Meet Our Faculty
|Director of Education, Diane Berg, RJE||(631) 421-5835 ext. 207|
|Administrative Assistant, Maddy Schwartz||(631) 421-5835 ext. 208|
|VP, Education, Linda Braun|
|RS Chairpersons, Andy Karpf & Lisi Viesta|
|Religious School Main Number||(631) 421-5836|
|Religious School General Emailfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Diane Berg, RJE has been a Jewish educator for 47 years earning the title of Reform Jewish Educator (1996). She earned her Principal’s Certification from the Federation of Reform Synagogues and just completed her 25th year as Director of Education at Temple Beth El. 11 years she was Director of the Morasha Teacher Training Institute (SAJES) and was on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island. She served a double term as chair of the Long Island Temple Educators’ Principals’ Council and was on the Board of the National Association of Temple Educators. Diane spent four years as Director of Education at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT. She has been working for Temple Beth El for 41 years!
Amy Bleecher received her Master’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Dowling College and a Bachelor of Art degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Economics from SUNY at Stony Brook. She has been a substitute teacher in the Smithtown School District. Amy serves as our Special Educator and Resource Room teacher.
Risa Curiale received her Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degree in Special Education. She has taught art at Woodhull Day School in Queens and at Mark Country Day School in Bay Shore and owned Risa’s Ralph Rottens in Smithtown. Risa has been president of the Harley Avenue PTA. She teaches fifth and seventh grade Judaic subjects.
Ilene Davis is an experienced Religious School Educator, having taught for 8 years at the North Shore Synagogue Religious School in Syosset. She has taught kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grades. She was a lead teacher for the 3rd and 4th grade Hebrew and Judaica classes and most recently, a teacher in the MOSAICS program, designed for advanced Hebrew learners in grades 4 though 6. Before that, she was the coordinator of the Early Learning Center of Temple Beth El where she supervised and developed Jewish programming for pre-school aged children . Ilene was also a Pre-School Music and Movement provider for Play Hooray productions for 6 years. She is a long-time temple member, an active Sisterhood member and sings in our High Holy Days Adult Choir. Ilene is our wonderful K-1 teacher!
Sharon Gabay was born in Northern Israel and moved to New York while in High School. She returned to Israel for 11 years and worked as an Administration Manager for Polycom, an Israeli/American high-tech company in Petach Tikvah. Returning to New York 11 years ago, Sharon started working as the Jewish Cultural educator at the Suffolk YJCC where she also teaches adult Hebrew. In addition, she works as a Hebrew School teacher and Junior Congregation leader at Dix Hills Jewish Center. She worked for The Jewish Academy of Suffolk County for 5 years, teaching grades 1-5 Hebrew and Bible. Sharon was certified by the Morasha Teacher Training Program in 2008. With more than 10 years of experience she will now teach grade five Judaic, assists in Adventures in Judaism and teach Hebrew for us at TBE.
Ada Gracin spent more than 28 years teaching in Long Island Synagogues. She graduated from Pratt Institute of Design and holds a Teaching Certificate from Hebrew Union College. Her additional related experiences include: Chapter President of the Massapequa Chapter of Hadassah, Educational Vice President of Dix Hills Hadassah, Regional Representative on behalf of the Struggle for Soviet Jewry and Docent at the Holocaust Educational Center in Glen Cove. In addition, Ada taught Hebrew at Temple Beth El from 1970-1980.
Jayne Greenberg has earned a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology from C.W. Post College. She has been employed for the past seven years by the Harborfields School District in a variety of positions at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School, and is currently a Teacher Assistant at Oldfield Middle School. In addition to being a congregant, Jayne has also served as an active member of the temple’s Religious School Committee and was a member of the Rabbi Search Committee. She presently teaches grade fourth and sixth grade Judaic classes.
Cecile Gruer received her higher education in Salzburg, Austria. She became a proofreader for New Era Press and taught Hebrew at Dix Hills Jewish Center, Commack Jewish Center, Temple Beth Shalom of Smithtown, Temple Beth David, The Workman’s Circle and Solomon Schechter. Cecile is a graduate of the Morasha Teacher Training Institute (SAJES) and their advanced training program.
Debbie Epstein received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education (N-6) from the University of Maryland and her Master’s Degree in Reading Education (K-12) from Hofstra. She has taught both first and sixth grades for ten years in Valley Stream and has been a volunteer in educational activities at Temple Beth Torah of Melville. Debbie teaches our fourth and sixth grade Judaic classes.
Robin Faiguenbaum is a graduate of the Morasha Teacher Training program and received her certification from Touro College. She earned her Nursing Degree from Beth Israel School of Nursing. Robin has taught grades kindergarten through second at Dix Hills Jewish center and was a facilitator in SAJES’ Chai Baby Program. Robin teaches our second grade class and facilitates our Shalom Friends pre-kindergarten Program.
Michelle Hughes received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Hofstra University. She has taught Kindergarten through sixth grades and presently tutors special needs children. She was the Director of Marketing and Development at Vincent Smith School (Port Washington) until 2016 and Manager of Program Expansion and Marketing for Abilities, Inc. at the Viscardi Center (Albertson). She has been to Israel and will bring her experiences to her fourth and sixth grade classes.
Marcia Ingram is a graduate of the SAJES Morasha Teacher Training Institute and received her Teacher’s Certification from Touro College. She received training from SAJES as a Bagels, Blocks and Beyond facilitator and attended Hadassah’s Leadership Academy. Marcia has been a teacher for Temple Beth David of Commack for over 22 years and has taught at Temple Chaverim in Plainview.
Wendy Isaac received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and her Masters in Special Education from CUNY- Queens College. She is State Certified in Elementary Education and with students with disabilities. Currently, she is a substitute teacher in local school districts. In her spare time she is a Vice President of Youth at ENJC. She is an active Sisterhood member and Hadassah life member.
Maddy Schwartz, our school Administrative Assistant, received a Bachelor of Communication Arts Degree from Marymount Manhattan College and Tel Aviv University. She has been teaching and working in schools for the last twenty-five years. Most recently, she spent eight years teaching the pre-K program at the Jewish Academy of Suffolk County.
Kendra Siani: received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Hartford. where she taught at the Mandell JCC. She was the music teacher at Temple Emanuel (Great Neck), North Shore Jewish Center (Port Jefferson), temple Beth Shalom (Roslyn), Temple Sons of Israel (Woodmere)and South Huntington Jewish Center. She is a regular at Song Leader Boot Camp and participated in Taglit Birthright. She is a classically trained pianist.
Randi Solis earned her Master of Science degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from New York University and Oxford University. Randi is an alumna of Temple Beth El Religious School in Great Neck. She was a Teacher and Staff Developer in the NYC Public Schools and has taught Early Childhood in NYC Private Schools. Randi currently serves on the Lloyd Harbor School Parent/Teacher Board.
Ann Wieder is a veteran Hebrew School teacher having taught at Merrick Jewish Center for over 40 years. She developed and taught their Parallel Educational Program that allowed parents to learn, on an adult level, what their children were learning. Ann is a graduate of the Herzliah Teachers’ Seminary of New York.