Rabbi Hara Person
Rabbi Hara Person is the Chief Executive of Central Conference of American Rabbis. Previously, she was the CCAR’s Chief Strategy Officer. In that capacity, she oversaw the Communications Department and served as Publisher of CCAR Press, and worked with leadership on overall organizational strategy.
Rabbi Person was ordained in 1998 from HUC-JIR, after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College (1986) and receiving an MA in Fine Arts from New York University/International Center of Photography (1992).
She served as Educator at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue from 1990-1996, and was the Adjunct Rabbi there from 1998-2019. Since 1998, Rabbi Person has been the High Holy Day Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Olam, Fire Island Pines, NY.
Before coming to the CCAR, Rabbi Person was the Editor-in-Chief of URJ Books and Music, where she was responsible for the revision of The Torah: A Modern Commentary (2005) and the publication of many significant projects, including the Aleph Isn’t Tough adult Hebrew series and Mitkadem: Hebrew for Youth as well as several award-winning children’s books. While at URJ, she was also the Managing Editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, named the National Jewish Book Award Book of the Year in 2008.
Rabbi Person is also the co-author of Stories of Heaven and Earth: Bible Heroes in Contemporary Children’s Literature and as well as co-editor of That You May Live Long: Caring for Your Aging Parents, Caring for Yourself, and Editor of The Mitzvah of Healing. Her essays and poems have been published in various anthologies and journals, including Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, upstreet, Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture, Women and Judaism, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, and The Women’s Haftarah Commentary. Links to her many OpEds are listed below.
Rabbi Person lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is the mother of two adults.
Articles by Rabbi Hara Person:
- Rabbi Hara Person in Tablet: Reform Rabbis See an Increase in Conversion—Much of it Coming from the LGBTQ+ Community
- Rabbi Hara Person in The Jerusalem Post: Tennessee Democratic Lawmakers Expelled Over Gun-Control Protest Hope to Reclaim Seats
- Rabbi Hara Person in Religion News Service: Reform Rabbis Will Not Stop Working to Build the Israel of Our Hopes and Aspirations
- The Wall Street Journal: Must God Have a Gender in Our Prayers?
- JTA: American Rabbis, Wrestling with Israel, Weigh Different Approaches From the Pulpit
- Associated Press: Israel’s Rightward Shift Is Straining Its Ties with US Jews
- The Times of Israel: Reform Rabbis Assailed as They Try to Bring Torah Scrolls to Women at Western Wall
- The Jerusalem Post: Reform Rabbis Hold Prayers at Kotel, Noam Party Activists Protest in Egal Section
- Rabbi Hara Person in Ms. Magazine: Antisemitism Is Not a Partisan Issue. Why Are We Treating It Like One?
- The Dallas Morning News: Texas Legislature Dismantled Abortion Rights in the Name of the Bible. Whose Bible?
- Rabbi Hara Person and Rabbi Kelly Levy in Baltimore Jewish Times: Overturning ‘Roe’ Threatened Religious Rights. Trigger Bans Stripped Us of Them.
- Rabbi Hara Person on Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's College Commons Podcast: “After Roe: A Jewish Response"
- Rabbi Hara Person in Kveller: These Rabbis Want You to Turn Your Roe v Wade Rage Into Action
- Rabbi Hara Person in eJewishPhilanthropy: The Repeal of Roe v. Wade Is an Attack on My Jewish Freedom
- Rabbi Hara Person on “The Jews Are Tired” Podcast: Roe v. Wade, Church and State, and Jewish Perspectives on Abortion and Reproductive Rights
- ‘I Will Keep Fighting for Our Rights to Control Our Bodies and Our Lives’: Rabbi Hara Person’s Remarks at the Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice in Washington, D.C.
- Hadassah Magazine: Transforming the Rabbinate Over 50 Years
- USA Today: What is Tu BiShvat? Everything to Know About the Jewish Holiday That Celebrates Nature
- USA Today: Why Joe Biden's Faith-Based 'Equity' Agenda is Getting Pushback from Religious Conservatives
- Sojourners: Biden is a Pro-Choice Catholic. Will He Expand Reproductive Health Care?
