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Cohort IV

Cohort IV Profile

Cohort IV is a diverse group of 22 educators. Participants range in age, affiliation, work experience, and areas of field interest.

Organizations represented:

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); American Jewish World Service (AJWS); Bible Raps; Camp Stone; Center for Jewish Life – Hillel at Princeton University; Center for Jewish Education (CJE); Frankel Jewish Academy; Gesher Jewish Day School; Hillel International; Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh; Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston; jUChicago; OU-JLIC; Tanenbaum CHAT; The Abraham Joshua Heschel School; Toronto March of the Living; Yeshiva University; Yeshivat Netivot Montessori.

 

Cohort IV Participants

Matt Bar

Raquel Binder

Lisa Bodziner

Robby Charnoff

Rachel Cort

Leba Faigen

Julie Gersten

Chris Herman

Netanel Javasky

Michelle Lackie

Arya Marvazy

Liana Mitman

Aviva Perlman

Adina Poupko

Tamara Rebick

Sara Rich

Baruch Rock

Gabi Spiewak

Miriam Tekuzener

Aron Wolgel

 

 

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Matt Bar

Executive Director - Bible Raps. Philadelphia, PA.

Matt Bar is founder and Executive Director of Bible Raps, a non-profit born from Matt’s desire to engage his Hebrew School classes on a deeper and more contemporary level than the way they were being taught at the time. After being turned on to Torah learning while on a Livnot trip to Israel in 2006, Bar launched Bible Raps via his participation in the PresenTense Institute during the summer of 2007. He continued to further his Jewish education during his 2008 year of study at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. In 2011, Bar was named to The NY Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” list.

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Raquel Binder

Associate - Toronto March of the Living. Toronto, Canada.

Raquel Binder is from Toronto, Canada and works at the Toronto March of the Living. After graduating from Dalhousie University with a focus on Holocaust History and Education, Raquel moved to New York where she earned her M.A. in General and Special Education at NYU. After graduation, she worked as an Education Intern at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Raquel spent the past few years teaching special education in Toronto’s Jewish day school system while simultaneously volunteering with UJA’s Community Connect. Raquel’s volunteer commitments have focused on helping young professionals develop a commitment to repairing and maintaining our vibrant Jewish community. These volunteer opportunities inspired Raquel to transition into the position of a Jewish Community Professional, where educational experiences expand outside of the classroom. In her spare time, Raquel loves dancing, traveling, and music.

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Lisa Bodziner

Director of Educational Engagement - Center for Jewish Education (CJE). Baltimore, MD.

Lisa Bodziner is thrilled to be a member of Cohort IV! She grew up in Savannah, GA and then went to the University of Wisconsin Madison for her undergraduate degree. She lived in Israel for four years where she attended the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and received her Master’s Degree in Jewish education. After leaving Israel Lisa taught for three years in California and then moved to Reisterstown, MD to work at the Pearlstone center as an experiential educator and dabble in signature program coordination. She is now working at the Center for Jewish Education as the Director of Educational Engagement. She loves her job, her dog and her fiancé (Not in that order!). In her spare time she likes to participate in scribal arts and cooking.

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Robby Charnoff

Rabbi and Educator - Orthodox Union, Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Queens College. Flushing, NY.

Rabbi Robby Charnoff was born and raised in New York. Following high school, he spent two years studying in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh in the Old City of Jerusalem and attended Yeshiva University where he earned a BA in psychology. Robby then earned semikha from Yeshiva University’s RIETS rabbinic program and went on to serve as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Ohab Zedek’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and complete his Master’s Degree from YU’s Azrieli School of Jewish Education and Administration. Robby and his wife Shoshana are proud to be the first ever OU-JLIC Educators at Queens College where they work to establish consistent Shabbat services and programming, daily learning and minyanim, and engaging programming for the 1,000+ Orthodox students at Queens College while still forging meaningful relationships with individual students.

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Rachel Cort

Associate Director – jUChicago. Chicago, IL.

Rachel is the Associate Director of jUChicago, an experimental Jewish campus organization based at the University of Chicago, and a fellow at the Institute for the Next Jewish Future. Rachel was born and raised in St. Louis, attended Northwestern University (where she majored in History and Film Theory) and received her Master’s Degree in Jewish Professional Studies from The Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Sections of Rachel’s Master’s thesis were recently published as a series in eJewishPhilanthropy. Prior to becoming a Jewish communal professional, Rachel worked in the music industry in New York and Chicago.

