Education Staff

Scott Newman

Director of Youth and Family Education

Scott joined the Beth El team in July 2015. Having grown up in a small but notable Jewish setting in Monroe, NY, Scott’s life experiences have prepared him well for his current position.

Scott discovered his Jewish professional path after graduating from SUNY Albany with a B.A. in communication and a double minor in business and Hebrew language. Initially, he went out into the advertising world, but quickly found that his work was not fulfilling in the way he imagined. Upon reflection, he discovered that Judaism was a meaningful and common theme in his history. It offered him guidance, community and support.

Scott’s college experience included a year in Israel at the Hebrew Union College “College and Kibbutz” program. This program ignited his love for Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) and Am Yisrael (the Jewish people). Scott founded “RUACH!”, a Reform chavurah (group) on campus that still exists. Similar successes in building two youth programs motivated him to continue what he considers to be the holy work of fostering Jewish community and continuity through a “Jewish journey” model. It is this model that he brings to our  youth education program at Beth El.

Scott loves utilizing Jewish music and his guitar as a teaching tool for families and children alike. He is also an avid technophile and can’t get enough gadgets and techie toys. Scott is a resident of Natick where he lives with his wife Andrea, son Gabriel, and daughter Eliyana. His children are enrolled in the BE InSpirEd Education Program at Beth El.

Shoni Aronovich

Director of Teen Education and Engagement

Shoni teaches middle school and high school classes at Beth El and is the advisor for WASTY (We Are Sudbury Temple Youth). He also coordinates the HiBur program, which features a weeklong visit by Beth El 10th-graders to host families in Haifa, Israel and a visit here by the Israeli teens.

A native of Tel Aviv, Shoni has been with Beth El since 2017. He holds a B.A. in Jewish philosophy and Jewish history and a B.Ed. in Jewish philosophy, all from Tel Aviv University’s Ofakim program. “I truly believe in the creative aspect of Jewish learning, in the sense of creating and owning something with what you learn and not just keeping it on the paper. I try to engage my students in different forms for interacting and creating with our Jewish materials,” he says. Shoni’s hobbies include travel, nature, films and cooking.

Joan Makepeace

Special Education Tutor

This is Joan’s 11th year as a teacher at Beth El. She is a teaching member of the Sudbury Valley Jewish Special Education Initiative, teaching at several area temples and working with both typically developing students as well as students with learning disabilities with a wide variety of special needs. Joan is also our beloved ‘Family Hebrew’ instructor. She employs a unique and engaging method of teaching basic Hebrew that she has developed over many years. In the Family Hebrew class, students and their parents engage in learning to read and decode together. In addition, Joan has the pleasure of tutoring b’nei mitzvah students (of all ages and abilities!). She also enjoys writing music for Beth El’s Shabbat Rinah musical services.

Hillary Landau

Pre-K

Hillary has been a teacher and member of Beth El for over three decades with a proven track record of being an excellent early childhood educator. Hillary has recently been co-leading J-Start Tot Shabbats once per month and is thrilled to be teaching the newest Pre-K class. Hillary’s daughters Elena and Jana grew up at Beth El and Elena is now an active member of the Youth and Family Education Committee. Hillary’s granddaughter is currently enrolled in the BE InSpirEd program!

Anna Kammen

Kindergarten

I am excited to be joining the educational staff at Congregation Beth El this year! I have two years of experience teaching kindergarten and preschool Hebrew School classes in addition to four years as an assistant teacher at a JCC early childhood center.
I am a storyteller at heart, and I enjoy finding ways to blend stories, play, and education to teach children about Judaism.
I am a licensed K-12 teacher of the Deaf. I currently teach English to middle school students at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham.

 

Judy Azer

1st & 2nd Grade

Judy is delighted to be teaching grades 1 and 2 at Congregation Beth El.  She has been teaching in area religious schools for many years.  Always seeking to increase her knowledge, she has taken workshops in Godly Play, differentiated learning, and Jewish themes.  With her love of children, Judy believes that the two most important things we can give them are roots and wings—roots to discover who they are and wings to confidently explore the world.

