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Meet Our Religious School Staff and Teachers

Assistant Rabbi David Eber

Assistant Rabbi David Eber

Rabbi David Eber joined JRC after graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2018. He brings with him a passion for teaching, a warm presence, and a desire to help others find meaning in Jewish wisdom and spiritual practices. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College he received the Joseph L. and Ann W. Pinkenson Prize in Rabbinics, and the Tikkun Olam Award in 2015 for his work with Philadelphia’s Emerging Religious Leaders.

Contact Rabbi David if you are looking for information on our Religious School, Youth Group or High School programs.

Email: assistantrabbi@jrctogether.org
Phone: 847-328-7678, ext. 2225

 

Layhao Diep, Assistant to the Executive Director and Bookkeeper

Layhao Diep, Assistant to the Executive Director and Bookkeeper

Kindergarten and First Grade

 

Debbie Heifitz Porter

Shalom JRC Families, I would like to welcome you to our Sunday School kindergarten/first grade class. My name is Debbie Heifitz Porter and I’ve been a JRC member for 13 years. This will be my 9th year teaching at JRC, and I am excited again to teach with my good friend Morah Fran!
 
JRC is a special place and I will try my best to make sure your child is excited about experiencing an introduction to many Jewish traditions through prayer, holiday celebrations and community experiences. We are going to have a wonderful school year together!

 

Fran Landt

Hello Everyone! I am Fran Landt and I’m looking forward to being back at JRC and welcoming your kids soon! This year Debbie Porter and I will co-teach K-1st. I’m excited about the La Bri’ut online program we’ll be using this year, but of course Debbie and I will be able to personalize it for your children as well.

You all know me as a teacher, and occasional storyteller. I’m a JRC member who’s been teaching JRC children long enough that some have gone onto or finished college! I keep returning because of the joyful Jewish community connection. Especially when we can’t be in a classroom together, as has been the case since last spring, it feels so important to keep us all involved with our Jewish heritage, learning, and each other. 

Outside of JRC, I take classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and continue to meet with my jug band, both virtually these days. Skip and I are fortunate that our kids live nearby, and we’ve had many safely distanced visits with them.

Second Grade Teacher

 

Abby Harris-Ridker

My name is Abby Harris-Ridker and I am so excited to be JRC’s 2nd grade teacher this year! Over the past 5 years I have taught 1st, 3rd, 8th grades, and high school at JRC, and I was a madricha in the Pre-K classroom when I was in high school, so I’m looking forward to getting to teach another grade and learn about Judaism through the lens of our 2nd graders. I have the added bonus of having taught this year’s second graders last year, so I am really looking forward to continuing to build relationships with them and dive into our curriculum together.

I love teaching at JRC because I get to know our brilliant students and we get to explore Reconstructionism and Judaism by asking big questions, engaging with art and discussion, and building community.

In addition to teaching at JRC, I have been a member of JRC my entire life and I grew up in our religious school.  Outside of JRC, I am starting my first year as a 3rd grade teacher at a Chicago Public School.  Besides teaching, I love to cook and spend lots of time at the beach, and I am currently working on training my new puppy.  I know this year will be challenging and I look forward to exploring the hardships, frustrations, and beauty and thinking about how we can work towards social justice with the 2nd graders and their families through this year’s curriculum, La-Bri’ut: To Our Health and Wellness.  Please reach out to me throughout the year with any questions and concerns.

Third Grade Teacher

 

Malik Turley

My Name is Malik Turley, and I am looking forward to stepping into the role of teaching the third graders this year in addition to working with the third – sixth graders on Tuesdays. I have been teaching something since I was in High School, starting with the Learn to Swim program at ETHS. Now, I teach dance, fitness, and yoga during the week through Hip Circle Empowerment Center as well as working with the JRC Religious Education program. Movement will be a part of everything I teach, and I look forward to sharing my love of Judaism with you and your children. Together we will make this unprecedented year a fulfilling one.

