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 seventeen 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 as we enter the 21st century. She recently 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, with Cantor Randall Schloss, leads T’fillah (prayer) for the Ansin Religious School. She is also a co-teacher for the confirmation class, who has the wonderful privilege of learning closely with our clergy. 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
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.
Michelle Sager, Kindergarten
Michelle is excited to be returning to ARS to teach the kindergarten! She lives in Dorchester with her partner Allie, her dog, Max, and her three cats: Tobey, Munchkin and Bug. Michelle has been working in preschools since she was only fourteen years old following in her mother’s footsteps as an educator. Since graduating from Boston University with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art Teaching, she has been working with children of all ages in NJ and MA. Michelle is thrilled to work at Temple Ohabei Shalom and loves incorporating art into her teaching. If she could travel anywhere she would escape to Argentina to see all the penguins on the beaches!!
Jacob Markey, 1st grade
Jacob Markey is currently a graduate student at Brandeis University, getting an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and a Master’s in Public Policy. Previously, he worked for the Union for Reform Judaism as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he looks forward to his first year teaching at ABS. In his spare time, he loves watching the Packers and Badgers, traveling, and trying new foods and restaurants.
Deborah May, 2nd grade
My name is Deborah May, and I’ll be teaching second grade at ARS this year. I am the middle child of three sisters. I am from Michigan and moved over to Boston for graduate school at Boston University for Deaf Education. I hope is to ultimately work in the religion field as an educator. I’m excited to be on the ARS team!
Marcie Lieberman, 3rd grade
My name is Marcie Lieberman and I am excited to be teaching the third grade this year! Originally, I am from Lake Worth, Florida but moved to Massachusetts to attend Brandeis University where I majored in Politics and minored in Legal Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Hebrew Language and Literature. Afterwards, I completed two AmeriCorps years teaching at alternative high schools. Currently, I attend Simmons for my Masters in Social Work with a concentration in school adjustment counseling. In my spare time, I like biking, yoga, body positivity, playing with my cat, and hosting shabbat dinners.
Dasha Baker, 4th grade
I have been teaching in Hebrew schools since 1985, in the Boston area and in Baltimore. I have Master’s Degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Studies and a certificate in Jewish Communal Service from Baltimore Hebrew University/Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service. I was raised in Lexington, attended Temple Isaiah’s Hebrew school and now live in Watertown with my spouse, 15 year-old son and our two cats. In addition to teaching at BETC, I am a B’nai Mitzvah Tutor for the Gateways program. I love cartoons, telling stories, science fiction and fantasy, laser tag and Jewish music.
Debbie Betesh, 4th grade
With many years of religious school teaching experience behind me, I look forward to joining the Ohabei Shalom community. Teaching Jewish tradition and practice, Hebrew decoding, Torah and prayer is one of my favorite activities. Facilitating learning experiences for my students and watching them grow in knowledge and understanding is most rewarding. And when I’m not teaching children and adults, I spend time with my family. Three of our six children are in Israel, the other 3 are in Baltimore, New York and Boston. There are 3 grandchildren (so far) in Israel and 2 in Baltimore.
Illona Roll, 4th grade
My name is Illona Roll. I have been teaching religious school since 2011. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Psychology and dual minor in French and Sociology from Hofstra University. I have a love for learning and Judaism and enjoy teaching children. I am married to Stephen; we have 3 children, Josh, newly married and lives in Arlington, VA, Sam, a junior at UCONN and Abby, a sophomore at The Norfolk County Agricultural High School. We have 3 dogs who we adore, basically our fur children, Maggie Mae, Amber and Roscoe. I look forward to teaching 4th grade at TOS.
Rachel Philipson, 5/6 Grade
Rachel Philipson will be a senior at Boston University, majoring in psychology and minoring in political science. She has attended a Jewish summer camp for the past 14 years, serving as the Associate Director for Judaica this past summer. She is very excited to be working with Temple Ohabei Shalom for the second year. Rachel is looking forward to bring new ideas to her work at ARS, and hopes to continue her work in the Jewish world after college.
Rachel Feinman, Hebrew tutor
This is my fourth year teaching at ARS. I am a senior at Boston University studying Marketing in the School of Business. I love teaching and tutoring students in Hebrew, and I am so excited to be joining the ARS team once again!
Justin Held, 7th grade
Justin Held is beginning his first year teaching 7th grade at Temple Ohabei Shalom. Justin is originally from Minneapolis and has been living in Boston for the past year. Justin in is his second year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College in Newton. Justin graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Religious Studies and Judaic Studies. At KU Justin was involved in the Jewish community by interning at Hillel and was a member of the ZBT fraternity. During his time at KU Justin studied abroad at the Hebrew University in Israel which was one of his seven unique Israel experiences. For great conversations bring up the Minnesota Vikings, Kansas Jayhawk basketball, Seinfeld or Hershey’s chocolate.
Larisa Klebe, 10-12 grade
Larisa Klebe was the Youth Educator at Ohabei Shalom from 2011-2013, and is excited to return to teach the 10th-12th grade class! She is grateful to have the opportunity to rejoin the community in this new role. Larisa is the full-time Program Manager at the Jewish Women’s Archive. She holds an MA in History and Museum Studies from Tufts University, and a BA in History and European Cultural Studies from Brandeis University. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her husband Brian and her dog Oreo, lift weights at the gym, and curl up with a good Kristin Hannah novel.