Presenters

These are our amazing presenters for Manchester Day Limmud in June ...  

Nathan Abrams teaches Film Studies at Bangor University. He is the author of Jews & Sex (2008) and The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema (forthcoming).

Mohammed Amin has recently retired after 19 years as a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Amin was an elected member of PwC’s Supervisory Board and also led their Islamic finance network in the UK. Amin studied mathematics at Clare College, Cambridge. His current voluntary activities include being chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Business & Economics Committee, vice-chairman of  the Conservative Muslim Forum, treasurer of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester, a member of the advisory panel of Good Business Practice and a member of the advisory council of the Three Faiths Forum. www.mohammedamin.com

Tahara Amin is a graduate from Keele University in Chemistry and Biology combined with a teaching certificate. She taught chemistry at a Catholic school and then took a long career break to raise four children. Tahara became head teacher at the Manchester Muslim Preparatory School serving in that role for 10 years, establishing the school as a beacon of good practice.  She believes that proper Muslim education is the route to success for both individuals and Muslim societies, and that there is no conflict between religious and secular knowledge. She is a founder member of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester.

Daniel Anderson is co-founder of Tiferet, which offers an integrated approach to psychological and emotional health & wellbeing, based on the timeless, but accessible wisdom of the Kabbalah. He studied at Yeshivat Darché Noam in Jerusalem and is an experienced presenter, educator, public speaker and broadcaster. www.tiferet.co.uk

Ann Angel is a Communities’ Consultant at Leo Baeck College, supporting education projects and teacher training in the North and Midlands. She employs creative methods in her work as a Jewish Studies teacher at Delamere Forest School for Jewish Children with Special Needs. Ann has a special interest in using storytelling, drama and puppetry to engage people in Jewish study and enrich Jewish life. Ann has an MA in Jewish History and Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Bennett Arron is an award-winning writer, actor and stand-comedian and is the only Jewish/Welsh Comedian on the Comedy Circuit. His television performing credits include; Glee Time (in which he hosted a series of six stand-up comedy shows), Large (a satirical sketch show for the BBC) and most recently he was a Presenter on Big Brother's Little Brother. He has written for many comedy programmes, including The 11 O'Clock Show, Commercial Breakdown and the BAFTA winning V Graham Norton. He also wrote most episodes of Genie in The House -  the highest-rated children's sitcom on Nickelodeon as well as the BAFTA winning Slammer  for the BBC. Bennett has recently been supporting Ricky Gervais on a couple of his tour dates. www.bennettarron.com

David Berkley is a barrister, President of the Zionist Central Council of Greater Manchester, as well as co-Chair of Salam Shalom and a member of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester.

Annette Boeckler has a PhD in Bible and specialised in the development and thought of Jewish Liturgy. She studied with cantors as Marcel Lang, s"l and Eliyahu Schleifer and served as a baalat kore in her congregations for the last 10 years. She works currently as librarian of Leo Baeck College Library.

Leah Burman is a consultant child and educational psychologist working in private practice. She has over twenty years experience of working within a Local Education Authority context where she was a service manager for over ten years. She is also an experienced school inspector accredited by the Office for Standards in Education and has taken part in inspections of main stream and special schools. She has published in national journals and has lectured at universities and conferences. She is therefore highly qualified with a wealth of experience and knowledge. www.leahburman.com

Gideon Conn Manchester based artist and musician Gideon Conn has been astonishing crowds in the UK. He is a uniquely gifted songwriter who uses a broad spectrum of music to conjure up songs that you will never have heard the like of before. Whether solo acoustic or with his lively and lovable band, he never fails to fill you with wonder and leave you with a massive grin! http://www.gideonconn.com/

Bob Day is a United Reformed Church minister with two churches, Roby URC in Longsight and Trinity Community Church in Moss Side, in Manchester. The Roby is a ‘health and well being’ project that works with a diverse range of people. Bob is on the steering group of the Manchester Christian-Muslim Forum. He visited Israel / Palestine for the first time in March 2008 as part of an ecumenical visit, which raised many questions for him that he has continued to explore. He is married with two grown up sons.

