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We're pleased to send you our electronic newsletter, designed to supplement the printed Tikshoret.
September 2011 - Elul 5771
Greetings from our Chair
The Rhea Hirsch Alumni Association wishes you and your familiy a shanah tovah u'metukah - a happy, healthy and sweet new year. As we begin this new year of 5772, may our work as lifelong learners and educators inspire our communities to pursue Jewish journeys. And may this be a year of rejuvenation, reflection, and renewal for all of us!

Ellen Lefkowitz ('99)
RHSOE Alumni Association Chair

B'ruchim HaBa'im
As we begin the new year, we welcome these soon to be colleagues:

First year students in Israel
Rebecca Ross (Joint Masters)
Daniel Alter (MAJE)

Second year students beginning their LA studies:
Rae Antonoff (Joint Masters) (daughter of Debbie Weinberg Antonoff '81)
Brian Avner (Joint Masters)
Kyna Mednick (MAJE)
Tarlan Rabizadeh (MAJE)

Rabbinic students beginning their RHSOE year:
Lisa Berney
Jaclyn Fromer
Daniel Geffen
Joshua Knobel
Eleanor Steinman
Deana Sussman
Adam Wright

Consider Joining Us
Please think about how you might like to get involved in our Alumni Association. Each of our working groups is creating valued programs and initiatives. We welcome your ideas and creativity.

Our current working groups include:

Educator-in-Residence and Alumni-in-Residence
Honorary Doctorates Advisory Committee
Student Recruitment
Continuing Alumni Education
Outreach to Students
Building Community

For more information on any of the working groups, or to get involved with one, please contact Ellen Lefkowitz, Chair of the Alumni Association ( or Debbie Niederman, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement (

2nd Dr. William Cutter Colloquium
The Cutter Colloquium is a gathering of the students and faculty of the RHSOE, at which educational scholars of note from general education are invited to bring their wisdom to bear on issues affecting Jewish education. It occurs every other year and was funded by RHSOE alumni to honor Dr. Bill Cutter on his retirement.

This year the colloquium will be held on October 5-6 and our scholar will be Professor Michelle Lynn-Sachs of the School of Education at HUC/NY. She received her MAJE from the RHSOE in 1996 and her PhD from NYU in 2007. She will be facilitating sessions that revolve around the exciting research she has done in the area of Jewish Sunday Schools and their similarities to and differences from other faith-tradition Sunday Schools. Michelle asserts that "shared cultural expectations about two things-where real learning happens and what congregations are supposed to do-has led to similarities in the way congregations organize their programs of religious education, regardless of variation in faith tradition."

The RHSOE looks forward to a wonderfully enriching Cutter Colloquium with Michelle.

RHSOE Alumni are NATE Leaders Congratulations to the following RHSOE Alumni who have been elected to 2-year terms on the executive committee of NATE effective July, 2011:

Lisa Lieberman Barzilai ('87), President
Debbie Niederman ('93), First Vice President
Katherine Schwartz ('94), Vice-President
Laura Novak Winer ('94), Vice-President
Mindy Davids ('90), Past President

Congratulations to the following RHSOE Alumni who have been elected to their first 3-year term on the NATE board for the effective July, 2011 through June 2014:
Mara Braunfeld ('06)
Jocee Hudson ('05)
Joshua Mason-Barkin ('07)
Julia Witkow ('07)

The following RHSOE Alumni are continuing on the NATE board for 3-year terms expiring in 2012 and 2013:
Sharon Amster-Brown ('00)
Melissa Buyer ('00)
Debra Cotzin Kellner ('04)
Stacy Escovitz Rigler ('01)
Joy Wasserman ('81)
Beth Young ('02)

The following RHSOE Alumni are continuing to serve NATE as Operations Team Leaders:

Sharon Amster Brown ('00) Professional Development
Melanie Cole Goldberg ('87) Membership
Beth Young ('02) Professional Development
Sustaining Alumni Education
We invite you to join a RHSOE Alumni Association Professional Learning Group!

Our dream is to have many alumni groups of 4-6 people throughout the world meeting in person or virtually. [Just under 50 alumni have already registered!]

Our proposed schedule for this year is:

November:  An article recommended by the RHSOE faculty
January:       A TED Talk (for information visit )
February:     An article from the Journal of Jewish Education
March/April: An article recommended by the RHSOE faculty

Please think about a classmate or friend you think would like to study with and invite them to join you! To register now, please click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser:

If you have any questions or comments please contact Brad Cohen ('10) at or by phone at 410-764-2197.

Save the date for more learning together:
Our Alumni Kallah returns!
February 10th-12th

This year's scholar will be Dr. Leah Hochman and our learning focus will be on developing a personal theological stance. This year's kallah will also mark several milestone events and celebrations for our RHSOE community. You don't want to miss it!

Mazal Tov!
Michael Churgel ('99) and Shara Newman, along with sisters Daphne and Zoe, are thrilled to announce the birth of their son/brother, Jason Eden on June 16, 2011.

Rivka Dori ('76) and Rueben (grandparents) are happy to announce that Zoe Harper Wells has arrived. Zoe was born on July 13, 2011 at 6:04pm. (weight 8lbs 4oz, Length 21'')

Congratulations to Dr. Madelyn Mishkin Katz ('84)
upon her appointment as Associate Dean of the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles.

Lori Sagarin ('84) on the publication of her chapter, "Modern Hebrew in Personal Identity Development," in the book, The Aelph-Bet of Israel Education, published by the iCenter (

Rabbi Michael Shire ('96) has been appointed as Dean of the Shoolman School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College, Boston and is relocating from London with his wife Rabbi Marcia Plumb and two children Anya and Micah.

Julia Witkow ('07) married Adam Levine on August 7 in Westlake Village, CA.

Zichrona Livracha
Frances S. Lander, mother of Adele Lander Burke ('78), died July 26, 2011. May her memory be a blessing.

Join our Group
Don't forget to join our new, closed RHSOE Alumni Association Facebook group. Simply go to!/groups/174910382564657/ and click the "Join" button next to name of the group. Alternatively, you can search for "RHSOE Alumni Association" in the search box at the top of the page, click on the group, and click the "Join" button next to name of the group. New posts are added regularly; you don't want to miss out on the learning and sharing!

HUC-JIR Online Alumni Directory
Looking for an old friend or lost classmate? You can find any HUC-JIR alum in our online directory. Simply go to The directory is password-protected. For the username and password, please contact Debbie Niederman at

Please confirm that your own information is correct. Have you moved, changed jobs, married, or had children? Please send your updates and corrections to Diane Bongard .

RHSOE Alumni Assoc. Executive Council
Ellen Lefkowitz, Chair
Cindy Reich, Past Chair
Lisa Langer, Vice Chair
Beth Nichols, HUC-JIR Council of Alumni Assoc. Rep.
Rachel Margolis, HUC-JIR Council of Alumni Assoc. Rep.
Tamara Lawson Schuster, Communications Chair
Julie Vanek, HUC-JIR Board of Governors Rep.
Deborah Niederman, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement
Joy Wasserman, National Director of Alumni Engagement
Michael Zeldin, RHSOE Director, ex-officio

Lynn Flanzbaum, e-Tikshoret editor