Jewish Women’s Conference

Check Out Our Amazing Speakers Below!
Meghan Adler
As a founding board member and poet of The Kitchen, an inclusive Jewish community in San Francisco, Meghan Adler’s poems of prayer and contemporary liturgical interpretations are featured in The Kitchen’s original siddurim and machzorim. Her first book of poetry, Pomegranate (Main Street Rag Press, 2018) was hailed as “fearless, candid, and capacious.” She is hard at work on her second collection about growing up in Newport, RI; preserving historical homes and her Jewish identity. 

Meghan honed her craft at The Writers Studio in New York and served as an artist-in-residence at the Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y. She was awarded first prize in Lumina’s National Poetry Contest, and has earned many other honors, including: Honorable Mention and Editor’s Choice in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards; nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry; named a Finalist in the Muriel Craft Bailey Award Contest; given Honorable Mention in the Rattle Poetry Contest; and was a winner in the Poets 11/San Francisco Public Library Poetry Contest. One of her poems is now featured on a wine bottle for Eric Kent Wine Cellars and others are included in the anthologies: Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience, and A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year: Hundreds of Stories on the Pandemic. Her poetry has also appeared in a number of publications, including Alimentum, Gastronomica, The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and The North American Review

When not writing poetry, Meghan is a learning and literacy specialist. Her teaching experiences have been profiled in The New York Times, The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, Six-Word Memoirs, and 826 Valencia. She holds degrees in Elementary Education and Literacy.

Wendy Amsellem

Rabba Wendy Amsellem teaches Talmud and Halakha at Yeshivat Maharat and directs The Beit Midrash Program, a joint project of Maharat and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. She also teaches regularly at Drisha and is member of Sefaria’s Word by Word Fellowship. Rabba Wendy received semikha from Yeshivat Maharat and is an alumna of the Drisha Scholars Circle. She has a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University.

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld is the president of Hebrew College. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1990 and served for many years as a Hillel rabbi at Tufts, Yale, and Harvard. While at Yale, she organized the University’s first women’s Seder in 1993, an annual event that eventually led to her editing the two-volume Women’s Seder Sourcebook and Women’s Passover Companion in 2002. In 1993 she began teaching on the summer faculty for the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel, eventually becoming director of alumni initiatives for the program. She organized a groundbreaking national conference for Jewish women in 1997, held at Yale. After serving briefly as adjunct faculty at Hebrew College in 2003, she became Dean of Students in 2005, then Dean of the Rabbinical School from 2006 to 2017, before becoming President of Hebrew College in 2018. She is the first woman to hold that position. Honored as one of Newsweek’s 50 most influential rabbis from 2011 to 2013, Anisfeld has been praised for encouraging her diverse students to pursue their own visions of the rabbinate and bring Torah to bear on contemporary issues of personal meaning and social justice. 

Hannah Kapnik Ashar

Rabbi Hannah Kapnik Ashar is a graduate of Hadar’s Advanced Kollel, where she studied Jewish law and its development, prayer practice and the poetry of liturgy, and midrash (rabbinic exegesis). She is the Director of Faculty at the Bronfman Fellowship and served as Associate Spiritual Leader at Congregation Bonai Shalom for five years. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Atra Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurship, the M2: Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s Senior Educators Cohort, the Ayeka Spiritual Educator Training, and Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network. Hannah is a graduate of Wellesley college, a birth doula, and a mother of three girls.

Angela Buchdahl

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl serves as the Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City and is the first woman to lead Central’s Reform congregation in its 180-year history. Rabbi Buchdahl first joined Central Synagogue as Senior Cantor in 2006. In 2014, she was chosen by the congregation to be Senior Rabbi.   

Rabbi Buchdahl was invested as a cantor in 1999 and also ordained as a rabbi in 2001 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She earned a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Yale University in 1994. Born in Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, Rabbi Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi in North America. Prior to her service at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Buchdahl served as Associate Rabbi/Cantor at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.

Rabbi Buchdahl has been nationally recognized for her innovations in leading worship, which draw large crowds both in the congregation’s historic Main Sanctuary and via livestream and cable broadcast to viewers in more than 100 countries.

Rabbi Buchdahl has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the Today Show, NPR, and PBS and was listed as one of Newsweek’s “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis.” She serves on the boards of the AJC, the Asia Society, the New York Board of Rabbis, and the Yale University President’s Council.

