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.

Gina Fried

Gina fried, Genesis staff

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 university professors.

Genesis Course Instructors

Past Genesis faculty has included:

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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.

Business on a Mission: Entrepreneurship and Social Change

Zechariah Mehler
Zechariah Mehler has experienced over two decades deeply immersed in the customs, theories and mindset of the world wide kosher community. A radio show host, film producer and widely published writer, Zechariah combines his love and knowledge of kosher food with his media and marketing expertise to provide creative and progressive marketing initiatives to some of the largest kosher food manufacturers and distributors in the world. He is also one of the founders of The Kosher Summit, a conference geared towards helping guide the kosher industry in understanding how best to utilize and adapt modern technology, marketing practices and methods of communication. He is also the VP of Kosher Marketing for Causil and an independent consultant for companies looking to market within the kosher industry.

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 Macaulay 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

Joy Ladin
Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and winner of a Forward Fives award, and she was named to the 2012 Forward 50 list of influential or courageous American Jews. She is also the author of six books of poetry, including Psalms and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her seventh collection, Impersonation, is due out in 2015. Her work has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken about gender identity issues around the country and was featured on NPR's “On Being” with Krista Tippett and other NPR programs. She serves on the Board of Keshet, a national organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world. 

Culinary Connections: Discovering the Art and Anthropology of Jewish Food

Liz Alpern

Liz Alpern is co-founder of The Gefilteria, a boutique purveyor of Old World Jewish Foods. She is also co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods (Flatiron Books, 2016). Liz developed a hands-on knowledge of the food industry working as a baker in a professional pastry kitchen, managing a Vietnamese food truck and writing articles and recipes for The Jewish Daily Forward. She spent two years working with Joan Nathan on recipes and research for Nathan’s most recent book, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. 

Before launching The Gefilteria in 2012, Liz worked with national non-profit Fair Food Network, coordinating food events across the country for the launch of the book: Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All. She and her business partner, Jeffrey Yoskowitz, teach workshops throughout the country on the topics of food, identity and Jewish culture. They also curate large-scale food events that highlight innovative Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

She is currently completing her MBA at CUNY Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Food & Wine for 2014. She is also a proud Genesis alum from the class of 2000!

Jeffrey Yoskowitz

Jeffrey Yoskowitz is a cook and writer on the forefront of Ashkenazi cuisine. He is the chief pickler and co-founder of The Gefilteria in Brooklyn, NY. In 2014 he was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Food & Wine. He gives talks and leads food workshops around the world. 

Jeffrey began his career in the food world as a writer, having written feature articles on the intersection of food, culture and politics for The New York TimesThe AtlanticSlateGastronomicaMeatpaper and The Forward, among other publications. He created and edited the literary website Pork Memoirs. In 2011, he teamed up with Liz Alpern to launch The Gefilteria

Before launching The Gefilteria, Jeffrey launched and ran Negev Nectars, working with sustainably-minded, small-scale Israeli farmers to bring gourmet artisanal foods to the US market. He had previously trained as an apprentice at Adamah Organic farm in Canaan, Connecticut, learning sustainable agriculture and the art of natural fermentation.