Temple Jeremiah

Teachers

We are proud to have wonderful, caring teachers on our staff for Hebrew school and religious school. Learn more about our teachers below.

Elisa Bailis 
Religious School
elisa.bailis@gmail.com

Hello,
My name is Elisa Bailis, and I am so excited to be teaching fourth grade this year. I have been part of the Temple Jeremiah community since 1996. In my time here I’ve had the amazing opportunity to teach a variety of grade levels, including fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and Alef Hebrew. I am a teacher by profession, and during the week I substitute teach in a variety of districts close to my home in Vernon Hills. I am the mom of three, and in my free time I love fitness, reading the newest and best novels, watching British mystery series, spending time with my family and friends, and relaxing with a nice hot cup of coffee. I look forward to getting to know even more Jeremiah families this year!

Laura Bernstein
Religious School
laurabernstein23@gmail.com

My name is Laura Bernstein and I am very excited to be teaching fourth grade each Sunday at Temple Jeremiah. I grew up at Temple Jeremiah and have celebrated many mitzvahs here. I feel very lucky to be back and part of the amazing team. I have been teaching special education for 18 years and during the week I currently teach special needs kindergarten. I am married to a wonderful  man named Corey and we have a 10-year-old son named Jack who is also growing up at Temple Jeremiah! 

Melissa Celnik
Religious School and
Hebrew School
mrscelnik@yahoo.com
MelissaCelnik

My name is Melissa Celnik and I have been teaching since 1997. During the school year, you may find me teaching Hebrew to Aleph and Bet students, Torah to Third Graders, or at the public school working with grades K-8.

During non-school days, I love being with my family. We enjoy taking day trips, especially when they magically turn into overnighters. I love to cook, create craft projects, sing and dance, and LAUGH. (A little secret between you and me… I love it even more when my three children are laughing.)

I look forward to another great school year!

Shora Cohen
Hebrew School
shoracohen1@gmail.com

shoracohen

My name is Shora Cohen and I have been teaching since 1999. I am originally from Israel, Hebrew is my first language.

I served in the Israeli Army, studied at the University of Jerusalem and completed my studies in Tel Aviv.

I am excited to meet your children and be a part of their Hebrew studies as they climb the stairs to become Bar and Bat Mitzvah.

See you soon,
B’Shalom
Shora Cohen

Jessica Don
Religious School
Standingon1foot@gmail.com

jessica-don

My parents joined Temple Jeremiah when I was one year old. I’m a graduate of the religious and Hebrew school programs. I was even a teacher’s aide when I was younger and substitute teacher on Sundays once I was older. (Needless to say, I’m a fan of Temple Jeremiah.) On certain Fridays, you can even hear me singing with the temple’s Adult Choir.

I’m thrilled to work with First Graders. I love their creativity and curiosity. This year they will investigate their temple – the people, places, and things that create our Jewish community. We’ll also begin to explore the Jewish holidays and traditions. They will learn there are many ways to be a Jew.

When I’m not hanging out at temple, I can be found hanging out with my husband, 2 kids … and probably coffee. Yeah, odds are pretty good I’ll have a cup of coffee with me.

Stacy Dudek
Religious School, Hebrew School, and Confirmation Teacher

stacyidudek@gmail.com

stacy-dudek

My name is Stacy Dudek and I have been with Temple Jeremiah since 2008. I was a middle school Language Arts/Literacy teacher for 10 years before having children and deciding to stay home with them. I absolutely love teaching at Temple Jeremiah. I have learned so much more about my religion and my culture simply by being present at the temple. I have taught 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and Aleph Hebrew and have loved them all! Can I really call coming to temple and interacting with such a variety of great people “work”???

Rabbi Debbie Helbraun
Religious School

Hebrew School Principal
helbraun@aol.com

helbraun

My name is Rabbi Debbie Helbraun. You can look at the staff page to see my professional skills and accomplishments. When not at Temple Jeremiah, I love spending time outdoors. I walk 25-30 miles a week, usually with my dogs. I also like to read and listen to music. I am passionate about social justice and teaching. I look forward to two weeks at OSRUI every summer, spending informal time with our youth. Much of the rest of my free time is spent with my family: my husband, Sid; daughter, Becca; and son, Jonah.