Warren Elf is a part-time Rabbi of a small synagogue and a secondary school teacher.  He has been involved in many interfaith initiatives in recent years and is a member of one of GMP’s Independent Advisory Groups.  Since the Gaza crisis last year, he has become very involved in discussing the current situation in Israel in interfaith circles.  He is currently exploring ways of developing this work, especially within Jewish and Muslim communities.  He is a passionate Zionist who believes that Israel must live up to the ideals of its Declaration of Independence. www.fodip.org

David Fligg is Principal Lecturer in Classical Music at Leeds College of Music, where his lecturing specialisms include musicology and composition at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is currently leading on a research project investigating those composers who were imprisoned in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, and who later died in Auschwitz. In particular, he is researching the music of Gideon Klein, and how creativity prevailed through adversity. His book A Concise Guide to Orchestral Music  has recently been published in the USA by Mel Bay Publications.

Deborah Freeman is a playwright with an interest in Jewish themes. Originally from Bristol, she lived in Israel for nine years before coming to Manchester.  Her plays have been staged many times on the London fringe and in small tours, as well as in BBC Radio Drama. She runs site-specific creative writing workshops, using the setting as a way of inspiring the work participants produce.  She is interested in the interface between past and present, the Jewish and the non-Jewish world, and Israeli versus diaspora cultural realities

Richard Gold is co-editor of the website Engage. Engage is a left wing campaign, which supports those who fight for peace and against racism within both Israel and Palestine. We do not speak “as Jews” but as socialists, liberals, trade unionists or academics. A number of the people centrally involved in Engage are not Jewish. Engage focuses on one issue, Antisemitism, and is therefore concerned also about the demonization of Israel, and of Jews who don’t think of themselves as anti-Zionists. It believes that a new commonsense is emerging that holds Israel to be a central and fundamental evil in the world. Engage disagree with this notion and think that it is dangerous, because it may well lead to, and license, the emergence of a movement that is racist against Jews in general. www.engageonline.org.uk

Barbara Goldstone a former school teacher (Junior Secondary), and still a tutor in Public speaking and Drama. Barbara is a Vice President a past President (4 times)  of Bnai Brith Manchester and has recently completed a three year term as President of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester. She has 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

Tom Griffiths is a Community Development Worker based at Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society.  He is working on behalf of the so-called White Minorities – that is, Jewish and Irish communities and European Workers and is the only community activist with this specific remit in the UK.  He has helped to establish partnership forums for each of these communities – including the Jewish Mental Health Alliance based in North Manchester and Europia. Tom has also worked as a Mental Health Worker at the Federation of Jewish Services for many years and is an experienced teacher and trainer www.sevamanchester.com

Howard Jacobson So where have you been not to know Howard Jacobson? England's most celebrated and funniest Jewish novelist, journalist, regular broadcaster (most recently seen presenting Creation in the Channel 4 series The Bible: A History)  and all round superstar. His new novel, The Finkler Question, will be published by Bloomsbury in August

Karen Jochelson is the Director of Research at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  She is also the Senior Stakeholder Relationship Manager for the Religion or Belief strand at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In this role Karen acts as the internal champion for the strand and, along with our Stakeholder Relations team, a key contact for Religion or Belief stakeholder organisations. Until December 2007 Karen was a Research Fellow in Policy at the King’s Fund and led the public health work programme. Before then, as an academic and journalist, she published extensively in South African and international journals on sexually transmitted diseases, racism, human rights, unemployment, business, and politics. Her book, The Colour of Disease: Syphilis and Racism in South Africa 1880-1950, was published by Macmillan in 2001. Karen was educated in Johannesburg at University of Witwatersrand (BA (Hons)), and in the UK at University of Oxford (D Phil), and at the London Business School (MBA).  www.equalityhumanrights.com

Gordon & Michelle Kay are co-chairs of Brighton & Hove Limmud 2011 and have been regulars at Limmud National for 12 years. In 2004/5 they gave up their London-based jobs abd traverlled the world (Asia, Australasia and the Americas) before settling in Brighton. They now have a nine-month old baby, Ariella, who was one of the youngest attendees (2.5 months!) at Limmud Conference 2009.

