InHER Circle May '24 Panelist Biographies

Barbara Kirklauskas '60 InHER Circle Speaker Series

One World, Many Faiths: Building Understanding and Respect

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 | 6:30 PM

Cuvilly Auditorium | Notre Dame Academy

Cole Crusciel -  Moderator

Cole Crusciel is a religious studies teacher at Notre Dame Academy. In addition to teaching, he helps to coach the soccer team, works on technical design for theatrical productions, runs the ski club, and advises the Love in Action Program for the senior class. Before coming to Notre Dame, he worked at Outdoor Odyssey in Boswell, Pennsylvania, where he taught leadership development. He previously worked with the Center for Ethics in Society in Manchester, New Hampshire.


Rabbi Aviva Fellman -  Panelist

Rabbi Aviva Fellman has served the Greater Worcester community as Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel since 2014. Rabbi Aviva knew she wanted to be a rabbi from age 8 because she felt that her presence in the community mattered and her participation was valued. Rabbi Aviva works tirelessly to break down barriers to inclusion and to foster acceptance and a sense of belonging of all in religious spaces. She helps individuals and families deepen their understanding of Judaism and traveling on their personal journeys. Rabbi Aviva’s a married “Ema (mom)” of four.

 John Finneran - Panelist 

 John Finneran Ph.D., MAC, LADC-1 is Emeritus Professor in the Addiction and Pre-   Professional Mental Health option within the Department of Health Science   (formerly Public Health) at Keene State College in Keene NH. He is also an Adjunct   Instructor in Co-Occurring Disorders (co-occurring mental illness and substance   use disorders) for the Addiction Counselor Education program at the AdCare   Educational Institute in Worcester MA.
 John is a member of the Parish Council at Christ the King Church in Worcester, Ma   where he assists the pastor in organizing, developing and nurturing  the parish   community. 

Julie Dowd DMin - Panelist

Julie Dowd is the director of mission integration for East-West Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Sponsorship Office. Previously she spent twenty-six years in Jesuit education and parish ministry serving most recently as director of University Ministry at the University of San Francisco (USF).
Julie has bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s in theology and master’s nonprofit administration from USF, and a doctor of ministry degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. Her pastoral and academic interests include feminist theology, Ignatian spirituality, Catholic social thought, and women’s leadership in the church. Julie was a founding board member of the Ignatian Solidarity Network and served for a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She lives
in Newburyport, MA with her husband Tim Freundlich and two sons, Milo and Gus.

Dr. Muhammad Xhemali - Panelist

 Muhammad Xhemali is the Director of Religious Affairs at the Worcester Islamic   Center. He serves one of the largest congregations in New England. Previously he's     served as a chaplain at Brandeis university and the Worcester county house of   corrections.

Abigail A. Mensah Ed.M - Panelist

Abby is the Dean of Equity & Inclusion at Worcester Academy. Her commitment to DEI at WA necessitates the maintenance of an environment that encourages the expression of diverse perspectives, supports learning and work that is free from discrimination and harassment, promotes inclusion and respect, and evaluates progress toward ensuring equity and inclusion for all on a continuous basis.



 Dolev StavPanelist 

 Dolev Stav is the Israeli Shaliach (emissary) through the Jewish Federation of   Central MA. He participated in the young emissary program in 2019-2020, after   which he completed his military service in the IDF as a Naval communications   technician. This past August Dolev came back to Worcester to work in   the Shaliach program. The emissary's job is to connect the Jewish community to   Israel, educate and develop these relationships. Dolev coordinates programming in many different Hebrew schools in Central Mass, Hillel's in colleges, the JCC, and other  Federation events.