SAJ Education & Family Engagement Staff

Tehilah Eisenstadt, Director of Education & Family Engagement

Tehilah EisenstadtTehilah Eisenstadt officially joined our SAJ community on July 5, 2016.

She is a Jewish educator, activist, officiant, consultant, community builder and storyteller. She has worked in leadership roles with prominent Jewish educational agencies and non-profits such as Storahtelling (Lab/Shul), The Covenant Foundation and The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies for more than a decade. She is honored to teach and lecture across the US on Jewish topics where ancient text and ritual intersect with meaning in our lives today.
 
Tehilah believes that her Jewish heritage is what gives her the strength to make the world the place we want to live in, and we want our children/future generations to enjoy and cherish. She works with a team of multi-faith leaders on ongoing issues related to Jewish values, particularly surrounding the abducted school girls in Chibok Nigeria in 2014 and child trafficking issues around the world. Tehilah previously served as Community Director at Luria Academy of Brooklyn, a post-denominational, Open Orthodox, Montessori Jewish Day School. She also served as a curriculum writer, teacher-trainer and community builder for Jewish and Muslim communities, including: Cordoba House, Huntington Jewish Center, Kings Bay Y and Storahtelling. Tehilah has especially enjoyed facilitating adult learning experiences around Jewish texts involving body image/relationships to our bodies and early childhood programs exploring international Jewish culture (food and folklore). Tehilah serves as a volunteer mikvah guide and educator for ImmerseNYC and is on the Board of Directors of AJLI (American Jewish League for Israel).
 
Tehilah received her Bachelor's Degree in Literature from Binghamton University, her Masters degrees in Jewish Education and Midrash (biblical exegesis/"behind the scenes" of the Torah and other Jewish lore) from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and is a graduate of HUC-JTS's Leadership Institute. She is currently following a life long passion of working with children ages 0 - 4, and should complete her certification in Early Childhood Administration by 2017.
 
Tehilah is married to Simon Feil.  They are the delighted parents of Adin Geshem, age 5.
 
Tehilah can be reached at Teisenstadt@thesaj.org or at (212) 724-7172.

Educational and Community Support Team

Melanie Louis: Assistant Director & Director of Communications.

Melanie is an LMSW whose focus is educational, health and intervention social justice initiatives for children. Her devotion to the field began with volunteering with AmeriCorps and grew through studying the nature and nurture of human development at Penn State and then clinical client-centered management at Fordham. She believes in following the research of evidence-based techniques for efficacy and tries to practice the faith through volunteering with community based organizations. Her travels have taken her to 27 countries whose children, rich or poor - sick or healthy, she has come to love. Melanie's goal is to apply business acumen to non-profit mission so that hearts are expanded using sound minds both at Makom and the world over. 

Melanie can be reached at mlouis@thesaj.org.

Tefilah and Music educators

Cantor Lisa Arbisser, SAJ Cantor (Tuesday classes and special events Saturday) 

Cantor Lisa Shapanka Arbisser brings a passion for Jewish music and a profound dedication to Jewish community life and learning to her role as cantor of the SAJ. In addition to co-leading services with Rabbi Lauren, Cantor Arbisser teaches music in the after-school education program, Makom/Jewish Journey Project at the SAJ and runs the B'nei Mitzvah program.

Learn more about Cantor Lisa by clicking here.

Please contact Cantor Arbisser at 212-724-7247 or cantorarbisser@thesaj.org

Megan Sass              

Megan Sass is a Jewish educator, musician, and comedian. She has been a member of Storahtelling since 2008, and has worked for many different camps and synagogue communities, including Goldman Union Camp Institute, PassportNYC at the 92Y, Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, JCC Manhattan, The Washington Heights Y, and The Jewish Journey Project, for which created two new curriculum: a class comparing biblical heroes to superheroes, called “From Batman to King David,” and a sketch-writing class called “What’s Funny About the Bible?” She joined the SAJ team in 2012, and is thrilled to be a part of this community!

