Participants

We would like to thank the many people who participated in this project

Our readers

Sophie Fellman-Rafaelovich


I was born in Guatemala and made Aliyah with my family at age 8. My family stumbled across the Masorti movement and I went through the NOAM Youth movement. I learned how to read Torah and Haftara almost as an afterthought (with thanks to my mentor and friend Nurit Novis ) and have been reading ever since.   My professional path has slalomed between occupational therapy and Jewish Education and has taken my family and me to two adventures of Shlichut- 4 years as the Far West USY shlicha and another 3 years in Chicago as the Jewish Agency representative to the Midwest. I currently reside in Kibbutz Hannaton with my husband and three children and serve as the Educational director of the kibbutz and the Educational Director of the Educational Center of Hannaton.

Susie Dvoskin


Susie passed away peacefully in May, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. She remained active throughout. The autobiography which follows was written in 2015 and the website is a part of her legacy:
I have been a teacher in the field of special and Jewish education for more than 40 years.  I’ve taught young children in day care settings, in the United States and mostly in Israel, typical and atypical teenagers preparing for their bar and bat mitzvah, typical and atypical adults expanding their knowledge and involvement in Judaism. I am an active member of Kehilat Hod ve-Hadar, an egalitarian Masorti (Conservative(congregation in Kfar Sabah, Israel.  I love teaching.  I love reaching out to everyone.  I love adapting material to individuals. I love the communication and learning that flows between us.  I had my Bat Mitzvah when I was 35, so it’s never too late to start. With this website we reach out to all of you, wherever you may be, to help involve you in your Judaism, to be part of your Jewish community.

Dikla Druckman


My name is Dikla Druckman and I am a student at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. The first time I encountered Torah reading was when I was 12, as I was preparing for my bat mitzvah at Kehillat Raanan in Raanana. Dvora Rowen taught me the trope. I remember the excitement and magic that were part of the process, as well as the fears and the pressure I felt as the day of the ceremony approached. The magic of that day ignited a spark inside of me. During the following years, I forgot the melodies, but I relearned them after I finished the army, when I began to teach students for their bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies. Today, I am 30, and as part of my rabbinical program I work with Masorti congregations in a number of capacities. These include teaching courses about prayer and preparing youngsters for their bar/bat mitzvahs as well as conducting these ceremonies. I was privileged to teach in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the Special Child Program, working with youngsters with a wide range of disabilities. I studied music, and I am a Hazzanit (Cantor) as well as conducting a children's choir. I have a BA in psychology and in Jewish thought, and I am currently completing my master's degree in Jewish thought. I am also studying spiritual care.

Ami Zusman


Before I recorded Haftarah Bo, I had no idea what those trope squiggles meant.  But when Susie Dvoskin, my beloved friend of nearly 50 years, invited me to participate in this marvelous project, I knew I had to do it!  With Susie's tutoring (via Skype) from 7,500 miles and 10 time zones away, I set about learning. What a wonderful learning experience it has been – one that has stretched my brain to learn a new musical language and has given me the gifts of continuing this Jewish tradition and passing it on to others.  Plus visiting with Susie during our Skype lessons! I've been an active leader at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, a progressive, historically LGBTQ Reform synagogue in the San Francisco (California) Bay Area for over 30 years.

Tzvia Schweitzer


Tzvia grew up in Hod VeHadar in Kfar Saba. She learned to read Torah from Susie Dvoskin for her Bat Mitzvah in 1985. She wanted to do "more than just a party" so she read the Maftir and Haftarah of Korah, and gave a devar torah about questioning authority. She never really planned on going to synagogue again afterwards, except she was asked to teach one of the upcoming bar mitzvah students, then another, and another, then she kept being assigned more and more Torah readings - and she is still reading and teaching today. She has a special connection with anyone reading Korah, including Susie's daughter Tamar z"l. Tzvia helped Tamar practice Korah for her Bat Mitzvah while Susie and Danny were away in Hawaii (they brought back beautiful earrings as a mahalo). Tzvia still uses a Tikkun in which she has marked every reading she has read or taught since she was 12 years old. Now, in 2015, you can find her reading Torah most Shabbat mornings at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington DC. Tzvia says, "I dislike women-only projects, but I like the people involved in this website, so here I am."

