Rabbinic Consultation and Coaching

Individual meetings may be scheduled to address personal or professional issues with one of our experts who are graciously giving of their time.  Please visit the Registration Desk to schedule an appointment with one of the coaches listed below.

“I knew that when I became a rabbi, it made sense to have my own support team around me. So, I took on a mentor, a coach and a therapist – all serve a unique and valued role in my life’s work. They keep me focused on what’s truly important and how to be the best rabbi and leader I can be for my congregation.”

Why do rabbis choose to partner with a coach? What is the value derived throughout their work together? Here are but a few reasons given for why coaches are engaged and the value realized:

  1. Your coach is your objective partner – one that has only your best interest at heart and follows your agenda – it is about your future potential; achieving goals and driving towards a vision
  2. A coach will help you gain new perspectives on the situations in which you find yourself – thereby exploring more than one possible solution to the challenge
  3. Your coach becomes your confidant – the one with whom you can be honest, vulnerable and have an outlet for venting as needed. Everyone needs a safe zone – an understanding and supportive person when things get heated.
  4. Your coach is interested in you being the most effective leader for your staff, your board and your organization/congregation and community – they can provide you additional resources, tools and insights to support you in your drive for excellence and overall fulfillment. They also know how to hold you accountable in getting the important work done.
  5. Your coach is a sounding board for exploring new ideas for both personal and professional growth
  6. And when it’s time to celebrate your achievements – your coach can’t wait to do so!




Dick Axelrod co-founded the Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large scale organizational change. He now brings more than forty years of consulting and teaching experience to this work, with clients including Boeing, British Airways, Chicago Public Schools, Calgary Health Authority, Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Novartis,URJ, and the UK’s National Health Service.

Dick is faculty in Columbia University’s Principles and Practices of Organization Development and teaches Crisis Leadership at the University of Chicago. Dick is a founding member of the Berrett-Koehler Authors Cooperative. Dick authored the award-winning Terms of Engagement: New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations, and co authored You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: How to Involve Others to Get Things Done, which the New York Times called “the best of the current crop of books on this subject.” His forthcoming book is Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done. Dick is the recipient of the Organization Development Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Chicago.

Professional Coach:

  • Neuroscience based coaching
  • Collaborative change leadership
  • Team and organization effectiveness
  • High participation, high involvement strategic planning
  • Cultural change



Larry Dressler is the founder of Blue Wing Consulting, LLC and author of Consensus Through Conversation: How to Achieve High Commitment Decisions and Standing in the Fire: Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage. He is a skilled convener of high-stakes conversations and an advisor to leaders who seek to weave engagement and collaboration into the fabric of their organizations. Larry has consulted with Facebook, Cisco Systems, Nike, 1% for the Planet, Starbucks, New World Symphony, Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Nissan Motors. He has served as a trusted advisor to dozens of rabbis throughout the US.

Professional Coach:

  • Inclusive models for leading change
  • Rabbi as “chief engagement officer”
  • Building an effective and accountable staff team
  • Difficult conversations every rabbi must master
  • Using your core strengths and channeling your reactive tendencies


SueLeviElwellRabbi Sue Levi Elwell, PhD, served the URJ for 18 years as a congregational consultant, working with clergy and lay leaders to establish and nurture relationships of mutual respect and support, strengthening synagogues and sacred communities. Trained as a Spiritual Director, Rabbi Elwell partners and coaches rabbis at every point in their careers, from considering entering Jewish communal life, through placement,  to preparing for, celebrating, and crafting a fulfilling retirement. She is blessed to work with colleagues serving in a wide range of settings, including community rabbis, chaplains, and rabbis in synagogues of all sizes across the US and Canada.  She is enriched and challenged by continuing study at the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Elwell’s work is informed by her lifelong commitment to expanding the Jewish tent, welcoming those traditionally marginalized and invisible but essential to the creation and maintenance of healthy, vibrant, holy and whole communities.

Rabbinic Coach and Spiritual Director:

  • Partner with you in self-assessment and career review
  • Join you in addressing the challenges of rabbinic transition
  • Accompany you through your placement journey from application through first year
  • Work with you to identify and address how gender and/or LGBT issues are impacting your rabbinate
  • Journey with you to reclaim your sense of service as klei kodesh


louis_feldstein_colorLou Feldstein is the CEO and Founder of Dynamic Change Solutions a change management and organizational enhancement consulting practice. He has over twenty-five years of practical and consulting experience in nonprofits and congregational settings and is a proud alum of HUC’s rabbinic and communal service programs



Rabbinic Coach:

  • Organizational strategy and business planning
  • Professional and organizational coaching
  • Change management
  • Operational and program assessment
  • Governance optimization, strategic planning, fundraising


SI Exif

Martha Hausman specializes in negotiating and consulting regarding clergy employment contracts.  Martha practiced as a lawyer, in both Washington and New York, concentrating in business litigation.  In addition, she has served as the Director of Synagogue-Federation Relations at the Jewish Federation in Atlanta and as Director of Development for Jewish Family & Life in Newton, Massachusetts.    She also has a Masters in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Martha brings the unique combination of legal background, Jewish knowledge and rabbinic family experience to her work.

