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About IJKL

IJKL is a pre-eminent educational center based in South Florida offering multiple on ramps to meaningful Jewish and transformative adult Jewish learning and living.


We offer a warm welcoming environment to help you build a solid spiritual, theological and cultural foundation. For those seeking in-depth Jewish study IJKL is a repository of deep insights and expansive ideas. You are invited to become part of our local and international community. IJKL is a 501 c3 tax-exempt organization.

Meet Our Team


Kim Lerner

Executive director

Kim co-founded, with Rabbi Akiva Mann, the Institute of Jewish Knowledge and Learning in 1993. She now serves as Executive Director and has played a key role in envisioning and enacting IJKL's development. Kim brings to IJKL a successful business background and joy and passion for learning and building community. Married with two daughters she is now grandmother to grandson Henry.

Leila Cohen Sabban

Administrative Director

Leila is our Administrative Director. She was born in Argentina. Since her youth she was very involved in the Jewish Community of Buenos Aires, first as a youth counselor at Bet-El Synagogue and later on as a Bnai Mitzvah teacher and tutor. She is a lawyer (University of Buenos Aires) and worked in the public and private sector. She is married with Rabbi Uriel Romano and have three children: Noah, Libbi and Aaron.

Akiva Mann

Spiritual Director

Rabbi Akiva Mann, IJKL’s Spiritual Director is an inspired leader and spiritual innovator. He is well known for his ability to distill the vastness of Jewish wisdom - both mystical and traditional, into a vision of Judaism that is in deep dialogue with the past and spiritually responsive to life in the present.

David Paskin

Educational Director

David Paskin, or Rabbi David as he is known, is an accomplished spiritual leader, singer/songwriter, entertainer, Jewish futurist, social activist, award-winning Jewish educator and founding rabbi of OHEL.

Sandra Lilienthal

Curriculum Director

Dr. Sandra Lilienthal has a Masters in Jewish Studies and a Doctorate in Jewish Education. In 2015, she received the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Sandra has over 25 years of experience in Jewish Education working with all ages in both Brazil and the US.

Bruce Greenberg

Bruce Greenberg has been teaching for over thirty years in a variety of educational settings.  He has long been involved in Jewish Education in Broward County at both the Synagogue and Community levels.

Laura Lenes

Laura Lenes can be seen in synagogues across South Florida, as both a Cantorial Soloist, and an educator --- connecting families, children, and congregants of all ages, to Judaism & G-d through music, Sign Language, drama, and spirituality! 

Leon Weissberg

Rabbi/Dr. Weissberg holds four advanced degrees including a Doctorate in Education and a Masters in Jewish Studies.  He has been the Executive of the Jewish Education Commission in Boca, as well as the head of Donna Klein Jewish Academy.

Jeffrey Segelman

Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman teaches our weekly Torah portion class.  A native of Boston, he received his B.A. from Boston University and a B.H.L. from the Boston Hebrew College.  
Rabbi Segelman attended the Jewish Theological Seminary where he earned his M.A. rabbinic ordination. He is the rabbi emeritus of the Westchester Jewish Center and is currently on the faculty and the Director of Field Placements at the Academy for Jewish Religion.

Amy Pessah

Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a Master's degree in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR and ordination from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. As well, Amy is a certified Jewish Spiritual Director and published author. She has a passion for ritual, the written word, and ceramics.
Meet the Team

IJKL History

IJKL was founded in 1990 by Rabbi Akiva Mann and Kim Lerner. Created as a platform for Rabbi Akiva to offer programs in Jewish Mysticism, it grew to invite Scholar in Residence programs, trips to Israel and Shabatons.


In 2017 IJKL became the Adult Jewish Education Provider for Broward County and Dr. Sandra Lilienthal and Rabbi David Paskin joined the leadership team. IJKL began to expand it’s classes and involvement in the community creating avenues for Synagogues to include IJKL class passes as part of their membership benefits.


With the pandemic came a need for changes to the in-person class model, and IJKL was an early adapter to Zoom programming and was able to again increase the offerings and diversity of classes as well as inviting new teachers and program leaders. We have also increased our student population to now include IJKL lovers from around the world.


IJKL continues to grow and evolve to reach its vast seekers of Jewish Knowledge.

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