Talmud Torah of St. Paul

Where critical thinking
and Jewish values intersect

Hineni Faculty

Sara Lynn Newberger (Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois; Master of Arts, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) is the Director of Hineni.  She moved to St. Paul in 1989 to work at the Talmud Torah’s Day School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. She believes passionately in the importance of Jewish learning and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Sara Lynn has recently begun to explore, both in her own learning and teaching, areas of Jewish mindfulness and spirituality.   In addition to planning programs for Hineni, she is facilitating groups in Jewish Meditation, Torah and Mindfulness, Mussar/Middot, and Contemplative Chanting.  She is teaching the Rhythms of Jewish Living course in the Melton core curriculum.  

Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonsteinis the founding Director of By The Rivers: A Multi-Faith Learning and Lifecycle Center. He strives to make learning accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

He is Associate Chaplain at the University of St Thomas; Rabbi in Residence at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and a staff member at Hineni: A Center for Adult Jewish Learning and Contemplative Practices.

He is originally from South Africa, and immigrated with his family to the United States as a young child. He also works at the Apple Store in Ridgedale mall, repairing relationships and iPhones. Rabbi Shavit-Lonstein enjoys running, and has completed several marathons, in addition, he is an avid SciFi fan. He and his wife Becky are blessed with three children, Noah, Naveh and Naomi.

Meryll Levine Page has been teaching since 1971. Her career began at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul and moved between the Twin Cities until she began teaching history at St. Louis Park Senior High until her retirement. During her career, she taught Torah, Hebrew language, Jewish History, and English in supplementary Jewish schools, day schools, private schools, and two Minnesota school districts.


Since retiring, Meryll has entered the age of “Yes, I can do that.” She co-authored a nonfiction book with her sister - Jewish Luck: A True Story of Friendship, Deception, and Risky Business, about two Soviet born Jewish women. She is currently producing a weekly web page (www.tastingtorah.com) linking recipes, discussion questions, and tidbits of knowledge to the weekly parasha. After five years as a co-facilitator for the Jewish Artists’ Lab, Meryll is developing curriculum and facilitating an artists' exchange between Rehovot and Minneapolis during 5778.


Meryll is married to Christopher Page and has four children and two grandchildren.

Rabbi Lynn Liberman was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1993. She has served as Spiritual Leader of congregations in Florida, St. Louis, MO, western Massachusetts, and Austin, Texas and for six years, worked as a congregational educator at Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights. She has also taught and worked in a variety of educational settings, including as Rabbi in Residence of the Solomon Schechter Day School of St. Louis and is a current Adjunct Lecturer in Judaics at Augsburg College, Minneapolis. Over the years, Rabbi Liberman’s passions as a rabbi have been many. Currently she volunteers as a Police and Fire Chaplain for the Mendota Heights/West St. Paul Police and Fire Departments and is delighted to be on the board as board secretary for J-HAP, a supportive housing program for people with special needs.  In her current work as a Board Certified Chaplain, Rabbi Liberman works for Health East Hospice and is the Community Chaplain for Jewish Family Service of St. Paul. She also serves as a per diem for Regions Hospital, Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital and Crescent Cove, a Palliative Care and Respite program for children with life threatening illness.

Cantor Audrey Abrams, originally from Rochester, New York, has a B.M. in Music Therapy from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Music Education and Therapy from the University of Minnesota. She received her cantorial certification from Hebrew Union College in 2001. Her work with Beth El began in 1990 when she became Hazzan Sheini for the High Holy Days. At the time she was living in Connecticut with her husband, David, and flew in each year for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In 1995, she and David, with their two then young daughters, Rachel (now 26) and Sally (now 23), moved back to Minneapolis where she took on the job as program director at Beth El. After certification, Cantor Abrams assumed the title of Associate Cantor until Cantor Newman’s retirement in 2007. Cantor Abrams is very involved in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and believes strongly in contemplative practices elevating ones connections to their Judaism. In her spare time, Cantor Abrams enjoys walks around the lakes, bike rides with David, doing art projects and art classes, movies, traveling and the TWINS!

Earl Schwartz is a master teacher. He is on the religion faculty of Hamline University, and has received Hamline's Faculty Member of the Year and Grimes Teaching awards. He is the author of Moral Development: A Practical Guide for Jewish Teachers, and co-author with Rabbi Barry Cytron of When Life Is In the Balance: Life, along with numerous articles on Jewish history and literature.

