Weaving together the strands of Judaism.
Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, Executive Vice-President and Academic Dean
PhD, BA, Bible, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; BA, Columbia University. Undergraduate and graduate studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Author of Esau’s Blessing: How The Bible Embraces Those With Special Needs and many articles about making the Bible speak to central existential concerns, specifically regarding ethical dilemmas and individual growth. Dr. Horn Prouser served as adjunct faculty at The Jewish Theological Seminary for twenty years and has consulted on the development of Bible curriculum through the Matok Torah Curriculum Development Project and the Day School Hebrew Bible Curriculum Project creating Standards and Benchmarks for the Teaching of TaNaKH in Jewish Day Schools. She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards and has taught and spoken widely in formal and informal educational settings, synagogues, adult education programs and camps.
Rabbi Jeffrey Hoffman, Rabbi-in-Residence
DHL in Liturgy, Rabbi, MA, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; BA, The State University of New York at Albany. Rabbi Hoffman is the author or editor of two books, Karov L’Chol Korav: For All Who Call A Manual For Enhancing the Teaching of Prayer; Editor, Siddur Tisha B’Av for The Rabbinical Assembly. He is also the author of several articles and reviews including El Adon: An Historical, Literary,and Spiritual Commentary, and Akdamut: History, Folklore, Meaning. As a member of the AJR administration, Rabbi Hoffman directs the Accreditation project and the D’var Torah Project, supervises tefillot at AJR, oversees rabbinical students’ Senior Projects and meets with students on academic and professional issues. As a member of the AJR faculty, he teaches courses in Liturgy, Rabbinics and Professional Skills. He served for three years as assistant rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver, British Columbia and for twenty years as rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, New York.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Director of Spiritual Education
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001 and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut. She received a BA at Brandeis University. At AJR, she teaches midrash, mysticism, and contemporary spirituality, creates community ritual and opportunities for spiritual reflection, and is creating the school’s spiritual direction program. Rabbi Hammer is the author of three books: Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (2001), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Season (2006), and the Omer Calendar of Biblical Women (2012). Rabbi Hammer is the co-founder of the Kohenet Institute, a program in Jewish women’s spiritual leadership. Her academic work, essays, midrashim and poems have been published in many journals and newspapers.
Cantor Lisa Klinger-Kantor, Dean of Admissions
Hazzan, Academy for Jewish Religion; MA, Performance of Voice, New York University, Phi Beta Kappa; Voice, BA, Mannes College of Music. Cantor Lisa Klinger-Kantor served as cantor at Temple Shaarei Shalom in Bellmore, New York for fourteen years. She teaches nusah at AJR and has an extensive voice practice, teaching the art of singing and davenning to cantors and rabbis. In 2001, Lisa received the P’nei Torah award from AJR in recognition of her devotion in her teaching. Recently Lisa has sung as a soloist at Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Hall and in numerous synagogues in the tri-state area. Prior to becoming a cantor, Lisa performed opera, lieder, and oratorio in prominent concert halls throughout the United States and as a soloist at the Tanglewood Music Festival.
Sandra Kilstein, Dean of Students and Director of Placement
MSW, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, NY; BA, Stern College for Women, NY. Recipient of Melton Senior Educator Fellowship for study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; recipient of Yeshiva University’s Belkin Award for Jewish Education; received NIMH Fellowship in Social Work. Ms. Kilstein coordinates AJR’s annual Fall Retreat and Spring Intensive and is involved with all issues relating to student life. She also coordinates student placement in internships and alumni placement in the variety of rabbinic and cantorial service in which our graduates engage. Prior to coming to AJR, Ms. Kilstein had an extended career at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York as the Director of the Department of Informal Education, specializing in the areas of informal education and outreach, leadership development, family education, and March of the Living delegations from New York. In her early career, she was the program director of a senior adult day center, led numerous teen trips to Israel for the American Zionist Youth Foundation, and worked as a social worker for the Office of Family and Community Services of the Jerusalem Municipality.
Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator
PhD in Talmud, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Rabbi, MA, The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies; B.A., The State University of New York at Binghamton. Rabbi Pitkowsky blogs at http://menachemmendel.net/blog and is the author of the article, “‘Dear Rabbi, I Am a Woman Who…’: Women Asking Rabbis Questions, from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein to the Internet.” Rabbi Pitkowsky oversees the Rabbinics Curriculum, helps to coordinate AJR’s academic journal, G’vanim, and is working to help AJR increase its presence in social media. As a member of the AJR faculty, he teaches courses in Talmud and Codes. He served for two years as the rabbi of Kehillat Shevet Achim in Jerusalem, Israel. Rabbi Pitkowsky also teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and has taught at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Suli A. Fassler, Director of Administration
BA, Purchase College, State University of New York; New York Restaurant School, Certificate in Culinary Arts and Hotel/Restaurant Management; Candidate, Gratz College Jewish Non-Profit Management Program. Suli has spent most of her career working in Jewish communal service as an administrator and as campaign manager and program director for UJA/Federation where she instituted many ongoing community-wide programs in collaboration with local clergy, professionals & volunteers. Most recently, Suli served as administrator of a congregation and educational outreach center, where she was responsible for the business office and all of its related activity. Outside of the office, Suli enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, movies and world travel. Suli lives with her husband and family in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Gary Rothschild, Director of Business and Student Affairs
MBA, Management, Long Island University; BA, Business, Farleigh Dickinson University; Jewish Studies, Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Jerusalem. Prior to joining the staff at AJR, Gary worked as a Tefillah and B’nai Mitzvah preparation teacher at Temple Emanu-el in Closter New Jersey, as well as serving as the Director of Inventory and Supply at the Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, New York. Gary is also a volunteer firefighter in Bogota, New Jersey.
Kelly Moore, Office Manager
BA, Monroe College, Bronx, New York. Ms. Moore has been working at AJR since 1999. Prior to coming to AJR, she worked at UJA National Federation (which merged into UJC) from 1994 to 1999 as secretary in Planning & Research division.
Ze’ev (James) Woodstock, Librarian
M.A. in Library and Information Science, Long Island University; School Media Library Certificate, CUNY; M.A in Jewish Studies, Touro College; B.S. in Business Administration and B.A. in Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University. Ze’ev is also fluent in many languages including Hebrew, Russian, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and Dutch.