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Leba Faigen

Senior Program Specialist, JDC Entwine - American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). New York, NY.

As Senior Program Specialist for JDC Entwine’s Global Immersive Experiences, Leba manages the development and implementation of Entwine’s Insider Trips for young professionals. She enjoys connecting young people to communities around the world and has led Insider Trips to Cuba, Belarus, and Morocco. Serving at JDC for more than five years, she previously worked in the organization’s Program, Planning and Budget Department. Leba graduated from Yeshiva University, Stern College, where she earned a B.A. in Judaic Studies. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal education with groups of diverse Jewish backgrounds, has taught Hebrew School in New York City and facilitated learning sessions at Camp Simcha, a Chai Lifeline summer camp for chronically ill children where she also served as a counselor and Director of Drama Productions. Leba completed a pastry course at the Jerusalem Culinary Institute and is an avid dessert producer (and consumer). It brings her great joy to share these treats with others, including her husband and son.

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Julie Gersten

Senior Program Officer -American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Laguna Beach, CA.

Julie Gersten is a Senior Program Officer in the department of Experiential Education at AJWS. In her role, she is responsible for developing experiential educational curricula to encourage critical thinking about global justice issues and promote meaningful and active engagement by American Jews in the pursuit of global justice. She holds an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Political Science from Vassar College. Prior to joining AJWS, Julie was working on a research project for the London-based One World Trust to develop accountability mechanism for agricultural research institutions working in developing countries. She also worked for the New Israel Fund in New York and as a paralegal for a civil rights attorney focusing on police-misconduct litigation in New York. She lives in Laguna Beach, California with her husband Greg and son Thomas.

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Chris Herman

Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator - JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA.

Chris Herman was raised in Chicago and graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Following graduation, he moved back to Chicago to work as the Youth and Programming Director for Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah, a local synagogue. Chris earned his Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and recently moved to Pittsburgh where he is the Pittsburgh Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator at the JCC. Chris is married to Erin and has a son named Riley.

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Netanel Javasky

Teacher and Head of Talmud Department - Tanenbaum CHAT. Toronto, Canada.

Rabbi Netanel Javasky is a teacher at Tanenbaum CHAT in Toronto. In addition to teaching Talmud and Rabbinics he is also currently the Head of the Talmud department. Prior to his position at Tanenbaum CHAT, Netanel served as one of the founding members of the Yeshiva University Beit Midrash, in Toronto. In that capacity, he regularly presented lectures for adults and interacted with high school aged children in a number of different high schools. Netanel earned a B.A in Mathematics from YU, Master of Science in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University and Semicha from RIETS in 2010.

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Michelle Lackie

Director, Student Engagement and Weinberg Tzedek Hillel - Hillel International. Washington, DC.

Michelle Lackie the Director of Student Engagement and Weinberg Tzedek Hillel and is in her 15th year at Hillel International where she oversees the development of training for over 200 student interns each year. This national training teaches a relationship-based approach to expanding social networks and facilitating meaningful Jewish experiences and relationships, enabling student interns to engage over 9,000 of their peers in meaningful Jewish life. In addition, Michelle supports 50 Hillel professionals, providing ongoing professional development and support as they supervise student interns on campus. As Director of Weinberg Tzedek Hillel, Michelle works to engage students to become active citizens in the world inspired by their Judaism through supporting Hillel professional development and community partnerships. Michelle has her Bachelor of Education from McGill University and a Masters of Business Administration in Social Policy and Non-Profit Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

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Arya Marvazy

Manager for Talent Recruitment and Professional Development - Hillel International. Washington, DC.

Born and raised in Los Angeles to immigrants from Tehran, Arya Marvazy is a proud first generation Persian-American Jew. Graduating from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Psychology, Arya went on to earn his master’s degree in Organizational Behavior from NYU while living in Israel. Having spent three years of meaningful work with Hillel of San Diego, Arya has been a part of the professional Hillel family since 2008 and currently serves as the Manager for Talent Recruitment and Professional Development at Hillel International, recruiting the best and brightest for Hillel career opportunities around the country. Arya formerly served as the Director of Harrison LAPID, Leadership and Professional International Development, and currently oversees Hillel’s early to mid-career professional development opportunities and strategic partnerships. He is an alumnus of the Jeremiah Fellowship through Jews United for Justice, is currently participating in the DC PresenTense Fellowship, and most recently launched a national partnership between Hillel and Keshet, an organization working for the full inclusion of LGBTQIA Jews in Jewish life.

