Daniela Rusowsky

Daniela Rusowsky is originally from Chile. She has a Licentiate in Social Communications and a Master in Anthropology, and has raised two daughters. She has have worked as a communications consultant, scientific journalist and filmmaker.  She has extensively volunteered in several Jewish institutions and worked for JDC both in Chile and Europe. She has lived in Chile, Puerto Rico, Great Britain and Germany. Her film „Each Flavour is a Journey“ about Jewish life in Berlin, was a selected project of the Berlin Themenjahre 2013 and her documentary „Kahal Kadosh, sacred community“ about the oldest synagogue in Chile was funded by a public grant and screened on the Chilean local television.

David Schapiro

David Schapiro, 23 years old, was born in Jerusalem and raised in Berlin as the eldest of 6 siblings in a traditional Jewish large family. After receiving a traditional Jewish education at the Chabad school in Berlin and graduating with the Abitur as part of the first graduating class of the school, David studied Business and Computer Science in Berlin. Upon completing his studies, he went to Israel to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and the Pardes Center for Jewish Education. After completing the Experiential Education program, he returned and completed his Bachelor studies with a Bachelor thesis. The spark for Jewish Education ignited at Pardes in Jerusalem led David to embark on the path of becoming a rabbi. He began his rabbinical studies at the Masorti Rabbinical School and simultaneously pursued a Bachelor’s in Jewish Theology in Potsdam. Additionally, he serves as the President of Limmud Germany and trains Bnei Mitzvahs for their significant day.

Jay Schlesinger

Jay Schlesinger struggles with bios because he wears more hats than he cares to admit. Professionally, he is a scientific consultant and a founder of a consultancy business specialising in drugs and poisons. When not declining offers from the media to comment on poisonings induced by nerve agents, Jay serves as the Co-Convener and the Head of Services at Kol Nefesh, a small Masorti community in northwest London. Jay also serves as the Director of Strategy and Development at EAJL (European Academy of Jewish Liturgy) in a role which allows him to combine his love for davening with his passion for empowering lay leadership. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jay tried to overcome his dislike for hearing his voice recorded when he attempted to fulfil his childhood career ambition of becoming a radio show presenter by producing and moderating a podcast focused on the liturgy of the High Holy Days. Despite being able to have a simple conversation in at least six languages and the ability to understand writings in three additional dead languages, Jay failed his Mensa test at the age of 12, much to the disappointment of his grandmother.

Karen Engel

Born in California as a first generation American of Polish-German immigrants, I moved to Europe in the 1990s to work as a radio journalist and covered Jewish and other issues as part of my work. I only decided to become a rabbi after many years of being involved with the Jewish community in Austria — raising a family where there are few Jews and organizing many Jewish cultural and religious activities in southern Austria. I want to help strengthen Jewish life and values so that our children also have a place and a future here in Europe.

Portrait Karen Engel

Lena Arava

Lena Arava was born in communist Czechoslovakia in a family with Jewish roots originally from Subcarpathian Ukraine. She studied history and subsequently went to France, where she studied Catholic theology, but also Jewish history and worked for a long time at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du judaïsme in Paris. In Paris, she also became close to Sephardic Judaism and discovered the French Massorti movement. She obtained Israeli citizenship in 2005 and since 2008 has been teaching Jewish history, introduction to Judaism, and the history of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism at Charles University in Prague. She was first drawn to rabbinic studies by her students, but also by her French experience and interest in updating traditional Judaism in the post-modern world. In addition to history and religion, she is also interested in equestrian sports and general spiritual laws in the light of modern sciences (quantum physics and neuroscience).

Photo: Tobias Barniske

Levi Ufferfilge

I was raised by my grandma z“l in Germany with a great sense of duty, responsibility, and chesed (kindness). I strive to implement these – partly very yekkishe – ideals into my life and work. I have worked for Jewish institutions to contribute to rebuilding Jewish infrastructure in Germany virtually all my life. I have helped to build up two new Jewish schools as their headmaster and I deeply love to educate people of all backgrounds. I have taught and published in various Jewish and academic contexts over the years and believe Jewish education as well as kindness to be the key ingredients to raise new (re-)builders of Jewish life and values as a rabbi. Well, Yidishkayt, spiritual liturgy, and meaningful rituals are not too bad ingredients either.

Photo: Stephan Bramme

Miksa Gáspár

Miksa Gáspár was born and raised in Budapest. He studied social and political sciences at a German-American University while simultaneously begun his rabbinical studies at the Seminary of Budapest. Upon graduation from his undergraduate program, he decided to stay in Germany while also fully dedicating himself to a seminary. Due to his attachment to his community at home, he continued his studies at the Zacharias Frankel College while also taking courses at the Seminary of Budapest. Aside from academia, he is a colleague of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and facilitates sensitising workshops for teenagers and young adults.

Shmuley Slater

Shmuely Slater was born and raised in Australia. He strengthened and solidified his relationship to Judaism when he spent a year studying and working in Israel after high school. He studied political science and philosophy in Melbourne, Australia before making Aliyah. After finishing his service in the IDF he decided pursue Rabbinical Studies and moved to Berlin which he now calls home.