Helaine Ettinger


Helaine Ettinger is studying towards an Executive Masters program in Jewish Education. She is a 1991 ordinee of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She lived for nearly five years in Kfar Saba, Israel and was an active member of the Masorti congregation, Hodv’Hadar. While in Israel she taught in the Masorti movement’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah for the Special Child program. Since returning to the United States in 2001 she has been Synagogue Outreach Coordinator for the MetroWest Jewish Health and Healing Center (2001-2003); a Board member of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union; and a teacher in the Florence Melton Adult Mini School. She has served two congregations, the Jewish Congregation of Kinnelon for 13 years and Congregation B’nai Harim for 3 years.  Within the Reform rabbinate she has been active in the Women’s Rabbinic Network and served as Co-President 2012-2014. She is married to Henry Bloom and the mother of Lyla, Yael, and Shai Bloom.

Miriam Syvertsen


My name is Miriam Syvertsen.  I met Judith when she came to Shabbat dinner at my family's house in Wisconsin.  She learned that I have been leyning at my shul regularly since my bat mitzvah in 2013, and invited me to join this project. I love Hebrew grammar--why a dot is in one place and not another, and why there are unexpected changes in nekudot.  I am fascinated by the quirks in certain words, and read any Hebrew grammar book that I can get my hands on.  I enjoy explaining what I learn to my sister in bed before we fall asleep. Reading Haftarah combines three things I have been drawn to ever since I can remember: anything Jewish, music (I play cello and upright bass), and learning new things.  I also have had wonderful teachers.  I am very grateful that they continue to be part of my life.

Natalie Barkan


Natalie was the first girl to celebrate a Shabbat morning bat mitzvah at Emmanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City and the first woman to read Torah at the “upstairs” adult service. She supported herself through graduate school by teaching bar/bat mitzvah students and today still enjoys chanting Torah and serving as shlichat hatzibur at Hod Ve-Hadar congregation in Kfar Saba. Natalie has lived in Israel for over 30 years studying and teaching Judaica in various frameworks. She serves on the executive board of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, working to promote equality and co-existence between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. She is married to Dani and the mother of three sons. Natalie has known Susie Dvoskin for 20 years, celebrating Rosh Hodesh together and praying at Hod Ve-Hadar. Five years ago, Natalie took the big plunge and did her first women’s triathlon. Susie is her inspiration and mentor, not only in sport, but in the art of positive thinking! She has participated in this project out of a deep love and affection for Susie

Sarah Friedman Hagbi


Sarah Friedman Hagbi is a lifelong learner whose most recent undertaking involved re-learning to read Haftorah (for the first time since her bat mitzvah) with Susie. Sarah moved from Maryland to Israel in 1990, and currently lives in Kfar Saba with her husband and three children. She is passionate about her work as a Clinical Audiologist treating people with hearing loss, and loves music, singing, and spending time with family and friends old and new.

Leah Kayman


Leah Kayman was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin where she began to learn trope for Torah, Haftarah and Megillot. After returning from Young Judaea Year Course of 1973-1974, Leah received her B.A. in Communications and in Dairy Science from the University of Wisconsin while living at Kibbutz Langdon, a Jewish co-op/chavura with Judith Edelman and future husband Jeff Rosenzweig.  In 1977 she made aliyah, settling at Kibbutz Ketura, where she has lived ever since. A founder of the Keren Kolot Jewish Studies Institute, Leah has been involved in informal education all her adult life.  While working with the garinim of Noam at Ketura, Leah met both Tamar (z"l) and Oded Dvoskin.

