CORE TEAM

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RABBI ELAN BABCHUCK

Founding Director

I’m a rabbi and an entrepreneur and spend much of my time exploring the rich intersections between these two traditions, and the abundant possibilities therein. I'm committed to leaving behind a world that is more compassionate, connected, and just than the one I found, and - in pursuit of that commitment - I am the Founding Director of Glean Network, an incubator, and network for entrepreneurs who are building new models of faith in action, and Director of Innovation at Clal, a think-tank focused on the future of faith in America. I'm blessed to live and learn with my wife, Lizzie Pollock, and our three children, Micah, Nessa, and Ayla in Providence, RhodeIsland. I read broadly and voraciously, cook adventurously, and find sanctuary on the rock climbing walls of New England.

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TAJ M. SMITH

Assistant Director

I'm a theologian, writer, and advocate fascinated by the intersections of faith, justice, and identity. To me, innovation happens when a community holds these three things at the center of what it's trying to build. I see this reflected in the work of Glean Network and am thrilled to be part of this team. I draw inspiration from music and literature. I play guitar and have been refining this skill for over 20 years. Some of my most formative years were spent singing in coffee shops, bars, and on the streets of Santa Cruz, CA. As for books, I'll read anything with a good first sentence, though science fiction, fantasy, and magical realist fiction are my favorites.

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SHELLI ADERMAN

Program Manager

Shelli Aderman comes to Clal from a varied and exciting background, where she started learning to code computers as a child. As an adult, Shelli continued her fascination with all things behind-the-scenes in a career of theatrical stage management and administration. As the Program Administrator for many of Clal’s varied projects, including Glean, Rabbis Without Borders, and Stand and See, she gets to use all of her backstage skills in the support of rabbis.

Within the Jewish community, Shelli has been able to put her stage management training to use as an Administrator for Congregation Tehillah in Riverdale, and Emanuel Congregation in Chicago. Also in Chicago, Shelli was the Youth Advisor and Youth Service Leader for Anshe Emet Synagogue. Shelli also is a Religious School and Youth and Family Educator at Town and Village Synagogue.

A graduate of Hofstra University and Young Judaea’s Year Course, Shelli is thrilled to be part of CLAL. Shelli is happily married to Narda E. Alcorn, with whom they share the joy of parenting Malka and Noah Matan.

PROGRAM FACULTY

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RABBI IRWIN KULA

Co-President, Clal

Rabbi Irwin Kula is a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker. A 7th generation rabbi he is Co-President of Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership a do-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. A thought leader on the intersection of innovation, religion, and human flourishing, Irwin has worked with leaders from the Dalai Lama to Queen Noor and with organizations, foundations, and businesses in the United States and around the world to inspire people to live with greater passion, purpose, creativity and compassion. Named one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, he received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work “toward equality, liberty and a truly inter–religious community” and has been listed in Newsweek for many years as one of America’s “most influential rabbis.”

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DR. JACK MCGOURTY

Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School

Jack McGourty Ph.D. is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation, and product innovation. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School, Jack was Vice Dean for Columbia’s Engineering School. Over the past 19 years, Jack has been an active member of the University's entrepreneurial community, establishing an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship, teaching core and advanced courses in new venture creation & growth, and launching the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. Jack is the driving force behind Venture for All®, a program designed to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and build capacity for high potential startup ventures in emerging global markets.