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Religious School Teachers

Pre-K Teacher

Suzanne MayerSuzanne 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

                                         Karen Appel 

Sara SimonSara 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

Maddy BerkmanMadeline (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 Madrichim 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.


                                           Merle Miller

2nd Grade Teachers

KimLustigWebKim 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!

                                           Bernadette Pila

YanaZhaglinaSquareYana Zhaglina
Yana grew up attending Temple Beth Am 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

                                               Claire Basket

Sara GeliebterSara Geliebter
Growing up with Judaism was always a large part of Sara's identity, and she went to many Jewish day schools, attended weekly Hebrew school, studied for her Bat Mitzvah, and, when she was older, attended Sunday classes for high schoolers. In the summers, she went to Jewish day and sleep away camps. Sara moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University, then moved to Seattle three years ago. Currently, she is a director for an after-school program for children ages 5-12. Sara loves watching children learn and grow; in fact, they are the best teachers! She is looking forward to this year and teaching your children.

Ronit Plank

KarinKletterWeb Karin Kletter
This is Karin's third year teaching at Temple Beth Am. She wsa born in Israel, speaks Hebrew fluently, and has lived in the Seattle area since 1995. She graduated in 2009 with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan and earned her undergraduate degree in 2006 at the University of Washington. She travels to Israel often and loves sharing her endeavors with students. She is very passionate about teaching and enthusiastic to share her experiences with the Hebrew language and Judaic studies.

New Hebrew

Nick Harris 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


DanyBarashWeb 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.

                                          Danielle Hamer

Sharron LernerSharron Lerner
Sharron lived and studied in Israel for a little more than five years. She made aliyah to Israel, but in time realized she could make her most meaningful contributions to Klal Yisrael, the greater Jewish community, by becoming a Hebrew School teacher, first back home in California and then here in Seattle. Sharron has been a Jewish educator in the greater Seattle area for more than 20 years. She is a recipient of the Samis Excellence in (Jewish) Education Teaching Award.

Sharron is a graduate of WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students) in Israel and holds a degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Washington, a Washington state K-8 teaching certificate, and a Masters in Education from Antioch University in Seattle. When not in a Religious School classroom, you can usually find Sharron working in her garden or out on a day hike.

Stefanie Somers 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

Nicole PinkusNicole Pinkus                                     
Nicole is very excited to be a part of the Temple Beth Am community! She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and is currently in her second year at the University of Washington majoring in Education, Community, and Organization with minors in Diversity and Jewish Studies. Nicole's 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.  


                                               Leah Haberman                                           

Peri ZangwillPeri Zangwill
Peri is originally from Oakland, CA. This is her third year teaching at TBA, and she is thrilled to be teaching 5th grade again. She is currently a senior at the University of Washington where she is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Jewish Studies. Besides teaching Hebrew school and hibernating in the library, Peri enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling the world. She has spent an extended period of time living in both Argentina and Israel. Peri is excited to bring her background and perspective to the Temple Beth Am community.

6th Grade Teachers

                                                Nathaniel Block


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! 

Joshua Mason
Joshua Mason is a fourth-year student at the University of Washington studying geographic information systems. Joshua grew up at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, attending religious school since he was in f1st grade. He was president of the temple youth group and was an active member in BBYO and NFTY. His teaching experience began in 9th grade as a Madrich at the TDHS Religious School where he worked for four years. This is Joshua’s third year as a teacher at Temple Beth Am.

Danielle Price

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.

Coordinator for 7th, 8th, and 9th Grades

Kate Gebler

7th Grade Teachers

Nadav Brumer

Zach Goldberg

Noah Santiago
Noah grew up at Temple Beth Am attending Religious School for six years and serving on the BATY board for two years. He also served on NFTY-NW’s regional board for a year as the merchandising and fundraising vice-president. Since then, Noah has played one-year of varsity tennis at Ohio Wesleyan University and currently teaches at various elementary schools around Seattle. In his free time, Noah enjoys creating art and music, exploring the outdoors, and playing almost every sport. After being a substitute teacher, Noah enjoys teaching his own class with Temple Beth Am’s awesome 7th graders!

Eli Zavatsky

8th Grade Teachers

                                                Paula Bilstein

RachelRosenfeldRachel 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 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.

9th Grade Teachers

Neil HalpernNeil 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.


Suzanne MayerSuzanne 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!

                                               Ronit Planik

10th Grade Teachers

RabbiZlotnickRabbi 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.

RJason2014Rabbi 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 12th Grade (AYH) Teachers


                                               Donna Combs                                   

Bea LawrenceBeatrice 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 ZaslowYaara 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 Teachers

CathyShiovitzWebCathy 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 StombaughShoshana 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

Katya Grigerman

Jackie Kleinstein