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A Reform Jewish Community for all of Tucson
225 North Country Club • Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-4501 • Fax: (520) 327-4504
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Yom Chamishi, 24 Nisan 5774

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for the 2013-2014 School Year

Youth Education Director  Chava Gal-Or
Chava Gal-Or

Chava Gal-Or has been a Jewish Educator from birth. For the last 15 years, she has directed several Religious Schools throughout the country. Recently, Chava moved to Tucson with her two sons, Aryeh and Dovi, from Washington DC. She is loving the Tucson heat and Temple Emanu-El too.

Classroom Teachers

Torah Tots/Pre-K  Erin Samuels
Erin Samuels


Erin was raised in Tucson by her mom, Elizabeth and her dad Douglas, with her older sister Michelle. She has been a part of Temple Emanu-El from as far back as she can remember, having gone through Religious and Hebrew school, Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation here at Temple. Erin's daughter, Katherine, was also named and has attended both Religious and Hebrew school here at Temple Emanu-El. Erin has a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master's in Early Childhood Education, from Northern Arizona University. She has been teaching since 2006 in elementary and middle schools around Tucson, but is currently, working at Temple Emanu-El in the Olga and Bob Strauss ECE trying to earn her early childhood endorsement, and loving every minute of it.



 Elizabeth Samuels
Elizabeth Samuels


Elizabeth has been a Temple member since 1982 when she moved here from New Jersey with her two daughters, Michelle and Erin, and her mom and dad. She has 3 wonderful grandchildren, Shmuel and Menachem Rosenblatt, who live in Crown Heights Brooklyn, NY, and Katherine (Katie) Zinn, who lives with her and her mom Erin here in Tucson. Katie has been preparing for her own Bat Mitzvah. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Education and Specialized Technology and a Master's in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Reading. Elizabeth has been teaching for 10 years and is currently a kindergarten teacher at Johnson Primary School here in Tucson.

First Grade

 Abby Limmer
Abby Limmer 


Abby Limmer has taught several grades at Temple Emanu-El, but 1st grade is her favorite.  She has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Arizona, and during the week, she teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies there. In her free time, she mountain bikes, bakes, and trains capoeira.

Second Grade  Jodi Bransky
Jodi Bransky 


Jodi Bransky has lived in Tucson and been a member of Temple Emanu-El for the last five years.  She is married and has four daughters.  Rachel is in 8th grade; Rena is in 6th grade; Marnie is in 2nd grade and very excited to be in her class this year; and Aeriel, her youngest , is in 1st grade.  She has really enjoyed teaching in the Kurn Religious School and this will be her fifth year.  Her children appreciate watching her as a teacher and she appreciates getting to know other families and congregants.

Third Grade  Jennifer Greenberg
Jennifer Greenberg 


My name is Jennifer Greenberg and I am teaching third grade this year. This is my second year teaching at the Kurn Religious School. I have a Master's Degree in Teaching (Elementary Education). Before moving to Tucson, I lived in Israel for seven years. I have taught Hebrew school previously in Northern Virginia and Washington DC. I am looking forward to an exciting for this school year.

Fourth Grade  Gideon Rafal
Gideon Rafal


Gideon Rafal was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. He learned Hebrew while attending Hebrew school as a child and at a Jewish high school. He is majoring in Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew, and Arabic at the University of Arizona Honors College. He enjoys sports and music and looks forward to teaching and interacting with all the students of Temple Emanu-El.

Fifth Grade  Hannah Sorkow
 Hannah Sorkow cropped


Hannah Sorkow was born in Tucson and attended Temple Emanu-El Religious School from 2nd to 9th grade. Since then, she has been a Madricha for the Torah Tots and grades four through eight, as well as teaching in the Learning Lab. She is studying Social Services, and enjoys art, music, and cooking in her spare time.

Sixth Grade  Max Spiegel
 Max Spiegel


Max was born and raised in Tarzana, California. He attended a Jewish day school for elementary school and went to religious school throughout middle and high school at Los Angeles Hebrew High School. He went to Camp Ramah in California from age eight and this past summer was the first that he's missed since then. He is currently a junior studying Psychology at the University of Arizona. He loves sports and is excited to teach your children about the history of the Jewish people.

Seventh Grade (Sundays)  Hannah Gaber Saletan
Hannah Gaber Saletan 


Hannah Gaber Saletan grew up in Tucson and in the Temple Emanu-El community. She had her Bat Mitzvah and confirmation at Emanu-El; and graduated from Tucson High School in 2001. She started teaching religious school after finishing college in Savannah, GA, and has continued after returning to Tucson in January of 2011.

