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Operations

Operations Team Leaders

 

Bradley Cohen, RJE

Team Leader, Professional Learning

Brad Cohen became Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s Director of Education in 2010. The scope of Brad’s work includes Youth Education, family education, camps youth groups, NEXTGEN: The Millie and Alvin Blum 8-12 grade program, adult education, and supervises the EB Early Childhood Director. He holds a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, from which he also has received a Certificate in Jewish Education focusing on Adolescents and Emerging Adults.

Brad’s board and leadership involvement have included serving as Co-Chair of Professional Learning for the Association of Reform Jewish Educators 2018, GreenMount School board member 2018, Chair of Baltimore Area Reform Jewish Education Corporation (BARJE-CO) from 2011 to 2013 and serving on the Associated Task Force on Teen Engagement and Future (2014-2015), Pearlstone Program Committee (2014-2018) and the Camp Milldale Task Force (2015). Brad also spends time each summer as faculty at the Union for Reform Judaism Camp Harlam in the Poconos. Brad was born in Boca Raton, FL and spent several years in Boulder, CO, where he graduated from the University of Colorado and, more importantly, where he met his wife, Claire. They have three kids, Elie, Zev and Olivia. Brad loves that BHC is a wonderful community that truly cares about all its members.

Alyson Bazeley

Team Leader, Member Relations

Alyson currently serves as the Director of Youth Engagement at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ where she runs programming for teens in 7th-12th grade. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Florida International University and a Masters in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College. Alyson worked as the Director of Youth Activities at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ, the Assistant Educator at Temple Sholom in Fanwood, NJ, and Director of Youth and Informal Education at North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, New York. She also served as the NFTY Regional Board Advisor, as well as a hospital social worker in Miami, Florida. Alyson spent many summers as a staff member at URJ Crane Lake Camp where she met her husband Rabbi Philip Bazeley. They have two sons, Gavin and Matthew.

Jay Rapoport

Team Leader, Communications

Jay Rapoport, MARE, is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Sholom of Chicago, including Gan Shalom Early Childhood Education, Beit Sefer Shalom Religious School, Crown Family High School and Adult and Family Education. Prior to moving to Chicago he served for many years as Youth Educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and Camp Director at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia. Jay earned his Master’s Degree in Religious Education from HUC-JIR and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Music from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He is a pianist, vocalist and composer of original Jewish music, and his latest album, “They Tried To Get Us, We Won, Let’s Rock!” was released in December 2014. Jay and his wife Rachel live in Lakeview with their two children, Ruthie and Emet.

Rabbi Rena Rifkin

Team Leader, Advocacy

Rabbi Rena Rifkin currently serves Stephen Wise Free Synagogue as the Religious School Director. She received her MAJE from the HUC-JIR Rhea Hirsch School of Education in 2008 and was ordained by HUC-JIR in 2010. She has worked in various synagogues throughout the New York area, including Congregation Emanu-El of the City of NY, Temple Shaaray Tefilah and North Shore Synagogue. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Scott, and their three children, Eden, Simon, and Micah.

Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman, RJE

Team Leader, Advocacy

Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman, RJE, is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Israel of the City of New York. She received her BA in Judaic Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her MA in Hebrew Letters, MA in Jewish Education and Rabbinic Ordination from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Buyer-Witman began her journey in Jewish education as a Dean of Students at Milken Community High School in Los Angeles, California. From 2006-2011 Rabbi Buyer-Witman served as the Director of Religious School, Youth and Camp Programs for Stephen S. Wise Temple where she was responsible for a number of innovations including a revolutionary new post b’nai mitzvah program entitled, The Academy and her nationally recognized program, “TiLearn,” that blends on-site learning with distance learning . Since 2011 she has continued to innovate and reinvigorate learning for students of all ages at Temple Israel of the City of New York.

Rabbi Buyer-Witman has served in various leadership positions in the field of Jewish Education. She is the Editor for the CCAR’s Mishkan HaNefesh for Youth: A Machzor for Youth and Families.  She is a faculty member for the URJ’s Crane Lake and Eisner Camps. She has served as the Chair of the Limud Taskforce to reimagine Jewish Education for URJ’s Camps Eisner and Crane Lake. She also served on the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s Children and Youth Siddur Committee on the Board of Overseers for Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, the Board of the ARJE, and Hebrew Union College’s National Advisory Committee for the Certificate Program in Jewish Education, specializing in adolescents and emerging adults. In January of 2011 she co-chaired NATE’s North American conference in Seattle Washington, the topic of which was her true passion––Jewish Education and Technology.

