The Cohorts

TischPDX seeks out Jews involved in organizing where they are and offers learning and mentoring to help emergent expressions of Judaism succeed in summoning the future of American Judaism

our 5780 Cohort

Rocky Cohen

Rocky Cohen has been in the Portland area since 1989 making art and music, dancing, and reveling in community. Rocky feels most Jewish when praying, studying, singing Hebrew songs and Nigunim, or sharing stories about the healing of reconnecting with Judaism. Rocky has been on a journey of reclamation of their Jewish heritage intently for the past decade.

This summer for the first time they attended Queer Talmud Camp, where during their vocal warm-ups for the talent show, three baby foxes popped out of the woods to watch! As part of the Tisch Pdx cohort, Rocky hopes to develop their organizer skills in a more professional direction through creating opportunities for queer Jewish communal education.


Herschel Colbert

Herschel Colbert is a creator and builder from Southern California. He is excited to further his experience in the fields of youth engagement, Jewish innovation, and community building. His favorite Jewish memories involve intentional gathering, both around the dining room table and in the informal spaces of summer camp. In his spare time, he enjoys winter sports, fitness, kayaking, travel, and hopes to build his very own tiny house in 2020.

Blair Denniberg

Blair is a proud Jewish lesbian that has made Portland her home for the past six years. Newly rediscovering her Jewish heritage, Blair is looking forward to diving headfirst into everything TischPDX has to offer as a member of cohort #2.

When she is not busy championing radical inclusion at her museum gig or hosting a queer Shabbat, Blair loves to explore PNW swimming holes and spend time with her cat, Cowboy and partner, Rebecca.


Colleen Dixon

Colleen Dixon moved to Portland from Olympia, WA almost 6 years ago. She loves creating and participating in queer Jewish ritual and connecting over Jewish food. When she isn't hanging out with TischPDX, Colleen can be found reading comics, enjoying musical theater, and exploring all of the Pacific Northwest's natural wonders.

She is thrilled to be a part of the newest TishPDX cohort and looks forward to building radical Jewish community and organizing towards collective liberation.

Nat Glitsch

Nat is a zine-maker, an avid engager in unpopular opinions, a Yiddish revival enthusiast, and a secret optimist. Her passions include hidden or not-so-hidden queer Jewish history, inter-generational gatherings, song, and sharing meals among friends.


Yasha Shapiro

Yasha Shapiro has lived in Portland for 10 years. Yasha enjoys pulling together writings, poems, prayers, and nigguns to facilitate and celebrate Jewish ritual and services. They are grateful for the Jewish education and community they experienced growing up outside of Philadelphia, Pa that has given them roots in liturgy, music, and prioritising community.

Yasha loves to immerse in healing mikvahs year round in the cold fresh water of the PNW, and their dog muppet Symon Mazal loves to supervise to make sure the immersion is kosher. Yasha is looking forward to learning and growing with the TischPDX cohort #2 to build more relevant and relatable services and ritual and to also help engage other Jews in talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how this relates to building community.

our 5779 Cohort

Brooke Adams

Brooke Adams is an outdoor-loving, adventure-having, community-building, Queer, Jewish, Portlander. While her zero-to-no Hebrew skills mean you won’t find her chanting Torah or leading prayers, you can always count on her to show up and make ritual inclusive for all.

From her 10-minute Seders at Smith Rock to queer mikveh events at Sauvie Island, Brooke loves bringing all kinds of people together to learn more about what Judaism means to them. Likes: Jewish events that have transliteration, queer/trans/poc inclusive spaces, and of course the short-form prayer for kiddush. Dislikes: Jewish events that feel like matchmaking. ​


Ilana Cloud Strunin

Ilana Cloud is an artist, designer, connector, and lover of song. She has been creating Jewish circles in Portland around food, community, femininity, and song for over 3 years.

After growing up in a secular home, she found her way to Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, where she explored and embraced her deep roots to Judaism and the land. Through farming, singing, and learning about Judaism, Ilana uncovered her ancestral connection to nature and spirit. This experience propelled her towards a true discovery around her health and her long-time dream of being a healing practitioner.

In 2016, she ran Portland’s Jewish Farm Box, Tuv Ha’aretz Portland, which had over 100 families subscribe in the first year! Over the last year she has found real passion in facilitating and co-leading a monthly Rosh Chodesh women’s circle, where women from all walks of life come together to share from their hearts, listen from their souls, and dive deep into both joy and heartbreak. Professionally, Ilana is an artist, web & graphic designer, photographer, and communications crafter both freelance, and at a synagogue in NW Portland. When she’s not designing or creating, you can find her exploring waterfalls and mountains, singing folk songs, pulling animal cards, or sipping tea with her favorite people.

Sara Figueroa

Sara Figueroa is a spiritual seeker, an explorer and a budding Jewish community organizer. As a multi-ethnic Jew from an intermarried family, and a explorer of many faiths and rituals, she seeks to create and/or enhance an open and accepting Jewish spiritual space for davening, singing, ritual, contemplation, meditation and community.

She is currently involved with The Alberta Shul and the At the Well Women’s Circle. and is currently planting the seeds of a Northeast Saturday morning prayer community called Lev PDX. When not building and supporting Jewish community, she is constantly making a list and planning for her next adventure- camping, hiking, a quick trip to the gorge, wine tasting, live music and farmers’ markets in the summer, creative projects–painting, collage and keeping close to friends in the winter. In her professional life she manages contracts, compliance and diversity programs for a physician group and really enjoys her work and colleagues.

Annie Rose Shapero

Annie Rose Shapero is a Jewish community builder, Realtor, housing activist, and creative. As a social entrepreneur she seeks to attune herself to unmet needs in communities, and to create programming and projects that fulfill those needs.

She is especially interested in learning how help create healthy community organizations that nurture participants and embody accountability and work to fight structural inequality and oppression. Recent programs she has led and organized include: Occupy ICE Shabbat, a Purim parade in the Alberta neighborhood and Passover seder matchmaking project on the East Side.

Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern began organizing and educating in the Jewish community when she was a teenager, and has been teaching yoga professionally since 2006. She loves weaving Jewish stories, themes, and values into her yoga teaching, which creates a fully embodied practice of Judaism.

Rachel loves to hold space for students of all ages to experience life fully through their physical, spiritual, emotional, and energetic bodies, and believes that this work is most effective when wrapped in humor and joy. Through the yoga practice we discover that we are lovable and worthy of goodness despite our perceived flaws, and that when we are connected to source we are so much more powerful than when we are not. Rachel is very excited to create and offer an avenue to deepen the spiritual body of this work, and to ignite that spark of connection in Portland’s Jewish community.

check out our programs.


Unaffiliated Jewish Leadership Incubator


Part of UPSTART‘s 2020 Cohort: Read More Here

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