Our JLC Staff

Administration

Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, EdD, Director of YLE

Yechiel Hoffman empowers people, across all generations and backgrounds, to enrich their personal and professional journeys through meaningful learning experiences. As Director of Youth Learning and Engagement, Hoffman provides organizational, educational, and spiritual leadership to the Los Angeles’ Temple Beth Am community. He most recently served as LimmudLA’s Executive Director, connecting Jews through volunteerism, community organizing, and cross-communal learning experiences.

As an organizational leader, Hoffman employs his professional and academic experience to support innovation and growth for both start-up endeavors and legacy institutions. Hoffman excels at animating networks and fostering meaningful engagement and purposeful relationships.

Hoffman began his professional journey in the film industry, running a comedy club, the Laugh Factory, and serving as a literary manager for writers and comedians—and then he turned to Jewish education. An educational innovator, Hoffman created the Teens@LimmudLA Presenters program, the Viral Judaism Project, and the High School Jewish Futures Project.

Most recently, Hoffman co-founded JEDLAB, a field-wide Jewish education network, promoting relationships and collective inquiry, collaboration, and experimentation to further the quality and growth of Jewish education. Hoffman serves of on the board of Jumpstart, transforming the broader Jewish community through social entrepreneurship. As a community activist, he serves as a rabbinic adviser, activist and outreach expert for issues related to LGBT inclusion, Women's issues, and education. As a doctoral candidate, in education, from Northeastern University, Hoffman applies organizational leadership and learning models to purpose-driven networks of learners and activists.

Lisa Clumeck Graef, JLC Director

Lisa Clumeck is a native of Los Angeles, born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California San Diego in Theatre and her Masters of Arts degree in Education with a concentration in Judaic studies from the American Jewish University here in Los Angeles. Lisa is passionate about Jewish Education, the Arts, and Student Centered Learning. She believes in empowering students to find their personal passions through their Jewish education. As a mentor of JLC teachers, Lisa empowers teachers to meet their students at their interests and infuse their passions into the curriculum.

Her experience in the field spans more than fifteen years and includes a variety of formal and informal learning experiences. Lisa studied in England where her passion for integrating the arts with other aspects of life including her Judaism became a priority. She has worked in almost every capacity of administration and teaching throughout her time in Jewish education. Lisa has created multiple opportunities for students to study Judaism through their personal interest. Her most notable endeavor is with The Performing Arts Academy, at Valley Beth Shalom, in Encino, CA , where she transformed the Religious School experience by teaching Judaism through the lens of theatre, dance, and music.

Lisa began her professional journey as an actress and arts entrepreneur. Her experience in performance, stage craft, and visual art coupled with her passion for Jewish education has allowed Lisa to develop and create Jewish educationally opportunities for adults and children, and other professionals in the field. In this capacity, Lisa develops curriculum, creates family, adult, and youth programming, and provides meaningful and exciting ways for students of all ages to learn and engage.

Lisa also participates in the American Jewish University’s Dream Lab, a project dedicated to engaging artists in Jewish education. In her spare time Lisa enjoys yoga and making people laugh!

Lisa sees herself first and foremost as a teacher; her commitment and dedication to educate using the whole child approach is a driving force in her life.

Farrah Noah, Operations Coordinator

Farrah Noah comes to Temple Beth Am as the Operations Coordinator in the Youth Learning & Engagement department with vast experience as a non-profit professional. First, as the Assistant Director for Imago Relationships International, where she managed membership relations for over 1000 members world-wide and planned 3 international conferences; and more recently, at the BJE as the Program Administrator for two endowment programs that supported Jewish Day Schools in the Los Angeles area: the Jim Joseph High School Affordability Initiative and Generations LA.

Farrah lives in Los Angeles, where she grew up and attended Jewish Day School. She has a BA in Political Science from the University of Arizona and an MA in Teaching from Boston University. She has two young daughters who are proud students at the Jacob Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am. She is also a devoted fan of the New England Patriots and wishes she had more time to read political thrillers.

Faculty

Kitah Gan/Alef (Kindergarten/1st Grade), Diane Germansky

Diane believes “children are capable, competent and are the leaders in their learning. Learning needs to be fun and allow children to explore while using all their senses while the adult is there to ask questions for deeper learning.”

