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Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Leslie Gordon, Interim Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Leslie Gordon has been leading High Holiday services at Temple Israel since 1997.  Since then she has taught in a number of programs: Spiritual Journeys for adults, Little Minyans for pre-schoolers, and a parshat ha-shavua class for women.  In 2014-2015 she served as Interim Senior Rabbi.

Raised in Tuscon, AZ, Rabbi Gordon received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Psychology in 1984 from Brandeis University. In 1991 she received Rabbinic Ordination and was awarded a Master of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where she was the recipient of both the Lamport Prize in Talmud and the Lowenthal Prize in Practical Theology. During her time at the JTS, she served as Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, New Jersey and later as Rabbi at the West Clarkstown Jewish Center in Spring Valley, New York.

Since 2001 Rabbi Gordon has been an instructor for the Jewish Discovery institute, the local Conservative conversion class. Rabbi Gordon served as Assistant Rabbi at Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria, Virginia from 1991-1994. She was the Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Lowell, Massachusetts, from 1994-1997. From 1998 to 2004, Rabbi Gordon was also the Chaplain of Jewish Students at Babson College in Wellesley, where she provided programming and spiritual guidance for Jewish students, led Shabbat evening services, taught the Parshat Hashavua class for faculty and staff, and participated in multi-faith programs. 

At Temple Aliyah in Needham MA, Rabbi Gordon is rabbi in residence, filling a variety of pastoral and educational roles as well as officiating from the bima.

Rabbi Gordon and her husband have three adult children who are happily launched. 

Rabbi Rachel Silverman, Rabbi 

Rabbi Silverman joined the Temple Israel community in July of 2016. Having grown up in Easton, Rabbi Silverman received an undergraduate degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  She earned a Certificate in Organizational Management from Boston University’s Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership, in conjunction with Hebrew College. 

Prior to coming to Temple Israel, Rabbi Silverman served Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline as their Rabbi for Congregational Learning for five years. In that capacity, she was part of the founding team that built KICKS (KI Community Kabbalat Shabbat), an award-winning Friday evening prayer experience, and transformed the educational program. Before that, she served as the Associate Director of Prozdor and the Director of Makor, at Hebrew College. 

Over the years, Rabbi Silverman has demonstrated creativity and leadership in a variety of ways. While in rabbinical school, she created the “Real Men Marry Rabbis” t-shirt which caused an enthusiastic stir when it debuted and can be seen in the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. In 2010, she was a PresenTense fellow and founded Homegrown Judaica, an online store for Jewish artists. After learning how to “paint with fabric,” Rabbi Silverman partnered with an artist friend to design and sew the parochet (ark curtain) for the Washington Square Minyan in Brookline, MA. And during her days off from Temple Israel, she can usually be found in a pottery studio, throwing pots, plates, mugs, and other functional ceramic pieces.

Rabbi Silverman lives in Sharon, with her husband, their three children, and their yellow lab. Watching her kids grow, learn, and become a part of this community has been one of her greatest joys.  

She very much looks forward to getting to know you and welcoming you to the Temple Israel community! Please reach out to find a time to meet for coffee, to share a Shabbat meal, or to share your hopes for the Temple Israel community. (In these COVID times, we can meet outside or on Zoom.)

Karen Nahary, Executive Director

Hello from Karen!

Karen comes to us from CJP where she was the Associate Director of Israel Engagement. There she built and maintained relationships with over 100 constituencies both locally in Boston and abroad. Additionally, she was responsible for major recruiting, marketing, and leadership programs, coordinated weeklong trips, worked closely with CJP volunteers in leadership roles, engaged with 2,400 individuals in community wide initiatives, oversaw staff, and managed multiple grant programs. Prior to that role and also at CJP, she was Associate Director and Senior Program & Development Office for Young Adults. Before CJP, Karen was the Director of Regional Services and Student Engagement for the Hillel Council of New England and before that was a Portfolio Administrator for State Street Corporation. Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Keene State College and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership as well as a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Southern New Hampshire University. She was chosen to take part in the inaugural Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellowship from Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). 

