Mayim Jewish Learning Guides (Teachers)

Kindergarten

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Emily Kraus

Pronouns: She/Her

ekraus@tbsneedham.org

First Grade

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Coming Soon!

Pronouns: She/Her

Second Grade

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Andrea Kamens

Pronouns: She/Her

akamens@tbsneedham.org

I'm excited to begin my first year at TBS, and to be engaging in Torah Godly Play. I'm a storyteller, teaching artist, and Jewish and secular educator with over 20 years of experience in camps, playgroups, synagogues, boardrooms, and classrooms. In 2020, I founded Youth Standing Strong Camp, an online storytelling camp that matches mentors with youth from around the world, sharing the power of young voices across culture, race, religion, and experiences. My classrooms are filled with the sacred riches of our diverse and shared stories. I graduated from Boston University and spent a year at Seminary in Har Nof, Jerusalem. My husband and I have five children, some of whom are
still at home in Brighton, (and, over the years, a few cats, gerbils, mice, a hamster, and a crested gecko). I love meeting every child where they are, as who they are, and I can't wait to meet yours!

Third Grade

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Hannah Elbaum 

Pronouns: She/Her

hrelbaum@tbsneedham.org

In teaching, I believe that questions are the foundation of meaningful learning, and I strive to empower students to find their own answers with guidance and support. My goal is to create a classroom community that inspires exploration of ideas, fosters deep relationships, and values the perspectives and experiences of each individual. 

 

This year, I look forward to teaching 4th Grade Mayim and Hebrew for 4th-7th graders. Before joining the faculty at TBS, I worked at the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, the Jewish Community of Amherst, and the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadrship. I attended Smith College, where I studied museum education. Outside of work, I love reading, cooking, and watching all the Marvel Cinematic Universe productions!

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Laya Fridman

Pronouns: She/Her

lfridman@tbsneedham.org

I am so excited to begin my journey at TBS with my first year of teaching here! I have been
working with children for around 7 years working in daycares, religious schools, and home
environments as a nanny. In Jewish environments, I have served in roles such as a song
leader, madricha, cantorial soloist, and religious school music teacher.
I am currently in my sophomore year at Brandeis University double majoring in Theater and
Psychology. My passions for both of these subjects influence my teaching style immensely, as I
value the importance of art and creativity for children, along with emotional awareness and
appreciation for children’s developmental states.
As a mentor to children in any capacity, I strive to create strong relationships, grounded in
support and mutual respect. I believe that children are capable humans deserving of the same
treatment we expect from them and can reach the greatest success when they are in a
compassionate, encouraging, and safe environment.

Fourth Grade

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Jake Rosenberg

Pronouns: He/Him

jrosenberg@tbsneedham.org

As a learning guide in Jewish education, I gear my students not just towards connecting with the material, but also towards fostering a bond with the community that they are a part of. I try to emphasize the idea that they are not just learning facts or some interesting stories. But instead, they are learning their own stories; they are learning who they are as a people.

 

I grew up Northern New Jersey, which is where I first became an involved in the Jewish community. I then went on to Wesleyan University, where I studied both English and Jewish History. Since then, I’ve spent the past three years in the field of education helping students achieve their academic goals. I now live in Waltham with my wife and our cat, Itty Bitty. 

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Aaron Gurvis

Pronouns: He/Him

agurvis@tbsneedham.org

Aaron joined the full-time Crane Lake team in 2019 as Assistant Director. Aaron has been a part of the Northeast URJ Youth Community for many years. Most recently, Aaron served as the NFTY Northeast Regional Advisor, and spent several summers at URJ 6 Points Sci Tech Academy as member of the year-round leadership. Before that, Aaron was a camper, counselor, and unit head at Eisner Camp, a participant and staff member for NFTY in Israel, and spent three years as a Youth Engagement Professional at Temple Beth Shalom. Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College.

Fifth Grade

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sadie O'Neill

Pronouns: She/Her

soneill@tbsneedham.org

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Emily Kestenbaum

1st Grade Curriculum Coach

Pronouns: She/Her

ekestenbaum@tbsneedham.org

 

I always felt that the best educators I had were the ones who were continuously learning and growing. I strive to follow their path and learn from my colleagues and students every day. I believe that building a rapport with each child allows an educator to help that child access the curriculum in a way that is meaningful to them. Each year, I take the time to get to know each child personally - their backgrounds, theirs interests, and their families.  This helps me to bring highlight pieces of the curriculum for each child, where he/she may connect most to Judaism. Working at Temple Beth Shalom provides me the opportunity to be a part of a team that values the fostering of connections between children through our shared history and values, and to build on those relationships each year so they can continue to develop.

I joined the Mayim family in September 2016, and am thrilled to continue learning from this amazing group of educators and professionals on a daily basis. I am originally from Stonybrook, NY and come with experiences as a full time public school teacher, Hebrew school teacher, and youth group director. I also spent five summers working as the Waterfront Director at Eisner Camp. I live with my husband, Ben, in Northborough and enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and swimming!