Meet Our Religious School Staff and Teachers
Rabbi David Eber, Assistant Rabbi for Education
Contact Rabbi David if you are looking for information on our Religious School, Youth Group or High School programs.
Phone: 847-328-7678, ext. 2225
Layhao Diep, Assistant to the Executive Director and Bookkeeper
Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Debbie Heifitz Porter
First Grade, Second Grade, and Tuesday Breirot
Sunday 3rd Grade and Tuesday Torah and Breirot Teacher
Fourth Grade Teacher
My Name is Malik Turley, and I am looking forward to stepping into the role of teaching the fourth graders on Sundays this year. 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.
Fifth Grade Teacher & Derech Co-Teacher
6th Grade, Torah, and Hebrew Teacher
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. The community here at JRC has been amazing. I’m eager to meet all my students and families this fall!
Tuesday Torah and Breirot Teacher, and 7th Grade Co-Teacher
Cohen has spent the past year teaching and developing original curriculum for 6th and 7th grade. He’s also worked with the Jewish Federation to kickstart conversations around LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity in Jewish spaces. Teaching is one of Cohen’s favorite things! Cohen is passionate about always asking good questions and building community. Combining their background in theater and love of Judaism Cohen builds a learning environment that is built for anyone. They are so excited to start out the year!
Tuesday Torah and Hebrew Teacher
Rabbi Binyamin Herst
Rabbi Benyamin Herst is a native Chicagoan. After growing up here, he spent many years living outside the city including a stint in Boston where he attended the Berklee College of Music. Prior to leaving Chicago he was the Assistant Director of Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute where he grew up as a camper and then staff member. Benyamin may be the closest faculty member at JRC as he lives just south, a block into Chicago. Hence, he has no excuses for being late to school! During the week he serves as the Rabbinic Advisor to the Keshet Day School and teaches at several Keshet sites. He also plays music whenever possible and is looking forward to resuming post Covid performing again. Rabbi Herst has experience working in school administration as well as teaching in the classroom. He has taught in synagogue after school programs and day schools for decades. He brings his love of Judaism to the classroom, sometimes with a guitar in hand, often combining a Jewish music component to his lessons.
Derech: Post B’nai Mitzvah Co-Teacher
Hebrew Coordinator and Specialist
Rabbi Toby Manewith
Rabbi Manewith fell in love with Jewish education, handing out graham crackers and juice as a teacher’s assistant in a second grade classroom when she was 15 years old. Professionally, she has worked for Hillel, as a congregational rabbi, and a director of education. Rabbi Manewith has been writing curriculum for clients all over the world for 18 years; five years ago she made the move to consult full-time. She continues to teach because there is nothing better than connecting with kids. Though she was ordained in the Reform Movement, friends insist her worldview is at least 33% Reconstructionist. Rabbi Manewith is a native Chicagoan, a Cubs fan, and a baker of excellent gluten-free brownies.