UK Conference Speakers Bios

JOFA's First UK Conference

'Inspired Women, Inspiring Communities' 

Sunday 9th June 2013, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, London-10am to 5pm

Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus, 221 Golders Green Road, London NW11 9DQ


Dina Brawer is an informal Jewish educator and an associate faculty member at LSJS. She become involved with JOFA a decade ago and has recently been appointed as JOFA’s UK ambassador. Professionally she delivers training to volunteers at Jewish Care. She was born and raised in Milan, Italy and studied in Jerusalem and New York. She obtained a BA in Jewish Studies at Jew’s College and holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Psychology from the Institute of Education. Her academic areas of interest are Educational Philosophy and Women & Halakha.

Rabbi Dr. Naftali Brawer is Chief Executive of Spiritual Capital Foundation, a London based non profit foundation that enables business leaders to discover and articulate higher purpose and deeper meaning in both their personal and professional lives. Naftali was ordained as an Orthodox Rabbi at the age of twenty two and for close to twenty years he served as the spiritual leader of congregations in both the United States and Britain.

He is the author of ‘A Brief Guide to Judaism: Theology, History and Practice,’ he co-authors a popular monthly column in the Jewish Chronicle entitled ‘Rabbi I’ve got a Problem’ and he is a frequent broadcaster on the BBC.  Rabbi Brawer also serves as an advisor to various inter-faith and human rights organisations.

Jo Bruce is Head of Women's Programmes at LSJS. Shestudied at the advanced women’s seminaries of She’arim and Matan, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She holds a BA in Economics and Politics and is a recent graduate of the UJIA Ashdown Fellowship programme.

Felicia Epstein initiated the development of a gender sensitive curriculum for Jewish primary schools in the US and is working with schools in the UK on addressing issues of gender within their Jewish Studies Curriculum.  She lectured on biblical and midrashic textual analysis in Israel at institutions including Yakar, Matan and Midreshet Harovah and continues to teach in London.  In London she works as a lawyer specialising in employment law and serves as a trustee and director of LSJS. 

Dr. Miri Freud-Kandel is based in the Hebrew & Jewish Studies Unit at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford and is the Fellow in Modern Judaism at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies. Her research interests focus on the development of Orthodox Jewish theologies, particularly concepts of Modern Orthodox Judaism, including related questions of gender. She is currently convening an advanced research seminar in Oxford on Orthodoxy, Theological Debate and Contemporary Judaism.

Rabbi Dr. Michael Harris is a Research Fellow at LSJS and rabbi of the Hampstead Synagogue. He has a PhD in Philosophy and is the author of Divine Command Ethics, and co-edited Radical Responsibility: Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. He is an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.

Daniel Quint is a UJIA trustee and a driving force in the building of Beit Shvidler Primary School in Edgware where he acts as governor and Treasurer. Professionally he is a Finance Director at global recruitment firm; Robert Walters Plc. Daniel is passionate about the development of women's role in observant Jewish life. This has been largely inspired by his own wife's commitment to learn to leyn and the spiritual fulfilment she gained from the actual leyning experience. He is father to four children, two of which are girls. He wants to ensure that his daughters can access spiritual fulfilment in all areas of Jewish ritual that are open to them within a halachic framework that ensures the continuity of authentic Jewish practice whether that be in the home, shul or school.

Professor Tamar Ross is Professor Emeritus of Bar Ilan University's Department of Jewish philosophy.  She continues to teach at Midreshet Lindenbaum and has published widely on topics relating to Jewish thought and the interface between tradition and modernity.

Jacqui Rudolph has recently been elected as the Vice Chairman of Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue and is the only woman on the Honorary Executive. She founded and runs the Stanmore Women's Rosh Chodesh group, facilitated moving the Women's Learning Experience's (formerly the Women's Tephilla Group), to the Shul premises. She is a proponent of women’s learning and encourages women to give Divrei Torah whenever possible. In her professional life, Jacqui is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at Menorah High School for Girls.

Lindsay Simmonds is an associate faculty member at LSJS and lectures widely on Gender and Judaism. She has a degree in Speech and Language Pathology and an MSc in Gender Studies from the LSE, where she is now working towards her PhD. She studied at Nishmat, was a Bruria Scholar at Midreshet Lindenbaum and is a graduate of the LSJS Susi Bradfield Women Educators’ Fellowships. Lindsay is a current participant of the Cambridge Co-Exist Leadership Programme, and is involved in several interfaith initiatives.

Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber is the author of the 8-volume Minhagei Yisrael on the history of Jewish customs, as well as tens of books and hundreds of monographs in Hebrew and English dealing with a wide range of halakhic, linguistic and historical subjects. Most recently he published two books in Hebrew on Jewish legal thinking: The Path of Halacha: Women Reading the Torah: A Case of Pesikah Policy, 2007, and Ways of Pesika: Methods and Approaches for Proper Halakhic Decision Making, 2008. He was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in 1992 and has taught at Bar-Ilan University in the Departments of Jewish History and Talmud since 1968. He serves as president of the Jesselson Institute of Advanced Torah Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He is also the rabbi of Congregation Menachem Tzion in the Old City of Jerusalem. He studied at Yeshivat Kol-Torah in Israel (1958-59) and Hevron (1959-62). Prof. Sperber received his doctorate from University College London in the Departments of Ancient History and Hebrew Studies, studying under Prof. A. Momigliano and S. Stein. He served as Dean of the faculty of Jewish Studies, and headed the Basic Jewish Studies Program. From 1994 until 2005 he served as Chairman of the Committee on Zionist Religious Education at the Ministry of Education. Daniel and his wife Chana are parents of ten children.

Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman is a writer, researcher, and educator. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. Originally from New York, she holds an MA and a PhD in education from Hebrew University, and has been working in Jewish communal life and education for nearly two decades in New York, Melbourne, and Israel. She has worked and taught in many different settings, and has co-authored several curricula in the field of Jewish education. Her writing appears regularly in the Forward, the Jerusalem Post, the Australian Jewish News, the Jerusalem ReportJewish Educational Leadership, and more, and she has published scholarly articles in numerous books and journals. She lectures on education and qualitative research at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. She lives in Modi’in, Israel and commutes between New York City and Israel.

Miriam Westbrook is a second year Geography student at the University of Manchester. She was the Events Chair for Manchester Jewish Society, Stand With Us Fellow for Manchester University and has been a Madricha for Bnei Akiva for several years. She will be spending next year studying at the University of Sydney.