Staff

Administration | Faculty | Course Development

Administration

Nili Auerbach, Director of Marketing and Admissions

Nili Auerbach has worked in Jewish education and Jewish non-profits for more than 15 years. Before joining our team, she worked in educational programming, PR, and resource development, was a middle school Jewish studies teacher, and also worked as an online Jewish studies instructor. Nili holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University and a Certificate in Advanced Jewish Studies from Pardes. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Nili oversees the admissions and marketing process, growing our numbers of participating schools and students every semester, while ensuring that each school’s unique needs are being met year after year.

Hyim Brandes, Director of Technology

Hyim Brandes has worked at the intersection of Jewish education and technology for close to two decades. He was on the founding faculty of two Jewish high schools, founded two educational technology initiatives – one of which was nationally recognized for its innovative ideas and practices – and has years of experience as a Jewish studies teacher and ed tech professional. Hyim holds a degree in History from U.C. Berkeley, spent three years studying at Pardes, and was a Joshua Venture Group Fellow. Hyim’s time at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is spent imagining our ed tech vision and ensuring a school and student friendly user experience.

Deborah Finkelstein, Assistant to Director

Deborah Finkelstein joins our team after holding numerous positions in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds coordinating large projects and managing daily operations in various industries. Deborah holds a degree in Tourism Management from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Her administrative savvy is being put to excellent use at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, where she is responsible for the organization of many ongoing projects.

Chana German, Director

Chana German has been working with Jewish day schools and educators for more than fifteen years, leading educational technology projects, including curriculum development and online professional development. Her graduate work is in educational technology and instructional design at Boston University and the University of Massachusetts and she is a current Joshua Venture Group Fellow. Chana founded Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy in 2014, after years of experimenting with online education in Jewish schools.

Ilana Lipman, Director of Curriculum Development

Ilana Lipman has worked in the Jewish education field for over 15 years, working with students ranging from pre-school age to adulthood in both formal and informal settings. Ilana served as a teacher and administrator at a large Jewish day school before moving to Israel. She was a teaching coach and administrator at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies before joining our team. Ilana holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University and a Certificate in Advanced Jewish Studies from Pardes. In her role at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Ilana oversees the development of our curriculum and ensures that every course produced meets our standards of excellence.

Matthew Lipman, Director of Mutimedia Development

Matthew Lipman has been working in Jewish education and instructional design for more than 15 years. He has written high-tech educational materials for U.S. public schools and the IDF, taught Judaic studies in day schools, and worked in informal Jewish education for years. Matthew holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. In his role at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Matthew is responsible for making our courses come alive through engaging and interactive multimedia experiences.

Dee Mack, Director of Operations

Dee Mack joined our team after serving as a teacher, social worker, and key administrator in numerous Jewish non-profits and Jewish educational institutions for more than 10 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College in Boston and spent a post-master’s year studying at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Dee puts her operational genius to good use, perfecting our systems and processes and ensuring our overall organizational efficacy.

Daniel Rose, Director of Instruction

Daniel Rose has worked in formal and informal Jewish education in the UK, US, and Israel for more than two decades. Daniel has held numerous teaching and administrative posts in Jewish day schools and educational organizations, has extensive experience in curriculum development and educational consulting, and has managed varied educational projects- most recently the production of the Koren Magerman Educational Siddur Series. Daniel holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from London University and a PhD in Education from Hebrew University. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Daniel oversees the delivery of our instruction, ensuring that each one of our students is engaged in meaningful and relevant learning.

Chevi Rubin, Marketing and Admissions Associate

Chevi Rubin has worked in Jewish education for over a decade. She has worked as a Jewish studies teacher, a Jewish day school administrator, and a business development professional in both for-profits and non-profits. Chevi holds a Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Chevi works closely with schools to ensure that our courses are meeting their needs. She is also responsible for cultivating excitement about the great things happening at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy in print, online, and via social media.

Tzippy Smilovitz, Office Manager

Tzippy Smilovitz joins our team after holding varied positions in a number of marketing and advertising firms where her responsibilities included market research, bookkeeping, administrative support, and account management. Tzippy holds a degree in Marketing from Yeshiva University. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Tzippy plays an integral part of the administration, offering administrative support and interfacing with all of our teams to help ensure our overall organizational efficacy.

Jeremy Spierer, Director of Faculty Development

Jeremy Spierer has worked in formal and informal Jewish education for close to two decades. A veteran high school and post-high school teacher of Jewish studies in day schools and summer camps, Jeremy has also taught online and has extensive experience as a teacher mentor. He holds a Master’s Degree in Bible and Semicha from Yeshiva University, is a graduate of the Jewish New Teacher Project, and is currently working on his PhD in Jewish Education. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Jeremy is responsible for the mentorship and professional development of our instructional staff, ensuring that our teachers are employing best practices in online education, and creating an engaging and personal classroom experience for all of our students.


Faculty

Elizabeth Corlin, Teacher

Elizabeth Corlin has worked in the field of Jewish education for over 15 years, working with students ranging from early-elementary age to adulthood in both formal and informal settings, and she taught Jewish studies at the Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas. She holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. Elizabeth’s passion for meeting every student’s needs, and relating to students on their level is evident in every course she teaches.

Ilana Goldstein Saks, Teacher

Ilana Goldstein Saks has been teaching Tanach for more than 2 decades and has worked as on online teacher since 2003. She has taught at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Midreshet Harova in Jerusalem, and the Women’s Beit Midrash in Efrat. Ilana holds a Master’s Degree in Tanach from Bar-Ilan University and studied a number of years as a Bruriah Scholar at Midreshet Lindenbaum. A master Tanach teacher, Ilana excels at pushing students towards higher levels of textual analysis.

