Class of 2017
Congratulations to the Hornstein Class of 2017!
On Sunday, May 21, 2017, 21 months of intensive educational programming culminated in a commencement ceremony where each student received dual master's degrees in Jewish professional leadership and nonprofit business management or Near Eastern and Judaic studies.
The ceremony was preceded by a luncheon and followed by a dessert reception.
The afternoon was highlighted by keynote speaker, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism and this year's recipient of the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence. (Read our press release announcing this award and Rabbi Pesner's speech.)
Graduating students Tamar Shachaf Schneider and Michal Dicker chaired the student planning committee under the guidance of Prof. Rachel Fish.
Watch a recording of the commencement.
Class of 2017
Chen Arad (MA/MBA), originally from Hod HaSharon, Israel, is subscriptions marketing manager in North America and a regular blogger for the Israeli daily Haaretz. Formerly, Chen served for three years as an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) foreign press spokesman, worked as a news editor for the popular Israeli website ynet and ran a fundraising campaign for the Israel Cancer Association.
Chen is a recent graduate of Brandeis University (2015) where he was a recipient of the Malkin Israeli Endowed Scholarship for Jewish-Arab coexistence and the relationship between Jews in Israel and the United States. His academic focuses were American history, East Asian studies and politics. While at Brandeis, he co-founded Brandeis Visions for Israel in an Evolving World (bVIEW), a student-run grassroots movement and conference seeking to create a more constructive discourse regarding Israel on American college campuses. Chen is deeply passionate about promoting Holocaust awareness among non-Jews, and has worked with the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Center.
Michal Dicker (MA/MBA) hails from the Philadelphia Main Line. In 2014, Michal received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College, where she majored in religion with a concentration in philosophical theology. Her senior thesis, awarded with distinction, analyzed the agunah crisis through the prism of critical gender theory. Throughout college, she served as a campus fellow for the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals and the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She also ran and biked in a number of marathons, including New York’s ING full-marathon, and placed second in Barnard's annual oratory competition. Since moving to the Boston area, Michal has worked in the fashion and retail business at Nordstrom and is thrilled to be a part of the 2017 Hornstein cohort.
Mollie Feldman (MA/MA) graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in 2011 with a degree in philosophy. Mollie’s senior capstone project addressed the question of what makes a group continuous over time, focusing her research on the continuity of the Jewish people. After her bachelor's degree, Mollie worked for three years as youth director at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 2014, Mollie received a Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults from Hebrew Union College, joining a cohort of Jewish leaders passionate about professionalizing the field of experiential education. Most recently, Mollie was part of the Experiential Educators program at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Mollie’s love for Jewish experiential education is largely inspired by her 2009 participation in Brandeis Collegiate Institute, where she returned as a staff member in summers 2014 and 2015. Mollie is excited to expand her capabilities as an educator through a deeper understanding of Jewish history and the Jewish institutional landscape.
Leo Fuhrman (MA/MBA) was born in Argentina. When he was 3 years old, he and his family moved to a kibbutz in Israel. He grew up in the city of Be’er Sheba where he became active in the conservative youth movement, NOAM. Leo went on to volunteer on Kibbutz Ketura and at a number of educational institutes in the year before beginning his service in the Israeli military. He served as a combat soldier and commander in the Nahal division. After his release from the army, Leo returned to Ketura to continue his volunteer work and traveled in the U.S. with his new wife. Leo returned to Israel to attend Ben Gurion University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and foreign linguistics. He also returned to NOAM as a professional, starting and running a new city chapter of the youth movement and serving as the National Coordinator of NOAM’s counselor training program. Leo recently finished a year at High Q, a specialized language education and standardized test training institute, where he was an English teacher. Leo used his fluency in Spanish to assist in the development of a new Spanish program. At Brandeis, Leo hopes to strengthen his management skills in informal “out-of-classroom” education, passing on the same impactful extracurricular experiences he had in his youth.
Cara Gold (MA/MBA), originally from Ottawa, Ontario, graduated from the University of Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia with honors in international development studies and Spanish. She participated in Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, a program that cultivated in her a lifelong commitment to Judaism, activism and social justice. Cara worked at Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, where she facilitated national advocacy and organizing campaigns. She participated in Eco Israel, a permaculture apprenticeship in Modi'in, Israel, where she studied land-based Judaism. Returning to Toronto, Cara founded Grassroots Shabbat, an alternative ritual community; launched Roots of Poverty, a program that explores local poverty issues through a Jewish lens; and co-founded a progressive Jewish investment and giving collective.
