Spiritual Directors—Mashpia Faculty

Rabbi Shohama Wiener, DMin, EdM,  is a founding member of the ALEPH Ordination Program VAAD, and served as the ALEPH Ordination Program Rosh Hashpa'ah until her retirement in October 2017. She was the Founding Director of the AOP Hashpa’ah Training Program for Spiritual Directors,  and continues to serve  on the AOP Mashpia faculty as a Spiritual Director for students.  Rabbi Wiener is President Emerita of The Academy for Jewish Religion, NY.  Her smicha as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi moved her to provide hashpa'ah at AJR, and to design a model hashpa'ah training program in her doctoral thesis at NY Theological Seminary, a program now brought forward in ALEPH’s Hashpa’ah ordination track. Additionally R' Shohama serves as Co-Rabbi for Temple Beth-El of City Island, NY, “Your Shul by the Sea,” where spiritual direction and hashpa’ah modalities are part of shul life. She is a teacher of meditation and healing, songwriter and contributor to the literature on Jewish spirituality. Her publications include Worlds of Jewish Healing (co-editor), The Fifty-Eighth Century: A Jewish Renewal Sourcebook (editor) and Seeking and Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Guidance and Development (co-editor).

Rabbi Nadya Gross is the Director of the AOP Hashpa’ah Training Program. She serves as Co-Rabbi of Pardes Levavot, a Jewish renewal congregation in Boulder, CO, together with her beloved, Rabbi Victor Gross. The two received Joint Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in recognition of their unique paradigm of spiritual partnering. Rabbi Nadya was trained from childhood in the Jewish mystical tradition, by her Israeli grandmother, and now transmits the teachings in a two-year wisdom school program. She is a teacher of Kaballah and spiritual practice, and is guided by our wisdom tradition and Reb Zalman's teaching in her private practice as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit – which focuses on individuals, couples, and clergy. She co-founded the Center for Spiritual Friendship in Boulder with Rabbi Ori Har, an interfaith center for hashpa'ah in many forms. She also proudly serves as faculty in the 'Sage-ing Program,' bringing her extensive experience with end-of-life care to that mentorship training program.

Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, MHL, RRC and with smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi,  is the Associate Director of the AOP Hashpa'ah Training Program, a member of Spiritual Directors International and was a Spiritual Director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for a decade. He serves as a consultant and coach for numerous organizations and congregations, and is a mentor in the https://cliforum.wordpress.com/ program. He is Co-Director of the Davenning Leaders’ Training Institute (www.hazon.org/dlti)  sits on the ALEPH Ordination Program Academic VAAD and the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and serves as the rabbi of Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, PA (www.mishkan.org).   A graduate of the Integrated Kabbalistic Healing program, R' Shawn is also a published author and singer/songwriter, and has recorded five CD's of spiritual music http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ShawnZevit).

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder, Rosh Hashpa'ah, was ordained by ALEPH in 2016 and currently serves as the rabbi of The Shul of New York, an inclusive post-denominational community in the East Village. A longtime spiritual director, trained through Lev Shomea, the first training program for Jewish Spiritual Directors, Rabbi Eva’s rabbinate and communal Jewish leadership have also been informed by her experiences in the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI), Kol Zimra Chant Leadership Training, and a variety of chaplaincy internships. She is certified in Jewish Mindfulness Meditation, Wise Eldering, as well as Jewish Yoga. She is a graduate of the Gamliel Institute, the educational arm of Kavod v’Nichum, the Jewish organization of bereavement and is active in local hevra kaddishah committees. 

Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Ed.M., is a Mashpi'ah Ruchanit (trained by Lev Shomea) who received smicha from ALEPH in the first class of women rabbis in 2004. She co-leads Shabbatonim and Jewish holiday retreats as well as Jewish silent meditation retreats and assisted Rabbi Shefa Gold with four cohorts of Kol Zimra chant leaders' training program. She was a long-time chair of B'nai/P'nai Or before it became ALEPH through its merger with The Shalom Center and was the summer program director for 12 years at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish Renewal Retreat Center in Accord, NY. She's now retired from 37 years of creating and directing the Riverside Language Program in NYC, an intensive English-language "ulpan" for newly-arrived adult immigrants, refugees, and asylees from around the world. With her partner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, she has co-authored “Tales of Tikkun, A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven, and Freedom Journeys.” In July 2018, she taught “What in the (Four) Worlds is Jewish Renewal?” at the ALEPH Kallah as a tribute to Reb Zalman z"l.

