Rabbi Deena Silverstone

Rabbi Deena J. Silverstone is a native New Yorker and has served the JCP community for many years. She was a teacher in HSP, a Rabbinic Fellow, and now Associate Rabbi and Director of Jewish Life. Deena was ordained a rabbi in 2020 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Throughout her rabbinic training, Deena participated in a number of fellowships, including the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, the NIF Froman Fellowship for Social Justice, the AIPAC Israel Leffell Fellowship, the Tisch Fellowship, and the Be Wise Fellowship. Deena lived in Jerusalem for a year, during which time she participated in the Rabbinical Student Seminar at the Hartman Institute and volunteered as an intern and teacher at Kehillat Kodesh V’Chol in Holon. Deena attended Yale University. She graduated cum laude in 2015 with a B.A. in cognitive science and religious studies with honors in both majors.

Cantor Galeet Dardashti

Cantor, scholar, and vocalist/composer Galeet Dardashti has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative performers of Jewish music today beginning with her work as founder/leader of the renowned all-woman ensemble, Divahn and through her multi-disciplinary commissions, The Naming and Monajat. Time Out New York described Dardashti’s work as “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic,” and The Huffington Post called it “heart-stopping.”

Dardashti holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology specializing in contemporary Israeli cultural politics and is currently writing a book on the Mizrahi piyyut (sacred song) phenomenon in Israel. Dardashti has held postdoctoral fellowships at NYU and Rutgers and most recently was Assistant Professor of Jewish Music/Musician in Residence at JTS. She will be an Affiliated Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center in 2020/21.

Since studying with her father, Hazzan Farid Dardashti, she has accumulated over twenty years of professional cantorial experience with Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and experimental communities.

Jacob Leizman

Jacob Leizman is thrilled to continue at JCP in a greater capacity this year as a Student Rabbi. He is a 3rd year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR, located right by Washington Square Park. In addition to tutoring at JCP last year, Jacob was a full-time educator at Central Synagogue prior to beginning HUC-JIR and has had a variety of teaching and prayer leadership experiences that have spanned from New York, to South Carolina, to Israel, and even a cross-country bus across the US. Jacob has spent most of his life around New York — he grew up New Rochelle and graduated from Hunter College in 2015 — and is excited to spend more time downtown in Tribeca. Jacob is passionate about making Judaism an accessible and authentic presence that can fulfill, ground, and inspire us. In his downtime, Jacob loves playing basketball and guitar, and spending time with friends and family.