Paideia Staff

Noa Hermele, Director

Noa Hermele is the Director of Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden and founding Rector of Paideia Folkhögskola. He has been a board member of the Forum for Jewish Studies at Uppsala University and chairperson of the Committee for National Minorities at the Swedish Arts Council. He is currently board member of the Jewish Cultural Magazine in Sweden, board member of RIO – the umbrella organization for the 114 Swedish folk high schools owned by civil society organizations, member of the steering committee for the Yiddish Language Centre at the Institute for Language and Folklore, and member of the reference group to the Government’s study for a National strategy for strengthening Jewish life in Sweden.

Liora R. Asa, Program Development and International Outreach

Liora R. Asa joined Paideia’s staff in 2023. She has over 25 years of experience lecturing, training, and mentoring organizational directors, fundraisers and social activists in resource development, effective communication and financial management capacity building in universities and for mid to high-level professionals in Europe, Israel and Africa. She holds an M.A. in International Affairs, George Washington University, an M.B.A., University of Haifa, and a B.A. Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Also, Liora has been co-facilitating the Project-Incubator at Paideia for a decade.

Agnieszka Baraszko, Project Manager and Recruitment Officer

Agnieszka Baraszko born and raised in Gdansk, Poland, is a Project Manager and Recruitment Officer at Paideia – the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden.
She works with the One-Year Jewish Study Program, runs Paideia Mifgash Project and is a part of Paideia’s PR team.
Agnieszka leads Hevruta training sessions and gives lectures on Jewish Folklore.
She is Paideia alumna and an active member of Stockholm and Gdansk Jewish Communities. She graduated from University of Warsaw, Jewish Open University in Warsaw and Autonomous University of Madrid. She holds an MA in Spanish literature and language and specializes in translation.

Łukasz Górniok, Head of the One-Year Program and Director of Project-Incubator

Born in Cieszyn, Poland, Łukasz Górniok completed his studies of Political Science and History at Pedagogical University in Krakow, Poland, and Dalarna University College, Sweden. He was also a Krister Stendahl Fellow at Paideia (2008/09). He holds a doctorate in history from Umeå University with the dissertation entitled “Swedish Refugee Policymaking in Transition? Czechoslovak and Polish Jews in Sweden, 1968-1972”. In 2012, he received a grant for research at the Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations at Tel Aviv University. His area of research is modern Jewish history, cultural history, and religion. His articles appeared in the volume Jewish Migration in Modern Times: The Case of Eastern Europe, Routledge, 2019, and in the journal East European Jewish Affairs. He works as Head of the One-Year Jewish Studies Program and is also the Director of the Paideia Project-Incubator. Languages: Polish, English, Swedish.

Erik Gribbe, CFO

Erik is the CFO at Paideia, Erik Gribbe is CFO at Paideia. He previously served as the Director of the Paideia Project-Incubator and has been responsible for a number of other programs at Paideia. He holds a BA and an MA in Business and Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics and ESADE in Spain, and a BA in Liberal Arts from Stockholm University. Before joining Paideia, he has worked for UNICEF in the Dominican Republic, as a high school teacher, a translator and a volunteer at the Red Cross for many years. His background is in the performing arts, where he was a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet for 10 years.

Rani Jaeger, Director Paradigm Program & Paradigm Educator

Rani Jaegeris a faculty member of Hartman Institute and the director of the Be’eri School for Teacher Education which is aimed at pioneering a nationwide model of Jewish education for Israeli high schools. Rani obtained his doctorate at Bar-Ilan University in the interdisciplinary program of Culture and Interpretation. He is one of the founders of Beit Tefilah Israeli, asecular synagoguein the heart of Tel Aviv. He spent a year at Paideia, the European Institute of Jewish Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, where he was scholar-in-residence.

