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

Rabbi Batsheva Meiri, Faculty

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 the founder  of   Neshama, a Paris  Based  Jewish   spirituality  project. She learned Torah at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies, and earned a  certificate of Jewish Experiential Jewish Education as a Yesod Fellow at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies as well as a certificate of Jewish Mindfulness Teacher at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She has been teaching parshanut, Hassidut and mindfulness since 2012, and holds a weekly Jewish meditation group at Pardes in Jerusalem.

Rav Daniel Silverstein 

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.