YOU Lead 2023 - 2024 Cohort

YOU Lead Cohort March2024
Shoshi Abowitz

Shoshi is the Lower School Judaic Studies Principal and Hebrew Language Director at Barkai Yeshivah. Shoshi worked for 13 years as a head teacher for Judaic and general studies in Dizingof School in Tel Aviv, and also served as the Programming Director. In 2004, she began working at Barkai as a teacher and took on many leadership positions. Throughout the last decade as a principal, she has written the lower school Judaic Studies curriculum in Barkai, and created accompanying workbooks for all Judaic studies subjects and Hebrew Language. She also guides and mentors all her staff and is responsible for all programming in the school. She holds a BA in Education from the Teachers Seminar, Tel Aviv and a certificate in Hebrew Language Teaching and Mentoring from Hebrew College in Boston.

Kailey Aiosa

Kailey is the Director of Middle School at Luria Academy of Brooklyn, where she has been for the last five years. Kailey has also taught sixth through eighth grade English Language Arts for a decade. She is a certified special educator. Kailey attended The College of New Jersey, where she studied English and Secondary Education. She fell in love with the program and decided to stay two more years to earn her master's degree in Special Education. After being a classroom teacher for ten years, Kailey is excited to enter the world of leadership and expand her skills.

Sari Allen

Sari is the Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at Golda Och Academy (GOA) in West Orange, NJ. Prior to joining the GOA team and community, Sari spent nearly two decades working in the Jewish non-profit sphere focusing on informal Jewish education, community strengthening and engagement. Sari’s enthusiasm for Jewish day schools took root when she joined the Community Outreach Team at Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy in PA, growing into the role of Associate Director of Admissions. Sari’s connection to Jewish day schools deepened during her time as the Director of Admissions and Community Outreach at the Schechter School of Long Island, and is currently thriving in her role at GOA. Sari holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies) from the University of Arizona.

Talia Aqua

Talia serves as a literary coach and learning specialist at Brauser Maimonides Academy. With a rich background in education, Talia dedicated a decade to teaching in elementary classrooms, both in General and Special Education roles, at Jewish day schools including SAR Academy, Maimonides Academy, and Harkham Hillel Academy. Beyond her classroom engagement, Talia has demonstrated her commitment to education by developing curricula across various subjects for the schools with which she has been associated. Talia earned her BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University College for Women, and attained a dual master’s degree in General and Special Education for Grades 1-6 from Bank Street College of Education.

Gabrielle Azose

Gabrielle plays several roles at the Seattle Jewish Community School (SJCS), including Jewish Studies teacher, Vaad Tochnit HaLimudim (Instructional Leadership Team) member, Self Study Coordinator, and Coordinator of the innovative Kehillah M’Shulevet (Integrated Community) program, bringing together 5th graders from two schools weekly. Prior to taking on these roles, Gabrielle taught General Studies at SJCS. She received a BA from McGill University with a double major in Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology and a minor in Jewish Studies, and a Masters in Teaching, along with certification, from Antioch University.

Tal Barak

Tal is the Director of Communications and Associate Director of External Relations at Milken Community School, a 6-12 Jewish community school in Los Angeles. She previously worked at VBS Day School, a K-6 independent Jewish Day School, as the Director of Admissions and Marketing. Prior to her time at VBS Day School, she worked at UCLA in development communications as the Associate Director of Communications for the UCLA Fund. Tal’s background is in marketing and advertising. She started her career in New York in advertising agency account management on clients such as Taco Bell and Verizon. She graduated from UC San Diego and earned a BA in Communications, and holds an MBA with a focus on marketing from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Cassandra Batson

Cassandra is the Middle School Principal at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS). Before her appointment to this role, she was the Director of Upper School STEM and Middle School Math and Science Department Chair at CESJDS. This is her 13th year in education, and sixth year in administration. She is originally from the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she taught middle school science for five years. Cassandra is a certified administrator in the state of Maryland. She earned a BA in Biochemistry, and Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, as well as an MA in Science Curriculum and Instruction, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Rabbi Dovid Bielory
Rabbi Dovid