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Liana Mitman

Teen Program Manager - Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. Brookline, MA.

Liana is currently the Teen Program Manager at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston and has been in this role for the past 3 years, spending a majority of her role as the coordinator of the JCC Boston Diller Teen Fellows. Liana serves on the Board of the Young Leadership Division of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Young Adult Taskforce for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Boston-Haifa Young Adult Committee. She is also a volunteer with the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters MAGIC program. In 2013 she was selected as one of CJP’s “Chai in the Hub Winners;” the top 18 most influential young Jews in Boston. Prior to working at the JCC, Liana was the Operations Manager of the CAYL Institute (Community Advocates for Young Children) in 2010 and before that served as the FAO Schwarz Family Foundation Fellow at Jumpstart for Young Children. Liana received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education/Child and Family Studies and her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education both from Lesley University. In her personal time, Liana loves to make and sell jewelry, spend time with friends and family, and practice yoga and pilates!

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Aviva Perlman

Jewish and Student Life Programming Coordinator - The Abraham Joshua Heschel School. New York, NY.

Aviva Perlman is the Jewish and Student Life Programming Coordinator at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan where she is responsible for experiential programming in the high school division and is personally responsible for the rampant dum-dum lollipop addiction that has spread amongst the students. Aviva holds an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS and a BA in Public Communications from American University in Washington, DC. In need for adventure, Aviva took a year off from JTS to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Prior to graduate school, Aviva was the Communications Associate at Hillel’s Schusterman International Center in Washington, DC, where she was responsible for internal communications as well as spearheading Hillel’s High School Outreach Initiative. In her spare time, Aviva enjoys photography and traveling. She most recently spent a week in Vienna, Austria with eight Heschel 10th graders and is very much looking forward to a summer road trip through the Canadian Rockies with her sister.

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Adina Poupko

Program Manager, Department of Student Life - Yeshiva University. New York, NY.

Adina Poupko hails from both Montreal and Cincinnati. After attending Michlelet Mivaseret Yerushalayim (MMY) in Israel, she went to Yeshiva University where she graduated with a degree in Political Science in 2010. After various internships in college and leadership positions, she stayed on at the university, first working in the University-School Partnership, and now in the Office of Student Life as Program Manager. She is also currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management and Public Policy at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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Tamara Rebick

Director, Student Activities - Tanenbaum CHAT. Toronto, Canada.

Tamara is a professional educator with over 15 years of experience working in the Jewish community where she has engaged Jewish youth, teens and young adults in exploring and defining their Jewish identities through experience and practice. Tamara’s main area of focus has been cultivating and teaching leadership in schools and on university and college campuses, as well training teens to be peer educators. She has spent almost 10 years serving as the Director of Student Activities, Jewish Program at Tanenbaum CHAT, bringing Jewish learning to life through experiences, programs and relatable encounters. Prior to joining the team at Tanenbaum CHAT, Tamara served as the Regional Director for United Synagogue Youth, Eastern Canadian Region overseeing programming for youth in grades 5-12. An alumnus of USY, Canadian Young Judaea summer camps and Camp Ramah, Tamara discovered her own passion for Judaism through experience and informal education. Tamara’s academic studies range from a B.A in Politics and History to classes from the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and an M.Ed in Adult Education and Community Development with a focus in workplace learning and change. Tamara is the proud mother of two precocious children who are learning Hebrew with Israeli accents, and is a Thornhill (read: suburban) veteran despite her best efforts to live in the city of Toronto. Synchronized swimming used to be her physical activity of choice, now it’s Yoga, opting for more zen environments and less mascara and nose plugs.

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Sara Rich

Director of Education - Center for Jewish Life, Hillel at Princeton University. Princeton, NJ

Rabbi Sara Rich is the Director of Education at the Center for Jewish Life – Hillel at Princeton University. In her role, she oversees the CJL’s educational offerings, teaches classes on topics such as Jewish Ethics and Public Policy and Jewish Pluralistic Dialogue, advises the Reform student community and engages students in conversation (over many, many cups of coffee) about Jewish identity, the college experience, and leadership. Sara was ordained in 2011 from the New York campus of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. As a student, Sara served as a student rabbi in Williamsport, PA (home of Little League!) and Brampton, Ontario. She also worked at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Greene Family Camp and as a chaplain intern at the Bellevue Hospital Center. Sara earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of MD, College Park and an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR. Today, Sara resides in Highland Park, NJ with her husband Ezra and their daughter Miriam.

