is the Founding Director of the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks project, affectionately called “S & B” to this day!
In 2003, Charlotte directed the crafting of the first Tanakh Standards and Benchmarks Document and proposed a systematic program for in-service learning for day school Judaic studies faculties and their Judaic studies leaders, preparing them in how to enact the standards as a means for advancing the teaching and learning of Tanakh. In addition to the in-service learning for faculty, the program included coaching and mentoring as well as a series of three professional learning institutes for JS heads, affectionately called “ILS's” (Instructional Leadership Seminars).
In 2012, she proposed the development of a Rabbinics Standards and Benchmarks Compendium, which has come to fruition under the able leadership of Rabbi Sheryl Katzman. Charlotte credits the TECs for continually improving the program’s offerings, for their unwavering support for their cohort schools, and inspiring faculties and leaders alike.
Charlotte’s passionate involvement in education began with her career as a teacher of Judaic studies at Hillel Day School of Farmington Hills, Michigan. She served as Dean of Studies at Golda Och Academy, Upper School, and as principal of its middle school. Charlotte earned her BS degree at Columbia University, her BJed from Boston’s Hebrew College, and an MA in Jewish Education and Principal’s Certification from JTS. She is the 2013 recipient of the Hebrew College Benjamin Shevach Award for distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Jewish Education from JTS and the Jewish Educator’s Assembly in November 2015.
Now heading into a well-earned retirement, in her decades of stellar service, Charlotte has taught, trained, and inspired many others in the field, and has been a founding architect of the professionalization of Jewish education.
is the Director of Human Resources of the Santa Ana Unified School District in Santa Ana, CA. Prior to her current position, Bianca was Principal of the MacArthur Middle School in Santa Ana. She began her career in education teaching middle school students in a parochial school prior to moving to the public school arena first as an elementary school teacher then as a Curriculum Specialist coaching and training teachers and administrators in reading, writing and English Language development strategies.
Dr. Cindy Reich
is the Academic Director of Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks. Since 2007 Cindy has been a Tanakh Educator Consultant (TEC) with the program, serving in community, Conservative, and Orthodox day schools across the United States and Canada. Prior to her work with Standards and Benchmarks, Cindy was the Director of the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School, a community school in Minnesota, where she also taught Jewish Studies and Hebrew for many years. Cindy has also worked as an independent consultant and coach on programs in general and Jewish education focusing on professional development, curriculum design, leadership, assessment, and evaluation.
Cindy holds degrees from Brown University, Hebrew Union College, and University of Southern California. She completed a doctorate in Evaluation Studies at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development in the College of Education and Human Development in 2015. She is married to Rabbi Harold Kravitz, a Conservative congregational rabbi in Minneapolis. Her daughters, son, and daughter-in-law are all day school graduates.
is Associate Director, educational consultant, and head of Educational Technology at JDS Standards & Benchmarks. Judith is a seasoned senior educational leader, having been Principal, Vice Principal, Curriculum Developer, teacher, and Department Head at Jewish day schools in the Toronto area, and has been a Course Director at York University. As Vice-Principal at TanenbaumCHAT, she spearheaded the Tanakh and Rabbinics Standards & Benchmarks curriculum enhancement projects as well as the Science & Religion and TanenbaumCHAT University initiatives. She has also worked in the community as a teacher at the Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, as a Nehama Leibowitz Conference Director, Limmud presenter, and as the developer and teacher of a USCJ award-winning Family Education program. She is experienced in academic research, pursuing a Ph.D. at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and having worked in research at the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University.
Judith has won numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to the fields of Jewish studies and innovative education. These include the Gold Solomon Schechter Award for Jewish Family Education from USCJ, the Fannie and Robert Gordis Prize in Bible, the Revson Fellowship for Doctoral Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and York University’s Division of Humanities Excellence in Teaching Award.
is the Field Services Director of Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks. Having joined the project in its first year of implementation, she has consulted with over 30 schools across denominations, in Canada and the United States. Aviva has earned degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew University and the University of Toronto. She also was deeply involved with various Camps Ramah, in Canada, the United States and Jerusalem.