Rabbi Buchdahl and her husband Jacob Buchdahl have three children.


Sarah Cheses

Sarah ChesesSarah Cheses serves as a Yoetzet Halacha for the greater New England region through the New England Yoetzet Halacha Initiative, in which she advises women on topics related to Taharat HaMishpacha and women’s health.  She is a Dean of Students at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, and has previously served as Co-Director of the Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Yale. She is a graduate of Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halacha Program, and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University. Sarah lives in Sharon, MA, with her husband and four children.

Ophira Eisenberg
Ophira Eisenberg is a standup comedian, writer, and host of the comedy podcast Parenting Is A Joke with iHeart and Pretty Good Friends. She also hosted NPR’s Ask Me Another where she interviewed and played silly games with hundreds of celebrities including Sir Patrick Harris, Rosie Perez, Yo-Yo Ma, Awkwafina, Roxanne Gay, Nick Kroll, Chelsea Handler, and more. She’s appeared multiple times on CBS’s The Late Late Show, Sherri! with Sherri Sheppard, Comedy Central, HBO, The New York Festival, and is regular on The Moth Radio Hour. Her stories are included in three of The Moth’s best-selling collections. Her memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy was optioned for a TV series, and her recent comedy special Plant- Based Jokes is streaming on YouTube. She is a regular at The Comedy Cellar and other New York clubs, and her solo show Leaving A Mark: A Comedy About Scars made it’s Off-Broadway review to rave reviews and won the Women in the Arts & Media Award for Solo Show Scripts.
Tamar Szabó Gendler

Tamar Szabó Gendler (Pierson ’87) is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. An alumna of URJ Camp Eisner (1976-1980); URJ Camp Kutz (1981); and the Pardes Institute (1990), she also holds a BA summa cum laude from Yale University and a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard University. Since joining the faculty at Yale in 2006, she has earned a reputation as a legendary scholar and teacher: her prize-winning philosophical writings appear in leading academic journals and presses; and her Open Yale Course “Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature” has garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

Mary Loeb Gendler

Mary Loeb Gendler is a longtime member of social justice and Jewish feminist movements. Her activism and passion took her and her husband, Rabbi Everett Gendler (1928-2022), to Selma, Alabama, where they marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Dharamsala, India, where they supported the Tibetan community-in-exile through education on nonviolent protest strategies. Through her writing and activism, Gendler has been instrumental in the creation of new Jewish rituals that recognize and celebrate the female experience, such as ceremonies for menstruation and menopause. A clinical psychologist by training, Mary served as Director of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts until her retirement in 1995; she is also a brilliant organic gardener. She holds a BA from Stanford, an MA from the University of Kansas, and an EdD from Boston University.

Natalie Ginsberg
Natalie Lyla Ginsberg (MSW) is the Global Impact Officer at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, (MAPS), and the co-founder of the Jewish Psychedelic Summit.  Natalie joined MAPS in 2014, founding the Policy & Advocacy department, and serving as its director for 5 years.  At MAPS, Natalie initiated and co-developed MAPS’ Health Equity program, including MAPS’ first MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color, and co-authored the first study interviewing Palestinians and Israelis who have shared ayahuasca ceremonies.  Before joining MAPS, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end race-based marijuana arrests.  Natalie was born and raised in New York City and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. She received her B.A. in history from Yale College, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia University.
Roya Hakakian

ROYA HAKAKIAN is a writer whose work often focuses on themes of exile, displacement, and the dangers of tyranny. Her memoir, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown, 2005) details the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in her birth country in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. The book quickly captured the attention of readers and reviewers alike and was Barnes & Noble’s Pick of the Week, Ms. Magazine Must Read of the Summer, Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, Elle Magazine’s Best Nonfiction of the year, and the Best Memoir by the Connecticut Center for the Book and has been translated into several languages including German, Dutch, and Spanish. In 2008, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction. Her second book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace (Grove/Atlantic, 2011), is the account of the 1992 murders of four Iranian-Kurdish leaders in Berlin, Germany, its investigation, and the four-year trial and historic judgment that ensued. The book was hailed as both a thriller and a suspenseful courtroom drama. The New York Times Book Review listed the book among its most Notable Books of 2011, and it made Newsweek’s Top Ten Not-to-be-missed books of the year, as well as Kirkus Reviews Best Non-Fictions of the year.