This year I will be teaching both Fifth and Seventh grades. Although I serve in an administrative role, getting in the classroom and interacting with the students continues to be a priority for me. I especially try to engage in informal, “camp-style” learning, helping students to discover about themselves, their heritage, and how they become active and caring Jews in our ever-changing world.

Alan Hirsch
Religious School
ahirsch15@yahoo.com

Bio and photo coming soon!

Hila Hollingsworth
Religious School and

Hebrew School
hilagh@gmail.com

hila

Dear Parents,

My name is Hila Hollingsworth and I have been teaching at Temple Jeremiah since 2007.

I was born in Israel and spent most of my life there, and served in the Israeli army. I went to college and majored in Textile Chemistry. I love to swim, walk, listen to music, teach, and cook. Every summer, my husband, daughter and I go to Israel. My daughter goes to camp there for a month.

Happy New Year!
Hila

Barb Kite
Religious School and
Associate Educator
bkite1002@gmail.com

barbkite

Hi, my name is Barb Kite. I have worked at Temple Jeremiah for many years!!! I started as a First Grade teacher … eventually became the Resource Center teacher … and for years I have been the Associate Educator. As Associate Educator, I spend a lot of time planning, assisting teachers, and I get to spend time with students. I have the opportunity to create art projects, bake with students, and create programing. I also run our Parent Tot program.

I have two daughters, Allie and Melissa, both of whom both grew up at Temple Jeremiah. Melissa is currently living in Rockford, IL. Allie and Morgan (my precious grandchild) live in St. Louis. I enjoy walking, playing tennis and I’m learning to play golf.

Professionally, I have a strong background in special education. I am currently the Transition Program Manager at the Arlyn School in Wilmette. I am looking forward to another exciting year at Temple Jeremiah.

Jerry Lidsky
Religious School
Lidskyj1@aol.com

jerrylidsky

Hi. My name is Jerry Lidsky, and I have been teaching Confirmation since 1991. I am passionate about sharing my love for Judaism with my students, and I also enjoy learning from them. My years involved in Jewish summer camps and living in Israel for three years (with many visits throughout the years) have been very influential in my life. Temple Jeremiah has been home to me and my family (notice the same last name as Dr. Lidsky!) for over 30 years, and that, in itself, is pretty amazing. I am a therapist by training, with a focus on Art Therapy. I love collecting books, find photography gratifying, and enjoy creating large paintings on canvas!! I have 5 grandchildren and a wonderful dog, oh yes and my wife is Dr. Anne Lidsky. Getting together with the family for holidays, lifecycle celebrations, Shabbat, or just a random visit, brings me great joy.

Fred Oskin
Religious School
FIOskin@aol.com

fred_oskin_-_2

 

I hail originally from Buffalo, New York, but have been in Chicago for approximately 40 years. I am married and have three grown children. As a social worker, I have worked in the Jewish communal service field in New Orleans, Harrisburg, PA, as well as in Chicago.

I have been the Executive Director of two Chicago residential care facilities, the Association of the Jewish Blind and the Northwest Home for the Aged. Besides being privileged to be a religious school teacher at Temple Jeremiah for a long time, I am also a professor in the Dominican University Graduate School of Social Work, plus I serve as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Phoenix.

I work in a local synagogue as an administrator. An especially avid sports fan, I’m a loyal supporter of the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox, as well as of the University at Buffalo, the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, and the University of Southern California.

I also particularly enjoy photography, computers, long-distance running, and bicycling. With our extended family of three grandsons, Jacob, Avery, and Joshua, along with our granddaughter, Maddie (Madison), my wife, Marilyn, and I are now just loving every treasured opportunity we get to spend time with our growing mishpachah (family).

Andrea Jury Raskin
Religious School and
Hebrew School
andreashebrewclass@yahoo.com

andreajury

Shalom!

My name is Andrea Jury Raskin and I am very excited to teach your children this year. It seems hard to believe, but I have been teaching at Temple Jeremiah since 2003. I concentrated on Judaic Studies and Political Science in my undergraduate studies and focused on Elementary Education in my graduate studies. I believe that it is very important for children to have positive experiences in the religious school and Hebrew classroom. Because of this, I strive to provide students with engaging, enriching, and interesting lessons.

