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-Bet) 

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.

Penina Weinberger (Kitah Gimmel-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 fourth 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 17 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.

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 a year, and loves his students!

Sandi Daniel (Torah Time Leader)

Sandi has been an Early Childhood educator for 18 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 shared partnership this year 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.

Clara Salzberg (Tot Shabbat Leader)   

Clara is the loving mother of two children, ages 1 and 4.  She sings in the shower and -- occasionally -- to her children, who humor her as best they can.  She converted to Judaism while a student at Wesleyan University, and subsequently developed a passion for young Jewish education after attending toddler Shabbat programs in Manhattan with her daughter.  When she is not discussing the finer points of Bim Bom, Clara works as a prosecutor at the Bronx County District Attorney's Office and cooks elaborate dishes involving matzo balls and macaroni (usually, but not always, served separately).  Her current areas of interest include percussion, puppetry and savoring the small victories.

Stav Meishar  (Yom Rishon Mishpachah Leader)   

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.