Rabbi Buyer-Witman and her husband Michael Witman are the proud and boastful parents of three girls Lily, Josie and Nessa.

Rabbi Lisa Levenberg

Team Leader, Professional Learning

Rabbi Lisa Levenberg lives in Northern California with her partner Topaz, their two children, and a small menagerie. She received her Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education in 2000 and was ordained in 2002. She is currently the Interim Director of Education at Temple Sinai of Oakland, where she is passionate about creating an inclusive, celebratory Jewish community rooted in values and social justice. She loves camping, the beach, the Girl Scouts, and goats.

Vanessa Ehrlich, RJE

Team Leader, Communications

Vanessa Ehrlich, RJE, brings decades of experience and an extraordinary passion for Jewish education to Lakeside Congregation and our ARJE board. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Jewish Education from Spertus College, and continues her own educational quest by attending and planning ongoing professional growth courses for Chicago-area teachers and principals. Every summer since 1989 Vanessa has proudly served as faculty member at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, and (of course) is an active board member of ARJE.

Vanessa has served on the ARJE Board, and has been the co-chair of the Operations Committee. She is also the director and star of the youtube sensation, “Between 2 Doors“, so answer her call when you hear from her — she might want you to be the next star of her viral video sensation!

Miles Roger, RJE

Team Leader, Finance

Miles L. Roger is the Assistant Director of Religious Education for Washington Hebrew Congregation, where he oversees the Judaic Studies curriculum and operations for the Religious School, a role he has served since 2017.  Before this, he was a Religious School Educator at WHC, overseeing the synagogue’s DC Religious School campus.  Previously, he served as Assistant Director at the Bureau of Jewish Education in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to entering Jewish education full time, Miles worked for a local bank in Indianapolis while teaching religious school and serving as a youth group adviser. Miles has been active in the national Jewish education field, serving as the Young Professional’s Chair for NewCAJE and on various committees for the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.  Miles earned his Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a Bachelor of Science in Business degree from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He earned the title of Reform Jewish Educator from the Association of Reform Jewish Educators in 2016.

Rabbi Joe Eiduson, RJE

Team Leader, Finance

Rabbi Joe Eiduson, RJE, has served as the Rabbi-Educator at Congregation B’nai Shalom since 2007. Rabbi Joe grew up in Buffalo and is a graduate of The University of Michigan (Residential College), holds a Master of Hebrew Letters and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College and a Masters in Educational Administration from Xavier University. An alumnus of the URJ Joseph Eisner and Goldman Union Camps, Rabbi Joe attributes much of his Jewish identity and rabbinic calling to his summers spent at Reform Jewish summer camps. Rabbi Joe has worked in the field of Jewish education for over twenty-five years. Joe has served on the boards of PARDES, RAVSAK, Planned Parenthood, Big Brothers and has taught numerous workshops in the field of Jewish education. He and his wife, Rabbi Lisa Eiduson, have found their greatest joy and fulfillment in raising their two children, Rosie and Carly, and their two Labrador retrievers, Maggie and Mason.

Barb Shimansky, RJE

Team Leader, Member Relations

Barb Shimansky, RJE, currently serves as the Director of the School for Living Judaism at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach. A native of suburban Detroit, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and earned her MSW from Wayne State University and her MARE from HUC-JIR. Formerly, Barb was a social worker with a focus on children in school, foster care, and juvenile justice settings. She also has extensive experience in Jewish youth education at both the elementary and secondary levels, previously teaching and directing youth programs at congregations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Barb worked in the area of congregational support for the Union for Reform Judaism, and for five years served as the Director of Education at Congregation Sinai in Milwaukee. Raised in the Reform Movement, Barb is an alumna of NFTY and the URJ Kutz Camp and has served as a faculty member of Kutz Camp, OSRUI, Camp Coleman, and 6 Points Creative Arts Academy. She has facilitated workshops on topics such as informal education and junior youth programming at both regional and North American URJ gatherings, and has published several articles regarding the engagement of youth and families in Jewish learning experiences. Barb happily resides with her husband, Jake, and their three sons.