Hakakian’s most recent book, A Beginner’s Guide to America for the Immigrant and the Curious (Knopf, 2021) has been called a “love letter” to America and its democracy. In addition to her books, she has also written essays and opinion pieces for leading journals including, the New York Times, New York Review of the Books, and the Atlantic, to name a few. She has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units on network television, including CBS 60 Minutes and ABC Documentary Specials. She has been a guest on all the principal networks and radios, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR. She is a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, and has served on the board of Refugees International. She is a fellow at Yale University’s Davenport College and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  For ’23-’24 academic year, she has been selected as a fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She serves on the editorial board of the American Purpose and has made countless public appearances from offering testimonies at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee to high schools on native American reservations in Montana.

Prior to writing prose in English, Hakakian composed two collections of poems in Persian and is listed among the leading voices of contemporary Persian poetry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies around the world, including Strange Times My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature. Born and raised in a family Jewish educators in Tehran, Roya arrived as a refugee to the US in 1985.

Avigayil Halpern
Rabbi Avigayil Halpern (she/her) is an educator and writer whose work focuses on feminist and queer Torah, most recently through her newsletter project, Approaching ( She is currently a Scholar-in-Residence at The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, where she is at work on a book tentatively titled “Queer Niddah: Theology and Practice,” and the Rabbinic Fellow at Hillel Deustchland. Avigayil served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Pastoral and Educational Intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in 2023, and has taught in Torah institutions and synagogues internationally. Avigayil holds rabbinic ordination from the Hadar Institute, and a BA in Judaic Studies from Yale University. She has completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at New York Presbyterian/Columbia, is trained as a Mikveh Guide through Rising Tide, the national network of community mikvaot, and has participated in Faith Matters’ Movement Chaplaincy Training. Avigayil was selected as one of the New York Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” in 2021, and as a Vatichtov: She Writes fellow in 2022.
Jill Hammer
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, author, scholar, ritualist, poet, dreamworker and midrashist, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion (, and a co-founder of Beit Kohenet, a house of Jewish, mystical, earth-based, feminist seeking. She is the author of Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreaming, Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah, The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (with Taya Shere), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries.  She is also the author of a variety of academic articles, essays, poems and stories. She is the translator of The Romemu Siddur and of Siddur haKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess PrayerbookThe Moonstone Covenant is her forthcoming novel. She has written a children’s book, The Garden of Time. She lives in Manhattan with her family.
Vanessa Hidary

Internationally acclaimed  Spoken Word Artist/ Author/ Director Vanessa Hidary, grew up on Manhattan’s culturally diverse Upper West Side. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write “Culture Bandit,” the nationally toured solo show that chronicles Vanessa’s coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop.

She has aired three times on “Russell Simmons Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in the award winning film “The Tribe,” which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, and The Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland. Vanessa was chosen as one of 50 speakers to appear at the “2010 IdeaCity- Canada’s Premiere Meeting of the Minds’”. She has appeared at numerous LIMMUD conferences including South Africa and the UK, andhas performed at the Lion Of Judah conference at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly convention.

Her popular poem, “The Hebrew Mamita,” went viral garnering over half a million YouTube hits, igniting widespread discussion among Jews and non Jews alike regarding the subject of identity.

She is the founder of the Kaleidoscope Project, a narrative-arts driven initiative that was sparked by a desire to highlight the stories of Jews of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, observance levels, and interfaith experiences.

Idit Klein

Idit is a national leader for social change with more than 30 years of experience in the non-profit justice sector. Since 2001, she has served as the leader of Keshet, the national organization for LGBTQ+ equality in Jewish life. Idit built Keshet from a local organization with an annual budget of $42,000 to a national organization with a multi-million budget and offices in six states. Under her leadership, Keshet has supported tens of thousands of rabbis, educators, and other Jewish leaders to make LGBTQ+ equality a communal value and moral imperative. Idit also spearheaded the creation of leadership development programs for queer Jewish teens and mobilized Jewish communities nationwide to join the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. In addition, she served as the executive producer of Keshet’s documentary film, “Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School.”

