September 27, 2023 |

Our Educators

Temple Israel takes great pride in hiring qualified faculty who have experience in the fields of Judaism, Jewish education, teaching, and learning. Our teachers teach by subject area and everyone teaches multiple grades.

Michelle Nelson

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

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.

Elana Berelowitz

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.

Avital Brauner-Pell

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.

Gerald Frim

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.

Catie Jacobs

Catie is a student at Wellesley College and looking forward to teaching our 6th and 7th graders and sharing her passion for Israel.  One of her recent research projects focused on reviewing Israel curriculum.  At Wellesley, Catie is studying Data Science and Mathematics. She is an active member of the Hillel. Catie is a native of Chicago, and in high school, she was an assistant teacher at her synagogue and participated in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Emerging Jewish Thought Leaders Fellowship. In her free time, Catie enjoys hanging out with her dog, baking, and dancing.

Zoe Halperin

Zoe is excited to be help with music and tefila. She is a sophmore at Emerson College where she studies Theatre and Performance. Zoe has worked for five years at the Temple Sinai Religious School in her hometown, Dresher Pennsylvania, has been on staff at Camp Ramah Poconos and Ramah Day Camp Philly, and looks forward to continuing her career in Jewish education here at Temple Israel. In her spare time, she enjoys collaging and hanging out with her two dogs.

Yaara Beck

Yaara Beck has recently relocated to the US from Israel. She brings with her over 6 years of experience in various educational programs, working with children, teens and young adults. She also has extensive knowledge and experience in group facilitation, and a unique, creative and empowering approach to education. Yaara will teach “Israel” to the 5th grade students on Wednesdays and help with Hebrew and tefila.

Ayelet Cartolina Kaminer

Ayelet Cartolina Kaminer (they/any) is a student at Wellesley College, where they are a Jewish Studies and Political Science double major. She is beyond thrilled to be teaching and sharing their passion for Jewish education. She is especially thrilled to be teaching her native language of Hebrew.  Ayelet hails from New York City, and has spent several years as a Hebrew educator. In their spare time, they enjoy baking bread and playing guitar.