Jewrotica’s Sexiest Rabbis of 2013

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Rated PGWe are excited to announce the long-awaited Jewrotica’s Sexiest Rabbis of 2013. This list stirred up a great deal of controversy over the past two and a half months with some saying that we “went too far” and others challenging that we “hadn’t gone far enough.” Then of course there were our usual fans rooting us on.

Regardless, over the past ten weeks we received over 150 beautiful, inspiring and thoughtfully-written nominations from students, congregants, community members and families all over the world – each of whom passionately advocated for their rabbi to make the list. The nominations spanned age, gender, country, ethnicity, relationship status and denomination, with a roughly even number of rabbis nominated from each ‘stream of Judaism’ and an approximately 60-40 divide between male and female rabbis (which makes some sense given that Orthodox Judaism was well-represented in the nomination pool).

I wish that we could present all 150+ rabbis to you, but since that amount of content would be unwieldy for readers, we needed to make some tough choices. Our all-star selection committee included Special Projects liaison and committee chair Shayna Abramson who coordinated the process, founding member, contributor and webmaster David Abitbol of Jewlicious fame, loyal and dedicated managing editor Emma Morris and regular contributor “Dirty Di,” with input from our soon-to-be-newest team member Aviva Frank and yours truly.

We chose to spotlight Jewrotica’s Ten Sexiest Rabbis (now that is one smokin’ minyan…) with an additional 21 rabbis below being selected for the People’s Choice categories. But yes, let’s first present the unranked top 10 cadre selected for our Annual 2013 Sexy Rabbis List!

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Click on the + for details

Rabbi Josh Yuter
rabbis_yuter
“What could be sexier than a brilliant young rabbi who breathes life in his community?,” one congregant asks of Rabbi Josh Yuter. Rabbi Yuter is the rabbi of the Stanton Street Shul in New York, who is famed for his blog/podcast, “YUtopia“. Rabbi Yuter has an MA in Talmud from Yeshiva University, and an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. His keen sense of humor is matched only by his love of guitars.
http://www.joshyuter.com/

Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
rabbis_bauer
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer is “hot and sexy, diving into that Torah with a queer eye.” Rabbi Bauer is currently the Director for Social Action Programming at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City’s West Village, where he is famous for his sermons on Queer Theology. Before moving to NYC, David founded “The Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics Project”. He was the first Jew to earn the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Rabbi Bauer teaches about eros and spirituality for Jewish, queer, and retirement communities around the United States, and at countless retreats and workshops.
http://queerspiritualcounseling.com/blog/

Rabbi Susan Silverman
Rabbi Susan Silverman“With women rabbis this sexy, maybe the mixed-gender compromise at Robinson’s Arch is just too risky.” Rabbi Susan Silverman, sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, became legendary for her work on behalf of Women of the Wall. A Jerusalem resident and the mother of five children, two of whom are adopted, she is a published author who recently wrote “Casting Lots: A Memoir of Family, Adoption, and God”, a book about her adoption experience. Susan’s next big thing is adoption advocacy and working to turn Jerusalem into an adoption hub for the major faith communities.
Rabbi Silverman in the Forward 50

Rabbi Jill Hammer PhD
Rabbi Jill HammerAs an author, educator, myth-weaver and ritualist, Rabbi Jill Hammer is an embodiment of sensuality and stimulation. Her written words and teachings stimulate the mind, body and soul, engaging one on a journey to the sacred feminine. She is the co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute, a two-year learning and training program held at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. A Kohenet-in-training writes, “Her wisdom is only out shined by her grace. She holds intense divinity, spirituality and knowledge in complete humbleness.” She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic Jewish seminary. Rabbi Hammer is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, and the co-author of The Hebrew Priestess and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut.
rabbijillhammer.com

