Hailing from around the world, Or HaLev faculty believe that Judaism is a source of deep wisdom, which, when applied, can be used to transform ourselves, our communities , our world and our Creator. Long-time students of the practice, our faculty are committed to sharing the fruits of this rich tradition with the world.

 

Rabbi Sara Brandes, Executive Director

Rabbi Sara Brandes was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and brings experience from the pulpit and non-profit worlds to Or HaLev. Past California Director at Moving Traditions and former Associate Rabbi at the Malibu Jewish Center, Sara is a lifetime spiritual seeker and a certified yoga instructor. Based in Israel, she continues to serve as Rabbi-in-Residence to the Camp Alonim community in Los Angeles. She is author of Magical World: Stories, Reflections, Poems and is partner to Hyim, and mother to Michal and Gavi.

Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Faculty 

Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana is a neuroscientist and a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa. Her research interests focus on the effects of various forms of meditation on consciousness, cognition and self-reference, as well as the possible applications to the field of Education. This work bridges her interest in the natural sciences, with her deep personal exploration of consciousness, through diverse religious philosophies (mainly Judaism and Buddhism) and fervent practice of meditation since 1995. A TOVANA meditation instructor.

Genevieve Greinetz, Rabbinic Intern

Genevieve Greinetz is currently in her third year at Hebrew College Rabbinical School. In her undergraduate at Colorado State University, she studied eastern religion, philosophy, and literature. After graduating, she spent a year studying yoga and living at an ashram in the Santa Cruz mountains in CA where she became a certified yoga teacher. She worked as an organic farmer and studied Chinese tea with a master for several years before beginning her Master’s in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, which she completed in 2016. She is a published poet, founding editor of an up-and-coming inter-cultural journal, and is intrigued by the whole gamut of human experience. 

Rabbi Batsheva Meiri, Faculty

Since 2008, Rabbi Meiri has served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth HaTephila in Asheville, North Carolina. She received her Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in New York in 1996. In 2009, she was honored with the title of Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute after 4 years of intensive summer and winter study retreats in Jerusalem. Since then, Rabbi Meiri has turned her rabbinic focus both personally and professionally to Jewish spirituality and meditation. She completed several learning cohorts with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, including and subsequently assistant teaching in its Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program. Rabbi Meiri spent more than a decade in the movement practice of Tae Kwon Do, earning her third degree black belt in 2016.

Rabbi Jeff Roth, Awakened Heart Project

Rabbi Jeff Roth, D. Div. is the founder & Director of the Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism. He has led countless meditation retreats over the last 17 years. He was the co-founder of Elat Chayyim where he served as Executive Director & Spiritual Director for 13 years. He is the author of Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life. He lives with his family in the Hudson River Valley. 
 

Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson Maisels, Founder and Spiritual Director

Headshot - Rav James Jacobson Maisels

Rav James directs the vision of Or HaLev & is a devotee of mindfulness practice. Ordained by Rav Daniel Landes, with a doctorate in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago, Rav James lectures internationally on Jewish Spiritual practices. He also teaches at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Haifa University & Yeshivat Hadar. He strives to integrate his study with his practice, & to help teach & live Judaism as a spiritual discipline.

Daniel Yoel Cohen, Faculty

Headshot - Daniel Yoel Cohen

Danny graduated from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he began to connect with peers confused about their true direction and disconnected from the inner compass of their emotional and spiritual lives. Danny pursued study of Torah and wisdom in a variety of yeshivot and institutions in Israel, the U.S., India, Nepal, and Mexico, as well as through the modern worlds of psychology/psychotherapy and transformative change work, and grounded in daily practice of meditation, prayer, and regular intensive retreat. His web site is http://www.thelivingheart.life

Dr. Mira Niculescu, Faculty

Dr. Mira Neshama Niculescu is a Paris-born scholar and teacher of Jewish spirituality and Meditation. She earned a Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion researching the “Jewish Buddhist” phenomenon and the contemporary revival of Jewish Spirituality. She learned Torah as an Art Fellow at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies and at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, where she earned a certificate of Experiential Jewish Education as a Yesod Fellow. A certified Jewish Mindfulness Teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS), she has been teaching Parshanut, Hassidut, traditional Jewish meditation and Jewish mindfulness since 2012. An orthodox smicha Fellow at the Yeshiva Har’El in Jerusalem, she holds a weekly Jewish meditation group at Pardes and teaches regularly in Europe and in the United States. 

Rav Daniel Silverstein, Faculty

Headshot - Rav Daniel Silverstein

A native of England, Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein received his ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York, and is past Director of Jewish Life & Learning for Hillel at Stanford University. He is an accredited meditation teacher, and teaches at Pardes, Romemu Yeshiva, and the OU and is the founder of Applied Jewish Spirituality.org, a platform for online exploration of Jewish spirituality.