- The Times of Israel: Biden's Win a Victory for Americans of Faith
- Forward: We Still Have Time to Resist Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation — and We Must
- JTA: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went From the Notorious RBG to Ruth the Tzaddik
- eJewishPhilanthropy: Jewish Organizations Must Address the Pandemic Parenting Gender Gap
- CBS New York: Synagogues Live Stream Rosh Hashanah Services As Families Plan Smaller Gatherings Due To Coronavirus
- Ms. Magazine: Why Progressive Faith Leaders Must Defend Reproductive Rights
- The Times of Israel: Jewish Support for Abortion Is Being Drowned Out. We Can Change That
- The Forward: What Will the Rabbinate Look Like After COVID?
- Times of Israel: Jewish Resilience: Creating, Transforming & Connecting in a Time of Distance
- Time Magazine: My Mom Warned Me About Anti-Semitism. I Didn't Fully Understand Until Last Year's Synagogue Shooting
- Times of Israel: The Immorality of anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
- The New York Times: The Passover Rules Bend, if Just for One Pandemic
- The David Suissa Podcast: More Jewish, Less Democratic:
- Ms. Magazine: It’s Time to Give Working Moms the Gift of Economic Equality
- Religion Dispatches: The Moral Outrage of Comparing Abortion to the Holocaust
- Ms Magazine: The Injustice of Unequal Pay
- The Forward: The Reform Movement Is Struggling With Gender Equity, Says First Female Leader Of CCAR
- The Times of Israel: Sukkot: A Season of Empathy
- JTA: How to Understand the Kavanaugh Allegations, According to Rabbis
- The Forward: What Jews Should Watch For In The Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings
- The Times of Israel: Beware of ‘Biblical’ Policies
- My Jewish Learning: Hashkiveinu: Seeking Comfort and Protection Through the Night
- The Times of Israel: Israel Has to Stop Naming Things After Trump
- PopSugar: The Problem With Mother's Day
- The Times of Israel: The Political Is Personal
- Jewish Telegraphic Agency: When Women Rabbis Say ‘#MeToo,’ Communities Must Pay Attention
- The Forward: Why Women’s Torah Commentary Matters Today More Than Ever Before
- Motto: Rabbi: President Trump’s Birth Control Mandate Is an Attack on Religious Liberty
- CNBC: Gay Marriage Violates Religious Rules? Not True.
- Huffington Post: The Equality Act Would Provide Comprehensive LGBT Civil Rights. It's About Time
- The Forward: The Choose-Your-Own-Adventure High Holidays Prayer Book
- eJewish Philanthropy: How Far We’ve Come – and How Much Farther We Still Need to Go: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Laurie Pinho is the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Operating Officer of the CCAR. In her current position, Ms. Pinho is responsible for overseeing the finance department of the CCAR, as well as the daily operations including the human resources functions of the CCAR office. She joined the CCAR in 2007, bringing with her a strong background in finance and management. At the CCAR, she previously held positions as Assistant Comptroller, and then as Comptroller.
Ms. Pinho is a New York State Certified Public Accountant. She has earned her MBA in Accounting from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York City, and she did her undergraduate work at Stockton College in Pomona, New Jersey.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.
Rabbi Steven A. Fox
Chief Executive Emeritus
Rabbi Steven A. Fox is the Chief Executive Emeritus of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism in North America and worldwide. Rabbi Fox served from 2006 until June 30, 2019. During that time, he led the transformation of the CCAR into a 21st century organization, working to sustain and enrich the Jewish community to ensure a vibrant Jewish future.
Under Rabbi Fox’s leadership, the CCAR renewed its focus on strengthening the Jewish community by investing in the rabbis who lead it. While Rabbi Fox was at the CCAR helm, the organization dramatically increased its support services for rabbis, including educational and spiritual offerings to meet the personal and professional needs of the rabbinate and their communities. In addition, under Rabbi Fox, the historic CCAR Press became the leading publisher of an expanded library of liturgy and resources for the Reform Movement, including cutting-edge e-publications.
Rabbi Fox brought a varied and rich background to his CCAR leadership. He was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1980 and his early rabbinic career included service at Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts and Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Massachusetts. He later served as an adjunct rabbi of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles where he focused his work on spiritual growth through Jewish meditation, contemplative practices, and study of sacred text.
