Beineinu is a New York City-based initiative dedicated to cultivating personal Jewish pathways that resonate with the unique needs of our modern world. We build community -- between us -- by offering meaningful experiences for all people of all ages. Whether you’ve long been a part of Jewish life, or are embarking on something utterly new, we invite you to join our gatherings and develop your own customized endeavor with us.
The concept behind Beineinu is the Havurah model: our leadership cultivates small communities formed from about 10 households, and implements a plan with each group. The group decides the content and the frequency of meetings, gathering throughout the year to explore and connect with Jewish learning and one another, developing and strengthening identity with relevance and meaning. Our first groups have come together in Brooklyn, Harlem, and on the Upper West Side.
Connected to our mission for growth outside the traditional four walls, we also offer rich and varied immersive learning opportunities for people of all ages, from music classes to preparation for B'nai Mitzvah -- just look on our education page for more information. Beineinu also offers High Holyday services, Shabbat gatherings, justice-oriented change-making and service opportunities, and outings into our great city -- all open to the broader community -- which you can find on our calendar.
Click here to read about Beineinu in Haaretz (English Edition).
RABBI LAURIE PHILLIPS
Founder and Director
Profoundly impacted by her participation in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute in 1995, Laurie set out on a path to intentionally cultivate her own spiritual journey. Becoming a rabbi was an ideal way to merge her passion for Judaism and education after earning a BA in education and special education, as well as an MA in Leadership in Teaching, Curriculum and Supervision. During her time in rabbinical school, she participated in the Mandel Senior Educator program. Laurie was ordained by HUC, Los Angeles in 2003, and last year she completed the 3 year Rabbinic Leadership training provided by the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Laurie has worked for JCC Association as the Associate Director for the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, co-creating "Lechu Lachem,” designed to immerse camp directors in a personal exploration of their relationship with Judaism. She served as the Director of Education for Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Congregation Habonim, transforming both into an energized, vibrant place for learning and growth. In collaboration with the Manhattan JCC and three other Manhattan synagogues, Laurie helped create and implement the Jewish Journey Project, a choice-based supplemental Jewish educational program for kids through middle school.
Laurie is active in Kids4Peace, Vice President of MATAN, UPROOTED board member, and a trained birth doula. She is deeply committed to empowering women to reclaim mikveh through education and crafting individual experiences. Laurie is also a teacher of mindfulness and believes strongly that a regular practice involving silence and chanting can transform, nourish and heal.
Laurie lives in Harlem with her husband Howard, step-son Adam, and their dog Daisy.
Music Director and Co-Spiritual Leader
Originally from Israel, Daphna Mor is an internationally renowned musician, hailed by the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune for her virtuosity, as well as a passionate educator.
Daphna has performed on such prestigious stages as Summer Stage, NY, with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and as a soloist at Carnegie Hall. She also performed in festivals and concerts in the United States, Canada, Poland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Greece, and Israel. Among her many recordings, Daphna appears on Sting’s CD "If On a Winter’s Night." Christopher Hunt of MSN writes: "Ms. Mor leaves all who witness her playing with a smiling jaw-dropped expression.”
Since moving to Brooklyn in 2000, she has established herself as a leading musician and educator/prayer leader in the Jewish world, serving as a Musician in Residence at B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue, and leading the Early Childhood program and services at Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park. In other educational initiatives, Daphna acts as the Musician to the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art connecting Art and Music Education.
Daphna lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with her husband Daniel and their two daughters Alona and Aya.
Musician and Educator
Adam Blotner's love for Judaism was fostered at magical summers spent at URJ Camp Swig/Newman in California. His vision is to share the spirit, joy, and energy of Jewish summer camp with all ages in all settings. Before moving to New York in 2012, Adam lived in Los Angeles where he was the Head Songleader for NFTY Southern California, and Music Specialist at Kehillat Israel. He writes and performs original Jewish rock with his band "Hebrew School All-Stars" (yes, it's available on iTunes!).
When he's not at shul, Adam does sketch comedy and improv. With his collective of fictitious bands, "Pop Filter," he has performed in festivals and theaters across the country, including the NY Fringe Fest, LA Comedy Fest, and NYC Comedy Week. He grew up in sunny San Diego, and currently lives in lovely Hoboken with his beautiful wife Jenny and their adorable dog Cannoli.
Ellie’s Jewish identity developed in her hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Shabbat and holiday celebrations with family and friends, JCC preschool, synagogue religious school, and Jewish youth groups - B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO) and United Synagogue Youth (USY). She helped foster Jewish teens’ love for Judaism, as the Religion/Education Vice President for Chicago USY's Regional Board. Ellie regularly led services, read Torah, and persuaded her peers to do the same. But, Camp Ramah in Wisconsin is Ellie's happy place and solidified her Jewish connection. A camper for three summers and counselor for one, Ellie's favorite place to celebrate Shabbat is on the shores of Lake Buckatabon in Conover, Wisconsin.
Ellie is similarly passionate about music. She has played the violin since first grade, including playing in the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) for 6 years and touring with MYSO last summer in Vienna and Budapest.
Ellie is a second-year undergraduate student at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, studying chemistry and Spanish and looking ahead to medical school. Ellie loves exploring her new surroundings and NYC but true to her Wisconsin roots, she’ll always be a Green Bay Packers fan!
Justice Work Coordinator
Charlotte Gordon is a proud member of Beneinu and has two children participating in the explorers program. She believes that the concept of tikun olam—repairing the world—and helping others in the community is a fundamental part of the Jewish faith.