Karen grew up in Southern Connecticut, fluent in Hebrew thanks to being the second of three children to Israeli immigrant parents and a third generation Holocaust survivor.  She attended Ezra Academy and was a member of B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge. In high school, she served as Religious Education Vice President and Regional President of the Hanefesh region of United Synagogue Youth (USY).  She has especially fond memories of her time studying abroad in Rome, Italy.  She is particularly proud of her work as a volunteer with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters where she had a Little Sister for four years, and is still volunteering in the MAGIC program for the past two years. Although she will never forget her time as a Resident Assistant at Keene State College and a Residence Director at Southern New Hampshire University, nothing was quite as formative as the over twenty trips she has led to Israel in the course of her career.

In her free time, Karen enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, watching movies, walking, hiking and has recently started biking again. If you dare, ask her about skydiving and her two jumps! She is thrilled to be joining the Temple Israel community and getting to know all of its members.

Leisa Glass, Director of Early Childhood Education

Leisa has been in the early childhood education field for 30 years, teaching for over 25 years before becoming the director of Hertz Nursery School in 2018. Leisa is passionate about helping children discover their world through creative play, experiential learning, and cooperative work. She feels it is important to ignite a love of learning and help each child develop a positive sense of self. In her work, she strives to teach the whole child, challenging and inspiring them intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Leisa lives in Sharon with her husband Mark, and has two children- David who just started a PhD program at Temple University and Shari who is in her junior year at Brandeis University. In her free time Leisa likes to spend time with her family, draw, and cook. Leisa’s favorite part of being at Hertz is getting hugs from the children!

Ella Levy, Director of Youth Education and Programming

Dr. Levy was born in Jerusalem, Israel. In Israel she attended Wingate Institute for Physical Education. She completed her BA degree in Physical Education at Florida International University (FIU) while fulfilling CAJE requirements to become a Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher.

Throughout the years, Dr. Levy have created, developed, and implemented many formal and informal Jewish Educational programs, and inspired and facilitated the Jewish educational journey of many students of diverse age groups. She was an active Board member of the Central Agency for Jewish Education in Miami and a member of the Office of the President for the Hebrew Alliance Teachers. In 2004, Dr. Levy earned the reputable Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. In 2005 Dr. Levy presented The Effectiveness of Incorporating Music in Teaching Hebrew and Judaic at the Network Research in Jewish Education (NRJE) conference at Brandeis University.  In 2006, she earned the Torah Aura Award in Curriculum and Administration. Dr. Levy holds a Master and Doctoral degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. She is specializing in Organizational and Educational Leadership. Dr. Levy also holds a Principal’s and a Jewish Family Educator’s License from the National Board of License for Teachers and Principals of Jewish Schools in North America. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem.

Gila Yudewitz, Family Educator

Gila has been working at Temple Israel for 7 years, and at Hertz for 2. She loved it so much, last year she never wanted to leave! Gila has a special language with kids and encourages them to be themselves. She incorporates, kindness, team work, positivity, social/emotional awareness, and love of Judaism into all her classes and programs. Gila, like all the Temple Israel teachers, is a team player and is focused on working with parents to make it an amazing year. Thank you for trusting us with your children. It will be a wonderful and safe year!

Office & Business Office Staff

Ana Marusich-Zanor, Assistant Director & Account Manager
Ana joined Temple Israel after many years in retail. In addition to her work, she's also a self-employed artist, specializing in portraits of people's pets, and is passionate about dog rescue. She lives in Stoughton with her husband of 25 years, four dogs, two cats, and a snake.
Contact Ana Marusich-Zanor.