Supplementing his rabbinic training, Rabbi Fox received his Juris Doctor degree to gain additional tangible business and legal skills. As a practicing attorney and managing partner in a Los Angeles based law firm, Rabbi Fox advised religious and secular non-profits, rabbis and cantors, congregations and other Jewish organizations on a variety of issues, such as contract matters, employment disputes, board relations, charitable gifts and grants, rabbinic wellness and other organizational concerns. He is also a trained mediator, helping to resolve many diverse and challenging disputes between rabbis, cantors, educators, and congregations.
Rabbi Fox was also actively involved in raising the profile of the CCAR to its membership and the Jewish community. He represented the CCAR at the White House on several occasions, and attended both the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama and the National Prayer Service. Rabbi Fox is a sought out thought-leader in the Jewish community and in the Jewish press. He is a regular contributor to RavBlog, the blog of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Fox has been married to Vicki Reikes Fox for more than 40 year, and they have two grown children. Vicki is a museum consultant and artist and was founding project director of the Museum of Southern Jewish History in Mississippi and the museum curator who created the current Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles. She is also the author of Shalom Y’all, Images of Jewish Life in the American South, and the illustrator of Seasons for Celebration.
Articles by Rabbi Steven A. Fox:
- eJewish Philanthropy: The Importance of Parsonage
- eJewish Philanthropy: Making the First 100 Days Count: Rabbinic Transition
- Huffington Post: The Equality Act Would Provide Comprehensive LGBT Civil Rights. It's About Time.
- The Times of Israel: Politics from the pulpit on the menu for this Jewish New Year
Rabbi Betsy Torop
Director of Rabbinic Education and Support Services
Rabbi Betsy Torop was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, OH in 1990. Following her ordination, Rabbi Torop served as a rabbi in Melbourne, Australia for 8 years, first as an assistant rabbi at Temple Beth Israel and then with her husband, Rabbi Michael Torop, at the Leo Baeck Centre. Upon returning to the United States, Rabbi Torop served as the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in Roslyn, NY and as Rabbi at Congregation Shir Shalom in Bradenton, FL before becoming the Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in 2003. Rabbi Torop has contributed a study guide on Pirke Avot to the UAHC Significant Jewish Books Initiative and a commentary on Exodus, Chapter 1 to Beginning the Journey: Toward a Women’s Commentary on Torah. She is a past chair of the CCAR Convention and has previously served as a CCAR board member and dues chair. She is the mother of three children.
Rabbi Leora Kaye
Director of Rabbinic Career Services
Rabbi Leora Kaye comes to the CCAR from the Union for Reform Judaism, where she most recently served as Director of Partnerships and Collaboration. Over the course of her six years at the URJ, she has been responsible for creative advancement of the core priorities, having an impact on work in Tikkun Olam, Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Youth, and Israel. Leora’s prior experience includes education, engagement, programming, and filmmaking spanning from Sesame Workshop to congregational work. Leora’s love of experiential Judaism comes from the generations before her who wove the wisdom of Judaism into their professional and day-to-day lives. This legacy paved a path to follow. As a rabbi she encourages people to approach their spiritual lives in sophisticated ways, and to find the best way to tell their own story. Leora graduated from the University of Wisconsin and received ordination from HUC-JIR in New York in 2002. She and her husband Doug Gordon, live in Brooklyn with their two children.
Pronouns: She/ Her
Director of Strategic Communications
Tamar Anitai is Director of Strategic Communications at the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Her 20-year career as a writer, editor, and communications, content, and social media strategist include roles at MTV/ Viacom — where she created one of the media company’s most popular daily entertainment and social media destinations, managed a newsroom of writers and content creators, and produced video content seen by millions — and Johnson & Johnson, where she managed the company’s master brand social media. As a digital leader in Edelman and Porter Novelli’s New York offices, she created digital programs for a diverse portfolio of Fortune 500 companies in healthcare, retail, consumer package goods, non-profit, and tech, including eBay, HP, Unilever, T.J.Maxx, the United Nations, and the Center on Addiction.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University, and her humorous, first-person views on feminism, family, and the challenges facing modern women have appeared everywhere from TODAY.com to Tuenight.com.
