- Who We Are
- About Or Hadash
- About Reconstructionism
- Meet Our Rabbi and Staff
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- Hesed - Support
- Choir (Makaylah)
- Like A Diamond Lyrics
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- Healing Harmonies CD
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Meet Our School Faculty
MEET OUR FACULTY AND STAFF
Karen Beck is a proud product of the Or Hadash Religious School. Having attended the Or Hadash Religious School from first grade through Confirmation, Karen re-joined the Or Hadash family in 2012 to teach Judaics to our 2nd and 3rd grade students on Sunday and Hebrew and prayer to our 4th and 5th grade students on Tuesdays. While she was earning her reform teaching certificate through Gratz college; she worked at Or Hadash as a teachers’ aide. Karen earned her bachelors’ degree from West Chester University and her masters’ degree from Arcadia University (both in education). She is certified to teach elementary education, special education and middle school English. Recently, Karen taught Gan, second grade and Orot (special education) at Perelman Jewish Day School, but is now a stay at home mom in addition to her teaching at Or Hadash. Karen also serves as the Teacher Representative on the Or Hadash Education Steering Committee which meets once a month to govern our religious school. Karen enjoys volunteering with various organizations including the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Karen lives in Ambler with her husband (Chris), son (Noah) and miniature dachshund (Watson).
Claire Brunhild was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She attended the University of South Florida for her undergraduate and graduate degrees and has a long background of informal Jewish education and youth work. Claire lived in Israel from 2006 to 2007, during the summer months of 2008, and also from February to July of 2014. Claire recently moved to the Philadelphia area and will be attending the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. During her free time, Claire enjoys reading, roller skating, and playing with her two dogs, Winter and Mara. Claire also loves to travel and can make the most amazing smoothies. Claire is very excited to be working with the teens of Or Hadash and is looking forward to becoming a part of such a warm, open community.
Rabbi Isabel de Koninck serves as the Executive Director and Campus Rabbi for Hillel at Drexel University. Rabbi Isabel began her career with Hillel as the Advisor to Jewish students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges in 2008. Prior to beginning her work with college students, Rabbi Isabel served as the editor of Ritualwell.org and as rabbinic intern at Temple Shir Hadash of Westford, Massachusetts. A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Rabbi Isabel is a 2004 graduate of Brandeis University, and received her rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2010 where she also completed a graduate certificate in Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies. Rabbi Isabel is also a proud alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
Rabbi Isabel's passion for Jewish life starts with the belief that Judaism is a relevant and inspiring framework for engaging the daily opportunities and challenges of today's world. While her personal roots are in Reconstructionist community, her experiences with Jewish pluralism as an undergraduate and as a part of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship have affirmed for her that there is a mode of Jewish practice and identity for each person who seeks one, and that diversity of Jewish expression is an asset to Jewish community and the Jewish future.
Rabbi Roni Handler graduated from RRC in 2011 and now serves as its director of community learning and editor of Ritualwell.org. During her student years at RRC, Rabbi Roni has served the Reconstructionist community through her work at Camp JRF, No’ar Hadash, the Brandeis Reconstructionist Organization (BRO), at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore and at Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia. She worked at Or Hadash first as a teacher in the religious school and later as the rabbinic intern, sabbatical rabbi, and most recently as the leader of the women's seder. She has also enjoyed serving as the High Holiday rabbi at Temple Shir Hadash in Westford, MA.
A native Philadelphian, Rabbi Roni received her B.A. from The George Washington University in international affairs, with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies and a minor in anthropology. She also earned a master's degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein program at Brandeis University. Rabbi Roni is continually inspired by the aspect of Reconstructionism that affords all participants the opportunity to make an imprint on our future, and enables everyone’s voice to be heard.
Rabbis Roni and Isabel are thrilled to teach the confirmation class this year at Or Hadash!
Abby Grossman is the Assistant to the Education Director at Or Hadash. Abby attended Or Hadash Religious School through Confirmation. She is a student at Upper Dublin High School and is active with many extracurricular activities there. After she single-handedly organized her Confirmation class service last year, we sought out her administrative talents for the school.
Vivian Lichtman was born in New York, where she taught Sunday school before moving to Pennsylvania. She received an M.Ed. degree in education and school counseling. She earned 24 years of experience teaching and counseling children from Kindergarten through 8th grade before she retired in June, 2008. She wrote grants and received money for some valuable projects and facilitated community service learning activities at her schools. Vivian has taught Sunday school and 3rd grade Hebrew school at Or Hadash since 2005.
Jared Mitchell has taught at the Or Hadash Religious School since 2008. Jared has worked in the Chester Upland Jared has taught at the Or Hadash Religious School since 2008. Jared has worked in the Chester Upland school district as a fifth grade teacher and is currently working at numerous school districts on various projects. The Or Hadash school community eagerly looks forward to the student Purim Spiel that Jared writes, directs and produces with his class each year. In the summers, Jared assumes a management and teaching role running Camp America Day Camp. Jared graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Mathematics. He plans to earn his masters and doctorate degrees. Jared's main goal is for every student to learn, have fun, and be proud of their Jewish past, present, and future.
Bonnie Ritterman has been teaching at Or Hadash since 1999. As our Resource Room teacher, she helps students to unleash their full potential with remediation and acceleration as well as work on learning differences. Bonnie has taught all levels of public elementary school. She is part of the Or Hadash community and lives in Dresher with her husband, Fred.
Carolyn Savitzky began teaching religious school in 1988 while earning her teaching certification from the South Jersey Bureau of Jewish Education. Over the years, she has taught at a number of synagogue schools in the region. In 1995, Carolyn and her family joined Or Hadash and she began teaching in the religious school the following year. Carolyn has taught students of all ages, from pre-school through adult. In addition to her work in the classroom, Carolyn tutors B’nai Mitzvah students and serves as a service leader for our Gan students in Pre-K through first grade. Carolyn teaches at Or Hadash on both Tuesday for our 6th grade Hebrew class which focusses on B’nai Mitzvah preparation, prayer fluency and leadership; and Sunday when she teaches our youngest Gan students.
Lita Weinstein has been fortunate to work in various part time jobs that she loves over the years. She currently teaches 7th graders at Congregation Or Hadash and 8th graders at Congregation Beth Or. Her focus in education has always been to understand one’s Judaism through the world around oneself. At Or Hadash she has always integrated experiential learning through hands on community service. Lita believes that we can learn so much about ourselves through interaction in the community around us.
Lita has spent the past 12 summers at Abington Friends Summer Camps, the past five as the CIT coordinator. Again, she has made it a priority to integrate community service as part of their summer experience. She also provides college counseling with a focus on identifying career interests with the most appropriate college or university. Lita’s other part time position includes coordinating fundraising events for non-profit organizations, particularly small organizations with limited resources.
OUR MADRICHIM (Leadership Assistants)
Our proud tradition at Or Hadash is to groom our students to assume a leadership role in our Religious School in 8th – 12th grades. Our Bnai Mitzvah students often volunteer in 7th grade in preparation for this sought-after role. As Madrichim, they assist in our classes in the first session from 9:00-10:45 and then continue their Jewish education within our Hebrew High program in second session from 10:45-1:00. They attend professional development programs designed and implemented by our Education Director to learn leadership and pedagogical skills that they can put to use in their classroom.
Are valued Madrichim are:
Abbe Goldstein- TAP graduate*
Abby Rubin – TAP graduate*
*TAP – Teen Aid Program, students learn how to effectively assist in congregational schools.