Meet the professionals behind the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education:
Family Engagement Associate
Melissa, a Philadelphia native, has worked in Baltimore’s Jewish community for over 2 decades. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Baltimore Hebrew University. Prior to joining the CJE Melissa has worked for the JCC as a program coordinator with both children and adults, as well as in Jewish preschools and religious schools as a teacher, Hebrew specialist and coordinator of family programs. She is passionate about working with Jewish families through PJ Library programs and Shalom Baby.
Gabrielle moved from Israel to Baltimore 11 years ago and has spent 8 of those years in the Jewish Non-Profit world. Gabrielle has her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Management from University of Baltimore, and uses that business know-how while running the agency's education store, HaKerem. She is the first person you will see when you walk through our doors, and is happy to help you with anything you may need.
A native of Israel, Eti received her Bachelor’s Degree in social work from Haifa University and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Baltimore Hebrew University. She has been a day school teacher for the past seven years and is currently teaching at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. At CJE, Eti supervises the shinshinim program, working very closely with the two young Israeli emissaries and their partner schools. Eti helps the shinshinim create quality educational programs and activities about Israel.
Coordinator, Maryland Special Needs Advocacy Program (MDSNAP)
Martha has been with the CJE since 2005, working with parent volunteers to support over 200 families each year, as they navigate the special education system. MDSNAP has a close working relationship with the local school systems, Jewish community schools, and other agencies of the ASSOCIATED, advocating for Jewish students in whatever school they choose to attend. Martha is also one of Maryland Disability Law Center’s representatives on the Parent and Community Advisory Board to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.
Early Childhood Education Program Assistant
Monica Gwon earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education, and has been in Jewish education for over 20 years. She was formerly Director of Education at Temple Emanuel in Reisterstown, MD for 10 years, overseeing both the religious school and early childhood program. While there she was awarded the Gamoran Curriculum Award from NATE for one of the many family education programs she created. Monica was also Director of Professional Development at the CJE for 10 years, and is happy to return in her current position. She also teaches preschool at Temple Emanuel Learning Center.
DJ Schneider Jensen
Director of Early Childhood Services
DJ works with Baltimore’s Jewish preschools as a consultant, helping them reach their visions of excellence. DJ has worked in all aspects of Early Childhood Education over the past 25 years, from a family day care owner to regional director of multiple preschools. She is also a national consultant and keynote speaker. DJ earned her Education Degree from the University of Georgia, and her Master’s of Education in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Jewish Education from Towson University. She and her magician husband Jon spend their free time performing magic, making balloon art and face painting at birthday parties.
Amian Frost Kelemer
Associate Executive Vice President
Amian came to CJE in 1992 and has served in a variety of capacities. In her current role, she is involved in key decision-making, staff supervision and educational planning. Amian received her Bachelor’s Degree from Barnard College and her Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Amian has experience in teaching people of all ages - from preschool children through senior adults. The diversity of Amian’s own Jewish educational background - Conservative congregational school, community day school and an Orthodox teachers’ seminary, has influenced her approach to Jewish education and her love of community agency work. She is a freelance sign language interpreter and loves travel, cooking, playing violin and her wonderful family!
Information Systems & Technology Specialist
Suri has her Bachelors of Art in Computer Science from Queens College and serves as CJE’s tech guru and as the Associate Executive Assistant. She is a key member of the program and event planning team, known for her sharp focus on logistics.
Rebecca manages CJE’s collection of over 10,000 volumes as well as all social media endeavors. Rebecca has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Judaic Studies from Binghamton University and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Maryland Library Association and the Association for Jewish Libraries. She is passionate about blogging, using Facebook, tweeting, knitting and, of course, reading.
Chief Financial Officer
Leah directs the Finance and Human Resource departments of the CJE. After receiving her CPA, she worked in the non-profit arena before moving to THE ASSOCIATED where she worked for six years. In 2006, she moved to the CJE.
Coordinator, PJ Library Baltimore
Lara has a graduate degree in Organizational Psychology and began her professional career in Human Resources and Training for several multi-national corporations in the South Africa, the UK and Belgium. After moving to Baltimore, U.S.A. and starting her family, she became involved with the Associated Community Federation of Baltimore through the Dor Tikvah women’s leadership program and as a volunteer for PJ Library. Lara was hired by the Center for Jewish Education CJE in March 2011 to manage the Shalom, Hon! family events calendar and family engagement community of practice projects. In November 2012, she took on the role as Coordinator of PJ Library in Baltimore. She is passionate about family education and enrichment through the PJ library and particularly enjoys working on the PJ on the Town and PJ Pals programs which give her the opportunity to meet PJ families in person.
