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Religious School Teachers

Pre-K Teacher

Suzanne Mayer

Suzanne is originally from Ohio but has been in Seattle for almost 20 years. She was an attorney for 20 years, but became a public school teacher 13 years ago and has never looked back!! She joined our Temple Beth Am staff seven years ago and has taught 7th and 8th grade and is currently in both our Pre-K and 9th grade programs. Suzanne lives in the Wedgwood neighborhood along with her two sons, Jacob and Andy, as well as one very spoiled dog. Suzanne loves being a part of Temple Beth Am and is excited to teach more about Judaism to our Pre-K kids and 9th graders!

Kindergarten Teachers

Jackie Kleinstein

Sara Simon

Sara is thrilled to be teaching at Temple Beth Am this year. She is originally from San Diego and is currently in her second year at the University of Washington. Sara attended a Jewish day school for most of her life in San Diego and has a very deep connection to Judaism. She has been to Israel multiple times, studied Hebrew for most of her life, and is excited to be able to help teach the Hebrew language and Jewish culture. In her free time, Sara loves exploring Seattle, exercising, and laying out at the beach when she is back home in Southern California.

1st Grade Teachers

Madeline (Maddy) Berkman

Maddy is a Seattle native and recent graduate from Western Washington University where she studied art and art history. She went to Temple Beth Am Religious School, was active in BATY, and was a Madrichah for the 1st grade class when she was in high school. During the week, Maddy works as a photographer, estate manager, and does graphic design part-time. She is passionate about art, community service, and loves taking her dog for walks through all the parks in Seattle.

Samantha Eden

Samantha is very excited to being teaching at Temple Beth Am this year. She is from San Juan Capistrano, CA and is a sophomore at the University of Washington studying law, societies, and justice. Samantha attended Sunday school at her local synagogue in Orange County and was active and president of her youth group, BESTY. Her favorite activities include exploring Seattle, spending time with family and friends, relaxing on the beach, petting dogs, and listening to podcasts. Samantha looks forward to sharing the Jewish culture and being involved with the Temple Beth Am community.

Merle Miller

2nd Grade Teachers

Kim Lustig

Kim is originally from Connecticut (but has also lived in Massachusetts and Illinois), and teaching and learning have always been her passions! She has several years experience in the public school, Sunday school, summer camps, after school, and enrichment programs, and has earned General Education, ELL, and Jewish teaching certifications. She; her husband, Brian; their daughter, Leah; and dog, Ocean, live in Bellevue. She loves being a part of Temple Beth Am and is excited to teach more about our Jewish heritage to our 2nd graders!

Rachel Manor

Rachel is excited to be teaching at Temple Beth Am this year. She grew up in Israel and moved to Seattle five years ago with her husband and two boys. Rachel has several years of experience in summer camps, religious school, after school, and Hebrew programs. In her free time, Rachel loves hiking, exercising, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. 

Yana Zhaglina

Yana grew up attending Temple Beth Am's Religious School. After graduating from Western Washington University, Yana moved back to Seattle and has taught Religious School ever since; during the week, Yana teaches preschoolers who have speech/language delays. In her free time Yana loves hiking, camping, trying new recipes, and spending time with her family and friends.

3rd Grade Teachers

Abby Adelman

Abby is originally from Scottsdale, AZ but came to Seattle to study biology at the University of Washington.  She grew up attending Jewish summer camp for 13 years at Camp Daisy and Harry Stein and then went on to serve as the NFTY-SW President in 2016-2017.  In her free time, Abby enjoys being out in nature and spending time with friends and family.

Michael Fishman

Paige Newman

Ronit Plank

New Hebrew

Nick Harris

Nick was born in Southern California and moved to Western Washington at an early age. Joining the Temple Beth Am community in 2005, he attended Temple Beth Am Religious School as well as participated in the Madrichim program. This is Nick's sixth year on the teaching staff and third consecutive year teaching the New Hebrew program. Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Washington last December.

4th Grade Teachers

Dany Barash

Dany was born and grew up in Nice, France, and made aliyah to Israel at age 13. After years in a kibbutz school and a “youth village”, he served in the Israel Defense Forces and spent four years in a small frontier kibbutz. He later attended the University of Tel Aviv (Psychology and French Literature), and held teaching positions in Israel, mostly in special education. After moving to Seattle in 1978, he graduated in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington and enrolled in Seattle University for additional course work while teaching in various schools. He was a school psychologist at Seattle Schools for 22 years and is now spending his retirement teaching here at TBA. He and his wife Nitsa have two sons. 

