Director of Education- Rabbi Judy Spicehandler
Rabbi Judy Spicehandler was raised in a rabbinic family with a particular passion for education and for the Hebrew language. She spent the latter half of her childhood in Israel, where her father was the dean of the Jerusalem branch of Hebrew Union College. After serving in Tzahal (Israel Defense Force), and spending a year at Kibbutz Tzelim, she studied art at the University of Chicago (BA 1976) and at the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 1999), and was a professional artist before shifting her focus to Jewish education. Rabbi Spicehandler comes to Beth El with 18 years of experience in Jewish education, interrupted only by four-year tenure as a student at Hebrew Union College, where she was ordained in 1999.
Director of Youth Engagement- Kyle Herman
Kyle Herman recently moved to MA from Ft. Collins, CO where he had been working as the Madrechim Director (and VP of Fundraising) at Congregation Har Shalom. He graduated from Western State Colorado University (deep in the cold mountains of western Colorado) with a double major in Economics (He’s an Econ Nerd) and Business Administration, but found a passion for Jewish Education which dictated his professional path. He is a proud Coloradoan and especially enjoys hiking, rafting, skiing (and skiing, and skiing), and any other outdoor activity. Of course he loves sports: Go Broncos (football), Mariners or anyone other than the Yankees (baseball), Avalanche (hockey), Nuggets or Pacers (Basketball)! He’s open to having a conversation about adopting some New England teams into his shuffle.
Kyle spent the last 10 years of his life working in Jewish Youth Education, at summer camps and religious schools teen programs-(Shwayder Camp in Colorado, Camp George in Parry Sound, Canada) as a counselor, Unit Head, Program Director, Food Facilities and Logistics Coordinator, Director of Counselors in Training, Teacher, Youth Group Director, and Madrechim Director; and is very happy to be continuing this career path at Congregation Beth El.
Kyle’s passion for Jewish Education comes from the overlap between his personal values and the traits which Judaism considers important. Values like Empathy, Honesty, Debate and Analysis, Acceptance of all people/cultures, etc.
“Being in a position to show and teach young people how Judaism influences their life-via their community, their social network, their professional lives, etc. allows me to share my values with a larger community-and to positively impact teens as they develop and mature. I can’t think of any job more satisfying.”
Education Coordinator – Beth Schine
Beth has been an active member of the Beth El community since 1994. She has taught in the religious school since 1999 and served as interim principal for a year prior to Rabbi Spicehandler’s arrival. Beth has served in various positions on the Board of Directors, including President from 2006-08. Beth is married to Pam McArthur. They have a son, Aaron, who grew up at Beth El, starting in the preschool and going through Siyyum (12th grade). They are grateful to have found a spiritual home in Beth El.
In her spare time Beth enjoys singing, cooking and kayaking.
JStart Coordinator – Sarah Ruderman Wilensky
Sarah Ruderman Wilensky is an experienced Jewish Educator and the coordinator for our JStart programs for Families with Young Children. In addition to her work at Beth El, Sarah is the founder of JewFood where she specializes in teaching about Jewish identity, holidays and culture through food. She also works as a Jewish Educator at the JCC of Greater Boston. She has worked with everyone from toddlers and preschoolers, elementary aged students, teens, adults and families of every shape and size. Sarah has been in the field of Jewish Education for over a decade, with experience in synagogues, camps and universities. Sarah has an undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College in Theater Arts and studied in the MARE program at Hebrew Union College in New York. She is also a StorahTelling trained Educator, is a member of the National Association of Temple Educators, Hazon’s Jewish Food Educators Network and CJP’s Families with Young Children Community of Practice. When not working Sarah is found spending time with her 2 young children, enjoying cooking and eating and playing and listening to music. She lives in Newton with her husband, 2 young children and cat, Brisket.
Click here to see all JStart Programs