Chief Executive Officer
Michael has over 30 years of experience as leader of entrepreneurial businesses and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining ShalomLearning, Michael served the Bender JCC of Greater Washington as Chief Operating Officer for almost three years and Chief Executive Officer for 12 years. Michael worked with the board of directors to develop the Center’s vision and strategic direction and lead the organization’s professional staff.
Prior to becoming a Jewish communal professional, Michael owned and managed businesses in the manufacturing, service and technology industries, and served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles in community and nonprofit organizations. He has served on the board of directors of the JCC Association of North America, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation.
Michael has a certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University and a Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, the recognized leader in nonprofit board leadership. He received his B.A. in public policy from Duke University and his M.B.A. in public/nonprofit management and finance from Columbia University.
Michael and his wife, Suzanne, live in Rockville, Maryland, and together they have four children who live across North America.
Chief Program Officer and Director of Community Engagement
Infusing his backgrounds of cinema and music production with a growing evolution as a social entrepreneur, Josh has been a passionate innovator and teacher of Jewish education for the past 20 years. Before arriving at ShalomLearning in September of 2014, Josh held teaching and administrative positions at The Rashi School, The Rodeph Sholom Day School, The Kesher Community Hebrew School, Congregation Kehillath Israel, The Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School, Camp Ramah, Camp Edward Issacs, and Storahtelling. Josh co-founded JChoice.org (a mitzvah project donor advised fund designed to empower Jewish youth to learn and experience the mitzvah of Tzedakah), which he has run since its creation and launch in 2009. Josh is married with 2 children and lives in Brookline, MA and can be seen playing keyboards and singing vocals with his band called Jotro & The New Mother Earth as well as other musical projects such as The Dave Limina Groove Trio.
Chief Operating Officer
Debi is a PMP certified business professional with experience identifying, creating, and building client relations. Prior to joining ShalomLearning in April of 2012, she was a proven leader for eight years at Blackboard, the software company that pioneered web based eLearning software platforms. Her responsibilities included overseeing technical support teams, implementing new CRMs, and creating new client programs. A graduate of Rutgers College, Debi studied for a year at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her passion for Jewish education is due in large part to her experiences attending Solomon Schechter Day School and over ten summers at Camp Ramah in New England. Debi, her husband, Evan, and two sons live in Rockville, Maryland and are active members of B’nai Israel Congregation.
Director of Educational Technologies
Michele is a Jewish educator who has developed and taught various online courses. Prior to her midlife career change, Michele was a Systems Consultant for Ernst and Young and an Account Manager for Automatic Data Processing. Michele has a BA in Computer Science from Brandeis University, an MBA in Accounting from Fordham, and an MA in Jewish Education from The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Michele and her family reside in Metuchen, NJ.
Director of Educational Programming
Heidi Lovitz is an educator, education administrator, and curriculum developer dedicated to innovating Jewish education. Her experience includes Family Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, MA for over 15 years, the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Camp Tevya in Brookline, NH for 15 years, and Director of Education and Programming at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH. Heidi was one of the founding leaders of the Havayah program connecting teens from Boston, Haifa and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Heidi holds a BA in communication studies from the University of Massachusetts and is pursing a Master of Jewish Education at Hebrew College. Heidi enjoys theatre, music, reading, gardening, biking and hiking. Heidi lives in Westford, Massachusetts with her husband Peter and has two adult children.
Shira is a Jewish educator who used ShalomLearning in her religious school classroom for many years before officially joining the ShalomLearning team in 2020. For over thirteen years, Shira has taught students both virtually and in the traditional classroom.. Shira grew up in Upstate New York, where she received her BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Buffalo. Later, Shira moved to Chicago where she worked on her MA in Counseling Psychology from the Adler School. Shira worked for three years as a Crisis Counselor with at-risk youth in Chicago in addition to teaching supplementary Jewish education. In 2018 Shira transitioned to teaching preschoolers in a Jewish Early Childhood Education program while continuing to teach and tutor religious school students.. Today, Shira lives in the Northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three young children, and dogs. Shira enjoys nature and outdoor activities, cooking, gardening, and reading.
Board of Directors
Larry Moneta, Ed.D
Larry is currently an independent consultant. He served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Duke University for 18 years where he established long-range direction for supporting student intellectual, personal, social and interpersonal development. One of Moneta’s roles at Duke included oversight of Jewish Life at Duke. Previously he served nearly 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania, most recently as Associate Vice President for Campus Services.
Larry holds adjunct faculty appointments at Duke in the Hart Leadership Program at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy and at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches in the Higher Education Executive Doctorate Program. He has written numerous publications, presents frequently at professional meetings and serves on a number of corporate boards.
Larry served for four years on the Board of Directors for Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He is also a member of the Jewish Grandparents Network advisory board and the advisory board of Jewish Changemakers, a leadership development fellowship for Jewish college students and recent graduates presented by the Jewish Federations of North America.
Steven Guttentag, Ph.D
Steven is currently the CEO of Reading Plus, an adaptive literacy intervention solution that develops silent reading proficiency and confident, lifelong readers. He recently served as an Executive in Residence for investment firm Avathon Capital. Prior to that he served as the President of Connections Academy, an online schooling company he co-founded and sold to Pearson PLC in 2011. Dr. Guttentag began his career as a classroom teacher and has spent the last 25 years designing and deploying technology-based solutions to improve K–12 education. His academic credentials include a B.A. from the University of Michigan, a M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Policy and Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Devin is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years in numerous entrepreneurial ventures. He has successfully started and sold four companies and has invested in more than 40 start-ups and early-stage businesses. Currently, Devin is Founder and CEO of Student Playbook. He is active in Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and also founded Campus MD/Access Health Group and Campus Direct. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Devin is a dedicated philanthropist: he founded ShalomLearning and The Social Sector of Scaling Up.