Ari Rogers, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Ari joins Temple Israel after ten years in the fields of graphic design and health/wellness coaching. When not working, she can be found immersed in her two passions – fitness and family. As a current Sharon resident, you will often see her running around Lake Massapoag. Ari lives with her husband Ben, her children Emmett and Willow and two cats.
Contact Ari Rogers.

Gail Yarosh, Administrative Assistant
Gail joined Temple Israel in August, 2021, after spending her professional career as an Actuarial and Pension Administrator. After spending many years as an active volunteer of a Reform Synagogue she hopes to transfer her passion for the Jewish Community to Temple Israel. Gail can be seen riding the train to New Jersey to visit her three grandchildren. She lives in Stoughton with her fiancé and their pandemic puppy, Rocky. Contact Gail Yarosh

David Landry, Accounting Services
David has been with us since the fall of 2017. He had his own Accounting Services company for 30 years. Having spent 10+ years at Congregation Mishkan Tefila performing accounting services and budget management, he semi retired when CMT relocated from Chestnut Hill. David lives in Plymouth with his wife Sandra. They have 2 daughters, 2 granddaughters and 2 grand puppies. He is a Vietnam Veteran.

Ethel Goodrich, Bookkeeper
Ethel has her Bachelors in Accounting, Masters in business administration and is a licensed Enrolled Agent. She has been a full charge bookkeeper for the last twenty-five years and has worked with small companies doing payroll, bookkeeping and financial reporting. Ethel is excited to join the temple Israel team.
Contact Ethel Goodrich

Religious School Staff

Joan Waldman
This is Morah Joan's 6th year as a classroom teacher at TIRS. She evaluated and taught children with learning differences in the public schools for many years. She enjoys both instructing the students and working with families toward common goals. Joan is a long-time Temple Israel member, with a strong and enduring interest in Jewish studies. Joan studied and taught in Israel for 3 years (long ago) and speaks passable Hebrew. She has strong family connections in Israel. Joan has enjoyed tutoring T.I. students for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah for several years.

Inez Springer
Morah Inez is originally from Milton. She lived in Stoughton for over 30 years and just moved to Foxboro in 2020. Inez has a son who lives on the North Shore and a daughter who lives in Florida. Her favorite place is being on the beach and she love the opportunity to travel! Morah Inez worked with children throughout her career as a Teacher, Childcare Center Director and for the last 21 year. She has been working for a Family Child Care System supporting Educators, and at the same time servicing at risk and low-income families and children. Her Jewish teaching experience over the years most recently have included teaching Kindergarten and First grade children in the synagogues in both Stoughton & Milton. She looks forward to introducing your children to a love of Judaic learning through songs, crafts stories and more. 

Miriam Semirnov 
Morah Miriam, a dual-certified ELA/SPED high school teacher, has taught at Temple Israel for over a decade. She specializes in building a sense of community, excitement, engagement, and respect in her classroom. Morah Miriam draws on her love of singing, baking, martial arts, hiking and reading to connect with each child and encourage them to achieve their learning goals while forming a powerful bond with their Jewish heritage.

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson has been a member of Temple Israel Sharon her entire life. She attended Hertz nursery and the religious school program. After she graduated Sharon High School, she moved up to Orono, Maine to attend the University of Maine where she studied child development and family relations as well as psychology, she even took a year of Hebrew! Rachel loves working with students and their families to share her passion for learning. She loves all things creative and cannot wait to implement different teaching and learning styles into her classroom. She is so thrilled to be back working in the temple where she was raised.

Natan Fandel
Natan Fandel is the 1st grade homeroom teacher. He is a recent graduate at the University of Massachusetts with an Economic major and a Psychology. He has also attended and worked at Camp Ramah in New England since 2009. Through his life journey he developed a passion of spreading the joy of Judaism to the younger generation of Jews. Natan looks forward to continuing this journey with teaching here at Temple Israel Religious School.

