received her undergraduate degree from Bar-Ilan University, Israel and her doctoral degree from the University of Oregon. She served for 12 years as Executive Director of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center and has taught at Lewis & Clark and other local colleges for the past ten years. She has been on the Melton faculty since its inception in 1999.
teaches music and directs the t'llah (prayer) program at the Portland Jewish Academy. Erica is one of the founders of the Portland Women's T'llah Group and coordinates its monthly services. She holds a Doctorate in Music Theory and History from the University of Oregon, an M.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a B.A. from Stanford University. This is her eighth year teaching for the Melton Mini-School
Before coming to Portland in 1987 to serve as Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel, Jan Rabinowitch received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and taught in Conservative and Reform synagogue and community day schools, wrote curricula for publication and national distribution, led teacher-training programs, and developed and facilitated interfaith dialogues for the Naitonal Conference of Christians and Jews. She served as the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Kol Ami in Vancouver, and is the founder of Binah, an interfaith education resource which offers offers lectures and workshops on Judaism and Judaica for interfaith and non-Jewish groups. She also serves as an education consultant and teacher and, when she finds the time to get to her art studio, works in fused and cast glass. She has been on Melton faculty in Portland since its first year.
RABBI JOSHUA STAMPFER
was born in Jerusalem. He received his M.S. from the University of Akron, his M.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and his D.H.L. from the University of Judaism. He served as Rabbi at Congregation Neveh Shalom from 1953 to 1993. Rabbi Stampfer is board member of the National Peace Now Organization, an appointee to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, an Adjunct Associate Professor at PSU, and founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Judaic Studies. This is his sixth year on the Melton faculty.
is a photographer, photo-historian, and author. She received her Masters in Education from the University of Idaho and B.S.Ed. in History from Northern Illinois University. In recent years she has taught History of Photography at Mt. Hood Community College and served as scholar/lecturer for the Oregon Humanities Chautauqua program. Her publications have introduced readers to early photographers Lily White, Sarah Ladd, Myra Albert Wiggins and Isabella Bird. Oregon Public Broadcasting featured her on their program about the Columbia River Gorge, The River They Saw. She is the recipient of research fellowships from the Winterthur Museum, and Oregon Humanities, and grants from the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Research, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Northwest Women’s History Project and National Coalition of Independent Scholars.
A native of Jerusalem, Alon Raab's ancestors walked to Israel three hundred years ago from the Raab river region of Hungary. Religious Jews, they were among the founders, in 1878, of Petach Tikva, the first modern Jewish agricultural settlement. He studied biology at the University of London, then earned advanced degrees in Jewish History at Hebrew University. He has taught at Portland State, University of Oregon, and UC-Davis. His classes strive to transmit an understanding of the balances between many difficult ideas. He also teaches Hebrew. He has been active in environmental and peace groups since he was young, and he co-founded a Jewish-Arab dialogue group.
Elizabeth Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from UC Santa Cruz, and a Masters in voice from Boston University. She has worked as a professional musician and music teacher. She writes concert program notes for the Oregon Symphony and is a DJ on KBOO radio’s The Yiddish Hour, where she plays Jewish and Israeli music from all corners of the world. As a founding member in 2009 of the Portland branch of Tuv Ha’aretz, which means both "good for the land," and "best of the land," she has been involved in thinking and teaching about the intersection between food and social justice for years.
Sarah Liebman, who is also Executive Director of Portland Melton, earned her bachelor's in history at Grinell College in Iowa and her master's in education at Portland State University. She taught at Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov, an Orthodox Day School, a high school for girls in Chicago, did her student teaching in social studies and economics at Lincoln High School, and taught public school in Hillsboro. She grew up at Havurah Shalom in Portland, and started a program for young Jewish adult leadership, called Machar. She has taught at Melton on intermarriage and on Jewish views on Satan.
RABBI MICHAEL KAPLAN
Rabbi Michael Kaplan of Congregation Ahavath Achim grew up in a Syrian Sephardic community in New Jersey and attended a primarily Sephardic high school there. Later, he studied at a yeshiva in Israel and was privileged to meet several chief rabbis there. At Yeshiva University in New York, he studied with several roshei yeshiva [professors of Talmud], including two years of Talmud and Sephardic Codes (Halacha) with Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim. Rabbi Kaplan then proceeded on to rabbinical studies and earned a Master’s degree in medieval Jewish history with emphasis on legal philosophy. Following yeshiva, he worked as a teaching assistant in Stern College, ran a night study beit midrash, and now teaches classes in Hebrew and Sephardic culture at Congregation Ahavath Achim.
RABBI MOTTI WILHELM
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm was ordained by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of “Kovetz Ohelei Torah” a respected Journal of Talmudic essays and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa & Australia. He is currently a Chabad “Shliach” (emissary), whom together with his wife Mimi leads Congregation Beis Menachem - Chabad and is the director of Portland’s Benaroaya Jewish Learning Academy. . He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects.
RABBI TZVI FISCHER
Rabbi Tzvi Fischer was born in Brooklyn, NY. He is fluent in English, German, Yiddish and Hungarian. He completed his education in Switzerland, Canada and Israel, and received his Rabbinical Ordination in 2005 from the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 2006 Rabbi Fischer was tasked with establishing a Kollel - an institute of Jewish education and culture - in Portland. Rabbi Fischer is a certified seventh-generation Mohel and performs circumcisions for Jewish families throughout the west coast region.