Rabbi Benay Lappe
Rabbi BennayRabbi Benay Lappe, founder of Svara, a “traditionally radical” queer yeshiva, believes it is essential for Jewish laypeople to learn the text in order to become “players” in the game of Judaism. She has taught Talmud at various universities and served as Spielberg Fellow at CLAL. A former student describes her as a “total bad-ass … not afraid to teach the sexiest bits of Talmud as well as the driest” – no pun intended?
http://www.svara.org/about-rabbi-lappe/

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
Rabbi Yonah JCPSC head shot small“What could be sexier than a man like Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, a man of deep moral and humanitarian conviction, and inspired creativity, who uses his gift of charismatic leadership for the betterment of humanity and the Jewish people?”, asks his wife. As “the only one in the universe truly qualified to nominate Rabbi Yonah as sexy”, she gives her whole-hearted support. A tireless innovator, Rabbi Yonah co-founded the Jewlicious Festival, the Pico Shul in LA, the music Festival hopping Shabbat Tent, and was also involved in the Jewish community in Poland before it was cool. Rabbi Bookstein is a frequent blogger, contributing to the Huffington Post, his own blog and Jewlicious.
rabbiyonah.com
Rabbi Yonah on Jewlicious

Rabbi Dan Shevitz
Rabbi ShevitzRabbi Dan Shevitz of Congregation Mishkon Tephilo, in California, can seduce you in French, German, Yiddish, Arabic, Russian, English or Hebrew – take your pick. A man with a “dapper sense of style” who serves diverse constituencies, finding ways to show people the creative intersection of their Jewishness with other aspects of their lives. When he was the Hillel director at MIT, Dan played with the intersection of Torah and science: he was known for his “mathematical” Rosh Hashanah sermons – each year a gematria on the year – and for inventing the test-tube menora. Dan worked as a chaplain for the LAPD, helping officers under stress. He plays klezmer music, rides a motorcycle, and is certified in scuba diving.
shevitz.net

Rabbi Aviad Bodner
Rabbi Bodner“At 28 years old, half Sfardi half Ashkenazi, six-foot tall and broad shouldered, the well dressed Rabbi Aviad Bodner, rabbi of the Moishe House in Tel Aviv, cuts a striking figure. He has clear brown – almost amber – eyes, a full head of dark hair, and a warm smile that makes you feel like (and want to be) the only other person in the room.” Rabbi Aviad has smicha from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and served as a board member in his hometown shul in Ra’anana, where he led Talmud classes for years. He tries to make the Moishe House a true home for the diverse population of Tel Aviv, and hosts shabbat meals famed for his grilled eggplant. He served in the IDF during the Second Lebanon War, and after spending spending several days in combat inside a tank, Rabbi Aviad led Rosh Hashana services for his fellow soldiers, overcoming his tiredness to make their new year just a little bit sweeter.
Aviad and Moishe House
Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann
Rabbis HeydemannRabbi Lizzi Heydemann, a member of the 2012 “Rabbis Without Borders Cohort” who has been described as “whip smart”, has both a music and a rabbinic degree, and is known to teach while strumming her guitar. From marriage equality to transgender issues to feeding the homeless, Rabbi Heydemann is all about social action. Her passion for justice and for Judaism led her to start Mishkan in Chicago, a Jewish community dedicated to tikkun and to “radical accessibility”.
Mishkan Chicago
Rabbi Yonatan Gordis
Rabbi GordisRabbi Yonatan Gordis, described by his wife as “the most awesomely irreverent creature I know” is a strategist and leader at ChangeCraft, formerly known as the Center for Leadership Initiatives. Ordained by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, he helped found Elul, an egalitarian Beit Midrash in Jerusalem, where he was also involved in Jewish-Palestinian dialogue. A graduate of Columbia University with an interest in creative writing, Rabbi Gordis, a dedicated Dead Head, has lived in both the US and in Israel, and currently resides with his family in Canada.
ROI Community Profile

People's Choice

Please note. None of the Rabbis listed here were contacted prior to their inclusion. Being nominated or included herein does not mean that the Rabbis included approve of or endorse Jewrotica or any of its contents.