Tamar Kolberg


I was born in Israel to American parents. Our Sabbath table and many holiday festivities instilled within me a deep connection to Jewish tradition. During those early years, my parents became members of a Reform congregation and so I grew up in a Jewish community that was egalitarian and fun. My formal Jewish education includes an M.A. in Jewish philosophy and education, and rabbinic ordination from the Israeli branch of the JTS (The Conservative Rabbinical program). For many years I worked in teacher training, both in the "Tali" school system (offering an enriched Jewish study program) and the Levinsky Teacher's college. In 2002 I became the Rabbi of the "Ra'anan" Congregation in Ra'anana. In 2015 I enrolled in a framework where I both volunteer and am being trained as a Spiritual Guide. The family life my husband and I created always included active involvement in a congregation. When I decided to learn how to read from the Torah, Susie was the teacher I chose. She and I met as parents in the Tali school and as members of the "Hod Ve'Hadar" conservative congregation. I was blessed with a wonderful teacher! I have three grown children and two granddaughters. I have been blessed for many years with friends like Susie who are both mentors and fellow travelers seeking a path amidst our Jewish past and present. And to Susie a special blessing – in the name of the many women, both silent and vocal who are involved in doing sacred work with her continual inspiration!  

Judy Katzin


My name is Judy Katzin. I live in Ra'anana. I grew up in a traditional family and in liberal synagogues (Conservative and Reform) in Illinois. I am the youngest of four sisters, and there was never a question of "things that girls can't do". When I was 12, my father spent a Sabbatical year at the Hebrew University. That year I was an 8th grade student at a public school in Jerusalem, and experienced many new things – I met Orthodox Jews for the first time in my life and I became a Hebrew speaker. When we returned to our Reform congregation in Illinois, my sister and I became the experts in everything related to prayer and Hebrew for our youth group. I first read Torah (not with trope) that Rosh HaShana, for the children's service.  

Shira Krupat


My name is Shira Krupat, I am 20 years old and I live in Ra'anana, Israel. My family and I joined Hod ve Hadar 6 years ago, when we made Aliyah from Toronto, Canada.  That year, Susie told me about her bar/bat mitzvah teaching course, as I had been reading Torah and haftarah on a regular basis. I enjoy reading Torah very much and feel it is a perfect way to combine my love for singing and music and my connection to Judaism.  I joined the program with Susie, along with several other high school students from the kehila.  Susie taught us how to teach, very professionally and with love, and as a result, throughout my high school years I taught many bar/ bat mitzvah students- something I may not have been a part of had Susie not run that course.  I feel that experience created many opportunities and opened many doors in my future, and also brought me closer to the kehila and motivated me to be more active in the Jewish community. I am now serving in the army and still reading Torah regularly at Hod ve Hadar. I enjoyed recording with Susie very much. This project is very important and I am proud to be part of it.  

Zahara Rubinstein


Zahara made aliyah to Ra’anana, Israel from the United States at age five. She was educated in the Tali program (enhanced Jewish studies) through grade 9. At age 12, Zahara studied for her bat mitzvah with Susie Dvoskin, which was a very meaningful experience in Zahara’s Jewish studies. During high school, Zahara studied physics and Arabic at Ostrovsky High School. Zahara is a regular prayer leader and Torah reader at Hod Vehadar, a conservative/masorti synagogue in Kfar Saba. She enjoys teaching prayers and Torah readings to students having their bar and bat mitzvahs at Hod Vehadar and Beit Shmueli Synagogue (Kehilat Ra’anan), a reform synagogue in Ra’anana. Following high school, Zahara completed a 1.5-year educational program at the Aderet Mechina, focusing on leadership, Jewish studies, Israel and the environment, and volunteering in children’s educational settings in the Ella Valley. After basic Israel Defense Forces training, Zahara served as a non-commissioned officer in education. As of this writing, Zahara is in officer’s training, designated to be an Educational Officer in the Education and Youth Corps. Zahara comments on her experience of chanting Haftorah readings to share with women around the world, “It was a pleasure and honor to work with Susie Dvoskin on building this groundbreaking website!”

