Education Staff

Joan Makepeace

2nd and 3rd Grade Family Hebrew teacher

This is Joan’s 12th 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.

Judy Azer

1st grade Hebrew, and 1st and 2nd grade Judaica

Now in her fifth year at Beth El, Judy Azer is delighted to be teaching grades 1 and 2.  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. She loves the community (kehillah) she feels in the synagogue. 

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.


Scott Newman

Middle School/Director of Youth and Family Education

Scott joined the Beth El team in July 2015. He discovered his Jewish professional path after graduating from SUNY–Albany with a B.A. in communication with dual minors in business and Hebrew language.

Scott hopes to instill in others what Judaism has in him: a sense of guidance, joy, community, and a strong framework for life.

Shoni Aronovich

6th Hebrew/Torah and 7th & 8th Grades/Director of High School 

These classes are 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

High school teaching staff and 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.