Weaving together the strands of Judaism.
Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, Executive Vice President and Academic Dean
Ph.D., B.A., Bible, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; B.A., 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
D.H.L. in Liturgy, Rabbi, M.A., The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; B.A., The State University of New York at Albany. He 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 an assistant rabbi Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver, British Columbia and for twenty years as rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, New York.
Cantor Lisa B. Segal, Director of Cantorial Studies
Cantor Segal received her cantorial ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion in 2011, and received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin/Madison. As lead administrator of AJR’s Cantorial Program, her work includes curriculum development, advising students, and visioning the direction of Cantorial programming. In addition to her work with AJR, she serves as Cantor of congregation Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (http://www.kolotchayeinu.org/). As a founding member of her community (now in it s 19th year) she served as Music Director and Cantorial Soloist from 1997 until her ordination, leading and co-leading all Shabbat, holiday and High Holy Day services and life cycle events. Prior to her work in the cantorate, she had a long career as an arts administrator and director of development for a number of New York arts organizations, including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and St. Ann s Warehouse. Cantor Segal has performed with a wide variety of Jewish musicians including Marty Ehrlich, Mark Ribot, Alicia Jo Rabins, Roy Nathanson, Michael Winograd, Jessica Lurie and fiddler Alicia Svigals, among others, and has sung with many choirs and cantors including Natasha Hirschhorn, Sam Levine, and Ramon Tasat. Cantor Segal serves as Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors of the Women Cantors Network, and she and her husband, Maggid/Midrash Writer and Performer Arthur Strimling, teach and perform together at synagogues and venues across the country.
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, The Academy for Jewish Religion; M.A., Performance of Voice, New York University, Phi Beta Kappa; Voice, B.A., 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
M.S.W., Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, NY; B.A., 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
Ph.D. in Talmud, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Rabbi, M.A., The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies; B.A., The State University of New York at Binghamton. He 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 towards AJR increasing its presence in the social media world. 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.
Helene Santo, Director of Operations
M.M. (MBA), Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; B.A., Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. As a member of the administration, Ms. Santo manages the academic records and financial operations of the Academy. Prior to joining the Academy, she was a Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase) where she had credit and lending responsibility for various industries. She is active at Park Slope Jewish Center, where she has led Junior Congregation for many years.
Anne Mintz, Librarian
MLS (Library Science), Rutgers University; B.A., University of Massachusetts. She is the editor of two books, Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media (2012) and Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet (2002) as well as the author of a variety of articles about issues in the quality of information available online. She manages all aspects of the library including acquisitions, research and book donations. She is also currently the online archivist for JTA: The Global News Service of the Jewish People, and performs freelance research, editing and writing. She had a long career as a corporate librarian in both investment banking and business publishing prior to coming to AJR. A long-time member of the New York Havurah, she has been actively involved in the havurah movement for several decades, having twice served on the board of the National Havurah Committee. She was also a founding member of the West Side Minyan (New York) in 1974.
Kelly Moore, Office Manager
B.A., Monroe College, Bronx, New York. Ms. Moore has 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.