The People’s choice categories are as follows:

** Delicious Dvar Torah… Words That Stimulate Your Senses **
The nominees are:

Rabbi Ronnie Cahana
Rabbi Ronnie Cahana of Congregation Beth-El overcame a severe brain-stem stroke to continue to share his words of wisdom with the world, through blinking and mouthing each letter. His dvar Torahs, as well as poetry and other works, are published on his blog, and he continues to inspire. “It would be so easy to give up,” his nominator says, but “Rabbi Cahana keeps at it and that is the most badass thing ever!”
http://rabbicahana.com

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie
Dig a presentation on Sex and Adultery on Kol Nidre? Then you’ve found the rabbi for you. Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie turns people on with his dvar Torahs that are not just speeches, but rather, stories – which is no surprise, given his founding of the Storahtelling Project and now the Lab Shul. And for those who dig girl-on-girl action, there’s always his rabbinic take on “Sarah Palin/Lady Gaga make out sessions on Purim.”
http://labshul.org
http://www.storahtelling.org

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, author of “Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion”, and editor of a book of “The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism”, uses the power of her words to make Torah sexy, and appeals to the inner librarian fetish of nerds everywhere. A graduate of the Ziegler School and a prolific writer and mentor, she currently lives with her family in Chicago.
http://danyaruttenberg.net

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is one of the leading Jewish thinkers of this era. His lectures and Dvar Torahs are not just breathtaking in their intelectual scope and spiritual reverence, but they “show a fearless willingness to tackle the sacred idols of contemporary Jewish practice and a fierce reverence for God, man and Halacha. If being fierce and fearless makes one a badass then Rabbi Cardozo is like the Chuck Norris of present day Rabbis.” Rabbi Cardozo is the founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy, the Aron and Betsy Spijer Institute. The Institute is a think tank where rabbis, educators and professors under Rabbi Cardozo’s guidance try to lay the foundations of a new approach to Judaism based on the classical sources.
Cardozo Academy and Weekly Musings

Rabbi Lisa Edwards
Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim uses both her hot tallit-ot collection and her linguistic wisdom as a PhD in English Literature to make Torah sexy. Her spiritual work with Jews of all denominations, as well as her interfaith work, make her a star. In the words of one congregant, “Rabbi Lisa can spin a drash and take you places in a sermon such that your mind is flashing new neuronal connections. No possibility of falling asleep in Rabbi Lisa’s LGBTQ-friendly shul”.
http://www.bcc-la.org/about/clergy-and-staff/

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi Menachem Creditor, of Congregation Netivot Shalom, uses his “very sexy brains” to empower others, with a breadth of knowledge that spans sci-fi, philosophy, modern culture, and Jewish literature. He is a tireless activist on Gun Violence, LGBT inclusion, interfaith collaboration, girls’/women’s empowerment, domestic violence, hunger – and all this is in his spare time. “RC has the smoothest, most soulful voice I have ever heard. His last album, “Within”, says it all and sometimes it’s just too much, but I like it and come back for more.” Menachem is a frequent Huffington Post contributor, and is heavily involved in the “Tov Lehodot” online siddur project.
http://rabbicreditor.blogspot.com/?m=1
http://netivotshalom.org/rabbi

Rabbi David Ingber
Rabbi David Ingber, of Romemu, endeavors to “give Jews prayer experiences as uplifting and unique as an orgasm”. Raised Modern Orthodox, Rabbi Ingber contributed to the start of “Post-Modern Judaism” with his founding Romemu in NYC: a community designed to meet the need for meaningful and traditional yet innovative Jewish ritual experiences. “Romemu,” writes the nominator, “strives to integrate the Jewish needs of the mind, body, and soul. What could be hotter than a man who tries to meet all of your needs?”
http://romemu.org/

