SWF Tachlit (Mission)
Shabbat with Friends NM, a newly formed Jewish organization and nonprofit in New Mexico. The mission of Shabbat with Friends is to recapture together the joy of Shabbat (Oneg Shabbat). We cultivate the love of Shabbat through our gatherings, teaching, and relationships. We give special attention to Shabbat home practice: hospitality, shared meals, group singing, musical traditions, engaging conversation, interactive Torah study, and Menuchah-the authentic experience of Shabbat rest.
Our name, Shabbat with Friends, underlies our commitment to Shabbat hospitality, to cultivating the unique joy of Shabbat fellowship through our gatherings, and illuminating the profound Jewish ethical and spiritual teachings in the way we share this special day.
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg is the Founder and Convener of Shabbat with Friends New Mexico. He was Founder of Panim Hadashot-New Faces of Judaism in Seattle, Washington started in 2004. Shabbat with Friends NM, founded in 2022, expands significantly on the innovations of Panim Hadashot. Rabbi Dov has also served for nearly two decades as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle.
Rabbi Dov received his B.A. with honors at the University of California, Berkeley. He studied under and was mentored deeply influenced by the great scholar of the sociology of religion, the late Robert Bellah, of blessed memory. Under Professor Bellah's guidance, Rabbi Dov went on to study comparative religions at Harvard University and pursued rabbinical studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now known as the Zeigler Rabbinical School at the American Jewish University) and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City. He is a member in good standing of the Rabbinical Assembly of America.
Rabbi Dov was also profoundly influenced by Rabbi David Hartman, of blessed memory, of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. Rabbi Dov has attended rabbinic seminars at the Hartman Institute regularly since the 1980s.
Rabbi Dov is the father of three children, Zachary, Moriel, and Fay. He lives with his partner, Melissa Drolet, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a passionate baseball fan and loves to sing Shabbat table songs with people whenever he can.
SWF Steering Team
Ruth Ma’ayan is an alumna of both Hebrew University in Jerusalem and University of New Mexico with degrees in music, dance education, and physical therapy. She has lived in Albuquerque since 1987 and has been an active member of Chavurat Hamidbar for 35 years. She is one of the organizers of the New Mexico Hug Ivrit, a circle of people who enjoy conversing in Hebrew. Ruth will begin her term as President of Shabbat with Friends in July 2023.
Lea Koshkin was born and raised in Israel and served in the IDF as a teacher. After moving to California, Lea began a career as a nurse practitioner. Lea and her family moved to New Mexico four years ago, becoming an active member of Congregation B’nai Israel in Albuquerque. She also volunteers as a Hebrew teacher. Lea and her family, Ilya, Julia, and Daniel were one of the first SWF hosts, welcoming people to their home for a Havdalah and Melaveh Malkeh (End of Shabbat Gathering) in May 2022. Lea’s role on the SWF board will be to organize the SWF Gemilut Hasadim Group to support people in the community going through challenging life cycle transitions such as illness, grief, and major life changes.
Rick Hammer and his wife Karen moved to Albuquerque 23 years ago. Rick is a retired physician and volunteer Hebrew and Bar/t Mitzvah tutor. He has served on the boards and as an active volunteer in several Jewish organizations in Albuquerque. Rick has agreed to begin a term as Vice-President of Shabbat with Friends NM in July 2023. He will also temporarily assume duties as treasurer of SWF.
Mahrinah Shije has two decades of experience in Global Development, High Tech Startups, Venture Capital, and Multi-Lateral Diplomacy. She holds a BA and MS in sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business. Mahrinah is a current 2022 Fellow at Leadership New Mexico, VC Lab (Palo Alto) and the Nahum Goldmann International Fellowship. Mahrinah is Tewa and Sefardi and married into the Pueblo of Zia with one daughter, Salomé. Mahrinah. Mahrina’s role on the SWF Board will be to serve as Liaison to the Jewish Coalition on Climate Change. SWF is a member of the national coalition.
Shera Farkas moved to Albuquerque in 2019 from Troy, NY. Shera received her Jewish education at the Ramaz Day School in Manhattan. She remains an active member of Temple Beth El in Troy NY.
Shera attended Columbia University where she received her masters degree in special education. She taught children with special needs for 35 years. Shera begins her term as Secretary of the SWF Board with the specific role as the coordinator of our signature program, the Shabbat with Friends Gatherings. She draws pleasure in organizing children's activities at the SWF gatherings which thrill her grandchildren, Ethan and Emma.
James Connors was born and raised in Frederick, MD where he worked for the Public School system as an IT professional for many years. He moved to Albuquerque, NM in 2021 with his fiancée Genna. He now works for the Air Force Research Laboratories as a Systems Administrator and is continuing his education at University of New Mexico. He attends the Exploring the Jewish Experience program and volunteers with Shabbat with Friends, helping with the evolving technology needs of the organization. In his free time he enjoys camping, traveling, playing D&D, and trying to find the best green chile in town.
SWF Oneg Shabbos Ensemble
Clara Byom is a versatile multi-instrumentalist, electronic musician, musicologist, arts administrator, and tunesmith who has been described as having "radiant energy" and "immense talent." Clara has premiered over 40 new classical works as soloist, collaborator, or with the New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble, which she co-founded in 2016 with Dalton Harris. In 2020, Clara produced three solo albums of electronic/electroacoustic music and a collaborative album with lo-fi hip hop/experimental artist Dan Dan. Clara frequently plays for contra, English Country, and International Folk Dance with The Parson Sisters and performs with the indie folk rock band Dust City Opera. Clara serves as Development Director for the Klezmer Institute. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of New Mexico in Clarinet Performance and Musicology (2017) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College (2012).
Jordan Wax is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and traditional musician based in New Mexico. For the past twenty years he has studied intergenerational music traditions with elders from a variety of cultural lineages in the Missouri Ozarks, Central Mexico, Northern New Mexico, and Greater Yiddishland, and directed his own ensembles in the context of Ashkenazi, Anglo-American, and Indo-Hispanic cultural revitalizations. His formal study of Yiddish began with a summer program at the Oxford Institute of Yiddish Studies in 2000, and he currently directs a weekly gathering for Yiddish students and elder heritage speakers in Santa Fe. He performs traditional and newly composed Yiddish songs with Margot Leverett & Duke City Hora, norteño traditions in local mariachis and his own ensemble, Lone Piñon, and creates bilingual children's programming that helps families and infants establish a positive context around linguistic diversity and regionalism.