Speakers and Workshop Leaders
From Previous JWWS Events

We are honored to have such talented women (and man) share their skills, perspectives and guidance.
A heartfelt thank you to each and every one!

Chaya Hinda Allen

Chaya Hinda Allen, world-renowned Torah teacher, leads pioneering innovative programs for women. Her daily program “Chaiyil” is an international community of Jewish women. Members receive an 18-minute installment of Chaiyil every day – either an uplifting audio message, member success story, guided bitachon experience or practical exercise. Presently, the sefiras Haomer Program is in full swing.

Chaya Hinda also runs Think Positive!, an intensive program designed for self-improvement, emunah, bitachon, hope and real change for even the most difficult life circumstances.

Chaya Hinda sees the most amazing stories unfold from participants in her programs. These programs empower women through a doable step-by-step process to bring more happiness, inner peace, better relationships, success, and closeness with Hashem – and to dramatically change each person’s life for the better. She gives workshops in the greater Jerusalem area, Beitar and Ramat Beit Shemesh, as well as online and internationally. New programs are beginning now in Har Nof and Ganei Geula.

coachrosenblum @ gmail.com
US number: 786-233-7213

Tamar Ansh

tamar podium flowers Tamar Ansh is a writer, organizer, and speaker; the author of A Taste of Challah; and a recognized expert on baking challah. She speaks and writes extensively about challah , has a website, www.aTasteofChallah.com, and maintains a regular “Challah Bytes” e-mail read by hundreds of women around the world.

Tamar has a regular food column in Hamodia’s Inyan magazine, and has written for Mishpacha, Binah, the Jewish Press, and more.

Tamar does live challah demonstrations and is an inspirational speaker for schools, seminaries, bat mitzvah parties, group challah events, and tour groups both in Israel and abroad. She was the challah leader of the worldwide Shabbos Project Challah Bake in Har Nof, Jerusalem.

Tamar’s other publications include Pesach – Anything’s Possible!; Let My Children Cook!; and Let’s Say Amen!

She is the director of the JWWS annual seminar, and the JWWS Educational Network which holds ongoing opportunities for writers in Jerusalem.

Libi Astaire

Libi Astaire is the author of the Jewish Regency Mystery series and a frequent contributor to Mishpacha magazine and the Jewish Press. When she’s not writing about history, she puts her MBA from New York University to use by writing about marketing and self-publishing.

Esther Leah Avner

esther leah avner cropped Esther Leah Avner is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother — and more! — living, learning, and teaching in the greater Jerusalem area as well as her home neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, where she and her husband reside.

She is a Torah lecturer and writer whose work is featured in Binah as well as other publications. Her memoir, Learn, Live, Teach: The Story of a Life, was published by Brand Name Publishing.

Esther Leah feels privileged to have studied under the tutelage of several “greats,” first in Gateshead Seminary, then in the Navardok Yeshiva of France, in addition to her twenty-three years in the community of Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l.

Chaya Sara Ben Shachar

Chaya Sara Ben Shachar is an author and teacher whose love for writing, children, and teens has presented itself in a wide variety of publications and teaching venues. To date she has published nine books for young adults, among them an anthology of teens’ writing, Winners (Torah Temimah Publications, 2013). Her serials for children and teens have been published in Binah, Binyan, and the Jewish Press. Her serial story Guatemala! was published as an audio story for the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation last year.

Suri Brand

Suri Brand is the founder and editor-in-chief of Brand Name Publishing, which serves the Orthodox Jewish market.

For more than two decades, she has worked with many well-known authors, and has edited literally hundreds of books of every genre. She has also worked in magazine and newspaper editing, and from 2006 to 2009 she served as editor- in-chief of Horizons magazine, a Jewish family monthly. In 2009, she created a course on copyediting for the Jewish market. Today Brand Name Publishing serves as a consulting firm that provides all your publishing needs, including typesetting and layout, cover design, developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading, and printing.

Naomi Elbinger

Naomi Elbinger is a writer, business consultant and entrepreneur. She is CEO of Yes Potential, a company that builds affordable websites that work for you. She writes the regular “Mind Your Business” column in Family First. She has been blogging at MyParnasa.com since 2010.

Yaffa Ganz

Yaffa Ganz is the well-known, award winning author of more than forty titles for Jewish kids, several books of essays for adults, and hundreds of articles published in Jewish media worldwide. B”H, her first book of poetry Wheat, Wine & Honey (Zamir Press, 2016) is available from the author or on amazon.

zamirpress @ bezeqint.net

Ann Goldberg

Ann has been a published freelance writer for the last 40 years writing for magazines and newspapers over four continents, a​s well as for websites.