Talia Rubinstein


Talia was two years old when she made aliyah to Ra’anana, Israel from Houston, Texas, in United States. During primary and middle school, she was educated in the Tali program, a non-religious track for enhanced Jewish studies in the Israeli public school system. Talia studied for her bat mitzvah with Susie Dvoskin, who had an important influence on Talia to pursue egalitarian Jewish prayer. Talia is a regular Torah and Haftorah reader at Kehillat Hod Vehadar, also leading prayers for this conservative/masorti synagogue in Kfar Saba. For several years, Talia was a counselor in the Ra’anana branch of the Noam youth movement, which is the scouts program for the Masorti Movement for conservative Jews. She now heads the program to teach Ra’anana counselors in training. As of this writing, Talia is completing high school at Ostrovsky High School in Ra’anana, studying chemistry and art. She will be attending the Lachish pre-army mechina educational program in Nahal Oz. “Susie has been a core influence on my Jewish studies over the years. I am proud to be a contributor to this important project.” comments Talia on her collaborations with Susie both for her bat mitzvah and this website development initiative.

Yarden Ratner


Raveed Ratner


My name is Ravid and I m 19 1/2 years old. I am currently studying in a pre-army program in Yaffo, and will be drafted in to the army as a sports instructor. I studied with Susie Dvoskin in preparation for my bat mitzvah and it was a special experience. Susie also taugh tme how to teach others, and I prepared several bar/bat mitzvah youngsters for their celebrations.

Wendy Rimon


Cantillation, or “trope” has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. My mom, Evelyn Wolman, taught the Bat Mitzvah girls in our conservative synagogue in Baltimore.  In the ‘60’s, the girls had their Bat Mitzvah on Friday nights, when they would chant the haftorah. I inherited the job for a short period before I made Aliya. Susie learned haftarah trope from my mom, her neighbor.  Then, Susie and I learned torah reading together, with Emanuel Alon. In time, I also learned the trope for the megillot. Over the past 40 years, I have taught hundreds of Bar and Bat Mitzvah children.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that the learning experience I provided, added meaning and enjoyment to their preparation for such an important life event! I am honored to participate in this project honoring Susie Dvoskin.

Avital Schwartz


My name is Avital Schwartz, I’m 19 years old and I live in Ra’anana. My family and I have been members of “Hod Ve’Hadar” for many years. Susie helped me prepare for my bat mitzvah in 2007 (parashat shemot), and it was a fun and meaningful experience for me. She taught me how to lead Friday night services and how to read my haftara and Torah portion. Since my bat mitzvah, I’ve lead Friday night services and read from the Torah many times. I love participating in the service because I love to sing and also because I feel it brings me closer to Judaism. I took Susie’s course (along with other girls) on how to teach and prepare children for their bar\bat mitzvahs and since then have taught my siblings and prepared others as well. Teaching is very rewarding for me, an amazing experience because I feel I can pass on the traditions I’ve learned from Susie and from growing up in “Hod Ve’Hadar”.  

Elianna Schwartz


Dalia Shohan Berender


To introduce myself, I am Dalia Shoham Berender. I live in Herzlyah with my husband Loren and my son Nuri. In my profession as a jurist I deal with research and education in initiatives promoting cooperation and equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel and in the Middle East. Music and poetry touch me very deeply. Although from early childhood I sang and played, studied music and performed, I considered music only as a hobby. Recently, I discovered within me a deep connection to poetry, Hebrew and the roots of the language, and to the Reform Movement. I conduct singing groups for women, accompanying prayers and other texts with song and music. I was searching to make this connection more significant and a mutual friend introduced me to Judith, Susie and Gila's project,which I feel blessed to be a part of.

Rinah Shelef


Rinah Sheleff is a retired lecturer in Bible Studies at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv.  She specialized in teaching methodologies that incorporate the creative arts as a way of emotionally connecting students with the human dilemmas inherent in Bible stories. Rinah is also a professional storyteller and a movement instructor.  Currently she is working with a team of storytellers on a project designed to make Talmudic and Hassidic  stories accessible to the public at large. She is a founding member of a women's Rosh Hodesh group that has been meeting for over 20 years, and was also active in creating the Tali School in Hod HaSharon. And she loves Susie Dvoskin.  

Liat Shapiro


I was born in Washington D.C. in 2000. I grew up in Congregation Adat Israel, an egalitarian Conservative synagogue where I learned to read Torah and Haftarah. My love of Judaism was nurtured in the Jewish community school I attended. I celebrated my bat mitzvah at age 12 in my congregation, after studying with a private teacher, our rabbi, and my father. I served as the shlichat tzibur (cantor), read the entire portion of the week (Korach), and delivered a sermon. Today I live in Israel and am continuing my Jewish education in a pluralistic school and at Camp Ramah. Susie Dvoskin taught me how to prepare youngsters for their bar/bat mitzvahs. I am active in my congregation (Hod v'Hadar), and read Torah on a regular basis.

