June 16, 2021 |

Our Educators

Temple Israel takes great pride in hiring qualified faculty who have experience in the fields of Judaism, Jewish education, teaching, and learning.

Michelle Nelson

Kindergarten - Kitah Gan

Michelle Nelson teaches our kindergarten (kitah gan) students and also is Temple Israel’s Youth Programming Coordinator. In her role at TI, Michelle connects children of all ages to the synagogue community and plans programs for them to build their own community of peers.  Michelle teaches science in the Framingham middle schools, and spends the summers at Pilgrim Day Camp.  In her free time, Michelle enjoys mini golfing, reading and spending time with her dog Swiffer.

Cheryl Gelfand

Grade 1 - Kitah Alef

Cheryl Gelfand teaches first grade.  She is a licensed middle school math and science teacher and will soon be adding a certification in K-8 special education. She works as a paraprofessional in the Natick Public Schools, working with students with various special needs, behavioral issues, and learning differences. She also tutors students of various ages in a variety of subjects. Cheryl lives in Natick with her 2 sons. In her spare time she likes to read and do taekwondo.

Margie Matross

Kitah Bet/Grade 2

Margie Matross teaches 2nd grade (kitah bet) and has been teaching at Temple Israel since 2000. Margie teaches at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, and spends the summers at Grossman Day Camp. Margie’s excitement at watching young children connect with their Jewish identity is only matched by her excitement over baking and gardening. She and her husband, Dubi Gordon, live in Natick and raised their adult children at Temple Israel.

Elana Berelowitz

Grade 3 - Kitah Gimel

Elana Berelowitz teaches 3rd grade (kitah gimel), and has been teaching in the Religious School since 2001. She also works in the Natick Public Schools as a paraprofessional for children with severe special needs. She spends summers teaching art at Grossman Day Camp and brings this creativity to her classroom at Temple Israel. Elana, her husband Saul, and their 2 sons, are members of Temple Israel and live in Natick.

Marsha Horovitz

Hebrew; Grades 4 & 5 - Kitah Dalet & Kitah Hey

Marsha Cerel-Horovitz teaches Temple Israel’s 4th grade (kitah dalet) and 5th grade (kitah hey) students. Marsha holds a degree in special education and spent many years as a special educator in Providence, RI.

Avital Brauner-Pell

Grades 4 & 5 - Kitah Dalet & Kitah Hey; Torah, History, & Holidays

Avital (Tali) is returning for her 4th year teaching. Tali has been a teacher in both public and independent schools in Massachusetts and Maryland. She holds an M.A. in Teaching and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and has taught at Solomon Schechter Day Schools, private schools and religious schools. Tali attended the Judy Gordon Nursery School and TI Religious School as a child, and is excited to be back in the community with her twin daughters and husband.

Hilary Henninger

Grade 7 - Kitah Vav

Hilary Henninger teaches grade 6 in our religious school, and also teaches middle and high school English in the Boston Public Schools. After graduating from Gann Academy, Hilary spent a year in Israel on Young Judea’s year course. She studied Arabic and Hebrew at Binghamton University and received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education and Deaf Education at Gallaudet University. She and her wife live in Watertown, MA. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, biking, and hiking.

Gerald Frim

Grade 7 - Kitah Zayin

Gerald Frim teaches grade 7 in our religious school. Gerry joins our faculty after 8 years of teaching at Temple Aliyah and Temple Reyim, where he is now the Senior USY Advisor. A Newton native and proud graduate of Hebrew College and the University of Pennsylvania, Gerry spends his weekdays as an attorney, and lived in Israel doing non-profit development work for four years. Gerry lives in Newton with his family and enjoys Israeli music, his volunteer work with Ethiopian-Israelis, and spending time with his two-year-old granddaughter.

Sarah Wintman

Madrichim (Teen Aide) Program Coordinator

Sarah coordinates our teen volunteer program and is also a classroom aide. She is a therapist at the School for the Deaf in Southborough. Sarah’s Jewish youth group experience and Israel travel experience motivate her to help Temple Israel teens stay engaged in Jewish life.