Rabbi Bielory is the Dean of Student Success at Yeshivah Ohr Yisrael High School for Boys in Boston, MA. Rabbi Bielory has worked in education for the past 20 years at the elementary and high school levels as well as in adult education.  He has taught Talmud, Tanach, Jewish History, Halacha and other subjects, attempting to demonstrate to his students how timeless Torah is actually relevant to their everyday lives. Rabbi Bielory has a BA and MA in Talmudic law from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a Master’s in Community Counseling from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Jori Broidy

Jori is the Assistant Principal of Milwaukee Jewish Day School (MJDS). She has worked at MJDS for the past 11 years, serving both in this capacity, and as a kindergarten teacher. Prior to working at MJDS, Jori served as an administrator and teacher at two Chicago charter schools. She holds a bachelor’s in elementary education from Indiana University-Bloomington, a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University, and a Masters of School Leadership from the American College of Education.

Sarit Cioban Spector
Cioban Spector

Sarit is a Hebrew Coordinator for grades PK-1, and a Hebrew and Judaic Studies teacher at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, VA. Prior to joining Gesher JDS, Sarit spent over a decade teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies in early childhood, supplementary, and charter schools in the Washington metropolitan area. Sarit holds a master’s degree (Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language) from Middlebury College, a certificate in Language Program Administrator from Middlebury College, a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College (Human Services and Middle East Affairs), and is an alumna of many other certificate programs. Sarit was born and raised in Israel, in Nof HaGAlil (Nazareth Illit) and has lived in Silver Spring, Maryland since May 2012.

Lainie Filkow

Lainie is the Early Years Coordinator and Chaggim Coordinator at the Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Lainie has also spent time as an early years teacher at Gray. Prior to joining Gray, Lainie oversaw the Chabad Torah Tots daycare program in Winnipeg. Before that, she was the Head of Early Years at the Toronto Heschel School. Lainie received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Winnipeg, and was a member of the Project Zero program at Harvard University. She also represented the Toronto Heschel School at a Jewish National Fund Israel Education Program, and at the Hartman Institute. Lainie is the treasurer of Winnipeg Beach Day Camp and has served on the board of Camp Massad.

Shirley Gantz

Shirley Gantz is the Assistant Principal at Bruriah Middle School. Prior to joining the Bruriah administrative team, Shirley served as the Director of Educational Programming at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, as well as a Programming Coordinator and Judaic Studies teacher in both Yavneh Academy and SAR Academy. Shirley has a BA in Education From Stern College, and an MA from Azrieli Graduate School.

Rachel Gayer

Rachel is the Assistant Principal of North Campus at Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital. Before coming to Milton in July of 2023, Rachel worked at Maret School in Washington, DC, for over twenty years. At Maret, Rachel served as Sixth Grade Dean in the Middle School, taught and developed Humanities courses, directed plays, and served on admissions and leadership teams. She is currently an elected board member of Adas Israel Congregation. Prior to moving to DC, Rachel taught English, theater, and dance at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, CA, and taught in independent schools in California and Boston before earning her teaching credential through the STEP program at Stanford University. She holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University and an MA in Education from Stanford University.

Debbie Grashin

Debbie is the Upper School Principal at Columbus Torah Academy. She began her career in education through New York City Teaching Fellows and taught high school math and computer science at Urban Assembly Media High School for eight years, also serving as grade level chair and department head, and completing a fellowship as a Math for America Master Teacher. She returned to her hometown of Columbus, OH to help found KIPP Columbus High, where she worked for six years as the founding math and computer science teacher and department chair. She was awarded the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award in 2020. Debbie holds a Masters in School Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College, a Masters in Adolescent Education from Pace University, and Bachelors in Mathematics and Computer Science from Yeshiva University Stern College for Women.

Dassa Gutwirth

Dassa is the Assistant Principal at IVDU Boys Upper School, a high school for teen boys with mild to moderate learning disabilities. Prior to taking on this position, Dassa served in various roles at IVDU Boys, including School Social Worker and Director of Student Services. Dassa obtained her master’s in social work at New York University, and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York State.