Anita Tamari


Anita Tamari is a member of Hod ve-Hadar in Kfar Saba, Israel. She learned to read Torah and haftarah in the summer of 1996, in preparation for her 50th birthday. The lessons with Susie were a joyous combination of trope, talk, tea, and toast. However, Susie never showed up for the final rehearsal – this was the Saturday that Tamar was injured in a hit-and-run accident, and our small Havdalah ceremony in the hospital marked the end of her life and the beginning of a new and darker one for Susie and family. Anita is an editor and translator, lives in Kfar Saba, and does not like to have her picture taken – much less published.  

Ilana Shochat


My name is Ilana Shochat, and I am married to Tal and mother to Rona. I am an occupational therapist and a group facilitator. I learned how to read Torah and Haftarah for my bat mitzvah. I enjoyed the skills I acquired, and after a year, as is the custom at our synagogue (Hod V'Hadar in Kfar Saba) I became a teacher myself. Over a period of ten years I helped 20 boys and girls prepare for their bar/bat mitzvahs. While I was a studying occupational therapy, I worked as a teacher in the "Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program for the Special Child" of the Conservative Movement. In this framework I worked with groups of youngsters with various disabilities (autism, cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities,etc.) I worked with each group for about six months at the end of which, we celebrated with a moving ceremony in one of the synagogues of the Masorti Movement. I am happy to be part of this website and to contribute my voice to the project.

Alexandra Berger-Polsky


Alexandra Berger-Polsky, originally from Upstate New York, is currently pursuing an MPH at Ben Gurion University while working at Sidreh, a Bedouin women's empowerment non-profit and weaving collective in the Negev. She has nurtured her love of reading Torah, Haftarah and leading davenning since her bat mitzvah. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband Nadav.

Shayna Tischler


My name is Shayna Tischler and I am 23 years old. Susie Dvoskin taught me to read Torah for my bat mitzvah in 2003. I was active in Noam, the youth movement of the Conservative Movement, as a participant and as a counselor for ten years. I read Torah many times  - in various branches of the movement and in national activities. I completed four years of army service as an officer in the intelligence unit of Tzahal. I hope to begin studying medicine, 

Livna Yavnin


I was born a year after WW2, a year after my parents arrived in Eretz Yisrael, which was still  under the British mandate…And yes, I'm a 'baby boomer', the eldest of three children, and the only girl. We grew up in a very secular and Zionistic home, filled with books, music, science and art.  I loved reading, often going to the library and reading a third of the book on the way home. I loved drawing, and playing the recorder and I taught myself how to read music with some help from my father.  But, I was also extremely active in a variety of sports such as track and field (high and broad jump), and I climbed trees for fun. When I was 17 I started feeling the need for spiritual experiences, which after exploring many cultures, led me back to Judaism, but not to the models I disliked so much in Israel. I traveled to the US to study industrial design and slowly found my way (back) to Judaism.  I started with lighting Shabbat candles and reading the Siddur.  A few years later, in Las Vegas, I began attending services at "Beit Shalom", a Conservative Synagogue.  The children went to Hebrew school and the congregation's Torah reader gave me a Jewish liturgical book which I photocopied and used to learn the Trope for Torah, Haftarah, Megilot, and Yamim Nora'im. It took me about a year before I had the opportunity and nerve to read in the synagogue. By then we were already living in Herndon, Virginia where I joined the "Beth Emeth" congregation.  I read Torah at my daughter Helen's Bat-Mitzvah, taught her to read Haftarah, and became the main Torah reader for a few years. I continue to read Torah and Haftarah at Hod ve-Hadar in Kfar Sabah, Israel, have taught for the Masorti Movement’s Bar/ Bat Mitzvah program for children with special needs and enjoy sharing both of these with Susie. I have 7 children (no twins) 1 boy and 6 girls, and am a grandmother of 9.  I'm the traveling savta, always going to visit and help one of the 'kids'.  Of course I still love reading, listening to music, sports, bird watching and gardening.  

