top of page

TORAH STUDIO TEAM

Liana Wertman
Founder & Executive Director

she/her/hers

Liana first fell in love with Torah at the Shabbat dinner table, hearing and discussing the stories with her family. 

 

Liana graduated with a BA in History from USC (2016) and has a Masters in Educational Leadership from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute Of Religion (2022). She spent the best fourteen summers of her life at Gindling Hilltop Camp (clap clap), from camper to counselor to CIT Director and was Youth Director at Temple Israel of Hollywood. She now spends summers at the Brandeis Collegiate institute (BCI) as a Beit Midrash educator and created their newest 10 Day Program. She spent a year at The Pardes Institute for Jewish Learning, the Classic Talmud Program from Yashrut, and was an inaugural fellow of the SVARA Pedagogy Chaburah.  She is a recipient of the 2022 Pomegranate Award from the Covenant Foundation.  Oh, and sometimes she's a Mikveh attendant. 

Currently, Liana runs The Torah Studio from her home in Los Angeles, where you can also find her making pottery, creating art with yarn, or getting ready for Shabbat. 

Headshot of Liana Wertman

Lexi Kohanski
Director of Online Learning

she/her/hers

As a descendant of the Lover and Pursuer of Peace, Aharon, and the line of priestly tenders of Temple, Lexi’s ancestral mission lies in sanctifying the offerings of all our hearts so that the Presence can dwell in this world. In her work as a queer, white Ashkenazi, trans female Jewish educator, Lexi focuses on empowering those of us who have not felt at home in Judaism to own our texts and traditional lifeways. 

 

Lexi has studied Torah at the Conservative Yeshiva, Pardes, and Yeshivat Hadar, as well as at the Torah Studio. She has taught Talmud at Yeshiva Shel Maala, and her essay Be Whole: A Halakhic Approach to Gender and Transition has been published as part of SVARA’s Trans Halakha Project. She’s also the Director of Online Learning at the Torah Studio, which means she gets to bask in all your incredible Torah insights and questions as her job!

 

Find Lexi watching video game livestreams or on the bench between the flowers and the river.

20221023_153123_edited.jpg

 TEACHERS

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

shaiya.jpeg

DR SHAIYA ROTHBERG

Shaiya Rothberg (he/him) teaches Kabbalah and Jewish Thought in Jerusalem Al-Quds. He holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew U and a BA in Jewish Thought and Talmud from Bar Ilan University. Shaiya is mostly interested in the transformative potential of Jewish symbols for spiritual life and for social justice. He grew up in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 1988. In his extra time, he likes to hang out at home with his family.

DR SHAIYA ROTHBERG

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

Jay Smith Headshot.jpg

JAY SMITH

Jay Smith (they/them) is an illustrator, clinician, and longtime Torah Studio learner based in Western Massachusetts. They have no formal arts education and credit their grandmother Sylvia with teaching them to paint at an early age. Their work explores themes of Jewish identity, ancestry, queerness, and longing. They currently reside in Florence, MA with their partner, Clare, and two fur babies Gene and Charlie.

JAY SMITH

PAST TEACHERS

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

Headshot of Rebecca Chess

REBECCA CHESS

Rebecca Chess (they/them) is a proud Torah Studio educator who loves to match, whether that means a monochrome outfit or a cup of rich and deep  coffee to match Torah study. They're also happen to be fourth year Rabbinical Student at HUC-JIR. When they aren’t making pasta for their friends you might catch them on a sunny afternoon eating sour gummy worms in a park. 

REBECCA CHESS

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

80807287_2694840253928393_6470621162048061440_n.jpg

SOPHIA ZOHAR

Sophia Zohar (she/her), aka Maimonides Nutz, is a Jewish artist, writer, and Internet personality residing in the Bay Area. She is best known for her absurd Jewish memes and the refining the Jewish Goth Aesthetic with her artistic designs.

SOPHIA ZOHAR

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

Headshot of Hannah Bender

HANNAH BENDER

Hannah Bender (they/them) is a second year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR LA. They grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with their parents and little sib and have a BA in Religion from the University of Minnesota. In their extra time they love making fancy soups and collaging cards for their friends around the world. 

HANNAH BENDER

Marketing Executive

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me.

ChavaHeadshot.jpeg

CHAVA SHAPIRO

Chava Shapiro (they/them) is a queer Jew dwelling on the lands of Tohono O’odham people. They are invigorated by the way that Talmud acts as a conduit of ancestral conversations that span space and time. They are a SVARA Kollel fellow and the founder of the Jewish Zine Archive, which serves as both an archival collection and digital Jewish cultural space.

CHAVA SHAPIRO

bottom of page