Aside from her work in the JLC, Diane is also a preschool teacher at Sinai Temple. She has been in early childhood education for over 30 years with previous experience as an Assistant Director for synagogue early childhood centers. Diane has decided that her true calling is with the children, observing, creating and assisting in their learning and is happy to be back in the classroom.

Diane is a native of Los Angeles and currently lives with her daughter Megan, who is a senior in high school and her son Evan, a junior in college in Nebraska. When she isn’t with young children, she enjoys baking and taking classes. She believes she is a lifelong learner and is often taking classes at SMC to further her knowledge. She also enjoys listening in on seminars and lectures on various topics of early childhood education.

Kitah Gan and Alef Teacher’s Assistant, Esther Ben-Hayim

Esther is a familiar face at Pressman Academy and has worked in different capacities for each of the school’s. Esther was raised on a small kibbutz in Northern Israel. After serving in the Israeli Air Force she moved to LA, completed a BA in Economics and later continued her education by participating in the DeLeT (Day School Teachers for a New Generation) a program of HUC-JIR Rhea Hirsch School of Education. Esther is passionate about Jewish education and her work with TBA’s children. When she is not teaching, Esther is busy with having fun and with taking care of her two beautiful daughters, Maya and Sophia.

Kitah Bet (2nd Grade), Heather Zeiden

Heather Zeiden holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts, from Lesley University and a BA in Studio Art, from the University of California, Irvine. Heather has held administrative positions at American Jewish University's Whizin Center for Continuing Education, USC Shoah Foundation, USC Fisher Museum of Art, and Otis College of Art & Design. She has taught book arts workshops as a literacy tool to students K-5th grade at various local libraries, New Roads School After School, Santa Monica, The New Children’s Museum, San Diego, CA, the Boston Children’s Museum, and various after school programs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Heather was a recipient of the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize "Word Grant" 2016, and created Transforming Jewish Text Through Artists' Books in which students explored the text of the Ten Commandments and visualized them through the medium of book arts. Heather is a passionate educator, book artist and photographer in her own right and is currently refining her letterpress skills.

Kitah Gimel (3rd Grade) Molly Sigel

Molly grew up in Oak Park, California, a suburb outside of Los Angeles. She was however, born in the city of Los Angeles, and named at Temple Beth Am! Her family moved to the suburbs while she was in preschool where she spent much of her childhood. Molly grew up as an active member at Temple Etz Chaim, a conservative synagogue in Thousand Oaks. She was very involved in United Synagogue Youth (USY) while in high school and went to Ramah California. Later in life Molly worked at Ramah in Nyack as a counselor. After graduating from high school, she went on The Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel, a post-high school gap-year program in Israel through the Conservative Movement. For college, Molly attended Binghampton University in upstate New York where she majored in Human Development and minored in Education and Judaic Studies, she completed her degree and graduated in May 2015.
Molly has always loved working with children and being a camp counselor, and is especially excited to teach this year in the JCL at Temple Beth Am. Molly is starting her Masters in Social Work at UCLA this fall and hopes to eventually become a medical social worker in the hospital setting.

Kitah Dalet (4th Grade), Aviv Meraro

Aviv is a native of Israel and moved to Los Angeles from New York ten years ago. In the last 6 years he has enjoyed teaching in two religious schools in the Los Angeles area. There he was responsible for leading Hebrew programming for kids in grades 1st to 6th.

Currently, Aviv also runs his own small business, providing IT support and sales of technology. In addition to serving as a Hebrew instructor for Beverly Hills Lingual Institute.

Aviv graduated from Haifa University where he studied math & computer science. He is a big sports fan and when not working you might find him playing different sports, like football (soccer) or tennis . He also enjoys spending time watching live television broadcast from Israel and listening to music. Aviv is excited to share the love he has for Israel and his passion for teaching Judaism with the JLC community.

Kitah Hay (5th Grade) Marcy Stieglitz

Marcy Stieglitz aka “Morah Marcy” understands that “Inquiry” is the key to true learning and seeks to create rich environments where students can learn together. Marcy holds a Masters of Education from the American Jewish University. As a program director in the field of Early Education and Jewish Education, she participates in both local and prestigious national networks. She has experience as an educator for preschool and elementary age students. When she is not pouring all of her effort into her passion of Jewish Education, Marcy is spending quality time with her husband Paul and their three children. She enjoys biking, hiking and reading all kinds of books.

