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Meet our Faculty...

Rabbi Wendy Pein ~ Director of Congregational Learning  

Rabbi Pein has over twenty years of rabbinical experience, both as a congregational rabbi and as a rabbi/educator. Rabbi Pein received her M.A. in Jewish educational leadership through Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and her Doctorate of Divinity in May 2022. Rabbi Pein is passionate about Jewish education and revealing how Judaism is relevant and meaningful to our modern lives.

She lives by the maxim to “keep growing and learning.” 

Alice Kossin ~ Temple Tots

Alice Kossin is our Temple Tot CJL Facilitator / Coordinator this year.  Alice has been the Temple Tot Coordinator for the past several years, has served on the CJL Faculty, and is a former preschool teacher in the Croton community.   Alice looks forward to sharing her passion for Judaism with the Temple Tot CJL community. 


Liz Panken ~ Kindergarten

Liz Panken has been a member of TINW for 32 years.  Both of her children became Bat Mitzvah at the Temple. Liz taught kindergarten for 8 years when her children were little.  She was the Chair of the nursery school for many years and is actively involved with various temple committees, including the Board and ritual.  Liz is looking forward to rejoining CJL.


Shari Applebaum ~ Aleph Bet (First and Second Grade) 

Shari Applebaum has a passion for teaching and has been an educator for the past 15 years. Her joy in teaching students in grades K-7 shines through in her lessons. She engages her students in their learning about Jewish holidays and Torah stories by making each story come alive in role play and recreating the story. When Shari is not teaching, she spends time hiking the trails in the area, baking, volunteering on behalf of persons with mental health challenges and is on the Board of Directors of Lagond Music School, where she is the Founder of need based high school music scholarships for aspiring musicians.

Ana Abramcyk ~ Gimmel / Dalet (Third / Fourth Grade) Judaica 

As a child Ana enjoyed spending Shabbatot on the Lower East Side with her bubbe (grandmother),  forging a deep love and connection with her Judaism. She spent thirteen years at Yeshivat Ramaz, a year in Israel studying in a girl’s seminary, and then returned to New York to attend Binghamton University.  After college, she started a career in PR and eventually opened  a restaurant in Tribeca with her two brothers: Tiny’s and the Bar Upstairs.  Ana currently lives in Croton with her husband Seth and three young daughters. Ana is passionate about helping students find joy and a spiritual connection in Judaism. 

Lane Chazdon ~ Kitah Gimmel and Dalet (Third and Fourth Grade Hebrew) 

Lane Chazdon has taught Hebrew for many years, “the most enjoyable of which have been at TINW.” This year he is teaching Kitah Gimmel and Dalet (third and fourth grade) Ivrit (Hebrew). Lane appreciates being part of the long, long chain of teachers and students that have sustained the Jewish people for thousands of years. He feels that this is a “chain we cannot allow to break”. Lane incorporates many game-like, small group learning stations to accomplish learning objectives. Lane has also recently become the leader of our CJL volunteer band.

Judy Kropf ~ Kitah Hay (Fifth Grade) and Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade) 

Judy Kropf attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem and taught English as a foreign language to high schoolers in Israel. Judy taught the Tot Shabbat program at the First Hebrew Nursery School in Peekskill and Hebrew school at Beacon Hebrew Alliance in Beacon. She joined the CJL Faculty at Temple Israel in 2016, teaching Kitah Hay Judaica/Life Cycles and the 8th and 9th grade Path to Confirmation class, as well as Rosh Hodesh topics for teen girls. Judy enjoys sharing her passion for Israel and Jewish diversity with her students and facilitates correspondence with a school in Israel so her students can connect to Israeli peers during the CJL year.

Susan Smith ~ Kitah Vav (Sixth Grade) Hebrew and Judaica 

Susan Smith has been a member of Temple Israel since September of 1991 when she married her husband Chris at TINW. Susan comes from a family of religious educators and her father is a retired Reform Rabbi. Susan has been a Hebrew tutor and educator since her high school years. She has been a Jewish educator at Temple Israel for the past 12 years. Susan enjoys teaching Hebrew and Judaica studies and often sees her students at Anne M Dorner Middle School in Ossining where she works full-time as a teaching assistant.  

Oren Neiman ~ Holocaust Studies Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade)

Oren Neiman is a native Israeli who served in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Unit. A graduate of Purchase College, Oren is a popular Jewish educator, a trained Holocaust educator through Yad Vashem (Israel's Holocaust Musuem) and Facing History and Ourselves, and an accomplished guitar player who composes and serves as a worship service accompanist throughout synagogues in Westchester. Oren will be teaching Holocaust Studies in Kitah Zayin.

Stacy Shapiro ~ Co-Instructor of Confirmation, CJL High School Instructor 

Stacy Shapiro is an experienced Jewish educator who believes in using Jewish wisdom to understand our world, explore our Jewish identity, develop a moral compass and find the joy in becoming lifelong learners. This will be Stacy’s fifth year teaching teens in the CJL. This year she will be co-teaching the Confirmation class with Rabbi Jaech, leading Jewish cooking, art, and music sessions for our 8th-12th grade students, and leading a Rosh Hodesh group for teen girls at TINW. Stacy is also the Northeast Regional Director for Moving Traditions, a national Jewish education organization that works to help teens thrive. Stacy has degrees in psychology, social work and Jewish education from Brandeis, Columbia and HUC-JIR. She has served as Faculty at URJ camps and loves the special joy and community camping brings.

Gil Eytan Avidan ~ Shinshin

Gil Eytan Avidan was born and raised in Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv and studied at Gordon Elementary School and Eylon High School, in a class for gifted children. His majors were Physics and 10 units of Computer Science. In addition, he took part in school ceremonies and sang in the school choir. One of his most significant moments was reading the Yizkor at the Memorial Day ceremony – a memorial prayer for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

Gil has two parents Galia, a web developer and Ehud, a jewelry merchant at the diamond exchange center. He has one older brother who’s 21 and studies Mathematics. Together they’re raising a sleepy Poodle called Taltal (curl in Hebrew).

When Gil was 8 years old, he joined the Tzofim (Israeli Scouts movement), and later the Mashatzim movement (a leadership program that involves trips and scouting skills). He has been a counsel in the movements for three years, guiding children in different age groups (4th grade, 6th grade, 8th and 9th grade). In addition, he was selected for the position of head of a group in the Mashatzim counseling course, managing the staff and members alike. This year, with 4 other counselors, he has guided a group of 80 young scouts who are in the 8th grade and managed his school branch of the Mashatzim movement. In addition, in, Israel’s top discussion website, Gil worked in several positions, including Category Supervisor, Chief Manager and Head of Content.

He finds joy in singing, baking, playing computer games and loves spending time with friends and family. Gil also finds great satisfaction in counseling and Haracha. He believes in the significance of education and personal connections and sees humanity and honesty as one of his top values.

Ariela Wehrle ~ HTM (Hebrew Through Movement) Specialist  

Ariela Wehrle was born and raised in Israel and moved to the United States in 1990. She taught at "Havura on Hudson" for two years. Since 2010, she has been teaching at TINW. She loves “TINW as a Jewish haven and as the school for Jewish education.” Arieal is a specialist in HTM - Hebrew Through Movement – an approach where students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands. Ariela believes that students learn best when learning is joyful and playful.

Fri, April 12 2024 4 Nisan 5784