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Arts Faculty

The BIMA arts faculty is comprised of professional artists who have demonstrated excellence in their fields and have a strong interest in and connection to Judaism. Each arts major is led by an accomplished professional artist who is assisted by an intern. The arts faculty is experienced at helping participants hone their skills and explore who they are as artists.

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Dance Faculty

Mica Bernas

Mica was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and started her dance training at the age of 7 under Christina Bichara School. She continued her training at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School (CCPDS) studying ballet, modern and other techniques. She later on became a soloist of Ballet Philippines (BP), performing major roles in productions of Nutcracker, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and  Darna to name a few. She has worked with acclaimed Filipino choreographers like Agnes Locsin, Denisa Reyes, Tony Fabella, Alden Lugnasin, Novy Bereber and toured with BP to Hong Kong, Japan, China and Cambodia. Mica was also chosen to participate in the ASEAN production of REALIZING RAMA in 2003 and 2006.

Mica was a regular faculty member of the CCP Dance School and was often invited to choreograph for the summer dance showcase. Since moving  to New York in 2006, Mica has worked with Max Luna III, Connecticut Ballet, Zig Zag Ballet, H.T. Chen & Dancers, White Wave Dance, Armitage Gone Dance, Gallim Dance and the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company. She has taught master classes for Dance Theater of Tennessee,  Life Dance Company, Kean University, New Brunswick High School and the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company. She has also been working with Marta Renzi, choreographer and filmmaker for COTTONWOOD, MY FERAL VALENTINE and THOSE DAYS. Mica's dancing has been screened at dance film festivals from Italy, Brazil, Spain, Argentina to the Netherlands.

In the fall of 2009, Mica made her New York debut as a choreographer presenting her works PINA and YOU START, I FINISH in a YangTze Repertory Production entitled TRACES. Her new piece Maria was premiered by the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company during their 30th season at the La Guardia Performing Arts Center last May 2013. Mica also performed as a guest artist with the Limon Dance Company at the 2013 Bienal Internacional de Danza Cali, Colombia. Mica joined the BIMA faculty in 2011.


Music Faculty

Asia Meirovich: Choral

Asia Meirovich is a pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer.  A versatile musician, she has garnered experience in many different spectrums of the music world. Her studio production credits include Bruce Springsteen, Moby, John Wesley Harding. She has written string arrangements for Annie Gallup, Pioneers for a Cure (produced by fellow BIMA faculty, Greg Wall), John Wesley Harding, and various indie artists from the New York area.

Over the years, Asia has developed an impressive reel of compositions ranging from orchestral to electronic, with her choral and string pieces performed in the New York area and tracks commissioned by music libraries. While in NY, Asia sang with the New York Choral Society in Carnegie Hall and with Andres Buccelli and directed the bands of the Ramaz school.

Asia performs her original alternative rock material as the pianist-singer-songwriter “asia mei” with two well-loved releases "shards" ('06) and "introverse" ('11). For the past year Asia has been attending graduate school to study classical composition at UMass Amherst under Salvatore Macchia and has been focusing on genre-blind concert music.

Asia was born in Russia, grew up in Jerusalem, moved to Boston to pursue a BM from Berklee College of Music, worked professionally in New York City  and now lives in Western MA with husband Andres and daughter Eden. Asia has been working at BIMA since 2006.

For info and music please visit www.asiamei.com

Jessie Reagen Mann: Instrumental

A Chicagoland native, cellist Jessie Reagen Mann is based in New York City. In May 2010, Jessie  received the Outstanding Musical Achievement Award from the Max Reger Foundation of America. Jessie can often be heard in various Broadway musicals, and has recently performed with Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Nas, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Adele, William Joseph, tap dancer Savion Glover, Natalie Merchant, Anat Cohen, Mike Errico and Artemis Chamber Players among other rising stars and singer/songwriters.

Jessie is a Musician-in-Residence at Congregation B’nai Jeshuran and part of the internationally touring genre-bending ensemble DBR & The Mission.  2VC, a cello duo project started with Gene Carr is dedicated to expanding the repertoire for 2 cellos.

