Simran is Executive Director for the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program and author of The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life. He is a visiting professor of history and religion at Union Theological Seminary and a Soros Equality Fellow with the Open Society Foundations, and in 2020 TIME Magazine recognized him among sixteen people fighting for a more equal America. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN, and he is a columnist for Religion News Service.
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis uses her gifts as author, activist, preacher, and public theologian toward creating an antiracist, just, fully welcoming, gender affirming society, free of gun violence, in which everyone has enough. She holds an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in Psychology and Religion from Drew University. Lewis came to lead Middle Church—a multiethnic rainbow coalition of spirituality, justice and the arts—in January 2004. Lewis co-founded The Middle Project and The Revolutionary Love Conference with her spouse, Rev. John Janka, which train leaders to create a more just society. Now in its 17th year, this justice conference has featured thought leaders and change agents like Otis Moss III, Tituss Burgess, Valarie Kaur, William J. Barber II, Melissa Harris-Perry, Wajahat Ali, Linda Sarsour, Sharon Brous, Raphael Warnock, Brian McLaren, angel Kyodo Williams and Ruby Sales. Dr. Lewis and Middle Church have been featured widely in the media, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Front Line at PBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Brian Lehrer Show, All Things Considered and The Takeaway.
Lewis most recent book is Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World (Harmony/Penguin Random House, 2021). Her next book is the Just Love Story Bible for Children (Beaming Books, 2025).
Rabbi Joui Hessel
Rabbi Joui Hessel is the Director of Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92NY.
Prior to this position, she served Washington Hebrew Congregation for 13 years; first as a pulpit rabbi and then as Rabbi and Director of Religious Education and Jewish Engagement overseeing one of the nation’s largest religious schools. She has also served as an Assistant Director for Recruitment and Admissions at HUC-JIR and as adjunct and clinical faculty for the HUC-JIR NY School of Education.
Rabbi Hessel was ordained from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, NY in June 2001. Rabbi Hessel also received a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1998 and a Masters Degree in Jewish Education in 1999, both from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Rabbi Hessel has co-authored The Hanukkah Family Treasury, published by Running Hill Press. She has also been published in the CCAR’s publications The Sacred Encounter (2014) and Mishkan T’fila for Youth (2014), Moment Magazine (June 2007) as well as in a book on parenting young adult children, Mom, Can I Move Back in with You: A Survival Guide for Parents of Twentysomethings, published by Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium. Rabbi Hessel has offered the opening prayer at the United States House of Representatives and at the White House on the National Day of Prayer. She served as an auxiliary board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing the Women’s Rabbinic Network.
Rabbi Hessel lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her sassy and precocious five-year-old daughter. She sits on the Board of Directors for both the United Way of Greenwich and the UJA/JCC Greenwich.