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.
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.
Rebecca Perlmutter is a freelance creative + graphic designer based in New York and Los Angeles. She specializes in branding both start-up and established companies. Her expertise includes website design, printed materials, digital materials, and artist merchandise.
Dana Kanter Prottas
Dana is a passionate instructional designer and elearning specialist who creates environments to both learn from and inspire others in all facets of life. She has three advanced degrees, plus a teaching license and advanced certifications in Instructional Design and Project Management.
Shani is an experienced educator and instructional designer with expertise in teaching students of all ages in both formal and informal settings. Since moving to Israel from Detroit, MI, Shani earned two advanced degrees in education from Bar Ilan University. She has held various roles for multiple educational institutions in the US and in Israel.
Board of Directors
Senior Creative Director, Marketing Director, Video Producer & Director, Webcast Producer, Principal of TR Productions
President, From Strength to Strength, Recipient of the Torchbearer Award, Campus Transformation Award, Israel Educator Award, and Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award
Founder of ShalomLearning, National Education Initiative, & Campus Direct; CEO, Access Health Group; Co-Founder, YPO WPO Higher Education Group
Chief Executive Officer, ShalomLearning; Founder, Jewish Causes of Choice (JChoice.org)
CEO, Bender JCC of Greater Washington; Board Member, Finance Committee Member, and Co-Chair Task Forces on International Affiliate & Safety at JCCA
CEO, Reading Plus; Venture Partner, Education, RIDGE-LANE Limited Partners
Independent Consultant, L&J Consulting; Former VP of Student Affairs, Duke University
Past chair of JESNA; Partner in PEJE, PELIE, and AREIVIM-Fund for the Jewish Future; Board Member of the American Jewish World Service, Hebrew At The Center; Hazon and The Davidson School of 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.