Daniel Larson (MA/MBA) was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In 2012, Daniel graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropological Archaeology and Sociology. Concluding his undergraduate degree, his major thesis dealt with the evolution of Zionist archaeological narrative. Throughout his time at the U. of A., Daniel was involved with Hillel Edmonton, including serving as co-president and communications chair. He also served on the national advisory board of the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students, representing Hillels and independent Jewish student associations across Canada. After graduation, Daniel trained and served as a madrich with Canada Israel Experience, Canada’s national Taglit-Birthright Israel trip provider. Shortly thereafter, Daniel joined the team at The Jewish Federation of Edmonton as director of communications and campaign coordinator, in addition to capacities as director of Hillel Edmonton and festival coordinator for the Edmonton Jewish Film Festival. While at The Jewish Federation of Edmonton, Daniel oversaw year-on-year campaign growth and partnered with J.CORE, Edmonton’s Young Adult Division, to establish a campaign for young professionals. Daniel is excited to join the Hornstein family as a FEREP Fellow through The Jewish Federations of North America’s Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence, and as a Rodkin Scholar through Jewish Federations of Canada-United Israel Appeal. Daniel is looking forward to the relationships and networking that will emerge from the Hornstein cohort, as well as studying the fundamentals and theory surrounding the evolving Jewish philanthropic landscape.
Natasha Nefedyeva (MA/MBA) was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). At the age of 13, she attended Jewish summer camp for the first time. Inspired to further explore her Jewish roots and eager to share her newfound passion, Natasha went on to join several Jewish programs, eventually becoming a camp counselor. While pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University in St. Petersburg and a master's degree in European sciences, Natasha continued to dedicate her time to Jewish informal education. Later she joined the Jewish Agency for Israel as a fund-raiser and missions’ coordinator and then JDC where she currently coordinates community development projects and public relations. Putting her personal and professional creative energy into action, Natasha was among the founding members of the first Moishe House in St. Petersburg. Even after moving away, she continues to stay in touch with the MoHo network through its Ambassadors Circle.
Melanie Phillips (MA/MBA) was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2012, she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in social welfare. During college, Melanie was very involved with Jewish life on campus serving as the engagement intern for Hillel and president of Alpha Epsilon Phi, as well as holding various positions at the Weinstein JCC. After graduating, Melanie spent 10 months living in Rishon Lezion, Israel as a participant on the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows: Israel Experience program. Immediately following the program she returned to Richmond, Virginia where she began working as the director of young leadership at the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. During her two years there, Melanie participated in many different programs and conferences including presenting at JFNA's TribeFest 2014 and the inaugural Taglit Fellows conference.
Josh Satok (MA/MBA) was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada before moving to the U.S. to attend Yale University. At Yale, Josh majored in religious studies, writing his thesis on Jewish school and Jewish camp, and graduated cum laude and with distinction in the major. Josh has worked in a variety of settings in the Jewish world, particularly in formal and informal education. He has taught at Toronto's Montessori Jewish Day School, spent a year working and living at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina, the world's only pluralistic Jewish boarding school, and taught at the Yale Hillel Children's school. Josh's greatest love is Jewish camp. He spent six summers as a staff member at Camp Kadimah in Nova Scotia, Canada, a Young Judea camp that he started going to after grade nine, serving as a counselor, sports staff, section head and program director. This past summer he worked as the program director at Camp Ramah in Canada. He also worked for the Foundation for Jewish Camp in New York City as a Bildner Fellow. Josh is a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. He is very much looking forward to being a part of the Hornstein community and experiencing everything that Brandeis and Boston have to offer.
Tamar Shachaf-Schneider (MA/MA) is from Tel Aviv, Israel where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications from Tel Aviv University. In 2013, Tamar took a six-month trip around the world, starting in Thailand and ending in Canada with stops in Laos, New Zealand and the U.S. It was during these six months that she realized that working with young Jews from around the world is something she would like to pursue as a career. After participating in a Chicago-based conference dedicated to the meaning and future of Zionism and Israel education, she realized that working with Jews from all over the world is not merely an interesting endeavor, but her true calling. She looks forward to participating in the Hornstein Program, learning from the best scholars in the field as well as from fellow students, in order to pursue her dream and give back to the Jewish education field.
Larry Tobin (MA/MBA) is associate vice president, major gifts, at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation. Larry joined CJP in 2008 to focus on their annual campaign fund-raising efforts, specifically working with donors within the financial services industry. Over his tenure at CJP, Larry has focused especially on building relationships with high-potential younger donors, on CJP’s Day School Initiative and on Birthright Israel. In his current role, Larry leads a team of 12 staff charged with realizing the community's financial dreams through CJPs $55M+ annual campaign, planned giving and endowment raising. In his spare time, he sits on the development committee at his first alma mater, The Rashi School, and sits on the alumni board of his second, BU Academy. Larry lives in Needham with his wife Jesse.
Rina Wagman (MA/MBA) was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. She graduated from Cornell University with a double major in government and Near Eastern studies. While at Cornell, Rina served as the executive intern at Cornell University Hillel. Since graduating, Rina has spent her last five years living in Boston working for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). She started at CJP as a planning assistant and made her way up through the organization, serving as a key member of the staff team for CJP’s high-level Acharai leadership development program, and most recently serving as a missions officer. In this capacity, Rina organized missions to Israel and other Jewish communities and worked closely with major donors to organize individualized trips. Outside of CJP, Rina manages the fund-raising for and performs in the Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston, as well as co-runs a weekly Israeli dance session and annual Israeli dance camp in Boston.