Director of Learning and Engagement
Mara believes deeply that Jewish education is a lifelong journey that should be meaningful, challenging, dynamic, and inspiring. Originally from Texas, Mara’s identity and early Jewish experiences were strongly influenced by her family, participation in youth groups, and summers spent at camp. Mara earned a B.A. from Brandeis University and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Prior to joining TIC, Mara served for five years as the Director of the Wasserman Center for Family Life and Director of Programs for Infants + Young Children at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, helping to build community and foster growth and development at all ages and stages. Before that she was the Director of Education at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners, NY where she led a large and diverse K-12 religious school, developed and implemented a vision for Jewish education, and created curriculum and family programming. Mara is also a Board member of Kehilat Hadar and a member of the Education Advisory Council of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.
Director of Inclusion
Michelle has worked in Jewish Education and Jewish Special Education for more than twenty years, teaching in day schools and synagogue schools, serving as a counselor in summer camps, and as an advisor to youth groups. She has been at Temple Israel Center since 1998.
Michelle graduated Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women with a B.A. Degree in Education and an Associate’s Degree in Judaic Studies. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in Special Education at Hunter College, specializing in Learning Disorders and Behavior Disorders. Michelle has led professional development sessions for the Temple Israel Center staff, Board of Jewish Education, and MATAN. In addition, Michelle serves as a MATAN mentor for Educational Directors seeking to bring inclusion and awareness to their synagogue schools. Michelle is a 2002 recipient of the Grinspoon Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Nursery School Director
Susan has worked in the field of Jewish education for nearly 40 years. She believes children are capable and competent, and that providing children with many opportunities to explore, discover, problem solve, and use their imagination is critical to their growth and development.
Susan earned a M.S. in Supervision and Administration from the College of New Rochelle. After teaching in Early Childhood for 12 years at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ, Susan joined Beth Rishon Nursery School as its Director of Early Childhood Education. She then spent nine years at Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, NY, which is where she began her Reggio Emilia journey. In her spare time, Susan loves to read, travel, cook, bake, and needlepoint.
Assistant Director of Shorashim
Arielle’s passion for Jewish education was shaped by her experiences growing up in the Conservative movement, participating in youth groups, spending many summers at Jewish camp both as a camper and counselor, and time with her family. She is deeply committed to empowering learners in their educational experience by following their lead. Since she joined Temple Israel Center in 2017, her goal has been to create a hands-on, multi-sensory, cooperative learning environment that challenges individuals of all ages and abilities to develop their Jewish identities. An educator for more than 12 years, Arielle obtained a B.A. at UMASS Amherst, a Masters in Elementary Education from CUNY Hunter College and a permanent teaching certificate in Early Childhood education.
Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement
Cathy’s passion for working with the Jewish people began after her junior year in Israel. She began her career as a recruiter for study programs to Israel and made Aliyah in 1999 with her husband. While living in Jerusalem, she was the Director of the Ramah English-speaking summer camp. She holds a Masters in Education from George Washington University and is a graduate of the Leadership Institute (co-administered by the Hebrew Union College and Jewish Theological Seminary). Since 2002, Cathy has lived in Croton-on-Hudson and served as Teacher/Curriculum Head at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, Family Educator at Community Synagogue of Rye, Director of Jewish Life at Rosenthal JCC and most recently as the founding Director of Young Judaea Sprout Westchester Day camp. She is excited to bring her love of the Jewish people and passion for Jewish education to her new role as Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement.
Teen Engagement Director
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Adam’s journey started at his home synagogue of Beth Judea, which helped to nurture his Jewish identity through his participation in USY and synagogue Hebrew High. Adam participated in the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel before earning his BS from the University of Minnesota. Over his past summers, Adam has enjoyed traveling the country on USY on Wheels East, and recently spent a summer studying at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.
Before joining the TIC team as Teen Engagement Director, Adam was in Israel as a madrich on Nativ, working with students to help them form their own Jewish identities and relationships with the State of Israel. Prior to his year in Israel, Adam spent two years as the Director of Teen Engagement at Westchester Jewish Center where he developed a new Hebrew High platform, and engaged with the Teen Community in meaningful Jewish experiences. Adam is currently studying for his MA in Jewish Education at The William Davidson School at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Education Team Administrator