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  Our Staff and Teachers  

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  Ilana Snapstailer  
Executive Director
ilana@keshernewton.org
(617) 244-5390

Ilana joined Kesher Newton as Executive Director in June 2014. She has over 18 years of experience teaching in informal and formal settings. Having taught in every Jewish denomination, she is excited to enhance Kesher's pluralistic community. Previously, Ilana served as Associate Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League in New England and as Director of Academic Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel to New England. Ilana holds a B.A./M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University with a Massachusetts State Certification in Elementary Education and a minor in Hebrew. Based on her own Jewish education experience, Ilana is passionate about bridging the knowledge and skills gap between Jewish supplementary school and Jewish day school students. Ilana lives in Newton with her husband Avner, and four year old son, Izzy.

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​  Nomie Bental  
Associate Director
nomie@keshernewton.org

Rosh Rikud (Director of KesherRoked)

Nitzanim/Anafim Ivrit Teacher

(grades 2-5)

Nomie moved to Boston from Israel a couple of years ago, where she was working at the Ministry of Social Affairs. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from University of Wisconsin and earned a Masters in International Business in Paris.  Previously, Nomie worked in public diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel to New England and as an Education Specialist at the Milton Jewish Day School of the Nation's Capital. Nomie has been dancing since before she could walk, and has performed, taught, and choreographed in dance troupes around the world. In her imaginary spare time she loves to travel, salsa dance, and also directs ONOT-Kayitz (Boston's Middle School and High School Israeli Dance Performing Troupes).
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  Lori Kipnes  
Director of Curriculum, Learning and Inclusion
lori@keshernewton.org

Nitzanim/Anafim Ivrit Teacher

(grades 2-5)

Nitzanim Yahadut Teacher

(grades 2-3)

Lori comes to Kesher with over 30 years of teaching children from preschool through 8th grade in day school, supplementary school, camp, and tutorial settings, most recently teaching Ivrit b’Ivrit in 3rd and 4th grades at Maimonides School and 2nd grade at Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills. Lori has experience in pluralistic settings, including the Jewish Community Day School of Greater Boston (JCDS) and Gann Academy. As a teacher and a parent, Lori has worked with children with many different learning styles and is well-versed in differentiated instruction. She lived, worked, and raised four children in Israel; 2 of her daughters live there still. Lori holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education with a concentration in Hebrew second-language instruction from the Delet Program at Brandeis University. She also has a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Simmons College School of Social Work and a BA from Wesleyan University in Women’s Studies and Religion. In her spare time (ha!), Lori enjoys reading, cooking, theater, and Cape Cod.

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 Beth Kozinn  
School Administrator
beth@keshernewton.org 

Beth Kozinn is excited to be joining the Kesher community as the School Administrator. A graduate of Brandeis University and Suffolk Law School, Beth has worked primarily in the non-profit sector. During her 25 years working for the Union for Reform Judaism, Beth served as a regional office manager, executive assistant, event planner, and program coordinator for Introduction to Judaism programs. Beth enjoys volunteering at her congregation and Mayyim Hayyim community Mikveh. Beth lives in Newton with her husband, and they have a daughter in college.
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Bryna Chalmer
Anafim Yahadut Teacher
(Grades 4-5)

Bryna Chalmer has been working within the Jewish Community for over 15 years. She was previously at Kesher in Cambridge as both a teacher and the After School Director, overseeing a project based learning curriculum. Working with students and teaching them about their Jewish Identity has been a passion of hers since she was in High School. Bryna holds a B.A. from Hebrew College in Jewish Education with a certificate in music education, as well as an M.Ed. in Education and Biblical Literature from American Jewish University. 
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Liora Simhi-Nielsen  
Shorashim Ivrit Teacher
(grades K-1)
Nitzanim/Anafim Ivrit Teacher
(grades 2-5)

Liora is thrilled to join the Kesher Newton team in a full teaching capacity! She comes to Kesher with over 17 years of experience teaching elementary school age Hebrew and Jewish studies at Temple Sinai of Brookline. She also previously worked as an in-house substitute teacher for Kesher Newton in 2017, as well as the K-1 teacher at the Kesher After-School in Cambridge in 2018. Liora holds a B.A. in Political Science and Middle East History from Tel Aviv University. Outside of Kesher, Liora is a Real Estate Agent for  Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty. One fun fact about Liora is that she spent 7 years working as a flight attendant/security agent for EL-AL when living in Israel. Liora currently resides in Brookline and is about to send her third (and youngest) child to college.
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 Saja Azem Khawaled  
Ivrit Teacher
(Grades 2-5)

