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About Us

 

Director and Teacher


Rabbi Helen Plotkin is a graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In addition to her work with Mekom Torah, she is Director of the Swarthmore College Center for the Study of Classical Jewish Texts, also known as the Beit Midrash. In this role, she teaches in the Religion Department, where her courses include “Hebrew for Text Study” and “Readings in Classical Jewish Texts.” She leads extracurricular study groups in Bible, Talmud, and midrash for students and faculty. Before devoting herself to Jewish texts, she spent years studying ancient Chinese. In 2014 she began studying Arabic.

 

Teacher


Rabbi Danielle Parmenter graduated from Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2014. She received her bachelor of arts from Emory University with a major in religious studies and a minor in English. She also holds a master of arts in Judaic studies from Boston University with a concentration in medieval Jewish thought and culture.

See Danielle's beautiful graduation statement here.


Teacher


   

Stephen Lehmann received his BA, MA, and Masters of Library Science from UC-Berkeley. After teaching in Lesotho as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, he earned a Masters in Education from Harvard. Stephen, who was Librarian and Coordinator of the Humanities Collections at the Van Pelt Library of UPenn until his retirement six years ago, is an author, a lover of language and of Jewish texts, and a prolific translator from the German. See, for example, his translation of Thomas Mann's book about Moses, The Tables of the Law. Stephen is a dedicated, patient, and knowledgeable teacher. He is also a world traveler, shown above sporting the colors of Mekom Torah at the Vatican, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Teacher


Shelly Barnathan is a candidate for the rabbinate in her final year at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and a talented guide along the spiritual path of Judaism. She is a seasoned educator who has taught foreign languages to children in grades K-12 at many different Philadelphia-area schools.  In synagogue settings, she has taught Melody and Meaning of Prayer, a weekly Shabbat spirituality class for adults, for over a decade, and has been the instructor of a women’s spirituality group since 2005.

 

Teacher


Miriam Steinberg-Egeth lives and breathes Jewish life and learning. She is funny and smart. She is no-nonsense, direct, and honest. You may know her from her advice column in the Jewish Exponent, “Miriam’s Advice Well.” She is a children’s book reviewer, a former elementary school teacher, a pretty decent cook, and a mom to two beautiful children.  She spent years as the director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish Graduate Student Network before resigning to spend more time with her family.