Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin
Chancellor & Founder
Internationally-renowned educator, speaker, and author, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin changed the status quo of Jewish-Christian relations in 2008 by opening the first Orthodox Jewish center to dialogue with the Christian world – the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC). Through hosting tens of thousands of Christians at its headquarters in Efrat and sending staff lecturers to all four corners of the globe, the CJCUC is sending a message to the world that Judaism and Christianity can work together to turn a fragile and fragmented realm into a united global community committed to a G-d of love and peace.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, awarded the honor of Ambassador for Jewish-Christian Relations upon Rabbi Riskin, in recognition of his pioneering efforts in reconciliation between Jews and Christians,. In addition, Rabbi Riskin was given the Interreligious Dialogue award by Pave the Way Foundation and was bestowed the title of Rabbinical Authority to Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a Christian Zionist organization with over 1.2 million members.
Rabbi Riskin is the founder and Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone institutions, one of the largest private educational networks in Israel with over 3,000 students on nine campuses. In addition, in 1983 Rabbi Riskin re-established the biblical city of Efrat, mentioned in the Book of Ruth, and helped cultivate the city’s growth to its current population of over 10,000 residents.
Rabbi Riskin earned his BA in Greek, Latin, and English Literature from Yeshiva University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. He holds a Masters Degree in Jewish History, and in 1982 he was awarded his Ph.D. from New York University’s department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature.
As a weekly bible commentator and contributor to the Jerusalem Post as well as other syndicated media outlets, Rabbi Riskin’s scriptural analysis has influenced both Jews and Christians to connect with G-d’s Word in a deeper and more meaningful way. In addition, he has published scores of articles and monographs on Judaism and contemporary issues, as well as on the Five Books of Moses. The Brooklyn-born Rabbi Riskin has been married to Vicky since 1963; the couple has four married children and sixteen grandchildren, all of whom live in Efrat.
The weekly Bible commentator for FrontPage Jerusalem’s Bible on the Go segment as well as a blogger for both Charisma and Times of Israel, David Nekrutman currently serves as the Executive Director for The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation (CJCUC) in Efrat, Israel. In this capacity, Mr. Nekrutman is breaking new ground in leading the first ever Orthodox Jewish institution to dialogue with Christians on a religious and theological basis. He also launched the Day to Praise in 2015, creating a global movement of Christians joining Jews on Israel’s Independence Day to recite Psalms 113-118 (Hallel).
Prior to his work with CJCUC, Mr. Nekrutman served as the Director of Christian Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel in New York. He was instrumental in the successful launching of The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, The Israel Experience, The Christian Jerusalem Day Banquet, and The Watchman on the Wall program with Reverend Robert Stearns of Eagles Wings, resulting in millions of Christians praying & supporting Israel and the Jewish people.
Prior to his calling in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, Mr. Nekrutman’s professional career ranged from working for the City Council of New York as a Legislative Analyst to e-marketing for a major high tech company in Israel. He received a Bachelors of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2013, Mr. Nekrutman was accepted into Oral Roberts University’s Theology program, taking a Masters of Arts in Biblical Literature with a concentration in Judaic-Christian Studies. He thesis work is in the Hebraic Roots of the Holy Spirit.
Mr. Nekrutman resides in Netanya with his wife and three sons.
Rabbi Eugene Korn, PhD.
Ordained by the Israeli Rabbinate and with a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University, Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn has dedicated his professional career in the area of Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish ethics & law. He served as the Executive Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University, and was the Director of Interfaith Affairs for both the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress. His vocation within the field of Jewish ethics and law led him to serve as the Judaic Scholar at the JCC and Federation of MetroWest (NJ) and the Director of Leadership Education and Development at the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. He also has taught at Yeshiva and Columbia Universities.
Dr. Korn has co-edited two books on interfaith relations, The End of an Exile by James Parkes, and Two Faiths, One Covenant? He is the author of the new book, The Jewish Connection to Israel, the Promised Land—A Brief Introduction to Israel, published by Jewish Lights in 2008. Rabbi Korn has also published two monographs on Israel and Jewish-Christian relations, and is now writing a book on the significance of Tzelem Elokim (Image of God) in Jewish tradition. He has published scholarly articles on Jewish thought and ethics, democratic Israel and religious tradition, pluralism, religious extremism and Jewish values, Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish attitudes toward non?Jewish culture, and business ethics. His writings have appeared the Jewish Week, America, Chicago Sun-Times, Religion News Service, the Bergen Record, The NJ Jewish News and The Bergen Jewish Standard.
