Calev Ben-Dor made Aliya from London in December 2005. He is Director of Research at BICOM, and has previously worked as an analyst in the Policy Planning Department of Israel‘s Foreign Ministry and in the Reut Institute. In his spare time he teaches and lectures on Jewish and Zionist thought to a variety of audiences and is a member of the David Cardozo Academy’s Jerusalem Think Tank, a forum of Jewish thinkers, educators and leaders which explores a wide range of Jewish topics.
Yishai Fleisher is the International Spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron. He is also Contributing Editor at com and a broadcaster on the LandofIsrael.com. Yishai is a frequent columnist for major English language news and analysis websites in Israel including Breitbart Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, Israel HaYom, and has been featured on CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, Vice, BBC, and more. He is the founder and director of Kumah, a nonprofit organization in Israel and the United States that works to enhance the world’s connection to Israel and strengthen Israel’s national character.
Born in Haifa to Russian refusenik scientists who escaped to Israel in the 1970s, Yishai’s childhood was spent speaking Russian at home, and Hebrew and Arabic while playing, in daycare, or at school. After his IDF active duty, Yishai returned to the US to pursue post-secondary education. He completed an undergraduate degree in Political Science at Yeshiva University and received his Juris Doctorate from the Cardozo School of Law with a focus on international law. Later, in Jerusalem, Yishai received rabbinic ordination from Kollel Agudat Achim.
Peta Jones Pellach joined Shir Hadash when she came on Aliyah seven years ago from Australia, where she had a long career in Jewish Education. During her time in Israel as a Jerusalem Fellow, she had the privilege of studying with Nehama Leibowitz, who was the most important influence on her teaching and values. She currently holds a number of professional and teaching positions, including Director of Educational Activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute, an international forum for dialogue between religious leaders and scholars. She is a competitive Scrabble player and an Israeli folkdance enthusiast and, most importantly, mother and grandmother.
Rabbi Robert I. Rhodes is a popular teacher of chassidut and Bible in and around Jerusalem with a unique ability to explain things in plain English. He is a graduate of Jews’ College, London and a musmach of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). Robert was a congregational rabbi in America and Canada for twenty years. He came on aliya four years ago with his wife and one out of two adult children and now lives in Mekor Chayim.
Rabbi Sam Shor is the Program Director of the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center in Jerusalem, where he oversees a vast network of classes, tours, and social programming for Jerusalem’s Anglo community. Prior to joining the Israel Center, Rabbi Shor was a popular teacher and mentor to young rabbis at both Isralight and Shir Hadash in Jerusalem. For the past two decades, Rabbi Shor has gained acclaim for his inspirational teaching in Israel and North America. Rabbi Shor lives with his family in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood where he is a popular Torah teacher for the English speaking community .
Rabbi Ariel Tal is an experienced educator, Rabbi and marketing expert, serving in positions in both North America and Israel. Rabbi Tal has a B.Ed from Ohalo College in the Golan Heights, Israel, Rabbinical Semicha from Israel Chief Rabbinate, and is a Personal Coach through Da’at U’Tevuna School in Rechovot, Israel. From 2010 – 2013 Rabbi Tal taught in Toronto at Netivot HaTorah Day School. There he managed the informal educational department of the Middle School and Elementary school including the tefillah program.
In 2014-2015 Rabbi Tal served as Marketing Director for Livnot U’Lehibanot in Tzfat. Rabbi Tal created a new leadership program and filled both campuses throughout the summer with three programs running simultaneously. The decision to initiate The Tefilla Project stems from his experience and expertise as both an educator and a Personal Life Coach, creating a platform for quality educational consulting and support.
Yael Unterman grew up in Manchester, England, and has lived in Israel since age 18. In addition to her advanced Torah studies, she earned a BA in Psychology/Talmud (Bar-Ilan University), and Masters degrees in Jewish History (Touro College) and Creative Writing (Bar-Ilan University). She is an acclaimed international lecturer and has run 300 Bibliodrama workshops in many locations around the world.
Her first book is Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar (Urim Publications), a biography of the legendary Torah teacher and finalist in the 2009 National Jewish Book Awards. Her second book The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing (Yotzeret Publishing), a collection of fictional tales of young Jews searching for love, spiritual connection and identity, was a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.
Rabbi Menachem Weinberg originally from Toronto, holds a B.Sc in Computer Science and an M.A. in Judaic Studies, was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and for ten years served as the community Rabbi of Alon, a joint secular and religious town near Jerusalem. For over twenty years he has guided students from around the world in varied educational frameworks, including Yeshivat Har Etzion and Orot College for Women, and currently teaches the advanced Talmud class at Machon Meir. He also ran Jewish identity and conversion preparation programming for new immigrants on Israel’s college campuses, and directed the Hillel Beit Midrash Program at the Hebrew University. A certified ADR mediator (Megasher) and psychotherapist in private practice, he is also an active member of Tzohar Rabbis, officiating at weddings for religious and nonreligious couples. He lives in Tekoa with his wife Gila and four children.
