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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 TBA 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 TBA and is excited to teach more about Judaism to our Pre-K kids and 9th graders!


Kindergarten Teachers

Jennifer BirknerJennifer Birkner
Jennifer Birkner is from San Francisco, CA. She moved to Seattle 13 years ago and feels right at home. Jennifer has a deep love of Torah that she delights in sharing with children. She thinks that Jewish values are a road map to being a compassionate citizen in this world that we live in. She also enjoys singing songs, playing games, experiencing art, and creating positive memories of religious school.

Jennifer taught in an early childhood setting for 27 years before stepping into the role of Education Coordinator at the Stroum JCC last year. She has been working at the J for 7 years. Before that, she worked at a number of early childhood schools, including The Cabrillo College Children’s Center in Aptos, CA; The Little School in San Francisco; and Lakewood Cooperative Preschool here in Seattle. Jennifer started her teaching career at Bonny Doon co-op preschool in California in 1989 and was a nanny before that.

She started teaching religious school at Kol Haneshema in West Seattle in 2009 and has also taught for Kadima here in Seattle. Jennifer has taught religious school to Pre-K - 3rd graders. She grew up going to a Jewish day school in San Francisco and has fond memories of observing holidays and learning Torah stories.

Jennifer likes yoga, kayaking, hiking, road trips, and all of the wonderful outdoor activities the PNW offers. She also enjoys spending time with her daughter, who is a senior at UW this year, and her son, who is in his last year of middle school. She has a cat named Leia and a dog named Saffron.

Jennifer is excited to be a part of the Temple Beth Am community and getting to know the children and their families over this religious school year.

Adi CarlyleAdi Carlyle
Adi is currently a sophomore at the University of Washington studying biochemistry. She has attended TBA's Religious School for seven years and worked as a waterfront specialist at URJ Camp Kalsman this past summer. Adi loves working with children and engaging in the broader Jewish community. Some of her other hobbies include running, reading, and hiking.


Sara SimonSara Simon 
Sara is thrilled to be teaching at TBA 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 TBA's 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.

Sarah Egger WeilerSarah Egger-Weiler
Sarah is in her second year of teaching at Temple Beth Am. She grew up in The San Francisco Bay Area going to a very Reform temple, and she was raised by parents that stressed practicing tikkun olam (repairing the world) as part of her Jewish upbringing. She got her Bachelor's degree from the University of Puget Sound in history and environmental policy and is in the process of applying to get her Master’s in environmental education and elementary education. Sarah has over 10 years of experience working with children as a childcare provider, camp counselor, and teaching assistant. She is currently a teacher at a daycare center working with 1-2 year olds. 

JessicaLibmanWebSquareJessica Libman
Jessica is currently attending the University of Washington and wants to major in computer science. She grew up in Kirkland and was a member of Temple B’nai Torah for 14 years. Jessica has worked with students of all ages in different tutoring settings and as a counselor at Camp Solomon Schechter for two summers. She is a part of Washington Students for Israel and participates in several AIPAC Student Conferences each year. For fun, Jessica assists in astronomy research at UW and loves to work out.

                                       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, Henry, live in Bellevue. She loves being a part of TBA and is excited to teach more about our Jewish heritage to our 2nd graders!

   Bernadette Pila

YanaZhaglinaSquareYana Zhaglina
Yana grew up attending TBA 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


AsherChristlWebSquareAsher Christl
Asher has been teaching at Beth Am for six years. He has also taught Pre-K, 4th grade, and pullout Hebrew. Asher originally came to TBA as a third grader in 1992 and has enjoyed watching the growth of the temple and the school. In his free time, he works as a trainer for a horticulture company and enjoys bouldering and gardening.

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 TBA's 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.

                                                      Sage Miller

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

                                                    Peri Zangwill

Elizabeth Fagin

Elizabeth Fagin
Elizabeth has been a Jewish Educator in the Seattle area for 27 years and has served as Director of Education at two area synagogues. She has taught students from 2 years old to adults and finds something to enjoy in every age group. She lives in Redmond with husband, Michael, and cat, Missy.

