Rabbi Joey Felsen
Rabbi Joey Felsen, Founder and Executive Director of the Jewish Study Network, hails from Toronto, Canada. He completed a B.A. in Political Science at York University before pursuing rabbinic ordination in Israel at the Mirrer Yeshiva.
As an activist in university, Rabbi Felsen held the titles of National Chairperson of the Jewish Students’ Network of Canada and the Vice-Chairperson of the World Union of Jewish Students.
Rabbi Felsen and his family moved from Jerusalem to Palo Alto in 2001 to launch the Jewish Study Network. He received the 2006 Grinspoon-Steinhardt National Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for his teaching at Kehillah Jewish High School. He currently teaches in the Florence Melton School for Adult Education at the Jewish Community Centers in Palo Alto and Los Gatos, in addition to the regular classes that he conducts as independent JSN educational offerings.
Rabbi Felsen is a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. He is also the founding Board President of Meira Academy and the proud parent of a pioneering freshman.
Rabbi Avi Lebowitz
Rabbi Avi Lebowitz received his ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore and a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He moved to Palo Alto in 2002 with his family to join the Jewish Study Network and became the Educational Director of the JSN in 2005. He served part-time as the Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Torah in San Jose for the first two years following his arrival to the Bay Area.
An expert in the realm of Halacha (Jewish law), Rabbi Lebowitz recently published a comprehensive and scholarly work on the Mikvah (ritual bath), which includes an innovative commentary on the related Mishnaic tractate. He is also the author of “Nasiach Bechukecha”, a commentary on the Chayei Adam’s principles of the commandments. Rabbi Lebowitz is consulted worldwide on intricacies of Jewish law.
In addition to being on our board of directors, Rabbi Lebowitz teaches halacha at Meira Academy. He is an active member on the Head of School search committee of South Peninsula Hebrew Day School and is the only rabbi in the Bay Area who is qualified to write Gittin (Jewish divorce papers) that are universally accepted.
Ms. Victoria Rodrigue
Ms. Rodrigue received her Bachelors in Arts from The College of the Holy Cross in 2007 with a degree in Music and German Studies. A top student through-out her college career, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2007-2008 academic year.
Ms. Rodrigue spent her Fulbright year at the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, where she studied the sketches for Hugo Wolf’s unfinished opera, Manuel Venegas. She also worked as a teaching assistant in English at two Viennese high schools and spent her spring break exploring the pyramids at Giza and Karnak. Following her year abroad, Ms. Rodrigue attended the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, where she received a Master’s Degree in Musicology. Her master’s thesis, which she later presented and published as an article, examined musical representations of sociocultural identity in Viennese Operetta.
Ms. Rodrigue moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to begin work on her PhD in musicology at Stanford. While there, she began studying Hindustani Classical Music and had the unique opportunity to take a class with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan while he was a resident artist at Stanford.
Ms. Rodrigue has experience teaching students of all ages. She taught undergraduate music history, ethnomusicology, and ethnography classes at both the University of Michigan and Stanford University as a graduate instructor. After five years in academia, Ms. Rodrigue turned her attention to younger students. She has worked with two non-profit extended learning programs in California, Moving Forward Education, which provides academic and social-emotional support for young girls in low-income schools, and Citizen Schools, where she taught math and enrichment classes to low-income middle school students who were below-grade-level in math and English. Most recently, Ms. Rodrigue helped to open BASIS Independent Silicon Valley in San Jose, where she served as Dean of Students and the Summer School Principal.
In her previous roles, Ms. Rodrigue has taught her students that in order to be successful they must take ownership of their educational experience, define their own goals, and develop the ability to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. She encourages her students to see failure as a starting point and a learning opportunity, to explore and develop their own interests, and to support and respect their fellow students. She believes passionately in the importance of nurturing the “whole student” and is excited to join the community at Meira Academy
Ms. Rodrigue loves surfing and skateboarding and can be found in the lineup at Santa Cruz at the Hook, Sharks, or 38th avenue most weekends. When not surfing, she also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and wilderness backpacking.