Rabbi Ben Newman is the founder and spiritual leader of Shtiebel. He served for 7 years as the rabbi of Congregation Har Shalom in Fort Collins, CO, along with his wife Rabbi Shoshana Leis. Rabbi Ben received a B.A. from Skidmore College in Religion and Culture, an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and rabbinical ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York. He previously served as the Associate Rabbi for JRF Congregation M’vakshe Derekh in Scarsdale, New York. Rabbi Ben is the author of a series of childrens' books called The Enchanted Sukkah about a time travelling sukkah. In addition to being a writer and a rabbi, Ben is a singer-songwriter who delights in chanting, playing guitar, and using an Indian instrument called a sruti box. He also enjoys reading Jewish literature of all types, as well as science fiction (his favorite author is Philip K Dick), philosophy and beat poetry. Rabbi Ben lives by the shores of the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, NY and his greatest joy is being father to his daughter and his son.
Aliza Schechter, MS, LCAT, R-DMT, loves sharing dance/movement with the many communities she serves. Recently initiated as a Tzovah (Shrinekeeper) via Kohenet: the Hebrew Priestess Institute, Aliza is passionate about the overlap between creative arts therapy, ritual, spirituality, movement and prayer. She co-hosts the Romemu Red Tent monthly as well as other women's circles, sharing movement as a tool for empowerment and self-discovery. Aliza weaves her dance/priestess training to create innovative life cycle events + rituals for her community, such as Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Within the Jewish community, Ali has developed movement experiences for organizations such as Romemu, Park Avenue Synagogue, the Leichtag Foundation, the JCC Manhattan, the 92Y, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Hazon and now Shtiebel.
Currently, Aliza serves through dance at Hebrew Home at Riverdale, providing dance therapy daily for elderly clients including people with dementia. She has developed interactive, intergenerational dance experiences for Dorot, and recently developed a training to 'Share Dance/Movement Effectively within Eldercare Settings' for Ingleside Farm's Memory-Care staff. Ali also provides dance therapy for United Hebrew Nursing Home, Willow Towers Assisted Living, and Willow Gardens.
Upon graduating from Sarah Lawrence College with an MS in Dance/Movement Therapy, Aliza was hired by Hazon to develop dance therapy at Camp Isabella Freedman for Older Adults and their Families. She has worked with oncology patients and staff, and helped to pilot a dance therapy program at Montefiore Cancer Center through the BOLD (Bronx Oncology Living Daily) Program. She worked for years at the Urban Zen Foundation supporting integrative wellness programs and learning from some of the brightest minds in alternative medicine. Ali is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) and a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT).
Aliza's clinical approach is influenced by her experiences dancing professionally and teaching yoga. She holds a BA in Dance & English from Columbia University, and has spent several years choreographing, making dance films, and dancing for small companies in New York and San Francisco. She continues to make dances that are aligned with the mission and values of Full Circle Dance.
As a yoga teacher, Aliza has roots in OM Yoga Center, where she earned her 200 hour certification. She is also a certified Relax & Renew Restorative Yoga teacher via Judith Hanson Lasater and a graduate of the Breathing Project's Advanced Anatomy program. Ali currently maintains a private practice in NYC and Westchester, where she teaches group yoga classes at Hastings Yoga.