Assistant Anafim Teacher

Rosh STEM

Before coming to the US, Saja was an elementary school math and science teacher at the Yad b'Yad school in Jerusalem, an integrated, bilingual school for both Jewish and Arab students in Israel. Saja was also a  summer science school program instructor for Israel's Ministry of Science and Technology,  a children's instructor for ALUT-Israeli Society for Children with Autism, as well as a computer and robotics instructor at Taibe High School. Saja holds her B.A. in chemical engineering from Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, as well as  General and Advanced teaching certificates from the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem. Saja taught Shorashim Hebrew and was a Lifnei Kesher teacher in the Spring of 2021 at Kesher Newton. Saja currently lives in Cambridge with her husband who is doing a post-doc at MIT, and her young daughter. 

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  Raquel Feldman
Shorashim Yahadut Teacher 
raquel@keshernewton.org
(Grades 2-5, M/W)

Raquel is a sophomore undergraduate at Brandeis University where she is studying International and Global Studies and East Asian Studies. She is originally from the Washington D.C. area where she spent many years teaching Hebrew at the MoEd After School Community in Chevy Chase, MD. In her free time, Raquel runs the renewed Israeli Dance Troupe at Brandeis. As a language lover, Raquel speaks Hebrew and studies Mandarin.

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  Cassie Seinuk
Middle School Ivrit Teacher 
cassie@keshernewton.org
Tiyyulim
Rosh Drama
Social Media Manager

We are thrilled to welcome back Cassie Seinuk to the Kesher team! Cassie began at Kesher in 2013 as an Assistant Shorashim teacher, and has taught Hebrew and Judaic Studies, as well as directed the Hebrew-infused Kesher musical and Kesher's arts-based learning program for many years after. Cassie  is a Jewish Cuban playwright and AEA stage manager with a BA at Brandeis University with High Honors in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing, and her MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen from Lesley University. Currently, she is an Instructor of Theater Arts at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Cassie has experience working with all ages, including running youth services at Temple Reyim, and directing the Hebrew-infused musicals at Camp Yavneh and Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. Cassie lives in the metrowest area with her husband and two young children. 

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  Joe Wolke  
Middle School Yahadut Teacher 
joe@keshernewton.org
Tiyyulim
Curriculum Consultant

Joe Wolke teaches the Judaic studies portion of Kesher Middle School. Joe is a recently retired Technology Consultant who’s passion has always been the study and teaching of Jewish history and culture. A Brandeis University graduate with more than 40 credit hours in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS), Joe is a lifelong student who continues to study in synagogue and community based programs. He regularly participates in the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America’s online and group sessions and will once again, this summer, be attending Hartman’s Community Leadership Program in Jerusalem. He has also participated in the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism’s National Leadership Training Program (Sulam) for synagogue leaders. Joe has taught both student and adult classes in American Jewish history and for many years gave bus tours of Jewish Chicago. He loves seeing children (especially his grandchildren) develop the same love of Jewish history and culture that he has. He is excited to be joining the Kesher Newton team in developing and teaching this new and exciting Judaic studies program for middle school students.

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  Aaron Bental  
IT Director
Aaron grew up in the Boston area and has been working in IT for the last 15 years. He has worked with a number of educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. In addition to managing Kesher’s technology, he also runs the sound for Kesher’s dance and drama programs. When not behind a computer, Aaron can usually be found doing something dance-related - teaching dance classes, editing music and videos, volunteering on the board of the Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston, or simply dancing for fun. Aaron lives in the Boston area with his wife and two cats.
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  Liz Levin   
Project Based Learning Consultant

Liz Levin grew up in Baltimore in an active Jewish family, belonged to Jewish youth groups, and attended summer camp affiliated with Habonim Dror, a Labor Zionist organization. As a teen, Liz began working in Jewish education as a tutor and youth group counselor, and she served as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in Israel.

In college, Liz majored in History and Religious Studies at McGill University in Montreal. She holds a Certificate in Jewish Informal Education, Leadership, and Camping from Hebrew College and a Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners from Cambridge University. She earned her MA in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College in 2014 and has been running formal and informal Jewish educational programs in the Boston area for a decade. She is currently the Jewish Experiential Educator at the JCC of Greater Boston. Liz lives in Waltham with her husband and three young daughters.