Nurit Novis-Deutsch


My name is Nurit Novis-Deutsch. I am a 42 year old mother of three living with my family in Hanaton, a small village in the Galilee. I am a researcher in the field of psychology of religion, and I teach at Haifa university and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Thirty years ago, when I was preparing for my Bat Mitzvah at congregation Hod v’Hadar in Kfar Saba, Susie Dvoskin was my wonderful and energetic teacher for reading Torah. I still read Torah on a regular basis, and I still love it. For my Haftorah I learnt the South African ‘trop’ (that being where my family and I made Aliya from) by listening to a tape recorded by a Chazzan my father knew. Later, I learnt the more common ‘trop’ by listening to Susie and others chant Haftoras at shul. Over the years I also learnt how to read the different Megillot, and taught Bar and Bat Mitzvah students myself. Reading Torah and Haftorah is a meaningful part of my life. Thanks to this skill I became deeply familiar with portions of Torah and the Prophets, which resonate and inspire me along my life's journey. I also find Torah-reading to be a good way to make contact with local communities. For example, when we spent two years in Berkeley, I offered to read Torah at the Conservative synagogue in town and with time developed a very meaningful relationship with that congregation. Finally, I enjoy expressing my Jewish identity musically. Thanks to Susie Dvoskin and Emanuel Alon who taught me the foundations of precise and musical chanting, I acquired an additional Jewish “language” which has enriched my life, and for that I am truly grateful.

Lita Pollard


I grew up in a Conservadox home and synogogue in the United States, going to shul every Shabbat and sitting next to my dad. The last time I read Haftorah was almost 50 years ago at my bat mitzvah which was on a Friday night. I remember memorizing the Haftorah and not really learning the טעמים. I learned to read a פרק of Megillat Ester in the same way, and manage to read it each year for many years now. Because I am not musical, I never considered learning how to READ Haftorah or learn the trope.  I am happy to be part of this project  which will honor the "Susie Dvoskin trope" and which will be a personal challenge for me ( and for Susie - as she has taken me on as her student!). I worked in Psychiatric rehabilitation for more than 30 years and I was director of Occupational therapy Services at a Psychiatric Medical Center for many of them. I made my staff incorporate tradition as part of the therapeutic activities used  with the patients because my motto was:  "belonging to a culture promotes health".  

The women who wrote about the connections between the Haftarah and the Torah reading

Rinah Sheleff


Rinah Sheleff is a retired lecturer in Bible Studies at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv.  She specialized in teaching methodologies that incorporate the creative arts as a way of emotionally connecting students with the human dilemmas inherent in Bible stories. Rinah is also a professional storyteller and a movement instructor.  Currently she is working with a team of storytellers on a project designed to make Talmudic and Hassidic  stories accessible to the public at large. She is a founding member of a women's Rosh Hodesh group that has been meeting for over 20 years, and was also active in creating the Tali School in Hod HaSharon. And she loves Susie Dvoskin.

Natalie Barkan


Natalie was the first girl to celebrate a Shabbat morning bat mitzvah at Emmanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City and the first woman to read Torah at the “upstairs” adult service. She supported herself through graduate school by teaching bar/bat mitzvah students and today still enjoys chanting Torah and serving as shlichat hatzibur at Hod Ve-Hadar congregation in Kfar Saba. Natalie has lived in Israel for over 30 years studying and teaching Judaica in various frameworks. She serves on the executive board of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, working to promote equality and co-existence between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. She is married to Dani and the mother of three sons. Natalie has known Susie Dvoskin for 20 years, celebrating Rosh Hodesh together and praying at Hod Ve-Hadar. Five years ago, Natalie took the big plunge and did her first women’s triathlon. Susie is her inspiration and mentor, not only in sport, but in the art of positive  thinking! She has participated in this project out of a deep love and affection for Susie.

Shoshana Zucker


Shoshana Zucker is an experienced, mostly self-taught lay-leader at Hod Vehadar and has been interested in haftarot and their relationship to the weekly Torah readings since her Bat Mitzvah, a long time ago...