Tamar was raised in the Reform movement, serving on the NFTY North American Board and spending several summers at Kutz Leadership Academy as both a camper and counselor.
She was raised in Cleveland and Virginia Beach, Virginia, has lived in New York long to enough remember the 9 train, and calls Brooklyn home, where she lives with her husband, Matt, and two very large cats. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, theater, reading, writing, fitness, traveling, making jewelry, home organization, and crime podcasts.
Rabbi Alan Berlin
Director of Search Services
As the CCAR’s Director of Search Services, Rabbi Alan Berlin works closely with congregations and organizations seeking a rabbi. He joined the CCAR staff in 2022 following 25 years of working in congregations. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio (2009–2022). Before moving to Texas, he served at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ (1997–2008). He joined the Phoenix area congregation first as Assistant Rabbi, then Associate Rabbi, and was ultimately named Senior Rabbi of that synagogue upon his predecessor’s retirement. He also served for a year as the interim rabbi of Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville, LA (2008–2009).
Rabbi Berlin earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Illinois, where he also minored in Hebrew. He also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997. He and his wife, Cantor Julie Berlin, are the proud parents of three young adults.
Director, CCAR Press
Rafael Chaiken is the Director of CCAR Press. In this role, he oversees the CCAR’s book publications, journal, certificates, apps, and Visual T’filah. He was previously the editor for Jewish studies, film studies, and philosophy at the State University of New York Press. His books have been winners/finalists for the National Jewish Book Awards, Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards, Foreword Indies Book of the Year, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and Canadian Jewish Literary Awards.
Originally from Albany, Rafael is a graduate of the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s from the University at Albany, both in history. His book reviews have appeared in the Journal of Electronic Publishing and Publishing Research Quarterly. He has delivered presentations on publishing at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Association for Jewish Studies, University at Albany, and the Association of Reform Jewish Educators. He also served as chair of the Association of University Presses Professional Development Committee.
Director of Rabbinic Ethics
David Kasakove is Director of Rabbinic Ethics for the Central Conference of American Rabbis. David is an attorney with over 25 years of litigation experience, most recently as senior counsel and partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, where he focused his practice on dispute resolution concerning the fiduciary duties of trustees, executors, and partners. He also did extensive pro bono work representing refugees seeking asylum.
David has broad leadership experience in the Reform movement. A graduate of HUC-JIR School of Education (New York 1987), David served as associate director of the UAHC’s Department of Education where he was in charge of the editorial development of text books and media, and regularly wrote for Reform Judaism magazine. As a lay leader, he recently served on the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism, including appointments to the Rabbinical Placement Commission, Congregational Ethics Task Force, and co-chair of the URJ’s Greater NYC Community. David serves on the Tribunal of the American Zionist Movement.
A resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, David is an active member of Congregation Beth Elohim, where he served as its president (2008-2011), chaired its ritual committee, and chaired or was a member of senior and assistant rabbi search committees.
Director of Advancement
Rachel Perten is the Director of Advancement at the CCAR. In this position, she oversees the development department and serves as a thought leader and partner to our Chief Executive in all areas of philanthropy. Rachel has a long history of fundraising for nonprofit organizations, both inside and outside of the Jewish community, most recently serving as Director of Development at the Zoological Society of New Jersey at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and at the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.
Rachel sees the power in communicating the story of an organization to foster engagement and investment, and she is excited to bring her passion for sustaining strong Jewish communities to the CCAR.
Rachel holds an MPA from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, an MA in Jewish Studies from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a BA in Jewish Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and three children.
Julie Vanek, RJE
Director of Programs
Julie Vanek joined the CCAR staff in May 2021 as the Education Specialist and became the Director of Programs in July 2022. She brings her educational expertise to the work of the Department of Continuing Rabbinic Education where she plans CRE webinars, works on CCAR Convention, and directs the rabbinic mentoring program.
Julie is a graduate of HUC-JIR’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education and the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and is a Clinical Faculty Mentor in the Executive MA Program in Jewish Education. Julie was the Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts for 24 years, and, more recently, was the Director of Learning and Engagement at Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Julie is a Past President of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators and is the Chairperson of the Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) Title Granting Commission.