Carol is a retired psychologist who has practiced as a family therapist. Carol serves on the Board of Advisors of the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University and of FOUNDATIONS, Inc., a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of education for our nation’s children by strengthening the skills of educators. She is a past co-chair of the Jewish Funders Network, one of the founding partners of the Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education (PELIE), a board member of the Atlantic Theater in NY and the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts (AIDA). In 1981, she and her late husband, Isaac founded the Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation with funding primarily being made to preserve and strengthen the Jewish identity of youth with an emphasis on Jewish education, improving the lives of vulnerable children and families and using technology to enhance educational and work skills for individuals and communities. Carol, together with her children continue to serve as trustees of the foundation.
Rabbi Sarah Tasman
Rabbi Sarah is the founder of the Tasman Center for Jewish Creativity which offers community classes & gatherings, and private spiritual coaching, and life cycle officiation. Rabbi Sarah specializes in leading experiential spirituality and Jewish mindfulness classes, providing opportunities for personal and professional development, and incorporating expressive modalities including writing, yoga, art and ritual. She is a faculty member at The Adas Israel Community Mikvah where she trains mikvah guides in ritual creation and recently co-led the Well Bodies Program in Embodied Judaism. She has taught Jewish mindfulness for Gratz: NEXT, Jewish Federations of North America Changemakers Fellowship, and many congregations and organizations.
Rabbi Sarah was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2012. She also holds a master of Jewish Education and a certificate of non-profit management. She is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow and member of the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning network. Previously, Rabbi Sarah was the Interfaith Family/DC Director, serving the needs of interfaith couples and families throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC and has worked at Hillels at The University of Maryland, Yale and MIT.
Diane Troderman has spent the last thirty years devoted to the renaissance and renewal of Jewish life. Her work in the Former Soviet Union, where the importance of passing on one’s heritage through culture and values, has made a lasting impression on Diane especially contributing to her work today.
She currently serves on the boards of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation founded by her husband and focused on PJ library; Hebrew College whose exciting new model as a center for Jewish learning and leadership emphasizes culture and collaboration; the Washington Institute for Near East policy advancing a critical understanding of American interests in the Middle East today and the Hadassah Brandeis Institute creating fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide. Diane is a past chair of PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, JESNA (Jewish Educational Service of North America), and PELIE (Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education).
Rabbi Sid Schwarz
Senior Fellow at Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability
Dr. Sarah Steinberg
CEO, Frogstone Strategies
Dr. Michael Horn
Chief Strategy Office, Entangled Group and Co-Founder, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation
CEO, The Noodle Companies
Partner, University Ventures
Curriculum Development Team
The ShalomLearning curriculum blends technology, developmentally appropriate content and teaching methods to reach students on their terms in order to build understanding, impart critical skills and forge a lifelong love of Judaism and Jewish learning. Leaders in Jewish Education and Education Technology advised the foundations of our curriculum in the early stages.
Dr. Erica Brown, Director of Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. Site: www.ericabrown.com
Andrew Rosen, CEO at Interfolio, Inc.
Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow at Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability. Site: www.rabbisid.org
Dr. Jonathan Woocher z”l, Senior Fellow at Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah
Initial Iteration Curriculum Development Team (Grades 4-6)
The ShalomLearning curriculum is organized around seven core Jewish values that infuse our traditions (both ancient and modern) with wisdom and meaning. The project began in 2010 by experts using the pedagogic principles of Understanding by Design (UBD), by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins to create ShalomLearning curriculum for grades 4-6.
Jill Allenberg Stepak, ShalomLearning Director of Curriculum Development
Aliza Sperling, ShalomLearning Curriculum Program Manager
Rabbi Shmuel Feld, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Rabbi Yakov Majeski, ShalomLearning Master Teacher
Mariana Haroun, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Tammie Rapps, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Barry Krasner, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
JoHanna Potts, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Rebecca Weisman, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Avi West, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Meredith Woocher, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Additional Grade Level Curriculum Development Team
As the adoption of the ShalomLearning program grew over the years, so did the curriculum. ShalomLearning released our third grade curriculum for the 2015-16 academic year. The following year our partners had access to our seventh grade curriculum, and in for the 2017-18, second grade curriculum was officially released.
Adam Bellows, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Rabbi Melissa Bellows, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Rabbi Danielle Eskow, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Amy Goldberg, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Heidi Lovitz, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Leah Maas, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Rachel Meytin, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Laura Naide, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Jennifer Newfeld, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Dana Kanter Prottas, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
The Bible Players, ShalomLearning Curriculum Writer
Each year, ShalomLearning experts use feedback from our educators and changes in education technology to make revisions to our curriculum.
Heidi Baker, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Eliana Bernard, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Liana Brodsky, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Rachel Besser, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Mindy Gold, Curriculum Consultant, www.edtechmmg.com
Debi Himelfarb, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Rabbi Janice Mehring, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Becky Oliver, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Michele Rosenfield, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Jade Sank, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Shira Sender, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Marci Serfaty, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Shani Sicherman, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Alisa Silverman, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Cheryl Vogel, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Daniel Young, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Alison Zimbalist, ShalomLearning Curriculum Contributor
Finally, we’d like to express our gratitude to all of the ShalomLearning educators who have submitted feedback upon which the curriculum updates are based.