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Baruch Rock

Rabbi - Gesher Jewish Day School. Fairfax, VA.

Inspired by his Birthright Israel trip with Livnot U’Lehibanot, Rabbi Rock has been devoted to working with and strengthening his Jewish identity and connection to Jewish community for close to 15 years. In 2011, with his wife, and three children, he moved to Fairfax, Virginia after 10 years in Israel. He holds a BA in History and Journalism from New York University, a Master of Arts in Desert Studies from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Rabbi Shuki Reich. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Sustainability Education from Prescott College in Arizona. He has been teaching Jewish Studies and American History at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax for three years. Baruch has many different interests and seeks to always integrate those interests to present a vision and experience of wholeness in his teaching, his work as a rabbi, and as a global citizen.

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Gabi Spiewak

Head Teacher - Yeshivat Netivot Montessori. Edison, NJ

A native of Brookline MA, Gabi is a proud graduate of Maimonides School. After High School, Gabi spent two years at Yeshivat Har Etzion, studying under the guidance of Rabbis Aharon Lichtenstein and Yehuda Amital. He received a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University before receiving Rabbinic Ordination in Israel. Gabi attended graduate school at Fordham University where he received a Masters in Applied Developmental Psychology, concentrating on adolescent identity formation, civic engagement and religiosity. Gabi is an Adjunct Professor at Kean University and has also assisted on projects for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. As a Head Teacher at Yeshiva Netivot, Gabi has played an integral role in developing a Judaic studies curriculum and environment for the upper elementary grades that is consistent with Montessori principles. Gabi lives in Elizabeth, NJ, with his wife, Yael, and three children.

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Miriam Tekuzener

Birthright and Tour Educator. Jerusalem, Israel.

Miriam Tekuzener was born in the USA and made Aliyah to Jerusalem with her parents when she was three months old. Miriam has a BA in Archaeology and Informal Education from Bar Ilan and is currently finishing her MA in Jewish Education at the Melton Center at Hebrew University. Miriam is a licensed tour guide, and has been working as a tour educator for the last ten years with students on Israel and Poland programs such as Birthright, Jump and Meor, camps and Youth movements such as Yavneh, Tribe and NSCY and has guided day schools from the United States, Canada, England and Australia. Miriam loves guiding groups of all ages and nationalities. Miriam is also involved in writing formal and informal programs for schools around the world enhancing Jewish identity and their connection to Israel.

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Aron Wolgel

Director of Jewish Student Life, Jewish Studies Instructor - Frankel Jewish Academy. Southfield, MI.

Aron Wolgel is the Director of Jewish Student Life at the Frankel Jewish Academy, where he has also taught Judaic Studies for the last five years. In this position, he has enjoyed creating meaningful memories for his students. Aron serves as a mentor to other teachers and uses this opportunity to reflect on his own teaching practice, where he continually searches for innovative methods to discover and transmit Torah’s wisdom. Last year, his lesson plans were used in the initial launch of the Behrman House’s “Torah Toons” curriculum. A graduate of Brandeis University, Aron now resides in Southfield, MI with his wife, Ariel. The two of them met in the Pardes Educator’s Program where it became apparent that they shared a passion for Jewish education. Aron loves singing with others because of the harmonious feelings that are produced. Aron also enjoys coaching basketball and is an avid ultimate frisbee player. As he writes this bio, Aron is eating a delicious bowl of chicken soup that he made himself.

“I feel so fortunate to have been chosen to participate and I feel a new level of energy and confidence about my own teaching. I cannot wait to learn more. The program respects each of our unique Jewish paths and unites us in the project of imparting Jewish values and identity to our students.”

Sara Rich, Director of Education - Center for Jewish Life, Hillel at Princeton University
“It is so exhilarating to know that I have all of these new tools and new ways of thinking that I genuinely want to bring to my work and my life. It is a meaningful personal and professional challenge that will enrich my life both in the process and the product.”

Robby Charnoff, OU-JLIC Rabbi, Educator, and Co-Director at Queens College