Teacher Bios

Hildy Martin (Nitzanim)  

Hildy Martin has been teaching children all her life. She is a certified teacher with a Masters in Early Childhood Education, and has taught kindergarten and second grade for the past 20 years in New Rochelle Public Schools. Prior to that, Hildy was a registered occupational therapist involved in early intervention for pre-school and school-age children. Hildy is a member of the Pelham Jewish Center, actively involved in congregational activities and has studied at the Conservative Yeshiva and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She is the mother of three grown children. She loves dressing up in costumes, especially on Purim!

Jerusha Coltof (Kitah Gan-Alef)  

Jerusha Coltof has been teaching in the Pelham Jewish Center for 19 years. She has taught children from Nitzanim through Kitah Zayin. Jerusha is a Special Education teacher, working with young children with various learning disabilities. She is currently working at Westchester Day School.  Jerusha earned her degrees from Boston University, Manhattanville College and Touro College.  As always, Jerusha is looking forward to a wonderful year with your children!

Sonia Levin (Kitah Bet-Gimmel) 

Sonia Levin is a Hebrew Language and Reading specialist.  She received an MA in Education from Tel Aviv University and a second MA in Jewish Education from Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  Her research was focused on teaching Hebrew decoding skills to children with dyslexia, and other language/reading disabilities, based on data available in Israel, Europe, Russia and the United States.  Through her practice with this novel decoding system, Sonia found that it can be used to teach Hebrew reading not only to children with learning disabilities, but to students at any level.  In addition to being a seasoned teacher, Sonia also facilitates professional education training.  During the week, she teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Carmel Academy in CT. She currently lives in Yonkers, NY, with her two children.

Penina Weinberger (Kitah Daled) 

Penina Weinberger graduated from Barnard College with a BA in English literature, and holds a Master's of Social Work from Columbia and a Master's in Judaic Studies from Columbia/JTS.  She began her career as a development professional at UJA-Federation. After leaving UJA to raise her children, Penina spent several summers as a member of the Judaic studies staff at Camp Ramah, Nyack. She is involved in volunteer projects for The Windward School, and in the Jewish community, including coordinating special educational events and programming for the Young Israel of Scarsdale. Penina recently completed coursework at the Windward Teacher Training Institute. She is glad to be working at the PJC for her second year.

Havi Pesso (Kitah Hei)  

Havi envisions Jewish education as partnership among students, teachers and parents. She is a motivated and innovative Hebrew and Judaic Studies educator with more than 10 years of experience teaching young people in New York. She believes strongly in meeting each child at his/her personal stage of development to encourage each student's maximum progress and success. Havi continually strives to create a warm and exciting learning environment for her students. She has taught Hebrew, Judaic Studies, Chumash, Israeli History and Prayer and has crafted educational programs for classrooms, small groups with special needs, enrichment programs and family programs. Havi's years of experience teaching Art and Art History in Israel contribute to her ability to plan and create games and activities that engage and motivate students in learning Hebrew, Chumash, Jewish Holidays and Tefillah. As an Israeli who loved growing up in Israel and raising her own children in Israel, she has a strong connection to our History and the place we all call our Homeland. Havi aims to foster the love for our traditions, Torah and Mitzvoth, the Hebrew language, the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Rivka Kisling (Kitah Vav)  

Rivka has been teaching Hebrew for 15 years, both in Israel and in the United States.  She received her B.A. from the Rubin Academy in Movement and Dance, and her Master's from Lehman College in School Counseling.  She ran her own preschool program in Israel, which specialized in bi-lingual education and using a multi-sensory approach to engage each student.  Rivka believes in fostering a love of Judaism in her students, and cultivating a strong personal connection to the Hebrew language, Israel and the Israeli culture.  She lives in Patterson, NY, with her husband and four daughters.

Matt Krass (Music Instruction)   

Matt Krass is the new face of children's and Jewish music in the tri-state area, regularly teaching Jewish music at numerous synagogues, Jewish schools and camps.  He has dedicated his profession to delighting classrooms and audiences of children and adults with fun, engaging and educational Jewish music.  For four years, he has attended Song Leader Boot Camp, the premier national convention of Jewish musicians, lead by modern Jewish rock pioner, Rick Recht.  Raised in Cincinnati, OH, Matt is a third-generation musician, learning to play guitar and piano by ear.  He grew up attending religious school, JCC day camp and overnight camo, and was active in BBYO.  Matt holds a BA in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, and an MS Ed. from Mercy College.  He lives in Rockland County with his wife, Orlee, and their three children.

Stav Meishar  (Tot Shabbat)   

Stav Meishar, founder and director of Dreamcoat Experience, is a performer and Jewish educator born and raised in Israel, living and working in New York City.  With a history of almost a decade in Jewish education, Stav specializes in weaving her artistic skills into her teaching methods, creating meaningful experiences for children incorporating drama, music, circus, dance, yoga and more. She's worked at synagogues, schools and private homes all over the Tri-State area with children of all ages and denominations.  Stav is a graduate of AMDA's Musical Theatre Conservatory and has trained in teaching CircusYoga and in using circus as a therapeutic tool for children with special needs at Holistic Circus Therapy.  When Stav's not teaching Jewish children throughout the NY metro area, she proudly juggles (no pun intended!) a career in the performing arts as a stage and circus performer.

Sarah Doar (Young Junior Congregation) 

Sarah first began teaching Hebrew as a teenager, working as a teacher's aide at the synagogue she grew up in -- Temple Beth Elohim in Brewster, NY.  In 2008, Sarah moved to Israel, where she lived for four years.  For two of those years, she served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a parachuter handler.  Since returning to New York, Sarah has taught the B'nei Mitzvah class at Hebrew Congregation of Somers, and acted as the Youth Director and Westchester Jewish Teen Learning initiative Madricha at Temple Beth Shalom in Mahopac, NY.  Her favorite part about working with kids is witnessing them having fun and engaging with hands-on experiences, learning both from her and from each other!  Sarah holds an Associate's degree in Communications and Media Arts from Westchester Community College, and this fall will graduate from Fordham University with a Bachelor's in Professional Studies in New Media.  When she is not teaching or studying, Sarah loves travelling, watching all kinds of movies and cooking vegan food.  She is excited to work with the PJC's first Young Junior Congregation in forming a new Shabbat kehillah!