Monday, July 16, 2012

Meet Our 2012-2013 PTJL Instructors

Meet our amazing faculty and sign up now for the opportunity to learn with them this fall!

Sabrina Burger was born in Madrid, Spain and lived in Israel for 12 years, where she studied English literature and linguistics at Hebrew University and attended the Bezalel School of Art and Design. Sabrina has taught in numerous settings, integrating Torah, art and parenting skills.

“Sabrina has been so wonderful about sharing her knowledge and experiences. She has created a comfortable, welcoming environment in which we, too, can share. It has been a pleasure!”

Shari Churwin has worked at Temple Ohabei Shalom for more than seventeen years in many different educational positions. She now serves as the Education Director. She has a master's in Jewish Education and a certificate in Jewish Family Education from Hebrew College. Shari and her husband Mike have three daughters, Hannah, Ashley and Julia.
 “Shari helped our group learn new texts. It was a great experience, a time for meaningful self-reflection”

Rabbi Sharon Clevenger is currently the Middle School Rabbi at the Rashi School. She previously served as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she taught numerous adult learning classes. She is a passionate educator for people of all ages. Rabbi Clevenger is married and the mother of two young daughters.

“Rabbi Clevenger makes Judaism come alive for her students!”

Judy Elkin, a long-time Jewish educator and a certified personal and professional coach, has worked with adolescents, parents, parent educators, teachers, and graduate students. She was the founding director of Ramah Family Camp and now likes to spend her summers canoeing and kayaking.

“Judy is amazing and inspiring! She created an open space in which we all felt so comfortable.”

Dr. Roselyn Farren is Executive Director of Ma'ayan: Torah Studies Initiative for Women and holds a doctorate in English literature from Brandeis University. She loves teaching Jewish texts and has taught a diverse range of students, teens through senior adults. On her off-days, you will find her singing and gardening with her husband and three children. 

“Roselyn was an amazing teacher and a real inspiration. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about ways to approach text, and sometimes ways to approach life as well.”

Rabbi Sally Finestone, among the first group of female rabbis to be ordained by Hebrew Union College, has led congregation Or Atid in Wayland since 1998. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. She and her husband, Boaz Heilman, the rabbi at B'nai Torah in Sudbury, have two children.

"Rabbi Finestone helped us connect not only with the texts, but also with each other. I feel that this class has made me a better person, and a better parent."

Rabbi David Jaffe lives in Sharon with his wife Janette, their two boys, and their charismatic cat Bugsy. He is the school chaplain at Gann Academy and the founder and dean of The Kirva Institute for Torah and Spiritual Practice.

“David has it all and brings it all to each session - depth of knowledge, broad-minded perspective, thoughtfulness, and experience as a parent.”

Rabbi Daniel Liben received his rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary and has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Natick since 1991. A prolific teacher, he is a recipient of the Bureau of Jewish Education's Keter Torah Award for his work in family education.


Cantor Ken Richmond came to Temple Israel of Natick in 2006. As Cantor and Family Educator, he enjoys leading the congregation in participatory prayer and teaching and learning with students of all ages. Cantor Ken and his wife, Rabbi Shira Shazeer, are klezmer musicians and speak Yiddish with their sons Zalmen and Velvel. 

“Both Rabbi Liben and Cantor Ken are highly skilled instructors – I very much enjoyed having our clergy lead the class. I loved how we would read a text, and then take time to discuss what it means to us. This style kept me engaged throughout the ten sessions.”

Layah Kranz Lipsker is a Jewish educator, writer, and lecturer, with twenty years of experience teaching Jewish mysticism and biblical texts. She lives on Boston's North Shore with her family, with whom she loves to travel, hike, and go apple picking. 

“Layah’s teaching style is wonderfully enlightening. She is always prepared, open, honest and open to all points of view.”

Dr. Natan Margalit was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and has rabbinic ordination from The Jerusalem Seminary and a Ph.D.  in Talmud from U.C. Berkeley. Natan enjoys teaching about Judaism and the environment, spending time with his three-year-old and six year-old, and perfecting his guitar playing skills. 

“Natan is very knowledgeable and kind. He is a great listener and and we loved his gentle demeanor.”

Dr. Jacob Meskin is the academic director of adult learning programs and an Assistant Professor of Jewish thought and education at Hebrew College. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton University and he co-authored the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens curriculum. He can often be found walking his dog along the streets of Brookline.

“Jacob did a terrific job of drawing analogies between the texts and our lives.  He allowed much time for discussion and I was able to ponder the importance of my Jewish identity with parenting.”

 Rabbi Michelle Robinson has made her home at Temple Emanuel of Newton since 1999. She is deeply committed to sharing her love of text study with others and has greatly enjoyed teaching in the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens program since its inception. She and her husband, Mike, have three children.

“Rabbi Michelle is such a spiritual, inspiring, engaging and wonderful teacher – I looked forward to the class each week.”

Dr. Ronit Ziv-Kreger is principal at Ziv-Kreger & Associates and has been consulting with day schools and congregational schools in both Israel and Greater Boston since 1998. In the past three years Ronit has been helping CJP to revitalize and reinvent supplementary education in the Boston area. She also serves as an instructor in the Jewish Environmental fellowship: Adamah.

“Ronit brings great energy and depth to our discussions, stimulating my thinking. She helps everyone feel comfortable with sharing.”

Rabbi Julie Zupan is an alumna of Tufts University. She has ordination from Hebrew Union College and currently serves as the Jewish family educator for the Early Learning Centers of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston (JCCGB). She lives in Sharon with her husband, Rabbi Joseph Meszler, and their two school-age children; her family loves taking nature walks in all seasons.

“Rabbi Julie makes everyone feel valued, comfortable, free to speak their minds and part of the group. She has made Parenting Through a Jewish Lens a warm, pleasant, and edifying experience.”

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