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.

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

This is Anna’s second year teaching kindergarten  at Congregation Beth El. Prior to joining the Education staff she spent two years teaching kindergarten and preschool Hebrew School classes and four years as an assistant teacher at a JCC early childhood center. Anna is a storyteller at heart, and enjoys finding ways to blend stories, play, and education to teach children about Judaism. She is a licensed K-12 teacher of the Deaf and currently teaches English to middle school students at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham.

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.

 

Harry Abrahams

3rd and 4th grade Hebrew and Judaica teacher

Harry completed his undergraduate studies at UCONN and is a MA/MBA graduate of the Heller/Hornstein Program at Brandeis. Harry uncovered his passion for Jewish communal work thanks to some dedicated Hillel professionals, and began working for Hillel as a program professional, working his way up to running a Hillel before starting a non-profit consulting business. As a consultant Harry worked directly with schools and organizations on how to improve their management and fundraising practices. This journey led Harry to Hornstein where he solidified his love of fundraising through education and his work with the JCC. Across these roles Harry has always enjoyed working with students, actively volunteering, managing events, and arranging fundraisers. Harry currently serves as the Director of Development for Gateways: Access to Jewish Education.

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.