Prior to leading Keshet, Idit was a leader in the LGBTQ+ community in Israel and helped envision the Jerusalem Open House. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, Idit earned her Master’s in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on social justice education. She also serves on the board of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. Idit publishes frequently in the Jewish and LGBTQ+ press and has been honored by Jewish Women International, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Mayyim Hayyim, Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership, and the Forward as one of its ‘Forward 50,’ a list of American Jews who have made enduring contributions to public life. She lives in Boston with her family.

Lexi Kohanski

Lexi Kohanski (she/her) is a queer, white Ashkenazi, trans female Jewish educator and Torah scholar who focuses on empowering those of us who have not felt at home in Judaism to own our texts and traditional lifeways. She is a thought leader in the realm of trans Torah; in her essay Be Whole: A Halakhic Approach to Gender and Transition, published as part of SVARA’s Trans Halakha Project, Lexi lays out a pathbreaking halakhic framework for relating to Jewish gender transition as a sacred undertaking. She has given talks on trans identity in Torah at synagogues on both coasts and in Scotland. Her YouTube channel, T4Torah, is likely the only active, public Torah-learning space on the Internet entirely by and for transgender Jews. She is designing a first-of-its-kind tabletop roleplaying game to teach Biblical Hebrew. Lexi serves as The Torah Studio’s Director of Online Learning, and she is a student at Yeshivat Maharat.


Joy Ladin
Joy Ladin has long worked at the tangled intersection of literature, Judaism, and transgender identity, publishing a memoir of gender transition, National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life; the first book-length work of Jewish trans theology, Lambda Literary and Triangle Award finalist, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, and ten books of poetry, including Shekhinah Speaks and 2021 National Jewish Book Award winner The Book of Anna. She became a nationally recognized speaker on trans and Jewish identity after her transition at Yeshiva University made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution.

Her writing has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, and a Hadassah Brandeis Institute Research Fellowship, among other honors. Two new books, Once Out of Nature, essays on how gender is changing, and her eleventh collection of poems, Family, are forthcoming from Persea in 2024. Episodes of her online conversation series, “Containing Multitudes,” are available at; her writing is available at

Tova Messer

Tova Messer teaches Judaic Studies at the Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon, in MA.  She completed the Pardes Educators Program and Masters in Jewish Education in partnership with Hebrew College. Prior, she taught Judaic Studies and Hebrew at Temple Shaaray Tefilah and expository writing at Marymount Manhattan College and Yeshiva University in New York.  Tova holds a Masters in Social Work and a Bachelors in English with a minor in Anthropology from Rutgers University.  She has studied at Ulpan Or and Ulpan Etzion, the Drisha Institute, and Midreshet Lindenbaum.  This year, she is a Kol HaOt/Teacher Institute for the Arts fellow, for which she collaborates with her school’s art teacher in implementing a Jewish text-based art class.  She is delighted to be joining the Jewish Women’s Conference.


Debbie Millman
Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, “one of the most influential designers working today” by GDUSA, and a “Woman of Influence” by Success magazine, Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, curator, and podcast pioneer. Debbie is the host of the Webby award-winning podcast Design Matters, one of the first and longest running podcasts in the world; Chair of the first-ever Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts, Co-owner and Editorial Director of, and the author of seven books on design and branding. For 20 years Debbie was the President at Sterling Brands, where she worked on the positioning and redesign of over 200 global brands. Debbie is the recipient of a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and a Lifetime Achievement award from AIGA, the Professional Association for Design.
Judith Plaskow
Judith Plaskow is professor emerita of religious studies at Manhattan College and a Jewish feminist theologian who has been teaching, writing and speaking about Jewish feminism, feminist studies in religion, and sexuality for over fifty years. Co-founder and for many years co-editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, she is author or editor of several works in feminist theology, including Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective, The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics 1972-2003, and Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (coauthored with Carol P. Christ).This past March, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Judith Rosenbaum
Judith Rosenbaum (she/her) is CEO of the Jewish Women’s Archive, a pioneering digital archive and public history project that documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change. An educator, historian, and writer, Judith earned her BA at Yale (JE 95), where she was part of the original (I think!) Jewish women’s group. She also received a PhD in American Studies from Brown University. Judith teaches and lectures widely on Jewish studies and women’s studies. She lives with her family in the Boston area, and is proud to be a second generation Jewish feminist. 
Leah Sarna

Rabbanit Leah Sarna (Pierson College, 2014) is an award-winning Jewish educator who is passionate about bringing warm, energetic and deep Torah to Jews of all ages. She is the Spiritual Leader of Kehillat Sha’arei Orah, an Orthodox synagogue in Lower Merion, PA, and a member of the faculty at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Trained at Migdal Oz and Yeshivat Maharat as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, Rabbanit Sarna previously worked as the Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue in Chicago, IL. She is a recipient of the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education and Hadar’s Ateret Zvi Prize for Hiddushei Torah.