Ivana Koutníková, Head of Cultural Programs & Profile Courses

Ivana Koutníková has studied in four different countries (the Czech Republic, Austria, Israel and Sweden) and holds BA and MA degrees in Jewish studies, German studies, and History. A Baruch Spinoza Fellow at Paideia (2013-2014). Her research focus is on the 20th century, especially on the Holocaust and World War II in Central Europe. She has worked in educational organizations such as Centropa (a Vienna-based historical institute dedicated to preserving 20th century Jewish family stories and photos from Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans) and CET Academic Programs in Prague (as a resident director for Jewish and Central European studies). She has also been involved in the creation and organization of a film section for the festival The Days of Jewish Culture in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In 2019–2020 she was an executive board member of Limmud Stockholm. Moreover, she is one of the editors of the book “Sweden’s World War II Dilemmas. Case Study: Czechoslovakia” (Institute of History Prague – Paideia Stockholm, Prague 2020, 196pp). Ivana has been working with cultural management connected to Jewish culture for more than 8 years. Currently, she works as a head of cultural programs and shares a head for courses within the Jewish profile at Paideia.

Barbara Lerner Spectre, Founding Director

Barbara Lerner Spectre is the Founding Director of Paideia. She was formerly on the faculty of the Hartman Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she taught Jewish Thought. She was among the founders of the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem. Her area of research is in models of inference in Christian and Jewish post-Holocaust theology, for which she received a research grant from Yad V’Shem Institute. Barbara’s publications include “A Theology of Doubt” (Hebrew) and, together with Noam Zion of the Hartman Institute, the two-volume “A Different Light: The Hannukah Book of Celebration.” In 2007, she received the prestigious Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora and in 2016, the Abraham Geiger Medal. In 2018, she received The King’s Medal for her outstanding contribution for Jewish culture in Sweden and beyond.

Yair Lipshitz, Senior Academic Advisor

Yair is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Theatre Arts and Head of the Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center at Tel Aviv University. His research examines the various intersections between theatre, performance and Jewish religious traditions – and more broadly, between theatre and religion. He is the author of “The Holy Tongue, Comedy’s Version: Intertextual Dramas on the Stage of ‘A Comedy of Betrothal’“ (Hebrew, 2010), “Embodied Tradition: Theatrical Performances of Jewish Texts” (Hebrew, 2016), and “Theatre & Judaism” (English, 2019). He has also published numerous papers dealing with topics ranging from Jewish-Italian theatre in the Renaissance to the queering of Scripture in “Angels in America”, and from Jewish ritual and performance theory to the reception of “King Lear” and “Salome” in Modern Hebrew culture. 

Frida Schatz, Hebrew Lecturer and Dean of Students

Frida Schatz is Paideia’s Hebrew lecturer at all levels and Dean of Students. She holds a BA and MA in Hebrew and French language and literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. After studies Frida held positions as Hebrew lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at Universities in Paris, Frankfurt, and Copenhagen. She also worked for JDC for Russian Jews in Italy. After moving to Sweden, she taught Hebrew as a lecturer at the University of Lund and the University of Stockholm and worked as a translator between Swedish and Hebrew.

Avital Shein, Project Manager

Avital Shein is an experienced educator who has taught philosophy and political science at both university and high school levels. Most recently, she taught pedagogical research at Södertörn University. Avital joinded Paideia in 2021 and has been involved in several projects that aim to create space for dialogue and understanding, including Gishur: Connecting Communities, a capacity-building project bridging Jewish and refugee communities. In 2020, Avital founded a Jewish education program in Stockholm’s Progressive community, Sukkat Shalom, for students ages 6 to b’mitsva. The program provides students (and families) an access point to their Jewish heritage based on a Progressive foundation.

Antje Sörenson, Communications and Program Officer

Born in Germany, Antje joined Paideia in 2021. She has previously been responsible for Press and Public Relations at the German Embassy in Sweden, as well as with business intelligence and case administration. She holds an MA in film studies from Université Paris VIII and has also worked as a translator, writer and film production agent. Antje works with PR and Communications and Program Coordination at Paideia.