Avi Marcovitz, Director of Education & Youth Engagement – Avi Marcovitz joins Kol Tikvah in August 2020. He has vast experience in education, most recently as Head of Judiac Studies at Ottawa Jewish Community School in Ottawa Canada, and Director of Education at the Emma Kaufman Camp in West Virginia. He has been an educator and administrator for March of the Living, day schools in Overland Park, Kansas, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Miami. Avi started his career in the business world as COO of a telecom company in Florida. After 5 years, he realized his passion was education. He wanted his life’s work to make a difference and help instill a love of Judaism in today’s youth. Avi holds a PHD in Holocaust from Gratz College, a Masters of Science in Administrative Education from Nova Southeastern, and a BA from University of Wisconsin in Madison in Semitic Studies.
Jennifer Levin, Assistant Director of Education & Youth Engagement – Jennifer Levin joined our Kol Tikvah community from Miami Beach. She has taught on the pre-k and 1st grade level for 10 years. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science Degree in speech language pathology and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Her daughter Remi attends our early childhood center and son Ryder in the EYE program. Jennifer, her husband David, and children are excited to be a part of this community.
Andrew Arnold (Hebrew Tutor) has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Florida and is thrilled to be a teacher for the Congregation Kol Tikvah religious school this year. In addition to working as a tutor for Bar and Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Kol Tikvah and Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County, Hebrew tutor and religious school teacher at Kol Tikvah, he is a graduate of the Masters of Jewish Education program at Gratz College Online. In addition, he is extremely proud to be a recipient of the Legacy Heritage Fellowship Award which he used to help fund his studies in Jewish Education at Gratz College. Outside of sygnagogue duties and school, he also serves as a Cantorial Soloist in a myriad of senior living residences and in his free time enjoys reading up on Jewish topics, singing, playing games on Facebook, bowling, Zumba, and playing piano.
Fred Berkowitz, 6th Grade and 5th/6th Grade Hebrew Coordinator – This is Fred’s 16th year teaching 6th grade at Congregation Kol Tikvah. After moving to South Florida in 2004 with his wife, Cathy, and four children, Fred realized how much he missed teaching religious school and found himself back in the classroom with 6th grade students teaching the parasha of the week, tefillah and history. Fred also prepares students both young and young at heart, for becoming b’nai mitzvah. Fred is a tutor and mentor, not only to students, but to parents as well. This is a natural fit for Fred and an extension of his role in the classroom. Fred points to Rabbi Ron Wolfson’s book, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community published in 2013, as something that he has always ascribed to his success. It discusses that one becomes a bar or bat mitzvah through engaging in the process, something which is beyond studying and learning, but instead through finding meaning and connections.
Mason Duboff (Music) Miami Beach born and raised, Mason Duboff brings ruach and creativity wherever he goes. Whether in the classroom, on the bima, or hiking in Israel, his passion for Judaism shines. Specializing in music and family engagement, it’s rare to find him without guitar in hand. Mason’s energy is bright and his true love for the culture is contagious.
Ellen Fox-Snider (Hebrew through Movement) has a Master’s Degree of Science in Education, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been trained to teach Hebrew through Movement. She also has recently become certified in Mind-Body Medicine. Ms. Ellen, as she prefers to be called by her students, believes the Total Physical Response approach used in Hebrew through Movement is the key to effective and fun Hebrew learning! Ms. Ellen has been a member of Congregation Kol Tikvah for the past 8 years, she was the chair of the Education committee for 5 years before teaching in the religious school. She is currently a member of the North American Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Debbie Gottesman (Kindergarten) has been teaching at Kol Tikvah for 17 years in the Phylis J. Green Early Childhood Center and for several years in the religious school. Her methodology includes teaching students to identify and learn the Hebrew letters, the values and practices of the Jewish holy days, and creating an overall positive outlook of the religious school, Kol Tikvah and being Jewish.
Paula Hengber, First Grade – Paula graduated from University of Florida with a B.S. in Business Administration. She was a Human Resource Manager at a technical company in Miami, a staffing manager at a temp agency and worked as a head teacher in the preschool at Kol Tikvah for 9 years until 2017. She is staying connected to the synagogue by teaching religious school. She knows many of the students in our class from the preschool. Paula is married and has two children. One is a freshman at Florida State University and the other is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School. She has lived in Florida for 39 years.
Dori Kaplan, 2nd Grade – Dori graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Fine Arts and is very creative. She and her husband have lived in Coral Springs for 29 years and have two daughters, ages 26 and 23. Before moving to Florida, Dori had a career as a purchasing manager for a divisions of both Hitachi and Mitsubishi in NY and traveled to Japan numerous times. She has been a substitute teacher at Kol Tikvah’s ECC for 3 years and a religious school teacher since 2017. She is excited about working with the 2nd grade class.
Caren Licata (3rd grade) relocated from New York in 2001 with her husband and three children. She attended Beth Jacob Beth Miriam Yeshiva as a child. Caren has been a practicing pediatric Speech Language Pathologist for the past 35 years. Caren taught Hebrew School in Reno, Nevada. This is her eighth year teaching 3rd grade at Congregation Kol Tikvah.
Kayla Ramnarine (1st Grade Assistant) has been assisting in the Kindergarten classroom with her mother, Debbie Gottesman, for the past three years. This year she is joining Paula Hengber to co-teach the first graders as they embark on the new Shalom Learning curriculum. Kayla also assists in the Phylis J. Green Early Childhood Center and attends Florida Atlantic University. Kayla enjoys helping our students grow their knowledge about Hebrew letters, the Jewish holidays, and Jewish values!
Jessica Smiley, 5th Grade – Jessica has been teaching religious school at Congregation Kol Tikvah for over ten years. Jessica is a graduate from Lynn University. She currently lives in Parkland with her husband, Adam, and daughters Lilly and Ella. Her daughters attend attend Riverglades Elementary School and are enrolled in Kol Tikvah’s Religious School. Jessica is currently teaching 5th and 7th grades. She loves teaching prayer, Torah, and mitzvot, and watching her students become b‘nai mitzvah.
Silvy Stern, 5th Grade – This is Silvy’s 16th year teaching at Congregation Kol Tikvah. Once again she will be joining us on the fourth grade level. Silvy was born and raised in Israel. She enjoys teaching prayers and the Hebrew language. Her students view her as a a friendly face who makes learning fun. Her teaching philosophy is to “inculcate in my students respect for one another.” She welcomes and appreciates the ongoing and continuous support she receives from her students and their parents.
Caren Weintraub, Hebrew Specialist – Caren has been a resident of Parkland for over 30 years, having previously lived in New York City and the greater Washington D.C. area. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hunter College and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Lehman College. She has been actively involved in Jewish education for over 45 years, teaching students from kindergarten through high school. She has been on the staff of Congregation Kol Tikvah for the past 14 years and is currently the lead Hebrew tutor for the religious school. Caren is married to Howard and has two married children and four grandchildren.