Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | 10 AM – 3 PM

JCC Benderson Building

Please join the Buffalo Jewish community for the 2023 Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning. Hosted by Professor Alex Green, Buffalo Community Jewish Educator in the University at Buffalo Department of Jewish Thought, this event will be a celebration of local Jewish talent for all who love to learn. You will have your choice of sessions led by a rich array of speakers who will be sharing their expertise in business, academia, religious practice, music history, mindfulness and spirituality, theatre, and more. This is a unique day that aims to bring together top presenters on a diverse set of Jewish topics and experiences from around Buffalo. The day will be made up of a mix of educational programs by leading students, educators, professors, rabbis and community leaders. Attendees may select from a choice of sessions led by a rich array of presenters throughout the day.

Two special highlights include a Lifetime Achievement Award for Prof. Gerhard Falk and The Inaugural Rabbi Heschel Greenberg Lecture. Prof. Falk is a former professor at Buffalo State University, who taught criminology, sociology of religion, juvenile delinquency, and the treatment of offenders until his retirement in late 2016. He is the author of thirty books and forty-two journal articles. Rabbi Heschel Greenberg is the Director of the Jewish Discovery Center and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Jewish Studies. He has authored over one hundred books on Bible, Talmud, Maimonides, Jewish law, Kabbalah, Chassidic philosophy, Jewish Holidays and more. Rabbi Greenberg is celebrating fifty years as a rabbi in Buffalo.

We are also excited to feature “An East Side Story: Harold Arlen’s Buffalo Roots” Traveling Exhibition, curated by Chana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D. See the exhibition and speak to the curator. The exhibit explores Arlen’s early life on the East Side and its legacy that continues to resonate in our time. Harold Arlen (1905-1986) composed some of the most memorable songs of the twentieth century including the Oscar-winning song, “Over the Rainbow” for the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It was Arlen’s background as a vocalist, a performer, and an arranger that infused his music with a deeply individual and truly intimate sound. His performance-centered style drew on his Jewish roots and the music around him in Buffalo.


There will also be a new track of children’s activities throughout the day designed for kids to experience Buffalo’s top Jewish educational programs including art sessions, cooking, dance, food, storytime, music and more. Parents can drop off children ages five up. Children four and younger must have parental supervision.

A Learn-All-Day Pass is $18 for adults and free for children and students, which includes a kosher lunch (BVK supervised). Pre-registration is recommended and encouraged. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Sponsorship opportunities are also available to help support this initiative and provide more Jewish learning opportunities for the entire community.

The Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning is a public project of the Home/Hub Partnership between the Buffalo Jewish Federation, Hillel of Buffalo and UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Home/Hub Partnership seeks to draw on the academic resources of the university to address critical issues facing the Jewish community while presenting opportunities to enhance Jewish life on campus and throughout Jewish Buffalo. Many thanks to the Buffalo Jewish Federation, the UB College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo, Hillel of Buffalo, and Amherst Memorial Chapel, for hosting this event.

If you missed last year and want to get a taste of the incredible diversity of discussions and presentations, you can check out our podcast with recordings from last year on Anchor or Spotify at https://anchor.fm/buffalodayjewishlearning.

Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning Schedule

TimeProgram Option 1
JCC Lippman Lounge
Program Option 2
JCC Board Room
Program Option 3
JCC Kids Place
Program Option 4
Special Programming
10-10:15amWelcome and Opening Words -
Dean Robin Schulze, College of Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo
Marc Brown, Vice President of the Board of Governors of the Buffalo Jewish Federation
Chair: Zoe FelberChair: Logan Woodard
Session 1 10:15-10:55amA Conversation with the Ronnie Marmo, “I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce” with Adam Yellen and Sabrina KahwatyVisiting the Middle East after the Abraham Accords with Dr. Shira Brown and Prof. Gil WolfeStory Time with PJ Library10:00-11:00am
Understanding the Map of Israel with CRS 5th and 7th students, led by Michal Shmuel Lewis, Logan Woodard and UB Kol Yisrael students
Session 2 11:05-11:45amStudents Explore Israel with Kadimah Scholars at Park;
The 613 Gameshow with Ohr Temimim students
When Jews Argue: Talmud in the University and the Beit-Midrash with Prof. Sergey DolgopolskiEnergy Hour: Music, Dance and More with UB students11:00am-12:30pm
Mezuzah Art Workshop: Make a custom mezuzah case using sculpey
with Sonia Young and Natalie Korchowsky
(This project is suitable for adults, teens and kids over 6. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult)
Session 311:55am-12:10pmEnd of Life Planning with Amherst Memorial ChapelSpecial Session for CRS Teachers and Educators in the Community:
Working with Exceptional Students with Cathy Jones
Hebrew Fun with Michal Lewis and Kadimah Scholars at Park11:55am-12:35pm
Yoga Dance and Meditation with
Kohava Howard
Session 412:10-12:35pmLunch and Music
With Musical Performance by Moshe and Miranda Shulman
(Lunch available until 3 pm)