Alex Klein is an expert on cantorial music, who serves as northern rep for Tephilharmonic an organisation for the promotion   and teaching of cantorial music and nusach and has been organising concerts for nearly 40 years. He is also a qualified aromatherapist, married with children and 2  grandchildren, and serves on the Salford SACRE committee.

Kosha Dillz Rami Even-Esh aka Kosha Dillz is an eclectic and captivating lyricist: proud of his Israeli roots, with a New Jersey perspective that is clearly seen in his fusion of freestyle rhymes over Sabra-spiced samples, incorporating his political wit and New School Yiddish cool. www.myspace.com/koshadillz & www.koshadillzworld.com

Clive Lawton  was one of the founders of Limmud and is now its Senior Consultant. He sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority, is scholar-in-residence at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, is on the faculties of the European Centre for Leadership Training and the London School of Jewish Studies, is a magistrate and Chair of Shap the national Working Party on Education in World Religions. Clive works internationally in the fields of organisational, leadership and community development, broadcasts widely and has published about a dozen books.

Natan Levy is the Rabbi of Shenley United Synagogue and Rabbinical Consultant for the LSJS Jewish Responsibility Unit.  He grew up in Berkeley, CA, earned a BA in Comparative Religion at Pomona College and spent a year with Americorps running an equine training project for rehabilitating  youth offenders.  Rabbi Levy  received rabbinical ordination under Rabbi Riskin and Rabbi Brovender at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel.   Rabbi Levy served as the Jewish Campus Chaplain for the Southwest of England and Wales from 2005-2008.  In 2009, Rabbi Levy was appointed  as the Environmental Liaison to the Chief Rabbi’s Office.  Rabbi Levy lives with his wife, Ariella, and their three  children in the village of Shenley.  He can be contacted directly at nzlevy@gmail.com. www.lsjs.ac.uk

Dianne Mehr With over 15 years experience in teaching Israeli & Simcha dancing, Dianne’s dance session will be lots of fun for kids and adults of all ages!  She has attended many dance courses and currently runs a weekly evening class at Maccabi as well as running many dance events and leading the dancing at Simchas. So join Dianne for lively line dances, circle dances and partner dances !

Yossi Mekelberg has taught International Relations at Webster University since 1996 and is currently the International Relations and Social Sciences Programme Director at Webster in Regent’s College London. His fields of interest are International Relations Theory, US Foreign Policy and International Relations and Revolutions. Yossi Mekelberg is also an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. In addition he is a member of the London Committee of Human Rights Watch and a consultant to the Dutch simulation and education foundation Pax Ludens. Yossi is a regular contributor to the international media on these issues.

Shamim Miah is a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield on Religion and Education. He has also worked within the local government sector in the field of research and public policy, with a particular focus on race and religion. Currently he is the vice-chair of Oldham Interfaith Forum. In 2007 he took a group of Muslim and Christian young people to Auschwitz to explore issue of anti-Semitism, holocaust and hate in contemporary society.

Eric Moonman is a visiting Professor at City University, London, and an Honorary Senior Fellow at Liverpool University.  He read Social Science, and Industrial Relations at Manchester University where he obtained his MSc. He is the Co-President of the Zionist Federation. He represented Billericay and Basildon for 10 years in parliament.

