כי לא על הלחם לבדו יחיה האדם
(Deuteronomy 8:3)


Touching hearts, igniting souls and challenging minds

through transformative Jewish learning and living.

IJKL is one of the pre-eminent educational centers in South Florida offering multiple on ramps to meaningful and transformative Jewish learning and living for all ages.

If you are beginning -- or are already on -- the journey to spiritual enlightenment, then you will find a home with IJKL. We provide a loving environment to help you build a solid spiritual and theological 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 community of like minded seekers. 



Jewish learning should inspire us to be our best selves and see ourselves and all of creation in the image of the Divine.


Pluralism is the celebration of our diversity of beliefs and practices. At IJKL, we seek to meet each learner where they are and help them sharpen their own unique Jewish identity.



At IJKL, every person regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation or background is included and seen as a sacred partner in creating our learning community.



As serious learners ourselves, teachers at IJKL seek to honor the integrity of the texts and traditions we study and teach. We also yearn to validate each person’s perspective, questions and insights with the same integrity.

Depth of Understanding

According to the sages there are four levels of Jewish learning. At IJKL we seek to go beyond the p’shat (basic meaning) and dig deeper to discover the eternal truths and profound wisdom that lie beneath the surface.



Jewish learning has always been a team sport. IJKL seeks to celebrate that heritage by building a learning community in which each person is a learner and a teacher.



We believe Jewish learning should inspire Jewish living. That’s why learning at IJKL seeks to empower each and every person to discover how Jewish texts speak to them and how their lives are enriched by Jewish learning.



Akiva Mann, Spiritual Director

Broward County

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.


In addition to his founding of IJKL, Rabbi Akiva conducts classes through the Central Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE) at the Orloff JCC, where he has been a teacher in the Midrasha Graduate program for the last thirteen years.


Rabbi Akiva received his smicha (ordination) from the Chief Rabbi of Montreal, has a masters degree in education and has served as a congregational rabbi for over forty years. He has served synagogues in Toronto, Edmunton, Alberta, Denver, Philadelphia and Hallandale. Rabbi Akiva acknowledges and embraces all denominations of Judaism and welcomes "all who have breath" to come, study and celebrate together with him.

Kim Lerner, Administrative Director

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Kim has served as Administrative Director of the Institute of Jewish Knowledge & Learning (IJKL) since its inception in 1993 and has played a key role in envisioning and enacting its development. Kim has been active with Orloff CAJE leadership, participates in leading Jewish book reviews, including the Ruth E. Cohen Jewish Book Review Series, facilitates Rosh Chodesh programming and teaches alef-bet to adult learners. Kim brings 20 years of successful business experience in the field of the protection of the rights of research participants.

David Paskin, Educational Director

Boca Raton

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. Prior to moving to Florida, David served as the rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple Beth Abraham in Canton, Massachusetts for seventeen years. David currently serves the Palm Beach and Broward county Jewish communities as a spiritual leader and teacher.

Sandra Lilienthal, Curriculum Director

Broward County

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. For the past 12 years, Dr. Lilienthal has focused exclusively on teaching adults. She is an Adjunct Professor at Gratz College, a Melton faculty member in both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County and the author of Jewish education curricula for several agencies. Sandra frequently presents at Limmud conferences in the US and Canada and is invited for scholar-in-residence programs around the country.

Merle Saferstein, Legacy Education Advisor

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As the director of educational outreach at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center for twenty-six years, Merle Saferstein worked closely with hundreds of Holocaust survivors helping them to pass along their Legacy of Remembrance to students and teachers. She developed and now teaches a course entitled Living and Leaving Your Legacy® and lectures on the subject of legacy to a variety of audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Bruce Greenberg

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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.  Bruce received his formal Jewish Education at Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Bruce is currently working on a combined Masters and Doctorate in Jewish Studies pursuing his lifetime passion.  Prior to his recent retirement from the business world, Bruce had been a successful entrepreneur building and exiting five companies in the Healthcare Industry.  His teaching interests include Jews of Spain, Jews of the Caribbean, the intersection of Jewish and American Law, Jewish Bioethics,  Economics and Jewish Law, Jewish Business Ethics, and the Business of the Bible.  Bruce is the proud father of six children and resides in Weston, Florida.

Mark Gross

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A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Gross is an alumnus of UCLA and an ordinee of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.  He served congregations in Arizona, West Virginia, Tennessee, and his native California before coming to Florida in 1986— first as spiritual leader to Temple Beth Orr in Coral Springs (with which he is still associated as Rabbi Emeritus), and now as resident Torah-teacher at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island.

Laura Lenes

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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!  She has worked in 40+ synagogues (across every movement), developed a Jewish Mommy & Me program (Sing Sign Simcha) used across Florida &  NYC, is an Artist in Residence across the country, performs at Jewish National conferences, composed 100+ songs/prayers, has an album with her trio Ashira, and is working toward releasing her music, musicals, and curriculum(s) this year.  You can find out more by following: https://www.facebook.com/laura.lenes.7  

Norman Lipson

Broward County

Rabbi Lipson has served on the national staff of the Anti-Defamation League and served as the spiritual leader of congregations in Mississippi, Texas, and Hollywood, Florida, as well as the Director of the Institute for Jewish Studies of the Central Agency of Jewish Education in Miami, Florida. In 1996 he became Founding Rabbi of Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, Florida and in July 2015, became Rabbi Emeritus.

Jeffrey Salkin

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Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin has a national reputation as one of America’s most quoted rabbis and thought leaders. He has appeared on many television and radio programs, and has spoken in more than a hundred communities, including in Israel, Great Britain, Cuba, and Poland. His colleagues describe him as “intellectually fearless;” “an activist for Jewish ideas;” “a public intellectual of the pulpit.”

A native of New York, Rabbi Salkin was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of 

Religion in New York in 1981. He was one of the first Jews to earn the Doctor of Ministry degree 

from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1991. Rabbi Salkin serves as the senior rabbi of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Florida. 

Leon Weissberg

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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. Currently he adjuncts at Broward College and teaches in the Melton program in Boca Raton and Aventura. Most notably Dr. Weissberg has been the US Southern Region Director of the March of the Living having led over 2500 Jewish & non-Jewish teens & adults to Poland & Israel over the past 30 years.

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The Institute of Jewish Knowledge and Learning (IJKL)

9721 Sea Turtle Drive Plantation, Florida 33324

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