andelman oversees adult learning programs across North America, digital learning, continuing rabbinic education, millennial engagement, and Prozdor. Since joining JTS in 2013, she has initiated livestreaming of JTS’s public lectures, created a video studio for digital learning programs, developed high-level curricula for congregations and other settings, and increased continuing rabbinic education tenfold. Julia previously served as the rabbi of Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan, the director of adult education and programming at Park Avenue Synagogue, and the director of the iEngage Project at the Hartman Institute of North America. She was ordained by JTS in 2006.
Mollie Andron
Mollie Andron holds a double Masters in Midrash and Jewish Experiential Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a BA in Religion from Bard College. Mollie spent her childhood growing up between the US and Israel. She has worked in a variety of Jewish educational settings, including most recently as Associate Director Rabbinical Engagement and Education at Hillel International. She has also worked for American Jewish World Service, the Jewish Education Project, The Heschel School, TEVA Learning Alliance, Storahtelling, and Eden Village Camp. When Mollie isn't working she is spending time with humans (big and small), the stories that we tell ourselves, plays and playing, cooking and eating, moving around, sunglasses, singing, reading children books, staring at people on the subway until they have to look, breaking down barriers, crossing thresholds and reading Midrash.
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For the time being, this contributor prefers to remain anonymous.
Trisha Arlin
Trisha Arlin is a liturgist, performer and student of prayer in Brooklyn, NY, and a part-time rabbinic student at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Trisha has served as Scholar/Artist In Residence at various synagogues in the US and was Liturgist-In-Residence during the National Havurah Committee 2014 Summer Institute. She has taught her workshop, Writing Personal Prayer, at Limmud NY, the NHC Institute, Shavuot Across Brooklyn and synagogues in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. “PLACE YOURSELF”, a collection of new liturgy and kavannot, is forthcoming from Dimus Parrhesia Press.  Trisha's work is published online at triganza.blogspot.com, RitualWell, and the Open Siddur Project. and in print in “Jews And Pluralism” (Ben Yehuda Press), “The Sacred Table” (CCAR Press) and "A Poet's Siddur" ( Ain't Got No Press).
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Margaret Armour (b. Abercorn, West Lothian, Scotland, 10 September 1860; d. Edinburgh, 13 October 1943) was a poet, novelist and translator.
Arnaud Aron
Arnaud Aron (March 11, 1807, in Sulz unterm Walde, Alsace – April 3, 1890), the Grand Rabbi of Strasbourg, began his Talmudic studies at an early age at Hagenau and continued them at Frankfort-on-the-Main. In 1830 he became rabbi of the small community of Hegenheim in Upper Alsace; and of Strasbourg in 1833. As he was under thirty, the age prescribed by law, he required a special dispensation to qualify for the office. In Strasbourg, Aron acquired the reputation of an eloquent and inspiring preacher and a zealous communal worker. He assisted in founding the School of Arts and Trades and took active interest in other useful institutions. In 1855 he convened an assembly of the rabbis of the department of the Lower Rhine for the consideration of religious questions. Aron was the author of the catechism used for confirmation as prescribed by the Consistory of Lower Alsace. In 1866 the French government acknowledged his services by appointing him a Knight of the Legion of Honor. In 1870, while Strasbourg was besieged, it was he, together with the archbishop, who raised the white flag on the cathedral. Subsequently he was decorated by the German emperor.
Ben Aronin
Ben Aronin (1904-1980), Hebrew translator, US television performer, scriptwriter, poet and author. The Chicago Jewish Historical Society dubbed him "the Chicago Jewish community’s quintessential Renaissance Man...a lawyer, scholar, teacher, writer, summer camp counselor, and for many years director of extension activities at Anshe Emet. He wrote Jewish-themed songs and plays which are still performed today." He appeared as Uncle Ben in the Magic Door series for children; as an author, he began publishing work of genre interest with "The Doubt" for Amazing in May 1932, and who wrote the Raphael Drale sequence of Lost Race tales about the Lost Tribes of Israel, comprising The Lost Tribe: Being the Strange Adventures of Raphael Drale in Search of the Lost Tribes of Israel (1934) and Cavern of Destiny (1943). In 1941, his The Abramiad, a book-length mythological poem on the emergence of the Jewish people, was published by Argus Books.
the Aronin Family
The Aronin family are Kohanim, descendents of Aaron, brother of Moses and the first Kohen Gadol (high priest). Family legend claims descent from Simon the Just, one of the Great Sages. The symbolism of the crest recalls this history. The Aleph stands for the Aronin name. The shape of the crest represents the mitre (headpiece) of the Kohen Gadol. The three letters—Taf, Ayin and Gimel—stand for Torah, Avodah, Gemilot Chasadim (law, divine service, and good deeds), the three pillars upon which the world rests, according to Simon the Just in Pirke Avot. The three red stones represent these pillars and the large stone, the world. (The stones also recall the breastplate worn by the Kohen Gadol, which had four rows of three stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.) The Aronin rabbis of Eastern Europe wore a signet ring bearing the Aronin crest, which was used as an official seal by dipping the ring in wax. Ben Aronin used a picture of the crest on his stationery.