Douglas Murray is the Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion. A best-selling author and political commentator, his writings have appeared across the British and foreign press. A columnist for Standpoint magazine, he writes regularly for many other publications including the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator and appears regularly on the BBC and across the British and foreign broadcast media. www.socialcohesion.co.uk www.douglasmurray.co.uk

Jeremy Newmark is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC). Jeremy held the position of Director of Strategic Communications in the Office of the Chief Rabbi and acted as official spokesman.  He has also represented the UK Jewish community within major national and international bodies including the European Union and the United Nations. Jeremy is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.  He is a former National Executive Officer of the National Union of Students

Sarah Polak has many years of experience working with young people in various settings. First as a dance teacher, most recently Sarah has been a support worker for students with special needs. Sarah has a psychology degree from the University of Leeds. At Streetwise Sarah is responsible for both the Primary and Secondary school programmes and community projects in the Midlands, Northern England and Scotland. www.streetwisegb.org/

Lionel Ross lives in Manchester, with his wife Luise.  He has two sons and six grandchildren. He originally worked in textiles but is now a full-time author and publisher. His first novel ‘Fine Feathers,’ was published by PublishAmerica in 2005 and received considerable critical acclaim. (re-published in the UK by i2i Publishing.) His second novel ‘Hidden Heritage’ (2006) launched him into the entirely new world of the Historical Saga. In 2007 came ‘The Baghdad Declaration,’ a thriller with the backdrop of the Iraq War. ‘Men of Conviction’ launched in 2009 is his most successful book so far. He is now working on another story The Dalethorpe Chronicles. Lionel also publishes books for other authors on a wide range of subjects. www.i2ipublishing.co.ukwww.lionelross-novels.co.uk

Dena Ryness is a clinical nutritionist. She runs a private practice in south Manchester, where she treats patients with a wide variety of health concerns, specialising in weight loss and sports nutrition. Her company, Beautiful Active Nourished Ltd, produces a range of delicious, nutritious cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones, and brownies. Low in fat and calories, all cakes are gluten free, and are unique in their use of vegetables and ground nuts in place of unhealthy saturated fats. www.beautifulactivenourished.com

Marc Saperstein became the principal of the Leo Baeck College on July 1, 2006. Previously he held prestigious positions at three American Universities: Harvard (1977-1986), Washington University in St. Louis (1986-1997), and The George Washington University in Washington D.C. (1997-2006). He is the author of five books (most recently Jewish Preaching in Times of War, 1800 – 2001 (Littman Library 2008) and more than 50 articles on various aspects of Jewish history, literature, and thought. Before leaving the United States, he was Vice President of the American Academy for Jewish Research. www.lbc.ac.uk

Shabbat Resouled is a musical Friday night service held at Finchley Progressive Synagogue.  It began two and half years ago with a conversation between Rabbi Neil Janes and a few members about how to bring a new spirit (ruach) to Friday night services at the Synagogue. Gradually it has evolved into a service attended by 150 people each month (of all ages) and with a band of 14 musicians, including: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, keyboard, flute, clarinet, percussion and drums, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and the occasional trombone. www.shabbatresouled.org

Pasha Shah is from Manchester and her interest in the Peace Study trip to Israel was to gain a better and more practical understanding of the issues between Jews and Muslims in real terms and how they are translated across the world. She is director of a consultancy specialising in training, research and analysis of communities. She has a background in leading on regeneration programmes and have worked on approximately 60 research programmes with Salford University on housing and regeneration related projects. She is also Chair of `Peacemaker`, an organisation that works on Community Cohesion and conflict resolution across the UK.

Marvin Shaw has been writing, researching and teaching orthodox, holistic and kabbalistic 'Jewish happiness' for over 10 years. He is a kabbalistic life-coach, soul poet, co-founder of tiferet.co.uk and author of '10 Days To Change Your Life.' Marvin's mission is to spread 'Jewish happiness' around the world. www.tiferet.co.uk

Sharon Shenhav is an international women’s rights lawyer specializing in Jewish divorce and the problem of agunot.  She has represented hundreds of women in the rabbinical courts of Israel and served as the only woman on the Commission to Appoint Dayanim for 6 years.  Based in Jerusalem, she lectures widely and presented at Limmud Conference 2009.