Outside school, Judy is a former history and English teacher.  Now she enjoys substituting at the elementary level.  She facilitates the Shalom Readers’ group at her library. Judy loves working with young children because of their creativity and eagerness for learning.

Harry Abrahams

3rd-6th Grade Hebrew/Torah Teacher

I’m originally from Natick, MA and now live in Cambridge.I graduated with a BS in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Connecticut where I was involved in the Student Union, intramural sports, a capella, and Alpha Phi Omega, the National Co-Ed Community Service Fraternity. While at UConn, I uncovered a passion for Jewish communal and Non-Profit work thanks to some very dedicated Hillel professionals. My experience with Hillel lead me to work for the organization for 3 years starting as a program director, becoming an Assistant Director, and finally running my own Hillel as an executive director. Since parting ways with Hillel I have started my own non-profit consulting business working with smaller schools and non-profits on how to improve their management and fundraising practices. In my free time, I enjoy writing and recording music and playing guitar at coffeehouse open mics.

 

Devora Rohr

3rd-6th Grade Hebrew

Devora grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where she started teaching Hebrew while in high school. Devora’s connection to Israel and mastery of Hebrew was enhanced when she spent a semester of high school at Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (Ramah High School in Jerusalem), and then junior year abroad at Hebrew University. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, Devora served with City Year Boston in a K-8 school in Roxbury, worked at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland as the Education Office Administrator, and is now enrolled in the Masters of Jewish Education at Hebrew College. When not writing her thesis or teaching and leading services at Boston area synagogues, Devora can be found going for walks with her family, reading, sewing, practicing backward crossovers, and talking about the amazing program at Tikvah Family Camp at Camp Ramah.

Shoni Aronovich

7th & 8th Grade

This class is taught by our Director of Teen Education and Engagement

A native of Tel Aviv, Shoni has been with Beth El since 2017. He holds a B.A. in Jewish philosophy and Jewish history and a B.Ed. in Jewish philosophy, all from Tel Aviv University’s Ofakim program. “I truly believe in the creative aspect of Jewish learning, in the sense of creating and owning something with what you learn and not just keeping it on the paper. I try to engage my students in different forms for interacting and creating with our Jewish materials,” he says. Shoni’s hobbies include travel, nature, films and cooking.

Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler

9th & 10th Grade Core: Underpinnings of Judaism and Israel

Lorel has served as the cantor of Congregation Beth El since 1990]. In that time, she has led countless kiddush blessings, named babies, taught more melodies for “Adon Olam” than could be imagined, danced around the bimah as Belle in “Beauty from the East,” helped numerous young people become B’nai Mitzvah, served potato latkes to the masses, brought theater and live music and dance to our four walls, and missed only one Shabbat evening service because of inclement weather. With the help of the wonderful and participatory Beth El community, she has learned that all music serves as a pathway to inner growth, community strength and, hopefully, to God.

Lorel has also taught many workshops in the Boston area focusing on the music of the soul and the joy of communal song. She has led women’s seders, is an active member of the Women Cantor’s Network, and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She has studied Jewish Music Education at Hebrew College. Her husband, Arnie, is former head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts honored Lorel with a Community Service Award in 2012.

Shoni Aronovich

11th Grade

This grade is taught by our Director of Teen Education and Engagement.

A native of Tel Aviv, Shoni has been with Beth El since 2017. He holds a B.A. in Jewish philosophy and Jewish history and a B.Ed. in Jewish philosophy, all from Tel Aviv University’s Ofakim program. “I truly believe in the creative aspect of Jewish learning, in the sense of creating and owning something with what you learn and not just keeping it on the paper. I try to engage my students in different forms for interacting and creating with our Jewish materials,” he says. Shoni’s hobbies include travel, nature, films and cooking.

Rabbi Josh Breindel

12th grade Siyyum

This class is taught by our rabbi, Rabbi Josh Breindel. Rabbi Breindel has particular interests in Jewish storytelling, theater and folklore and is passionate about Jewish science fiction and fantasy.