Rabbinical Leadership

Rabbi Leora Abelson

Rabbi Leora Abelson (she/they) grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and lived in Middletown, CT; Nairobi, Kenya; and Chicago, IL before moving to Boston to attend Hebrew College Rabbinical School. She was ordained as a rabbi in 2017. Prior to serving at Nehar Shalom, she was the rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro, MA. She has completed four units of chaplaincy training (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Hebrew SeniorLife and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and in addition to serving as Nehar Shalom’s rabbi, she works as an Interfaith Chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care. She has been active in movements for social justice for many years, including fighting against racism and classism in the queer community in Chicago and supporting the Palestinian- and Israeli-led struggle for justice, safety, dignity, and freedom for all Israelis and Palestinians. She was led towards the rabbinate by her longing for a Jewish communal home that is aligned with her commitment to building a more just world and with her anti-oppression values (and with good singing of course!). She is passionate about making Jewish tradition and practice – from Talmud study to embodied theology to deeply rooted ritual –  accessible to those longing for it. She is equally passionate about celebrating historically silenced voices and bringing diverse experiences into conversation with our tradition, believing that we know the Divine and understand and live Torah more fully only when our full collective wisdom is expressed. Leora lives with her partner Ray-ray in Jamaica Plain. She is a proud auntie and grammar nerd, shyly plays the violin, and loves the ocean.   

To reach Rabbi Leora email her at: rabbileora@neharshalom.org

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                                                  Rabbinic Staff

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Hindy Finman

Rabbinic Intern

Hindy Finman (she/her) is a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College. As a Chassidic feminist Hindy loves fusing her passion for Torah, niggunim (wordless melodies), nature, and mental health into experiential educational experiences. Her goal as a rabbi is to normalize the human experience be it from the Bima, or while leading backpacking trips in the mountains. She enjoys playing with clay and dreams of operating a rustic ceramic space that also serves really good soup and bread. Hindy is excited to join the Nehar Shalom community and is eager to learn from and with you this year. Hindy can be reached via email at Hinda.Finman@hebrewcollege.edu

Family Education Staff

Rabbi Shahar Colt

Family Programs Director/Teacher

Rabbi Shahar Colt (she/her) most recently served for five years at Dorshei Tzedek as the Rabbi for Congregational Learning.  Rabbi Shahar graduated from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, MA in 2016. During her time in rabbinical school, she served in a range of rabbinic capacities- including leading services, teaching, writing, organizing and providing apastoral presence at Hampshire College, Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation (Bethlehem, NH), Temple Shir Tikvah (Winchester, MA), Jews United for Justice (Washington, DC), Interfaith Power & Light of Greater Washington, and the Boston-Area Jewish Education Project (Waltham, MA). She also completed a unit of clinical pastoral education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and founded the Teen Beit Midrash, a supplementary education program for post b’nai mitzvah students.

Before rabbinical school, Rabbi Shahar earned her Masters in Education at Tufts University (2008), with a focus on secondary level humanities, and her Bachelors from Barnard College (2006) in American Studies, with a concentration in Education. She has taught secular academic subjects in public and private schools, general and special education classrooms, as well as swimming, dance, cooking and woodworking in after school programs, youth group and summer camps.  She lives in Watertown MA with her partner and baby.

To reach Rabbi Shahar email her at: education@neharshalom.org

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Morgan Figa

Family Learning Circle Program Leader

Morgan Figa (she/her) joined Nehar Shalom in the fall of 2021 after moving to the area and is excited for the opportunity to work with and learn from Nehar Shalom families! She moved back to Boston after eight years in Washington, D.C. to start rabbinical school at Hebrew College. Prior to her time in D.C., she lived in Cambridge and got her master's of education in Language and Literacy development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has experience teaching first and second grade and previously ran the Jumpstart program at American University.  

Operations Staff

Paula Spies

Operations and Communications Assistant

Paula (she/her/hers) grew up in Encino, California. Paula also works at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute (LDBPI) as the Development Associate. The LDBPI is known for hosting the annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace in Dorchester. She enjoys supporting groups and individuals in different capacities to facilitate results. In addition to the LDBPI, Paula has worked both professionally and in a volunteer capacity with a number of non-profits to increase their efficiency, focusing on establishing systems and processes to support the mission, increase fundraising, and improve collaboration. She has also worked with synagogues as the Youth and Family Director. Paula lives in Needham and is a huge animal lover, particularly dogs. To reach Paula email her at: communications@neharshalom.org.

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