Meet the Team

Elaina MarshalekElaina Marshalek (she/her) – Faculty

Elaina is SVARA’s Director of Programs and a fellow in SVARA’s Teaching Kollel. She loves to color code her daf (page of Talmud) in full rainbow. She is hungry to help uncover the Torah and wisdom that y’all SVARA-niks carry. Elaina was born, raised, schooled, and still resides in the Bay Area, Ohlone territory. She holds degrees in forestry, probability and an M.S. in engineering from UC Berkeley, and swears they all have to do with Talmud study. She is an alum of Yeshivat Hadar, spends time supporting mass social movement building, and has worked in an array of industries, leading her to tropical forests, salt ponds, and hospital hallways. Most recently, Elaina worked as Director of Strategy for UCSF Health, shepherding the organization through pandemic response and hospital recovery. She is thrilled to dive into full-time mitzvahland with SVARA and to support this rad, vibrant community as it grows and deepens. When she’s not learning Talmud, Elaina loves reading gay YA, playing piano, and working toward that sweet feeling of liberation.

SAM LuckySAM Luckey (mix he/she/they and other pronouns) – Fairy

SAM is a queer and genderqueer rabbi, ordained at Hebrew College in 2020, currently working as a chaplain at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and thrilled to be part of SVARA’s Teaching Kollel. Born and raised in Oakland, CA, SAM has long been involved in building Jewish community in the Bay Area. In 2013 SAM and Talya Husbands-Hankin co-founded Glitter Kehilla, a community of younger adults of all genders and sexualities doing Jewish and being fabulous. As part of SAM’s rabbinic internship at Kehilla Community Synagogue, they also started the monthly ‘Liturgically Traditional, Radically Inclusive’ Kabbalat Shabbat service (Rad Trad Kab Shab), and SAM helped to launch Kehilla’s initiative for racial justice and de-centering whiteness, the Belonging and Allyship Project. Before pursuing the rabbinate, SAM was a professional circus performer, and she brings playful embodiment and creativity to all his endeavors, on and off the daf.

Lauren TuchmanLauren Tuchman (she/her) – Fairy

Lauren received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018 and is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. A sought after speaker, spiritual leader and educator, Lauren has taught at numerous synagogues and other Jewish venues throughout North America and was named to the Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 for her innovative leadership concerning inclusion of Jews with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life. Lauren is a SVARA Teaching Fellow.

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