Meet the Orot Team
Founded in 2014, Orot was started by a group of passionate Jewish educators committed to redesigning the paradigm of Jewish learning and opening up the well of Jewish wisdom to all.
Is a communal Jewish educator in the Chicago area. She has taught in a variety of Jewish educational settings, including the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School for seven years, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicagoland Jewish High School, Chicago Jewish Day School and a variety of freelance workshops. Rebecca received a B.A. in Jewish Studies from Princeton University, a M.Ed. from DePaul University, and a M.A. from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago with a focus on Modern Jewish Thought and the philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig. Upon graduation from college, Rebecca spent a year doing community organizing on the west side of Chicago while also leading Jewish environmental backpacking trips, which combined her passion for social action and her love of Jewish teaching. She lives in Skokie with her husband and her three children.
Jane Sherwin Shapiro
Jane Shapiro is passionate about all aspects of Jewish teaching and learning. She has been a teacher to many over the last thirty years, in classes ranging from weekly Torah study to Jewish thought, history and literature. As Associate Director of the Florence Melton School she worked with teachers across North America and Israel to develop good pedagogic practices. She has consulted with organizations ranging from the American Jewish Committee, The Jewish Theological Seminary, Camp Ramah, Spertus Institute, and Jewish Federations of North America. She is a graduate of Princeton University, studied at Columbia University and received her doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016. She is a graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educators Institute and Visions of Jewish Education projects. in 2017 Jane received an Educators Award from the Covenant Foundation. In 2018 she was featured in an Eli talk on “The Torah of Bubbiehood.” She lives in Skokie, Illinois with her husband David and is also mother to four sons, mother-in-law to three daughters and grandmother to four.
Rebecca Joey Schwab
Rebecca Joey Schwab is originally from Skokie Illinois and grew up loving her Jewish education from Solomon Schechter Day school and Camp Young Judaea Midwest. Rebecca graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Hebrew and Semitic studies, Jewish studies, and a concentration in Middle Eastern studies, and worked at the University of Wisconsin Hillel until 2016. Her passions are graphic design, innovative thinking, and strategic marketing. She specializes in digital marketing and communications for Jewish organizational growth and has worked with Orot for two years. Rebecca recently Co-Founded and is the Director of ChiTribe, the premier organization to help connect Chicago Jewish 20s, 30s, and 40s to each other and to more opportunities in Jewish Chicago.
Shifra Whiteman is originally from NYC but now calls Chicago home. She is the founder of PINTL+KEYT, a textile design collaborative with a focus on ethical manufacturing. She's also a Jewish paper cut artists and a hard-core Yiddishist. Shifra received her BFA from the University of Michigan and after a few years of designing, received her Masters degree from Columbia College Chicago in Arts Management. She has taught, led workshops, and participated in panels for University of Michigan, Spertus Institute, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago YIVO, Workmen Circle, Yugntruf, Rodfei Tzedek, and the Jewish Enrichment Center. Her desire for a more fair and equality driven world influences her art/design work. Shifra lives in Uptown, Chicago with her husband, and takes picnicking and Yiddish folk singing very seriously. Shifra is excited to be part of the Orot team and help make an impact in creative channels of Jewish learning.