Rabbi Dana Saroken
Spiritual Director & Founder
Rabbi Dana Saroken has been a rabbi for the past 13 years. She moved to Baltimore from New York and became the Assistant then the Associate and now… a Rabbi at Beth El. As she was tending to her traditional rabbinic responsibilities of pastoral caregiving, life cycle officiating, sermon delivering… She dreamed up the Soul Center, breathed life into it for a year and a half and opened up the doors in November 2016.
Rabbi Saroken grew up in Bedford Hills, NY, she loved traveling (and still does) and studied abroad in high school in London and in college at Tel Aviv University. She headed to Tucson next to attend the Honor’s College at the University of Arizona (because who doesn’t love the mountains and the air and opportunities in Tucson?) and graduated Phi Bet Kappa and Summa Cum Laude in 1994. After graduation, she moved to Colorado and worked as the Educational Director for the international organization Up With People that specializes in performing arts, service and global education and was able to travel the world and pursue her passion for theater and community building and service. After her tours ended, Rabbi Saroken moved to Washington, DC where she ran the Jewish Students Association at Georgetown University for 3 ½ years and finally…she made it back to New York to attend the Jewish Theological Seminary, get ordained and serve the Jewish people. When she’s not working or spending time with her husband, Rafi Rone, or busy in the raising and growing and activities of her three children, Rabbi Saroken is a part of Kenissa – a national initiative for Jewish Start-Ups, a fellow of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Rabbinic Cohort, and was recently named 1 of 10 Women To Watch by Jewish Women International. For fun, she loves playing with her children, Palmer (her new puppy), anything having to do with water, skiing (when possible), seeing great musicals, reading, and listening to brilliant podcasts.
Rachel Siegal loves bringing big ideas to life. From 2010-2016, she served as the Development Director for the Pearlstone Center. Prior to that, she was a Vice President at The Associated (the Jewish federation in Baltimore), for four years, focusing on financial resource development. Born and raised in Cleveland, Rachel holds an MBA and a Masters in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University and an undergraduate degree in Judaic Studies and Africana Studies from Brown University. She and her husband Sam Andorsky have three children. She is an active volunteer at Krieger Schechter Day School and with the Pearlstone Center. She loves Cleveland sports, working out, her book club, and hosting huge vegetarian Shabbat meals.
Julie Hettleman graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelors degree in Special Education. She received her Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola University. She taught Special Education for ten years in Baltimore County. After spending several years raising her two children, she changed career paths and began working as a Program and Event Coordinator. Julie worked as the Special Projects Manager for The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and most recently as an Office Administrator, Projects Coordinator and Camp Mom for Camp Skylemar. She has two children, one at American University and one at Park School.
Social Work Consultant
Sarah Shapiro is a licensed clinical social worker with over twenty years of experience providing short-term counseling to clients of all ages in a variety of school and community settings. Currently, she also works as the Shleimut Social Work Consultant at Beth Israel Congregation in Owings Mills, Maryland. Sarah also maintains a small private practice specializing in short-term counseling to help people address life challenges and transitions.
Sarah will be onsite at Beth El usually on Tuesdays from 12-2pm and Thursdays from 1-5pm. During this time, she will be available to see people in person by previously scheduled appointment or on a walk-in basis, engage in telephone counseling, and assist the Beth El clergy by providing telephone support to ill or bereaved congregants.
Nila Mechali Berger has a strong dance background and love for expression through movement. Nila has been practicing yoga for over a decade. Recently, her passion and love for yoga shifted after being introduced to the Power Vinyasa practice. By definition, vinyasa means “to flow and move without obstruction”. She truly connects to this notion, and carries it with her both on and off of her mat as a forever grateful student and a teacher of power yoga.
Jordan Goodman believes life improves when we feel more connected to ourselves and others. He is a professional musician, licensed psychotherapist, and recognized leader in the fields of therapeutic and community drumming. www.Beatwell.org.
Robyn Katz is a Certified Iyengar Teacher(CIYT), Jr. 1 level and has been learning and practicing Iyengar yoga for over 27 years. She has taught in the Iyengar method for 17 years. Influenced by many of the senior Iyengar teachers in this country, she is grateful and deeply indebted to each one of them for the knowledge, inspiration and compassion they have taught her.
Jessica Klaitman Well-rounded yoga with a focus on breath, alignment, philosophy, and community – and a touch of humor…that’s what you will experience in Jessica’s classes. In 2009, Jessica earned her 200-hour teacher certification and Restorative yoga certification from YogaWorks in NYC, and her Prenatal and Postnatal teacher training certification from Yoga for Two at Pure Yoga, also in New York. In 2010, she completed her 500-hour teacher training from YogaWorks and in 2017 was certified in Aerial yoga at Yoga on York. She teaches yoga and meditation, both in regular classes and special workshops. Jessica is also a clinical social worker, activist, and mother of three elementary-aged children. She is excited to join the Soul Center community, and to get to know you!
Edith “Edie” Raphael, PhD, RYT 500 is a Wexner Heritage Alumna, an experienced educator who is passionate about finding, creating and sharing meaningful spiritual connections to Judaism. Edie is a recipient of the Dorbrecht Grant for Judaic Yoga and was named one of Baltimore’s favorite yoga teachers in Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore.” Edie is also the author of Mussar Yoga (Jewish Lights, 2014) and has over 11 years of experience teaching yoga classes in Baltimore and around the country.
Stephen Siegel, an investment advisor specializing in sustainable, responsible, impact investments, has been a student and teacher of Jewish and Himalayan meditation since 1975. Steve has been blessed with the opportunity to study with many teachers including Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, Rabbi DovBer Pinson, Rav Avraham Sutton, Sri Swami Rama, Swami Veda Bharati, and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.
Eva Sivan, PhD is a meditation teacher and psychologist. She has been privileged to study mindfulness meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with teachers such as Tara Brach and Saki Santorelli, and is a Trained Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion, an evidenced-based program developed in UC San Diego’s Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. She teaches mindfulness meditation in the community and offers the Mindful Self-Compassion course to individuals, professionals, and students.
Daphne Swancutt, a self-described “yogeclectic,” her practice spans nearly 15 years and various styles—with a special fondness for fusing the alignment principles of Iyengar with the energy of vinyasa. Along with her RYT200 certification, Daphne brings a “mood” to her classes that combine her love of dance, movement and music. She is the founder of the Homeless Yoga Project, a volunteer initiative with Baltimore-based Healthcare for the Homeless, and blogs at twistedswan.com.
Erin Tschantret received both her 200 HR and 500 HR certifications through Charm City Yoga and an additional 200 HR certification through YogaWorks. Erin is currently the Teacher Manager at YogaWorks and the Yoga Program Director at Bryn Mawr School. She is a Reiki Master and Shamanic Healer. Erin is thrilled to be working with the Soul Center Community.
Rachel Wohl is a conflict specialist and mindfulness teacher. She is an attorney, mediator, dialogue facilitator, teacher and trainer. She is the owner of Conflict Specialists International, LLC, offering a wide range of conflict prevention, conflict management, conflict resolution and training services. Rachel is an active member of Mediators Beyond Borders International.