Fourth Grade Teacher

 

Aviva Feldman

My name is Aviva Feldman and I am excited to be back for my second year as a teacher in 4th grade, and as a new 7th grade teacher! I am a certified teacher for kindergarten through ninth grade and am currently doing my Masters, working towards ESL endorsement, bilingual endorsement, and special education endorsement. I grew up at JRC, first attending religious school and then serving as a madricha from eighth grade through senior year of high school. I was also part of the youth group and served as the Youth Representative to the Board for a year. While in school at Wellesley College, I worked as an assistant teacher at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Newton, MA, another Reconstructionist synagogue. I had such a fun time teaching fourth grade on Sundays last year, and this year I get the privilege to teach fourth grade, electives, small group Hebrew, and seventh grade! I also work with the youth group and the madrichim, and am working closely with Rabbi David and others to plan and create new and exciting innovations for the school. Although it is challenging that we are beginning this year virtually, I am excited to utilize all the great resources out there to make our learning engaging and exciting. I can’t wait to begin our educational journey this year!

Fifth Grade Teacher and Seventh Grade Co-Teacher

 

Ben Kammer

I’m so excited to start my year at JRC! I just moved to Chicago from Massachusetts (Natick for any of Northeasterners) last September. I’ve been working with kids for almost a decade, and there’s nothing I enjoy more. I play tennis, soccer, and ultimate frisbee, and I love to sing and play guitar. I’m incredibly honored to be able to teach 5th this year, as well as co-teach 7th grade with Morah Aviva. The community here at JRC has been amazing. I’m eager to meet all my students and families this fall!

Sixth Grade Teachers

 

Isaac Brosilow

Isaac Brosilow is so excited to be returning to JRC for his third year of teaching, and to be teaching 6th grade this year! In years past, he has taught 7th grade, intermediate Hebrew, and a cooking elective for 3rd-6th graders. Last year, he lived in Jerusalem and studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Isaac is eager to bring back the skills in Jewish text study he encountered there to the JRC community, and will be teaching 6th grade as well as Hebrew and a Tuesday elective. Alongside teaching, Isaac is a contributing writer for Jewish Currents.

 

Sam Frolichstein-Appel

A product of the JRC Religious School himself, Sam Frolichstein-Appel is excited to co-teach 6th grade and co-coordinate the post-b’nai mitzvah program this year! Sam grew up at JRC, as a student, community member, and madrich. Now, after having been away for a few years – with stops along the way to work as a counselor and unit head at Camp Havaya, to dive into Jewish organizing and community building at Brown University (where he also picked up an engineering degree along the way) – he’s happy to be back, albeit virtually.
 
Sam is looking forward to exploring the La’bri-ut curriculum, helping the 6th grade prepare for their b’nai mitzvah, and (re)imagining programming for Post B’nai Mitzvah students. During the week, he’s helping local families with virtual school, and when he’s not on Zoom he enjoys riding his bicycle around Chicago and the North Shore and baking gluten free sourdough bread.

 

Tuesday Electives Teacher

 

Hannah Kaplan

Hannah Kaplan was raised in Evanston, IL. where her work as a madricha (Teaching Assistant) for JRC inspired her to pursue teaching as a career. Hannah graduated with Honors Distinction from DePaul University in 2019 with a BFA in Theatre Arts, a double major in English, and a minor in Philosophy. Her professional experience working with children includes working as a Senior Counselor and Horseback Riding Program Unit Leader with McGaw YMCA’s Camp Echo, teaching English to pre-k through 6th graders in Spain, and tutoring one-on-one before and during the pandemic.
 
She is excited to be back at JRC to teach the Jewish Film Elective looking at media representations and Jewish stereotypes, as well as to be teaching one of our small group Hebrew cohorts.

Small Group Hebrew Teacher

 

Morah Ahava, aka, Amanda Rose Decker

Amanda Rose Decker, aka, Morah Ahava, has been speaking and learning Hebrew since she was three years old with her mother and her sister in her childhood home. Ahava expanded on her knowledge of Hebrew though studying Biblical Hebrew intensively for two years prior to her bat mitzvah, and then through 4 years of modern Hebrew in high school. Ahava then traveled to Jerusalem to study religion and law for a semester abroad at Hebrew University where she studied in Hebrew not English! She is excited to help JRC implement this new approach with small group Hebrew, and to watch a new generation of children come to appreciate love of Hebrew and Jewish culture as much as she does.