Negotiation Consultant:

  • Negotiate employment contracts for rabbis
  • Provide consulting and coaching for those who want to handle their own negotiations, offering help preparing or strategizing, document review, or as much of the process as required
  • Mediation
  • Clergy employment


Diana Ho

Diana L. Ho loves the unpredictable weather patterns in her hometown Los Angeles as much as she appreciates the variety in her consulting practice.  Her clients value the broad perspective that she brings to the table and that she seeks to “tell it like it is.” When she’s not facilitating, coaching or managing projects, you might find her with her family, hanging out at her favorite foodie establishments, binding books or creating visual journals.

Professional Coach:

  • Finding a healthy balance in your personal/professional portfolio
  • Defining and communicating your role and priorities
  • Navigating lay leadership relations
  • Planning for the future
  • Managing performance


nataliehyattlarge Natalie Hyatt has over 20 years of professional experience in organizational and leadership development, directly leading teams across the country. She is a certified executive coach, having achieved her PCC credential through the International Coach Federation. Other certifications include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Emotional Intelligence and Energy Leadership. Seven years ago, she made the decision to focus her consulting and coaching practice to primarily partner with non-profit leaders and more specifically with rabbis and cantors.

Professional Coach:

  • Successful transitioning
  • Lay and staff leadership development
  • ‘Peak Performance Leadership’─ from the core to optimal potential!
  • Strategic planning and execution
  • Working in partnership with lay leaders


sam-josephRabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D. is Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he teaches in the rabbinical school. His special interest is how Jewish institutions and organizations, from schools to synagogues to national groups, can be most excellent as they seek to fulfill their mission and vision. Toward this end, Rabbi Joseph works with such groups throughout the world. Most recently he taught at the first rabbinical seminary in Germany since the Holocaust, the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin as the Jacobs Fellow. In past years he worked with the Jewish community in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina. He is the founding rabbi of the liberal congregation in Hong Kong. Rabbi Joseph consults with rabbis, educators, administrators, communal leaders and lay leaders, supporting them as they lead their institutions and organizations. He is the author of four books and more than fifty articles in the area of education and leadership.

Rabbinic Coach:

  • Lay and staff leadership development
  • Strategic planning
  • Successful transition
  • Change management
  • Jewish education



Rabbi Steven E. Kaye, MSW has been serving as a Rabbinic Coach to CCAR members for the past 14 years. Steve was one of the first full time rabbinic coaches working closely with rabbis, exploring a wide array of the challenging issues that today’s rabbis encounter in their changing rabbinate. By utilizing a series of high-end assessment tools Steve, guides rabbinic clients through a process of honest self-reflection so that they can engage in new levels of leadership mastery. Steve guides his clients in adapting the most current and best operational practices from the business and non-profit world into congregational life so that their congregations becomes centers of excellence.

In addition to rabbinic coaching, Steve works with a congregation’s professional staff in team building and enhancing effective communication. He often leads Board workshops on embracing change and congregational governance.

Rabbinic Coach:

  • Identifying your unique gifts/talents/skills
  • Preparing for a rabbinic search–resume to interviews
  • Adapting to congregational shift and changes
  • Supervision – dealing with conflict
  • Time and task management


 Abigail Kelman 

I am an attorney with over 25 years of experience: my current private practice devoted to representing clergy in employment matters. I have practiced as a litigator in both the private and public sectors. As a litigator in private practice, I represented clients in mediations and arbitrations as well as in trials. My representation of clergy in employment matters has included contract negotiations, contract renewal, and termination of contracts.

