Editor of Ritualwell
Hila Ratzabi was born in Rehovot, Israel, and raised in Queens, New York. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Barnard College, a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Double Degree Program, 2003), and an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College (2007). Her poetry is published in a variety of literary journals and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and her articles have appeared in the Jewish Daily Forward and Zeek. She is also a Hebrew and B’nai Mitzvah tutor, writing coach, founder of the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop, and former editor-in-chief of the literary journal Storyscape. Coming full circle, she currently lives in Rehovot, Israel. (Photo by Endy Photography.)
Lori Hope Lefkovitz, Ph.D.
Founding Director of Kolot/Founding Executive Editor of Ritualwell
Lori Hope Lefkovitz served RRC as the Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism at RRC and was the founding director of Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies of RRC. She is now the Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University. Lori was a Fulbright Professor at Hebrew University, a fellow at the Philadelphia Association of Psychoanalysis, and a Woodrow Wilson fellow in the Women’s Studies Division. She is the author of books and articles in the fields of literature, theory and gender and Judaism.
Rabbi Rona Shapiro
Founding Editor of Ritualwell
Rabbi Rona Shapiro graduated from Harvard College in 1984 and received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1990. From 1990-2000, she served as the executive director of Berkeley Hillel. From 2000-07, she worked as a senior associate at Ma’yan: the Jewish Women’s Project in New York City where she edited, compiled and launched the first versions of ritualwell. In 2007, Rona became the spiritual leader of Congregation Bethaynu in Cleveland, Ohio; in 2011 her congregation joined B’nai Jeshurun, a larger Conservative congregation in Cleveland, where she now serves as rabbi. She is the author of numerous articles.
Rabbi Roni Handler
Former Executive Editor of Ritualwell
Rabbi Roni Handler served as the Director of Community Learning at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) and Editor of Ritualwell.org from 2011 to 2017. Through her work at RRC, Rabbi Handler created opportunities for individuals and communities to engage with vibrant, progressive approaches to Jewish life through workshop presentations, consulting, life cycle officiation, and the 2014–2015 Slingshot-recognized online platform of Ritualwell.org. Prior to ordination, Rabbi Handler served as Sabbatical Rabbi for Congregation Or Hadash in Ft. Washington, PA, as an intern at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, and at Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia. She has also worked with youth and college students at Camp JRF, No’ar Hadash (the Reconstructionist youth movement), and Brandeis University. Prior to beginning her rabbinical studies, Rabbi Handler worked at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center in Newton, MA, and The Rashi School, a Reform Jewish Day School in Dedham, MA.
A native Philadelphian, Rabbi Roni Handler is a 2001 graduate of The George Washington University, earned a master's degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein program at Brandeis University, and received her rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2011. She also serves as the rabbi of Temple Micah in Lawrenceville, NJ.
All photography by Jordan Cassway unless otherwise noted.