Pazit Lahav
Pazit Lahav is a dancer, a dancing instructor, a choreographer, and the owner of "Brookline Folk Dancing". She started dancing when she was 3 years old and fell in love with it. her life mission is to spread joy in her world and help people connect through dance. She has been teaching dance in multiple places and age groups, starting from preschools, schools, universities, all the way to adults. Dance has taught her to help instill in people a form of self-expression, renewed sense of confidence, human connection, and a result of all of these, an increased sense of joy. Join Pazit on a journey into the joyful world of dance and together we will find new depths in ourselves. 

Elah Grandel
Elah Grandel was born in Boston but her parents brought her to Israel when she was 2 years old, and since her father was an American and her mom Israeli, she basically grew up in a bilingual home. Elah grew up in Jerusalem and started playing the bassoon when she went to study at the Rubin Academy High School. Following that, she joined the Israeli Army and served there for two years in the program for distinguished musicians. During her Army service she was able to study at the Rubin Academy for higher education, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in music performance. Elah came to Boston with her husband, Misha Grandel (a fantastic trumpet player) in 1999 and graduated with a Masters in music performance from Boston University. Their two boys (11 and 14) play violin and clarinet. Over the years, teaching music to younger children became a real passion and now Elah teaches music in preschools and Jewish day schools. This will be her 7th year teaching at Temple Israel!

Hertz Nursery School Staff

Laura Goodspeed
Laura Goodspeed, Hertz Bunny Teacher (young toddlers), has been in childcare her entire adult life! She is a 2006 graduate of Dean College and holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has worked as both a teacher and a nanny. Her special joys are art, books and letting kids get messy! She lives on the South Shore with her husband and three kitties.

Mikayla Warburton
Mikayla graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dean College in 2019, where she achieved her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Childhood Studies.  Mikayla has been in teaching for four years now and has enjoyed several positions during her college and post college career. She completed three internships with ages ranging from infants up through 5th grade. Most recently before coming to Hertz, she co-taught K-1 at the Pinecroft School in Rehoboth, MA.  Mikayla really enjoys being with young children, teaching and playing with them! Their smart and creative minds are fascinating, and she loves to watch them grow! In her free time, she enjoys walking her two dogs, and spending time with her family and friends.

Ruth Freeman
Ruth Freeman joined the Hertz team in 2020 and enjoys each day she is working here at Temple Israel. Ruth is an avid volunteer in the community, proud parent of a US Marine and happy mother to her two amazing daughters and two nieces. A dedicated teacher she aspires to see each child for exactly what they are - unique, special and worthy. While in her classroom Miss Ruth will laugh, sing and earn her way into the hearts of her students. In class she is constantly striving to be a role model for kindness and respect while share her love for learning. 

Emily Hubbard
Emily just started her first year teaching at Hertz and loves everything about it already! She’s known she wanted to be a teacher since she was in kindergarten and had the amazing opportunity to start early in the early education field when she was 15 through her high school’s vocational program. She believes strongly in learning through play so time spent in her classroom is always fun, silly, and full of laughter. While a big goal this year is to get her students ready for kindergarten, Emily also works hard to promote a strong sense of self in each and every one of her students and models kindness and respect at all times. She is a strong believer that the best learning happens when one feels both safe and confident! Always a learner herself, mistakes that take place in her classroom are always opportunities for growth. Emily spends much of her time creatively, with a special interest in art, music, and interior design.

Cyre Feldman
This is Cyre’s second year at Hertz but she has always had a soft spot in her heart for the program. Her 2 lovely daughters are proud graduates of Hertz Nursery School. Cyre is also the proud mother of a wonderful son and has been happily married for over 25 years.

As one of the toddler teachers in the Cubs classroom, Cyre strives to bring fun and excitement to her students each day. For her it’s an honor to be one of the first people to be able to introduce circle time songs and stories, seasonal themes, exposure to the Jewish culture and many new learning experiences to her little cubbies. Even after 20 plus years, every day is an adventure.

