Who We Are
Ms. Winshall, HATC Board Chair, studied developmental psycholinguistics at the University of Chicago, is the Founding Chair of Hebrew at the Center and the Chair of the Board of Directors of RAVSAK. Arnee also serves on the Executive Committee of JESNA as the lay chair of the Lippman Kanfer Institute, on the Foundation for Jewish Camp board, and is Founding Chair of JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School. Her article, “State of the Field: Hebrew Teaching and Learning” was published in the spring 2011 issue of Contact, The Journal of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life. She is the recent recipient of Hebrew College’s Sidney Hillson/Rose Bronstein Award for distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership.
Mark Sokoll, President and CEO of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston since July 2000, is a lifelong advocate, activist and educator working on behalf of the Jewish Community in Israel and Greater Boston. Since 1988 Mark has had several posts at the JCC. He was Director of Jewish Resources from 1988 – 1990, Executive Director of the Leventhal-Sidman JCC in Newton from 1992-2000 and of The Striar JCC in Stoughton from 1996-2000.In Israel, Mark worked as a Senior Educator at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel and as a tour guide primarily with the Jewish Agency’s Institute for Leadership Development. During his service in the Israel Defense Forces he served as an educator at the IDF Institute for Officer Training and Education. A graduate of Boston University, Mark earned his Masters Degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Mark also received Rabbinic Ordination from Bet Din-Bet Achim in New York City and served as part-time Rabbi at Temple Bnai Israel in Revere, Massachusetts from 1987 to 2010. Mark was the Co-Chair for many years of the Board of Directors of the Lenny Zakim Fund, a not-for-profit Foundation that funds grassroots organization in Greater Boston involved in building a better society for all. The Junior Chamber of Commerce named him one of Greater Boston’s “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders”. Mark is also the recipient of the Myrtle Wreath Achievement Award from Hadassah, the Lester Gilson Community Service Award from the Solomon Schechter Day School and The Bernard Riesman Award for Professional Excellence. For many years Mark coordinated and led Boston’s Annual Black Jewish Seder. Mark lives in Newton with his wife Marjorie, founding director of Jewish Healing Connections at JF&CS; daughter Talya graduate of NYU Steinhart School of Education BA and MA; son David graduate of Oberlin College.
Ms. Blauer formerly was the Associate Dean and Secretary and Executive Vice Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She currently serves on the board of Scripps College and has previously served on the board of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association.
Shulamit Reinharz, Ph.D., is the Director of the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. After receiving her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Brandeis University, she was on the psychology faculty of the University of Michigan for ten years, and then returned to Brandeis as a professor of sociology. In the 1990s Professor Reinharz directed the Women’s Studies Program at Brandeis University which included the first graduate program in Jewish Women’s Studies in the world. She also initiated the Student-Scholar Partnership Program, the course on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children, and created the National Board for Women’s Studies. The holder of the Jacob Potofsky Chair of Sociology, Professor Reinharz has published eleven books. She is the mother of two daughters, and is married to Jehuda Reinharz, former president of Brandeis University.
Senior Program Director
Tal has diverse experience in Jewish education across North America and in Israel. She has worked in both formal and informal educational settings across a broad range of audiences with a focus on educational leadership and Hebrew language acquisition. Tal has a BA and MA in Hebrew Literature and Hebrew Language Instruction from Brandeis University where she studied with Dr. Vardit Ringvald. She has also pursued post-graduate studies at Tel Aviv University in Hebrew Literature and at UCLA in Educational Leadership.
From 2010-2014 she served as North American Program and Education Director of the Diller Teen Fellows Program where she managed local teen leadership programs in collaboration with 10 North American Jewish Federations (SF, Baltimore, Boston, LA, NJ, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Miami and Chicago) and promoted partnerships between local programs and their respective Israeli partner communities. In this role, Tal created a national program manual including policies, procedures and curriculum, designed and facilitated annual professional development programs for national and international staff and community leaders, and designed tools for national and international program evaluation for 20 participating communities to increase program impact and contribute to the field of Jewish Peoplehood.
Most recently Tal has served as a consultant to Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto were she provided professional development and mentoring for Hebrew language teachers and increased integration of Hebrew school-wide to strengthen Jewish identity development.
Tal’s work includes publications on the topic of Jewish Peoplehood and contributions to the Peoplehood Education Toolkit, a Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education and a UJA Federation initiative. In addition to her work, Tal serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of Hebrew Language and Culture in North America.