Meet the Curator of “An East Side Story: Harold Arlen’s Buffalo Roots”- Chana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D.
Lunch and Music
With Musical Performance by Moshe and Miranda Shulman
(Lunch available until 3 pm)

Meet the Curator of “An East Side Story: Harold Arlen’s Buffalo Roots”- Chana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D.
12:35-12:50pmLifetime Achievement Award for Prof. Gerhard Falk
Reception for the Launch of CRS, Kadimah Scholars at Park and Ohr Temimim Art Show
(In JCC Bunis Gallery)
Session 512:50-1:20pmRabbis in Conversation: Three Essential Ideas for Jewish Buffalo, Moderated by Miriam Abramovich with Rabbi Brent Gutmann, Rabbi Sara Rich, and Rabbi Adam RosenbaumIntroduction to Deli Pickling
with Bloom and Rose
Kosher Mini Chefs
with Center for Jewish Life
Session 61:30-2:10pmThe Challenges of Building Jewish Community
Moderated by Rob Goldberg with Meredith Dragon, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, and Cheryl Stein
Humanitarian Work in Ukraine: A Story from the Front Lines with Ilona TrossmanJewish Art with Jewish Discovery Center
Session 72:20-3:00pmThe Inaugural Rabbi Heschel Greenberg Lecture with Rabbi Heschel Greenberg celebrating 50 years in Buffalo, speaking on the topic: “The Rational Mystery of Mashiach”Erechim Jewish Quilt Making with Linda Bergman

Presenter’s Bios

Miriam Abramovich
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - miriam abramovich sqMiriam Abramovich currently serves as Chief Operation Officer for the Buffalo Jewish Federation. Working at the intersection of Jewish engagement, learning, and leadership, she has spent over 20 years [9 in Buffalo] catalyzing thousands of individuals and families to live, learn, and lead Jewishly. Miriam holds a BA in Theater Arts from Skidmore College and a MA from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program where she was a JCC Association Graduate Scholar and a Eugene J. Ribakoff Leadership Fellow. In 2020, Miriam was awarded the Judith and Daniel Kantor Professional Service Award. Miriam and her husband Sam are parents to two teens who are proud to call Buffalo home.
Linda Bergman
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Linda BergmanLinda Bergman is a happy and proud to be a member of the Buffalo Jewish community! She has worked as a Religious school teacher, mostly in kindergarten since 2002 and has taught at the Benderson JCC in the Early Childhood department since 2003. She is also an active member of Congregation Shir Shalom singing in the choir and preforms in the Purim Spiels for many years. She has been involved in PJ Library programs volunteering whenever needed and has helped lead Tot Shabbat programs.

She has two talented beautiful daughters that share her love for Judaism and for children. Her adorable All American rescue dog Honey trains in canine agility classes and has competed in a few dog trials. Other hobbies include dancing and reading and taking long walks with Honey at the many parks in WNY.

Marc Brown
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - marc brown smMarc Brown is a member of the Buffalo Jewish Federation Board of Governors, JCRC’s Racial Justice Sub-Committee, and the Jewish Buffalo History Center Work Team, Marc is also active at Young Israel Synagogue, where he is one of the Vice Presidents of the Board, and serves as treasurer of the BVK – Buffalo’s Kashrut certification organization. Marc is also a past president of Kadimah Academy. Professionally, Marc is an attorney, and a partner at Goldberg Segalla LLP.

Originally from Buffalo, Marc graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics & Judaic Studies, and, later, a Master’s degree in Business Administration. After attending the University at Buffalo Law School, Marc worked in Rochester for several years before moving back to Buffalo in 2003. He began working for Goldberg Segalla in 2013. Marc is also an adjunct professor at UB Law School, where he teaches Real Estate Litigation. Marc currently lives in Buffalo with his wife, Shira, and three children, David, Deborah, and Joshua, all of whom attend Ohr Temimim Jewish Day School.

At Goldberg Segalla, Marc is the vice-chair of the Business and Commercial Group, in which he represents clients who are involved in disputes over real estate or business contracts. He decided to become a lawyer while he studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem during the Fall of 1993. While there, he interned for the Mayor of Jerusalem and the Peacewatch nonpartisan organization that monitored the recently enacted Oslo Peace Accords. “It was through those experiences where I recognized that law was the best field to effectuate change and make a positive impact on society,” Marc said.

Marc is also a member of the Niagara Business Associates, a group of business owners and senior executives in the Buffalo/Niagara region who provide a forum for professionals to share their ideas, knowledge, and experience among members.