For the last 4 years she has also been coaching and giving workshops to other writers and potential writers and helping them achieve their dream of ​being​ published. For those too far away to participate in local events she has developed an email course “Writing Essays for Publication.”

pgoldberg09 @ gmail.com
Ann’s LinkedIn profile

Gila Green

Author and editor Gila Green’s first novel King of the Class was released in 2013 (NON Publishing, Vancouver). Gila’s short fiction has been published in literary magazines worldwide. Her fiction has been nominated for the Doris Bakwin Literary Award (Carolina Wren Press), WordSmitten’s TenTen Fiction Contest, twice for the Walrus Literary Award, twice for the Eric Hoffer Best New Writing Award, and the Ha’aretz Short Fiction Award. She has edited more than a dozen books to publication and many stories, and she teaches creative writing classes.

Esther Heller

Esther Heller is the editorial director of Menucha Publishers. She is the author of the novel The Lost Daughter (Targum Press, 2008), and the children’s book The Menorah Under the Sea (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2009), which won a Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award.

Esther leads creative writing workshops and works with writers one-to-one to help them develop their craft and get their writing published.

Rochel Istrin

Rochel Istrin is the author of two historical novels, Searching (Targum Press, 2010) and Hidden (Shaar Press, 2015), as well as articles and short stories published by Ami, Binah, Hamodia, and Mishpacha Junior magazines. Before making aliyah Rochel was a teacher and parent-trainer at the Judevine Center for Autistic Children in St. Louis, Missouri. She is certified by Dr. Miriam Adahan as an EMETT leader. Currently, Rochel works as a nurse at the Mayenei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnai Brak, in the Emergency Medicine GYN department.

Menucha Chana Levin

Menucha Chana Levin has been writing stories since the age of five. In the past eight years she has written four novels, The Youngest Bride, The Castle Builders, A Family for Frayda, and Midnight Music. She is currently transforming Frayda into a screenplay for a frum movie.

Chana Levitan

Chana Levitan cropped www.chanalevitan.com

Chana Levitan, MSc, is an educator, speaker, therapist and author with 25 years of experience. Her book, I Only Want to Get Married Once (Grand Central Publishing, 2013), a best-seller worldwide, is a clear and practical guide to choosing the right marriage partner. Chana’s next book, THAT’S Why I Married You (Gefen Publishing House, 2016), is a practical handbook for couples to not only learn to live with their personality differences but to actually love each other with their differences.

Chana has lectured extensively across the globe and has counseled literally thousands of men and women on dating. She is a frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, including WCBS 880 and WLS 890.

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell cropped Sherri Mandell won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004 for her spiritual memoir, The Blessing of a Broken Heart (Toby Press, 2003). Her latest book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press, 2016) details the spiritual stages of resilience.

She and her husband, Seth, direct the Koby Mandell Foundation, founded in honor of her son, who was murdered by terrorists in 2001 at the age of 13. She has been profiled in the New York Times and the work of the foundation has been reported about on NBC, ABC, and CNN and in major newspapers. A certified pastoral counselor, she lectures about resilience and grief around the world.

She is also the author of Writers of the Holocaust (Facts on File, 1999) and has written for numerous magazines and journals. Sherri currently blogs at the Times of Israel. She received Moment Magazine’s prize for best short fiction in 2009 and a Simon Rockower prize for personal essay in 2011. She and her family live in Israel.


Rebbetzin Sara Meisels

Bio coming soon.

Yael Mermelstein

yael mermelstein cropped Yael Mermelstein is an award-winning writer whose work has been chosen by the Ministry of Education for study for the English matriculation exams in Israel. Her stories have been published in national textbooks.

Yael’s children’s book, Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean was selected for nationwide distribution by PJ Library. Yael writes prolifically for publications, most prolifically for Binah and Hamodia magazines. Yael’s ninth book, Petals, a collection of original as well as previously published fiction and nonfiction, is now available.

Myriam Miller

Myriam Miller is the editor of Bina Bunch magazine as well as the author of the novels Sun Inside Rain and Race Against Time. Myriam is an attorney with a specialty in intellectual property rights, and certified by the Israeli Bar Association in copyright law; she is also the founder of frumjewishbooks.com.

