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Rabbis, Staff and Board

Rabbi Lauren Henderson

Rabbi Lauren Henderson originally hails from Spartanburg, SC, and is thrilled to be returning to her southern roots as the rabbi of Or Hadash. 

She earned her BA from Rice University in 2009 in Religious Studies and History, and studied at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles before transferring to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She was ordained from JTS in 2016 with an MA in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. Rabbi Lauren was part of the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellowship at Mishkan Chicago from 2016-2018, and then served as Mishkan’s Associate Rabbi and Director of Family Learning and Spirituality from 2018-2020. 

She is passionate about the intersections of mindfulness, Torah, music, and tikkun olam, and finds her connection to the Divine on hiking trails, in hospital rooms, and in moments of vulnerability. She is married to Joel Dworkin, an outdoor experiential educator and a brilliant home chef, and they have an adorable dog named Sophie.

Rabbis Analia Bortz and Mario Karpuj 
Founding Rabbis Emeriti of Congregation Or Hadash

Rabbis Analia and Mario made aliyah and moved to Jerusalem in July, 2020 after serving nearly 18 years as the spiritual leaders of their Sandy Springs community. The Argentinian born couple came from Chile to Atlanta's Ahavath Achim (AA) Synagogue in 2000 to continue their rabbinical passion of being the spiritual leaders of a congregation. The couple, have been married for over 30 years, started Congregation Or Hadash (which means New Light) in 2003 with a small group of devoted followers in order to be with the musically talented, engaging, and intellectually curious Spanish speaking couple. 

Gail Duner, President

Gail Duner and her family have been members of Congregation Or Hadash for 17 years, joining after they moved to Atlanta from Southern California in 2003. She has been actively involved in the synagogue, serving on committees, on the Executive Board, co-chairing the Strength to Strength Campaign to help make the synagogue debt-free, and most recently as a member of the rabbi search committee. Her husband Bruce is also a past executive board member (and High Holiday shofar blower) and her children both had their B’nai Mitzvahs at Or Hadash.

Gail and her family have developed strong roots in the Atlanta Jewish community. Their children attended The Epstein School and The Weber School and spent summers at Camp Ramah Darom. Gail is a trustee of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta, which is dedicated to effecting social change for Jewish women and girls. She is also on the board of Am Yisrael Chai, a Holocaust education and awareness organization that oversees The Daffodil Project.

Gail spent many years in marketing and strategy roles at a Fortune 100 global pharmaceutical company and has been a consultant in the healthcare arena. She spent several months working in Buenos Aires and is proficient in Spanish. She traded in her cache of frequent flier miles (one of the reasons Bruce married her) to focus on family and philanthropy/volunteering. Gail holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Gail and Bruce have two children, Alex, 24, who is a software engineer for Apple in NYC and Emily, 22, who is graduating from Northwestern University in June. Gail is an avid tennis player, loves to hike, travel, read, cook and drink good wine (the last three she can still do in our current environment).

Scott Allen, Executive Director

Scott joined the Or Hadash family in December of 2017. He brings a wealth of experience to his role, having served as Executive Director of congregations in Rye, NY-Pittsburgh, PA-and Brookline, MA. Scott is passionate about his work and can often be found attending services on Shabbat and holidays. He loves the member relationship management part of his job, as well as both the financial and general administrative side. His previous career in the financial services industry has given him a good foundation for his role as Or Hadash's Chief Operating Officer. Scott grew up in Atlanta and was active in USY and Camp Ramah. He has traveled numerous times to Israel. Scott is married to Rae-ann and they are the proud parents of five grown sons and grandparents of five grandchildren. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Scott enjoys travel, photography, science fiction, keeping up to date with news, cooking with Rae-ann, and spending time with family and friends.

Amy Cooper Robertson, PhD, Director of Lifelong Learning

Amy comes to us with over 15 years of experience teaching and building Jewish education programs across the lifecycle. She began her career in academia, spending her 20s immersed in Jewish texts and language study at Harvard Divinity School and later at Emory, where she earned a PhD in Religion/Hebrew Bible.  Her dissertation focused on the description of the mishkan in Exodus, looking at its unusually repetitive and formal writing style through the lens of ritual. Here in Atlanta and in Cambridge, MA, Amy has taught Tanakh, Judaism, Biblical Hebrew, and critical thinking and writing to undergraduates and graduate students. 

Hungry for stronger connections to her community after many years of study, Amy shifted her “home base” to Jewish communal work in 2007, and has found that the intersection of community building, program leadership and Jewish learning is her favorite place to be. Amy has served as the Education Director and later the Executive Director at Congregation Bet Haverim, taught middle school Judaics at The Davis Academy, served as Rosh Chinuch at Camp Havaya in the Poconos, and tutored many b’nai mitzvah students, both children and adults.  She is passionate about projects of “practical innovation” - identifying and addressing the barriers that keep Jews from engaging more deeply with learning and community, whether those barriers are logistical, literacy-based, or an issue of motivation. Her most recent chidush has been a project called Your Jewish Bridge, which has garnered local and national attention for its mutually beneficial approach to connecting unaffiliated Jews with the resources traditionally housed in the synagogue.

In her spare time, Amy is co-creator and host of a weekly interfaith podcast called BibleWorm, which has had over 10,000 downloads in its first six months. She shares her current social isolation with her spouse, Will, and two children, Levi and Noa, and is staying sane with a good dose of music-making and morning runs.

Denise Fields Lee
Administrative Coordinator

Denise is a native Washingtonian (DC). She's lived and worked in amazing places: Lagos, Nigeria; San Salvador, El Salvador; Honolulu, HI; Norristown, PA; El Toro, California (Orange County); and New Orleans, Louisiana. Denise brings to us classical and practical business experience in office communications and support. Before joining the team of Or Hadash in 2014, Denise was employed at Ahavath Achim Synagogue for twelve years. 

Outside of the office, Denise enjoys the company of her grandchildren, religious research and study, and any activity that gets her out of the house and on the road to explore our world.

Angela Habeeb-Ajao
Bookkeeper

Or Hadash Board

 

 

 
 

 

 

Executive Committee
President - Gail Duner
Vice President - Heather Blank
Vice President - Geoffrey Deckelbaum
Vice President - Jodi Ginsburg
Vice President - Steve Wertheim
Treasurer - Fred Wachter
Secretary - Karin Golan
Assistant Secretary - Scott Rosenbaum
Immediate Past President - Ben Nadler

Board Members
Adina Bradshaw
Aaron Diamant
Beth Tieman Feldstein
Sally Ginburg
Ronit Hermoni
Monica Hochstein
Jennifer Parker
Barry Simon
Jay Strongwater
Renee Videlefsky

Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780