Tamar Field-Gersh, Co-Founder and Program Coordinator
Tamar was born and raised in the U.S. and in 2004 she fulfilled a life-long dream of coming home and making Aliyah with her husband, and HLS co-founder, Akiva.
For the majority of her professional career, Tamar was the director of a Jewish teen summer program that traveled around the U.S. and Israel creating and taking part in chesed (volunteer) projects. One of these projects was located in Savannah, GA and involved Tamar's teenage participants working together with a local group of Christian teens to create a free week-long day camp for poor and underprivileged children. The evening before the camp began the teens from both groups came together to teach one another about their religion and culture, which took place primarily through the sharing of traditional songs and prayer. It was through this very deep and meaningful experience that Holy Land Spirit was born. Tamar was then inspired to continue this important work between Jews and Christians in her homeland.
It seems like this interfaith work is in Tamar's blood. Her grandfather, Dr. M. Bernard Resnikoff worked for the American Jewish Committee in Jerusalem, dedicating his life to bringing Jews and Christians closer together through open dialogue and interfaith events. In fact, he was one of the first to ever engage in this kind of work in Israel. Tamar is honored and humbled to continue the important and mighty work of her grandfather through HLS.
Akiva Gersh, Co-Founder and Musician
Akiva was born and raised in New York into a very musical family. He began playing drums at a young age and continued his musical studies in college at Brown University where he focused on Jazz and African percussion. It was also in college that his spiritual journey began eventually leading him to rediscover his own Jewish roots. This inspired him to take on a traditional religious and spiritual Jewish practice and eventually move to Israel.
In addition to his musical work, Akiva is an educator and has been in the field of Jewish and Israel education for 20 years. He weaves together lessons from history, storytelling and spiritual ideas to help his students feel a sense of personal connection to their ancient traditions and heritage as well as to the land of Israel itself.
Akiva co-created Holy Land Spirit as a way to give expression to his universalistic ideals and aspirations that grow out of his deep and intimate connection with his Jewish practice. He believes that what God wants from all of all humans is to love Him and to love each other. Through Holy Land Spirit Akiva hopes to strengthen the connection between Jews and Christians, using the unique power and blessing of being in the Holy Land to do so.
Josh Lauffer, Musician
Josh is a performing guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he came to Israel in
1981, at age 18, seeking Jewish spiritual knowledge and experience. From 1982-86 he studied with, and accompanied, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, a well-known musical rabbi. For some of this period, he
also ran a center for prayer, study, music and meditation with the late Rabbi Dovid Hertzberg.
When Josh, his wife Orly and their three children moved to the quaint little coastal town of Pardes Hana, he became a specialist at TALI schools (Jewish education for a pluralistic society) all over the country. As a TALI consultant for the past six years, Josh provides enrichment in Jewish studies through learning, storytelling, music and experience. As a singer/songwriter, Josh composes moving and rhythmic melodies that poetically express the deep layers of meaning contained in Midrashic teaching. ( Rabbinic literature)
Moshe Feiglin, Musician
Moshe Feiglin is an accomplished social worker, teacher and musician. Born and raised in Australia, Moshe has worked for a variety of organizations, including serving as the assistant Rabbi and Program Director at Spiritgrow - an alternative Jewish community center. Moshe has a special interest in Hassidut (Jewish Mysticism) and psychology, and performs regularly with his spiritual folk band 'Feter Hendel'. In February 2015 Moshe made Aliyah with his wife and three children and currently resides in the Judean desert just outside of Jerusalem.
"How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together" - Psalms 133