Rabbi Chava Bahle
Rabbi Chava Bahle is coming to our 5-Day Academy with recent experience at St. Benedict’s as a presenter in the Nebraska Two-Year Academy #38. We welcome her back to Nebraska where she will be coming to teach us more about contemplative action through Jewish teaching.
Rabbi Chava teaches courses in religion, spirituality, writing and non-profit leadership at Northwestern Michigan College, where she helped found the non-profit leadership certificate program. Rabbi Chava is the Director of the Or Tzafon Retreat Community, a center for the study of Jewish mysticism, interfaith spiritual practice and contemporary worship, serving the Midwest.
She currently travels to serve as Rabbi of Makom Shalom community of Chicago and is the rabbinic leader of the Jewish-Catholic Family School also of Chicago. She also serves as the Visiting Rabbi of Temple Beth El in Midland, Michigan. Rabbi Chava is a frequent visitor to C3 Exchange in Spring Lake, Michigan. She was a volunteer chaplain for the Michigan Department of Corrections for 18 years, and was the 1999 recipient of the city of Traverse City's Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award for her work in human rights. She has been recognized by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for her leadership in this arena.
Rabbi Chava received her Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies (1994, under the direction of Rabbi Dr. Elliot Ginsburg) from University of Michigan. She received her first smicha (rabbinic ordination) in 1998 from a beth din (rabbinical court) of ordained rabbis from 3 denominations in New York and her rabbinic smicha from the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal Smicha Program in July, 2005. She is also an ordained Maggid, a Jewish inspirational preacher and story teller in the lineage of Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
Rabbi Chava believes in the power of action and contemplation, and has taken to the streets throughout the past year to stand as a witness and be a voice for those who would otherwise stand alone. She lives in Suttons Bay, Michigan and is married to Karl Bahle. Together they are raising a fine and holy kitten named Minnie Purrl.
Rev. Fr. John Mefrige
Rev. Fr. John Mefrige is coming to our 5-Day Academy with recent experience at St. Benedict’s as a presenter in the Nebraska Two-Year Academy #38. We welcome him back to Nebraska where he will be coming to teach us more about contemplative action through an Orthodox perspective.
Fr. John is a Canadian of Syrian and Lebanese descent, a Naturalized American and a permanent resident of San Antonio, TX. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, he was raised in the Orthodox Church and he continues to serve as an active Priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
Fr. John has both theological and psychological education and formation, holding both a Master of Divinity degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary and is presently pursuing his doctorate. Fr. John has served various parishes in the Orthodox Church in a pastoral ministry capacity and also has practiced as a professional Marriage and Family Therapist.
Fr. John is endeavoring to establish a uniquely Orthodox expression of the psychological sciences and is particularly committed to teaching healthy conflict resolution skills to both parishes and families and is the founder of the the Coalition of Orthodox Peacemakers.
Fr. John is happily married to his loving wife Janet and they have three daughters: Cassiana (14), Emmanuelle (12) Marina (9), and one son, Andrew (7).
- Jamie Norwich-McLennan - retreat leader
- Mike Flury - registrar
- Amalia Spruth-Janssen - listening circles
- Sally Ruggia-Haden - worship coordinator