Please vote below:

Delicious Dvar Torah: Words That Stimulate Your Senses

  • Rabbi Ronnie Cahana (29%, 229 Votes)
  • Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (23%, 178 Votes)
  • Rabbi Menachem Creditor (20%, 156 Votes)
  • Rabbi David Ingber (15%, 115 Votes)
  • Rabbi Amichai Lau Lavie (14%, 109 Votes)
  • Rabbi Lisa Edwards (9%, 72 Votes)
  • Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (0%, 71 Votes)

Total Voters: 779

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** Sexiest Activist: Rabbis Tackling Society’s Wrongs And Making Them Right **

Rabbi Robert Saks
Rabbi Robert Saks is kinky enough to allow himself to be put in chains for causes he cares about, like the rescue of Soviet Jewry. He fought to desegregate off-campus housing at the University of Maryland in the 1970s when he was the Hillel Director there, and currently serves as Rabbi Emeritus of Bet Mishpacha, an LGBTQ shul. He is on the DC Workers’ Rights Board and the local board of Interfaith Worker Justice. Rabbi Saks also serves on the Reform Movement’s Committee to support South American Jewry. Rabbi Saks is married to Loretta. They are the parents of two grown children, and have two grandchildren. When he’s “not knee deep in an ocean of newspaper clippings being filed into his canyon of cabinets, Robert is out in the world getting people to love each other just a little harder”.
About Rabbi Saks

Rabbi Melissa Simon
“It’s too cliched to say that Rabbi Melissa Simon makes Judaism come alive to her students. What she does – more importantly – is to make Judaism relevant.” Melissa of Shir Tikvah, in Minneapolis, is a brilliant and creative scholar, whose fight for LGBTQ rights is part of the reason same sex marriage is now legal in Minnesota. Asked why she should be on our list, one congregant replied, “What could be sexier than a rabbi who has the smarts to teach people… to live up to their full potential?” And we give her bonus points for taking the time to recommend other rabbis and cantors who have inspired her. There’s something beautiful and sexy about showing hakarat hatov.
Rabbi Simon on Twitter
Rabbi Simon Interview on YouTube

Rabbi Mark Dratch
Rabbi Mark Dratch is making safe space sexy: After a stint as Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, he founded JSAFE, an organization dedicated to combating domestic abuse in the Jewish community. Mark is “not scared to take a stand”. According to community members, Mark is “an expert in a wide range of topics and skillfully weaves science, history, math and politics together into knock-out sermons”. When not making positive waves in society, Mark is father to three beautiful children.
Wikipedia Entry
JSAFE.org

Rabbi Ron Yosef
Rabbi Ron Yosef is “a sexy Sefardi” who is not afraid to stand up for his convictions. According to Ron’s fans, his knowledge of Talmud trumps most others and he “knows what to do if my cow gores your cow on my property”. Ron is the founder of HOD, an Israeli organization for Orthodox Jewish gay men. Ron has quite the following and, according to one fan, Ron is “worth becoming a ba’al teshuva for… Also, I’d get to eat rice on Passover. Win win.” We’re sold.
Wikipedia Entry
YNet interview with Rabbi Yosef

Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin
In addition to being a “hot hip-hop dancer”, Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin founded the Moishe Kavod House in Boston, a community of Jews in their 20s and 30s dedicated to Tikkun Olam, as well as Project Democracy, a national youth voting organization. She is the co-editor of “Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice“, and created a mikvah ritual for survivors of sexual violence, which is currently used as the Mayyim Chayyim Mikvah. Margie is a faith based community organizer with the PICO interfaith network, where she works with clergy to organize their congregations to work on economic justice issues across race, class, and faith lines. As Rabbi of Congregation Sha’arei Shalom in Ashland, MA, Margie has “encouraged teens to create dance-based midrash to be performed during services… yes, please!”
Rabbi Margie’s Letters