Corey Ebb
This is Corey’s first year teaching at Hertz Nursery School and she is extremely excited and grateful to be a part of such a cohesive and supportive community. She has been an educator for 18 years working with toddlers to middle schoolers but is so excited to work with her favorite age group, preschool! Corey strives to focus on the individual growth and development of each child. She truly believes that we all learn through play and positive experiences and will encourage cooperation, kindness and compassion in the classroom. Corey resides in Walpole with her husband and three school aged children. She loves to spend time with her family, has a passion for theatre and enjoys being outside in nature, especially in her favorite season, autumn. Corey is looking forward to a fun filled year and appreciates you sharing your wonderful children here with us at Hertz Nursery School!

Debbie Seliger
Debbie has a degree in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Elementary Education. Over the years she has worked with young children, volunteered at a hospice center and was actively involved in her daughter's educational and personal life. After working many years in the business world, Debbie returned to her first love which is nurturing, educating and enjoying young children. She is very grateful to be a teacher at the Hertz Nursery School. When Debbie is not working, she spends time with family and friends, enjoys special time with her daughter, taking day trips around New England and appreciating all the fun activities that are a part of each season.
 
Suzanne Legros

Suzanne began working at Hertz January 2021. She enjoyed working the summer camp and is now teaching in the Bunnies class! Her son Jordan, has been attending Hertz since he was a Teddy Bear, and is now in the Dino class! She is very excited and thankful to have been offered the position at Hertz as it has been her lifelong dream and passion to work with children. So much that, she has decided to return to college to further her education in early childhood. Her experience as a babysitter for many years and being a mom, has shaped Suzanne into a kind, loving, and patient teacher. Suzanne treats the children like they are her own and goes in everyday excited and happy to be a part of such a wonderful community.
Suzanne is excited to belong to the Hertz family and is so thankful for the opportunity to take care of your children! She is looking forward to many years to come!

Marilyn Goldman
Marilyn Goldman lived in New York City, attended college there, and moved to Massachusetts after she got married.  She began her teaching career at the elementary level, and switched to early childhood following the birth of her second child.  This is her first year as a member of the Hertz staff and she is enjoying it immensely.  Marilyn adores spending time with young children. She finds their enthusiasm, curiosity, and sense of wonder a never-ending joy to witness.  She is looking forward to a truly wonderful year at Temple Israel.

Ayla Karasahin
Ayla is in her second year of teaching at Hertz and loves working with the community in Sharon which she grew up in. She enjoys watching the children grow and discover who they are and finds joy in all the new milestones achieved. Ayla loves the outdoors and brings her appreciation of nature into the classroom. She is currently finishing up her bachelor’s degree and hopes to continue to master’s and doctorate level studies. When she’s not at work, you can find Ayla hiking with her 5 dogs. 

Marcia Schwartz
Marcia has been in the childcare profession for over 30 years.  She has worked mostly with infants and toddlers. She has also had opportunities to work with preschoolers.  She enjoys watching them learn and grow.  When not at work, she loves to get together with family and friends.  She enjoys being out in nature, especially taking walks along the beach.  Marcia, her son Seth, and his cat Luna have lived in Mansfield for 5 years. Marcia is excited to be working for Hertz Nursery School.  She is delighted to be working with so many wonderful teachers and Miss Leisa as the Stay and Play teacher Monday through Thursday. She is looking forward to a great year of learning and fun for not only her students, but for herself.

Rachel Freeman
Rachel Leigh Freeman has been a part of Hertz Nursery since 2020. She is a bright, engaging new teacher who is experienced with an abundance of ages. Rachel enjoys quiet activities, exploring nature with her students and supports each child with loving reassurance. She interprets her colleagues as a family and fondly recalls Temple Israel as a second home.