I have spent my life surrounded by rabbis – Conservative, Orthodox and Reform – and have a unique appreciation of their life’s work and pressures. I’m the daughter of Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, z’l, sister of Rabbis Levi Weiman-Kelman and Naamah Kelman, and the granddaughter of Rabbi Felix Alexander Levy, z’l (a Reform Rabbi in Chicago) and Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kelman, z’l (an Orthodox rabbi in Toronto). I was immersed in Jewish life as a child, attending both Jewish Day School, and Jewish youth group and summer camp. As an adult, I have been active in my synagogue, participating on committees and as a b’nai mitzvah tutor. I have volunteered at my children’s Jewish Day School, and the local Jewish Federation. My ties to Israel are strong and I visit at least twice a year. As a layperson active in synagogue life and with my first- hand exposure to rabbinic needs, I bring professional perspective and personal sensitivities necessary for clergy and congregational relations.

Growing up in New York City, our Friday night table was filled with clergy of many faiths, writers, musicians, politicians , entrepreneurs, artists, and public figures. There was always a lively discussion that represented a plurality of ideas and opinions. It was a unique incubator for critical thinking and analysis for my siblings and me.

For the past 5 years, I was a member of the faculty of Saint Louis University School of Law. Prior to this appointment, I practiced in the public and private sectors including the Manhattan DA’s office and the Anti-Defamation League. My experience in the private sector included positions at law firms in New York and St. Louis.

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, with a B.A. in Public Policy and earned my J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. I am admitted before the courts of New York, Missouri, and the United States Supreme Court.

Negotiation Consultant:

  • Representing clergy in employment matters
  • Represent in negotiating contract or extensions
  • Handling of salary and benefit disputes
  • Addressing retirement and end-of-contract issues
  • Creating a harmonious tenure and ensure a smooth transition for the clergy


Ellen-LewisRabbi Ellen Lewis has worked at developing models of clinical supervision for rabbis, cantors, and other religious professionals.  In her private practice, she works with rabbis and cantors in therapy and professional supervision.  After her ordination in 1980, she served congregations in Dallas, Texas, Summit, New Jersey (named Rabbi Honorata), and Washington, NJ (named Emerita).

Ellen Lewis is also a certified and licensed modern psychoanalyst in private practice in Bernardsville, New Jersey and in New York City. She received her analytical training in New York at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies ( and   has served on the faculty of the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (  She is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (

Rabbi and Psychoanalyst:

  • Dealing with difficult personalities
  • Self-awareness
  • Work/life balance
  • Professional supervision
  • Personal therapy



Rabbi Dennis S. Ross has trained and supported hundreds of clergy in the media through groundbreaking work with Concerned Clergy for Choice, Family Planning Advocates of New York State and Planned Parenthood.

Rabbi Ross is author of All Politics Is Religious: Speaking Faith to the Media, Policy Makers and Community released by SkyLight Paths Publishing and God in Our Relationship: Spirituality between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber released by Jewish Lights Publishing. He has written for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Jewish Daily Forward, and blogs for RH Reality Check.

Rabbi Ross is a rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, N. Y. He travels from Massachusetts and New York City as a media trainer and when speaking about spirituality, religious perspectives on reproductive rights, the separation of church and state, and religion in the media.

Communications Consultant:

  • Crisis communications 101 Craft, deliver and stay on a clear compelling message
  • Using a year-round media plan for your congregation/organization
  • On camera media training: Get comfortable, look good and sound your best
  • Turning your favorite sermon into a great opinion essay for newspaper or blog publication
  • Calling all authors: Strengthen and expand your personal “Platform”


Rex Perlmeter

louis_feldstein_colorRabbi Rex Perlmeter was ordained at HUC/JIR in 1985, and went on to serve as spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Greater Miami and the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. After serving on staff at the URJ for five years, he has gone on to found the Jewish Wellness Center of North Jersey, a practice dedicated to supporting all engaged in “seeking Oneness in body, heart, mind and soul.” He is currently completing training as a Spiritual Director and is also pursuing a Masters in Social Work at New York University.

Spiritual Director:

  • Acting as a companion to the directee’s inquiry into the presence of the Divine in his/her experience and concerns
  • Personal transition and redirection
  • Team development and deepening of collaborative relationships through a spiritual lens
  • Grief and loss issues


David WolfmanDavid Wolfman is an expert in conflict resolution and managing organizational change and transition. He is a certified mediator, William Bridges Instructor in Managing Organizational Change and Transition, a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and is a Myers Briggs (MBTI) certified Practitioner.  David Wolfman has a unique insight into lay/clergy relations and is widely recognized as an expert and a leader in this field.  He manages the delicate balance needed for groups with divergent views to find a way forward to new possibilities.

Rabbinic Coach:

  • Navigating conflict and conflict resolution
  • Managing change and transition
  • Rabbinic search and placement
  • Lay/Rabbinical relations
  • Career review