Clean Speech began in Colorado in 2019 with the mission of Clean Speech is to unite Jewish communities across North America in improving the dynamics of human relationships through Jewish mindful speech.

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The Jewish Experience

Clean Speech is powered by The Jewish Experience. For almost two decades, The Jewish Experience has provided education, inspiration, and community connection for thousands of families across the spectrum of Jews in Colorado. Our cadre of dynamic, respected educators provides a myriad of creative channels for people to experience the joy and wisdom of a rich, fulfilling Jewish life. Through classes, events, holiday celebrations, and social gatherings, our constituents of all ages and backgrounds learn more about themselves and their unique role in the Jewish People.

Rabbi Raphael Leban

For almost two decades, Rabbi Raphael Leban’s warmth, wit and wisdom have made him a beloved teacher of Torah with a devoted following of students from across the Denver community. Originally from Virginia, Rabbi Leban learned Torah at the Mir Yeshiva in Israel and received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Z.N. Goldberg of the Jerusalem Beis Din. He is the author of Torah Today, a popular series of comments on the weekly parsha (portion). As managing director of The Jewish Experience, Rabbi Leban develops outreach and community programs, and co-shleps the organization to greatness along with Rabbi Ahron Wasserman. Allegedly one of the world’s most extreme skiing rabbis, Rabbi Leban now prefers the quiet life with his wife Ita and their three children, perfecting his cholent recipe in the relative safety of their home. Right around dawn you can find him teaching the daily Daf Yomi Talmud class at Merkaz Torah.

Rabbi Zischa Shaps

JET was founded by Rabbi Shaps in 1992. Originally from New York City, Rabbi Shaps moved with his family to Ottawa for a year or two back in 1989 to teach at the Ottawa Torah Institute. His knowledge of sports and Torah made him a much loved teacher at  OTI and later at Hillel Academy, now the Ottawa Jewish Community School. He was the Executive Director of the Torah Day School of Ottawa. Currently Rabbi Shaps is the director of JET Ottawa.  Rabbi Shaps received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary of America-Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in New York and has a Masters in Education from Adelphi University. Rabbi Shaps and his wife Lauren are the proud parents of five children.

Lauren Shaps

With a warm smile and welcoming personality, Lauren is passionate about building Jewish community and sharing the beauty of Judaism. She is a master educator with over 25 years’ experience in adult education and counseling expertise. If you have a question about Judaism, parenting, or are looking for a yummy Shabbat meal, Lauren’s the one. Lauren has a MSW from Yeshiva University in New York City and is the mother of 5 adult children and a bunch of grandchildren.

Rabbi Michael Altonaga

Michael Altonaga ( aka Rabbi A ) grew up in California with a passion for exploration and truth-seeking. He wandered the wilderness of Yosemite as an Eagle Scout, trekked across the cities of Europe, and finally found meaning when he arrived in the Land of Israel. After studying Neuroscience (with a minor in Video Game Design) at the University of Southern California, he devoted seven years to study Jewish wisdom at Aish HaTorah Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, where he recently received Rabbinic Ordination. Rabbi Altonaga loves learning, deep discussions, board games, and apple pie!

The Altonagas are proud parents of an adorable sons, Yosef and Binyamin. They are excited to be a part of the JET team and the Ottawa community!

Danielle Altonaga

Danielle Altonaga grew up in Toronto, with the dream of becoming a famous actress. She played a lead role in a YTV series, and appeared on the hit show Corner Gas. Danielle attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a double major in English and Drama. While at university, her dream evolved — she decided that she wanted to be a speaker and teacher; someone that would inspire people to learn and grow. After receiving her teaching degree from York University, she worked in Student Engagement at Hillel in Toronto, and went to Israel to pursue deeper Jewish learning. She joined the Jerusalem theatre scene with stand-up comedy, and recently appeared in the Torah Live film, “The Power of Words”.

Sierra Cwinn

Relocated from Montreal, Sierra Cwinn has made Ottawa her home. She is the friendly face of JET and your first contact when you need information about classes, events, donations and more. Sierra keeps the office going, ensuring that all the behind the scenes preparation gets done. She wants you to enjoy your JET experience to the fullest and is happy to answer any questions she can, find the answers if she can’t and put you in touch with the right contacts for your needs.

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