Dr. Shira Brown
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - shira brownDr. Shira Brown completed her residency at the University of Toronto at North York General Hospital in 2003 where she remained for several years. In 2009, she joined Niagara Health as an Emergency Medicine specialist. She served as the site Chief of Emergency Medicine for South Niagara for 11 years where she developed a proven track record in physician change management and financial governance. During her tenure, Dr. Brown led important interdisciplinary initiatives such as Niagara Health’s internationally recognized Difficult Airway program. In partnership with McMaster University, she organized the funding and governance to create the Emergency Medicine Researchers of Niagara, a rapidly expanding research incubator in our region. Dr. Brown is currently beginning a new role at Niagara Health as the Physician Lead for the new South Niagara Hospital project which will involve preparing the 469 bed hospital for operational readiness.

Most recently, Dr. Brown graduated from the joint global executive MBA program with Brown University in Rhode Island, and IE Business School in Spain. Her approach to knowledge acquisition, adoption and practice, while serving patients and leading a team of physicians during the pandemic led her to be recognized as one of the top 102 “Best & Brightest” Executive MBA graduates from across the world. Dr. Brown continues to provide leadership and frontline care to patients and their families while balancing a career and life as a wife and mother of three children.

Prof. Sergey Dolgopolski

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Sergey dologpolskiProf. Sergey Dolgopolski is the Gordon and Gretchen Gross Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Thought at UB. He specializes in the Talmud and its interpretation with an emphasis on engagements between Talmudic and philosophical thinking. His most recent book is Other Others: The Political After the Talmud (Fordham University Press, 2018; available for purchase on Amazon), which puts contemporary political theory and the Talmud into conversation with one another. During the Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning he will discuss the forthcoming book When Jews Argue: Between the University and the Beit-Midrash, which he coedited with Dr. Ethan Katz of UC Berkeley and Dr. Rabbi Elisha Ancselovits of Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. This work is a product of cooperation between academic scholars and rabbis, revealing how both productive engagement and tension between the university and the beit-midrash can co-exist in the study of rabbinic texts.

Meredith Dragon

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Meredith DragonMeredith Dragon became CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester in April of 2016. She served from 2009 to 2016 as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Prior to that Meredith was the Assistant Director at the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, Florida for 13 years. Meredith lived and worked in Israel at the beginning of her career for Britain’s Joint Israel Appeal.

During her time with Federation, Meredith has worked on bringing donors, agencies, synagogues, and institutions together for the greater good of the Jewish community. Increasing awareness and support for the work of the Federation and its various departments and enhancing the role of Federation in the community motivates her professionally and personally. Meredith is married to Ze’ev and is the very proud mother of three boys, Matan, Ori and Etai.

Prof. Gerhard Falk

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Gerhard Falk new sqProf. Gerhard Falk is a former professor at Buffalo State University until his retirement in late 2016. The author of 30 books and 42 journal articles, Dr. Falk taught criminology, sociology of religion, juvenile delinquency, and the treatment of offenders. He has been awarded the New York State Research Foundation’s Award for Scholarship; the Buffalo State College President’s Award for Creativity; and The New York State University Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. He is the author of over fifty scholarly works, including the following titles: Murder: An Analysis of its Forms, Conditions and Causes (1990), American Judaism in Transition: The Secularization of a Religious Community (1994), Hippocrates Assailed: The American Health Delivery System (1999), Stigma: How We Treat Outsiders (2001), and Man’s Ascent to Reason (2002). Dr. Falk’s book The Jew in Christian Theology (1992) traces the origins and history of Christian teachings about Jews and includes the only English translation of Martin Luther’s notoriously antisemitic booklet, Vom Schem Hamphoras (Of the Hidden Name). During the Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning, Dr. Falk will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary contributions to scholarship, learning and the Jewish community.

Zoe Felber
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Zoe FelberZoe Felber is the Springboard Intrapreneurship Specialist at Hillel of Buffalo. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio with her twin sister, parents, and dog. In high school, Zoe became more active in the Jewish community, and in college, she discovered her passion for working in the Jewish community as a student leader. Zoe graduated early from Ohio University’s OHIO Honors Program in December 2021 with a BA in English–Creative Writing and certificates in Diversity & Inclusion and Entrepreneurship. As her college career continued, she held three summer internships in the Jewish nonprofit world: the first with the Hebrew Free Loan Association, Cleveland, the second with the National Council of Jewish Women, Cleveland (NCJW/CLE) through the Cleveland Hillel Summer Internship Program, and the third with NCJW/CLE as a marketing intern. Through these experiences, she developed skills in event planning, project management, adaptability, copywriting, social media, fundraising, and marketing. Post-graduation, she worked for an organization called InMotion, a Cleveland nonprofit dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s disease feel better every day. Here, she developed communications and administrative skills. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, spending time with family and friends, and trying new foods.
Rob Goldberg