Deena Nataf

Deena Nataf is a former senior editor at Feldheim Publishers and has been in the publishing business for thirty years. Besides her freelance editing and author mentoring business, she runs Bulletproof Writing, a website and blog for writers where you can find writing techniques, “comedy grammar,” and tips for the writing life.

Penina Neiman

Penina Neiman is the co-author of the widely popular book The Mountain Family (Shaar Press, 2013) and a passionate writer of nonfiction of all sorts. Her specialty centers on giving voice to the stories lying hidden inside the most unassuming people. She has written numerous articles for a variety of publications and is a regular feature writer at Binah magazine.

Ruthie Pearlman

Ruthie Pearlman is a long established author and has had 14 novels published to date with more in the pipeline. She writes regular serials in Ami magazine, and is also known for her lyrics in the recently staged “Daddy Act” musical.

She and her husband made Aliya in July 2015 and they live in Mevaseret Tzion. They have a large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in Israel, the UK and the USA.

ruthie @ ruthiepearlman.com

Riva Pomerantz

Riva Pomerantz is the author of nine books to-date and works as a freelance, multi-genre writer. She currently writes for AMI magazine and is well known for her serialized stories that utilize the vehicle of fiction to explore real, contemporary issues faced by the global frum community. Riva and her husband Joel are blessed to be the parents of seven children, b”H, and live in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Tzippora Price

Tzippora Price holds a masters in family therapy and a masters in creative writing and memoir. She is the author of two works of non fiction, “Mother in Progress” (Targum), & “Mother In Action” (Menucha Press), and a ground breaking novel, “Into the Whirlwind”, (Lions’ Gate Press) as well as hundreds of articles. She is a pioneer in the field of mental health journalism and psycho-education for the frum community. She teaches creative writing individually and in groups. She is currently at work on a memoir.

tziprice @ gmail.com

Jonathan Rosenblum

Jonathan Rosenblum is a prolific author and a regular columnist with the Jerusalem Post, Mishpacha Magazine and Yated Ne’eman. He is also the author of seven biographies of modern Jewish leaders, including Reb Yaakov, Rav Dessler, They Called Him Mike, and Rabbi Moshe Sherer. He is currently at work on a biography of Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the founder of Aish HaTorah.

Rosenblum has been a guest speaker in almost every Jewish community in North America, as well as in London, Manchester, Zurich, Johannesburg, Capetown and Amsterdam. Rosenblum learned in Yeshivas Ohr Someyach, the Kollel of Rav Tzvi Kushelevsky and the Mirrer Yeshiva. He is also a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.

Yocheved Rottenberg

Yocheved Rottenberg is a Therapeutic Writing Facilitator and a Journal to the Self Instructor.

She leads therapeutic writing workshops and privately works with women who want to use writing as a tool to heal.


Batya Ruddell

Born and raised in Manchester, England, Batya Ruddell made Aliyah in 1987 and currently lives in Telzstone with her husband and children. In 1984, Batya qualified as an RN (Registered Nurse) and RSCN (Registered Sick Children’s Nurse) at the prestigious Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. Batya switched career paths in her mid- forties to pursue her lifelong dream to become a professional writer. She was published in all the major Jewish publications before becoming exclusive for Hamodia and Binah publications in 2013.

Batya is a multi- genre, creative writer and the author of five books: The View from Ninveh; Changing Faces; Picture Perfect; Ready to Fly and False Fronts.

Batya travels regularly to Chutz L’aretz to speak at fund raising events and in high schools. She gives writing workshops for women and teenage girls on a variety of topics and mentors writers privately, helping them make their diamonds shine.Two summers ago, Batya branched out in yet another direction when she studied to become a life coach at The Jerusalem Coaching Academy. She coaches woman and teenage girls and soon plans to widen her coaching skills through a certificated course in Narrative Therapy.

In Batya’s spare time she can be found engaging in her passion – riding her horse in the Judean hills!

batyar36 @ gmail.com
054 566 7263

Prof. Malka Schapps, aka Rachel Pomerantz

Rachel Pomerantz has published seven frum novels, mostly about academic ba’alei teshuva and their children, including A Time to Rend, Wildflower, and Orange Groves.

Rachel is a pen-name for Malka Schaps, a mathematician, wife, mother, teacher and administrator. Rachel Pomerantz should not be confused with Riva Pomerantz, who is actually writing under her own name.

Visit Rachel’s website here

Shoshana Schwartz

shoshana schwartz cropped shoshana@retorno.org

Shoshana Schwartz is a multi-genre writer and a multi-genre individual.