My family and friends are extremely important to me and I try to spend as much time as possible with the special people in my life. I especially love playing with my wonderfully sweet and precious niece and nephews. Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and board games keep me busy, as well as reading and hiking nature trails. I really enjoy teaching and feel lucky to have the opportunity to teach at Temple Jeremiah. You can reach me at: andreashebrewclass@yahoo.com. I look forward to a great year!!

Jeremy Raskin
Hebrew School
jeremyaraskin@gmail.com

 I have been a Jewish musician & educator in the Chicago area for 11 years.  I’m originally from North Merrick on Long Island, I became a Bar Mitzvah at the Merrick Jewish Center. I studied Jewish and Medieval history at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and re-entered the world of Jewish education in 2005. 

At Chicago Sinai Congregation downtown, I am a B’nai Mitzvah coach and I direct their religious school’s music program.

In August 2016, I married my best friend, and longtime Temple Jeremiah teacher, Andrea Jury. The two of us live happily on the north side of Chicago in a home resembling a mini-Jewish library.

I am very excited to be joining the Temple Jeremiah team, after already joining the mishpacha last year as a substitute teacher, and I can’t wait to begin this new year of Jewish learning with our students & families!

Karen Rohrbach
Religious School
lefty214@aol.com

rohrbach

Welcome to Sunday school at Temple Jeremiah; we are going to have a wonderful year! Our curriculum, via stories, videos and art projects, centers on our holidays, the rituals surrounding the holidays and our Jewish identity. We also focus on doing mitzvot, good deeds, that kids can do. In addition to all that, one of the most important lessons learned in Kindergarten is to become comfortable in our Temple and to become part of the temple community.

At University, I learned that young children respond best with positive reinforcement; that’s what they receive in class.

My family has been members of Temple Jeremiah for more than 20 years. Both of our daughters have celebrated their Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation here; they both served as teacher’s aides through high school. When I’m not at Sunday school I am an avid football fan. After Sunday school, I can be found watching a football game…any football game!

Darci Rozner
Religious School
darcirozner@aol.com

My name is Darci Rozner and I am very excited to be joining the Temple Jeremiah religious faculty. For the past 20+ years, I have been an Early Childhood Jewish Educator;  I am thrilled to be able to bring my love of Judaism to the First Graders in my class this year. My husband, Michael, and I live in Northbrook with our children, Ryan and Paige. Over the course of the school year, I look forward to getting to know your children and you.

Alexis Ruda
Religious School and
Hebrew School
alexisruda@gmail.com

AlexisRuda

My name is Alexis Ruda. I studied English as an undergraduate and I’m currently working on a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at National Louis University.

When I’m not in the classroom, I can usually be found painting watercolors, reading, collecting Lake Superior agates, relaxing with family and friends, and being silly with my two adorable nieces. Temple Jeremiah has been a special place for me since childhood.

I am thrilled to be a part of the community of educators at Jeremiah, and I’m looking forward to a fun, creative, enriching year with your children. Please feel free to contact me at alexisruda@gmail.com.

Jordan Shacter
Religious School and
Hebrew School
jshacter2000@yahoo.com

Jpeg

I am looking forward to another year at Jeremiah! I am a certified K-9 teacher, but currently work as a full-time stay-at-home dad to my three daughters, Dena, Penny, and Aliyah, plus our brand-new son, Yitzi! Along with my wife, Devorah, we live in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

In addition to my responsibilities at home and at temple, I also act as a Chazan for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services at Bay Shul in Buffalo Grove, where I grew up and my parents still live.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, including my many nieces and nephews, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.

Beki Sonin
Religious School and
Hebrew School
sunshinebeki@yahoo.com

beki_sonin

Shalom! My name is Beki Sonin, and I’m thrilled to be teaching at Temple Jeremiah! I’ve been working in education for many years. I just returned from spending the last four years living in Israel, specifically living in Jaffa and Tel Aviv. While living there I taught English and art, and enjoyed exploring the beautiful country. It’s from my experiences there that I developed a strong love for being outdoors, working out, continually learning about my personal Judaism, and of course drinking strong aromatic coffees!

Now that I’m home I’m overjoyed to be back spending special time with my family. I live in a Moishe House in the city, and work in my free time to create meaningful Jewish programming for the community with them!