Stephanie Buchbinder

Stefanie Somers

Stefanie Somers is originally a California girl that has found her forever home in the Pacific Northwest, living here with her husband and two kids for the past nine years. When not teaching at Temple Beth Am, Stefanie teaches 1st and 2nd grade Judaics at Seattle Jewish Community School. She earned her Masters in Jewish education and nonprofit Jewish management from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles in 1997. She has over 25 years of experience working in the Jewish community and is passionate about finding new and innovative ways to connect people to Jewish life. Before that, Stefanie launched the PJ Library Program in Seattle and held a variety of positions while living in L.A., such as concierge for Jewish education (BJE), campaign associate (Jewish Federation), Jewish educator (JCCGLA), and taught in many Los Angeles synagogues. Stefanie enjoys musical theater, art, and exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her amazing family!

5th Grade Teachers

Matan Bilavsky

Olga Laskin

Tal Lev

Tal was born in Jerusalem, Israel, but grew up all over the world. She moved to Seattle to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and fell in love with education, so she continued to Western Washington University where she received her Master's in education. Currently, Tal works at UW as an advisor in the Foster Business School. She is married to Seattle DJ/MC Nick Barrat, and they have two beautiful, rambunctious little boys. Tal loves teaching Hebrew and sharing her worldly experiences to show the next generations how much fun Judaism can be. 

Nicole Pinkus

Nicole Pinkus was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and is currently majoring in education, community, and organization with minors in diversity and Jewish studies at the University of Washington. Her true passions involve educating young children, spending hours in museums, and attending concerts all over the city. Constructing and teaching her own 5th grade class has solidified her love for learning and teaching.  

6th Grade Teachers

Leisa Goldberg

Leisa grew up attending Jewish Day School at The Columbus Torah Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Her career in Jewish education started in high school tutoring B’nai Mitzvah students. She graduated from Indiana University and received a certificate in secondary education from Seattle Pacific University. She taught English in the International Baccalaureate program at Edmonds-Woodway H.S. for 7 years. For the past 20 years, she has taught Religious School at Congregation Beth Shalom, Herzl-Ner Tamid, and at The Community High School of Jewish Studies. She now has two students of her own attending Temple Beth Am Religious School! 

Danielle Price

Danielle J. Price moved from Kansas to the Seattle area in July 2016. She received her B.A. in Russian studies from the University of Alabama and her M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies from the University of Kansas. Danielle was involved in publishing for 10 years and has been involved with Jewish education since high school. She has more than 15 years of experience preparing students for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. When Danielle is not teaching or tutoring, she loves playing her ukulele and spending time with her boys, Binyamin and Dov.

7th Grade Teachers

Nadav Brumer

Zach Goldberg

Audrey Weiss

8th Grade Teachers

Paula Bilstein

Rachel Rosenfeld 

Rachel is starting her fourth year teaching 8th grade at TBA. She has been teaching Hebrew School in various locals for 15 years, and especially loves the 8th grade! She has a MA in Education and a particular interest in building classroom communities (and all kinds of communities). When she is not teaching, Rachel works mothering her four children and runs the Jewish Gathering and Growth Center, Mercaz, Seattle. 

Mike D. Walter

Mike currently works at Chrysalis High School in Woodinville, WA as an English and history teacher. He has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Master of Arts in teaching. Mike grew up in Denver, CO and attended religious school at Congregation Emmanuel, a Reform synagogue where his family goes back four generations. Mike attended Indiana University as an undergraduate and earned a Bachelors in both English and Jewish Studies. After graduating, he has steadily taught in Hebrew schools around the country.

Since moving to Seattle in 2007, Mike has taught at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Temple B'nai Torah, Congregation Beth Shalom, Hebrew High, and at Kavana Cooperative. He has a passion for Jewish history and religion and can just as easily talk about the basics of Lurianic Kabbalah as he can discuss Jewish life in Medieval Europe. Mike lives in Bothell, WA with his wife, Kate; his son, Zeke; and their two dogs and four chickens. In his free time, Mike practices the martial art of Aikido and also enjoys cooking and playing both board games and video games.

Coordinator for 9th Grade

Kate Gebler

9th Grade Teachers

Katya Grigerman

Katya is a student at the University of Washington studying political science and Russian. She grew up in Seattle attending Temple Beth Am from 1st to 12th grade, participating in BATY (including being president of the board for two years), being a Madricha for five years, and being on the rabbinical search committee to find Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick. When she's not drinking copious amounts of coffee and studying, you can find Katya trying out new recipes, binge-watching Netflix, or planning new worldly travel adventures.

