AJWS Announces Dvar Tzedek Writing Fellows for 5769

Oct. 13, 2008; New York, NY—AJWS has announced the 5769 recipients of the AJWS Dvar Tzedek Torah Commentary: Lisa Goldberg Memorial Writers’ Fellowship.  AJWS is an international development organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, poverty and disease among people of the developing world, regardless of race, religion or nationality.

The Dvar Tzedek is a weekly Torah commentary highlighting global justice teachings that are deeply rooted in Jewish text. Interested readers can subscribe to the commentaries in print at www.ajws.org/parshah or download a weekly podcast at www.ajws.org/podcast.

“Each writer brings a unique and powerful voice to Jewish social justice,” said Aaron Dorfman, Director of Education, AJWS. “We believe that they will inspire and motivate all of us toward a Jewish identity that embraces justice and social responsibility.”

The fellows are as follows:

Alana Alpert earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Studies from the University of California in Santa Cruz. She is an alumna of AJWS’s Volunteer Summer program in Ghana, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and ACTIVATE! The Community Organizing Fellowship of Social Justice Leadership. Alana has worked as an organizer at NY Jobs with Justice and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and directed the New York City program of AVODAH. She is currently studying at the Conservative Yeshiva and volunteering with peace organizations in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Rabbi Matt Carl is the associate rabbi of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn, New York, and is the campus rabbi at Hunter College in Manhattan. An alumnus of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Rabbi Carl has integrated service and justice concerns with other traditional aspects of the rabbinate. Originally from Long Beach, California, Matt has studied in settings ranging from a Reform Kollel to a Chasidic Yeshiva. A student of Jewish mysticism, his graduate thesis was entitled “Sex and Breathing as Forms of Hasidic Meditation.”

Rachel Farbiarz is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, as well as of an Orthodox yeshivah high school. Rachel worked as a clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, after which she practiced law focusing on the civil rights and humane treatment of prisoners. In this role, she helped to improve the basic living conditions on California’s death row at San Quentin. Rachel currently lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., where she works on her own writing and art.

Adina Gerver, a freelance writer and editor, is studying at the Advanced Scholars Program of the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. She has served as assistant director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning and program officer at the Covenant Foundation. Adina enjoys writing about Jewish legal texts, mental health and prayer, gender as a lens for exploring religious and ethnic identities, and the intersection between urban living, environmentalism, and physical health. She has a B.A. in History and Women’s Studies from Harvard University, and has studied at the Drisha Institute, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Yeshivat Hadar. 

Sam Berrin Shonkoff is currently the Jewish student life coordinator at Stanford Hillel. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Brown University and has also studied in Jerusalem at Hebrew University, Pardes Institute and The Conservative Yeshiva. Sam’s passions include backpacking, meditation, friends and family, writing, dancing and social action. He believes that mindful engagement with Torah can be a way for us to encounter ourselves and others more intimately.

As president of the Charles S. Revson Foundation, Lisa Goldberg had a profound commitment to the Jewish Community and social justice. She was a creative and vigorous supporter of biomedical research, media technology, leadership development, public interest law, women and public policy, and Jewish culture. She was a good friend and generous supporter of AJWS.  

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.