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - rob goldbergRob Goldberg is currently the CEO of the Buffalo Jewish Federation. For 15 years prior to Federation, Rob was a senior leader for Hillel International: Foundation for Jewish Campus Life working from both Washington D.C. and for the last 10 years working remotely from his hometown of Buffalo. During his time at Hillel, Rob led multiple Birthright trips, advised and mentored dozens of young professionals, led a system-wide strategic planning process and worked with volunteer leaders from around North America to energize and strengthen Hillel’s global footprint. In 2015 Rob was invited to lead a renaissance at Buffalo’s Federation where he had been serving on Federation’s Executive Committee. Under Rob’s leadership, Federation has rebranded, dramatically expanded its asset pool, and absorbed 4 community agencies into its operation. Today, Federation’s 25 person staff is now working completely remotely. Moreover, Rob and his team approach their work from an engagement mindset, connecting with hundreds of formerly uninvolved community members in problem solving, planning and building initiatives designed to create a flourishing and connected Jewish Buffalo. Rob received a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University and an MBA from Bryant University. He and his wife Shira live in the Buffalo suburbs and enjoy spending time with their three married children and six grandchildren.

Brocha Leah Greenberg
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - BLG square croppedBrocha Leah Greenberg
Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Rabbi Heschel GreenbergRabbi Heschel Greenberg is the Director of the Jewish Discovery Center and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Jewish Studies. Rabbi Greenberg has authored over one hundred books on Bible, Talmud, Maimonides, Jewish law, Kabbalah, Chassidic philosophy, Jewish Holidays and more. He has also written over fifty scholarly papers in rabbinic journals. He is a sought-after speaker who has lectured extensively across the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The Buffalo Day of Jewish Learning will culminate with the first Rabbi Heschel Greenberg Lecture, to be given yearly by a distinguished speaker to honor Rabbi Greenberg’s contribution to Jewish Buffalo. The inaugural lecture will be given by Rabbi Greenberg himself to celebrate his fifty years in Buffalo. He will be speaking on the topic “The Rational Mystery of Mashiach.”

Rabbi Brent Gutmann

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Rabbi GutmannRabbi Gutmann is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion. He was born in Westchester, New York and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He is an alumnus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2013, where he received a Masters in Hebrew Letters along with Rabbinic Ordination. He served as Rabbi of Beth Shalom Progressive Congregation; Auckland, New Zealand, until 2016 and as Senior Rabbi at Temple Kol Ami in West Bloomfield, Michigan, from 2016 until he joined Temple Beth Zion on July 1, 2022.

In the past, Rabbi Gutmann has held positions on the Hazon Detroit Advisory Council for sustainability, and as an Executive Board Member of the Auckland Interfaith Council. He is a fellow of the National Council for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s Rabbis Without Borders program and of the American Jewish World Service. In congregational settings, he has distinguished himself with his strong commitment to community building, social justice and Torah learning, as well as with his warmth and dedication.

Rabbi Gutmann’s family includes his wife, Jill, and 4 adorable daughters ages 3 to 10. He frequently opens his family home to congregants for meals and socializing as they welcome everyone to be a part of their own and the TBZ family.

Kohava Howard

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Kohava HowardKohava Howard  is the founder of Emerging Vibrant Woman and the leader of the soul sisterhood collective. She is a certified Integrative life coach, a certified holistic nurse for over 37 years, a women’s empowerment mentor, an Intuitive master healer, and a Spiritual Teacher.

As an intuitive empath entrepreneur, her passion and mission is helping introverted feminine spiritual empath who are serving others to heal but experiencing life’s challenges in showing up fully. She guides them to build a courageous mindset, get unstuck, break free of their limiting beliefs, and awaken their soul’s purpose, so they can courageously flourish with ease, communicate assertively, fearlessly speak up and confidently show up as an empowered leader.

Cathy Jones

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - cathy jonesCathy Jones is currently an Elementary Special Education TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District. In her current role, she contributes to the development of instructional practice and facilitates and supports special education teachers and their students with the use of resources to support the continuum of services.

Educating young learners has been her passion and career for twenty years. Prior to her current role, her varied teaching experience includes working with children in grades K-6 in both the general education and special education settings.