Tymothy Jaddock

Tymothy is the Director of Administration and Special Projects at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Originally from Canada, Tymothy has spent the last ten years balancing professional office work with a professional dancing and teaching career. From working as a Student Recruiter to interning at American Ballet Theatre, Tymothy has a multitude of experience in the not-for-profit field. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alberta, and an M.A. in Dance Education and Ballet Pedagogy from New York University.

Melissa Klemperer

Melissa is the Director of School Affairs at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School (SHDS). Prior to taking on this role, she spent ten years in various positions at SHDS, including as the fifth grade teacher and the executive assistant. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Management from Syracuse University, and a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood Education: Birth-6th grade from LeMoyne College.

Rachel Leubitz

Rachel is the Director of Student Support at Torah Academy of Boca Raton, where she is currently developing and managing a special education inclusion program for students in first through eighth grade. Prior to working at Torah Academy, Rachel spent eight years as the Director of the Academic Enhancement Program, where she created and implemented a resource and enrichment program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade at Hebrew Academy of Miami Beach. Rachel also briefly worked at Scheck Hillel Community School as a Speech and Language Pathologist, and as a self-contained Language Arts teacher for middle school students. She holds a BS in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University and an MS in Speech and Language Pathology from The University of South Florida. Rachel is passionate about meeting the needs of all learners.

Tania Levenstein

Tania is the Director of Development and Marketing at Robert M. Beren Academy. Prior to joining the RMBA team, Tania spent 5 years working in development, fundraising, marketing, and public relations as a Team Marathon and Events Director for Shalva in Jerusalem and New York, and as the Executive Director of Canadian Friends of Shalva in Montreal. Tania has been at Robert M. Beren Academy for almost seven years, and she leads its development, marketing and engagement activities. She holds a BS from The Sy Syms School of Business in Marketing at Yeshiva University.

Gabrielle Levitis

Gabrielle has served as the Director of Student Services at Mazel Day school since 2018.  Prior to joining the Mazel administration team, Gabrielle spent 11 years as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher in both public and private schools, with eight of those years teaching at Mazel. In addition to her role as Director of Student Services, Gaby serves as the Enrichment Coordinator for both the Lower and Middle School at Mazel, where she is responsible for coordinating and administering all enrichment programs at the school. In addition to her regular duties, Gabrielle is the school’s internal coach for the Hidden Sparks program, and the Special Events and Trip Coordinator. She holds a dual BA in Marketing and Management, as well as a M. Ed in Early Childhood Education, from Long Island University. She received a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Brooklyn College.

Sarah Marmor

Sarah is the K-12 General Studies Principal at Denver Academy of Torah. Sarah has taught middle and high school English, both in New York and Colorado, for over 20 years. She holds a master’s degree in Teaching English from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York.

Dolly Masri

Dolly currently serves as the Lower School Principal at Manhattan Day School. Previously, Dolly worked at Barkai Yeshiva as the Director of Teaching and Learning with an unwavering commitment to holistic education that enabled her to nurture the growth of students and faculty. Dolly has made an impact as both an educator and a teacher mentor. She has taught almost every grade in elementary school, giving her a deep appreciation for each stage of child development. Dolly holds graduate degrees in Education and School Building Leadership.

Sarit Nevo

Sarit is the new Middle School Hebrew Department Chair at The Leffell School in Hartsdale, New York. Sarit arrived from Israel five years ago and held positions as a Middle School Hebrew teacher and advisor at Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut, followed by a role as a Hebrew Special Education teacher at The Leffell School. Before teaching Hebrew in the USA, Sarit taught various grades in Israel, serving as a homeroom teacher and Math Department Chair, while also working on developing and leading Students Healthy Lifestyle Programs at her district. At The Leffell School, Sarit’s portfolio includes teaching all levels of Hebrew Language Acquisition, developing Israel Engagement programs, and creating engaging, multisensory Hebrew units and programs. Sarit holds a B. Ed in Special Education and Mathematics, along with a Teaching Certificate from The Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Dorie Ravick

