Teacher Bios

Jerusha Coltof (Kitah Nitzanim & Kitah Gan)  

Jerusha Coltof has been teaching in the Pelham Jewish Center for 20 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 Alef) 

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 to special-needs students at Carmel Academy in CT. She currently lives in New Jersey with her children.

Elise Goldenberg (Kitah Bet-Gimmel) 

Elise Goldenberg grew up in the Pelham Jewish Center, considering it her second home.  She was a Madricha at the Learning Center for much of the past 10 years.  She has experience working with special-needs children, and has been a one-to-one with children at the Learning Center.  Elise is currently studying Early Childhood Development at Westchester Community College.  She is looking forward to her first year as a teacher and having a great year with the kids.

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 fifth year.

Livia Bronstein (Kitah Hei-Vav)  

Livia was born and raised in Israel, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Education from Hakibutzim College in Tel Aviv.  After 18 years of teaching experience in Israel, she moved to the United States with her family in 2003, joining the teaching staff at Carmel Academy in Stamford, CT.  She has been teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies for the past 15 years.  Livia is the proud mother of three adult children -- Mor (a lawyer living in Israel), Allie (a Carmel Academy alum and Quinnipiac University graduate) and Jordan (a Carmel Academy alum and University of Delaware graduate).  She is also the very proud grandmother of four -- Ariel, Ofir, Alma and Maya -- all of whom currently reside in Israel.  Since beginning her teaching career in 1983, Livia has strived to make a meaningful impact in the educational field, and to help all students that cross her path.  Her main goal is to help students realize their full potential, to believe in themselves at all times and to never lose hope -- even when things becoming challenging.  Over the years, Livia has come to realize that learning is a journey, as well as a process.  To succeeed in elementary education, the key is to be open-minded, to "journey" all while filling the "process" with joy and excitement.  Livia joined the PJC Learning Center staff in September 2018, and looks forward to working with our students, your children.  She resides in northern Westchester County.

Havi Pesso (Kitah Zayin)  

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.

Lori Weber (Music)  

Lori Weber holds both a BS in Music Therapy from SUNY Fredonia and an MA in Music Therapy from NYU. She has sung in various bands throughout the Tri-state Area: performing for weddings, corporate events, nursing homes and more.  Lori currently works for a variety of local synagogues in Westchester, teaching religious school music, leading Kabbalat Shabbat for Nursery School and Toddlers, and leading Torah For Tots Services .  Additionally,  Lori teaches private piano and guitar lessons to children and adults.  She is currently pursuing her Cantorial Studies at the Academy For Jewish Religion (AJR), and works as a Cantorial Soloist during the year, leading both Shabbat and High Holiday services for different synagogues in the Tri-state Area.  Lori lives in Westchester with her amazing husband, Robert, and two beautiful sons -- Sammy and Zachary. 

Justin Fiszer (Junior Congregation Leader)   

Justin is currently a college student at the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.  There, he majors in Human Rights and Jewish Thought, respectively.  Justin has been a counselor at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, where he gained a background in experiential Jewish education.  He loves working with his students, and enjoys creating lessons that infuse Jewish tradition and Torah with questions about our modern world.  Justin has a passion for teaching ethics, and believes in inspiring his students to be proud and thoughtful of their Jewish identities and making the world a better place.  He has worked for the Pelham Jewish Center for two years, and loves his students!

Sandi Daniels (Torah Time Leader)

Sandi has been an Early Childhood educator for 19 years, working with children ages 3-5.  She earned a Master's Degree from Manhattanville College in Early Childhood Education.  She ran a lovely Tot Shabbat program for many years.  The services were engaging and interactive, and connected children and their families to Shabbat through prayers, songs, movement, games and stories.  Sandi has subbed in a Gan class, and has done many leave replacements.  Currently, she is working at Riverdale Temple, in a UPK class.  She is looking forward to a second year of shared partnership with PJCs parents and children on Saturday morning during Torah Time.  "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the staff of the PJC Learning Center."  Sandi has three grown children and two wonderful grandchildren.