Clergy & Staff Emeriti

Hazzan Steven W. Dress (Cantor Emeritus) was attracted to religious life and hazzanut as a protégé of Hazzan Charles Lew, z"l, in Medford, MA. Commissioned as hazzan by the Cantors Assembly, Cantor Dress was awarded a Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, MA and a Master's Degree in Judaic Studies from Hebrew College, Brookline, MA. He also studied Judaica, Music, and Pastoral Counseling at a variety of universities and ulpanim in New England and Israel, including the Fuchsberg Center's Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Cantor Dress studied voice while expanding musical repertoire for nearly 18 years under the guidance of Hazzan Gregor Shelkan, z"l, Newton, MA.

Cantor Dress began serving Temple Israel, Sharon, MA on August 1, 1991. For nine years he previously served Temple Am David, Warwick, RI. He is widely regarded for retaining teenagers in the synagogue setting. Temple Israel's numerous Torah Reading Corps, and its Adult and Youth Choral groups developed under Cantor Dress' direction. Cantor Dress prepared approximately 1,700 b'nai mitzvah during his career.

A lyrical tenor, Hazzan Dress is a baal-nusah in the Eastern European style. His CD recordings and educational cantata video production, contributed to United Synagogue Solomon Schechter Cultural Arts Awards presented to Temple Israel. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Mentor Award by the American Association of University Women, and the Kehillah Schechter Academy Partner Award. Cantor Dress was honored by Temple Israel upon completing his first decade of service, and in April, 2012 he was jointly honored by the synagogue and his New England Region Cantors Assembly colleagues marking his 30th year in the cantorate.

Cantor Dress organized and participated in many New England Region Cantors Assembly concerts. He has served multiple three-year terms on the Cantors Assembly National Executive Council, served as New England's Cantors Assembly Chairman (Conservative Movement), and is a Past President of the New England Board of Cantors (Commissioned Conservative, Orthodox, Reform Cantors). He has lectured on aspects of Jewish liturgy and its potential influence on human behaviors and relationships. During winter 2008, he was the guest hazzan-scholar in residence during a sabbatical leave at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC. He has also volunteered annually as Cantor-in-Residence at NERUSY's Summer Encampment since 1988. A former activist for Soviet Jewry, Cantor Dress advocates for the chronically mentally and physically disabled. Cantor Dress served on the international Board of Directors of the Masorti Foundation as its National Chairman of Israel's B'nai Mitzvah preparatory program that serves profoundly special needs children. He voluntarily teaches Torah cantillation at the Kehillah Schechter Academy. Cantor and Myrna Dress periodically lead inspiring trips to Israel celebrating life cycle events and advancing worthy causes. Cantor Dress organized and facilitated nusah practicum sessions lecturing at USCJ and USY National Conventions. The USCJ Review, 2006 published excerpts of Cantor Dress' Convention paper entitled: "K-Date: the Embrace of Keva and Kavannah in the Conservative Synagogue". Cantor Dress is an American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) activist, and is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and The Phoenix Society.

In the spring following Cantor Dress’ 26th year of service at TI, the Jewish Theological Seminary conferred an honorary doctoral degree (honoris causa) during a NYC convocation. Since his transition to Boca Raton, FL, Cantor Dress has returned to TI for special services and functions, and has happily officiated at weddings of former students at venues around the country. Cantor & Myrna Dress are proud of their daughter, Melissa, a diabetes nurse educator in San Diego, and their son, Jonathan, a Chicago architect who lives with daughter-in-law Ilana and grandsons Isaac (“Yitzi”) & David.

Listen to Cantor Dress's Prayer Melody and Religious School Recordings.

Celebrate Cantor Dress, April 1-2 2017
During the weekend of April 1-2, Temple Israel honored Cantor Steven and Myrna Dress, which included special Shabbat services and a festive kiddush and, on Sunday, April 2nd, a musical program and a celebratory brunch.

Contact Cantor Dress.

 

Harold Lew (Cantor Emeritus)

Deborah Astor (Executive Director Emerita)

Olavo Gomes (Senior Custodian Emeritus)

Thu, December 2 2021 28 Kislev 5782