Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

The Founder

Rabbi Steinlauf is the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on the issues facing modern culture and Judaism.

He is currently the spiritual leader of Kol Shalom in Rockville, Maryland. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as senior rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC. Rabbi Steinlauf is widely respected for his success in re-envisioning the nature of Adas Israel, the largest and oldest Conservative synagogue in Washington, and has pioneered a national paradigm shift that lifts up innovative modes of study and exploration of meaning as central in synagogue and organizational life. He is currently bringing this spirit of bold yet traditional evolution to Kol Shalom, where he seeks to "crack the code" of suburban Jewish life and create new paradigms of vibrant Judaism outside of the big cities.

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf is a nationally recognized innovative spiritual leader who combines bold vision and grounded wisdom to steward and evolve communities and organizations.

Along with Adas clergy and staff, Rabbi Steinlauf co-founded three nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel: YP@AI for Jewish Young Professionals, MakomDC for 21st-century experiential learning, and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington for meditation, yoga, and contemplative Jewish practices. He is now leading the creation of new programs at Kol Shalom, including the Jewish Teen Leadership Institute, the Jewish Identity Institute, and the Jewish Life University.


Rabbi Steinlauf is a seasoned educator, rabbi, and leader in the Jewish world.

Rabbi Steinlauf had previously been the rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood, New Jersey, is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, studied at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, earned an MHL from the University of Judaism, and received rabbinic ordination and an MA at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Currently, Rabbi Steinlauf is on the board of Directors of A Wider Bridge, supporting LGBTQ Equality in and for Israel. He also sits on the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council and has served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of JTS. He is an alumnus of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a member of the Center for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s Rabbis Without Borders program, and the GLEAN cohort of spiritual entrepreneurs.

Stuart Kurlander

The Co-Founder

Stuart Kurlander has a long history of involvement in the Jewish community. He is a Past President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He has previously served as Vice President for Financial Resource Development, Vice-President for Israel and Overseas, Vice President at Large, Co-Chair of the Campaign’s Philanthropic Leadership Group, and Co-Chair of Operation Promise, all for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Jewish Endowment Fund. Mr. Kurlander serves on the Council of the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). He currently serves on the JDC’s Legal and Resource Development Committees and is a former chair of the Government Relations Committee He is also a Trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Stuart is a member of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the distinguished Cosmos Club of Washington D.C.

Stuart Kurlander was the first National Board Chair of Keshet (leading national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life). He is the Founder and past Chair of the Kurlander Program on Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement (GLOE) at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, the first program of its type at a Jewish Community Center. In 2012 and 2014, GLOE was selected by Slingshot as one of the 50 most innovative nonprofits in North American Jewish Life. Stuart was also a funder and adviser for the Human Rights Campaign Jewish Organization Equality Index released in 2012. He was National Chair of the first UJC LGBT Pride Mission to Israel in 2005. He served as the National Chair of the 2016 JFNA LGBTQ Mission to Israel which brought to Israel more than a 100 LGBTQ persons from around the country. In 2018, Stuart co founded with Rabbi Gil Steinlauf the Hineni Fellowship for LGBTQ Jewish Leadership.


Mr. Kurlander is the recipient of, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists 2019 Pursuit of Justice Award, The Washington Business Journal 2019 Business of Pride honoree, the American Jewish Committee’s Judge Learned Hand Award, the President’s Award from the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, the Bet Mishpachah Harvey Milk Community Service Award, the Pillar of the Community Leadership Award from the JCRC of Greater Washington, the Philip Berg Distinguished Alumni Award from BBYO, the Tikun Olam Award from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Lee G. Rubenstein Outstanding Leadership Award from the Washington DC Jewish community center, and the Jewish Federation’s Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership Award. He is a Wexner Heritage program alumni and a former member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of United Jewish Communities. He is also an owner of WJW Group, which includes the Washington Jewish Week and The Baltimore Jewish Times. He is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, DC.


Deborah Newbrun

Retreat and Curriculum Facilitator

Deborah Newbrun’s career as a Jewish community leader (particularly in Jewish environmental education) spans thirty years, including working twenty-five years as Camp Tawonga’s Director, four years as Hazon’s Director in the Bay Area, and eight months as Keshet’s Interim Bay Area Director. Additionally, she serves on the faculty of multiple fellowships including Lekhu Lakhem and Hiddur for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Before entering the Jewish not-for-profit world, Deborah was a National Park Service Ranger.


Deborah co-authored Spirit In Nature/Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail. Recently she co-founded JOLT (Jewish Outdoor Leadership Training)–for staff working in Jewish summer camps across North America–which she directs for Hazon’s JOFEE Fellows. Deborah is known for being an engaging and creative Jewish educator and infusing deep spirit into her teachings. She is married to Sue Reinhold. They have four children and are about to become empty nesters.

Gideon Feen

Chief Administrative Officer

Gidon Feen serves as Director of Special Projects in the Office of the CEO at SAFE. Gidon has been a member of Eshel's Speakers Bureau for the past eight years, having spoken internationally on the importance of LGBTQ acceptance in the Orthodox Jewish community. He is currently part of the ADL's 2020-21 Glass Leadership Institute and previously served as the Young Professional Coordinator at Kesher Israel of DC. 


Prior to joining SAFE, Gidon was a management consultant at DRT Strategies, Inc., where he developed a knowledge management pilot for the leadership of the FDA. Before this, Gidon worked on the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, organizing counties in Iowa and overseeing one third of Florida as part of the youth vote program. During the campaign, Gidon managed a combination of four university campuses, seventeen staff, and 130,000 potential student voters across more than 150 miles. His development of novel programming and campaign outreach resulted in thousands of registered voters.

Gidon’s experience also includes an internship at the White House, supporting staff in the Office of Public Engagement and the National Security Council. There he assisted in developing the first-ever White House Summit on LGBT and Global Human Rights, organizing the opening event of the US-Africa Summit, and coordinated President Obama’s last meeting with the late Shimon Peres. He has also worked in the corporate offices of Apple, Inc. South Africa. Additionally, during his time in college, Gidon launched an innovative, multi-year campaign that led to his university implementing mandatory sexual assault prevention training for all incoming freshmen and the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.

A graduate of the George Washington University, Gidon was born in Jerusalem and raised across Israel, South Africa, and the United States. He is currently pursuing a Masters at SOAS University of London.