Navah Kelman Becker - BCI Director
Navah grew up here in Los Angeles and in Northern California (Berkeley). She has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of California at Davis, a Masters Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of American in New York in Judaic Studies, and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the American Jewish University. She spent 5 years as the Assistant Director of Camp Ramah in California, and the 5 years after that as the Director of Student Life at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School outside of Washington, DC. Navah returned to the West Coast a few years ago and was the Director of Education at Congregation Ner Tamid in the South Bay (a community south of Los Angeles) for 2 years. She was in the first cohort of Fellows in the inaugural year of the Fellowship for Informal Jewish Education through Brandeis University, and has a Certificate in Jewish Education with a special focus on Adolescents and Emerging Adults from HUC-JIR (Cohort 2). When she's not working she enjoys going on adventures with her children, scrapbooking, reading, and organizing things. She is married to Michael (a HUGE hockey/football fan) and they have 3 children - Eliana, Yoni, and Avital.
DANCE: Josefa Briant
Born in Kibbutz Yagur in Israel, Josefa was a soloist in Israel's famed Bat Sheva Dance Company. In New York, she worked as a dancer with Merce Cunningham and Maggie Black, and an assistant choreographer at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She also danced in the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Josefa now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she teaches "Creative Movement" to pre-school children, prepares B'nei Mitzvah students, and teaches Hebrew and Kabbalah at UNC-Asheville. BCI 2016 is Josefa's 13th year at BCI.
MUSIC: Ami Yares
The Isaac D. Sinaiko BCI Endowed Chair in Music
Ami Yares is a New Jersey-born, Philadelphia, world traveling folk musician with a knack for making music that moves you physically, spiritually, and politically. Influenced by the spectrum of Americana music, Ami's music merges his Jewish Jersey roots into Israeli and Arab culture in a yet-to-be-named fusion of styles, inspired from over 10 years of work with Israeli and Palestinian peace building efforts. Ami thrives off the energy of staged performances and takes this energy into formal and informal educational settings as well. Audiences worldwide have taken to Ami's music and workshops. Ami tours solo and often with his brother, Gavri Tov, in the roots fusion duo, The Brothers Yares. This year Ami and Sagol 59 brought their Hebrew language tribute to the Grateful Dead to the US. Today, Ami is the founder and director of AltNeu Arts, a social entrepreneurial effort to create social change and empowerment via music and the musicians who make it. This fall, he will be studying Social Policy and Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Ami couldn't be happier to have the privilege to harvest hope and action though music. You can see and hear Ami's work at www.amiyares.com and at www.altneuarts.com.
FILMMAKING: Spencer Garfield – firstname.lastname@example.org
Spencer Garfield is a Boston-based artist and teacher, with specialties in film, music, and theater. After graduating from UMass Amherst in 2012 with a BA focusing in communications, linguistics, and education, he taught for several seasons at a Jewish outdoor learning center, followed by a couple of years teaching in the Jewish day school and public school systems of Greater Boston, all while working ceaselessly at his various art projects. Currently, Spencer works as an independent video editor, Hebrew school teacher, and DJ with a Boston-based entertainment company. Other sporadic gigs have included visual effects on a feature film, vocal arrangements for a cappella, and lyric writing for Six13 and their recent hit parodies "Chanukah (Shake it Off)" and "Uptown Passover." Spencer's recent English adaptation of Israeli musician Matti Kovler's musical "Ami and Tami" will be featured this summer in Boston's Outside the Box festival. His favorite ice cream flavor is Cherry Garcia.
SPOKEN WORD: Andrew Lustig - email@example.com
Andrew is a Spoken Word performance artist. In the past few years Andrew has performed and offered keynote addresses in 100's of communities around the Jewish world. Andrew was recently commissioned to create Annual Campaign films for both JFNA and UJIA. Andrew has opened up for President Shimon Peres, PM David Cameron, Seth Meyers, Matisyahu, David Broza, and Henry Winkler. A 2013-2014 Dorot Fellow in Israel, Andrew studied mindfulness meditation under Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels and co-created the One Wish Film Project. Andrew also spent a year at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Andrew enjoys pickup sports, cuddling with kittens, and rock climbing. Recently, Andrew learned to scuba dive! Andrew was a BCI participant in 2011 and on Staff in 2013, 14, 15, & 16. They have been the happiest 5 summers of his life.
FINE ARTS - Rachel Weber
Rachel Weber is a native Southerner, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Her earliest attempts at art-making were on the tiled floor of her parents' home. She continued a more serious pursuit of art at Brandeis University, where she immersed herself in Russian Literature as well, devoting herself to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky whilst covered in oil paints. Moving to New York City, she completed two years of post-bac work at the New York Studio School and then decided an MFA, at Parsons, was the lucrative degree she was lacking. In the last 9 years Rachel taught drawing at Parsons; received and worked on a Fulbright Grant in Jerusalem— photographing and then creating drawing installations of families throughout the country; created 3 small humans (Alexander, Lev & Felix); trained and attended births as a certified doula; and voyaged across the country to settle in the fair city of Los Angeles, California with her husband, Ephraim Pelcovits. Rachel loves cooking and baking, meandering around museums, and talking all things childbirth and childrearing. Running and singing are passions, as are reading and dance parties with her kids.
NARRATIVE PUPPETRY - Yavni Bar-Yam
Yavni is a puppeteer, which means he doesn't have to choose between being a performing, visual, or literary artist. He has performed traditional Italian masked comedy in Bangkok, Czech revolutionary theater in New York, and street clowning in Israel. He has created rod puppetry accompaniments to contemporary classical song cycles, and built a shadow puppet tale using a sukkah as the shadow screen. As a writer, his plays have been staged in New York and Boston, and his poetry has been printed in the U.S. and South Africa. Originally from Boston, Yavni recently moved to Israel, where he works as a teacher, writes, and has been learning new media of expression and getting to know the artistic scene. He has also been known to approximate quantum wave functions using the WKB method, and to approximate airplanes using small or large people on his feet.