 Leah Haberman

Uri London

Uri London
Uri was born and raised in New Jersey. After high school, he spent a year learning in Israel in Yeshivat Hesder Petach Tikva. He majored in psychology and philosophy at Goucher College and recently received his M.A. in Psychology from Seattle University. He has experience working with students as a tutor, camp counselor, and as a Madrich. Uri lives in Seattle with his wife and their menagerie of pets.



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 TBA 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


Dana Needelman
Dana is originally from San Diego but has lived in Seattle for the past three years and is going into her senior year at the University of Washington, majoring in Human Evolutionary Biology and minoring in American Sign Language. Dana is currently an intern at the National Park Service doing community outreach through the program, In My Backyard. Dana loves being involved in the Jewish community as she works and is active in UW Hillel and has taught at Temple Beth Am for three years now. Dana loves hiking, camping, biking, canoeing, and doing anything outdoors and wants everyone and anyone to be able to experience the beautiful outdoors as she does!

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!

8th Grade Teachers

Alan GenatossioAlan Genatossio 
Alan grew up in the Boston area and moved to Seattle in 1999. He is a nurse at Seattle Children's Hospital and has been teaching at Temple Beth Am for over 10 years. He and Rabbi Janine Schloss reorganized and revived the comparative religion curriculum for 8th grade, which continues to develop and expand every year. Alan has many interests, some of which are reflected in the elective courses he offers, such as American Jewish songwriters, Kabbalah, Jewish Noble Laureates, and the Making of Modern Israel. 

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 TBA 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 TBA and is excited to teach more about Judaism to our Pre-K kids and 9th graders!

Cady PhillipsCady Phillips 
Cady is a California girl with a Minnesota heart. She grew up in Elk Grove, California and was a NFTY-ite for 5 years. When she moved to Seattle last summer, Cady immediately became involved with the local Jewish community through NFTY- Northwest, working as a staff member. She graduated from the University with a degree in history and global studies, and an honorary degree in hot dish and Vikings football. Cady loves being outdoors, bluegrass, boats, and good food. 


Art Teachers

                                                   Wyly Astley

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

Shoshana StombaughShoshana Stombaugh
Long-time Temple Beth Am member Shoshana (Susan) Stombaugh has been teaching music at TBA 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.

AYH Teachers

Beatrice 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 TBA for five years and thoroughly enjoys it. She and her daughters love being a part of TBA!

Merle Miller

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.


Trope Specialist


Yonah Karp
Yonah has been engaged with Reform and Conservative Judaism – liberal Judaism – much of her life and has a passion to increase Jewish knowledge so that we, as liberal Jews, can make the best-informed decisions we can. She has taught Hebrew and trope for over 30 years.

She teaches the trope her mother (z”l) taught her for her Bat Mitzvah. As a girl attending the Minneapolis Talmud Torah in the 1940s, Yonah's mother wasn’t allowed to "officially" learn trope. However, she pushed enough that she got the teachers to point her in the right direction to learn. While today’s students might not appreciate what a gift it is to be able to learn, that struggle is an essential part of becoming a Jewish adult – to wrestle with both ancient and modern texts, with a language not our first, with the idea of giving old stories modern meaning.

Yonah has taught B’nai Mitzvah students at Temple Beth Am since the fall of 1997, both children and adults. In addition, she has worked as cantorial soloist, primarily for the High Holy Days, in various congregations in Washington State since 1998.

Permanent Substitute Teachers

                                                     Donna Combs

Lauren Fishman
Lauren grew up at Temple Beth Am. She has worked for the past four summers at URJ Camp Kalsman as a counselor, specialist, and unit head. She will be graduating from Western Washington University this year with a degree in special education and elementary education. She loves working with kids and teaching!