Rabbi Felipe Goodman
Rabbi Felipe Goodman of Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas has been described as “the biggest badass in the whole world”. Though Felipe is the author of the book “Torah From Sin City“, his true strengths lie not in words, but in actions: He has traveled to New York to protest against Ahmadinejad’s address at the UN, has been involved in strengthening the relationship between the Jewish community and the Obama administration, and has received an award from Shimon Peres honoring his support for Israel.
Rabbi Goodman’s Blog
America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis

Rabbi Daniel Coleman
Rabbi Daniel Coleman, a “ninja in the art of silence”, is the chaplain of one of the world’s largest health systems, North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital. He brings his spontaneous, non-judgmental, and inspiring energy to every endeavor, including his Bikkur Cholim group and his innovative pet blessing where he “plumbs the depths of people’s souls, and staff confide in him for spiritual/emotional support and halachic guidance.” A British badass, Daniel rides a motorcycle to work and is training to be a scuba diving instructor. With an MBA and two patents pending, the well-rounded Rabbi Coleman “leaves people mesmerized, inspired, comforted, and connected.”
The Case for Orthodox Female Chaplains

Please vote below:

Sexiest Activist: Rabbis Tackling Society's Wrongs And Making Them Right

  • Rabbi Felipe Goodman (33%, 261 Votes)
  • Rabbi Robert Saks (20%, 157 Votes)
  • Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin (19%, 156 Votes)
  • Rabbi Melissa Simon (16%, 128 Votes)
  • Rabbi Mark Dratch (6%, 45 Votes)
  • Rabbi Daniel Coleman (4%, 29 Votes)
  • Rabbi Ron Yosef (2%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 803

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** Hottest Date: At The End Of Friday Night Services, Who Do You Want To Go Home With…For A Shabbat Meal? :-) **

Rabbi Dan Horwitz
How about a rabbi who can teach you how to salsa, dominate on the basketball court, and seduce you with the violin? Meet Rabbi Dan Horwitz, who leads weekend retreats around the world for young Jewish adults, focusing on ritual skill acquisition. In addition to rabbinic ordination, he also has a JD and a number of other degrees. He “seems to know everything about everything, but never makes you feel like you’re inferior.” Dan is an advocate for lifelong learning and is a frequent blog contributor.
http://shma.com/author/dan-horwitz/
Rabbi Horwitz on Twitter
Moishe House Staff Bio

Rabbi Ari Isenberg
Rabbi Ari Isenberg, of Shaar Shalom synagogue in Nova Scotia, Canada, is “as tasty as Nova Scotia lox”. A musician with a Rolling Stones streak who “tries to incorporate Judaism into our modern world and make it fun and relevant”, Ari brings a warmth to his community that brightens any Canadian winter day. Rabbi Isenberg graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Sacred Music and Rabbinic Ordination. While at the seminary, he was named Tanenbaum Fellow of Beth Tzedec (Toronto), Leffell Fellow of AIPAC, and rabbinic intern-in-residence of Masorti France and the Jerusalem Open House.
http://www.halifaxrabbi.com/
Rabbi Isenberg on Twitter

Rabbi Adam Greenwald
“Master of the quickie”, Rabbi Adam Greenwald can “deliver the most meaningful d’var Torah you’ve ever heard in six minutes or less”. As executive director of the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program, Adam is all about combining accessibility with intellectualism. “Talking with Adam is a lot like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube that keeps on quoting things back to you. He’s also unparalleled at reorganizing your life so that it simply works better. ” His social activism ranges from Southern California to Kenya, and according to more than one nominee, he “has model-good looks”, though “the local USYers worship him for much deeper reasons”.
Shma Author Listing
Rabbi Greenwald on Twitter
AJU Staff Bio

