Sephardic Thought Leadership - Institute Committees

The Sephardic Leadership Institute aims to share the knowledge, expertise, and recommendations of Sephardic and Mizrahi thought-leaders with a broad cross-section of Jewish communal and lay leadership in North America. The Institute will help increase the knowledge, capacities, and cultural responsiveness of Jewish institutions to become more adept at integrating and representing Sephardic heritage, modalities, worldviews, spirituality, pedagogies, programs, and families. As elements of Classical Sephardic Judaism are grounded in values of inclusivity, adaptability, and acceptance, we hope that that the institute will provide concrete tools and recommendations to help the larger Jewish world become more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming not only to Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, but to diverse Jews of all backgrounds and observances including Ashkenazi Jews, Jews of Color, Jews by choice, immigrants, etc.

Our goal is to see Jewish day schools, community centers, synagogues, camps, libraries, and communal organizations do more than just have one-off programs that celebrate Sephardi Jews as an addition to regular Jewish programming. We aim to serve as a hub for Jewish institutions seeking deep knowledge, partnership, rich content, recommendations, trainings, and connections to diverse Sephardic experts.

The Sephardic Leadership Institute is comprised of subcommittees of Sephardic and Mizrahi rabbis, educators, artists, scholars, women-leaders and activists who are committed to furthering the goals of the institute. Each esteemed committee member will be published in a forthcoming journal of the institute and many are eager to share their knowledge and expertise through trainings, consultations, lectures, and partnership.

Subcommittees have not been finalized yet and names will be added upon confirmation.


Arts and Culture Committee

Erez “Diwon” Safar
Sarah Aroeste
Hazzan Dr. Ramon Tasat
Dr. Galeet Dardashti
Yoni Battat
Dr. Francesco Spagnolo
Dr. Samuel R. Torjman Thomas
Rabbi Simon Benzaquen

Educators and Heads of Schools Committee

Adam Eilath
Rabbi Benjy Owen
Stephanie Ives
Tamar Zaken
Alissa Shams
Rabbi Devin Maimon Villarreal
Dr. Galia Avidar

Grassroots Community Builders

Ethan Marcus
Jackie Nurit
Neil Sheff
Simon Amiel
Manashe Khaimov
Rena Behar
Ruben Shimonov
Rabbi Kenny Pollack
Tabby Refael
Elliott Benjamin
Dr. Murray J. Mizrachi

Rabbinic Committee

Rabbi Marc D. Angel
Rabbi Haim Ovadia
Rabbi Ilan Acoca
Rabbi Daniel Bouskila
Rabbi Ben Hassan
Rabbi Jose Rolando Matalon
Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie
Rabbi Daniel Hadar

Scholars Committee

To be announced

Women’s Leadership Committee

Regina Sassoon Friedland
Rena Nasar First
Rahel Musleah
Maharat Victoria Sutton
Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh