Jane Braden-Golay is originally from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and studied Religious Studies, Public Law and Education at the University of Zurich. After a year at the Zurich Jewish Students Association, she got elected as vice president of the European Union of Jewish Students and served two two-year mandates in that position. Since January 2014 she is the president of the organization and based in Brussels, Belgium. Her interfaith dialog involvement includes the European Interfaith Youth Network of Religions for Peace, the international Muslim Jewish Conference and the Swiss Project Respect. Prior to her full-time commitment to EUJS, she worked as the assistant to a Swiss lobbyist and a researcher for the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, focused on religious values in European secular society. She furthermore volunteered as the coordinator of the Swiss Jewish community’s leadership development project.
Ben Kasstan grew up in Southern Africa and now live in the UK, where I am studying for a PhD Anthropology at Durham University and exploring issues surrounding child health in Manchester’s haredi community. The study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and I am currently at Haifa University for an Ulpan (scholarship from the Government of Israel) as part of the research project. My MSc Medical Anthropology involved working with ageing Shoah survivors to understand the tokens of trauma that remain permanently held with the passing of time and how a Jewish community care organisation aims to meet their needs. I am affiliated with Liberal Judaism, and I am involved in Muslim and Jewish dialogue – as part of the Muslim Jewish Conference (MJC) team and was awarded the 2014 interfaith project of the year award by the UK’s Union of Jewish Students.
Elad Lapidot, born 1976 in Jerusalem, studied law and philosophy at the Hebrew University. In 1996-2001 he worked as a research and teaching assistant at the Hebrew University, Israel Democracy Institute, College of Law & Business in Ramat Gan and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. In 2008 he received a PhD in Philosophy from the Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne for his work on Logic and Logos in Heidegger’s Being and Time. Since 2007 he has been translating to Hebrew works of Levinas, Sartre, Heidegger, Hegel and Husserl. His research and writing thematizes the relation between philosophy and torah (rabbinic literature) as distinguished traditions of knowledge, especially on questions of epistemology, language and politics. He is a researcher and lecturer in the Freie Universität and the Humboldt Universität Berlin. In 2010 he founded the project Deghetto – Judaism for all (www.deghetto.org).
Alexander Marcus is a PhD student in Religious Studies at Stanford University in California. He received his BA in Religious Studies from Pomona College, and his MA in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. His work focuses on Jewish texts of Late Antiquity, their formation and their subsequent role in Jewish religious life. He is particularly interested in the latter-stage developments of the Babylonian Talmud in the Sasanian era, including the influence and shared traditions of Zoroastrian, Manichaean, and Christian groups. Outside of academic research, Alex is an advocate of inter-religious dialogue, interested in searching for and articulating new paradigms of collaboration and countering overly-simplistic narratives of conflict. He is also a staunch advocate for improving issues of gender disparity and sexuality-based discrimination in religious traditions and institutions. He has previously worked as a volunteered for the Kopila Valley Children’s Home in Surkhet, Nepal (http://www.blinknow.org), as the Colorado Outreach Coordinator for Keshet (http://www.keshetonline.org), and recently co-chaired the committee on Power & Religion at the 5th annual Muslim Jewish Conference in Vienna (http://www.mjconference.de).
Raphaëlle Oskar earned her BA in Philosophy and Linguistics and her MA in Jewish Civilizations with a focus on Medieval Jewish Thought. She is currently enrolled in her second MA in History, Theory and Practice and Jewish-Christian Relations at the Free University in Berlin. She is interested in widening her knowledge and understanding of all three Abrahamic religions keeping Judaism as her basis and main focus. Raphaëlle is a co-founder of HAMAKOM, an alternative Jewish initiative based in Berlin dedicated to exploration and discussion of all things Jewish through lectures, workshops and art. Music and performance art have always been her passions and sometimes source of income. She is looking for a way in which to unite philosophy and art in the most suitable medium according to her capacities. Don’t let those raised eyebrows confuse you – the glass is, obviously, overflowing with water.
Jonna Rock has studied Law and Slavonic Studies in China, Germany Russia and Sweden. My current PhD-project (“Jewish-Sephardic Identity Formation in Sarajevo – In the backdrop of Nationalism, Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism in todays’ Europe”) and film-documentary addresses how, in Sarajevo, the challenge for the Jewish community lies in cultivating Jewish life after the fall of Communism in relation to tremendous regime-changes.
Anneli Rådestad divides her time between Stockholm and Jerusalem. Half of her time she works with Paideia – the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, where she is developing the Paideia Educator´s Track for European Jewish educators. The other half of her time, Anneli works as a Producer and Reporter for the Swedish Public Radio, reporting on religion, politics and democracy. Lately Anneli has moved deeper into the world of facilitation. She has participated in several facilitation trainings, led by CLI and the distinguished London-based organization 3FF. Anneli puts her training into practice as the Founder and Coordinator of Face to Face – Expanding the Definition of Us, an interfaith organization which brings inter-cultural workshops to Stockholm high schools. Anneli belongs to several networks and communities, including Paideia, Adamah, Hazon, ROI Community, Limmud, Siach, and Burning Man. Anneli is a strong believer in the power of community, especially learning communities, and the social good a group of people can accomplish.
Alexander Smolianitski grew up in an explosive household having an experimental Physicist and a Jewish Educator as parents. As a result he is currently working in the field of political communication for a leading PR agency and the CDU, a conservative party in Germany, whilst studying Political Sciences and History at the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf. Alexander is a great enthusiast in the field of Jewish educational programs and was the Chairman for all Limmud’s activity in Germany. He currently serves as a board member for the association of limmud.de. Presently, Alexander is working on an Interfaith Youth Forum with participants from 25 countries, in preparation for the G8(-1) summit 2015.
Tomer Weil, 29, Israeli, living and studying in Vienna, Austria. MA student at the Lauder Business School. Board member of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and of the Jüdische Österreichische HochschülerInnen. I am involved in Limmud Vienna and in the European Muslims Jewish Dialog (EMJD).
Alisa Zilberstein is a Masters Student in “Jewish Civilizations” at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg. She belongs to the Moscow Jewish community of progressive Judaism ”Le Dor Va Dor”, and was one of the organizers of Limmud Birzobizhan, which brought together 300 participants to this Eastern Russian event in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Alisa is a graduate of the One Year program of Paideia and this year was elected a board member for alumni association “Paideia Connect”. Alisa is interested in researching contemporary anti-Semitism in post-Soviet countries and the problems of multicultural societies. She would like to contribute to the development of an educational organization that would help Russian secular Jews to stay within the Jewish world together with building healthy relationship with representatives of other cultures. In addition, Alisa is involved in grass-roots civic activism in Russia and working towards spreading the ideas of tolerance and human rights values.