Reb Sandra B. Cohen, DSW, LCSW, has a private psycho-spiritual clinical and relationship coaching practice. Reb Sarah is a Spiritual Director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and for the ALEPH Ordination Programs, as well as on the Training Faculty for the AOP Hashpa'ah  Training Program. She privately provides individual and interfaith group spiritual direction and mentors individuals and clergy called to this ministry. She trained in Group Spiritual Direction at The Shalem Institute and received smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, Maggidah, and “Reb Sarah.” She is available for private Supervision for Spiritual Directors. 

Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Kate Fagan has smicha from ALEPH as a Rabbinic Pastor, Chaplain and Mashpi'ah Ruchanit.  She serves as Founding Director of ALEPH's Rabbinic Pastor Program, and as a hospital chaplain, as well as a spiritual director in private practice.  RP Shulamit is a master storyteller, and teaches widely on pastoral care and end-of-life issues. See www.spiritualwell.com.


Rabbi Shefa Gold  is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and also has rabbinic smicha from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP,  The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice, in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. R' Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayer-books. She teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community Building, and Meditation. Her 2-year training progam for chant leaders, "Kol Zimra," trained  rabbis, cantors and lay leaders to bring sacred Hebrew chant into their personal practice and public arenas.  She is a resource faculty for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and a fellow for CLAL’s Rabbis without Borders. She was recently named “One of the 33 most Inspiring Rabbis in America,” by the Jewish Forward. R' Shefa combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions to make her uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land, and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs published by Ben Yehuda Press, and The Magic of Hebrew Chant: Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love  published by Jewish Lights.

Rabbi Chaya Gusfield, Spiritual Director, Board Certified Chaplain, and Teacher, was ordained as a rabbi in 2006 by the ALEPH Ordination Program. She currently serves as a Palliative Care chaplain at Kaiser Richmond and Oakland. She completed her training as a Spiritual Director in 2001 through the Mercy Center in Burlingame. Rabbi Gusfield has a longtime and deep connection with Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont and Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, California. She teaches Torah and leads Spiritual Direction groups using a variety of modalities including writing for deep reflection and sharing. Rabbi Gusfield works with the understanding that Judaism is for healing. She works closely with Buddhist teacher Eve Decker offering healing services and workshops. You can find Rabbi Gusfield's writings on her blog at chayasgarden.wordpress.com

Rabbi Ori Har received ordination as Mashpi'ah Ruchanit, Sage-ing Mentor and Rabbi from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She co-founded and directs the Center for Spiritual Friendship in Boulder, an interfaith center for Hashpa'ah in many forms. She serves as a spiritual director for individuals, and groups, as well as leading Sage-ing workshops. As a researcher in Consciousness, Reb Ori is also a practitioner of Embodied Torah and devotional dance, and is on faculty in The Embodying Spirit Training Program. R' Ori has been an adult educator of Biblical Hebrew, Torah and meditation for over twenty years, and is the author of "God Speaks Here and Now: A Guide for Living." A native of Israel now living in Boulder, CO, R' Ori is married, has two children, two step-children and is a savta of two grandchildren. 

Rabbi Burt Jacobson, MHL, is Founding Rabbi of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Berkeley, begun in 1984. He was instrumental in the design of the new God-centered curriculum for the ALEPH Rabbinic Program, and has been involved in the discipline of spiritual direction for over twenty years. R' Burt completed his training as a spiritual director at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA in 1995. Since then he has been pioneering the introduction of spiritual direction into Jewish life.

Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, PhD, is past Chair of the Department of Religion, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, where he taught courses in Jewish mysticism and comparative spirituality. Co-founder and past co-director of UF’s Center for Spirituality and Health, he is an author and national lecturer. He is Rabbi Emeritus of P’nai Or of Gainesville, FL.  Reb Shaya is co -founder and co-director of the ALEPH Sage-ing Mentorship Program and senior faculty emeritus of the Spiritual Eldering Institute where, at Reb Zalman’s request, he co-designed and implemented its leadership training program. With his partner Bahira Sugarman, he has been leading life-transforming Sage-ing Workshops for nearly three decades, and serves on the faculty of the AOP Hashpa'ah Training Program.  He was ordained as a spiritual director, mashpia ruchani,  by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan is founder and spiritual leader of Nava Tehila, a Jewish Renewal community in Jerusalem - www.NavaTehila.org.  She co-authored, with Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, the Hebrew book Jewish Renewal - Integrating Heart and World (2006). Ruth works as a Mashpi'ah with rabbinic and cantorial students from all denominations and is a mentor for prayer leaders in the art of leading musical meaningful prayers. She creates, together with her team of musical prayer leaders,  new music for prayers -www.navatehila.bandcamp.com and  www.youtube.com/user/NavaTehila. R' Ruth received Mashpi'ah Ruchanit smicha from Reb Zalman and rabbinical ordination from ALEPH. 

Rabbinic Pastor David Daniel Klipper received ordination from the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) as a Rabbinic Pastor and Mashpia Ruchani, and was also trained by the Morei Derekh Jewish Spiritual Direction Program. Recently retired as a CPE Supervisor at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, he now serves as Pastoral Education Coordinator for the AOP, providing a practicum experience in pastoral care for AOP students who are unable to take CPE.  Additionally, RP David Daniel serves as a training Supervisor for the HASHPA'AH Ordination Program and as a co-teacher for the Pastoral Counseling course required of all AOP students. He has been married since 1981 and has two grown sons.

Rabbi David Evan Markus, MPP, JD, received smicha as mashpia ruchani (spiritual director) and as rabbi from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. His spiritual direction practice focuses on clergy spiritual formation using textual, contemplative, transpersonal and mystical modalities. R' David currently serves as consultant developing spiritual direction modalities on behalf of the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat (the Orthodox seminary for women). He also serves as Co-Rabbi of Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York City, NY). His publications in spiritual direction appear in Presence: Journal of Spiritual Directors International and My Jewish Learning, and are forthcoming in Avenida Books and New Matrix Press. In secular life, he serves as judicial referee and pursues a longtime public service career in New York.

Rabbi Mark Novak received ordination as a Rabbi and Mashpia Ruchani from AOP, and is the founding Rabbi of MInyan Oneg Shabbat, Washington, DC's Jewish Renewal community.(MinyanOnegShabbat.org) In addition to his work as a mashpia, he is a hazzan, musician (TheMarkNovakBand.com), composer, storyteller (Jewishstorytelling.com), and playwright. Mark experiences the creative process as a conduit in his relationship with the Divine. R' Mark has been described as a ba'al simcha, a master of joy, and he brings that G!d given gift to all his work. Together with his wife, storyteller/juggler Renée Brachfeld, R' Mark has served as Scholar/Artist in Residence at over 140 synagogues throughout the U/S and Canada.  His project, A Year of Stories, is dedicated to the memory of Reb Zalman and can be found at www.rebmarko.com. R' Mark leads all ALEPH chaverim in number of websites!

Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel is a poet and mystic through whom song and inspiration flow. She has recorded eight albums of original liturgical music. In 1982, she was the first woman to receive the title, Eshet Hazon/Woman of Vision and Midwife of the Soul. She has helped to build and sustain communities in Vancouver, BC, Hanover, NH, and Boston, MA. She currently serves as the rabbi of B’nai Or of Boston. In addition to serving as a Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, she is a Soul Memory Facilitator, and a Baba to two precious granddaughters.

Rabbinic Pastor & Mashpi’ah Ruchanit Sandra Wortzel received smicha from the ALEPH Rabbinic Pastor Program of AOP. She is a Director of Studies for the ALEPH Rabbinic Pastor program, a supervisor for Hashpa’ah Program students, and a Mashpia for AOP students. R.P. Sandra also serves as Co-President of the Rabbinic Pastor Association. She is a graduate of the Kol Zimra Hebrew chant leadership training. Uniting Jewish spirituality, the expressive arts, and nature, Sandra encourages others to express their spirituality and yearnings through the arts, in Hashpa’ah sessions, creative ceremonies, and workshops. Sandra has a BFA in Dance, a MA in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University, and a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies from the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in Training, Research and Leadership in Expressive Arts Therapy.