About Us

About Us

The Ninth Candle is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. Our mission is to end antisemitism by sharing knowledge. We fulfill this mission through innovative educational programs for students and professional development programs for teachers. Our programs will always be free of charge.

The Ninth Candle is about positivity, sharing, and celebration. You can read more about our beliefs and values here.

Our People

Dr. Luke Berryman, Founder

Luke has a decade of experience in education and education management. He worked as a College Lecturer and a Director of Studies at the University of Cambridge, and as a classroom teacher in a British secondary school. In 2015, he joined Oxbridge Academic Programs, a New York-based international education company that runs study-abroad programs for middle- and high-school students, and professional development programs for educators. Working with Oxbridge involved meeting students, parents, and teachers, and forging and nurturing client partnerships, in over a dozen countries spread across three continents. Luke spoke to people about the importance of sharing knowledge in every cultural setting, from the subzero temperatures of the Canadian Northwestern Territories to the urban jungle of Metro Manila. Luke became a Director after three years, having started as an Associate. Today, in addition to his work with The Ninth Candle, he directs the academic summer camps at Roycemore, a K-12 coeducational school in Chicago; and he collaborates with students, faculty, and parents to provide gifted support across the community. He holds undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, Boston University, and King’s College London, respectively. His PhD thesis was on the use of Richard Wagner’s music in Nazi propaganda.  

Sarah Palomo, Board Member

Sarah Palomo has nearly a decade of experience in higher education. She has worked at universities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York City, Urbana-Champaign, and Chicago. She has special expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in higher education; and particularly in the development and implementation of innovative DEI recruitment campaigns, programs, and strategies. Throughout her career, she has been committed to making higher education accessible to everyone. She is currently an Associate Director of Admissions at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and she is also the Diversity Recruitment and Partnerships Strategist for the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously, Sarah was the Assistant Director of Diversity Recruitment at Columbia Business School, and an Assistant Director of Admissions at Cardozo Law School.

Sarah has lived and worked in both the United Kingdom and Spain, and across the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. Her rich background in counseling enables her to lead with empathy. She thrives on connecting with and learning from others, and confidently communicates with people from diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Aubrey Daniels, Board Member

Aubrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling at Rider University. Her early experience working with individuals facing various forms of trauma was at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia. She possesses a wide range of clinical experience, with adults experiencing severe mental health concerns, college students in multiple settings, and children, adolescents, and families in mental health agencies and school settings. Her work also involves resilience building and advocating for vulnerable populations.

Aubrey earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Seton Hall University, a master’s degree in counseling and mental health services from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in professional counseling from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in counselor education from Penn State. While she was earning her Ph.D. at Penn State, Aubrey served multiple roles, including directing operations of the on-campus training clinic, where she assisted students who were completing their practicums and internships, as well as doing crisis intervention work and working with her own clients.

Our Name

Each winter, the Jewish faith celebrates a festival called Hanukkah, or “The Festival of Lights,” over the course of eight days. The celebrations include the lighting of a special, nine-branched version of the Menorah, called the Hanukiah. Being sacred, a Hanukiah cannot be used to provide light for the temple or the home, and its candles cannot be used to light any of the others. Hence the ninth candle, which is called the shammash.

Unlike the other eight candles, the shammash is not considered a sacred part of the festival. Its only purpose is to light the other candles. By calling ourselves The Ninth Candle, we mean to reflect our practice of drawing on Jewish wisdom and tradition; and to show our belief that people of all faiths and none can explore it, participate in it, and gain from it. We also mean it to underline our connection with the Hanukkah festival. The Ninth Candle is about celebration, positivity, and sharing.