Meet the Director, Teachers and Staff of the Ansin Religious School
Click on a name to contact that individual.
Shari Churwin, Education Director
Shari has been working at Ohabei Shalom for more than twenty-two years in many different educational positions including Education Administrator, Youth Educator, and Family Educator. She now serves as our Education Director helping to direct our vision of Jewish Education. She completed a Masters Degree in Jewish Education and also holds a Certificate in Jewish Family Education from Hebrew College. Shari is a member of the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) the National Association Education of Young People (NAEYC) and the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ). Shari is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelors Degree in Jewish Studies and Sociology. In 1994 she studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, taking courses in Jewish Education, modern Jewish culture and Jewish history. While in Israel, Shari was a Lainer intern (sponsored by the Jewish Education Service of North America – JESNA) at the National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) office in Jerusalem and led a six week tour of Israel for 40 Midwestern High School Students. Shari has worked at various synagogues in the Boston area as a formal and informal educator for both school-aged children and adults. She has worked in a variety of camp settings and has served as a part of the administration of several camps including Camp Breakaway, a camp for underprivileged Jewish children and currently is the Program Director of Camp Micah, New England’s newest Jewish summer camp. Shari and her husband, Mike, have three beautiful daughters, Hannah, Ashley and Julia.
Amy Deutsch has over fifteen years of experience in Jewish education. Her passion is helping learners of all ages find their own path to Jewish life. Highlights of her career include working with college students at Tufts University Hillel, engaging teenagers across the country at the Union for Reform Judaism, teaching religious school students and creating family education programs at Central Synagogue in Manhattan, writing and editing for the Jewish parenting website Kveller.com, and consulting on various projects for The Covenant Foundation, Areyvut, and Park Slope Jewish Center. Amy’s undergraduate degree is from Brandeis University and she completed a master’s degree in Jewish education at the Davidson School of the Jewish Theological Seminary for which she received the prestigious Wexner Fellowship. She lives with her husband and two young children in Brookline.
Rabbi Sonia Saltzman is always a teacher for our ARS students, whether she’s teaching Confirmation class or guest-teaching about holidays in the younger grades. Rabbi Saltzman grew up in Chile, in a home imbued with Jewish values, but at a time when opportunities for Jewish learning were especially limited for women. When asked why she entered the rabbinate, Rabbi Saltzman responds, .
I believe in the wisdom and beauty of Judaism and hope to inspire others to deepen their relationship to Judaism by offering opportunities to engage with our sacred texts, to experience the richness of prayer and to build a caring and committed community.— Rabbi Sonia Saltzman
A graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard Divinity School (Masters of Theological Studies), Rabbi Berkman was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007, where she also received a Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She has served as a teacher, service leader, and officiant in a wide variety of Jewish contexts and communities. Most recently serving as Campus Rabbi and Hillel Director at Wellesley College, for six years she was rabbi of Shir Hadash, a congregation in Newton, MA. Rabbi Berkman will be teaching 6th grade at ARS and can’t wait to get started.
Rhona Maple, Team Chaverim (Pre-K)
Rhona has just completed her 27th year as a Jewish Preschool Educator, having taught Toddlers, Preschool, and Kindergarten with the last 7 years spent here at Temple Ohabei Shalom. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, especially in the summer while relaxing by her pool, cheering for her favorite sports teams, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family. With hundreds of places throughout the world that Rhona would love to visit, her favorite travel spot by far is Southern California, where she travels often to visit her children and grandchildren.
Amelia has been a member of the Temple Ohabei Shalom community since 2001. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Early Childhood Education, Amelia decided to return to her roots and join the teaching staff of the Trust Center for Early Education. Currently, Amelia is completing her MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Boston University. As the Assistant Director of TCEE, Amelia is excited to focus on parent engagement and staff and curriculum development. Amelia can also be found teaching in the Ansin Religious School on Tuesday afternoons. Amelia is excited to get to know all of the families at Temple Ohabei Shalom!.
Nava Eisenberg, 1st grade
Nava Eisenberg has 28 years of experience in Jewish Education. She is exited to return to ARS. Born in Israel, she holds undergraduate degree from Tel Aviv University in Education and Theater Arts, and a certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education from Hebrew College. Nava worked with children in wide range of ages in a variety of schools at the Boston area. She believes that every child has a unique gift and the educator’s role is to find the right key to unlock it.
Nava brings her love of Israel and the Hebrew language to her teaching. She uses the arts in her classroom in many ways. Nava lives in Brookline with her husband and two sons. She loves to travel, read books and enjoy theater shows as well as make mosaics or other arts.
Cantor Jeri Robins, 2nd grade
I am delighted to be joining the team at Temple Ohabei Shalom and am excited to be teaching your students. When I am not at TOS, I direct a Sunday-only religious school that meets at Brandeis, called BJEP, teach 6th grade at Temple Beth Zion, serve as one of the cantors at Congregation Mishkan Tefila and tutor private B’nei Mitzvah students. I graduated from Hebrew College in 2013 with both cantorial ordination and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. This is a second career for me, having spent many years in the business world, primarily as a retained executive recruiter, after a number of roles in marketing and finance. I have two children and live in Newton with my husband, Steve, and our dog, Fiyero. You can learn more about me by visiting my website at cantorjerirobins.com.
Joe Bernstein, 3rd grade
Joe is so excited to be a part of the ARS family as a 3rd grade teacher! Joe is a student at Emerson College working toward his BFA in Theatre Education & Performance. The child of Rabbi Karen Bender, Joe grew up with a strong Jewish foundation not only in Jewish practices, but in Jewish values and their meaning in everyday life. Joe has been teaching children for the past five years in fields ranging from performing arts to conversational Hebrew and everything in-between. In his spare time, you can find Joe writing original songs, competing at a local poetry slam, acting in plays, studying developmental or diagnostic psychology, and playing with his dog, Buster. Joe’s mission as a teacher is to instill Jewish values into his students’ everyday decision-making processes, and he loves every minute of it.
Cara Shapiro, 3rd Grade
Cara Shapiro has been teaching children for many years in school and daycare settings. Though originally from New York, Cara has been living in Boston for four years. She came here with her husband and three children while he is attending a medical residency program at Boston University. Cara has a Bachelors of Arts from Touro College in New York, where she majored in Special Education/ Psychology. In Cara’s free time she loves to spend time with her children, cook, and play sports. Looking forward to having a great year with the ARS family!
Debbie Betesh, 4th grade
Debbie has been teaching religious school for many years in different synagogues in the greater Boston area. She’s happy to be returning to ARS this year! Teaching Jewish tradition and practice, Hebrew decoding, Torah and prayer is one of her favorite activities. Facilitating learning experiences for students and watching them grow in knowledge and understanding is most rewarding. And when she’s not teaching children and adults, she spends time with her family. Three of their six children are in Israel, the other 3 are in Baltimore, New York and Boston. There are 3 grandchildren (so far) in Israel and 3 in Baltimore.
Janna Berenson, 5th Grade
Born and raised in Miami Beach, Janna made the big (and cold) move to the northeast three years ago when she decided to attend Boston University. Now a senior studying Public Relations in the College of Communication, Janna has a love for Jewish education. This is Janna’s second year working at ARS and she’s thrilled to be back. ARS brought Janna back to her roots of Jewish day school and she can’t get enough!
Fallon Rubin, 5th Grade and Youth & Teen Engagement Specialist
Fallon has been working at TOS in some capacity for four years, and her favorite part of the job is that she works with children of all ages, from the youngest ones in the preschool to the oldest ones in the high school. She loves being part of this community and can’t wait to teach 5th grade this year!