Project Coordinator/Office Manager
Paula has held key leadership roles with Temple Israel of Natick , United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Bureau of Jewish Education. At Temple Israel she has held the position of President, Executive Vice-President, and chair of several committees. Paula has been Education Vice-President of the New England Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and for a number of years sat on the National Board of Directors. She was President of the Boston Bureau of Jewish Education and a member of the Board of Directors of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and maintained a seat on the Family Education Task Force. She brings the same organizational skills to Hebrew At The Center as she did to her synagogue, the Conservative movement and Jewish education for more than thirty-five years. Paula is the mother of one day-school graduate daughter and Savta to two grandchildren, both of whom attend day school in Washington, D.C
Mira Angrist, a member of HATC’s Educational Leadership Team, is the head of the Hebrew Program at Boston University (BU). Mira’s professional interest includes curriculum development, modalities in professional development, and integrating technology into Hebrew pedagogy. At BU, Mira teaches all proficiency levels, and has created new courses such as Israeli Popular Music, Voices in Israeli Society, and Food Cultures in Israel. From 2014 to 2016, Mira served as coordinator of BU’s “Brown Bag Lunch” professional development talks involving four language departments. For the 2016-17 academic year, she assumes the role of coordinator of part-time lecturers in the BU World Languages and Literatures Department.
In addition to Mira’s role at BU, from 2010 to 2016, she served as the Hebrew Director of Prozdor, the Supplementary Hebrew Middle and High School at Hebrew College in Newton, MA where she revised the entire Hebrew curriculum to achieve a communicative proficiency-based approach.
Mira Angrist holds a Master’s degree from Rutgers University and a BA from Hebrew University. She also earned a post graduate certificate as a Senior Educator from the Melton Center at Hebrew University, specializing in teaching Hebrew as a foreign language and modalities in professional development.
Liat has over 25 years of experience teaching Hebrew to students and adults in Israel and the United States. She has been involved with HATC since its founding in 2007 and is a member of HATC’s Educational Leadership Team. Liat has worked with multiple schools throughout North America and served as the coordinator of the Atlanta Regional Hebrew Initiative from 2010 to 2014.
Currently living in Atlanta, Georgia, Liat is the Director of Hebrew at Atlanta’s Jewish Academy. Previously, Liat was the Hebrew Language Director at The Epstein School (Middle School), Hebrew Language Coordinator at the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta, and a Hebrew language instructor at Emory University in Atlanta. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Liat taught Hebrew, wrote curriculum, and coordinated Hebrew language instruction support for students with special needs at the New Jewish High School (Gann Academy), in Waltham, MA. In Israel, Liat served as Director of the Ulpan at the Givat Washington High School campus and subsequently as co-director of the School.
She holds a BA, Teaching License, and Educational Leadership Diploma from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Jewish Education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Ohio. She is also an ACTFL-certified OPI tester.
A member of HATC’s Educational Leadership Team, Esti works with a number of schools across North America coaching their Hebrew educational teams. Previously, Esti taught at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston for over 20 years and, for the past five years, was the Hebrew Literacy Coach at Solomon Schechter Day School’s (SSDS) upper school in Newton MA. Esti administered and oversaw the OPI (Oral Proficiency Interviews) and WPA (Writing Proficiency Assessment) process at SSDS, in which Hebrew students are assessed to determine their level of proficiency in Hebrew.
Esti also taught adult Hebrew classes at Boston’s Hebrew College for seven years and Hebrew language courses at Brandeis University for two years. And in 2012-2015 was an instructor for students in the DELET program in Brandeis University working towards their Masters degree.
Esti has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haifa University in Israel with a High-School Teaching Certification in Hebrew Language & Hebrew Literature.
Sharona, in her capacity as the Director of the Hebrew Language Program at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, served as the JCDS Project Manager for the Covenant Foundation Grant which helped to underwrite the pilot phase that led to the launch of HATC. After joining JCDS Boston in 2002, she began working with Dr. Ringvald to develop and refine the Hebrew language acquisition tools, teacher workshops, and mentoring programs that are now being shared with Hebrew language and Jewish educators around the world. While teaching grades 5-9 in Israel, Sharona was responsible for helping foster children adapt to their new families and communities. She managed a center for children with learning disabilities, working with dyslexic Middle School students. Later she co-founded the Community Day School of the Northern Golan Heights. From 1986 to 1997 Sharona worked for the “Logal” educational software company in Israel, as Director of Reading Comprehension and Language Arts.
Gila Azrad was born in Iran and grew up in Israel. She joined the army at the age of 18 and served as a pre-army instructor at the GADNA. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Hebrew Literature from Seminar Hakibutzim in Tel Aviv. After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, she worked as aHebrew and Judaic studies teacher at Pressman Academy and Sinai Akiba Academy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Jewish Studies from American Jewish University and is currently studying to become a specialist in teaching a second language through the Master’s Degree Program in Language Acquisition at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Nir is the Hebrew Coordinator at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn. Before Hannah Senesh, Nir was a Hebrew faculty member at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in New York and spent several years teaching Hebrew at Gann Academy (The New Jewish High School of Greater Boston). He was an instructor at Brandeis University in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and at the Kehillath Israel Religious School in Brookline, MA. Born and raised in Kiryat Yam, Israel, Nir earned his BA in English Literature from Haifa University and his MA in Teaching Hebrew from Brandeis University.
