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Religious School Teachers

Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Senior Rabbi & Tefillah As Experience Teacher
t.spitzer@dorsheitzedek.org

Rabbi Toba Spitzer has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek since graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1997. Rabbi Spitzer has long been active in peace and justice work both in the U.S. and in Israel/Palestine. She currently serves on the Board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and as President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. She brings her love of music and her guitar-playing to CDT services, and her passion for teachings to adults and children both at CDT and throughout the greater Boston area.

You can find more information about Rabbi Toba and links to her writings here.

Earnest Vener

Director of Congregational Learning, Nitzanim/Gan (Pre-K/Kindergarten) Lead Teacher, & Tefillah As Text Teacher
e.vener@dorsheitzedek.org

Earnest Vener (he/him/his) is honored to be the Director of Congregational Learning and is eager to support CDT in creating inclusive, meaningful, and justice oriented Jewish learning opportunities. Earnest will also be leading the monthly Nitzanim/Gan (Pre-K/Kindergarten) class. In addition to working at CDT, Earnest is a SVARA Teaching Kollel fellow, which equips trans and queer teachers to lead empowering Talmud learning communities. Earnest received an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Earnest draws on his education to create learning experiences rooted in history, storytelling, cultural arts, and social justice. Prior to moving East, Earnest ran an outdoor Jewish religious school in the Oakland Redwoods and a Jewish farming program at URJ Camp Newman. Earnest is engaged to Emma Price and they enjoy playing board games, studying Torah, spending time with their two cats, and working to build a more equitable world.

Amira Shulman-Kumin

Inclusion Coordinator
inclusion@dorsheitzedek.org

Amira brings a wealth of experience to the project of inclusion in the CDT Religious School. With a background as an elementary school reading specialist, Amira has worked with students of all ages and with a wide range of special needs. She has collaborated with other teachers in helping those students in inclusion classroom settings, as well as working with students individually. She has worked with parents to identify priority areas and to develop plans for their children’s success, both within her schools and as a private consultant.

You can see Amira’s full bio here.

Ali Moss

Kitah Alef (First Grade) Lead Teacher

Happy to be returning for my sixth year on the CDT Religious school staff. My passion for Jewish life and learning has motivated me to move my teaching career from the public school sector as a Spanish teacher to working in an early childhood center. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, graduated from McDaniel College in Maryland, and moved to Boston to pursue and receive my Masters in Education (MAT) at Simmons College. My strong Jewish identity was formed in the small Reconstructionist congregation in which I grew up, then cemented during the five years I spent working at Camp JRF. I love the Boston area and the community here. I also love chocolate, I am a coffee snob, enjoy watching movies and theater, and will spend time curled up in front of any Jodi Piccoult book! Looking forward to another great year in Kitah Alef.

Shira Moss

Kitah Bet (Second Grade) Lead Teacher

Shira has over 20 years of experience teaching through the arts in a variety of general and Jewish educational settings. She brings a mastery of skills in providing engaging lessons and activities that address all styles of learners and looks forward to bringing the Jewish Values curriculum to life with Kita Bet this year.

Lia Almekies

Kitah Gimmel (Third Grade) Lead Teacher

Lia Almekies is so excited to be joining the Dorshei Tzedek staff as the Kitah Gimmel teacher. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2017 with a degree in Public Health Education. She currently works in special education during the school year and on the beach at Camp Grossman during the summers. She can’t wait for a fun year of learning with Kitah Gimmel!

Adina Mailick

Kita Gimmel (Third Grade) Hebrew Teacher

Adina Mailick (she/her/hers) is excited to be returning to the role of Kitah Gimmel teacher at Dorshei Tzedek this year. This will be her eighth year on the CDT Religious School staff (with a brief hiatus in the middle). Adina’s love of education began when she was a teenager teaching English as a volunteer in rural Thailand. Before moving to the Boston area, Adina graduated from Bennington College in Vermont. Adina has a Fine Arts background and is excited to share her knowledge and passion for creativity with the students and with the community here at CDT.

Talya Guenzburger

Kitah Gimmel (Third Grade) Co-Teacher

Talya is so excited to join the Dorshei Tzedek Religious School community this year as the Kitah Gimmel co-teacher! Talya graduated from Brandeis University this past Spring, where she studied Sociology and German. She currently resides in Burlington, Vermont, where she works in affordable housing advocacy. Having previously worked as a B'nai Mitzvah tutor in high school and as a preschool teacher in college, Talya is grateful for the opportunity to continue working with children in a Jewish context. She can’t wait to get to know everyone and is excited for a great semester of learning! 

