[email protected] - Ruach is a network of spiritual and emotional support

Our Team

RUACH volunteers donate time to support student emotional health and well-being.

Taylor Paige Winfield Haboucha
CEO - Founder

Taylor Paige Winfield Haboucha is the Founder of RUACH: Emotional and Spiritual Support and a member of the support team. She is a spiritual care intern with experience in corrections, health care, and the military environment. She is trained in spiritually-integrated psychotherapy and is extremely passionate about bridging emotional and spiritual care. Taylor is also a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Princeton University.
Rabbi Jay
Director, Referral/Support Network

Rabbi Jay joined the Clergy Team at RUACH at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing clients needing spiritual care, providing team leadership and now directs the referral network overseeing all of the providers and all activities that affect clients seeking support. Rabbi Jay believes G-d called him to be a Rabbi. A wandering Jew himself, he understands what it feels like to search for a meaningful Judaism. Rabbi Jay brings to his rabbinate, his congregation and clients his experience as a father of seven, a grandfather, of being a nurse, psychotherapist, hospital and hospice chaplain, bereavement specialist and his many years of experience in organizational and entrepreneurial leadership. Rabbi Jay is a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community and is committed to practicing a Judaism fueled by love. Rabbi Jay is a proud father and Saba and spends as much free time as he can enjoying life with his family.
Karen Sussan
Support Team Leader

Karen Sussan is an Emotional Support Team Leader with RUACH. She is Rabbi (Reconstructionist), Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Social Worker; Board Certified Chaplain, and Advanced Certified Pastoral Counselor/Spiritual-Integrated Psychotherapist. She had a long career as a mental health chaplain and also worked in prisons, hospices, and nursing facilities. She retired from the behavioral medical team of a rehabilitation hospital, where she mainly worked on the traumatic brain injury unit with patients and their families. Now Karen is in private psychotherapy practice, where client dignity is of the utmost importance. While grounded in solid psychotherapy methods (especially, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, psychoanalytic, and supportive), she is sensitive to diverse values, spiritual and religious orientations. She has helped individuals with trauma, grief, life transitions, self-esteem, family and relationship, anxiety and depression.
Support Team Leader

Nancy became part of the Ruach team when it seemed that the world was collapsing and she felt quite helpless. Nancy needed to find a way to be useful. And as a therapist, she felt she had the skills to provide support to people facing often unbearable challenges. Working with Ruach clients has been so meaningful and rewarding. And being part of such a hopeful and caring team helps her see that there is still so much humanity in this world.

Peter Katz is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Following law school he clerked for the Honorable Benjamin H. Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and worked in the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, an agency of the City of Boston. He then joined Hill & Barlow, a Boston law firm, where he became a partner and served as chair of the corporate department and of the intellectual property practice group. After Hill & Barlow he was a partner in the Boston office of the law firm Day Pitney. He then became a University Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University. He formed his own law office in December 2017. He is the legal counsel for RUACH.
Judy Gerstenblith
Director, Bridging Support

Judy Gerstenblith is a caregiver at RUACH, facilitator of RUACH’s Support in the Wake of Antisemitism groups, and former Director of RUACH’s Bridging Emotional and Spiritual Support taskforce. She received her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland, and currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Albert and Jessie Danielsen Institute at Boston University. In this role, Judy provides individual and couple’s therapy and conducts research at the intersection of religion/spirituality and mental health/psychotherapy.

Judy is particularly interested in addressing burnout and cultivating well-being in helping professionals, exploring spiritual formation of religious leaders, and understanding the best ways to train and supervise therapists. Clinically, Judy primarily works from an attachment-informed, culturally responsive, contemporary psychodynamic approach, with the aim of helping her clients increase their awareness of and insight into their internal world and relational dynamics and improve their quality of life.
Hailey Merten
Caregiver/Group Facilitator

Hailey Merten holds a role as a caregiver, facilitator of RUACH’s Support in the Wake of Antisemitism groups, and former administrative coordinator. Hailey holds a Social Service Worker diploma from Seneca College, a Bachelor of Social Work from York University, and a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University. In addition, she is certified in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and is passionate about continuing to invest in her professional development. Hailey is recognized as a social worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Hailey has gained diverse professional experience working with individual, family, and couples counseling, crisis intervention, social-emotional development, mental health and addictions services, domestic violence, LGBT+ communities, and senior residential services. She has also volunteered in the community, as a public speaker and advocate providing education surrounding drug and alcohol abuse in middle schools and high schools.
Naomi Levitz Shobola

Naomi Bio
Raquel Bk

Raquel bio
Shayndel Kahn

Shayndel bio
Phyllis Herz

Phyllis bio
A big thank you to our past core volunteers who helped to build RUACH, Ramiz Rafailov and Josh Satok.