Frieda was the Lead Educator of Ma’alah, Early Childhood Hebrew Immersion Network at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, also funded by The Covenant Foundation. Before joining JTS in 1997, she taught at the New City Jewish Center for 16 years in the religious school, preschool and Hebrew for adults, and at RocklandCommunity College. She holds a Masters in Jewish Education from JTS and is a doctoral candidate in Jewish Education there. Her research interests include early childhood Jewish education and Hebrew language education and evaluation. Frieda concentrates on professional development for early childhood educators both in Hebrew education and in Judaic studies. She has published studies on the Hebrew language immersion program at Camp Ramah, Judaic enrichment as change agent and scholarly research in Hebrew Immersion. Frieda has also served as Director of Early Childhood Programs at Camp Ramah of New England.
Ilana Shapira holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University and a BA in Hebrew Literature and Middle East History from Tel Aviv University. In 1998 she was awarded the Hoffman Memorial Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for Designing a Conflict Resolution Curriculum based on biblical texts. Most recently Ilana was the Vice Principal of Ivrit at Tanenbaum CHAT, Toronto where she was responsible for the conceptualization and implementation of the Hebrew curriculum and Professional Development for teachers. Currently, Ilana is the Project Director of a Hebrew teaching program jointly developed by Hebrew At The Center and Jerusalem Ed Tech Solutions (JETS). In 2015, Ilana joined Hebrew at the Center as a mentor and advisor working with Hebrew teachers in a number of schools on developing teaching units in Hebrew.
Webmaster & Special Projects Assistant
Noam Lekach is an Associate Hebrew Teacher in Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, NY. He has been working for HATC since September 2012.
For the past 4 summers Noam worked as a Bilingual Assistant and Cultural Curriculum Coordinator at the Middlebury College School of Hebrew.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, where he studied History and Postcolonial Studies with a focus on the modern Middle East. During his time in Brandeis, Noam worked for the Hebrew Program.
Noam grew up in Israel, where he worked and volunteered in several social justice, education and peace organizations.
Vardit Ringvald, Ph.D., is a CV Starr Research Professor of Languages and Linguistics. She is the founding Director of the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew, established in 2007. Prof. Ringvald recently concluded nearly three decades at Brandeis University, most recently as the Director of the Hebrew Language Department. Along with her colleagues, she published Brandeis Modern Hebrew, Vol. 1, which has become North America’s most popular college Hebrew language textbook. Vol. 2 was published in June, 2013. She is an expert in the application of the proficiency approach to foreign language instruction and the development of competency-based curriculum for teaching Modern Hebrew in all educational settings at all levels, implementing authentic materials and methods for integrating Hebrew culture into the classroom. She is a founding member of the Hebrew Language Council (HLC) of North America and in 2013, she was appointed to the Committee for Teacher Certification Examinations of NYSED (The New York State Education Department). She led the Hebrew language initiative of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and served as the chairperson of the SAT II for Hebrew. She is a founding board member of JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.
Irit specialized in literacy and elementary Hebrew teacher mentoring at Hebrew at the Center. She is the Hebrew teaching coach at the Boston area Solomon Schechter Day School’s lower school, where she is also the OPI evaluator for lower school students. Prior to becoming the school’s Hebrew coach, Irit taught Hebrew in Schechter’s kindergarten and first grade classes. She was the recipient of the school achievement award in 2009. In Israel, Irit was a first and second grade teacher for 13 years. She holds a B.Ed. from the University of Haifa in Israel and teaching certificates in Early Childhood and in Special Education and is working towards her Masters.
Shlomit is Director of Hebrew Educational Services at the Hebrew Charter School. She was a Hebrew teacher and mentor at JCDS Boston and the Hebrew Studies Coordinator at The Rashi School, Boston Area Reform Jewish Day School, where she taught Hebrew at all levels. Shlomit was Assistant Head of the Rashi School from January 2001 to June 2003 and also Interim Head of School. She taught Hebrew at Prozdor high school and was a consultant in the development of the URJ Hebrew curriculum Haverim B’Ivrit. Shlomit studied at Oranim Teachers’ College, affiliated with Haifa U., and holds an M.Ed. specializing in Reading and Language Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill. In Israel, Shlomit taught English to grades 4 through 12 at Kibbutz Kabri. She has participated in many professional development seminars, including the Jewish Day School Leadership Seminar at Bar Ilan U., the Harvard U. Principals’ Seminar, Brandeis U. Proficiency Workshop, and seminars in Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design. She is a certified ACTFL trainer.