Dan Kaganovich
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Dan KaganovichDan Kaganovich is from Fairport, NY and is a senior at the University at Buffalo studying communication. Outside of school, he enjoys skateboarding and playing guitar.
Sabrina Kahwaty
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Sabrina KahwatySabrina Kahwaty’s love for Buffalo began with annual childhood Thanksgiving visits and continued to grow when she moved here at age nine. Following her graduation from Niagara University, Sabrina spent two years working with adults with developmental disabilities at People Inc.’s Arts Experience, a day habilitation program that offers a variety of arts-based programming. Sabrina is also heavily involved in the Buffalo theater community, and has performed with MusicalFare, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Road Less Traveled Productions, Second Generation Theatre, Theatre of Youth, Ujima, O’Connell and Company, and Buffalo United Artists. She also assists with training medical students by playing a standardized patient for local universities. Sabrina is Executive Editor of Buffalo Spree and Forever Young magazines and loves celebrating Western New York through the work she does every day. She is thrilled to be part of this event and excited to do some learning!
Yehudis Khanin

Yehudis Khanin teaches science, social studies, art, novi and chassidus at Ohr Temimim School. She has a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry, is an energetic leader and is skilled in contemporary art, art education, and classroom management.

Natalie Korchowsky

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Natalie KorchowskyNatalie Korchowsky is currently pursuing artistic endeavors in beautiful Buffalo, NY. She enjoys experimenting with all kinds of mediums. Her style is ever evolving, going from realistic rendering to the non-objective pattern play, seen throughout her most recent work. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelors in Studio Art and is a licensed K-12 art teacher, so she loves to take young people on a journey of self-discovery through the artistic process.

Chana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D.

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - chana kotzinChana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D. is the historian for the Jewish Buffalo History Center powered by the Buffalo Jewish Federation. Chana was born and educated in Britain, and initially followed a career in the field of geological science. After retraining in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies of the University of Oxford, UK, she studied at the University of Southampton in the UK and received a Ph.D. in History. Since relocating to the United States, she has worked in public history at the Jewish Museum of Maryland and as director for the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project (JBAP) funded by the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. This decade long project established a unique repository of Greater Buffalo archival materials through a partnership with the Archives and Special Collections, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. An awardee of the Debra E. Bernhardt Award for Excellence in Documenting New York’s History, she is the author of Jewish Community of Greater Buffalo (Arcadia, 2013), as well as author of articles for Jewish newspapers, Jewish scholarly journals, archives journals and special commissions. She was awarded the Ruth H and Milton E. Kahn Leadership Award by the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo in 2011, the Community Service Award for contributions to Western New York by Temple Beth Zion in 2014, and part of a team recipient for the Community Service Award by the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies in 2017. She has taught as an adjunct Professor at Daemen and Medaille Colleges and is currently writing a history of Jewish Buffalo from 1950 as a successor to Selig Adler and Thomas F. Connelly. From Ararat to Suburbia: The History of the Jewish Community of Buffalo. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1960.

Robin Kurss

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - robin kurssRobin Kurss is a proud lifelong Buffalonian and has been active in Jewish Buffalo for the past 35 years by serving in multiple volunteer leadership positions and as a member of many communities and congregations. Professionally, she has had an eclectic series of careers working as a Pediatric Physical Therapist, a Senior Account Manager for a publishing company, and as an Executive Pastry Chef. She raised her family of three, now adult children, and is enjoying the thrill of being Mimi to three adorable grandchildren. In her role as Director of Jewish Experience with LiNK Jewish Buffalo, she is excited to engage with a new generation of parents, their young children and with adult learners as well. She always looks forward to providing meaningful opportunities for learning about Jewish culture and values while building and supporting relationships with and among individuals and families throughout Jewish Buffalo.

Chani Labkovski
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Chani LabkovskiChani Labkovski was born and raised in Kfar Chabad, Israel. She graduated from Beit Rivkah Michlala with her degree in Judaic studies and math. Together with her husband, Rabbi Laizer Labkovski, Chani moved to Buffalo in March of 1995 as emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, dedicating her life to the Jewish community of Buffalo.

Chani is the co-director of the Center for Jewish Life, bringing the beauty of Jewish life to the Buffalo Jewish community. She is also the head of the Chai Hebrew School, and serves as the director of the Chai Early Childhood Center.

Chani started her Buffalo teaching career at Jewish Heritage Day School (Ohr Temimim) in 1995, and then at Kadimah day school, where she taught for many years. Chani taught at the BJE Hebrew High as well.

She created the Kosher Mini Chef, an exciting club for Jewish children to join together to cook, bake, create fun foods while learning about Jewish themes and mitzvahs.

Chani is a mother of 12 beautiful children and a grandmother too. Still, she finds time to open her home to hundreds of Jewish families to experience Shabbat and holidays throughout the year. In her unique, friendly and personal way, she positively impacted hundreds of lives in the community; Many seek her advice and guidance. Chani’s passion is teaching children and adults about their Jewish heritage.

Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Rabbi Alex 600x600Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein came to Buffalo in the Fall of 2008 to serve as the rabbi of Temple Sinai, now called Congregation Shir Shalom. He brings warmth, creativity, and compassion to the role of synagogue rabbi. A trained chaplain and gifted teacher, he is actively engaged in all aspects of communal life, from helping people with their everyday struggles, to intricate details of synagogue governance.