Her published works have appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Jewish Review of Books and the Lerhaus, and she is currently writing a book tentatively titled Begetting and Beginning: The Torah of Birth, Pregnancy and the Beginning of Life. 

Miryam Segal

Miryam Segal is associate professor at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she teaches American legal history, law, and literature. She is the author of A New Sound in Hebrew Poetry, on the new accent in Hebrew speech in early twentieth century Palestine, and editor of two collected volumes, including Jewish Law and the Family, Anatomies of Home and Disruption. Her most recent publication (2023) is an article on “Daughters, Fathers, and Wives in Jephthah’s Vow Story and in Numbers 30,” part of a larger project on vows.  In 2022-2023, she served as Gruss Visiting Professor in Talmudic Civil Law at Harvard Law School.

She has completed a manuscript on Hebrew poetry and the Jewish Labor Movement in Palestine, Working Writers, from which she will draw the themes of her talk at this conference.

Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Shlain is an artist, activist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, national bestselling author, and the founder of the Webby Awards. Working across film, art, and performance, Shlain’s work explores the intersection of feminism, philosophy, technology, neuroscience, and nature. The Museum of Modern Art in New York premiered her one-woman spoken cinema show, Dear Human. Her artwork Dendrofemonology: A Feminist History Tree Ring was recently installed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and will travel to new locations in the coming year. Shlain has had multiple premieres at the Sundance Film Festival and her awards and distinctions include selection by the Albert Einstein Foundation for their Genius100 list, the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Intellectual Activity, and inclusion in NPR’s list of best commencement speeches. Her Jewish work includes the films The Tribe: An Unauthorized, Unorthodox, History of the Barbie Doll and the Jewish People and The Making of a Mensch and her book, 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection, which received the Marshall McLuhan Outstanding Book Award.

Shlain will have a solo exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery opening Sept 5, 2024 and is doing a joint exhibition with Ken Goldberg for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art & Science Collide initiative at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles October 2024. Her new film The Teen Brain was executive produced by Goldie Hawn and will be released in late March 2024. Tiffany is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York.   @tiffanyshlain

Julie Silver

Julie Silver is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music today. She tours throughout the world, and has been engaging audiences with her gorgeous compositions and liturgical settings, her lyrical guitar playing, her dynamic stage presence, and her megawatt smile for over 25 years.

Laynie Soloman

Laynie Soloman (they/them) is a teacher and Torah-lover who seeks to uplift the piously irreverent, queer, and subversive spirit of rabbinic text and theology. Laynie serves as the Associate Rosh Yeshiva at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, where they co-founded the Trans Halakha Project. Laynie has studied and taught Torah for over a decade in a wide range of learning spaces, including Yeshivat Hadar, Romemu Yeshiva, UnYeshiva, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. They are an Ashkenazi third/fourth generation Philadelphian, and when they’re not learning Talmud, you can find Laynie reading about liberation theology, laying in their hammock, and playing with their little one, Remez.

Abby Stein
Abby Stein is a Jewish educator, author, speaker, and activist. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family of rabbinic descent, and is a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Abby attended Yeshiva, completing a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore a self-determined life. In 2015 Abby came out as a woman of trans experience. Since coming out, she has been working to raise support and awareness for trans rights and those leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy.

Her story has been covered in the New York TimesNew York PostWall Street Journal, New York MagazineJewish Daily ForwardDaily MailNBC, Vogue, InStyle, and more, as well as live appearances on CNN, Fox News, HuffPost Live, ShowTime, NowThis, PopSugar and internationally. In 2016, Abby was named by The Jewish Week as one of the “36 Under 36” young Jews who are inspiring change in the world. In 2018 she was awarded the Pride Award by the Brooklyn Borough President. She studied gender studies and political science at Columbia University in New York City.

Abby’s book Becoming EveMy Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman, a coming-of-age memoir, is available from Seal Press.

This program is made possible through a generous Impact Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven

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