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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.

Jess Green

Inclusion Coordinator
inclusion@dorsheitzedek.org

Jess Green (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be joining Congregation Dorshei Tzedek as the Inclusion Coordinator. She will also be teaching first graders in her eighth year at Temple Beth Shalom and leading the Family Learning Circle at Nehar Shalom for the second year. Jess earned her Master's degree on Jewish education with a focus on special education from Hebrew College. She has a strong focus on Jewish spaces that are inclusive for her and believes that everyone can and should learn and live Jewishly and in community. Jess loves to teach about social justice, Jewish food, holidays, and ways to make ritual our own.  Originally from New Jersey, Jess has lived in Boston for 16 years and is a member of several different local Jewish communities. She loves to cook for her chosen families, hang out with the kiddos in her life, and be at the beach.

Liz Krushnic

Madrichimot Coordinator

Liz Krushnic (she/her/hers) is excited to enter her third year working with the wonderful students of the CDT Religious School. 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 Clinical Herbalist Intern at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. In her spare time, she loves baking birthday cakes, and spending time in her garden in Jamaica Plain. A Newton native, Liz is delighted to be working in the community where she grew up.

Heather Renetzky
Nitzanim/Gan

Heather Renetzky (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be joining Congregation Dorshei Tzedek as the Nitzanim/Gan lead teacher and Young Family Program leader! Heather spends her days as a rabbinical student at Hebrew College and enjoys bringing Jewish wisdom to everything from encountering seahorses to baking chocolate chip cookies. Prior to teaching at CDT, Heather has served as the Rosh Chinuch (Education Director) at Ramah Galim in Northern California and has taught with Prozdor/Makor (Boston), Yachad (Minneapolis), and Temple Beth Shir Shalom (Los Angeles). Heather believes firmly in the power of Shabbat, song, and deep listening to create loving, intergenerational communities. 

Ali Moss

Kitah Alef (First Grade)

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)

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.

Emmanuel Cantor
Kitah Gimel (Third Grade)

Emmanuel (he/him) is grateful and excited to be CDT’s rabbinic intern. Outside of CDT, Emmanuel is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College and a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He comes to CDT after serving as the rabbinic intern at Yale’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life. Before rabbinical school, Emmanuel worked as a community organizer for Jews United for Justice and lived with *eleven* housemates in an Avodah Bayit, an intentional, cooperative Jewish social justice community. 

Emmanuel earned his BA at Yale, where he majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. While at college Emmanuel taught middle schoolers, facilitated workshops on consent and bystander intervention, and guided backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail. Emmanuel also studied at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa in northern Israel, a big change in scenery from his native New York City. When not working or in class, Emmanuel enjoys yoga, Jewish music and dance, and ambitious new recipes. 

Sarah Serrano
Kitah Gimel Assistant

Sarah (she/her/hers) is excited to be joining Congregation Dorshei Tzedek community. Originally from Chicago, she earned her BA and MAT at Tufts University with concentrations in African and African Diasporic literature and education. Sarah has been a middle and high ELA and Humanities teacher in MA, and also works as a birthworker and childbirth educator in the area. She is looking forward to working and supporting teachers and students this year.

Shira Cohen-Goldberg
Kitah Dalet (Fourth Grade)

Shira Cohen-Goldberg (she/her/hers) is a long-time member of the greater Camberville Jewish community and current member of Temple Shalom of Medford and Cambridge Minyan. She has been an elementary teacher in NYC and CA and was a literacy coach in Chelsea, MA. She is currently Director of Client Services for Hill for Literacy, a non-profit focused on organizational change in literacy education and is also a private reading tutor to many. She is thrilled to be able to teach kids in a Jewish setting again after many years break! She enjoys a rich and busy existence rearing her children Hallel, Ya’ara, and Nesya in partnership with her husband, Ari.

Talya Guenzburger
Kitah Dalet Assistant

Talya (she/her) is so excited to return to the Dorshei Tzedek Religious School community this year as the Kita Dalet assistant teacher! Talya grew up in NYC and graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Sociology and German. Outside of Religious School, Talya works in tenant and housing advocacy in Boston. She looks forward to a year of creativity, fun and learning with Kitah Dalet!