In addition to performing, Jessie created and curates a salon style world and classical music series called“6th Street Sundays.”  This series was started in 2009 and prides itself on affordable concert tickets that include a workshop or master class before each performance.

Jessie recently composed her first original piece for "Hourglass" choreographed by the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.  Her collaboration with fellow BIMA faculty Mica Bernas will be performed at BIMA this summer.

Jessie has recorded for Naxos American Classics, RCA Black Seal, Red Ink, Roc-A-Fella, Bridge, Domino and Manifest Spirit Records as well as the Pioneers for a Cure project.  Commonly seen on TV, Jessie has made appearances on Gossip Girls, SNL, TRL, The View, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, Today Show, Soundstage, Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and the Martha Stewart Show.  

Jessie is currently on faculty at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. She joined the BIMA faculty in 2007.  www.cellochic.com

Greg Wall: Jazz and Rock

Saxophonist and clarinetist Rabbi Greg Wall grew up in the Boston area, and attended the New England Conservatory of Music, before settling in the New york area. Greg has performed and recorded with Hasidic New Wave, Klezmerfest, Later Prophets, Kenny Barron, Shlomo Carlebach, Eli Kranzler, Neshama Carlebach, Bill Frisell, Billy Hart, Dave’s True Story, The Wall/London Band, the Hi-Tops, the Piamenta Band, Greg Wall's Unity Orchestra, and has made many session appearances for record dates and film scores.  He was the musical voice of James Earl Jones in the recent feature film "On the QT". Greg is the producer for the innovative Pioneers For a Cure project.

His critically acclaimed release, "From the Belly of Abraham", with Hasidic New Wave and Senegalese master drummers  Yakar Rhythms was named one of the ten best CD's of 2002 by Jazz Times magazine.  Greg has collaborated with the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company since 1999, resulting in the  commissioned scores for "Mayne Mentshen" (2001),  "Echad" (2002), "Love Lines" (2003), and "Oddisea" (2004).  

Greg's latest release, "Ha'Orot-The Lights of Rav Kook", was just released on John Zorn's Tzadik label. Other recent releases include "Later Prophets", "Mystic Autumn" with the New American Jazz Quartet, Aaron Alexander's "Midrash Mishmosh", "Ani Shelach", with Neshama Carlebach, "Unauthorized’, with Dave’s True Story, KlezmerFest's "Party Music", Aaron Alexander's "Blues for Sparky", and the score to "Mayne Mentshen.”

Greg was a founding member of the BIMA arts faculty and has been at BIMA since 2004.  www.gregwall.com


Theater Faculty

Lynda Bachman

Lynda Bachman is a director, educator, and collaborative theatre-maker based in the Bay Area, where she is also a company member and Literary Manager for Impact Theatre (Berkeley). Previously, Lynda was the head of the theatre arts program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, where she created new devised plays using Jewish themes and source material with the rising high school juniors.

Her process is highly collaborative, and intensely structured. It is founded on a fully sensory exploration of text and story through movement, composition, and dramaturgy. A common thread through all of her work is a love for heightened theatricality and magic, and an inventive and creative use of space. 

Directing credits include: Bay Area Children's Theatre, The Rabbit Hole, Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts, Berkeley Playhouse Conservatory, Brandeis University. Assistant Directing: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shotgun Players, Boxcar Playhouse, Impact Theatre, Mugwumpin. Teaching Artist: Berkeley Playhouse Conservatory, Northwoods Ramah Theatre Company/Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Training: Directors Lab West, ATLAS Directing Fellowship, BA, Sociology and Theatre Arts: Brandeis University. This will be Lynda's first summer at BIMA.

Yoni Oppenheim

Yoni is a founding Co-Artistic Director of 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company. He directs and dramaturges new and devised work. For 24/6, he directed Sabbath Variations (LimmudPhilly), SHINSAIThe Victims; adapted/directed A Doll House (The Tank); book and lyrics for Nittel Nacht. Yoni is a 2013 NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs SPARC (Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide) Grantee. During his 2012 SPARC Residency he created Home of the Brave: WWII Experiences in the Military and on the Homefront.