Arik Ascherman
Arik Ascherman is an American-born Israeli Reform rabbi, and co-founder and former Executive Director for Rabbis for Human Rights. As a human rights and political activist, he has spearheaded protests to defend Palestinians against Israeli settler violence. He appears in the 2010 documentary Israel vs Israel. In 2009 he was co-recipient (with Alice Shalvi) of the Leibowitz Prize, presented by the Yesh Din human rights organization for public activism. In 2011 he was co-recipient (with Rabbi Ehud Bandel, a co-founder of Rabbis for Human Rights) of the Gandhi Peace Award," for their nonviolent methods of resolving human rights abuses in Israel and the Occupied Territories."
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Mashiah Asgari, resident of Herat, was a young singer and scribe in 19th or early 20th century Afghanistan.
Yoni Ashar
Yoni Ashar is a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Colorado-Bolder. His research interests include biological and statistical approaches to understanding well-being and interventions enhancing well-being.
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David Asher (born at Dresden Dec. 8, 1818; died in Leipsic Dec. 2, 1890) was a German-Jewish scholar and educator . He received his early education at the Jewish school of his native city, and subsequently entered the gymnasium there, being one of the first Jews admitted to the institution. As his mother was unable to support him, his stay there was short. Asher then learned the trade of carving and gilding, thereby supporting himself as a journeyman artisan during his travels to various cities of Germany and Austria. On the invitation of a wealthy relative he went to London, where he learned English at a private school—subsequently becoming assistant teacher there—and at the same time assiduously studied philosophy, philology, Hebrew, and modern languages. Later, Asher held various offices in the Jewish congregation and was tutor to the children of the chief rabbi of England. Upon his return to Germany he obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy at the Berlin University. Settling in Leipsic, he soon acquired reputation as an English instructor, having among his pupils many persons of high rank. For seven years he held the post of English master at the Commercial School; and for eight years that of examiner of candidates for higher schools at the university. He was also a member of the Academy for Modern Languages, in Berlin, and official interpreter to the Royal Law Courts of Leipsic. A linguist of the first order, he was engaged in literary work of varied character, and diligently contributed to most of the leading German journals, as well as to the English periodicals the "Times," "Athenæum," "Academy," and "Jewish Chronicle." For the last he translated Dr. Döllinger's "Address on the History of the Jews of Europe." Asher distinguished himself as an interpreter of the philosophy of Schopenhauer; and as an ardent champion of his own coreligionists, energetically combating antisemitic attacks. (lightly adapted from his entry in the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia)
Yehuda Ashlag
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (1885–1954, Hebrew: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה לֵיבּ הַלֵּוִי אַשְׁלַג‎‎), also known as the Baal Ha-Sulam (Hebrew: בַּעַל הַסּוּלָם‎‎, "Author of the Ladder") in reference to his magnum opus, was an rabbi and kabbalist born in Łódź, Congress Poland, Russian Empire, to a family of scholars connected to the Ḥasidic courts of Porisov and Belz. Rabbi Ashlag lived in erets Yisrael from 1922 until his death in 1954 (except for two years in England). In addition to his Sulam commentary on the Zohar, his other primary work, Talmud Eser Sefirot is regarded as the central textbook for students of Kabbalah. Ashlag systematically interpreted the wisdom of Kabbalah and promoted its wide dissemination. In line with his directives, many contemporary adherents of Ashlag’s teachings strive to spread Kabbalah to the masses. (adapted from his articlewikipedia)
Jeffrey Astrachan
Jeffrey Astrachan is rabbi of Temple Beth Israel, York, Pennsylvania.
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Sometimes the best we can do in attributing a historical work is to indicate the period and place it was written, the first prayer book it may have been printed in, or the archival collection in which the manuscript was found. We invite the public to help to attribute all works to their original composers. If you know something not mentioned in the commentary offered, please comment!
Gershon Avtzon
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon is the founder and Rosh Yeshivah of the Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati.
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Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (Hebrew: אלעזר בן משה אזכרי‎‎‎) (1533–1600) was a Jewish kabbalist, poet and writer, born in Safed to a Sephardic family who had settled in the Land of Israel after the expulsion from Spain. Rabbi Elazar studied Torah under Rabbi Yosef Sagis and Rabbi Jacob Berab, and is counted with the greatest Rabbis and intellectuals of his time: Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, Yosef Karo, Moshe Cordovero, Isaac Luria, Israel Najara, etc. In 1588 Rabbi Elazar founded the "Sukat Shalom" movement who acted to arouse in Jews the devotion to religion. Rabbi Elazar died in 1600 and was buried in Safed. Rabbi Elazar's Book, the Sefer Haredim (ספר חרדים), printed after his death in 1600, is considered as one of the main books of Jewish deontology. He also wrote a commentary on Tractate Bezah and Berachot of the Jerusalem Talmud. The Piyyut (liturgical poem) Yedid Nefesh (ידיד נפש) was composed by Rabbi Elazar. (via wikipedia)

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