Ideas on the Meaning of Being a Jew. Sundays at 10:15 am Peta Jones Pellach
Four Modern Jewish Ideas on Jewish Identity: Rav Kook, Emil Fackenheim, HaRav Soloveitchik, Emmanuel Levinas, As we approach Chanukah, the festival that celebrates the survival of a distinct Jewish identity, let us examine four great modern ideas on what is means to have a Jewish identity.
Book of Jonah, story & allegory. Sundays at 11:45am Rabbi Robert I. Rhodes
This is going to be personal. Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna 1720 – 1797, known as HaGra, HaGaon Rabbenu Eliyahu, wrote an amazing commentary to the Book of Jonah. He simplifies the Zohar’s reading of the book and takes us on a journey of self exploration as he reveals who is who on the allegory level in one of the best known Bible stories. Be prepared for a Soul Journey as we reveal the mystical hidden meaning of the Book of Jonah. Please bring a copy of the Book of Jonah with Rashi’s commentary. You can download free from here.
Tefilla – Personal Growth & Deepening Spiritual Connection.
Mondays at 10:15am Rav Ariel Tal.
A series of four classes cosponsored with Machon Meir
Hebrew Reading Clinic. Mondays at 11:30am Rabbi Rhodes
Do not be shy. A lot of people never really learned to read Hebrew well and many have forgotten over time. We will start with daily prayers from the siddur and practice. First priority is reading accurately, learning the meaning of the words and a basic grasp of how the Hebrew language works. If you are interested we can use a number of internet resources to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the prayers we say every day.
Please bring your own siddur.
Conversations on Israel: the Challenges of Sovereignty.
Two Wednesdays Dec 7 & 21 at 7pm Calev Ben-Dor Studying modern Israeli poets, contemporary philosophers, and traditional Jewish commentators in order to explore different aspects of challenges and dilemmas facing Israel in the 21st Century.
- The Four Cubits of Halacha and the Challenge of Sovereignty. Jewish life in exile used to be centered around the private domain (four cubits of Halacha.) But since our return to Israel, these cubits have been expanded to include a vast array of new areas. This Shiur raises a discussion about this challenge, discussing the structural difficulties Halacha has of adapting, and shedding light on why some people might even prefer to flee from this new found responsibility.
- 2. Idealism vs. Realism in Foreign Policy. This Shiur focuses on two key events in Jewish history that took place within 65 years of each other – the destruction of the temple by the Romans, and the defeat of the Bar Kochba rebellion which led to the full loss of sovereignty over the Land of Israel for 1800 years. We’ll look at different sources to try and understand their contemporary significance, as well as to understand the secret of political wisdom.
Wednesday Dec 21 at 8:30pm
A very special opportunity to learn Torah with Yishai Fleisher
Spontaneous Midrash (Bibliodrama): Joseph in Technicolour
Thursdays at 10:15am Yael Unterman
Through the wonderful of technique of Bibliodrama (invented by Harvard professor Dr. Peter Pitzele), which has been amazing people worldwide for decades, we’ll delve deep into the Joseph story. We’ll locate moving and surprising “spontaneous midrashic” narratives of what might have been going on there, and along the way discover which characters we hold in our hearts and what it means to us personally. Then we’ll connect it back to our traditional commentaries. No acting required – this is an experiential study technique. Shy people welcome.
Pirkei avot, the Rabbis on Relationships. Thursdays at 11:45am
Rav Menachem Weinberg.
A series of four classes cosponsored with Machon Meir
Thursday Dec 22 at 7pm Channukah – Embracing our Inner Light. Rabbi Sam Shor.
A monthly shiur cosponsored with the Orthodox Union
Janglo Shir Hadash Community Beit Midrash
Four weeks of learning in Kislev – December
Shir Hadash is a dedicated to inspiring Jewish identity through study and action that is joyous and passionate. Our Community Beit Midrash for English speaking adults welcomes active and engaged participants of every level of Jewish learning. We are happy to welcome new teachers and students through our partnership with Janglo, Jerusalem’s largest online community for English speakers.
- 10:15 – 11:30am Ideas on the Meaning of Being a Jew. Peta Jones Pellach
- 11:45am – 1pm Book of Jonah, story & allegory. Rabbi Robert I. Rhodes
- 10:15 – 11:15am Tefilla – Personal Growth & Deepening Spiritual Connection. Rav Ariel Tal. A series of four classes cosponsored with Machon Meir
- 11:30am – 12:30 pm Hebrew Reading Clinic. Rabbi Rhodes
- Dec 7 & 21 at 7 – 8:15pm Conversations on Israel: the Challenges of Sovereignty. Calev Ben-Dor
- Dec 21 at 8:30pm Yishai Fleisher
Thursdays (Mornings & One Evening)
- 10:15 – 11:30am Spontaneous Midrash (Bibliodrama): Joseph in Technicolour. Yael Unterman
- 11:45am – 12:45pm Pirkei avot, the Rabbis on Relationships. Rav Menachem Weinberg. A series of four classes cosponsored with Machon Meir
- Dec 22 at 7:45pm Channukah – Embracing our Inner Light. Rav Sam Shor. A monthly shiur cosponsored with the Orthodox Union (No charge)
The suggested donation is 20 shekels per class.
All morning classes continue through Channukah.
Sponsorships are available for these and future programs, classes and events.