Union Mandala by Julie Hliboki

"Union" mandala
© Julie Hliboki


Let us be united.
Let us speak in harmony,
Let our minds
   apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer.
Common be the end of
   our assembly,
Common be our resolutions,
Common be our deliberations,
Alike be our feelings,
Unified be our hearts,
Common be our intentions,
Perfect be our unity.

—From the Rig Veda


The Neshama Team

Marian Monahan


Marian is a Spiritual Director and religious educator. She holds a Masters Level Certificate in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, New Orleans and received her training for the ministry of Spiritual Direction in Atlanta by completing the RUAH program in May of 2002. She has also been trained as a Professional Life Coach through CTI, Coaches Training Institute.

She is area coordinator for ISP, the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a Jesuit ministry that offers overnight retreats and days of reflection to homeless men and women in addiction recovery. In addition to an active ministry of spiritual direction, retreat work, leading book groups and presenting, she is a champion of interfaith dialogue, always interested in other's experiences of the Holy, the prayer and practices of other Traditions and how they might deepen her own spirituality.

Marian has companioned many, formed and facilitated sacred circles and has been involved in outreach for over three decades. Her passion is helping people and women in particular, to become fully alive. Her belief is that all people are children of God and grace and that our common humanity calls us to respect one another and to work together for a better world; that what we do for the common good, no matter how small, does make a difference.

Her husband, Bill, is a permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. They reside in Suwanee and have five children and seven grandchildren. They enjoy walking, reading, movie watching, hiking, good food and just being with their family.

Cathy CrosbyCathy Crosby


Cathy is a spiritual director, retreat leader and yoga/meditation instructor. Her passion is journeying with others to a place of inner peace, awareness and compassion for self and all through practices that integrate body, mind and spirit using deep breathing and gentle movement.

Friendships across faith traditions have enriched, expanded and enlightened Cathy's own path to peaceful and compassionate living.

Cathy is a wife, mother and grandmother, serves on the Board of Unbound (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging/Hope for a Family) (www.unbound.org) and is a member of the Compassionate Atlanta and Compassionate Sandy Springs organizing teams (www.charterforcompassion.org). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education, Master of Arts degrees in Religious Education and in Pastoral Studies, Spiritual Direction certification and Hatha Yoga certification.

Mitch Cohen


Mitch has been teaching adult Jewish education since the mid-1990s. He completed the three-year Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) / Hebrew Union College "para-rabbinic fellows" program in Aug 2003 and he also completed the URJ Outreach Fellows Certification program in 2004. Mitch teaches interactive classes on the basics of Judaism, Jewish Mysticism and Torah Yoga in the Atlanta Jewish community, as well as for the Interfaith Community Initiatives. Since 2002, he has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Shalom B'Harim (Peace in the mountains) in Dahlonega, GA, an unaffiliated congregation of about 50 families from across north Georgia. Mitch was ordained as a rabbi by the Metifta Adat Wolkowisk Rabbinical Academy in New York in June, 2011.

To support his work as an adult educator, outreach professional and spiritual leader, Mitch earned his Master of Arts degree in Judaic Studies, with a focus on Jewish education and outreach to interfaith couples from Siegal College of Judaic Studies in May 2008. Mitch leads interfaith trips to Israel, and also teaches a 20-week intensive 'Introduction to Judaism' class for Jews, non-Jews and those seeking Judaism as their spiritual pathway, for The Jewish Encounter.

In his secular world, Mitch works as a construction related professional and pollution liability insurance broker. Mitch earned his Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from GA Tech in 1981. He lives in Alpharetta, and is the father of three sons, Zach, Jordan and Eric.

John Cressler, PhD

John D. Cressler is Schlumberger Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 1990. He spent 8 years on the research staff at IBM in Yorktown Heights NY, and has been a professor since 1992, the first ten years at Auburn University, and since 2002 at Georgia Tech. He has published five non-fiction books, two for general audiences. Emeralds of the Alhambra is his debut novel, and the first release in the Anthems of al-Andalus Series. John's hobbies include hiking, gardening, bonsai, all things Italian, collecting and drinking fine wines, cooking, history, and carving walking sticks, not necessarily in that order. He considers teaching and mentoring of young people to be his life's vocation, with his writing a close second.

Pamela Gottfried

Pamela Jay Gottfried is a rabbi, parent, ceramics teacher, and the author of Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom. Since her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1993, Gottfried has taught students of all ages in summer camps, churches, colleges, community centers, retreat centers, schools and synagogues. She has served as a volunteer in the food pantry at North Fulton Community Charities, an interfaith/faith-based organization, since 2009. Rabbi Gottfried is an alumna of Clal's Rabbis Without Borders, whose faculty has helped her deepen her understanding of Jewish wisdom and develop new skills for teaching Torah in the 21st century. She is currently writing her second book, Encountering Angels: Reading Genesis with my Children , and blogs weekly at www.pamelagottfried.com.

Sue ChaseSue Chase - Executive Director


Sue Chase is the Executive Director for the Neshama Interfaith Center. She obtained a Law Degree from Leeds University in the UK, and graduated from the Chester College of Law before embarking on a legal career. She practiced as a Family Law attorney in a private firm for ten years before starting a family.

After moving to the United States, and when her two sons were in school, Sue was a preschool teacher at the MJCCA Weinstein School for six years. She was subsequently the Administrator for both the Brill Institute of Jewish Learning and The Jewish Encounter.

Sue and her husband, David, were instrumental as being amongst the founder members of Congregation Gesher L’Torah, a synagogue in Alpharetta, and they have served on its committees continuously since 1999. They are very active in the Atlanta Jewish community, and enjoy volunteering for a variety of local charity and community organizations. Sue enjoys reading, theater, gardening, yoga, and travel.

As Executive Director, Sue is available to answer your enquiries regarding Neshama Interfaith Center and can help you register for any programs Neshama offers. She can be reached at sue@neshamainterfaithcenter.org