Dorie is the Director of Lower School Admission at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) in Rockville, MD. Dorie has been in this position since summer of 2021. Prior to taking on this role, Dorie was the Associate Director of College Counseling at Maret School in Washington, DC after holding a similar role at CESJDS for seven years. Dorie spent many years working in college counseling, student engagement, and Jewish life programming. Dorie holds a BA from The George Washington University (Political Science and Judaic Studies), and a MA in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs from The George Washington University.


Esther is the Director of Student Services at Kadima Day School in West Hills, California. She has had a varied background in the fields of both education and mental health. Before working at Kadima, Esther was the Director of Guidance and Counseling at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. She has also worked in both private practice and clinic-based settings providing one-to-one, couples and group therapy. Esther also facilitates parenting workshops and has offered training for other practitioners. Esther received her Bachelor’s of Psychology from California State University, Northridge and continued to complete her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy with an additional credential and subsequent certification in School Counseling. Esther is part of Prizmah’s 2023-2024 YOU Lead cohort. 

Ariella Rosenbaum

Ariella is the Science Department Chair at Torah Academy of Bergen County. Prior to joining the TABC team, Ariella spent over a decade teaching all levels of high school science, as well as math, computer science, and middle school science. Most recently, she taught at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High for Girls in Teaneck, NJ and at Columbus Torah Academy in Columbus, OH. She holds a BA in Physics and a BA in Bible from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.

Lisa Rubins

Lisa is the Chair of Jewish Experiential Education at The Leffell lower school because she is passionate about creating meaningful and creative Jewish educational opportunities for all learners. In addition to being Team Leader across various grades, she has also taught grades K-5. Prior to joining The Leffell School 12 years ago, Lisa taught at The Heschel School for 18 years, and has been involved in all aspects of Jewish camping, from camper to Associate Director, for 46 years. Lisa graduated from UMass, Amherst with a degree in education, and received her master’s degree in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Evan Salzberg

Evan is the Student Life Coordinator at Rambam Day School Temple Beth Am in Miami, Florida. Evan was a fourth grade teacher for five years at Rambam before transitioning to the leadership team. He worked in various capacities in education prior to landing in Miami, including a year abroad in Israel. Evan holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Vermont, and an MEd. in Elementary Education from the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut.

Stephanie Newman Samuels

Stephanie has been teaching at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, since 1995. She teaches Tanakh to middle school students, and she also serves as the sixth grade dean. Stephanie earned her BA from Barnard College and an MA from New York University in Medieval Jewish History. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

Melissa Schreiber

Melissa recently joined the Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon as the Director of Admissions and Community Engagement. Previously, she worked as a freelance content marketing writer and copywriter for Israeli startups and Jewish non-profit organizations. Melissa holds a B.A. in Jewish History and Civilization from New York University.

Miriam Schulman

Miriam is the Curriculum Coordinator at Yeshivat Shalshelet. Previously, she spent a few years as the Kirah Coordinator and Reading Specialist at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey for grades K- 2. Prior to RYNJ, Miriam spent a decade working as a first grade Judaic Studies support teacher and then General Studies head teacher at SAR, where she was able to develop her passions both for teaching reading and cultivating a cohesive classroom community. Miriam holds a BA in History and Psychology from Queens College and a dual master’s from Bank Street College in General Education and Literacy.

Tamar Shames

Tamar is the Director of Professional Development at REACH, Resources for Educational Achievement Collaboration and Health, in Chicago. Prior to joining REACH, Tamar served as the Learning Center Director at Ramaz Middle School in New York City. In her role, Tamar works with the Chicago day school system to meet the educational and social emotional needs of all students. Tamar develops and facilitates professional development sessions that build the internal capacity of hundreds of teachers and administrators. Tamar has expertise related to Collaborative Problem Solving, and is a certified trainer in the model. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Education from Barnard College and Master’s of Education in Special Education from Bank Street.