LilyFish Gomberg
Kitah Dalet (Fourth Grade) Lead Teacher

LilyFish Gomberg (she/they) is thrilled to be teaching Kitah Daled this year! Morah LilyFish has been a part of Dorshei Tzedek's religious school since she was in Kindergarden, although she has only been teaching since she was in high school. This is Morah LilyFish's second year as a lead teacher. When not at religious school, LilyFish is a senior at Brandeis University studying Near Eastern & Judaic Studies with minors in Sexuality & Queer Studies and History. She is involved in the Reconstructionist group on campus, as well as her Jewish sisterhood and Hillel. In her free time, LilyFish likes to paint, study Talmud, and hang out with friends. One day, LilyFish hopes to go to rabbinical school at RRC.

Gavi Troper-Hochstein
Kitah Dalet (Fourth Grade) Co-Teacher

Gavi Troper-Hochstein (she/her) is excited to return to CDT Religious school for her first full year as an assistant teacher. She is from Portland, Oregon, and is so happy to have found a compassionate, social justice oriented congregation here in Massachusetts that reminds her of the community she grew up in. Gavi is a sophomore at Brandeis University, and would like to teach full time after college. She is a research assistant for a project studying online Jewish education during the pandemic. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new hiking trails and learning about textile arts.

Micah Friedman

Kitah Hay (Fifth Grade) Lead Teacher

Micah feels blessed to have the opportunity to teach Kitah Hay on Sundays this year! He is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College where he enjoys spending many hours swimming in the sea of Torah and hopes to invite his class into these thrilling waters through engaging with the Book of Exodus this year. Originally from Tampa, FL, Micah enjoys spending as much time as possible outside surrounded by greenery.

Liz Krushnic

Kitah Hay (Fifth Grade) Co-Teacher

Liz Krushnic (she/her/hers) is delighted to spend another year hanging out with the incredible students of Kita Hay. Prior to her time at CDT, Liz worked for three years as the Youth & Community Organizer at Boston Workers Circle Center for Jewish Culture and Social Justice, where she ran the Teens Acting for Social Change program. In addition to working at CDT, Liz is studying in the Clinical Herbalist Program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. In her spare time, she loves baking birthday cakes, and keeping tabs on her various plant friends in Jamaica Plain. A Newton native, Liz is delighted to be working in the community where she grew up.

Andrea Kamens

Kita Vav Lead Teacher & Tefillah As Text Teacher

Andrea Kamens is excited to return to Dorshei for her fourth year and to have another year teaching the Prophets for Kitah Vav. She is a storyteller, mom, and community volunteer. She graduated from Boston University, spent a year living and studying in Israel, and has been living in Brighton for over 20 years. She and her husband have five children. She is on the board of The Story Space in Somerville, MA (now on Zoom), a venue started 28 years ago by the late Brother Blue and his wife Ruth Edmonds Hill to allow for the sacred task of telling all genres of story and listening to all people. Brother Blue said a story came from the middle of me to the middle of the middle of you; that’s what and how Andrea tries to teach. No one is too young or too old to listen to others and to voice their own truth.

Adah Hetko

Kita Vav Co-Teacher

Adah Hetko is excited to return to the Dorshei Tzedek community and get to know all of the Kitah Vav students. Adah has a master’s in Jewish Studies from Indiana University and she recently completed a fellowship year at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. Adah is also active in the Yiddish cultural world as a singer, songwriter and dance leader.

Rachel Oshinsky

Kitah Zayin Lead Teacher

This is Rachel’s second year teaching Kitah Zayin, and she is excited to work with students during their B'nei Mitzvah year. Originally from New Jersey, she earned her B.A. in English from Brandeis University and her M.Ed. in Reading and Writing from UMass Amherst. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities and writing.

Joanna Marcus

Kitah Zayin Co-Teacher

Joanna is a third year student at Brandeis University. She has a deep passion for the violin and plans to major in music, while also exploring other academic areas. Joanna was a student at Dorshei Tzedek Religious School as a child, and she absolutely loves seeing the current students build their own sense of Jewish identity and create new memories where she once did. 
 

Kendra Watkins

Tefillah as Experience Teacher

Kendra Watkins (they/them) is thrilled to be joining Dorshei Tzedek’s Religious School community all the way from Detroit, MI. They attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they studied Jewish Studies and Sociology with a focus in racial and religious identity formation. Kendra works with Detroit Jews for Justice and Edot Midwest to co-create community for Jews of color and develop diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum for local synagogues. They are always happy to connect over Southern Jewry, queer and liberatory Torah, and exchanging favorite potluck recipes. 

Bayla Kamens

Tefillah as Performance Tutor

Bayla Kamens (any pronouns) is looking forward to spending another year as a member of the Dorshei Tzedek community. She is a junior studying Greek and Latin remotely at Kenyon college. She spent previous years at Dorshei Tzedek in and out of every classroom teaching Israeli Dance, as well as tutoring Kitah Gimmel students in Hebrew during last year’s remote semester. Bayla is very excited to this year strengthen her relationship with individual students by tutoring Kitah Vav students in Hebrew and T’fillah.

Sun, January 24 2021 11 Shevat 5781