Clergy and Leadership
Rabbi Michal Morris Kamil
Born in Jerusalem to Jewish Irish and British parents who were Israeli diplomats, Michal worked with youth at risk, youth movement leaders, and Israeli Disabled War Veterans for many years, as well as leading religious schools in the UK and USA. Rabbi Michal is mother to two daughters. Having trained hundreds of teachers in Holocaust education at Yad VaShem, Michal was founding Managing Editor of the Yad Vashem Magazine. She also worked in teacher training and curriculum design for the British Holocaust Education Trust, as well as extensive work with the Anne Frank Trust. Michal, a UJIA Ashdown Fellow with and MBA in International Jewish Educational Leadership, Michal was brought out to the USA from England where she was the London Grants Manager and community consultant for Connecting Communities Plus, a government program to support refugees and asylum seekers, to head up the $6.9 million dollar BASIS Initiative that aimed to train teachers and create vision led curriculum to engage with Israel for the eleven Jewish Day Schools in the Bay Area funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, using her experience as a community shlicha in Leeds, as well as working with Diaspora youth in Kiryat Moriah for many years early in her career in Jerusalem and on Kibbutz. In January 2018 Michal was accepted to Rabbinic Studies at the Academy of Jewish Religion CA and, following her ordination in May, became Rabbi of Ahavat Torah, previously led by Rabbi Miriam Hamrell, now Rabbi Emeritus.
Rabbi Miriam E. Hamrell
Rabbi Miriam E. Hamrell MHL, M.Ed., has served as our religious and spiritual leader at Ahavat Torah Congregation and helped it grow since it was founded in 2003.
She is loved for being a wise and compassionate leader who brings a remarkable variety of experiences and gifts to her calling as our Rabbi.
Rabbi Miriam provides classes throughout the world on Jewish Ethics, the Spiritual and Inner Meaning of Prayer, Holy Days, Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, Conversion to Judaism, and advice on interpersonal relationships.
Rabbi Miriam was the only woman Head Rabbi in an American congregation who was born and raised in Israel. Rabbi Miriam was inspired at a young age by her father’s passion for teaching Jewish studies and living a holy life in spite of all he had witnessed during the Holocaust. Rabbi Miriam is a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. Rabbi Miriam raised three sons with her husband, Dr. Chuck Hamrell in L.A. Rabbi Miriam was ordained as a Rabbi at the Academy of Jewish Religion after many years as a teacher and administrator of Jewish studies in L.A. She spoke in Israel and the Balkans on the roles of female leadership in Judaism. For several years, Ahavat Torah has actively participated in the Jewish-Muslim-Christian Cousins’ Club and interfaith activities. Because of this and our warm relationship with the Christian Lutheran and Sufi Muslim Musallah communities, Rabbi Miriam was invited to speak in 2009 at the Parliament of World Religions in Australia about co-existence and mutual understanding between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Our Rabbi is a member of the Tibor Rubin Capitol Post #786 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America and a leader of the Veterans Holiday Celebration held every year at the VA Grounds in West Los Angeles (more than 4,000 veterans are fed and clothed every year at the VHC; 2017 is the 25th Silver Anniversary of VHC).
Kimberly Haynes is Ahavat Torah’s co-cantorial soloist and has served AT for more than 20 years. She creates sacred space through her warmth and presence and her deeply devotional commitment to the community.
Kimberly has been a vocalist since grade school and has honed her craft and mastered her instrument over her 40 year career in music.
A long time practitioner of mindfulness, meditation, and body awareness practices, Kimberly is also a Certified Spiritual Life Coach (ACC), a Certified Spiritual Counselor, and a Certified Grief Educator. She uses her skills to support women and men, from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom are ready to make significant and lasting change. The concepts of Tikkun Olam, healing the world, and Tikkun Ha Nefesh, healing the spirit, are central to Kimberly’s mission.
Lay Cantor Gary Levine received his operatic training from New York City Opera leading baritone, David Clatworthy, and his cantorial training from Maarav and Mordecai Finley. When not doing his volunteer chanting, he works in television as a creative executive. He is happily married to his college sweetheart, Maxine, and together they take great pride and joy in their two wonderful daughters, Sylvie and Deena.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2022 - 2023
Ways & Means (Acting)
Publicity and Social Media
Vicki Crawford, Helene Silber
Hal Jaffe, Channah Goldman
Helene Silber, Michael Stevens,
Vivian Gold and Renee Schwartz
Bea Smetana-Beals and Leslie Tuchman