Mayim at TBS Jewish Learning Guides (Teachers)



Matt Emmer

Pronouns: They/Them

After working with Mayim as a t’filah and song leader, I am excited to join the team. I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York, and am a proud alumni of URJ Eisner Camp, spending 14 summers as a camper, counselor, and eventually head song leader. In the spring of 2016, I graduated from Clark University in Worcester, where I studied English and Jewish Studies. I’m passionate about making the classroom a space for exploration and helping students find their connection to Judaism and the world around them. 

First Grade


Emily Kestenbaum

1st Grade Curriculum Coach

Pronouns: She/Her


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!

Second Grade

Third Grade


Tzipora Crandell

3rd Grade Curriculum Coach 

Pronouns: She/Her

As a Needham native, I grew up attending Temple Beth Shalom and am so happy to be returning home as a Mayim and Mayim Tamid Jewish Learning Guide. The foundation for my interest in Jewish Education was laid as a student at TBS and strengthened during summers at URJ Crane Lake Camp and a high school semester abroad in Israel.


As a teacher, I believe that children grow and learn at their own pace, and I fully embrace each child’s individuality.  As someone who continues to learn through music, play, and experimentation, I strive to create an inviting and curiosity-inspiring environment in the classroom. 

Aaron Gurvis

Pronouns: He/Him

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.

Fourth Grade

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Hannah Elbaum 

4th Grade Curriculum Coach 

Pronouns: She/Her

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!

Fifth Grade

Mason Cotton

Pronouns: He/Him

I am very excited to be a Mayim teacher this year. I have been working at 6 points sci-tech academy the past 6 summers and I am looking forward to applying what I learned there to my teaching at TBS. In my spare time I enjoy reading fantasy books and playing video games. 

As a teacher it is my goal to nurture my students’ interests while also introducing them to new concepts and perspectives. I love to see children's enthusiasm for learning and want to encourage that as much as possible.

Jacob Paikoff

Pronouns: He/Him

Jacob is an engineer and entrepreneur, who loves everything STEM and is passionate about creating learning environments that foster exploration and discovery, and making things explode (in a safe, controlled way, of course). He previously was a counselor and the Robotics Instructor at the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy for four summers, and now teaches STEM programs throughout the Boston area. Jacob also volunteers with FIRST Robotics, which he has been involved with for many years, in Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and now here. He received his Bachelors’ in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and his Masters’ in Technical Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida.