IFJE Students

IFJE's inaugural graduate student cohort brings an exceptional richness of perspective, demonstrating the program ís broad appeal.

Steven Abraham is the rabbi of Beth El Synagogue, a Conservative congregation in Omaha, NE, where he has helped to reshape its image and approach regarding  interfaith families. He earned rabbinic ordination as well as an MA in Jewish Education from JTS. Steve Abraham

Cookie Mandell is Director of Congregational Engagement at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA. With a congregation of over 1650 families, it is the largest Jewish congregation in Virginia, with an estimated 35% interfaith families. Cookie Mandell

Alachua Nazarenko is the Director of Programming at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS, a region with many intermarried couples and interfaith families.  Alachua Nazarenko

Lex Rofes of Providence, RI, serves as the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at The Institute for the Next Jewish Future where he also co-hosts its Judaism Unbound podcast. He is a second-year rabbinical student through ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Lex Rofes

Tema Smith
 is the Director of Community Engagement for Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto's oldest and one of Canada's largest synagogues. Within the Jewish Community, she works with racial diversity, racial equality advocacy and engagement of intermarried families.
Tema Smith

Becca Weiner is a Judaics Specialist at the Charlotte Jewish Preschool in North Carolina, where she has taught for seven years and where most of her students come from interfaith families. Becca Weiner


For admissions questions or information, please contact the Admissions Office or Dr. Keren McGinity at the email below.

Keren R. McGinity, Ph.D.
Director, IFJE Program
Shoolman Graduate School of Education


request more information

apply now

"I am really enjoying the class so far and the readings are fantastic. In one week, we've covered more material on intermarriage than I got in six yearsof rabbinical school." (Rabbi Steven Abraham, Beth El Synagogue, Omaha, NE)