About : Meet Our Staff

Our staff is made up of dynamic individuals who consider themselves part of one big Bronfman Center family. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna
University Chaplain/Skirball Executive Director

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna
University Chaplain/Skirball Executive Director

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna is a visionary, inspiring and highly personable rabbi known for his passion, sensitivity, creativity, and openness. A communal leader, teacher and innovator, he serves as the Skirball Executive Director of the Bronfman Center and University Chaplain of NYU. Rabbi Sarna and his family live in Gramercy Green, where he is Chaplain-in-Residence, and maintain an "open home" to students. He is married to Dr. Michelle Waldman Sarna and father to Batya, Maayan, Moshe, David, Amital and Hillel.

rabbi.sarna@nyu.edu 212-998-4120

Rebekah Thornhill
Assistant Director

Rebekah Thornhill
Assistant Director

Rebekah grew up in Austin, Texas and received her BA in History and Jewish Studies from NYU in 2011. While an undergraduate at NYU, she was an Eryk Spektor Scholar, a member of the NYU Dance Team, and studied abroad with the pioneer group to NYU Tel Aviv. Rebekah was a Shapiro Family Fellow, currently serves as a vice chair of UJA’s Global Leadership Society, and founded the Orthodox Converts Network. She is pursuing an MA in Education and Jewish Studies from NYU's Steinhardt School where her research focuses on leadership education amongst emerging Jewish adults. Rebekah is passionate about her family, global Jewry, and really strong coffee.

rebekah.thornhill@nyu.edu 212-998-4111

Jay Herman
Manager of Operations

Jay Herman
Manager of Operations

Jay Herman is the Bronfman Center's Manager of Operations. Originally from the great state of Colorado, Jay recently completed his masters degree in music education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. At his alma mater, University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, Jay revitalized the Jewish community as president of Hillel and as Interfaith Coordinator for Jewish Life. At the Bronfman Center, Jay makes sure our building and staff are well cared for, teaches a seminar in the Jewish Learning Fellowship, and trains anyone who will listen in how to add music to one's Jewish life. Outside of work and school, Jay is a SocialStart trainer for the PresenTense Group and enjoys practicing marimba, vibraphone, and piano and listening to National Public Radio.

jdh420@nyu.edu 212.998.4121

Mordechai Czarka
Program Coordinator, Global Leadership Initiatives

Mordechai Czarka
Program Coordinator, Global Leadership Initiatives

As a new member at the Bronfman Center, Mordechai is excited to join the Global Leadership Initiatives Team where he will be coordinating and overseeing CLIP: Onward Israel and liaising extensively with Israel-related clubs on campus. Mordechai is a graduate of Yeshiva University where he studied Sociology and was involved extensively in bettering life for students on campus. He participated in the tenth cohort of the prestigious Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership at Yeshiva University where he worked under the tutelage of the deans of the business school. Mordechai also has experience in the world of educational technology start-ups where he ushered in an era of project management in a non-profit world. When not at work, Mordechai enjoys writing his personal interest blog on credit card miles and points and flying in his Millennium Falcon to the next destination on his bucket list. 

czarka@nyu.edu

Rabbi Nikki DeBlosi
Manager of Religious Life

Rabbi Nikki DeBlosi
Manager of Religious Life

Recently named by the Jewish Forward as one of America's Most Inspiring Rabbis, Rabbi Nikki Lyn DeBlosi is passionately dedicated to pluralist Judaism, feminism, and LGBTQ rights. She holds a BA in Women’s Studies from Harvard University and both an MA and a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU. She has taught in the Religious Studies, Performance Studies, and Expository Writing Departments at NYU and loves both formal and informal teaching. While she works intimately with the Reform and Queer Jewish communities, Rabbi Nikki also oversees the "big picture" and visioning for Shabbat and holidays here at the Bronfman Center. A convert to Judaism, Rabbi Nikki is particularly happy to discuss spiritual change, doubts, and questions… but she’s also happy to talk pop culture, science fiction, HBO’s Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Game of Thrones. Study with her in her popular JLF Course, "Sex Love and Romance." Rabbi Nikki lives in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with her wife Rachel and their young sons Ilan and Ethan. Email Rabbi Nikki!

 

deblosi@nyu.edu

Dana Levinson
Senior Associate Leadership/Strategic Partnerships

Dana Levinson
Senior Associate Leadership/Strategic Partnerships

Dana is so excited to join the Bronfman Center team as the Senior Associate of Leadership and Strategic Partnerships! Born and raised in beautiful New Jersey, Dana graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, receiving her B.Ed in Secondary History, and received her Masters in Jewish Experiential Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to her work at the Bronfman Center, Dana served as a Teaching Fellow at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC, and as the Assistant Director of Reshet Ramah, the international alumni & community engagement network for the Ramah Camping Movement. Dana was the recipient of the 2012 Jewish Futures Award for her work on the Ramah365 Social Networking App, a participant in the 2015 cohort of Seminar Kehilati, a global young leaders initiative of the Federation of Greater Metrowest, and was recently named as a 2016 Presentense Fellow. Dana is a connoisseur of deep fried foods, has a black belt in useless trivia, and lives to laugh.

dana.levinson@nyu.edu

Rabbi Joe Wolfson
JLIC Educator

Rabbi Joe Wolfson
JLIC Educator

Joe is a campus rabbi at NYU and director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on campus (JLIC) – a program of the Orthodox Union. In case you don’t get to the end of this bio – the diary is free, the home is open and the fridge is full so make sure to be in touch.
From London originally, he has spent most of the last decade studying, working, and loving life in Israel. Prior to his studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Bet Morasha – through which he received his rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate – Joe thought he was going into politics and did degrees at Cambridge (where he was president of the Jewish Society) and UCL. Instead he got the bug for Jewish education and has taught texts on four continents, both in person, and through his website www.joewolfson.com
Joe is passionate about the way in which Jewish texts link up to larger issues of Jewish identity – and with them, has worked in areas as diverse as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, religious-secular relations in Israel, and European Jewish communities. In between them he tries to make time for music, good books, cycling and HBO.
With his wife Corinne and daughter Mika, they are excited to relocate to New York. Their home, right near campus, is open to all students whether on Shabbat or during the week where they hope to serve top-quality food, conversation and education. Don’t hesitate to be in touch for a coffee, chavruta, or a meal – or to accompany on their adventures as they get to know New York!