Toast Lobel

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - toast lobelToast Lobel is a songleader from Virginia. He was the head songleader of NFTY MAR, has sung on Capitol Hill, and is a Kutz alum! He is currently a freshman Biomedical Engineering student at the University at Buffalo.

Rabbi Yehuda Lorber
Rabbi Yehuda Lorber teaches at the Ohr Temimim School and serves as a Rabbi and a Chaplain in the greater Buffalo area.
Ronnie Marmo
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - ronnie marmoRonnie Marmo was born in Brooklyn and moved with his family to New Jersey when he was six years old. Although excited by the idea of being an actor, he didn’t pursue the craft until his mid twenties. He auditioned for his first play and was cast as an evil farmer in “Hide and Seek” at the Edison Valley Playhouse.

He went on to land lead roles in plays around New Jersey, which won him an ACT award for Outstanding Lead Male Actor. He also won a Cable ACE award in 1997 for hosting and producing the Documentary of the Year. Ronnie followed that up by joining the Broadway National Touring Company of “Tony N Tina’s Wedding.”

In 1985, Marmo headed west to Hollywood and landed a role in the movie “Deuces Wild.” From there he started a theatre company, 68 Cent Crew, with whom he has continued to produce, direct and star in productions at Theatre 68.

Ronnie has also appeared in the movies “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles,” “Fish Without a Bicycle,” “Irish Eyes” and “The Third Wish.” In addition, Ronnie appeared in an episode of The Young and the Restless in 2004, an episode of General Hospital in 2005 as Jax’s limo driver, and has produced and starred in the movies “West of Brooklyn” (which he adapted from one of his plays) and “Limbo Lounge.”

“I’m Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce” was written by and starring Ronnie Marmo. This nationally recognized hit, one man show, chronicles the life and death of the most controversial comedian and undisputed legend of all time…Lenny Bruce. His personal pain, sharply funny social commentary, and completely original, freestyle comedy left a lasting impact on today’s poetry, politics, music, film-and of course-comedy. His unwavering commitment to, and passion for, free speech led to numerous obscenity charges and arrests. Bruce fought for freedom of speech all the way to the Supreme Court and died of an accidental overdose in 1966 while out on appeal. Lauded by fans and former friends of the late comedian, Marmo’s portrayal brings the notorious funnyman to life with all the electrifying, insightful and comedic brilliance as the one and only Lenny Bruce himself.

It will be performed March 11-12, 2023 at the Jewish Repertory Theatre.

Rabbi Sara Rich
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - sara richRabbi Sara Rich is the Executive Director of Hillel of Buffalo. Rabbi Sara earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR. Rabbi Sara was ordained in 2011 from the New York campus of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She subsequently earned a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education in 2015 from Yeshiva University and completed Hillel International’s Weinberg Accelerate executive training program in 2016. Prior to joining the staff in 2017, Rabbi Sara served as the Director of Education at the Hillel of Princeton University for six years. In her role, she worked with students on leadership development and community-building, and taught numerous classes at the Hillel in topics such as Jewish Biomedical Ethics and Judaism 101. Today, Rabbi Sara resides in Williamsville with her husband, Ezra, and their daughters, Miriam, Sivan and Naomi.
Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Adam RosenbaumRabbi Adam Rosenbaum is thrilled to be Temple Beth Tzedek’s spiritual leader. He was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and grew up in Denver, Colorado. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. He was ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005, where he also earned a Master of Arts degree in Bible and Semitic Languages. While at JTS he served as Student Rabbi at Degel Israel Synagogue in Watertown, NY, and as Rabbinic Intern at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, NJ. Upon ordination, he served as Temple Beth Shalom’s assistant rabbi for four years. He served most recently as rabbi of Synagogue Emanu-El in Charleston, SC, for 11 years. Rabbi Rosenbaum is proud of his three children: Shoshana, Jonathan, and Eliana. He feels privileged to serve his congregation and is committed to helping foster a synagogue of learning and caring.

Zach Rosenbloom

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Zach RosenbloomZach Rosenbloom aka The French Pickler, aka Knish King, aka The Pastrami Mommie, aka The Deli Daddie.

Zach Rosenbloom is the founder and owner of The Bloom & Rose, bringing artisanal knish and Jewish deli faire made from scratch to Buffalo. With an undying desire to bring honor back to the Buffalo deli scene. He was formerly the Executive Sous Chef at Park Country Club and has over a decade of fine dining experience. Notably he worked at the two Michelin star restaurant in Thailand, Gaggan. At the time ranked 7th best restaurant in the world. Zach has found a personal love for spices and Indian cuisine but classic Jewish Deli fare holds a special place in his heart. There is rarely a food that doesn’t bring him excitement and has a cookbook collection to rival libraries.

