Founder and Director
In 2005, when he was Campus Rabbi at Northwestern University Hillel, Josh founded Ask Big Questions along with students Allie Gross and Lexie Komisar. In 2011, Ask Big Questions became a national initiative of Hillel, and Josh became its Educational Director, working with Sheila Katz to launch and scale the program. Since that time, he has guided the development of our educational theory, approach to training, educational resources, and overall strategy. A leading thinker and writer in both the Jewish and higher education communities, Josh holds a PhD from Northwestern in Religious Studies, as well as ordination from YCT Rabbinical School, and a BA from Yale University in music (he played the tuba and conducted an orchestra). Josh is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and currently serves as the co-chair of the Wexner Fellowship Alumni Committee. He lives in Skokie, IL with his wife Natalie Blitt and sons Jonah, Micah and Toby.
Josh can be reached at email@example.com
Vice President for Social Entrepreneurship, Hillel International
Sheila was recently named as one of five women to watch in 2015 by Craigslist Founder, Craig Newmark. She is an expert in facilitating reflective conversations and creating multi-channel technology campaigns that lead to in person action. Sheila is Hillel International’s first Vice President for Social Entrepreneurship, managing new organizational partnerships and creating entrepreneurial opportunities for students. Previously, Sheila served as the Director of Ask Big Questions, a national initiative of Hillel that brings diverse college students together for conversations that help people understand themselves and others. An activist in the community, Sheila manages the social media for Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community, serves on the board of the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and Our Time, and is a social start trainer for PresenTense. Sheila holds a M.Ed. degree from Pace University and a Bachelor’s from Ithaca College. Sheila is currently a Hartman Institute Campus Fellow and a Wexner Foundation Field Fellow.
Sheila can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Education
Danya Ruttenberg has served as Senior Jewish Educator at Tufts Hillel and Campus Rabbi at Northwestern Hillel. She is the author of Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (nominated for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature) and editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, Yentl’s Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism and three other books on Jewish ethics. Her next book, on parenting as a spiritual practice, is due from Flatiron Books in April, 2016. She has been named one of ten “rabbis to watch” by Newsweek and The Daily Beast and one of the top fifty women rabbis by the Forward.
Director of Training
Rebecca is a theater artist and facilitator. With a background in performance, experiential education, and design thinking she has worked with museums, college students, educators, hospitality providers, religious institutions and community organizers as a facilitator and designer. Outside of her work at Ask Big Questions, Rebecca is a lead designer and facilitator for her art and design start-up, The Dilettantes, LLC which creates immersive, interactive experiences for audiences and builds engagement tools for a variety of non profits and humanities based organizations. She previously worked as the Associate Producer of Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown where she jointly held the position of Interpreter-in-Residence at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. Rebecca is a graduate of Northwestern University and the professional Leadership Leadership Program at Steppenwolf Theater Company.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com.
Thomas is an independent trainer and facilitator, working with other facilitators, leading discussions, and assisting individuals and organizations in integrating reflective practices into their work. He has worked in the nonprofit sector throughout the Chicago area since 2009, bringing together academic, business, and nonprofit organizations to confront issues related to poverty, diversity, education, and community development.
Rebecca is a teaching artist and Program Coordinator with Literature for All of Us, a Chicago-area literary arts nonprofit. She has been active in the nonprofit community for twelve years and a facilitator of reflective dialogues/trainer of other facilitators for over seven years, pursuing her passion for social justice. rebecca is a poet and facilitator, committed to bringing people together through language and listening deeply.
Jasmin is an alum of the Ask Big Questions fellowship, and is currently a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Masters of Social Work program in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Jasmin is currently engaged in research exploring social work education, and is completing her Addictions Certificate. She values bringing an intersectional feminist lens to her work. Jasmin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Matt comes to Ask Big Questions from being the Executive Director of Kids4Peace Boston, which facilitates 12-18 year olds and their parents in the forming of meaningful relationships across lines of conflict and societies’ divides. Matthew has worked in the field of Experiential Education for nearly ten years. He enjoys connecting with those who value vulnerability over bravado and desire to make the world a kinder place. Matthew received a BS in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. When not with Ask Big Questions, you can usually find him running, dancing, or day-dreaming.