Kitah Zayin (6th Grade) David Schnabel

David Schnabel recently moved to Los Angeles from Tampa, Florida where he enjoyed teaching religious school and leading youth groups at Florida’s Congregation Kol Ami. Originally from New York, David currently works as a video coordinator for a sports franchise and is also pursuing a career in film music. David graduated from Vanderbilt University where he studied music and Jewish studies. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys bowling, playing trombone and walking his dog Freckles. David’s passion for teaching Jewish education is evident in his close relationship with Judaism. He has been known to create fun and welcoming environments in Jewish education by sharing his talents in music, sports, and film with his students.

Specialists

Hebrew and Hebrew Through Movement, Kitah Gan- Bet (K-2nd Grade) Rachel Cohen

Rachel Cohen grew up in a small village in Israel and started her teaching career when she was 19, teaching troops, while serving in the Israeli army. Her formal teaching education started in Tel Aviv, where she worked with children with special needs. Rachel immigrated to the United States in 2000 and continued to pursue her education in Childhood Development at West Los Angeles College. In 2007 she joined Pressman Academy ECC as a lead teacher. Pressman Academy has become a second home to Rachel and she enjoys her work very much. Rachel’s passion is teaching Ivrit (Hebrew) with dances, songs, play, and utilizing the all five senses. She loves teaching and enjoys the opportunity to learn from her students. Rachel is committed to making learning fun and meaningful for all of her students.

Hebrew & Hebrew Through Movement Specialist Kitah Gimmel – Vav (3rd-6th Grade), Lee Lahmy


Lee Lahmy grew up in Israel in a multi-lingual home in the ancient Arab town of Ramla. She received her teaching credentials and certificate from Seminar Hakibutzim, the college for teaching in Tel Aviv. In 1980, Lee immigrated to Los Angeles where she received her teaching credentials in Child Development from West Los Angeles College. Her love of exploring her Jewish roots led her to American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles to study the History of Eretz Israel and Am Israel (the land and people of Israel). While at AJU, she also studied Jewish Philosophy from the renowned Rabbi M. Finley. In 2008, Lee met Rabbi Leider and made a commitment to become a member of the great Beth Am Family, teaching and serving its young students in the Religious School. Lee always finds the time to hike the hills and enjoy nature. Two of her most beloved hobbies are Hebrew literature and dancing, especially Israeli Folk dancing. The biggest lesson Lee has learned and would love to pass on to her beloved students is the art of learning.

Parent Involvement

There are many opportunities for parents to get involved in the JLC. Parents are encouraged to attend and participate in family programs, parents only social events, and attend our Sunday Havdallah service, every Sunday at the JLC. Parents who are looking to get involved by volunteering as a room parent or helping to organize other events throughout the year should contact our JLC Committee Chair, Nancy Cohen. Please email jlc@tbala.org to connect today!

Kitah Bet (2nd Grade) Hebrew Lab Specialist, Alisa Lerner

Alisa has taught for many years. Of those many years she taught at Pressman Academy Day School and JLC (or formerly known as the religious school) for nine years. Alisa is passionate about teaching and is always finding innovative ways to engage the students, raise their energy levels and increase their participation. She uses a variety of creative approaches in her teaching to plant the seeds for a love of Israel and the rich traditions of Judaism. Alisa works tirelessly and effortlessly to create a community in her classroom. She is encouraging and helps students to see all positive aspects of their learning and it is truly a loving environment.

Alisa attended university at the Seminar Liventzky, a teaching Academy in Tel Aviv, Israel. Subsequently she received a Masters of Education and Bible from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In January 2008, she received the Lainer Distinguished Educator Award, from the Bureau Of Jewish Education. Alisa is excited about working with the Kitah Bet children, this year, and every year!

JLC Events COMING UP!

JLC Staff

Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, EdD
Director of YLE

Lisa Clumeck,
JLC Director

Farrah Noah,
Operations Coordinator

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