Lila Klaus
Kitah Hey (Fifth Grade) 

Lila Klaus (she/her/hers) is excited to be joining the Dorshei Tzedek team this year! Originally from the DC area, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in dance from Bard College, where she studied the intersections of Jewish thought and artistic practice. After moving to the Boston area, she has served previously as the Youth Coordinator at Temple Emanuel in Andover, as well as an educator at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, where she will also be teaching this year. In addition to her educational work, she has performed and choreographed dance work in the Boston area and beyond, and also works at the URJ 6 Points Creative Arts Academy as the Dance Arts Mentor every summer. She is looking forward to being the Kitah Hey lead teacher!

Gavi Troper-Hochstein
Kitah Hey (Fifth Grade) Assistant

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.

Joanna Marcus

Kitah Hey One-to-One

Joanna (she/her/hers) is a senior at Brandeis University, majoring in violin performance and minoring in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST). Joanna is interested in how music can be used to promote mental health, well-being, and inclusion of marginalized populations. She loves the way music can convey such a breadth of emotional worlds, and she aims to portray these emotions in her violin playing. 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 as a child (and continues to do as a teacher). This is Joanna’s seventh year as a teacher at CDT, and she is very excited to be joining Kitah Hey!

Andrea Kamens

Kitah Vav (Sixth Grade) Teacher

Andrea Kamens (she/her/hers) is excited to return to Dorshei for her fifth year. She and her husband have been living in Boston for over 25 years and have five children. Andrea is a storyteller and teaching artist who’s on the board of The Story Space in Somerville, MA, a weekly venue started 29 years ago by the late Brother Blue and his wife Ruth Edmonds Hill to allow for the sacred task of listening to all people. During the pandemic, she helped found and now runs Youth Standing Strong Camp, an online storytelling camp that connects kids and mentors from around the world. She’ll be bringing her passion for Torah text, prayer, puns, and deep connections to Kitah Vav on Sundays, tefillah on Tuesdays, and as school storyteller. She loves invitations to the beach in all seasons!

Sarah Pollack
Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade) Lead Co-teacher

Sarah is currently a Shanah Bet Rabbinical School. Although she grew up in Florida, she now lives in Cambridge with her wife, Elana. As a child, Sarah felt a strong sense of Jewish identity but lacked formal ways to articulate her spiritual yearning. She immersed herself in Jewish life at The University of Florida while pursuing a BA in Forensic Anthropology. After spending a summer in Uganda as part of a volunteer program with AJWS and a semester abroad at the University of Haifa, Sarah was eager to continue her exploration of Judaism and Jewish Peoplehood. She moved to Jerusalem, where she spent two years learning at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, first as the Social Justice Fellow, and then on the Judaism and Conflict Resolution track. As a Pardes Fellow, Sarah organized volunteer opportunities and facilitated community-building programming. Her professional journey started at Encounter, where she spent the next four years exploring the ways that Jewish American professionals and lay leadership engage with Palestinians. Sarah most recently worked for Honeymoon Israel as the Director of Community Engagement, empowering young Jewish families to explore their relationships to Jewish community and identity. This year, she will be teaching 5th and 7th grade at Dorshei Tzedek, a Fellow at MyZuzah and serving as an Alumni Connector for the Bronfman Fellowship.

Adah Hetko

Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade) Co-teacher

Adah Hetko (she/her/hers) is looking forward to returning for her third year at Dorshei Tzedek! Adah has designed and delivered educational programming in a variety of settings including Vassar College’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practice, Baltimore Yearly Meeting camps and the Yiddish Book Center. She is also a Yiddish singer, songwriter, and dance leader active in the local and international Yiddish cultural scenes. This year Adah will be Kitah Zayin Co-Teacher, Tefillah tutor, music specialist and Young Family Programs songleader.

Bayla Kamens

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.

Adina Mailick

Tutor

Adina Mailick (she/her/hers) is excited to be returning to 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.

Emily Mathis
Kitah Gimel Hebrew Teacher

Rabbi Emily Mathis has served communities across much of the Jewish spectrum, most recently in Cambridge and on Boston’s North Shore. Prior to her work in Jewish settings, Emily directed programming in the fields of environmental education, urban gardening and family literacy. In addition to her rabbinic work, she is a family herbalist, and can generally be found in the kitchen working on her next project and drinking coffee. She and her spouse, Hali Diecidue, live in West Newton with their three girls (22, 12, and 5.5) and one labradoodle.

Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782