Hay (Tuesdays)  Marjorie Hochberg
Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg 


Marjorie Hochberg has been the principal Cantorial Soloist at Temple Emanu-El for the last 13 years.  She has studied and taught about Judaism for many years, continues to study voice, and has two professional CD's. Marjorie was the 2006 recipient of the Women of Reform Judaism "Miriam's Cup" award, presented annually to a Jewish woman who is noteworthy for qualities of character and leadership, and the 2009 winner of the Grinspoon-Steinheardt Award, a national award given for excellence in Jewish education.

Eighth Grade (Sundays)

 Lior Shragg

Eighth Grade (Tuesdays)


Tenth Grade

Rabbi Batsheva Appel  Rabbi Appel

Ninth Grade


Youth Choir

 Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon 


Rabbi Cohon has brought vision, excellence, and depth to Temple Emanu-El.  The dynamic rabbi of Temple Emanu-El has overseen a 150% growth in Temple membership in his 13 years in Tucson.  An active educator in the Temple Emanu-El Kurn Religious School experience, he has been involved in creating and directing dynamic Jewish family education programs for more than thirty years throughout the US, Israel, and Australia.  An outstanding educator in his own right, Rabbi Cohon is strongly committed and connected to youth education and inspires great enthusiasm in congregants of every age.  He also hosts the weekly "Too Jewish" Radio Show with Rabbi Sam Cohon & Friends, Sundays on KVOI AM 1030 at 9:00 am, or on the web at www.toojewishradio.com. 


Art  Ann Lapidus
Ann Lapidus 


Ann Marcus Lapidus has been teaching art to children at Temple since 1996. She has taught art classes at The Drawing Studio, Catalina Foothills Community Schools, St. Gregory's Adult Education Program, Marana Unified School District LEAP, Temple Emanu-el Adult Education Academy, Canyon Ranch and Oasis Tucson. She also taught at the Blackburn Printmaking Studio in New York City. Ann has a BA in Fine Art from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, and a semestrial degree from the Sorbonne, Paris, France. Her artwork is in collections throughout the United States.

Israeli Dance/Dance Chug   Rachel Rheingold  
Learning Lab (Sundays/Tuesdays)  Hanna Port
Hanna Port was born in raised in Los Angeles, California. She went to Jewish day schools from the time she was three years old through her senior year of high school. Hanna is in her junior year at the University of Arizona. She is majoring in Business Management and minoring in Judaic Studies, with a focus on Hebrew language. She enjoys being with friends and family, reading a good book and working with children.
Ian McKenzie
Music & Drama

 Jake Goldstein
Jake Goldstein 


Jacob ("Jake") Goldstein is a Junior at the University of Arizona, where he is a general studies major (with a business emphasis).  Jake grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he went to middle and high school at the renowned Denver School of the Arts.  Jake was a band major (percussionist) his senior year at DSA and a vocal major in the years before.  Jake has played the piano since he was four, and is an accomplished drummer.  He also plays the banjo, guitar and ukelele.  Jake studied dance extensively and was on the competing senior dance company of Michelle Latimer Dance Academy, where he performed ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and tap numbers.  Jake has played many musical theater roles including Riff in West Side Story, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, Juno in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.  In addition to his experiences on the stage, Jake drummed DSA's production of UrineTown at National Thespian Convention and drummed a production of Nunsense.

Special Needs Coordinator  Laurie Dietz
Interpreter for the Deaf  Sarah Bollt
Sarah Bollton 


Sarah Bollt was born in San Jose, CA and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in deaf studies. She has a rating of 4.5 on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment, and worked as an Educational Interpreter for the Deaf in public schools for ten years. Recently, she began interpreting in Jewish settings. She has been active in the Tucson Jewish community for many years. She served for three years as the Chair of the Ritual Committee at Congregation Or Chadash, in addition to being a long-time member of the Or Chadash choir. During the day, Sarah works as Rabbinic Executive Assistant at Temple Emanu-El. She also works locally as a Cantorial Soloist, and has led services at Congregation Or Chadash, Temple Emanu-El, and Handmaker Jewish Home for the Aging.

Assistant to the Director  April Bauer

April Bauer has lived in Tucson for seven years and is a member of Temple Emanu-El. She has two daughters who attend the Religious School. This will be her sixth year as Assistant to the Religious School Director.

Youth Group Advisor Amanda Caldwell

My name is Amanda Caldwell. I am a full time teacher and a graduate student at the University of Arizona. As some of you may know I came to Temple Emanu-El on the search to find a place to make my dream come true. That dream was to start a youth group. So last year I started JCTEY (Jew Crew Temple Emanu-el Youth). JCTEY is a youth group for teens in grades 9th-12th. I myself was in youth group when I was in high school and it really changed me and my aspects of how to be a Jewish teen. That is what I try to give back to the teens of JCTEY.