Russi Shor

Russi is the Programming and Curriculum Coordinator at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ. Additionally, she teaches 2nd Grade Judaic Studies and 7th Grade Beur Tefilah. Russi is in her 11th year working at Yavneh Academy and has previously taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Judaic studies. She also helped spearhead the teacher morale booster committee (the Sunshine Fund). Russi has a BA from Stern College, a Master’s of Education from Azrieli Graduate School, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Azrieli Graduate School.

Joanie Silverman

Joanie is the Associate Head of School at Donna Klein Jewish Academy inBoca Raton, Florida. Prior to joining DKJA in 2022, Joanie spent the last 17 years in various educational roles including as a teacher, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Middle School Principal. She was the proud recipient of the Harold Grinspoon Educator Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, and was published twice in HaYidion - The Prizmah Journal. Joanie holds a B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers University, as well as an MBA and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Rusi Sukenik

As the Director of Student Services at REACH, Rusi supervises special education teachers who provide individualized education programs to students within the Jewish day schools. Rusi mentors staff, collaborates with school administration, and helps schools and teachers develop plans to better service students who struggle both academically and behaviorally. Rusi is committed to evidence-based programs and making data-driven decisions so that the school staff at the Jewish day schools can reach all their students. She has a B.A. in Jewish studies and special education from Hebrew Theological College and a M.Ed. in administration and supervision from Loyola University. In addition to her two Illinois State Licensures in special education and administration, she has an endorsement in middle school math, extensive training as a teacher coach, and is a certified practitioner in Collaborative Problem Solving.

Joseph Tappenden

Joseph is the Director of Marketing and Advancement at the Calgary Jewish Academy. Before settling in Calgary, Joseph served his hometown Jewish community of Edmonton, Alberta, in which his focus was community engagement and developing youth leadership programs. Most recently, Joseph was the Director of Community Relations with the Jewish Federation of Edmonton. Joseph holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Michal Twersky

Michal is the K-8 Assistant Principal at Kohelet Yeshiva in Merion Station, PA, where she previously served as Director of Operations. With a background in Jewish education, Michal also held positions as the Associate Pennsylvania Regional Director at OU Advocacy, working to maximize government funding for Jewish day schools, and as the Government Relations Coordinator at SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY. Michal earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business and holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University’s College of Public Health.

Jessica Varnai

Jessica is the Student Life Coordinator at Herzliah High School in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prior to joining the administrative team at Herzliah, Jessica spent eight years teaching social studies, including courses such as Geography, World History, the History of Quebec and Canada, Drama and Ethics. She has also been coaching the school’s Model UN team for the past six years. Jessica has received three degrees from McGill University: a BA in History, Sociology and Political Science; a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning; and most recently, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Lisa Jaffe Weinstein

Lisa is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, K-8, at North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, NY. Lisa began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member, teaching elementary school for a decade in the New York City public schools. Prior to joining North Shore Hebrew Academy, she was the Network Literacy Specialist for Explore Schools, a charter school network in Brooklyn, where she worked with principals to improve student performance by analyzing student data, creating curricular materials, and designing and facilitating professional development for teachers. She holds an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis (Political Science, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies), a graduate degree from Bank Street College of Education, and a Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education from Touro College.

Binyamina Zahavi

Binyamina is the School Assessment Leader at Brauser Maimonides Academy. Prior to joining the BMA team, Binyamina spent over a decade working as a teacher in other Jewish day schools in the tri state area. Most recently, she served as the Curriculum Coordinator at BMA. Binyamina’s portfolio at BMA includes teaching various grade levels in General and Judaic studies. In addition, Binyamina supports teachers through coaching and provides mentoring and guidance with curriculum, and leading practices in teaching and learning in the classroom. She holds a B.A. in Childhood Education from The College of Staten Island, and an M.A. in Special Education for grades K-5 from Touro College.

The YOU Lead program is generously supported by the Maimonides Fund
Maimonides Fund