Teacher Bios

Jerusha Coltof (Kitot Nitzanim-Gan & Lomdim b’Yachad Staff)  

Jerusha has been teaching in the Pelham Jewish Center for 23 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 earned her degrees from Boston University, Manhattanville College and Touro College.  As always, Jerusha is looking forward to a wonderful year with your children!

Sandra Daniels (Shabbat & Family Sunday’s Leader)

Sandi has been an Early Childhood educator for over 20 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 continuing the shared partnership with PJCs parents and children on Saturday morning during Torah Time.  Sandi has three grown children and two wonderful grandchildren.

Lilly Engel (Bubby’s Kitchen)

Lilly grew up on a farm in south western rural Wisconsin where her passion for cooking was born working alongside her mother in the kitchen crafting dishes from freshly harvested veggies and fruits. Nannying her way through college, she developed a deep love of working with kids and teaching them how to cook and bake. Post university she was stationed in Guatemala for the Peace Corps where she continued to grow her skill set in the kitchen, teaching women’s groups and youth groups. Lilly is excited to work with the Learning Center students in “Bubby’s Kitchen” and share from her knowledge and experiences with them.

Elise Goldenberg (Kitah Bet

Elise grew up in the Pelham Jewish Center, considering it her second home.  As a child, she went on the PJC’s first family trip to Israel, was involved in youth programming and served as a Madricha.  She has experience working with children of all ages, as well as children with special needs.  Elise is currently studying Early Childhood Development at Westchester Community College.  She is looking forward to her fourth year as a teacher at the PJC Learning Center, and to a wonderful year with her Kitah Alef students.

Emily Herzfeld (Lomdim b’Yachad Staff)  

Emily is excited to be returning to the PJC, where she had previously taught Kitah Gimmel from 2005-2007.  She has a Master’s Degree in Early Education and has been teaching in nursery schools for over 15 years.  In addition to Kitah Gimmel, Emily has taught Gan classes at religious schools for 10 years.  She is also a learning specialist at the Beth El Synagogue Religious School.  She is a certified yoga instructor (200 hr and children’s) and has been teaching yoga for eight years, with a focus on children’s yoga, Jewish-themed yoga and children’s Jewish-themed yoga.  Emily is the host of The Jewish Yogi podcast.  When she is not teaching religious school or yoga, she can be found enjoying her friends, her family and nature.

Gail Koller (Kitah Gimmel)

Gail holds an MA in Art Therapy, an MSEd in Recreation Education, and is certified as a Nature Specialist. She has taught nature from a Jewish, spiritual perspective at numerous early childhood centers and religious schools and has also taught Jewish art electives and family holiday programs at Westchester Jewish Center and B’nai Or in Morristown, NJ. Gail was a founding faculty member of Avenues: The World School’s @Home program and, in addition to PJC, teaches religious school at WJC. Gail loves to travel—especially to Israel where she has lots of family—and loves to go on nature walks with her 3 grown children, husband, Steve, and their 2 “grand-dogs!”

Sophie Lee (Kitah Alef)

Sophie grew up as a member of the PJC and a student at the learning center. Now she is a multimedia artist studying at Hunter College to become an art teacher. She spent 10 years living in Israel and has a deep connection to her Jewish identity and Israeli culture as well as a passion for Jewish education and Hebrew language.

Sonia Levin (Hebrew Learning Specialist)

Sonia is a Hebrew Language and Reading specialist.  She received an M.A. in Education from Tel Aviv University and a second M.A. 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 works as a reading learning specialist at SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY. She currently lives in New Jersey with her children.

Ronit Razinovsky (Bnei Mitzvah)

Ronit was born and raised in Israel. Her first experience as an educator was during Ronit’s IDF service, serving as a “Morah-Chayelet” (teacher-soldier) for young and underprivileged soldiers. That experience inspired Ronit to continue her studies at “Hakibbutzim College” in Tel Aviv, where she graduated as an Elementary school teacher. When Ronit moved to the US, she continued her career as a Jewish Educator at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. Ronit served as Education Director at the Shaarei Tikvah Religious School in Scarsdale for 20 years. Currently, Ronit is the Education Director at the JCC of Harrison, as well as Head of Hebrew studies at Westchester Day High School.

Evyatar Shiri (Shinshin)

Evyatar joins us as our Shinshin this year, and hails from Omer, a little town in the south of Israel right next to the city of Beer Sheva. He has been in the Scouts since the 4th grade, and as an instructor for the past three years. He likes to spend time with friends and extended family, go to the gym, and to travel in nature.

Lori Weber (Shirah Chadashah/Music)  

Lori holds both a B.S. in Music Therapy from SUNY Fredonia and an M.A. 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 and leading Kabbalat Shabbat for services/Jewish holiday programming for seniors residing in assisted living facilities.  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.  She has also served as the Jewish Chaplain for the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM during the summers of 2019 and 2021.  Lori lives in Westchester with her amazing husband, Robert, and two beautiful sons — Sammy and Zachary.