Gail Shuster-Bouskila


Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila has earned two degrees in education. She made Aliyah to Israel in 1978, and finished her rabbinic studies at Hebrew University. She was ordained at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 1979. She was the first women rabbi in Israel. Since making Aliyah, as a free-lance rabbi, she has counseled many people on life cycle events, including women’s issues, marriage and Bar/Bat Mitzvah and has lectured around Israel about modern Midrash, liberal Judaism, women's issues and the philosophy of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. From 2005 to 2010, she held the position of Chair of the Israel Reconstructionist Foundation. She worked to deepen Israel - Diaspora Jewish relations among Liberal Jews through contact with individuals and groups.

The volunteers who helped with the website

Emanuel Alon – cantillation signs

Avia Barr – actress in our films

Itai Barr – actor in our films

Lauren Bar – consultant

Sharon Bernstein – musical notation

Jackie Diamond – uploading to the website

Noa Dvoskin – photoshop

Linda Gollub-Berger – chuppah

Shira Green – sound editing

Shlomit Kaminka – launching event

Marienella Kreiman – flashcards

Janet Lerner – editing

Irit Miller – translation and editing

Zivah Nativ – translation and editing

Lita Pollard – launching event

Miriam Praeger – launching event

Wendy Rimon – launching event

Linda Sagiv – proofreading

Sunita Staneslow – harp music

Anita Tamari – translation ם

Rochelle Treister – uploading to the website

Yakov Vogel – film editing

Yocheved Welber – translations

Yossi Zucker – musical notation

אמילי לוי שוחט – העלאת חומרים לאתר

Our professional staff

Maya Steinberg - sound editor


Maya Steinberg is a producer, script writer, video and sound editor. She is a graduate of the film and television department at Tel Aviv University.' She can be contacted at: steinbergmaya1@gmail.com  steinberg.maya1@gmail.com

Susie Dvoskin


Susie passed away peacefully in May, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. She remained active throughout. The autobiography which follows was written in 2015 and the website is a part of her legacy:
I have been a teacher in the field of special and Jewish education for more than 40 years.  I’ve taught young children in day care settings, in the United States and mostly in Israel, typical and atypical teenagers preparing for their bar and bat mitzvah, typical and atypical adults expanding their knowledge and involvement in Judaism. I am an active member of Kehilat Hod ve-Hadar, an egalitarian Masorti (Conservative(congregation in Kfar Sabah, Israel.  I love teaching.  I love reaching out to everyone.  I love adapting material to individuals. I love the communication and learning that flows between us.  I had my Bat Mitzvah when I was 35, so it’s never too late to start. With this website we reach out to all of you, wherever you may be, to help involve you in your Judaism, to be part of your Jewish community.

Ilan Diamond - website developer


Aviv Gross-Alon - website designer


Judith Edelman-Green


Rabbi Judith Edelman-Green worked with Susie Dvoskin and Dr. Gila Vogel to set up the following programs: Bar/bat mitzvah for the Special Child, Netaim Summer Camp at Ramah-Noam Israel,National Conferences on Jewish Special Education and Rimon Community for Adults with Special Needs. This website is an expression of the love and friendship between the three of us.  We all believe in promoting education for women, for those with special needs, and for ALL. Judith is a triathlete, loves cooking, nature, books, writing, guitar playing. She is a Pastoral Care Giver for the elderly, those at the end of life, or those in crisis. She is married, has three children .

Gila Vogel


I have recently retired from my position as a lecturer in the special education department at Beit Berl College in Israel. I've always been interested in Jewish education for youngsters with special needs. I am proud of helping to establish the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program for children with special needs of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, and continue to serve as an academic advisor to the program. My disssertation topic was the significance of bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies for parents of children with special needs.  I am on the board of Chimes/Israel, an organization that provides services for people with special needs. In 2014, I was appointed to the religious council of Kfar Saba, and hope to make that organization more responsive to all the residents of the city. I am an active member of Hod V'Hadar (Masorti congregation) in Kfar Saba. I keep busy helping to care for my seven grandsons, and developing this website.