Rachel Beck is an author and international photographer. She was born in India and was adopted from an orphanage by a Jewish family. She has run a photography business for the last 8 years in the Midwest.
She is turning the tragic events in her life into positivity through her photography and writing. She wants to share how art has healed her in many ways. By sharing her story, she hopes she inspires others to pick themselves up after they have been through hard times. She holds a Bachelor of General Studies with Minors in Psychology and Gender Studies.
Angela Warnick Buchdahl was invested as a cantor in 1999 and ordained as a rabbi in 2001 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York. She earned a BA 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 appointment as cantor at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Buchdahl served as associate rabbi/cantor at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y.
Rabbi Buchdahl has been nationally recognized for her innovations in leading services, and has served as faculty for the Wexner Heritage Foundation and for the Union for Reform Judaism Kallot programs. She has been actively involved in Just Congregations, the Reform Movement’s congregation-based community organizing effort. Rabbi Buchdahl has been featured in articles in Reform Judaism, Shema Journal of Jewish Ideas, Newsweek’s 2012 list of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis” and the PBS documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidrei. She serves on the Board of Auburn Theological Seminary and the Multiracial Jewish Network.
Rabbi Buchdahl and her husband Jacob Buchdahl have three children.
Born in Hong Kong, Davi Yael Cheng immigrated to the United States with her family when she was fourteen. In addition to her rich Chinese heritage, Davi has embraced Judaism and is actively involved in her synagogue, Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), “House of New Life,” the world’s original gay and lesbian synagogue founded in Los Angeles in 1972. Davi is the past president and co-founder of the synagogue’s Klezmer band, “Gay Gezunt,” where she plays the trumpet and French horn, she also sings in the choir.
Davi is a graphic designer in Los Angeles and her artwork reflects the diverse aspects of her life and the unique perspective it has given her. Davi designed the twelve stained glass windows at BCC, and fabricated the windows along with three other artists, all BCC members, her new project will be to help create the stained glass door and Ner Tamid for the Ark in the new building her temple will be moving to in April 2011.
Davi has served as the Executive Vice Presidents for the Pacific Southwest Regional Board with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and currently take on the role as a Bridgebuilder for the West District.
Davi holds a B.A. degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her spouse of 31 years, Bracha Yael Cheng.
Rabbi Romiel Daniel was born and raised in Mumbai, India in a religious home following the Indian Jewish tradition. After first arriving in the United States, to earn his Masters in Chemistry from Brandeis University, Rabbi Daniel returned to India to become the Vice President of an apparel company, moving from India to Mauritius and eventually Madagascar, before finally coming back to America to train as a Cantor at Yeshiva University. In 2008, Rabbi Daniel became Cantor of RPJC and in 2015 our Rabbi.
As the only ordained Indian Rabbi in North America, Rabbi Daniel’s unique cultural position has made him something of a minor celebrity with write ups in The New York Times, Daily News, Jewish Week, and The Daily Forward amongst many others! In addition the Rabbi has been invited to lecture on The Jews of India at Lincoln Center, The Queens Museum, and JCC’s across the country.
Gina Gold is a humorist, filmmaker and stage artist. She grew up in a New York neighborhood thinking “oy vey” was something all black people said. Inspired by comedians like Carol Burnett and Louis CK, Gina boldly pokes fun at her own idiosyncrasies as a Jewish African-American Bay Area native who is really from Queens. At the age of thirteen she attended The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts and later wrote her own one woman shows before venturing into filmmaking. She launched her own show on a New York cable access channel. Calling it “The Gina Gold Show,” she filled the airtime with comedic, sometimes surreal, Saturday Night Live-style sketches and short films.
After telling a story called Hands Up on NPR’s radio show Snap Judgment, Gina fell in love with storytelling and started her own series called TMI (Too Much Information), which she currently produces. TMI features a rotating cast of storytellers giving an unadulterated, often hardcore look at life. She has also toured in a show called You’re Funny But You Don’t Look Jewish, a touring stand up comedy show with some very funny African American, Indian, Italian American and Vietnamese Jewish comedians.
Kenny Kahn is an English teacher and football coach at El Cerrito High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in literature, creative writing and poetry and a master’s of education from UC Santa Cruz. He grew up in Richmond, the son of a Jewish mother and black father, played football at El Cerrito High, and returned to El Cerrito and in 2008 become the youngest head coach in school history. In 2012, Kahn received the third Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California’s Award for contribution to the local sports scene as well as being named Oakland Raiders Coach of the Week. Kahn was drawn to the message and mission of Be’chol Lashon, and has been involved since its founding. Kahn moves seamlessly between his black and Jewish worlds, and is exceptional in relating to young Jews navigating their multiple identities.
Samson Koletkar was born in Mumbai and raised Jewish. Growing up in the world’s most crowded city, he spent most of his childhood years burning the midnight candles for earning a Masters in Computer Software, thereby fulfilling his parent’s dreams. He then moved halfway across the world, to the technology headquarters and a hotbed for emerging comics—San Francisco.
As a first generation immigrant in America, Samson brings a refreshingly new approach to cerebral, witty, thought-provoking, clean humor with a global perspective. Driven by personal trials and tribulations, his subtle satire addresses religious and political hypocrisies, social issues, and day-to-day absurdities of human nature.
He won the 2010 Asian American Theater Company Comedy Competition, has performed at clubs, colleges and corporations in India, Canada and 12 states in the U.S., and has been featured on Asian Jewish Life, Indian Express, NBC, CBS and NPR.
Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber was born and raised in Israel to parents of Yemenite descent. She has a PhD in Communication from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has worked as a journalist in Israel for Yediot Aharonot, Shishi, Hadashot, and Hapatish newspapers and did some research work for the show Uvda on Channel Two. She also worked as a researcher and diversity trainer at Adva Center for Equality of Israeli Society.
Teaching Journalism and Media at Suffolk University, her research interests include the media’s role in shaping the sphere of public discourse, media criticism, media coverage of social and political conflicts, and representation of minorities in the media. Her book, Israeli Media and the Framing of Internal Conflict: The Yemenite Babies Affair, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009.
Isaama Stoll is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. A native of the Washington D.C. area, she graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies. During her time at Carleton she worked as a leader of both the campus’ Jewish and African American communities. As part of her rabbinical training she has served as the student rabbi of B’nai Israel Synagogue in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Isaama is passionate about questions of Jewish diversity and the importance of diversity in the rabbinate. She has written curricula for teens on inclusive Judaism and race in Israel. Isaama leads services in a unique interactive style with an eye toward understanding the importance of diversity through the lens of Jewish text.
Frances Wilson of Hawaii is a convert to Judaism who has worked for many years in the field of early childhood and Montessori education. Wilson has participated in the Disney College program, the White House internship program, as well as the TALMA Teacher Fellowship Program in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. In addition, she has used her platform as the winner of four beauty pageants to promote women’s and children’s causes.
• Converts of color
• Self-esteem building with kids and teens
• Young Jewish professionals