Our Staff

Alon Goshen-Gottstein, PhD Executive Director

Alon Goshen-Gottstein, PhD
Executive Director

Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein has been the director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute (formerly the Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions) since 1997.
Alon is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading figures in interreligious dialogue, specializing in bridging the theological and academic dimension with a variety of practical initiatives, especially involving world religious leadership. He is both a theoretician and activist, setting trends and precedents in the global interfaith arena. He is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute (formerly the Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions), and its rich website is testimony to his many and varied activities.  A noted scholar of Jewish studies, he has held academic posts at Tel Aviv University and has served as director of the Center for the Study of Rabbinic Thought, Beit Morasha College, Jerusalem. Ordained a rabbi in 1977, he received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1986 in the area of Rabbinic thought. From 1989 to 1999, he was a member of the Shalom Hartman Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem, where he also served as director for interreligious affairs. Stanford University Press published his The Sinner and the Amnesiac: The Rabbinic Invention of Elisha ben Abuya and Eleazar ben Arach in 2000, and the Littman Library published his co-edited volume Jewish Theology and World Religions. His Beyond Idolatry – The Jewish Encounter with Hinduism is to appear shortly. Several other collective research projects and edited volumes complement more than fifty articles, published in such scholarly journals as Harvard Theological Review, Journal for the Study of Judaism, Journal of Literature and Theology, Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Ecumenism, and Studies in Interreligious Dialogue.

Peta Jones Pellach Director of Educational Activities

Peta Jones Pellach
Director of Educational Activities

Peta Jones Pellach is an educator with expertise in adult education and dialogue facilitation. She served in senior positions in Sydney’s Jewish schools before making her career in Adult Education in 1997. Until Feb 2010, she was Director of Adult Education at The Shalom Institute, University of NSW, Sydney, and was the educator-in-residence. She conducted classes for the informal sector and the University of Sydney on the weekly Torah portion, Jewish Civilization & Culture, Biblical Studies, Jewish Studies Teaching Method and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Innovations under her leadership included the introduction of professionally-crafted programs of regular adult learning (Melton) and cross-generational community-wide learning ‘experiences’ (Limmud-Oz). She was a key player in inter-faith dialogue in Australia including in the Women’s Interfaith Network, the (Australian) Uniting Church-Jewish Dialogue, the Jewish ‘conversation’ with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews. In 2004 and 2006 she was a member of the Australian delegation to the Regional Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation, in Indonesia and the Philippines respectively. Her academic qualifications include BA (UNSW), Masters in International Affairs (Columbia University, NY), Jerusalem Fellow (1989-91).  Publications include ‘Human Rights, Religion & Gender –Jewish Perspective’ for the Australian Human Rights Commission (2010), ‘Without Prejudice – A Handbook for Teachers’ (2009);  We Offer Thanks in ‘Mosaic: Favourite Prayers and Reflections from Inspiring Australians’ (2008) Interfaith Dialogue and Israel   and Adult Education (co-authored with Paul Forgasz) in ‘New Under the Sun’ (2006), The Contribution of Nehama Leibowitz in the Journal of Studies of Religion (Aus), (2006). In June 2010, she joined Elijah to develop the work of the Educational Network.

Yehuda Elram, Associate Director

Yehuda Elram
Associate Director

Yehuda Elram is a partner at Gideon Koren & Co., a leading Israeli law firm, and joined Elijah in 2014. Yehuda holds a LL.B. degree (1994) from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.A. degree (2002) in Education and Jewish Leadership from the Schaechter Institute/Jewish Theological Seminary. Yehuda Co-founded and was the Executive Director of Lev Echad – Community Crisis Aid (www.levechad.org) and a board member of and the legal advisor for Ein Prat – The Israeli Academy for Leadership. Currently, Yehuda is Associate Director of The Elijah Interfaith Institute.

Merav Laufer Office Manager

Merav Laufer
Office Manager

Merav Laufer is the office manager

Maria Reis Habito Director Elijah Interfaith Institute, USA

Maria Reis Habito
Elijah Interfaith Institute, USA

Maria Reis Habito is the International Program Director of the Museum of World Religions and the Director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute USA. She studied Chinese Language and Culture at Taiwan Normal University in Taipei from 1979-81 and received her M.A. in Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich in 1985. She was a research fellow at Kyoto University, Faculty of Letters from 1986-1988 and completed her Ph.D. at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitãt in 1990. After teaching at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, she assumed responsibility for the international Interfaith program of the Museum of World Religions in 2002. She joined the Elijah Interfaith Institute in 2003. She has organized many international Interfaith conferences, notably a series of Buddhist-Muslim dialogues published under the title of “Listening: Buddhist-Muslim Dialogues 2002-2004” (Taipei, 2005), some of them in collaboration with Elijah. She is very involved in all of Elijah`s programs and instrumental in publishing some of the proceedings in German.

Elijah Interfaith also works with a body of illustrious scholars, see Scholar’s Activity.