Dean Robin Schulze

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - RobinSchulzeDean Robin Schulze is a Professor of English and Dean of Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Yale University (1983), and her first and second Master’s degrees in Music (1986) and English (1987) and her PhD in English (1991) from the University of Michigan. She specializes in Modernist American Poetry, Textual Scholarship and Editorial Theory, and Modernist Literature and Culture. Prior to her appointment, Schulze served as Associate Dean for the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware from 2014-2016. She came to Delaware from Penn State University where she taught for more than a decade before accepting the position of Head of the Department of English in 2007. An expert in the poet Marianne Moore, Schulze has authored four books and over 20 scholarly articles.

Michal Shmuel-Lewis

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - MichalShmuel LewisMichal Shmuel-Lewis is a native of Israel, was the Hebrew Language teacher at Kadimah Academy from 2001-2019 and a school counselor since 2016. At Park, she teaches Hebrew to grades K through 10 and assists with the coordination of the Park-Kadimah Scholars program. Michal studied English and education at Seminar Hakibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, Israel, receiving a BA in 1997. She was certified through the Israeli Ministry of Education, and worked with various grade levels in Israel teaching English as a New Language. She also served as a Community Service coordinator at Kugel High School in Holon. After moving to Buffalo in 2001, she studied in the School Counseling program at the University at Buffalo, receiving her MA and a school counselor certification in 2006. She is in the process of being certified as a NYS English as a New Language teacher. In 2010, she received the national Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She and her husband, Shai Lewis, live in Amherst and have two daughters.

Miranda Shulman
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Miranda ShulmanMiranda Shulman is a professional violinist and violist who began violin studies at age five under the tutelage of Betty Haag in Chicago, Illinois. She continued her studies on scholarship and now holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance, Performance Certificate and a Master of Music in Performance. Her principal teachers include Michael Ludwig, Elmar Oliveira, Janet Sung, Carol Cole, Laurie Smukler and Tom Halpin.

Miranda has performed internationally in China along side Gil Shaham and in Germany with Gewandhaus Orchester, and was Assistant Principal of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2018. Among other summer conservatory programs, she attended the prestigious Heiftetz Institute and Indiana String Academy on scholarship. She taught at SUNY Fredonia in 2019 and 2020, and currently substitutes with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, performs with the Buffalo Tango Orkestra, and teaches privately.

Moshe Shulman

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Moshe ShulmanRussian-born Israeli composer, violin, viola, bandoneon and accordion player, Moshe Shulman, received both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and a PhD in composition from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). He has studied with Mark Kopytman, David Felder and Johannes Schollhorn.

Moshe writes music for concert halls, theater and opera.

Moshe is a performer of classical music, Argentine tango, Klezmer, and Gypsy music He also coaches youth soccer and tango dancing for adults. In Spring 2012 he led the Baires Klezmer Orchestra in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in the summer 2012 formed the Buffalo Tango Orkestra for which he arranges the music. In addition, Moshe performed on the bandoneon in Toronto, Washington DC, Boston and Baltimore with world famous tango artists such as Ariel Ardit.

Currently he is on the Music Faculty at University at Buffalo, Walden Summer Music Camp, and composer in residence with the Commonwealth Lyric Opera in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cheryl Stein
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Cheryl SteinCheryl Stein
Mitch B. Steinhorn
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Mitch SteinhornMitch B. Steinhorn is the Owner & Licensed Funeral Director of Amherst Memorial Chapel, LLC. Funeral Home. A resident of Amherst, New York, is a Kadimah School graduate (`88), Williamsville North (`92) & alumnus of Buffalo State College. Mitchell earned his funeral service degree in 2001 and received his Funeral Director’s license in 2003. He also holds inactive Funeral Director licenses in New Jersey and Massachusetts. For the last 20 years Mitch has also been a volunteer firefighter (Life member) of the East Amherst Fire Department & certified Emergency Medical Technician. Mitch has served as a former Vice President and is a current board member of Temple Beth Tzedek, as well as being active with many other local synagogues.
Einav Symons
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Einav SymonsEinav Symons is the Director of the Community Religious School and one of the Judaic Studies teacher at the Park School. She has a B.A in Education and Religious studies from York University. She is also a certified NYS and Day school teacher. Mrs. Symons holds M. Ed in Jewish Education and a Principal of Day School License. She is the recipient of the 2011 Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and Buffalo’s Business First 2013 Who’s Who in Education.

Since coming to Buffalo from Toronto in 2000, she was the Head of Kadimah Academy and the Director of Education at the Gesher Religious School. Her consulting company provided programs and training to students and teachers in the Williamsville, Amherst, and the Niagara Falls school districts. She enjoys working with her clients in Canada and the US on programming, staff development, outreach, fundraising and strategic planning.