Aviva has held positions of leadership as Principal of Jewish Studies at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, as Director of Camp Ramah Day Camp in Jerusalem, as a member of the original writing team for the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, and as the first educational consultant and teacher in the Tikvah program for special needs campers at Camp Ramah in Canada.
During her career as a Jewish Educator, Aviva has taught, developed and published curriculum, supervised, mentored and coached students, teachers and administrators in a wide variety of Jewish educational schools and settings. Together with her husband, Dr. Mark Smiley, and by co-parenting children with wildly different learning styles, Aviva continues to seek and appreciate the “tzelem ehohim” in every individual.
Dr. Alex Sinclair
is a Jewish educational thinker, teacher and writer. He is the Lead Educational Consultant for Educating for Impact, an initiative, funded by several European Jewish philanthropies and the Government of Israel, which works with Jewish day schools throughout Europe. He grew up in London, England, and received an MA (Oxon) from Balliol College Oxford. He received his PhD in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was thereafter, between 2002 and 2019, a faculty member, either full or adjunct, for the Davidson School of JTS, creating and directing its ground-breaking Israel education short- and long-term programs. Along the way, he has taught or worked for the Hartman Institute, the Schechter Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hebrew Union College, and the Jewish Agency (Makom). He has run workshops for adults on Israel education, and also has extensive teaching experience in a wide variety of K-12 contexts, including synagogue school, day school and summer camp. He has published several academic articles on Jewish education and Israel education, op-eds in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, and is the author of “Loving the Real Israel: An Educational Agenda for Liberal Zionism”.
Alex has been involved in the Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute from its inception, as a writer as well as a consultant to schools. He lives with his family in Modiin, Israel, and is very partial to chocolate (British or European only, please).
currently serves as the Program Assistant for Jewish Day Schools Standards and Benchmarks and the Day School Leadership Training Institute. She is a native of West Bloomfield, MI, and she graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Ilana began her career at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2019 when she made the move to New York, which is where she currently resides.
Former Associates of JDS Standards & Benchmarks:
Rabbi Maccabee Avishur
currently serves as the Academic Dean and Principal of General Studies at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ as well as a senior consultant for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools where he works with schools on leadership development and governance. A cornerstone of Maccabee’s work is providing a bridge between school leadership and instruction.
In addition to his work at Heichal and Prizmah, Maccabee served as a TEC for the JDS Standards and Benchmarks project and was a member of the advisory committee for the creation of the Rabbinics standards and benchmarks.
Previously, Maccabee served as both a senior school leader and classroom teacher in California, Texas, and Michigan. Maccabee is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of Cambridge as well as a Musmach of Dayan Ephraim Greenblatt, zt”l. He did postgraduate work in Near Eastern languages and cultures at UCLA, and is currently in the dissertation phase of a doctorate in educational leadership at Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Sheryl Katzman
is Senior Director of Member Engagement at the Rabbinical Assembly. She was the Rabbinics Initiative Leader of the Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute. She led the professional development program for enacting the Rabbinics standards and benchmarks in Jewish day schools, and idirected the development of the Rabbinics Standards and Benchmarks Compendium with a distinguished group of scholars and educators. Sheryl began working with the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Project as a Tanakh TEC (Tanakh Education Consultant) in 2011 and has had the privilege of working with a wide spectrum of Jewish day schools across North America.
Rabbi Katzman began her career in Day School education at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago where she had the privilege of serving as the Rabbi in Residence, Middle and Elementary School principal.
After earning a BA at the University of Michigan, Sheryl attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where she concentrated in Tanakh and earned rabbinic ordination and a Masters in Jewish Education.
Dr. Marjorie Lehman
is Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary and the Area Coordinator of Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures. She teaches a wide range of courses in Rabbinics, including courses on gender in Talmudic literature, aggadah, halakhah, the history of the Jewish book and pedagogy. Her scholarly journey reflects a commitment to balancing the historical and intellectual aspects of Jewish texts while also focusing on the ways they speak to and help us to understand our place in the contemporary moment.