Teen Engagement Associate & Marketing Coordinator
Zack is currently a student at University of Baltimore working towards a Bachelor's degree in Marketing. He previously spent two years attending Yeshiva University in New York and a year at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalyim in Beit Shemesh, Israel. Zack has a strong passion for Judasim and the Jewish community and is excited to use his creativity to assist as a Teen Engagement Associate. Originally from Philadelphia, Zack is now a Pikesville resident along with his wife and daughter.
Director, Israel Education and Overseas
Leora, an Australian ex-pat, has used her Master’s Degree in Education to bring a love of Jewish learning to audiences around the world. With over 25 years of experience as a Jewish educational professional, she has taught Jewish children and adults in formal and informal educational settings in the U.S. and overseas. A sought after educator, her deep love of Jewish text, Jewish living and Israel fuel her effervescent approach to growing Jewish literacy. In 2011, Leora’s passionate commitment to Jewish education was recognized through the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Jewish Communal Service Award.
Administrator, Community Fund for Israel Experiences (CFIE)
Reena began administering CJE’s CFIE program in a part-time capacity while working for an Israel-based non-profit housed at CJE. She has since become a full staff member taking on additional projects such as assisting with the PJ Library, Shalom Baby and Gesher LaTorah programs. She utilizes her creativity in multiple ways to support CJE’s efforts.
Executive Assistant/Office Manager
Director of Teen Engagement
Neely came to CJE from her role as director of The Curriculum Initiative, TCI (2008-2011). In her current position, she continues to support Jewish and multicultural programming on independent school campuses in the Baltimore area. Neely has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. She has served as Director of Informal Education at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia and held both educational and lay leadership positions for 10 years with United Synagogue Youth. Neely is passionate about fostering pluralism and diversity and supporting Jewish and multicultural life on independent school campuses in Baltimore.
Rachel Delman Turniansky
Coordinator of Special Education Services; Principal of Gesher LaTorah and TAG
Rachel holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Special Education, with a concentration in Infant and Toddler Habilitation from Gallaudet University and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Hearing and Language Disabilities from Long Island University. She has worked at CJE since 2000 and her portfolio has included consulting with Jewish early childhood education programs as well as facilitating and coordinating professional development for general educators and special educators. Prior to her work with CJE, Rachel worked as a special educator at the Hearing and Speech Agency’s Gateway school and has worked in Baltimore City and County as a special educator. She is a member of the Jewish Special Education International Consortium, a network of professionals in the area of special needs from central agencies from around the country, as well as Canada and Israel. She is an active participant of THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Disability Task Force. She is also the recipient of the Nathan and Ruth Lipsetts Jewish Educator Award.
Day School Liaison
Ruthy works with leadership at CJE-affiliated day schools, assessing school needs, developing programs and accessing funding to support these needs. She previously worked in the field of education in many capacities, experiencing the classroom from kindergarten through high school, teaching at all levels. She has created, maintained and served as an administrator for special education resource rooms for both a boys' elementary school and a girls' high school. In addition, she counseled high school students and mentored teachers in classroom management and individual strategies. Ruthy, originally from Toronto, graduated from the University of Toronto.
Coordinator of JADE: Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education & Professional Development Associate
Yael has been working at the CJE since 1999 in two distinct roles. As JADE Coordinator, Yael advocates for the rights and needs of the Jewish deaf and deafblind communities. She is a resource on issues pertaining to deafness, deaf communication and sign language. As Professional Development Associate, Yael uses her creativity and expertise to research and create innovative and meaningful professional development opportunities for educators. Yael earned her Master’s Degree in deaf education from McDaniel College.
Executive Vice President
Larry has been in his current role since 2002, following 24 years as a Jewish community federation planner. He served as a senior planner in Boston (at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies), planning director in Detroit (at the Jewish Community Federation of Metropolitan Detroit) and, from 1994 to 2002, Vice President for Community Development at THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Larry graduated from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy, received his ordination from the Yeshiva’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and his Master’s in Social Work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.