Penny Joel, Teacher

Penny Joel has worked as a Jewish educator for close to 20 years. She was previously the Director of Israel Guidance and a member of the Judaic Studies Department at Westchester Hebrew High School in New York. She has taught classes in Halacha, Tanach, Jewish History and Jewish Philosophy and has been involved in a vast array of innovative education initiatives in schools, summer camps and other experiential education programs. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Adolescent Education from the Bank Street College of Education and was a Pardes fellow, ATID fellow, and Torat Miriam fellow. Penny has recently completed her Doctorate in Jewish Education at the Azrieli School of Jewish Education. Her thoughtful and reflective approach to education transform her classes, and push her students to success.

Deena Kahane, Teacher

Deena Kahane has been teaching Tanach and Jewish History for the past twenty-five years. She taught middle school students in Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey and the Moriah School of Englewood, and currently teaches adults in MaTaN Beit Shemesh. Deena holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Azrieli graduate school, a Master’s Degree in Tanach from Bar-Ilan University, and is a graduate of the MaTaN Advanced Tanach Program. Deena’s passion for Tanach and Jewish History, and her love of teaching are evident in every course she teaches.

Rhea Schwartzberg, Teacher

Rhea Schwartzberg has over 30 years of experience in the field of Jewish education and served as the Chairperson of the History Department at Scheck Hillel in Florida for almost 10 years. She has taught in both formal and informal environments, in the classroom and online, and in both high school and post-high school settings. Rhea holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision K-12 from Florida International University and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida.

Susan Yammer, Teacher

Susan Yammer has been working in Jewish education for almost forty years. She has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher, teacher mentor, and program administrator, and has been teaching Jewish Studies online since 2009. In the United States, she taught at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ where she was awarded the prestigious Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for her work. Susan holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. Susan’s warmth and passion empower her to foster real connections with her online students, motivating them to success.

Shaindy Zudick, Teacher

Shaindy Zudick has been working as a Jewish educator for more than three decades. She has taught Tanach and Jewish history at several schools including Hillel Yeshiva High School, Kushner Yeshiva High School, and Solomon Schechter High School, all in New Jersey. Before moving to Israel, Shaindy was the Associate Principal of Judaic Studies in The Frisch School. She holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish History from the Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Hunter College. Throughout her tenure, Shaindy has always been devoted to students inside and outside the classroom, devoting time to programming, activities, and student guidance. She continues to connect with her students, encouraging and supporting them to meet new educational goals every semester.


Course Development

Ariel Bauer, Graphic Designer

Ariel Bauer has been working as a Graphic Designer for over 20 years. He specializes in 2D and 3D animation, games, illustrations, and web designs and has worked for many for-profit and non-profit organizations designing materials in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Ariel studied design at the University of Buenos Aires. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Ariel designs our magnificent marketing, website, and curricular materials.

Nicky Kaminer, Multimedia Designer

Nicky Kaminer has held numerous positions in sales, management, and customer service, and volunteered as a graphic artist for a Jewish children’s magazine. Nicky holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, she translates the educational visions of our course development team into engaging and interactive multimedia modules.

Rivky Krestt, Instructional Designer

Rivky Krestt has been working in Jewish education and educational technology for over 15 years. She has worked as a Jewish studies teacher and department chair, teacher mentor, curriculum writer, and educational technologist, and currently serves as the Director of Education in a Jewish overnight camp. Rivky holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Theory and Development from The University of Maryland, and studied a number of years as a Bruriah Scholar at Midreshet Lindenbaum. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Rivky’s imaginative, fun, and engaging writing style enables her to create excellent Jewish studies courses for middle school and high school students.

Yona Kurtz, Instructional Designer

Yona Kurtz has worked in formal and informal Jewish education for close to 10 years. She has served as a Jewish studies teacher in middle school, high school, and post-high school settings. Yona holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Jewish Studies from York University and is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Technology in Education and Learning Systems. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Yona’s originality and enthusiasm, paired with her innovative nature, enable her to create fun and meaningful Jewish studies courses for middle school and high school students.

Sarah Nemzer-Kohl, Instructional Designer

Sarah Nemzer-Kohl has worked in education and curriculum development for almost 10 years. She has worked as a Tanach and Talmud teacher, a math content writer and developer and Jewish studies tutor at Nishmat in Jerusalem. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Studies in Education from Columbia University, and studied in the Graduate Program for Women in Advanced Talmudic Studies at Yeshiva University and at Beit Morasha in Jerusalem. At Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Sarah’s attention to detail and beautiful, clear writing style enables her to transform complex concepts into understandable ideas so that middle school and high school students succeed.

Consultants

Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy works with a range of pedagogic and academic consultants on course development including: David Bernstein (Jewish History), Hagit Cohen (Jewish History), Samuel Kapustin (Jewish History), Karen Miller-Jackson (Talmud), Francis Nataf (Talmud), Judy Snowbell-Diamond (Tanach), Yael Zeigler (Tanach).

LVJA also works closely with The Lookstein Center staff educators including Moshe Abelesz, Shalom Berger, Yonah Fuld, Zvi Grumet, Eli Kohn, and Stuart Zweiter.

About us
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is an online school of Jewish studies for students in grades 6-12.
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