ALI Scholars 5780

Lisa ArmonyLisa Armony is director of the Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services.  In this capacity, she develops and implements educational initiatives on Israel and Jewish affairs for diverse demographics in Orange County.  Among these, an innovative program bringing students of diverse faiths to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been scaled nationally and is now offered by Hillel on more than 40 college campuses nationwide.  Lisa has a BA in Government from Cornell University and an MA in Political Science from Yale University.  She recently received a certificate in Israel Education from George Washington University and is currently enrolled in Masters of Jewish and Israel Education program at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hazzan_Laurie_webHazzan Laurie Rimland-Bonn was one of the first women to serve as Cantor in a Conservative synagogue in the United States. She began her musical and cantorial career under the tutelage of Hazzan Allen Michelson, of blessed memory. Professional affiliations include the Cantors Assembly, Jewish Educators Assembly, and Guild of Temple Musicians. Hazzan Laurie served as the regional Chairperson of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Cantors Assembly and two terms on the Cantors Assembly National Executive Council. She was commissioned “Hazzan Minister” by the Cantors Assembly in July of 1996 and is currently the Chair of the Cantors Assembly “Chesed “Committee.
Laurie has made numerious appearances on various talk and radio shows and on the American Jewish Hour. Her published song “Lo Yisa Goy” was released on the album “Carnival Time,” performed by the late Tommy Tedesco on Discovery Records. For the past 41 years, Hazzan Rimland-Bonn has been Shaliah Tzibur and Director of Education for synagogues in both California and Florida where, under her leadership, her program was awarded the “Framework for Excellence” accreditation by the USCJ. She currently serves Temple Beth Israel in Highland Park and Eagle Rock as their Director of Education and Congregation Beth Shalom of Santa Clarita as one of their cantors.

Rabbi David Lazar has been a spiritual leader and activist in Israel, Sweden and the United States for over 30 years. He has led the way as an active rabbinic supporter of LGBTQ causes as well as interfaith study and prayer. In Israel, he founded and directed RIKMA, and organization devoted to Spiritual Community Leadership Training, served congregations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and was rabbinic chaplain for the Israel AIDS Task Force.

His interest in Jewish Folk Art is documented on-line at

He currently serves as rabbi of Or Hamidbar – Light in the Desert, a non-profit organization in Palm Springs devoted to a spiritual Jewish approach to prayer, study and social justice.

Noam Racher head shotNoam Raucher is originally from Hamden, CT and grew up in a home of Jewish educators and leaders. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2002 with honors in Judaic Studies and Psychology. In 2005 he moved  to California to attend the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and was ordained in 2011. His first pulpit was with Temple Israel in Charlotte, NC, where he worked to build community across faith and racial boundaries with neighboring houses of worship. Until recently he proudly continued his work as the senior rabbi for the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

Noam holds a Master’s degree in education, and has been a Fellow with CLI – the Clergy Leadership Incubator – a program for rabbis of visionary  leadership and innovative practice. Currently, Noam is pursuing a freelance and independent rabbinate offering his services and guidance to any spiritual seeker interested. You can find out more about his practice at

sagan picDr. Sean Sagan is a professor and lecturer of Religious Studies. He earned his PhD. at the University of California, Riverside and has lectured at several Southern California Universities including; UCR, CSULB, USC and Chapman. Most of Dr. Sagan’s research and teaching interests are situated in the arena of American religious culture. His doctoral dissertation focused on gospel tract evangelism and the construction of cultural borders of evangelical identity, often through the use and appropriation of Jewish historical narratives. His interests also include religion and media, religion and popular culture, and religious conspiracy theories; particularly as pertains to evangelicalism, Messianic Jewish identity, new religious movements and the New Age.


Rabbi Marcia TilchinRabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin is the founder and spiritual leader of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (JCoOC), a non-profit organization created to help OC Jewish residents and their families connect their personal passions with Judaism.  Marcia received her cantorial degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City and rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.  Between 1998-2015 Marcia served Conservative congregations in Upper Nyack, New York and Tustin, California before launching her own initiatives.

Rabbi Tilchin’s commitment to helping people find what is meaningful to them within Judaism is a signature of her compassion-driven spiritual leadership, service and interfaith engagement.  Currently Marcia sits on the board of the Interfaith Youth Alliance (IYA) and is the Executive Director of the Orange County Alliance for Just Change (OCAJC).  She and Professor Scott Spitzer learn important lessons daily from their children, Avi, Sheindl and Yaira.  

RabbiJillZimmerman-smallRabbi Jill Berkson Zimmerman is the founder of the Jewish Mindfulness Network and Hineni: The Mindful Heart Community, an online, webinar-based mindfulness community. She teaches mindfulness through a Jewish lens, and Judaism through the perspective of mindfulness. Rabbi Jill has worked in congregations in Beverly Hills (Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills), Riverside, Carlsbad, Mammoth Lakes and Seattle. She is a contributor to the Women’s Torah Commentary and is very involved in social activism. Rabbi Jill was ordained by Hebrew Union College and has graduated from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinic Mindfulness program, and was certified as a Jewish Meditation teacher. Before rabbinical school, she had a career in organizational development and community building and is a Certified Master Gardener. She and her husband just moved to Orange County. Rabbi Zimmerman’s website is:

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