Faculty

Skirball Academy – Faculty

Rabbi Esther Azar

Rabbi Esther Azar

Rabbi Azar is a visual artist and writer who has long been active in Jewish education. Trained in social work and psychotherapy, and recently ordained as a rabbi, she is the former Director of Family Engagement at Shaare Zedek and a founding collaborator of Rei Emet: Mirror Truth.

Dr. A.J. Berkovitz

Dr. A.J. Berkovitz

Dr. A.J. Berkovitz holds a doctorate from Princeton University and teaches liturgy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The co-editor
of Rethinking “Authority” in Late Antiquity, he conducts research both on the reception of the psalms by ancient Jews and Christians and on the Jewish-Christian encounter.

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Rabbi Cohler-Esses was the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community to be ordained as a rabbi and was named one of the 50 top rabbis in the US by the Washington Post online. She currently serves as Director of Lifelong Learning at Romemu and writes, lectures and teaches widely.

Dr. Eric Goldman

Dr. Eric Goldman

Dr. Goldman authored The American Jewish Story through Cinema and cohosted the Turner Classic Movies series The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film. He is an adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University.

Tobi Kahn

Tobi Kahn

Tobi Kahn is an internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 50 solo exhibitions and more than 80 museum and group shows. He is co-founder of Avoda Arts and has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1985.

Dr. David E. Kaufman

Dr. David E. Kaufman

Dr. David E. Kaufman has taught at Hofstra University, Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California. In addition to numerous articles on the social, religious and architectural history of the American synagogue, he most recently wrote Jewhooing the Sixties: American Celebrity and Jewish Identity.

Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman is a Yeshiva University–educated global consultant within the financial and natural resource sectors. He has lectured extensively in adult education programs in the New York area and has taught at the Skirball Academy for many years.

Dr. David Kraemer

Dr. David Kraemer

Dr. David Kraemer is the Director of the Library and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he oversees the most extensive collection of Judaica in the Western hemisphere. He has played a crucial role in expanding the impact of the library’s world-renowned collections and programs.

Dr. Stephen A. Marino

Dr. Stephen A. Marino

Dr. Stephen A. Marino is the founding editor of The Arthur Miller Journal and has written widely in journals and books about Miller’s plays. He is currently co-editing a new collection of essays, Arthur Miller for the Twenty-First Century. He teaches at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Geoff Mitelman

Rabbi Geoff Mitelman

Rabbi Geoff Mitelman is the founding director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds. His writings have been published widely in books and articles, and he’s an internationally popular teacher and presenter. Ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he has been a Rabbis Without Borders fellow and is the former Associate Rabbi of
Temple Beth El in Westchester.

Dr. Hussein Rashid

Dr. Hussein Rashid

Dr. Hussein Rashid teaches at Barnard College and is a specialist in Muslims in American popular culture. A frequent commentator on current affairs, he consults with nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies about the interaction between culture and religion, as well as the role of the arts in conflict mediation.

Dr. Lee Robbins

Dr. Lee Robbins

Dr. Lee Robbins is a Jungian analyst on the faculty of the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association and an adjunct professor of psychology and religion at NYU. She holds a doctorate in psychology, is a student and teacher of Theravada Buddhism and is currently a candidate in spiritual direction at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Janet Roberts

Rabbi Janet Roberts

Rabbi Janet Roberts was trained as a lawyer and ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She has served congregations in New York and Ohio, was director of congregational relations at Central Synagogue and is experienced in welcoming students with diverse backgrounds, including those new to Jewish studies, individuals considering conversion and interfaith couples.

Dr. Daniel Rynhold

Dr. Daniel Rynhold

Dr. Daniel Rynhold teaches Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. A specialist in the work of Moses Maimonides and Joseph Soloveitchik, he is author of Two Models of Jewish Philosophy: Justifying One’s Practices and An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Philosophy.

Rabbi Leonard Schoolman

Rabbi Leonard Schoolman

Rabbi Leonard Schoolman was the founding director of the Center for Religious Inquiry at St. Bartholomew’s Church, a national staff member at the Union for Reform Judaism and has been a pioneer in engaging Jews, Christians and Muslims in study and dialogue about one another. He is the author of The Changing Christian World: A Brief Introduction for Jews.

Dr. Diane M. Sharon

Dr. Diane M. Sharon

Dr. Diane M. Sharon is a scholar and teacher of the Hebrew Bible, Comparative Religion and Ancient Near Eastern Literature who has taught at the Academy for Jewish Religion, the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, Fordham University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She writes about the Hebrew Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, comparative religion, literary analysis and women’s studies.

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot teaches at the Hebrew Union College. Formerly Associate Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, he conducts research on Jewish cultural and intellectual history in the early modern and modern periods, Jewish religious thought and the history of the book.

Rabbi Peter Weintraub

Rabbi Peter Weintraub

Rabbi Peter Weintraub has been teaching the Union for Reform Judaism’s Introduction to Judaism course since 1985. Formerly Associate Rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, he is active in Jewish education and political causes.

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch has been on the faculty of the Skirball Academy since its inception. Over the last several years, he has focused on the Second Temple period, teaching classes on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jewish origins of Christianity, the early roots of Jewish mysticism and the composition of the Bible.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Rabbi David Wolpe

Rabbi David Wolpe is the Senior Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. He has been named "Most Influential Rabbi in America" by Newsweek and "One of the 50 Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post. He has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Time.com, and The Jewish Week. He is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times.