Rabbi Malka Packer
Rabbi Malka Packer, currently the rabbinic advisor at the Bryn Mawr Hillel, will woo you with her lacy tallit, and has spent a significant amount of time in Israeli institutions that cross the denominational spectrum, including those that focus on Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. Two years ago, Malka “started the first-weekday-non-Orthodox minyan in Tel Aviv which still meets to this day”. This rainbow-kippah wearing rabbi and her meditation practice are inspirations to many in her community and rumor has it that “she can help you get your yoga on, if you know what we mean”.
Hillel Staff Bio

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Rabbi Ben Vago
Rabbi Ben Vago is a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and “what makes him is not just his smarts or his open-mindedness, but his dedication to working with students at Montreal Hillel. Ben catalyzes students to lead their peers and “always brings Torah to the students’ lives in unique ways. He once related Sarah and Abraham with our relationships via the internet, and he understands the subtle connection modernity has with ancient times.” Though one student half-boasted and half-confessed that Ben “spends way too much time at Hillel”, all seem to be in awe of his ability to pull off a feather boa. In the words of one fan, “Feather boa. Nuf said.”
Rabbi Vago’s Twitter Page

Rabbi Melinda Bernstein
All Rabbi Melinda Bernstein, of San Anselmo, California, wants to do is to spread the love. She does this through public lectures, presentations at the Jerusalem Integrative Medical Conference and healing sessions. Melinda is a certified yoga teacher who came to the rabbinate later in life and talks about sex, out loud, in a Jewish form. Rabbi Melinda “can help anyone overcome their fears of sexual relationships through learning, Torah study and an exploration of Kabbalah“. Melinda is the author of ‘7 Steps to a Peaceful Heart After Divorce‘.
Rabbi Melinda’s Web Site

Please vote below:

Hottest Date: At The End Of Friday Night Services, Who Do You Want To Go Home With… For A Shabbat Meal? :-)

  • Rabbi Adam Greenwald (32%, 412 Votes)
  • Rabbi Ben Vago (21%, 277 Votes)
  • Rabbi Malka Packer (21%, 274 Votes)
  • Rabbi Dan Horwitz (8%, 108 Votes)
  • Rabbi Ari Isenberg (8%, 108 Votes)
  • Rabbi Melinda Bernstein (4%, 56 Votes)
  • Redacted (6%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,290

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The original People’s Choice list included six rabbis in each category, totaling a rather symbolic 18 (chai), but I couldn’t resist sneaking one more nominee into each field at the last moment, so just think of it as chai… plus one in each category for good luck! The People’s Choice categories will be open until Tu B’Shvat (Thursday, January 16th), and the top candidates will be gifted free Jewrotica swag and invited for exclusive interviews to be featured on Jewrotica.org!

A last note: This list is exceedingly respectful with the top ten intentionally presented in an unranked list, but is also meant to be fun and playful. We hope that rabbis will be pleased to be acknowledged on the list, but we do not purport that this is an authoritative, exhaustive and all-inclusive list of all the fabulous and sexy rabbis out there. We certainly missed some of you, and that is what next year and comments are for. Feel free to let us know if we’ve missed a particularly inspiring, sexy rabbi!

Stay tuned for in-depth interviews and spotlights with selected rabbis over the course of the coming year and keep your fingers crossed for that Sexy Rabbis calendar. We’ll see how much resistance comes our way, but let’s just say that the seed has been planted.

Stay in touch, share your ideas and get involved with Jewrotica by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter. For press interviews and articles on the Sexiest Rabbis of 2013, please contact Special Projects Liaison Shayna Abramson (shayna@jewrotica.org), Managing Editor Emma Morris (emma@jewrotica.org) and Founding Member, Contributor and Webmaster David Abitbol (david@jewrotica.org)

Thanks as always for your support, and enjoy!

Light and Love,

Ayo Oppenheimer

Founder and editor of Jewrotica, Ayo spent the past two years full-time RVing North America with her Jewish educational film program. Ayo alternates between intensely pursuing fun new experiences and equally intensely trying to do good by people. She would love to hear from you.