Jonas Fegert
Bronfman Global Coordinator (Europe)

Jonas Fegert
Bronfman Global Coordinator (Europe)

Jonas grew up and lives in Berlin, where he studied political science at Freie Universität and worked at the German Federal Parliament for six years, before he was hired by the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Scholarship Fund (ELES) in 2014. Since August 2015, he's been coordinating ELES’ newly created international department and helped create a partnership between the Bronfman Center and ELES to connect NYU students abroad to local Jewish communities in Europe. While he still works at ELES, he is also the NYU Bronfman Global Coordinator for Europe. As part of this position, he visits NYU’s European sites (Berlin, Prague, Florence, Paris, Madrid and London) as often as possible to build and expand on relationships with the student communities and organize Bronfman Global activities in Europe. These include connecting study abroad students to opportunities to celebrate Jewish holidays and Shabbat, to learn more about the Jewish heritage of the places in which the NYU students are studying, and to get them in touch with contemporary European Jewish life. Jonas is an expert on modern Jewish life in Germany, Israeli society, European remembrance culture and Jewish pop culture. He is interested in politics, art, architecture, design and good coffee. Don’t hesitate to contact Jonas if you have plans to go abroad!

jonas.fegert@nyu.edu

Arielle Braude
Engagement Associate

Arielle Braude
Engagement Associate

Arielle feels excited and honored to join the Bronfman Center as the Engagement Associate this year. As a part of her portfolio, she coordinates our Jewish Learning Fellowship, runs the best Taglit-Birthright Israel trips offered at NYU, cheers on our Chavurah team, talks about what it means to be human, and giggles a lot. Arielle had her first spiritual experience at an Alanis Morissette concert when she was 15, and has spent ever since figuring out what it means to live a vibrant and fun Jewish life that includes Phish shows ​, empathy,​ and just the right amount of angst. She’s excited to rock and roll this year - email Arielle to grab coffee and chat!

arielle.braude@nyu.edu

Miriam Liebman
Rabbinic Intern

Miriam Liebman
Rabbinic Intern

Miriam Liebman, a native Detroiter, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008, where she earned a degree in Middle East and North African Studies. She spent a semester abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Miriam was an AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps member in New Orleans where she worked as an Outreach Assistant at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. In Detroit, Miriam worked as a community organizer with low-income tenants and faith-based communities and was an active member of her Detroit synagogue, the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. She has also worked as an educator for Bend the Arc domestic service learning programs and worked as the Rabbinic Intern at the Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Miriam is entering her fourth year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Lydia Miller
Assistant to the Executive Director

Lydia Miller
Assistant to the Executive Director

Lydia joined the Bronfman Center family this fall, as Rabbi Sarna’s right hand (wo)man. Raised in Lewes, Delaware, she graduated from Barnard College in 2015 with BA in Urban Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Leadership Studies. During her undergraduate experience, she spent a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad. Before Bronfman, Lydia worked in Stewardship at Barnard’s Office of Development, wrote articles for City Atlas, a blog about urban planning and the environment, and designed a curriculum to teach elementary students about global warming. She loves the Shuka Truck, singing Fiddler, and writing the BNews. Stop by her desk on the 4th floor to chat and get your campus events on Bronfman social! 

lydia.miller@nyu.edu 212-998-4123

Corinne Shmuel
JLIC Educator

Corinne Shmuel
JLIC Educator

Corinne comes from Leicester, England, where she grew up in an extremely multi-ethnic society. She studied History of Art at the University of Leeds and the Courtauld Institute of Art and from fall 2015 will be one-half of the Jewish Learning Initiative on campus (JLIC) team together with her husband, Rabbi Joe.
After making Aliyah she decided to take her love of food up a level and trained as a professional chef. She worked in various restaurants and catering companies for a few years, and then took a second ‘gap year’ to immerse herself in the study of Talmud and Tanakh at Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Studies.
Rabbi Joe and Corinne had their first baby, Mika, in March 2015, and since then she has been taking up a lot of their time. Other than making Mika laugh, Corinne’s interests amongst others are: social justice projects, capoeira, drawing, travel (especially India!), and of course food. Their home is open to all and they are looking to get to know New York and more than that want to get to know you! So don’t hesitate to be in touch and invite yourself round.

Julie Wichler
Program Associate for Student Engagement

Julie Wichler
Program Associate for Student Engagement

Julie is so excited to be returning to the Bronfman Center and joining the team after graduating from NYU Steinhardt with a degree in Applied Psychology in 2014. Julie grew up in New Jersey, but is proud to now call herself a New Yorker (and Upper West Sider). A lover of Shabbat and all Jewish holidays, she can’t wait to help make these things happen at the Bronfman Center. Julie grew up at a Jewish summer camp and doesn't let the fact that she's tone deaf stop her from singing camp songs whenever possible. When she’s not working she can usually be found running around Central Park, listening to NPR podcasts, or trying out a new vegetarian restaurant. Stop by and say hi, she can’t wait to meet you!

julie.wichler@nyu.edu 212-992-6037