Maya Batash, Kadesh and Hallel, is an award winning filmmaker and artist, and has written, directed, and produced several films. Her first feature film, OUT OF THE FOG, won the best feature film award at The International Film Festival Thailand, and was nominated for best first film-USA at The Heart of England International Film Festival and the International Film Festival South Africa. In late March it will be screening at the 2010 Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival. Maya has also exhibited her paintings at several galleries in New York City, including Nexus Gallery on 56th St, and Ward-Nasse Gallery in Chelsea. Her paintings can be seen online at www.mayavisuals.com and a trailer for her film, Out of the Fog, can be seen at www.outofthefogthemovie.com.
Cynthia Bittenfield, Karpas, has been involved with photography since she picked up her brother’s abandoned box camera when she was 12. She recently completed her MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She has a Master of Education degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has worked developing multi-media and computer-based instructional materials for Arthur Andersen & Co. and Microsoft Corp. www.bittenfield.com
Carrie Dashow, Korech, is a New York City based interdisciplinary artist working in the intersection of video, performance and new media. Her work examines the undercurrents of visible space, resulting in tactile, experiential performance and video works. Much of her work takes place in social and collective situations, either on the street, in communities, relationships and even classrooms. Playing with viewers’ psychological understanding of reality, Ms. Dashow’s participatory-style performances reveal a momentary sense of community and possibility. She holds a Master’s degree in Integrated Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and a BFA in Video and Performance from The San Francisco Art Institute. www.dashow.net
Paul Fischer, Yachatz and Tzafun, is an award winning writer and filmmaker. His written work has been published in the Forward and Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, and his short film, Der Kish, has played at numerous festivals worldwide. He is currently developing several feature length scripts, two of which have been finalists for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Paul holds a Master’s degree from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College. He can usually be found in New York or Tel Aviv.
Zelda Greenstein’s, Rachtza and Nirtza, work as a film editor includes: Praying with Lior (Winner of Audience Award at five national Jewish Film Festivals) Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust (Winner of the 2004 Jewish Image Award for Documentary; Best Documentary, 2004 North America Interfaith Film Festival; Opening film for the New York Jewish Film Festival, broadcast on POV in 2005), Divan (Tribeca Film Festival), 90 Miles (2001 International Human Rights Watch Film Festival, POV). She recently completed One Voice for Public Television in Hawaii.
Hanan Harchol, Maror, born in Kibbutz Kinneret, Israel, is a multi-media artist, filmmaker, animator, and professional classical guitarist. Harchol's animations are autobiographically based and feature impersonations of his Israeli parents. Harchol's animations have screened in festivals worldwide and were recently featured on Channel 13's Reel Shorts. Harchol's multi-media installations have been exhibited in museums across the country and were featured in the book "Jewish Art In America" by Prof. Matthew Baigell. Harchol received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture's Ronnie Heyman Prize, as well as a New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant. Hanan Harchol lives and teaches in New York City. www.hananharchol.com
LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus, UrChatz) has performed and exhibited internationally in venues such as: MoMA, PS1, The Kitchen, The Jewish Museum, The Neuberger Museum, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Institute of Contemporary Art (London). LoVid has been artist in residence at Smack Mellon, Cue Art Foundation, Eyebeam, Harvestworks, free103Point9, and has received grants, awards, and fellowships from NYFA, LMCC, Experimental TV Center, NYSCA, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, turbulence.org, Puffin Foundation, and Greenwall Foundation. www.lovid.org
Baruch Thaler, Barech, was raised on a Zen-macrobiotic commune, and, from a young age, lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, as a follower of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe. After receiving traditional rabbinical training and teaching Jewish studies both here and abroad, he ventured off into the arts and academia. Baruch is currently completing his M.F.A. in filmmaking at Columbia University, and is involved in script writing and directing.
Filmmaker Ilana Trachtman, Rachtza and Nirtza, was recently named to the Forward 50, the Forward newspaper’s list of 50 most influential American Jews for her work on Praying with Lior. Her first independent film, Praying with Lior was a Critic’s Pick of the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and New York Magazine. Ilana has produced and directed award-winning documentaries and children's programs for HBO Family, PBS, ABC-TV, Sundance, Showtime, A&E, Lifetime, Biography, Trio, Discovery, and Sesame Workshop. www.prayingwithlior.com.
Raphael Ward, Maggid and Motzi Matza, was born in Haifa Israel, grew up in Denver, Colorado and has lived in New York City the greater part of the last two years. He has always been interested in film and is excited to be the youngest member of this project. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Screen Studies at Pace University in New York City. For many years he participated in Theatre in Denver, participating in over 40 shows before he was 20 and has also written, directed, and produced his own work.
Leon A. Morris, conceived of and directed the project. He served as the founding Executive Director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning for ten years. He received his ordination from Hebrew Union College in 1997 where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Leon has worked extensively as an educator with the Jewish community of India, and returns there regularly. He co-produced a radio documentary on contemporary Jewish life in India, which premiered on Radio Canada in December 2003 (now available on iTunes). For three years, Leon served as Director of New York Kollel: A Center for Adult Jewish Study at HUC-JIR. He was among the founders of Lishmah. In addition to teaching at Skirball, he has taught at Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform synagogues as well as Drisha. He has contributed essays to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, The Jewish Week and Beliefnet. He has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition and PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Leon serves as the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, Long Island.
Saul Robbins Curator, is interested in the ways people move through, relate to, and occupy their surroundings, especially the interstice between private and public experience of the urban environment. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, including Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, Ost Gallery, Moscow, and Da Gallery, New York, Berlin Tagesspiegel, CPW Photography Quarterly, More, The New York Times, and Wired, among others, and are in corporate, museum, and private collections. Curatorial projects include Projecting Freedom: Cinematic Interpretations of the Haggadah (2010), Regarding Intimacy (2007), and No Live Girls (2002). He teaches photography at The International Center of Photography and Pratt Institute in New York City. www.saulrobbins.com
Joe Septimus, editor of the Study Guide accompanying Projecting Freedom is president of Septimus Consulting, Inc. managing change for businesses & not for profits. He teaches Torah Shabbos morning at Darkhei Noam & at other Adult Education venues including Limmud NY, Manhattan JCC Tikkun, and Central Synagogue. Joe is a Wexner Heritage alum, has an MBA from NYU Business School, and has studied at Yeshiva Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel and Yeshiva Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn. Joe in the author of the Study Guide that accompanies Debbie Friedman’s Shacharit CD. Joe can be reached at email@example.com.