Dr. Korn is a popular teacher who lectures widely in universities, synagogues, Jewish organizations, and educational institutions across the United States, Israel and Canada. He currently resides with his wife and children in Bergenfield, NJ. His son and grandchildren reside in Israel.
Rabbi Pesach Wolicki
Rabbi Pesach Wolicki has spent the last 12 years as Dean of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah, a post secondary academy of higher Torah learning. He is a widely respected in the world of Jewish education as an innovator. He is known for his engaging, welcoming, and interactive teaching style. Previously, Rabbi Wolicki served as a communal rabbi in Fairfield, CT and Newport News, VA.
Rabbi Josh Ahrens
Director Central Europe
After his degree in International Management and European Studies and a first career as Sales & Marketing Manager in various multinational companies, Josh Ahrens decided to make his hobby his profession and became a rabbi. He studied at a traditional rabbinical seminary (kollel) in Israel and parallel at Bar Ilan University in Israel and the Jewish University in Hungary, where he graduated in Jewish Liturgics summa cum laude. Thereafter, Josh Ahrens studied at the famous Cambridge University from which he received a Master’s degree in The Study of Jewish-Christian Relations. During his studies he was a fellow at Cambridge’s Woolf Institute for Jewish-Christian relations.
From 2010-2015 he worked as communal rabbi in Bulgaria, Switzerland and Germany, before accepting a fellowship for the prestigious research project “The 1947 Seelisberg Conference – an international founding moment of Jewish-Christian dialogue in the 20th century” from the Swiss National Science Foundation / Institute of Jewish-Christian Research – University of Lucerne, where he is also a PhD candidate.
Rabbi Ahrens has always been very active in the field of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations. He is a founding member of the Bulgarian Interfaith Council, a board member of the Christian Jewish Council of Zurich and the Federal Protestant-Jewish Working Commission in Switzerland, member of the Protestant-Jewish Working Commitee in the Rhineland and Advisor on Jewish-Catholic Affairs to the Central Union of Jewish Communities in Slovakia (UZZNO).
Josh Ahrens is a renowned lecturer in Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in Germany, Switzerland and Eastern Europe and a regular contributor for Germany’s and Switzerland’s largest Jewish newspapers, as well as for various TV and radio shows.
Rabbi Ahrens lives with his wife and two daughters in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Director of Operations
A native Israeli with a background in customer relations, Limor Riskin’s credo is to ensure guests go away from the Neve Efrat Hotel with a spiritual and inspirational experience. Prior to taking on this position, Mrs. Riskin was the Administrative Director for Yad L’Isha, a legal aid center that specializes in helping women whose husbands cannot be located or have been recalcitrant in giving them a Jewish divorce. She was also a consumer relations liaison for the Minister of Housing in Israel.
She received her Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts and Masters in World Literature and Italian from Hebrew University. For the last eleven years, Mrs. Riskin has resided in Efrat with her husband and three children Eden, Yael and Sahar.
Shani Taragin currently serves on the faculty of Ohr Torah Stone’s Midreshet Lindenbaum, a leader in Jewish women’s education. She completed a B.A. and M.A. in Tanach and Talmud at Bar-Ilan University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Tanach while serving as Ram for Tanach in Midreshet Lindenbaum. She also teaches collegiates and adults at MaTaN, Migdal Oz, Sha’alvim for Women, Lander’s College, and the Womens’ Beit Midrash in Efrat and Ramat Shilo.
Shani is a graduate of Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Program for certification as a halachic (Jewish Law) advisor in issues of family purity law. She lectures and leads Tanach tours throughout Israel and serves on the local religious council dealing with issues of Jewish law and education. Shani and her husband Reuven live in Alon Shvut with their six children and serve as leaders in the Katamon community of Eretz Chemdah and the Beit Midrash Program in Camp Moshava.
Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair
Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair has served as Jewish Chaplain and campus rabbi at Cambridge University, where he also taught Jewish Philosophy in the Divinity School and engaged extensively in interfaith dialogue.
A former economic adviser to the UK government, he has a particular interest in Jewish approaches to economics and environment. Rabbi Sinclair is Senior Rabbincial Scholar for Hazon, the largest US Jewish environmental organization. He has been a consultant to the United Nations on religious approaches to the environment and was profiled in the New York Times Magazine for his work in this area.
Rabbi Sinclair holds a BA (First Class Honours) in Philososophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He has published a book, “Let’s Schmooze: Jewish Words Today,” (Continuum, 2007) teaches widely in the US and Israel and writes a weekly column in the UK Jewish Chronicle. In his day job, he works for a solar energy company.
Pastor Steven Khoury
Author, renowned speaker, TV personality and religious writer for the largest Arabic newspaper in the Holy Land (Al-Quds), Pastor Steven Khoury shepherds the largest Arab Evangelical church in Israel and the Palestinian territories. His transformation from a boy involved in the first intifada with Israel turned believer is a message for all to hear. Preaching the message of Christianity to Arabs in the region has often put him in the most precarious situations, making his church a target of retaliation over the years. Even such, Pastor Steven Khoury has made it his mission to be on the forefront in reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.
His educational background is in ministry with a Bachelors of Science in Pastoral Ministry and Basic Masters in Theology. He is an affiliate with the BBFI, a member of the National Christian Foundation, and a part of the Premiere Speakers Member.
Ardie Geldman was born and raised in Chicago. He immigrated to Israel in 1982. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and Brandeis University in Sociology and Community Studies. Most of his career has focused on Israel-Diaspora relations. In addition to having held several senior positions in the non-profit sector in the U.S. and Israel he teaches fundraising and grantwriting and consults for non-profit organizations. His seat on the Efrat town council led to a separate career as a public speaker. For over twenty years he has been meeting with overseas groups in Efrat who visit the area in solidarity with the Palestinians. His articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel and other publications. He blogs at www.iTalkIsrael.com and is active on Facebook and Twitter. He is married to Ivonne has six children and one grandchild.
Rabbi Dr. Alan Yuter
Rabbi Dr. Yuter is Adjunct Prof. of Hebrew Lit., Baltimore Hebrew University, and Adjunct Faculty, Fairleigh Dickenson University/ Institute for Traditional Judaism.
He was Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Touro College for 10 years.
Rabbi Yuter served as spiritual leader of B’nai Israel of Baltimore since 2005.
Rabbi Yuter taught at University of Maryland [Baltimore County], Anne Arundel Community College, and has served as an Adjunct Prof. of Hebrew Literature, Baltimore Hebrew University. He taught Bible, Jewish law, and Jewish thought at the joint program of Fairleigh Dickenson University/Institute for Traditional Judaism.
His Rabbi S’micha was granted by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, Rabbi Moses D. Tendler of Yeshiva University, and Rabbi David Halivni, who granted the Yadin Yadin ordination.
He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Literature from N.Y.U.
He now teaches Jewish law at Michlelet Reva and Machon Pardes in Jerusalem.
Arik grew up in Antwerp and was a member of the local “Hamizrahi” community.
During his high school Studies in the local religious Zionist school, he was active in “Bnei Akiva”, and after completing his studies- he came to Israel as part of the “Machal” Hesder program in Ma’ale Adumim.
After graduating from Yeshiva – Arik completed his bachelor’s degree in Law from Bar Ilan University, simultaneously studying in “Lifshitz” College.
From 2007 to 2011 he served as the rabbi of the Jewish community in Zurich. In this capacity, he worked with many youth, student and youth movements, gave lessons and organized various events.
With his return, he worked as the director of the education department at “Heichal Shlomo” and coordinator of youth programs in Israel, the US, South Africa and Australia.
His primary focus is on non-formal education, and he lectures and holds seminars on Judaism, Zionism, etc. in schools across the country.
Arik and his wife Efrat live with their four children in Tekoa in Gush Etzion.