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Course Faculty

Courses at Genesis are unlike any high school classroom learning experience.  They offer you an ideal environment to explore ideas about justice, diversity, responsibility and what it means to put passion into action.  Each course provides a challenging, hands-on seminar experience without the pressure of tests or grades. Courses meet for 50 hours over the course of the summer.

Teams of instructors have created courses that help each participant understand and make personal connections between Jewish and secular studies. Instructors are professionals in their fields, Ph.D candidates and high school teachers or university professors.

Genesis Course Instructors

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Beyond Belief: Exploring World Religions

Golan Ben-Chorin
Golan Ben-Chorin is a Rabbi and Doctor of Education. In keeping with his pan-denominational approach he received ordination from the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and his doctorate from the Conservative movement’s JTS in New York. As an international consultant he has contributed to Jewish community development and strategic planning across five continents including assignments in Israel, USA, the Former Soviet Union, Australia, Brazil and Hong Kong. Based on his doctoral thesis; “A Jewish Paradigm for Pluralistic Education”, Golan combines hands-on experience of inter-cultural practice and the theoretical constructs from philosophy of education.  Recently he co-founded The Haifa Forum for Interfaith Cooperation, designed and taught a year-long course for Hebrew Union College on the “Art of Leading Prayer Services” and has taught ‘Multiple-Intelligence Gateways to Judaism’ - an integration of tradition and renewal, utilizing creative disciplines for Jewish meaning-making. As an educational and spiritual innovator he is currently developing a unique framework for Jewish life in Rosh Pinah and directing the Israel semester program for Rabbinical students from the Leo Baeck College in England.  With experience ranging from academia to new-age Chavurot, his experiential teaching approach, musical  talent, and storytelling skills impart a “Midrashic” worldview. Golan joined the Genesis faculty in 2010.
Elizabeth Bonney
Elizabeth is Wexner Foundation Fellow and a rabbinical student at Hebrew College, a transdenominational rabbinical school in Newton, MA.  She completed her Master of Divinity degree as Yale Divinity School’s William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar before coming to Boston in May 2012.  Originally from Overland Park, KS, Elizabeth graduated from William Jewell College with a B.A. in Religion, Philosophy, and Gender Studies & Human Sexuality.  Passionate about interfaith and intercultural engagement, she wrote as a Contributing Scholar for the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue’s blog, State of Formation for two years, served as the Interfaith Intern for the Yale University Chaplain’s Office, and has travelled extensively.  Her commitment to pluralism and interfaith exchange fuels her vocational drive to serve diverse Jewish and multi-faith communities.  In addition to religious life, Elizabeth has worked at Apple for five years and is constantly seeking creative ways to use technology in better facilitating Jewish learning. Elizabeth joined the Genesis faculty in 2013.

Business on a Mission: Entrepreneurship and Social Change

Dave Weinberg
A serial social entrepreneur, Dave Weinberg is Co-Founder of Pinbooster, a platform to help Pinterest users monetize their following, and advertisers of all sizes to reach millions of engaged users. Dave is also currently the Director of "Freedom 25", a national coalition of over twenty major Jewish organizations aimed at commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Soviet Jewry Movement and bringing its narrative back into our national consciousness. Dave started his career by founding Not Now Not Ever, evolving into the Save Darfur Coalition, an organization with international exposure and impact. Since then, Dave has founded and advised multiple socially-conscious ventures and technology startups. Often tapped for his opinion on innovations and technology, Dave was awarded the first Top Ten Jewish Influencer Award, listed as one of the “Ten Most Interesting Local Jews of the Year” by the Washington Jewish Week and is ranked among the “Top 50 Influential Personalities Online” by the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA). Dave lives in Silver Spring, MD with his wife and two sons. Dave joined the Genesis faculty in 2012.

Innovation and Revolution: Making, Breaking and Hacking 21st Century Technology

Russel Neiss
Equally fluent in Yiddish and Javascript, Russel Neiss is a Jewish educator, technologist and coder. Russel began his career as an itinerant Jewish educator traveling across the deep south and has worked in a variety of Jewish educational settings including day schools, supplemental schools, museums and archives. He holds a BA in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies from CUNY's Macaualy Honors College, an MLS with a specialization in digitization and instructional technology from Queens College and a MSEd in Educational Leadership from Brooklyn College. He currently serves as the Director of Educational Technology at G-dcast where he develops mobile and other interactive applications to raise Jewish literacy and help educators integrate technology in a pedagogically sound way.

Investigating Gender, Sexuality, and Society

Gina Fried
Gina Fried has been a theatre director, a yeshiva student, an Equity stage manager, a legal secretary, a Hebrew school instructor, an English teacher, and a French teacher. She is currently a mother, a high school English teacher, a Rebbitzen, a Hebrew school teacher, an anti-bias activist, and a meditator. Gina spent seven years teaching at Boston’s Gann Academy, where she worked with students to form the country’s first GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) in a Jewish day school. She holds a BA in Theatre from Hebrew University and an MA in Comparative Literature from Brandeis University. She speaks (in order of fluency) Hebrew, French, and Spanish, and she has many Jewish homes: She was raised in the Conservative movement, lived in Israel as an Orthodox Jew for almost ten years, taught in the Reform movement, and is currently a proud Reconstructionist Rebbitzen. This year Gina returns to the Genesis faculty after teaching for the program in its inaugural year in 1997.

From the Beginning: Biology and Judaism

Julia Khodor

Julia Khodor is a science educator focused on concept-centered teaching and learning. She received her Bachelor's at MIT, and enjoyed it so much that she went back for her Master's and PhD in biological computing, specifically building a DNA system that could count (though only up to 3). She later returned to MIT for a postdoc in the HHMI Education Group led by Prof. Graham Walker. While there, Julia took part in developing several innovative approaches to teaching biology. She is passionate about introducing her students to the rich world of scientific thought and the wonders of biology. Currently, she is a Visiting Lecturer at Bridgewater State University, where she has taught a variety of courses. Her favorite is the newly-designed Freshman Seminar on Decision Making and Sound Science. She is looking forward to teaching the first ever Genesis science course and hopes to make it a great experience for all.

Sara Smith
Sara Smith is a Jewish educator hailing from Los Angeles. She is excited to be returning for her 8th summer at Genesis and to be back on the Brandeis campus, where she received both her B.A. and M.A.T. Since leaving Brandeis,  she's been teaching in a number of different day schools in LA. Sara is a participant in Yeshiva University's Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education program, and in the fall, will begin working toward her doctorate in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU, and is a Wexner Fellow/Davidson Scholar.