 

     PELA, MAKOM & TEEN 2016 - 2017 STAFF

Pela (for newborn - 4 year olds and caregivers)

Lead Teacher: Paul Wolf

Paul Wolf specializes in guitar and has been teaching Judaic music for over fifteen years throughout the country. Since 2008, Paul has called New York City home, teaching at several institutions including the 92nd Street Y and the JCC Manhattan, where he currently resides as Music Director of the Nursery School program. Paul released Life Taking Shape, a children's album which garnered much success in 2012 and is currently working on an album with his band, Meditesh. In his free time, Paul enjoys playing with his sons, Ezra and Caleb, and introducing them to great music.  

K/1st Grade

Lead Teacher: Tamar Matza

Tamar Matza is a native Hebrew speaker, she was born in Jerusalem and has been teaching Hebrew for the past 10 years in Europe and the United States, inspired by her students' ever-increasing achievements.  
Tamar loves Hebrew, its roots in Jewish scriptures and the development and innovations the language has gone through over the past decades. She is the director of Hebrew language at Sprout Brooklyn day camp and has been teaching at different Hebrew Schools, including the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, the 92nd St Y, B'nai Jeshurun, Town&Village and Congregation Habonim.                                                  
Sharing her love for Hebrew and Judaism with children is what Tamar loves about being a Jewish Educator, and she is grateful to be part of the SAJ for the 4th year.                                                                                     
Tamar has a BA in Art History from Hunter College and is now in the program for Childhood Special Education at Hunter College. In her free time Tamar enjoys hiking, yoga and good art exhibitions!

 

Teaching Assistants:  Julia Freund and Rose Cohen
 
Bios and photos coming soon!

2nd/3rd Grade

Lead Teacher: Jonah Weinstein

Jonah Weinstein recently graduated from Columbia University with a degree in History. At Columbia/Barnard Hillel, Jonah was an Ask Big Questions Fellow and served on the Senior Fund. Jonah enjoys traveling and spent one semester in Valparaiso, Chile, where he engaged with the Chilean Jewish community. Jonah is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and attended Gross Schechter Day School and worked at Camp Ramah in Canada as a camping trip leader. Jonah enjoys exploring the history of Jewish New York and attending Israeli and Jewish cultural events around the city. Jonah is also an actor and loves seeing theater and comedy around New York. Jonah is very excited to join the SAJ community!
 
Assistant Teacher: Hila Natan
Teaching Assistant: Ben Drevitch
 
Bios and photos coming soon!

4th/5th Grade

Saturday Lead Teacher: Lior Shtivi

Lior was born and raised in Ramat-Gan, Israel. After completing his military service, he moved to the U.S. and is currently studying electrical engineering at The City College of New York. Lior has been teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies for the past four years, both in Minneapolis and New York City. Lior serves as the Operation Director as part of the leadership staff at Young Judaea Sprout Brooklyn Day camp. He also currently works at Kane Street Synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. Previously, Lior served as the Outdoor Adventure Specialist at the Jewish Community Center of Saint Paul's summer camp where he worked with campers on team-building exercises and outdoor exploration. Lior and his wife Anna live in Brooklyn.

 

Saturday Assistant Teacher: Louis Boguslav

Saturday Teaching Assistant: Cara Sherr-Messing

Bio and photos coming soon!

 

Tuesday Lead Teacher: Jacob Ready

Jacob Ready is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a resident of Brooklyn, NY. He's dedicated to helping children grow into creative, inquisitive, and critical adults. He's worked with elementary and middle school- aged students in contexts both religious and secular at programs including Iglesia Memorial de San Andres, Brooklyn LAB Charter School, and Young Judea Sprout Brooklyn. Outside of SAJ, Jacob works at Story Pirates and the Brooklyn Children's Museum. He's looking forward to joining the SAJ staff and spending more time with his family on the upper west side, who often complain he never writes, calls, etc...

Tuesday Teaching Assistant (floating between 4/5 & 6th): Jeremy Zorek

Jeremy is a 9th grader at Hunter College High School, and has a strong interest in science and technology. He loves to work with kids, and is always ready to help out. He had his Bar Mitzvah in 2015, and is continuing his participation in the SAJ community; helping out in the educational program - Makom/JJP @ the SAJ.

6th Grade Saturdays & Thursday Makom Beit Midrash (choose your own adventure study hall)

Saturday Lead: Alan Rudt

Alan Rudt is thrilled to be returning to SAJ for his third year as an educator.

