Rabbi Miriam C. Berkowitz
Rabbi Miriam (Carey Knight) Berkowitz was born and raised in Montreal. She earned a BA magna cum laude in International Relations from Harvard University in 1993 and an MA and Rabbinic Ordination from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem in 1998. She served as Assistant Rabbi at Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan for three years and spent seven years in Florida teaching Adult Education. She is the author of Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Mikveh and various other articles and publications including pieces in the Women’s Torah Commentary, Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook, Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine and Journal of Pastoral Care. Her Responsa on contraception and on interpreting the laws of Family Purity were accepted by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and she currently serves on the Committee.
Miriam lives in Jerusalem where she provides pastoral counseling at the French Hospital and lifecycle events for Israelis and visitors. She is the director of the pre-rabbinic track at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. She travels in North America for Scholar-in-Residence programs on Mikveh, Transitions, Jewish Art, Women in the Bible and Midrash.
Rabbi Valérie Stessin
Rabbi Valérie Stessin was born in France and made Aliyah when she was 17. At the Hebrew University she studied for a B.A. in Special Education and Jewish Thought. She had the honor to be the first woman ordained by the Masorti movement in Israel in 1993 and earned M.A. degrees in Jewish Studies and Gender Studies. Valerie is also a certified Couples and Community Mediator. She studied Pastoral Care at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Israel and at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey (U.S.A.).
She worked at the TALI Education Fund for fifteen years in various positions including the TALI schools’ Rabbis program. Her last position there was Vice Director of the TALI Education Fund. Valérie is the Chairperson of Yaltha, the group of the Masorti Women Rabbis. In parallel, she is the part-time coordinator of Kehillat Shira Hadasha in Jerusalem. Valerie is currently developing the field of Pastoral Care in Israel through Kashouvot.
Miriam and Valerie have been friends and colleagues since 2001 and have worked together since 2008, beginning with courses for individuals and synagogues in transition. They both had positive exposure to Pastoral Care and shared the dream of giving it greater presence in Israel. Kashouvot was founded in 2010 and brings together their skills, passions and interests with a deep need in Israel for opening meaningful Jewish experiences to a wider range of people.