Suzanne Mayer

Suzanne is originally from Ohio but has been in Seattle for almost 20 years. She was an attorney for 20 years but became a public school teacher 13 years ago and has never looked back!! She joined our Temple Beth Am staff eight years ago and has taught 7th and 8th grade and is currently in both our Pre-K and 9th grade programs. Suzanne lives in the Wedgwood neighborhood along with her two sons, Jacob and Andy, as well as one very spoiled dog. Suzanne loves being a part of Temple Beth Am and is excited to teach more about Judaism to our Pre-K kids and 9th graders!

10th Grade Teachers

Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick

Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Am and previously served as Rabbi at Temple Beth Or in the Township of Washington, New Jersey and as Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at New York's Central Synagogue. She also worked as Associate Director of Programs at Synagogue 2000, a national project aimed at revitalizing synagogues from all streams of American Judaism. In the New York-area, she taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and Fairfield University. She currently sits on the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Advisory Board for the Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs at Seattle University. To read more about Rabbi Zlotnick, go to our Rabbis and Staff page.

Rabbi Jason R. Levine 

Rabbi Levine is the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Am, which he joined in 2013 after being ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Originally from the Midwest, he graduated from Cornell University with degrees in Neurobiology & Behavior and Near Eastern Studies. His background is in both formal and informal education, Jewish community building through Hillel, interfaith efforts, and a range of other Jewish organizations. Rabbi Jason Levine serves our community in many capacities with a focus on our youth, relationship-building, and creating avenues for creativity, innovation, and discovery in our shared Jewish journey. To read more about Rabbi Levine, go to our Rabbis and Staff page.

11th and 12 Grade (AYH) Teachers

Donna Combs

Beatrice Lawrence

 Beatrice Lawrence is the Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at Seattle University where she gets to teach courses not only in Biblical studies but also various topics in Jewish studies. Beatrice has been teaching at for Temple Beth Am for five years and thoroughly enjoys it. She and her daughters love being a part of TBA!

Yaara Zaslow 

Yaara Zaslow is an adjunct professor at Seattle Central College in the immigrant and refugee program and international program. She has worked with Jewish youth in Seattle for the last four years, specializing in Jewish history, social justice, community engagement, and Parshah analysis. She has lived in Seattle since returning from her volunteer position with the United States Peace Corps where she was stationed in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Her education brought her to Oxford, England and Paris, France where she completed her undergraduate degree. Afterward, Yaara returned to her home in New York to complete her Master's in education. She lives in Capitol Hill with her partner and their cat and two dogs. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with family, watch old episodes of "Columbo," and spend time on the grill mastering vegan BBQ recipes.

Art Teacher

Cathy Shiovitz 

As a working artist, Cathy focuses on calligraphy and multi-media artworks and creates personalized ketubot, drawing inspiration from traditional text, Jewish customs, and nature. Using paint, mosaics, papers, fabrics, and calligraphy, Cathy likes to design new Jewish ritual objects and symbols celebrating the joys of life. For many years, she has taught workshops helping others to connect Jewish text study and traditions with their own personal expressions. She also teaches art classes to adults and college students and is active in the local calligraphy guild.

Music Teachers

Micah Diamond

Cantor Victor Geigner

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Temple Beth Am's Hazzan, Cantor Victor Geigner, enjoys singing Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Spanish, and Italian. He loves teaching and is an inspiration to his students of all ages.
Cantor Geigner has served as Cantor and spiritual leader in several congregations throughout Argentina and Bolivia. In 2005, he moved to Florida. He is very social and loves participating in fundraisers and singing in concerts. To read more about Cantor Geigner, go to our Rabbis and Staff page.

Shoshana Stombaugh 

Long-time Temple Beth Am member Shoshana (Susan) Stombaugh has been teaching music at Temple Beth Am and served as lay cantor for children’s services here for over 25 years. Shoshana serves as a lay cantor, storyteller, and song leader throughout the Pacific Northwest. Shoshana also teaches general music K - 5 and Judaic studies for Kindergarten at the Seattle Jewish Community School. A recipient of both the Grinspoon/Steinhardt Excellence in Teaching Award (2012) and the Rabbi Dr. William Greenberg Award for Day School Teaching Excellence (2015), Shoshana is proud to have found her calling in Jewish education.

Permanent Substitute Teachers

Donna Combs

Neil Halpern

Originally hailing from the East Coast, Neil is a transplant to Seattle since 1992. A graduate of the School for Advanced Jewish Studies in Pittsburgh, Neil taught 9th Grade at Temple Beth Am several years ago and is very happy to be back to share his passion for social justice with his students. Neil is a software engineer by day and lives with his family in the Ravenna area.

Mon, October 22 2018 13 Cheshvan 5779