I am over the moon to start this exciting new year!

Ronna Steinback
Hebrew School
stickbss@aol.com

RonnaSteinback

Shalom! My name is Ronna Steinback and I have been teaching at Temple Jeremiah since 2002.

I love teaching Hebrew and each year brings new adventures and experiences for me. I have taught every grade level and each one is my favorite! I live in Deerfield with my husband, Brad, and our three dogs, Tyler, Murphy, and Ginger. We are crazy about them and they are so much fun! Our son, Jeffrey, lives in Chicago.

We love traveling to Israel and exploring the many different, wonderful and beautiful sites and places all around the country. In my free time I enjoy running, practicing yoga, and hanging out at home with our family and our dogs!

I am looking forward to another year of Hebrew school and meeting our new students as well as reconnecting with my former students.

Mindy Tibbetts
Religious School and
Hebrew School
mmtibbetts@comcast.net

mindytibbetts

Hi, my name is Mindy Tibbetts and I have been teaching at Temple Jeremiah since 2003. I teach Third Grade Sunday school and Hebrew school during the week.

My husband, Mark, and I have three wonderful children and one big dog! Speaking of dogs I have always had a special place in my heart for all animals. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, my pets, and my friends.

Not only do I teach at Temple Jeremiah but I am a member as well!

Jacob Wallach
Religious School
mojomax41@comcast.net

JacobWallach

 

Hi, my name is Jacob Wallach. I grew up in Israel during the country’s formative years and completed my primary and secondary education there. I served two and a half years in the IDF as Tank Commander in the Armor Corps. I completed college and graduate school in Chicago. My wife and I have two wonderful children, a son and daughter, as well as four granddaughters. Two of our granddaughters, Talia and Maya, attend school at Temple Jeremiah. During the years 1978-1985 I returned to Israel with my family. I wanted my children to experience some of my childhood experiences and have a good command of Hebrew. I had a chance to do more army reserve duty, including a stint in Lebanon during operation “Peace for the Galilee.” We returned to Chicago in May 1985.

My personal interests include: Bible Study, History of Israel during the 2nd Temple, World War I & II, collecting print books, and sports. I love soccer and played six years in an Israeli soccer league.

I have been teaching at Temple Jeremiah for over nine years and also taught Hebrew, Bible and Jewish studies at many Chicago-area synagogues covering grades one through eight.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with your children and helping them learn to appreciate their continuing Jewish education.

Dova Weinberger
Hebrew School
mo email

 Hi, My name is Dova Weinberger and I am thrilled to be back at Temple Jeremiah after a couple of years away. I have been teaching Hebrew school for as long as I can remember and have taught mostly 3rd-6th graders and really enjoy creating a meaningful experience for my class. When I am not teaching, I work part-time in the Jewish non-profit world and love staying involved with my kids’ schools, extra curricular activities and sports. At home, I love cooking, especially for Shabbat dinner, but my favorite activity has to be baking beautiful challahs each week.
 
I am looking forward to an amazing year at Temple Jeremiah! 

Photo coming soon!

Gayle White
Religious School
mo email

 

 

Hi, my name is Gayle White and I am thrilled to be teaching second grade at Temple Jeremiah. I have been a member of Jeremiah for three years.

I spend my days working with children at Meadowbrook School in Northbrook. I started working at Meadowbrook when I graduated college and stopped when I had my first child. When my youngest went to first grade, I went back to teaching because I really missed it. I love teaching children in a fun, positive, loving atmosphere.

I enjoy spending time with my husband Carl and my two children. My son, Steffen, and my daughter, Lara, are students in Jeramiah’s Religious school. I also enjoy traveling, reading and being with friends.

Ros Wolfe
Hebrew School 
Ros8080@aol.com

ros

Hello, my name is Rosalyn Wolfe and I have taught religious and Hebrew school at Temple Jeremiah for over 25 years and been a member for over 30 years. I have specialized in students with special needs and I am one of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutors.

Along with teaching, I also serve as Executive Director of a Synagogue in Wheeling. I have varied experiences in congregations throughout the community serving as temple administrator along with teaching Adult Education, B’nai Mitzvah, and Confirmation.

I currently reside in Northbrook and have three children that all became Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Confirmed at Temple Jeremiah.

I look forward to working with your children.

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