Our Congregational School Staff

 

Image previewGabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
Congregational School Co-Coordinator
Food for Thought (Teen Program); Coordinator, Celebrations! 

Gabby has worked in Jewish education -- as an education director, curriculum writer, teacher, author and youth director/advisor -- for over 20 years.

At Mishkan Shalom, she created Celebrations! -- an award-winning Shabbat family educational program for children with special needs and their families -- and directs Mishkan's chapter while expanding the program throughout the region, including the development of a social and social action group for young adults with special needs, Mitzvah Menshes. She teaches our very popular teen cooking program, Food for Thought and is a long-time teacher in our school (now going into her 20th year!) and a cherished staff member, having served most recently as Youth Director.

She serves as Director, Whole Community Inclusion at Jewish Learning Venture, working on disability inclusion with synagogues and schools across the area.

Gabby is the author of two books of plays for young people including Extraordinary Jews: Their Lives on Stage. Her nonfiction books include The Creative Jewish Wedding Book and most recently The Little Gate-Crasher.  She is a popular writer and blogger about Jewish, parenting, arts and special needs topics.

Gabby holds a B.F.A. in theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

 

Gari J Weilbacher, M.Ed.
Congregational School Co-Coordinator

After beginning her career as an early invervention educator/counsellor to 2 year-old deaf children and their parents, Gari now comes full circle back to education as administrator of the Congregational School. Her detour into communications and non-profit consulting is represented with additional portfolios at Mishkan as well. She is thrilled that Mishkan's school has been historically diverse from its inception and is eager to talk to families who want a school that embodies inclusion and respect as key Jewish values. Please contact her at gari@mishkan.org to learn more about the school. 


 

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Gan, Alef, Bet Teacher (Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd Grade)

Julia Weekes

Julia has been at Mishkan for years as a teacher and a parent. She is the mom of Judah and Isaiah, who are both in the teen group. Julia has primarily been Mishkan’s Kitah Gimel teacher, but has also taught Kitah Dalet, Bet Hebrew, served as a substitute teacher, and occasional tutor.

Julia structures the class as a Kehillah -- each person being integral in creating the most joyful and productive learning environment. She utilizes cooperative and experiential learning for all aspects of the curriculum.

 

Dalet (4th grade) 

Amy Goldman 

Amy joined our teaching staff last year and has extensive experience in Jewish education. Amy loves the creative arts and cooking--two passions that she’s already brought to her students at Mishkan!

 

 

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Hay Teacher (5th Grade)

Cantor David Acker

David holds a Masters in Cantorial Studies and Jewish Music from Gratz College as well as music degrees from Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Swarthmore College. He is also a candidate for a Masters in Jewish Education at Gratz College. David challenges his students to invest their own creativity, imaginations and intelligence into the development of their Jewish identity. Through experiential learning, he facilitates his students' discovery of the relevance of Jewish customs, literature, prayers and ideas. He also believes that students feel much more comfortable in the synagogue when they know they are competent in Hebrew, so he designs games and engaging exercises to help them learn.

Prior to teaching at Mishkan Shalom, David served as cantor and music specialist at Congregation Ohev Shalom (Wallingford, PA) and Or Shalom (Berwyn, PA). At Mishkan he has led clubs that created and performed plays and raps for HannukahPurim and Passover, as well as storytelling and trope clubs. He enjoys singing all kinds of music: opera, musical theater and lieder as well as liturgical music. David is drawn to teaching in the synagogue, because within it he experiences the whole gamut of Jewish life: prayer, education, b’nai-mitzvah preparation, lifecycle and community.


Vav (6th grade)    

Noah Rubin-Blose
    

Noah, an incoming student at the Reconstructing Judaism seminary, is new to our faculty. Noah      brings a passion for social justice, a background in curriculum development, Talmud study and        his professional skills as a chef!

 

 

Zayin (7th grade)

Holli Goldenberg
 

Holli, also new to our staff this year, is an accomplished educator by profession, currently working as a middle school ESOL teacher for the school district of Philadelphia. Holli has extensive experience in both formal and informal Jewish education, has a background in theater and is a fluent Spanish speaker.

 

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / office@mishkan.org Site map