Introducing Our 2019-20 Staff!
K’tana: “Small World”
Maisie (she/her) is a senior at Smith College and is so excited to be joining the ALMA staff as the K’tana (Pre-K) lead teacher! Originally from the Boston area, she is now living in Northampton finishing up her Sociology major and Math minor and hopes to pursue her interests in Jewish social justice work or Jewish education after graduation. Maisie is passionate about education and is looking forward to exploring the stories, feelings, tastes, textures, and more of the Jewish holidays with the kiddos this year. Her experience with children is across a variety of environments where she has learned to value group cooperation, a focus on social and emotional growth, and child-guided play. In her free time, Maisie loves hanging out with her animal and human friends, making art, and enjoying the sunlight!
Anna Logowitz (she/her), K-1 teacher, became interested in education at the age of 13 when she saw the power of creative teaching to change lives, and in religion possibly before she could walk. She earned a BA in religious studies from Smith College in 2007 and a Master or the Arts in Teaching, also from Smith, in 2013 and has taught everything from literacy to goat care to students of all ages (grandparents included) in Waldorf, Montessori, charter, mainstream public, and special education schools. As well as teaching with ALMA, Anna currently runs the Falcons Integralis Learning Community, a one room schoolhouse for homeschool children, and fills what time remains with boat building, toy making, exuberant discussion, and art that makes people look twice. She is very excited to be joining such a vibrant community that approaches Judaism from so many colorful angles.
Amirim: “Bundles of Wheat”
Ann (Morah Chana, she/her) comes to us with years of experience as an educator. She was trained as a Montessori teacher for 6-9 year olds, and taught for 11 years at the Lander~Grinspoon Academy next door. Now, working with 2-3rd graders at ALMA for 4 years, she is a warm presence who is works hard to accommodate each child’s learning needs. She is an enthusiastic collaborator with parents and school colleagues, welcoming strategies for bridging between her big ideas and the children she’s nurturing. In ALMA, she and her students dig deep into Judaism’s treasures. This past summer she immersed herself in Hamilton and was beside herself when she actually got to see it.
Sadie Gold-Shapiro (they/them) is thrilled to be joining the staff of ALMA as the lead teacher for Ilanot. For the past four years, they have been working at the Yiddish Book Center as a translator, an oral historian, an archivist, and an educator. They love exploring the past and are especially excited to encounter questions of roots, home, and diaspora with their students. A lifelong resident of Northampton and longtime CBI community member, they look forward to growing and learning alongside the next generation. In their free time, they are an avid pickler and play ukulele and sing in the local klezmer band, Burikes [beets in Yiddish].
Matthew (he/him) is an educator and public historian who has lived, worked and studied in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New York. In his work as a teacher, Matthew has prioritized student engagement and developed collaborative, student-led projects which ask young people to pursue their individual interests while contributing their particular strengths and approaches. He has worked with students at every grade level, though much of his work has been with high school juniors and seniors as a History and Civics teacher and academic advisor. He believes that every classroom should be inclusive of all types of learners and respectful of students’ individual identities. Matthew’s research has been on slavery and abolition in the North, and on the limits of freedom and issues of mobility and geography in African American community formation in New York’s Hudson River Valley. He is a Yiddishist and a songwriter who dreams of one day bringing together these two pursuits. Matthew lives with his family in Northampton.
Aram Rubenstein-Gillis (he/him) is a music and media teacher who works with elementary school kids to write and produce their own songs, podcasts and movies. Aram has been a Jewish songleader with a number of different communities and organizations and is currently recording an album of original music for Jewish families. As a creative consultant and political advocate, Aram has worked with Moore and Associates, Actually.org, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, Revolutions Per Minute, The Jewish Farm School, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Food Corps. Aram is a graduate of Vassar College, where he studied the role that music and religion play in creating social change.
Originally from Southern California, Elanit (she/her) moved to Northampton MA in 2007 with her husband Eitan and daughter Amalya. As a child Elanit was actively involved in a Jewish youth movement, attended Herzl Jewish Day School in Los Angeles, and spent two years of High School in Israel. Elanit has a Masters of Family Therapy and spent many years working at a Jewish residential treatment center for addiction. She also serves on the board of the Lander Grinspoon Academy in Northampton MA.
Nili Simhai (she/her) serves as the Director of Outdoor Education for Abundance Farm. Nili served as the Director of Teva, a leading Jewish environmental education organization, for fourteen years. A recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Nili has been recognized for her leadership in training and counseling hundreds of educators in the tenets of Jewish environmental education. One of her current passions is outdoor classrooms in Jewish institutions.
Rebecca Leung (she/her) serves as the Farm Educator for Abundance Farm. Rebecca became interested in gardening while doing an AmeriCorps program at an elementary school in California, where rosemary grows as a bush and kale is a perennial. Since then, she’s worked at a variety of CSA and wholesale farms in Massachusetts, including Brookfield Farm and most recently Old Friends Farm in Amherst, MA. Rebecca is excited to facilitate her own and young people’s Jewish learning through farming and being connected to land.