Dr. Lehman’s first book, The En Yaaqov: Jacob ibn Habib’s Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus (Wayne State University Press, 2012) reflects her interest both in the study of Talmudic aggadah and also in the concept of studying a complete literary work—in this case the early sixteenth century collection, the En Yaaqov. Building on this interest and integrating it with her interest in gender in rabbinic literature, she explored the Babylonian tractate, Yoma, as one cultural unit of study. This book, Bringing Down the Temple House: Engendering Tractate Yoma is forthcoming (Brandeis University Press, 2022). With a staunch commitment to collaborative work, Dr. Lehman has co-edited two books with Jane Kanarek, Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination (Liverpool: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization at Liverpool University Press, 2017) and Learning to Read Talmud: What it Looks Like and How It Happens.
As co-director of an internationally renowned digital humanities project in Jewish Studies called Footprints: Jewish Books in Time and Place (http://footprints.ctl.columbia.edu/), Dr. Lehman had dedicated herself to tracking and analyzing the global movement of copies of Jewish books since the inception of print. As a provenance project, Footprints offers scholars the opportunity to think about the way a book becomes personalized by paying careful attention to the marks individuals leave on its physical form including its owners’ signatures, censors’ marks, marginalia, and the mementoes pasted between its leaves. It brings to the humanities and to Jewish education a new approach to studying history that considers book ownership as able to offer insight into the complexity of Jewish life and culture.
A deeply reflective and committed teacher, Dr. Lehman pays great attention to pedagogy and has collaborated on research with members of JTS's Jewish Education faculty and has conducted workshops in conjunction with the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University. She has been a fellow at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She currently she serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Jewish History, the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and the board of trustees at the Ramaz School in NYC.
Rabbi Elazar Bloom
has been involved in Jewish education for almost 20 years. Most recently he has served as the Rav Ruchani and Tanach curriculum coordinator at Brauser Maimonides Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On several occasions he has been recognized for his unique contributions to Jewish education, notably, with the North American Grinspoon-Steinhardt award for excellence in Jewish education. Rabbi Bloom is also a licensed psychotherapist in private practice specializing in couples and families. He, his wife Rivkah and their 5 children live in Hollywood, Florida.
Rabbi Alvan H. Kaunfer
was the founding Director of the Alperin Schechter Day School in Providence, which he headed for 13 years. He also served as a Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, Providence, where he was responsible for educational programming and supervising the School and Youth Directors. Rabbi Kaunfer is a graduate of Brandeis University, Teachers’ College of Columbia University, and ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, from which institution he also holds a Doctoral degree in Education focusing on teaching Midrash in day schools.
Rabbi Kaunfer has taught courses in Jewish Education at the Davidson School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and at Hebrew College in Boston. He has published articles on education and on midrash in several professional journals and books. Rabbi Kaunfer has been a TEC for the Standards and Benchmarks Tanakh Project for eight years, and a Rabbinics TEC for two years. Rabbi Kaunfer is married to Marcia Lapidus Kaunfer and he has two sons, Elie and Oren and six grandchildren.
Rabbi Jane Kanarek, Ph.D.
is Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Associate Dean of Academic Development and Advising in the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. She received her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. An alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, she is the author of Biblical Narrative and the Formation of Rabbinic Law and the co-editor of Learning to Read Talmud: What It Looks Like and How It Happens and Motherhood in the Jewish Cultural Imagination, both of which were finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.
Marcia Lapidus Kaunfer
served as a curriculum writer for Melton for many years, producing materials in the areas of Bible and Holidays. A 1992 Covenant winner, she was head writer for the Matok Tanakh curriculum from 1999 until 2009. She served variously as teacher, Assistant Director, and Head of Judaic Studies at the Schechter / JCDSRI School in Providence, Rhode Island for 28 years.
Since 2008, Marcia has served as the TEC at several different schools: Kehilla Schechter Academy (formerly the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School) in Norwood, Massachusetts, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia, The Primary Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital in Washington, D.C., Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, the Rodeph Sholom School in Manhattan, and Middle School of the A. J. Heschel Middle School in Manhattan. For the past four years she has served as the TEC at the A J Heschel Lower School and as TEC-At-Large.
A native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Marcia holds degrees from Hebrew Teachers College, Brandeis University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to her work in Jewish education, Marcia is a Hebrew calligrapher, and the writer and producer of “Beatle Torah,” a musical based on the book of Bereisheet. She and her husband, Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer, are proud Sabba and Savta to six young Red Sox fans..