Additional Directing credits: Evolutionism or Dammit We Took the Shortcut! (Manhattan Rep), Etta Sings for Change (Duplex), The Perfect Human 2009 (The 6th Obstruction) (14th Street Y), FAST and The Consistency of Flour (Drisha Institute/JCC); Yo Miss!... (LPAC); Crito and Na’im (The Lover) (S.E.E. Theater); OleannaThe Love of Don Perlimplín for Belisa in the Garden, and Swan Song (NYU Tisch) AD:Dog and Wolf (59E59); To Paint the Earth (NYMF/37Arts); Earthquake Chica (SPF/Theater Row) Translator: At Night’s End for acclaimed Israeli playwright Motti Lerner. Dramaturg: HAGGADAH… (Witness Relocation /LaMama). Contributing Artist: Knut er død: Hamsunjubileet 2008-10 (Teater NOR, Norway). He leads “Improv for Seniors” at the Riverdale Y. 

Yoni is a recipient of the John Dana Archbold Fellowship at the University of Oslo; Dorot Fellowship in Israel; and the Spielberg Fellowship in Jewish Theater Education.  He is the associate editor of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s catalogue “Plays of Jewish Interest” and has been the artistic consultant to both the Drisha Arts Fellowship and the inaugural JOFA Dinner/Exhibition “Putting Women Back in the Picture”.  BFA Drama: NYU-Tisch/PHTS; M. Phil Ibsen Studies: U. Oslo. Member: Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. This will be Yoni's first summer at BIMA.


Visual Arts Faculty

Ellen Alt

Hi. I was born in Buffalo, New York, received an M.A. in studio art from New York University and a B.F.A. in art education from the College of Art and Design in Boston.  I love mixed media.  It's all about endless the combinations: natural elements next to abstract ones, fine art with the everyday.  

My pieces have been exhibited in the United States, Israel, Germany, England, Russia, and China.  For 15 years she lived and worked on community art projects in Israel organizing concrete sculptures and murals throughout the country.  Today I live in New York City, with a studio as Artist-in-Residence at the Park Avenue Synagogue and teaching at the 92nd St Y and Solomon Schechter School. Ellen joined the BIMA faculty in 2007.  www.ellenalt.com www.ellenaltcommunity.comwww.ellenaltjudaic.com

Tirtzah Bassel

Tirtzah Bassel is an Israeli artist based in New York. Her drawings, paintings and site-responsive duct tape installations explore the permeable borders separating public and private domains, specifically in airport security zones, subways and border crossings.

Her work has been exhibited in Israel, Europe and the United States with recent installations created on site in Harlem, New York and El Paso, Texas. Tirtzah studied drawing and painting at the Jerusalem Studio School in Israel, and she has a master’s degree in fine arts from Boston University. Her work been reviewed in Hyperallergic, New York Daily Report, Speaker’s Lab, ynet, The Forward and The One Way Ticket Show. T

irtzah is a member of the visual arts faculty at the 92nd Street Y in New York and at the Brandeis Institute for Music and Art at Brandeis University. She is the recipient of a 2011-2012 LABA Artist Fellowship at the 14th Street Y in New York, and was invited to the Sixpoint Asylum International Artist Retreat in 2013. She currently serves as a resident artist of the Chashama Visual Arts Program in Brooklyn. Tirtzah joined the BIMA faculty in 2009.www.tirtzahbassel.com


Writing Faculty

Jon Papernick

Jon was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. His first collection of short stories The Ascent of Eli Israel was published by Arcade Publishing in 2002. The New York Times wrote: "There is a muscular certainty to the best of Papernick's stories that is altogether harrowing. Papernick's penetrating clear-sighted stories ring true."

Papernick is the author of Who by Fire, Who by Blood and There is No Other a collection of short stories in stores in fall 2010. Author Dara Horn wrote about There is No Other, "Every single story here delivers a knock-out punch that will leave you reeling long after you've put it down -- and revising your thinking on what life and love really mean."

Jon has taught writing at the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University, Pratt Institute, Boston University and Grub Street Writers, Boston's Independent Creative Writing Center. He has been the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University, and the Visiting Writer-in Residence at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. He currently teaches fiction writing at Emerson College, and lives outside Boston with his wife and two sons.  Jon joined the BIMA faculty in 2007.     www.jonpapernick.com