She is married to Dr. Andrew Symons and is proud of her children, Gilad (19) and Shira (18). Mrs. Symons sees her roles in education for over 30 years as a calling and is excited to be a part of The Park School. She is an animal lover and enjoys taking care of the ‘Symons’ Zoo’ which includes cats, dogs, rabbit, bird, fishpond, and ducks.

Ilona Trossman

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Iiona trossman headshotIlona Trossman is a real estate agent, mortgage broker, life coach, and community activist. Ilona was born in the Ex-Soviet Union, made Aliyah to Israel, she also lived in Canada and US. Ilona travelled to Poland in April 2022. As soon as she heard about the humanitarian crisis, and thousands of jewish refugees, she desired to participate in a mission. She volunteered along with Jewish agency (Sochnut). Israel and the Jewish Federation of North America have performed a very special operation saving the lives of Ukrainian Jews, helping the Ukrainian people and evacuating families of Righteous among nations. The insight of her journey in Poland was that eighty years ago we were victims without any way out of the living hell, and today we have a strong outspoken country to escape to and the supporting community to help us.

Prof. Gil Wolfe

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - gilwolfeProf. Gil Wolfe is a Professor, Irvin and Rosemary Smith Chair of Neurology and University at Buffalo Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurology. His research interests in neuromuscular medicine are wide but have mainly focused on myasthenia gravis and other disorders of neuromuscular transmission, as well as peripheral neuropathies. Among his many volunteer roles include serving on the Buffalo Jewish Federation Board of Governors and Federation’s Partnership 2Gether Leadership Council and is currently the General Campaign Chair for Federation’s Campaign for Jewish Buffalo. 

Logan Woodard

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - LoganWoodardLogan Woodard is the Director of Engagement at Hillel of Buffalo. Logan was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, where he first realized his passion for Jewish Life, Israel, and SU basketball. Before attending the University at Buffalo, Logan enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard. Logan graduated from the University at Buffalo in February 2017 where he studied History and Judaic Studies. Logan is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at his alma mater and continue his involvement with Hillel. In his free time, you can find Logan enjoying coffee, watching HGTV, and pursuing his passion for martial arts.

Katie Wzontek
Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Katie WzontekKatie Wzontek is the Director of Cultural Arts at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo. She is responsible for the planning and preparation of the annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival, which screens acclaimed films from around the world, and the JCC Book and Arts Fair, showcasing local authors, poets, playwrights, musicians and more. She coordinates and curate art exhibits for the two JCC Art Galleries, providing creative opportunity for local artists to showcase and sell their works. Throughout the year she collaborates with Jewish and Non-Jewish organizations to develop and present other Cultural Arts special event programs and is the editor of a monthly JCC staff newsletter.
Adam Yellen

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - adam yellenAdam Yellen is The Director of Performing Arts for the JCC of Greater Buffalo. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, with a BA in Theatre Arts and Communications. Adam returned to Buffalo after college and has been acting professionally for twelve years. Some notable theater credits include: MY NAME IS ASHER LEV (Jewish Repertory Theatre), TWELFTH NIGHT and KING LEAR (Shakespeare In Delaware Park), THE NIGHT ALIVE and FROST NIXON (Irish Classical Theatre), JOHN (Road Less Traveled Productions), THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (MusicalFare), and ROBIN HOOD (Theatre Of Youth). He was last seen in Irish Classical Theater’s production of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and JRT’s production of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. He is a three-time Artie Award nominee.

Sonia Gellman Young

Day of Jewish Learning 2023 - Sonia Gellman YoungSonia Gellman Young is a proud third generation Western New Yorker. She is currently President of the Jewish Heritage Day School and a board member of Jewish Family services of WNY. Sonia is passionate about infusing the Jewish Community with vibrancy and creativity. She has been involved with leading programming for young professionals, women, children, and families. Sonia believes in strengthening Jewish culture, religious practice, and celebrating Jewish life through a multifaceted, experiential lens.
Sonia obtained her degree in Jewish education from the Ohel Chana Womens College. She studied fine arts at Pratt Institute and the University at Buffalo. Sonia is the director of marketing at Paul Young MD. Sonia is a professional artist, who teaches art classes at the JCC, the Jewish Heritage Day School, and leads various art workshops.
Sonia’s artwork has been published in art magazines, including the Mishpocha Magazine. Sonia has received honors and awards for her work, at both solo and group exhibitions. Her work has been acquired by private collections and public collections, in North America and Israel.
She was the recipient of the “Young Leadership Award” in 2014 and received the “Women of Distinction Award” in 2018, granted by the Buffalo Jewish Federation. Sonia currently lives in Williamsville, NY, with her husband, Pinny and their children. She enjoys skiing, swimming, and running.