Alumni & Certified Leaders
Graduates of the IISHJ are working hard to create meaningful cultural Jewish experiences for individuals and communities across North America, and beyond. You can read about them here, on their own sites, or through their professional associations, the Association of Humanistic Rabbis and the Leadership Conference of Secular and Humanistic Jews.
Rabbis in Secular & Humanistic Judaism
Ordained by IISHJ in 2014, Rabbi Averbach also holds a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from Gratz College in Philadelphia. She is an artist, public speaker, and writer. Rabbi Averbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-699-7039 and invites you to visit her website at http://rabbijubu.com.
Ordained by IISHJ in 2001, Rabbi Biber also holds a master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and has many years of experience as a teacher, counselor, and community organizer. He previously served as Rabbi of Machar: The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Washington D.C. Rabbi Biber is currently the humanist chaplain at American University, and can be reached at email@example.com or (301) 437-7745.
Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in Highland Park, Ill., and dean for North America of IISHJ. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2001, Rabbi Chalom also holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. He is the author of a three-volume, 50-session adult education curriculum, Introduction to Secular Humanistic Judaism. Rabbi Chalom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 602-4500.
Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and MIT. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2005, Rabbi Epstein also holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of the New York Times’ bestselling book Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe, and co-author of the forthcoming book The Godless Congregation. Rabbi Epstein is also executive director of the Humanist Hub, a center for Humanist life in Harvard Square. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Rabbi at Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Toronto. Ordained by IISHJ in 2005, Rabbi Goldfinger also holds a master's degree in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Boston, and is a practicing psychotherapist and counselor. She is the author of Basic Ideas of Secular Humanistic Judaism and the director of the Canadian division of the IISHJ. Rabbi Goldfinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 494-7450.
Rabbi Denise Handlarski is the founder and rabbi of the online congregation SecularSynagogue.com. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2013, Rabbi Handlarski also holds a master’s degree in Jewish Studies and a doctorate in English Literature from York University. She writes a weekly blog commentary on the weekly Torah readings. Rabbi Handlarski can be reached at email@example.com or (416) 854-0133.
Rabbi of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and associate professor of professional development of the IISHJ. Ordained by IISHJ in 2001, Rabbi Jerris also holds master's degrees in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, and Humanistic and Clinical Psychology from the Center for Humanistic Studies. She earned a doctorate in Jewish Studies from the Union Institute. Rabbi Jerris is the owner-director of the Wedding Connection, www.theweddingconnection.net, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder and rabbi of Beth Chaverim Humanistic Jewish Community in Deerfield, Ill. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2009, Rabbi Kornfeld holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Jewish Studies from Spertus College in Chicago. She also holds a juris doctorate from Boston University School of Law. Rabbi Kornfeld can be reached at email@example.com or (847) 945-6512.
Rabbi of Machar, The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism, in Washington, D.C. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2017, Rabbi Kridel holds a Juris Doctor (Cum Laude) from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) and Master of Arts degrees in Religion from Florida State University. In addition to his rabbinic duties, Rabbi Kridel is co-editor of Humanistic Judaism, the magazine of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 686-1881.
Rabbi of Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Toronto. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2009, Rabbi Levy also holds a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from York University. She was editor of The Early Modern European Roots of Secular Humanistic Judaism. Rabbi Levy can be reached at email@example.com or (905) 731-7066.
Dean for Israel of the IISHJ. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2003, Rabbi Maas directs Tmura-IISHJ, a program training secular rabbis in Israel. She is a graduate of the Kerem Teacher Training Institute for Humanist Jewish Education and holds a master’s degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Schechter College of Jerusalem. Rabbi Maas is also the director of The Secular Library. Rabbi Maas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or in Israel at (052) 336-6541.
Rabbi Mary Raskin is a founder and the rabbi of Cultural Synagogue serving Portland, Oregon and Southwest Washington. Ordained by the IISHJ in 2022, Rabbi Raskin also holds a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute in Chicago, and master’s degrees in management and business from Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Oregon. Rabbi Raskin can be reached at email@example.com or (360) 513-4144.