Michael Shire is the Vice-Principal of Leo Baeck College, London and serves as the Director of the Education Department. He is an ordained rabbi with a PhD in Jewish Education focusing on the spirituality of children. Pesach is his favourite festival and the four children his favourite passage in the haggadah! www.lbc.ac.uk

Mark Solomon is Rabbi of the Manchester and Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Communities, Interfaith Consultant for Liberal Judaism, and lecturer in Talmud at Leo Baeck College. He is also a cantor, an honorary rabbi of the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, and co-chair of the London Society of Jews and Christians, the Scriptural Reasoning Society and the Interfaith Alliance UK. www.mljc.org.uk

Adam Taylor writes and broadcasts topical poems on the BBC World Service as poet in residence for “The World Today”. He has also performed his poetry at the Edinburgh Fringe, Jewish Book Week, South Bank, arts and poetry festivals, comedy clubs, and in schools. Published poems and features include Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Poetry Review. Adam’s poetry book “God’s Face In Your Gazpacho” is published by Troubador. www.adamtaylorpoetry.com

Janet Taylor is a trustee for Manchester Jewish Liberal Council. She lives with dyspraxia and dyslexia. She founded The Dyspraxia Adult Action group in Manchester which is now a Neurodiversity group. She is studying on the MA in Inclusion & SEN at MMU. She is self employed with Dyspraxia Inclusive Training and is also a qualified Community and Youth Worker and Tutor. She has a passionate interest in Disability Studies and the inclusion of disabled people in Shuls and chederim.

Ian Vellins is a lawyer, an Oxford graduate, tribunal judge and art lover. He recently returned to university studies and completed a postgraduate Masters degree at Manchester University in Holocaust Studies. He teaches a Melton Hebrew University Holocaust  course in Leeds, and is currently researching Nazi-looted art

Sam Westrop is the director and founder of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, an organisation that advocates liberty and democracy in the Middle East. The Institute achieves its aims through various campaigns, many at campus level, and has branches in universities across the UK. This summer will see the launch of Stop the Bomb - a campaign against the duplicitous and despotic Iranian regime and its nuclear programme www.instmed.org

Yaakov Wise was born and brought up in Manchester and St Annes on Sea. After a long career in marketing and PR he returned to university to qualify as a lecturer in Jewish history and politics. He now works as a free-lance historian, journalist and broadcaster specialising in Orthodox Jewish affairs. He speaks to and advises a wide range of organisations from the BBC and the Guardian to the Anglican Diocese of Manchester and the NHS. He is Vice-Chairman of the Jewish Mental Health Alliance of Greater Manchester representing patients and carers http://www.mucjs.org

Joy Wolfe is co president of the ZF, UK representative of StandWithUs and Life president of the ZCC and Manchester Wizo.   She runs an international media response network promoting Israel’s true image, and countering the amount of misinformation and demonization of Israel in  the media.  She speaks to Jewish and non Jewish groups about Israel, and also talks to Jewish societies in mainstream schools.  She is a school governor, a former magistrate  and chairman of governors of Langdon College for students with learning difficulties.   She regularly visits Israel and fundraises for Or Meir and Bracha Victims of Terror Centre and the Get A Job scheme. She is the former  editor of the Jewish Gazette, and is now a consultant to the  provincial edition of the Jewish Chronicle, the recently launched JC North. She is married with three children and six grandchildren.  One daughter and her family live in Israel, her son and family live in Virginia Beach USA and her youngest daughter an family live in Manchester    http://www.communityjewishvoices.co.uk/

Yitzak Averaging a broken bow hair rate of 5 per minute, Yitzak don't hold back in live performance. With a hefty dose of improvisation and jovial in band one-upmanship around traditional tunes from eastern European Gypsy, Balkan and Klezmer traditions - no two of their high-energy performances are alike. Yitzak have never failed to get an audience dancing - young, old, inebriated, sober, in a bar, in a church - it's a 100% record that, now approaching the 100th gig mark, they're understandably proud of. Yitzak exist to perform, finding nothing that compares to allowing this timeless and highly passionate music to flow through them to a captivated audience - no venue to small or large, no gig too strange, if you love live music you will love Yitzak. www.myspace.com/yitzakband