Alan has a deep interest in K-12 public education and is passionate about the need to strengthen parental involvement in schools. He works directly with top leadership at numerous school districts to help them strengthen community engagement and improve outcomes for children.  He is the founder and Executive Producer of Open Mic On Education, a cable TV/web show for school administrators.

Having attended yeshiva for many years, Alan has an appreciation for Jewish tradition, culture, and texts.  He is eager to share his knowledge with students and help them find meaning of their own.

Alan is married to Debbie Rudt, Administrative Director at SAJ.  They have two children, Hannah and Adam.

 

Tuesday Lead: Avishai Gebler

Avishai Gebler is an educator based in Crown Heights. Avishai studied at several distinguished yeshivot in Israel and New York including Yeshivat Yesodei haTorah and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. He also studied history and religion at Columbia University. Avishai is a recognized teacher in the Brooklyn Jewish community, and has taught and spoken in synagogues around the country.  He served as the rabbinic intern at the Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn, and Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel in Chicago. Avishai is an avid rock climber, chef, and also a recent Jeopardy! champion.

 

Tuesday Teaching Assistant (floating between 4/5 & 6th): Jeremy Zorek 

Jeremy is a 9th grader at Hunter College High School, and has a strong interest in science and technology. He loves to work with kids, and is always ready to help out. He had his Bar Mitzvah in 2015, and is continuing his participation in the SAJ community; helping out in the educational program - Makom/JJP @ the SAJ.

7th Grade

Co-Facitilitators: Bryce Diamond and Jonah Weinstein

Bryce is a native New Yorker having grown up on the Upper East Side and attending Congregation Rodeph Sholom. Bryce has been teaching Hebrew school for many years and loves being able to share her passion for Judaism with those around her. Bryce loves singing, studying Torah, and learning new languages. Bryce currently works in Jewish philanthropy and is pursuing a Masters in Fundraising Management at Columbia University. This is Bryce’s third year teaching at the SAJ and she is looking forward to another great year! 

Jonah recently graduated from Columbia University with a degree in History. At Columbia/Barnard Hillel, Jonah was an Ask Big Questions Fellow and served on the Senior Fund. Jonah enjoys traveling and spent one semester in Valparaiso, Chile, where he engaged with the Chilean Jewish community. Jonah is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and attended Gross Schechter Day School and worked at Camp Ramah in Canada as a camping trip leader. Jonah enjoys exploring the history of Jewish New York and attending Israeli and Jewish cultural events around the city. Jonah is also an actor and loves seeing theater and comedy around New York. Jonah is very excited to join the SAJ community!

Family Service Leaders for High Holidays

Image result for matt checkMatt Check: Matt has been Director of Jewish Education for the Bronfman Center at 92Y since July 2015. He runs Atid, (Jewish Afterschool) and is involved in other educational initiatives as well. Before 92Y, Matt was Director of Young Family Education at Park Avenue Synagogue from 2010 to 2015 and Assistant Religious School Director at Central Synagogue from 2008 to 2010. He holds a master’s degree in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a second master’s in public administration from Baruch College. Matt is also an accomplished singer-songwriter, guitarist, banjoist and producer of bluegrass and Jewish children’s music.

 

 

Tehilah Eisenstadt: See above!

Teen High Holiday Leader

 Inline image 1Rabbi Mick Fine completed his BA in Hebrew Language and Literature at the Ohio State University and continued his studies as a DeLeT Fellow at Brandeis University, where he completed an MA in Teaching Hebrew. He was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2013. Mick has spent the past several years working in Jewish education, first as a Hebrew school teacher and then as a full-time Jewish studies educator at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, and more recently editing and writing curriculum for Hazon, Teva, and JDC. He worked as a rabbinic intern in Youth and Family Education at B’nai Jeshurun in New York City, in addition to being a faculty member for many years at the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School. He is currently the Coordinator of Hebrew curriculum at Beit Rabban Day School on the upper west side. Mick enjoys playing the guitar, and spending time with his wife Jaclyn, and his 2 year old son, Nate. 

Thu, July 27 2017 4 Av 5777