Dr. Arie Zmora is a native of Israel and holds a BA and Phil in History and International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.Phil. in Early French History from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Early Modern European History from the University of Maryland College Park. Arie has taught in leading Israeli high schools: Tichon Hadash, Ohel Shem, and Tichon Herzeliyaa. Since 1994, he has taught as a visiting professor in Minnesota area colleges and universities: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Cloud State University, Macalester College, and Hamline University. For the past ten years he has served as a program director of successive Middle East cultural exchange international programs at Hamline University. These programs have been funded by the US Department of State. Over the past two years Arie Has developed a comprehensive curricula on Jewish History  which he has been teaching to  growing numbers of individuals in the community; adults and high school students.  Arie teaches CIS Hebrew in the Midrasha program at Talmud Torah.

 

Pam Lauer is a spiritual director who received certification from the Lev Shomea Jewish Spiritual Direction Training program where she was a member of the first cohort in 2001-2003. She also studied Jewish Spiritul Direction with Rabbi Amy Eilberg. Along with seeing individual directees, Pam also leads Interfaith Holy Listening groups and larger group "Interfaith Holy Listening Experiences" in which she uses the tools of group spiritual direction to help participants from different traditions and cultures have an experience of listening and being "heard at a level deeper than dialogue". In the Jewish month of Elul, Pam leads spiritual direction groups focused on the process of heshbon ha-nefesh or "accounting of the soul" in preparation for the Jewish High Holidays, and also teaches a class on the uses of Nonviolent Communication in working toward "at-one-ment" in advance of the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Pam teaches Nonviolent Communication and leads Holy Listening Groups in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Former Faculty

During the summer of 2014, Debra Rappaport married the love of her life and moved back to her home-town of Minneapolis. For the previous seven years, she served as Rabbi and Executive Director for B’nai Vail Congregation in Vail, Colorado. She received ordination at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 2007. After earning her BA at Vassar College, Rabbi Rappaport pursued a business career over the next ten years, in sales, marketing, and management roles, as well as earning an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of PA. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Board of Scholars and Advisors for the Vail Leadership Institute.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After many years of work in pastoral care and hospice, Rabbi Eilberg now serves as a spiritual director, directs interfaith dialogue programs in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, and teaches at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She teaches the art of listening, dialogue and peacebuilding in venues throughout the country.  Her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace, was published by Orbis Books in March 2014.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., RYT-500, is a Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the prevention of eating and weight-related problems including eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviors, body dissatisfaction and obesity; she has published over 400 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on these and related topics. She has also written a book for parents entitled, “I’m, Like So Fat! Helping your teen make healthy eating and exercise choices in a weight-obsessed world.” In recent years, Dianne developed an interest in the potential for yoga to help with eating and body image problems. To this end, she became a certified yoga instructor, and now teaches therapeutic yoga to individuals with eating disorders and studies the impact of yoga on eating behaviors, psychological well-being, and weight status.

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein is a noted teacher and author in the field of Jewish education. He is currently director of the adolescent initiative and special projects at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. He has served as Professor and Director of the Education Department at the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland, and consulted nationally on range of special projects with Jewish schools, synagogues, and summer camps.Dr. Schein, a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1977) and of the doctoral program in curriculum studies of Temple University (1980), the author of several books and numerous articles. Jeffrey and his wife Deborah have recently moved to the Twin Cities. Their children are Benjamin, Jonah, and Hana. Their grandchildren are Ilan, Tali, and Aryeh.

Cantor Rachel Stock Spilker has served as cantor at Mount Zion since 1997. She currently serves part-time. She grew up in Pittsburgh where she was inspired by her Cantor, Mordechai Heiser. Cantor Spilker received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters degree in Sacred Music and investiture as cantor from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and New York. Cantor Spilker enjoys teaching about Judaism and Jewish music to people of all ages through services, special programs and classes. She also likes to explore other areas of Jewish life including yoga and art.  She and Rabbi Spilker have three children, Eiden, Mirit and Liam.

 

Julie Dean is an experiential educator & professional facilitator who has been guiding participants in personal & spiritual development for 20 years.  Julie is an active member of the Twin Cities Jewish community, facilitating Mussar groups & the Women's Spirituality Group at Mount Zion Temple, drumming for Spirit & Song at Adath Jeshuran & also Shir Tikvah's first Friday Shabbat services, and serving on the Hineini advisory committee.