Kitchen Staff

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NOA KUSHNER / FOUNDING RABBI Kushner received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University and was ordained in New York by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. She was the Rabbi for Hillel at Sarah Lawrence College and Stanford University. At Congregation Rodef Sholom she piloted NITA: Marin, which became a national model for engaging Gen X. She has been profiled in San Francicso Magazine's "Who Runs SF" Power Issue and was recognized on the Newsweek / Daily Beast 2013: Rabbis to Watch list. Noa is married to Rabbi Michael Lezak and is the mother of three daughters: Zella, Bluma and Minna. 

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YOAV SCHLESINGER / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR A 5th generation Californian, Yoav attended Stanford University, where he received his B.A. in Jewish studies and Political Science. Since then, he has worked as a professional fundraiser and executive at Jewish and non-Jewish organizations alike, ranging from the JCCSF and AIPAC to Stanford Law School. With a four year stint as a fundraising and organizational consultant, Yoav also had the opportunity to assist dozens of nonprofit organizations around the Bay Area to build capacity, communicate more effectively, meet their goals and grow. He most recently served as the Executive Director of Reboot--a national network of cultural creatives, gathered to grapple with questions of Jewish identity and community in order to provide tools for making tradition more meaningful in modern life. In addition to building community, Yoav enjoys trail running, discovering new ice cream flavors and nursing his addictions to NPR and The New Yorker. He lives in Marin with his wife, Keely, a clinical psychologist, and their daugher Charlotte.

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THEA WEINER / PROGRAM DIRECTOR is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. Born and raised in San Francisco, she has a strong connection to Jewish life in the Bay Area. Immersing herself into the communities in San Francisco, she has an established role in synagogue programming, education development, and fundraising. Thea has worked for over ten years with adults and children organizing creative and innovative Jewish cultural learning opportunities. Thea is excited to take this opportunity to learn and grow alongside The Kitchen. 

JONATHAN BAYER / SHALIACH TZIBBUR is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and Jewish educator. Jonathan Bayer has performed and taught almost everyday of the last 10 years in New York and San Francisco. He writes and performs commissioned musicals for places like the New York Historical Society (the battle for Brooklyn) and the Jewish Museum (Pharaoh's Bad day). He leads minyanim for kids and adults at Bay Area Synagogues like Temple Emanu-el and Congregation Rodef Sholom. His interactive, musical renderings of folk stories have mesmerized youth audiences from the New York Transit museum to the Contemporary Jewish museum in San Francisco. He plays guitar, banjo, marching bass drum and sings with NOLA brass group Bug Horn Rex.

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JOE SCHWARTZ / KITCHEN RABBINIC INTERN will receive semicha from the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies in Los Angeles in 2014. Born and raised on the Upper West Side of New York City, Joe holds a B.A. from Columbia College and a J.D. from the NYU School of Law, where he was also an editor of the Law Review.  He has served as Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Or Zarua in NYC, and a teaching fellow for Kevah, a new Berkeley-based organization that builds community through the study of classical Jewish texts. He has studied at Hebrew Union College, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Kollel of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and the Jewish Theological Seminary.  Joe is passionate about talmud torah, Israeli kitsch and mid-career Kinks. He is profoundly honored to be serving as The Kitchen's rabbinic intern.

ETHAN DIAMONDSTEIN / KITCHEN INTERN was born and raised in San Francisco. He enjoys swimming, riding his bike and doing puzzles. Ethan is a master negotiator and loves good friends, good food and staying up late. He is currently in 1st grade. 

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MIMI GREISMAN / CAMP KITCHEN EDUCATOR has been a Jewish Early Childhood and Family Educator for more than 30 years. She has enjoyed working in a wide variety of settings creating quality jewish programs for families with young children. Mimi has a masters degree in education and is well known throughout the Bay Area. She plays guitar, sings, and has developed three children's music CD's.  Mimi has three grown children, five grandchildren and her husband is Irving Greisman, the founder of Irving's Premium Challah. Mimi is just delighted to be part of The Kitchen and to run Camp Kitchen, an educational shabbat experience for children. 

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JOSH LEVINE / KITCHEN BRANDING PARTNER is founder and principal of Great Monday, a business consultancy helping leaders build purpose-driven organizations. He also runs Pique, a startup building tools to measure and manage company culture in real time. He regularly speaks and writes on the intersection of brand for his clients and for publications like Fast Company, the Design Management Institute and 99u.


DAN NICHOLS / HIGH HOLIDAY SHALIACH TZIBBUR is one of the most popular and influential Jewish musicians in North America, performing over 200 concerts a year. His music has become an important part of the Reform Jewish movement, with synagogue youth and clergy alike incorporating it into their curriculum and services. 

His last two albums have garnered critical acclaim and a legion of growing fans. Songs like “L’takein (The Na Na Song),” “B’tzelem Elohim,” “Kehilah Kedoshah,” and “My Heart is in the East” are some of the most popular songs in Reform Judaism today. His new Album, “The Roots” launched June 2008 to rave reviews.