The integration of professional writing with her work as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor and addictions counselor at Retorno led to the publication of her latest novel, Three Steps, which appeared in a serialized version in Mishpacha’s Family First magazine.

Debbie Shapiro

Debbie Shapiro is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, speaker, and has written five books, hundreds of published articles, and is a popular Binah columnist.

She often shares her personal life with readers, and has founded an organization called Tikvah4Parkinson www.tikvah4parkinson.org.

Debbie’s blog: www.debbieshapiroofjerusalem.blogspot.com/

Sarah Shapiro

Sarah Shapiro’s published w​ork includes the 4-volume Our Lives Anthology series​; Growing With My Children: A Jewish Mother’s Diary​;​ Don’t You Know It’s a Perfect World?; A Gift Passed Along; and Wish I Were​.

​She is currently a columnist ​for Ami Magazine, and gives writing workshops in Israel and abroad. The unfinished site ourlivesonline.org, created as a showcase for writing by Orthodox Jews, was under construction when co-editor Sorah Rosenblatt a”h,passed away, and the site’s other co-editors are now undecided re. its future.

sarahkit @ gmail.com
(02) 532 3047

Avigail Sharer aka Leah Gebber

Avigail Sharer (aka Leah Gebber) is the widely acclaimed author of Chains, among other works. She specializes in fiction and memoir, and loves helping fellow writers sculpt stories with soul and spirit.

As Family First’s associate editor, she enjoys meeting and coaching fellow writers and is available as a writing coach and a memoirist.

avigailsharer @ gmail.com

Penina Taylor

Penina Taylor is a Jewish inspirational speaker, author, coach and spiritual mentor. She has inspired tens of thousands of Jewish people toward a more meaningful and relevant relationship with G-d and Judaism.

Whether she’s telling her own story, speaking on Judaism and Christianity or giving a motivational talk, Penina’s dynamic style and personal warmth connect with her audience on a profound level and always leaves them inspired and enlightened. Penina is currently working on her third book and is a member of the Jewish Speakers Bureau.

peninataylor @ gmail.com

Carol Ungar

Carol Ungar is an award winning essayist and author of Jewish Soul Food–Traditional Fare and What it Means (Brandeis 2015) the only cookbook to explain the little known mystical meanings of favorite Jewish foods.

Her writing has appeared in Tablet, the Forward, Hamodia, the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Action, Ami, Binah and Writer magazine . For the past four years she’s facilitated a popular memoir workshop for retirees at the Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel. She lives in Kiryat Yearim with her family and she’s currently finishing up her first novel.

Elka Weber

Elka Weber has written two picture books, The Yankee at the Seder (Random House, 2009) and One Little Chicken (Random House,2011) Both were Sidney Taylor Honor books and both were chosen for distribution by the PJ Library. One Little Chicken was translated into Hebrew, published by Yediot Books, and distributed by Sifriyat Pijama in Israel. Another book, Shimri’s Big Idea, has been accepted by PJ Library and publication details are in the works. I have also written a book of non-fiction for adults.

Elka works as a freelance editor and book reviewer.

elkweber @ aol.com

Shifra Devorah Witt

Shifrah Devorah Witt received her M.A., and M.F.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She is the author of From Me to We: A guide to the first year of marriage and beyond, Inside Secrets to the Craft of Writing, as well as co-author of The Complete Asian Kosher Cookbook and The Best of Mexican Kosher Cooking.

She is a certified Narrative Therapist and Bach Flower Therapist, and the creator and facilitator of a transformative, therapeutic, writing process called Writing to Heal. Shifrah Devorah also teaches creative writing workshops and manuscript development in Jerusalem where she lives with her family.

She is available for private consultations on manuscript development, writing to heal, overcoming writer’s block any other challenges you may be having with your writing and healing in general. She also works with writers out of the area via Skype, e-mail and phone.

consciousliving @ hotmail.com

Miriam Zakon

Miriam Zakon has been involved in all facets of Jewish publishing for more than three decades. She is a translator, author, and editor, as well as 1/3 of Family First’s monthly column, Sister Schmooze.

She is Acquisitions Editor for ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. Her most recent book is Freefall, a historical novel set in the Second World War, which is appearing in Family First.

Emmy Zitter

Emmy Leah Zitter is Chair of the English Department at Michlalah-Jerusalem College, and a college instructor in literature and creative writing. In addition to her academic publications, she has written young adult books (Baker’s Dozen, B.Y. Times) and is one of the three Sisters in Family First’s monthly column, SisterSchmooze.