Seekers Teaching Team

The Seekers faculty is made up of Romemu staff and clergy. The team works together to meet the goals of the curriculum and to prepare the students for B Mitzvah at Romemu.  

Dianne Cohler-Esses

Director of Life Long Learning

Rabbi Dianne provides oversight and designs curriculum for Seekers. She was the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community to be ordained as a Rabbi. She graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1995, where she was awarded several fellowships and a prize for academic excellence. Since that time she has served as an educator, scholar-in-residence, and administrator for multiple organizations in the Jewish world, including CLAL, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, The Curriculum Initiative and UJA Federation. In 2007 she was named one of fifty top rabbis by the Washington Post online. Besides leading education efforts at Romemu she currently co-teaches the Arts Beit Midrash at the Skirball Institute with Tobi Kahn, teaches courses at UJA Federation a nd writes and speaks regularly on Torah, Jewish values and family life, Jewish ethnicity and Judaism and disabilities. Rabbi Dianne and her journalist husband Larry live on the upper west side of Manhattan and have three children.

Rabbi Shoshana Leis

Director of Youth and Family Education

Rabbi Shoshana directs the Seekers program and also teaches Parsha Play (grades 3-5) as well as our B Mitzvah students. Rabbi Shoshana recently served for seven years as co-rabbi (with her husband, Rabbi Ben Newman) at Har Shalom Center for Jewish Living in Ft. Collins, CO.  A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Dartmouth College, she also studied at St. Petersburg University, the Conservative Yeshiva, and the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies. She served as Rabbi and Educational Director at Congregation Tehillah in New York City, where she developed “Shira Hadasha,” an intergenerational initiative for which she received the Legacy Heritage Innovator Award.

Rabbi David Ingber


Rabbi David works with our B Mitzvah students on writing their Kavanot (Dvar Torah) and leads B Mitzvah family lunch and learns. With his extensive experience of so many wisdom traditions, Rabbi David brings a unique depth and breadth of understanding to his rabbinic work. He is deeply committed to comparative religious studies and to integrating into Judaism practices which consistently prove effective in opening a connection with the Divine.

Read more about Rabbi David….

Hazzan Basya Schechter

Chazzan Basya teaches our B Mitzvah students and also leads our Seekers band. She was ordained January 2016 by ALEPH Cantorial School, and has been the recipient of numerous compositional and project grants from NY State Council of the Arts and the American Music Center.  She is also known for her group Pharaoh’s Daughter, a seven-piece neohasidic world music ensemble that travels effortlessly through continents, key signatures, and languages with a genre-bending sound.

Lauren Jacobs

Lauren teaches Parsha Play with grades K-2 on Saturday mornings.  She has worked in preschool programs at Bank Street, Yaldaynu, the 14th Street Y and Karma Kids and has also been a curriculum designer, workshop presenter, creative & editorial writer and teacher of language arts, theatre, improvisation, creative writing and anti-bullying.

Lauren earned her M.Ed. at Harvard GSE and is completing her M.S. in Early Childhood General & Special Education at Bank Street.

She believes that experiences of creative play, community-building, storytelling, yoga & mindfulness and embodied Jewishness can inspire, empower and unite children, families and communities.

Atarah Guedalia

Atarah teaches our 4th and 5th graders and our B Mitzvah students. She is an educator at both Romemu and the Tarot Society. She also makes “art” around Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Atarah was raised with a deep love of Jewish texts and spent her time as a student in Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in NYC, as a theory and philosophy student at NYU, and as a student of theater at Tisch— getting in touch with the importance of mythology and storytelling in communities and personal lives.

Aaron Walker

Aaron teachers our 2nd and 3rd grade Seekers students. He grew up with Renewal services in Bloomington, Indiana, and comes from a strong interfaith family.  He has taught at many synagogues and camps.  He has also taught at the Smithsonian, and was head of education on board a historic sailing ship used in Pirates of the Caribbean. He has a master’s in Food History from University of Toronto, and creates lessons using music, food, dance and games to critically approach Jewish religious practices, ethics and culture.