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

Tracy Figueroa
Associate Director

Tracy Figueroa
Associate Director

Tracy joined The Bronfman Center family in December of 2007. She is from Charleston, SC and received her BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She also has a certificate in Non-Profit Accounting and Governmental Reporting from NYU's SCPS. Tracy began her career in the non-profit world as an educator at The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and from there went on to work as an administrator at Park Avenue Synagogue's Congregational School. Tracy is a proud Brooklyn resident, and it is only because of our students that she travels daily to the "outer borough" of Manhattan. She loves working at NYU with such a dynamic, diverse and exciting student body.

tfigueroa@nyu.edu 212-998-4113

Rebekah Thornhill
Senior Associate, Leadership & Global Initiatives

Rebekah Thornhill
Senior Associate, Leadership & Global Initiatives

Rebekah joined the Bronfman Center team in 2011 after graduating from NYU with a BA in History and Jewish Studies. While a student at NYU, she was an Eryk Spektor Scholar in Jewish Studies, a member of the NYU Purple and White Dance Team, and studied abroad with the pioneer group to NYU Tel Aviv. At work, Rebekah oversees student leadership development and the brand new NYU Global Center for Jewish Life. She's your girl for Israel and Holocaust education as well. Rebekah also has the great privilege of managing immersive experiences including Taglit-Birthright Israel at NYU and the annual Bridges: Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Dialogue alternative break trip. At home, Rebekah is a Shapiro Family Fellow and is pursuing a dual MA in Education and Jewish Studies with NYU's Steinhardt School and the Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies. Originally from Austin, Texas, Rebekah is the oldest of five and adores her family, Texas Longhorn baseball, the beach and coffee. She hopes to make aliyah someday and spends as much time in Tel Aviv as she possibly can.

Fun fact: Rebekah was on the hit NBC series, Friday Night Lights in high school as a backup dancer!

Come visit Rebekah on the 5th floor of the Bronfman Center anytime. Chances are, she'll take you out for coffee or ice cream!

 

 

ret247@nyu.edu 212-998-4111

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

Hannah Katz
Manager of Fiscal Affairs

Hannah Katz
Manager of Fiscal Affairs

Hannah grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and graduated from NYU in 2013 where she majored in psychology and Hebrew and Judaic studies and is now pursuing a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. While she is a proud southerner, she is thrilled to be a part of the Bronfman Center team and considers it her home away from home. Her responsibilities at the Bronfman Center include finances and programming, to name a few, as well as managing our team of amazingly talented and devoted student workers. In her free time, she loves to go to stand-up comedy and improv shows. Hannah will also travel to the ends of the earth for a good thrift shop. Feel free to contact her if you wanna hang out, chat, or have any questions!

hannah.katz@nyu.edu 212-998-4110

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!

Jay Herman
CLIP Coordinator

Jay Herman
CLIP Coordinator

Jay Herman is the manager of CLIP, a competitive undergraduate internship program with sites in New York and Israel that cultivates emerging professional and lay leaders in the Jewish community. 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 (in addition to CLIP), Jay mentors student leaders 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.

clipnyu@gmail.com 212.998.4121

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!

Sigal Neustein
Administrative Assistant

Sigal Neustein
Administrative Assistant

Sigal grew up in San Diego, California, crossed coasts, and left the Pacific, her parents, four siblings, and labradoodle Ziggy to study at NYU. During her four years in New York, she fell in love with the city and is so excited to stay here and continue exploring. In her spare time, Sigal loves to run the city streets, bake gluten free goodies, and score a bargain at Bloomies. She graduated this past May with a concentration in Middle Eastern and Judaic Studies. She is beyond psyched to join the Bronfman team and work behind the scenes of the magic happening at 7 E 10th Street. She is honored to work alongside Rabbi Sarna and all of the amazing staff who made her time at NYU so remarkable. She looks forward to meeting everyone so please feel free to come by the 4th floor and say hello!

srn255@nyu.edu (212) 998-4123

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.

Gabriel Schaller
Assistant Coordinator, CLIP: New York

Gabriel Schaller
Assistant Coordinator, CLIP: New York

Gabriel Schaller is the assistant coordinator of CLIP: New York. Gabriel grew up in Vienna, Austria and graduated from SOAS, University of London with a BA in politics and economics with a concentration on the Middle East. During college, Gabriel was president of his university’s Jewish Society during the year and interned at the Austrian embassy in Saudi Arabia and the UNIDO in Mexico City during the summer. After graduating from college, Gabriel lived in Israel for a year, where he studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and studied Hebrew and worked in an Ulpan program on Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael. Currently, Gabriel is a first-year student in the NYU Wagner-Skirball dual-degree program and a recipient of the Steinberg fellowship. Gabriel is interested in social change, finance, Jewish identity, and modern Jewish history. He enjoys reading graphic novels, scuba diving, and loves riding his bike through New York City. You can reach Gabriel at clipnyuac@nyu.edu.

Spring work days: Monday, Tuesday (AM), Friday

clipnyuac@gmail.com

David Schaum
Coordinator, CLIP: Onward Israel

David Schaum
Coordinator, CLIP: Onward Israel

David Schaum is the coordinator for CLIP: Onward Israel.  He is an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied the violin and viola.  In addition to his past musical ventures, he has always been an active member of the New York Jewish community as a teacher and lay leader.  David also attended Yeshivat Machon Meir, a center for religious Zionism in Jerusalem.  He recently had the honor of presenting his work on the Jewish identity and music of the 20th century serialist composer, Arnold Schoenberg at the 16th World Congress of Jewish Studies held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  For the past two years, he has been an enthusiastic member of the Limmud NY Steering Committee, creating diverse programming that unites Jews from all over the world to engage in a weekend of immersive learning.  He enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of NYC, singing piyutim and cooking mountainous amounts of food for his friends.  You can reach David at cliponwardisrael@gmail.com.

cliponwardisrael@gmail.com

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 201-264-0390