Blaze Ardman has been a member of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation since moving to the Hudson Valley from Washington State in 2002. She is currently a member of the board of directors of WJC and is the board’s liaison to the ritual committee. She was the coordinator of a WJC concert featuring Pete Seeger, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler, and Kim and Reggie Harris to raise funds for Save Them Now, an organization facilitating the return of formerly incarcerated citizens to their communities. She has been greatly influenced by Rabbi Kligler’s unique and inspiring teachings, which have increased her appreciation of the gifts and wisdom of Judaism and its application to daily life.
She graduated from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and is an ordained interfaith minister, serving people of all faiths or none in whatever capacity is needed. While in seminary, her love for her Jewish roots and Judaism’s universality deepened as she came to respect other wisdom traditions, their similarities and differences.
Blaze is a mother, grandmother, writer, meeting facilitator, spiritual companion, grief companion, wedding and funeral officiant. She has been a hospice volunteer, a domestic violence crisis counselor, an AIDS buddy, a business owner, and marketing consultant.
She takes great joy in being part of the LSI team and helping to bring the gifts of Judaism and Rabbi Jonathan’s teaching to the wider world.
Blaze’s (formerly Perri) great-grandmother’s name was Perri Blaze. She longed to take the name Blaze as her first name, and finally did so after one of her spiritual teachers said he saw a fire in her heart.
Dena Crane joined Woodstock Jewish Congregation in 1992. She has been seriously involved over the past several years. She was chair of ritual committee, board member, president of the board. Currently, Dena is chairperson of chesed (kindness) circle and on the Lev Shalem Institute working team. Dena’s background includes, but is not limited to video producer director, educator, executive director of two not for profits, mediator, lifelong learner of Judaism.
Bob Messing has been a member of the LSI working team from its inception. He received a BA in Philosophy from Clark University and MBAs from City University, New York and New York University. Professionally, Bob worked in the computer industry for fifty-one years at Fortune 100 companies. He has held leadership positions in the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the United Jewish Appeal, both of New York City. Bob was one of the founders of Gesher, an organization which promotes mutual understanding between religious and secular Jews in Israel. He travels to Israel frequently. In Israel, he participates in archaeological digs, collects ancient and modern Jewish coins, and attends Biblical seminars.
Carol Fox Prescott, professional actor, singer, director, acting coach, and playwright, combines her lifelong passion for theater and the creative process with her love for Judaism, and she explores both through her unique lens of breathing, awareness, and joy. Her play, In The Voice of Our Mothers, which takes us deep inside the personal lives of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, and Miriam, has been performed in synagogues, churches, colleges, and prisons throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley. On stage, she has played Tzeitel in A Fiddler on the Roof, Guetele in The Rothschilds, Hedda in Hedda Gabler, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Catherine in Pippin, and Sophie Tucker in her one-woman musical, Some of These Days. Her acting studio, Carol Fox Prescott: Acting Classes continues to nurture generations of professional actors, as well as individuals from all walks of life. http://carolfoxprescott.com/
Susan Rosen is the founder and spiritual director of Miriam’s Well, a holistic retreat center in the Hudson Valley. Since opening it in 1999, she has brought philosophers, poets, spiritual leaders, and teachers in many traditions to thousands of people. Certified in Group Projective Dreamwork, Susan cofacilitates workshops with Dreamwork creator Jeremy Taylor. She also facilitates ongoing dream circles at Miriam’s Well. Susan is certified in Integrated Kabbalistic Healing and has practiced energy healing extensively with Dr. Brugh Joy. She is coproducer, with writer/director Carol Fox Prescott, of “In the Voice of our Mothers.” Her business experience includes entrepreneurship and serving as executive vice president of a computer consulting firm. Susan is a monthly cohost of the Woodstock Roundtable on WDST-FM radio. She has raised five extraordinary children of whom she is exceedingly proud.
Rob Saffer has 30 years experience as a senior marketing and creative professional, working at media companies such as MTV Networks and ABC/Disney, as well as at agencies such as Edelman, Ketchum and Commotion, an agency he founded after leaving MTV. Rob is currently executive director of the Creative Music Foundation, a 42 year-old nonprofit dedicated to advancing improvised music, and is co-founder and board member of the Overlook Mountain Center, a conservation nonprofit. He has advised major arts institutions including The Brooklyn Museum, Celebrate Brooklyn Festival and Symphony Space, among others.
Ellen Triebwasser has been a member of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation for almost 15 years. She has served on the ritual committee and the congregational learning committee and was delighted to join the LSI working team because educating adults about the richness of Jewish tradition has always been very important to her. In her studies through ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, she has become a spiritual director, a chant leader and a Sage-ing ™ Mentor. She is now studying to become a rabbi through the ALEPH Ordination Program.
Matthew White, Woodstock Jewish Congregation Liaison to the Lev Shalem Institute, has been married to a wonderful woman for over 23 years. Together they have two boys, their eldest son is a bar mitzvah and their younger son is currently enrolled in the family school at Woodstock Jewish Congregation. Matthew’s passion is for education; he has been a teacher for over 20 years. Over the last several years, he has become an active member of the shul. His commitment for education can be found in his volunteer work as Vice President of Education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation.
Elena Erber – Website Visionary
A 35-year veteran of the marketing and communication field, Elena Erber has a reputation for thinking out-of-the-box. This perspective, coupled with her skill as a designer, communicator, and organizer, has made her an integral member of many successful teams. She is known for her ability to bridge great design and aesthetics with innovative business strategy. Working primarily for nonprofit organizations, her passion for improving the world has had many opportunities to flourish.
Until recently Elena held the position of creative director at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. She has held similar positions at the Omega Institute, and Bard College. She is currently working with a variety of clients on branding, marketing and design.
Elena’s work life is complimented and sometimes integrated with her other activities and roles which include being a wife, mother, friend, designer, fiber artist, musician, entrepreneur, educator, volunteer, gardener and an active member of Woodstock Jewish Congregation and a Lev Shalem Institute founder. She lives in Red Hook, New York with her artist-husband Bernard Greenwald.