Rabbi Jeffrey Schesnol is the Ceremonial and Spiritual Leader of Or Adam Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ. He was Ordained in 2022 by IISHJ North America and Israel and is a licensed Humanist Celebrant and Counselor. He earned his Masters in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute in September 2020. Rabbi Schesnol is a certified PMP, the Associate Director and Resident Rabbi of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, and the curatorial project manager of its museum exhibits. He is the project manager developing the Center for Jewish Heritage, Holocaust & Human Rights Education, opening 2025. Rabbi Schesnol can be reached at JSchesnol@azjhs.org or (336) 215-7762.
Founder and rabbi of Tri-Valley Cultural Jews in Northern California. Ordained by IISHJ in 2003, Rabbi Seid also holds a master's degree in Jewish Communal Studies from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is the author of God-Optional Judaism: Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage and Community and We Rejoice in Our Heritage: Home Rituals for Secular and Humanistic Jews. She is the creative editor of Kumzits! A Festivity of Instant Jewish Songs. Rabbi Seid directs www.secularjewishweddings.com and can be reached at Rabbi@secularjewishweddings.com or (925) 485-1049.
A writer, editor, and rabbi, Joysa Winter is a 5th-generation native of Colorado. Now living in Philadelphia, she earned rabbinic ordination by IISHJ in 2017, a master’s degree in Jewish Studies by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. She is the author of Living Jewish Values: Be Your Best Self by Behrman House, as well as hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She was a proofreader for The Torah: A Women’s Commentary by URJ Press, and has edited over a dozen books for the medical profession. Rabbi Winter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jerald Bain
Toronto, Ontario, Canada - (416) 482-6682
- Jacinda Bauman
Oak Park, IL - (773) 354-4255
- Claire Bergen
Los Angeles, CA - (310) 850-1550
- Eva Cohen
Minneapolis, MN - (651) 285-0406
- Michelle Davis
Denver, CO - 720-284-2231
- Marla Davishoff LCSW
Deerfield, IL - (847) 471-3273
- Roberta E. Feinstein
Richmond Heights, OH - (216) 481-0850
Kate ForestPhiladelphia, PA (215) 692-2068
- Julie E. Gales
Ann Arbor MI - (734) 663-1329
- Deborah H. Godden
Charlottesville, VA - (434) 248-8288
- Rosalie Gottfried
Laguna Woods, CA - (949) 249-3755
- Hershl Hartman
Los Angeles, CA - (310) 473-4323
- Jamie Ireland
Pleasanton, CA - (510) 888-1404
- Elaine Kamienny
Stoughton, MA - (781) 341-1810
- Karen Knecht
Orange County, CA - (714) 739-1366
- Barbara Kopitz
West Bloomfield, MI - (248) 661-9778
- Elisa Lapine, PhD
Oak Park, IL - (708) 613-0396
- Susan Levine
Seattle, WA - (206) 914-0810
- Janis Levin-Gorelick
Waterford, MI - (248) 752-0666
- Sheila Malcolm
Boulder, CO - (303) 499-5933
- Laura Miller
London, England - 0 (208) 800-5120
- Michael J. Prival
- BJ Saul
Boca Raton, FL - (561) 347-0618
- Sondra Schwartz
Jamaica Plain, MA - (617) 522-3888
- Jack B. Silver
Tempe, AZ - (480) 491-6484
- Barry A. Swan
Rochester, NY - (585) 461-5137
- Bobbie Varble
Solon, OH - (440) 498-4747
- Mark W. Weber
Solon, OH - (440) 519-0220
- Beverly L. Zarnow
Escondido, CA - (760) 480-6848
IISHJ does not endorse titles granted by other institutions. This list represents those currently certified by the IISHJ.
Educators, Spokespeople and Cantors/Musicians
- Deborah Davis
- Marjorie Hilton
- Sharon Kobrinsky
- Leila Lustig
- Dan Tobocman
Vegvayzer Louis Biderman
Madrikha Lucie Brandon
Madrikha Barbara Brandt
Madrikha Helen Bussel
Madrikh Len Cherlin
Madrikha Ruth Duskin Feldman
Madrikha Sue Feder
Rabbi Edward Klein
Madrikha Renee Kogel
- Madrikh Martin Kotch
- Madrikh Harold Londer
Madrikha Betty Pelletz
Vegvayzer Gerry Revzin
Madrikha Marilyn Rowens
Vegvayzer Rhea Seagull
Vegvayzer Paul Shane
Madrikh Bert Steinberg
Madrikh Morris Sukenik