CJE Professionals

Meet the professionals behind the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education:

g burger picGabrielle Burger
Director, Jewish Educational Engagement
Gabrielle moved from Israel to Baltimore 15 years ago and has spent 12 of those years in the Jewish non-profit world. She has taught Hebrew school, helped converting families learn for their conversions, been a JCC camp director, and ran a Jewish outdoors pursuits ropes course before becoming the Director of PJ Library and PJ Our Way for Baltimore. Gabrielle has her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Management from University of Baltimore, yet always finds herself helping people bring Judaism into their lives through nontraditional Jewish educational experiences. Gabrielle has worked for the CJE since 2012, and has the privilege of meeting and engaging with different members of the community.

Jessica picJessica Fink
After spending half of her childhood in sunny San Diego and the other half in equally-sunny South Florida, Jessica began her career as an educator at the University of Florida, where she received her degree in Elementary Education (and became a devoted Gator fan). She continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Master's in Elementary Education. She taught pre-kindergarten in Philadelphia until she moved to New York City to complete a Master's in Library Science at The Pratt Institute, while also teaching at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School. Her tour of the northeast finally ended in Baltimore in 2012, where Jessica began teaching at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School and led programming at the local libraries for the JCC Parent, Infant and Toddler Program. She has been a Community Connector for the CJE since 2015 and is very excited to now serve the community as the librarian as well. Jessica resides in Pikesville with her husband, daughter, and son.

small_brenda%20headshot.jpgBrenda Footer
Director, PJ Library
Brenda’s role in the CJE means she is always reaching out to new families!  Previously, she was an educator in Jewish preschools for over 20 years as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, and school director; before becoming the Family Engagement Specialist at the CJE. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Trinity Washington University and a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a past Fellow of the Jewish Early Childhood Educator's Leadership Institute (JECELI), a program of Jewish Theological Seminary and HUC-JIR. She is currently a Fellow at The iCenter, studying Israel Education. Brenda and her husband live in Silver Spring, MD with their daughter. In her spare time, Brenda is an avid reader (her book club is going on 20 years in existence!), and loves to craft, sew, and bake.

Reut%20pic%20web.jpgReut Friedman
Director, Shinshinim Hub
Reut Friedman, an Israeli native, moved with her family from Israel to Baltimore. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Communications from Bar Ilan University. Prior to joining the CJE, she worked as a Business and Community Manager at “Mifalot Education”, a non-profit organization in Israel. She is passionate about working with the local Jewish community. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling and running.

 goodman.jpgMartha Goodman
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 a member of the Special Education State Advisory Committee.

m gwonMonica Gwon
Early Childhood Education Program Associate
Monica Gwon earned a Bachelor's and Master's 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.


Sam Hopkins
Israel Project Coordinator
Sam grew up in Kansas City where he attended the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy. Growing up in the Heartland, the first time Sam saw the sea was on his first visit Israel as a leader in the B’nai Brith Youth Organization. He traveled to Israel three more times as a Hillel campus leader, as a Partnership 2000 volunteer in Ramle, and on business. He majored in Linguistics (he is fluent in Hebrew and speaks enough Arabic, Yiddish, and Russian) and International Studies at the University of Kansas and holds an MBA in Healthcare and Entrepreneurship from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Sam joins the Israel Department at CJE and his love for Israel, creativity and language ability will assist him in his new role heading up Israel High, PJABC and Tweens Read programs. He loves taking his two young sons to events at Pearlstone and taking walks in the Wyman Park/Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore City where they live. Sam is also an active DJ, drummer, and music producer, using the stage name Balagan, which is his favorite Hebrew word--he has even performed twice at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. and at venues around Israel.

 small_Untitled.jpgLaura Jasso
Project Assistant
Laura Jasso was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She moved to Northern Virginia in 2008 to attend college at George Mason University. During her college years she became passionate about Jewish education and started working as a preschool teacher during her senior year of college. Following graduation she became a full time educator at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia. During the summer of 2016, she volunteered in Jerusalem at the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. Upon her return to the States, she realized she wanted to be part of a larger Jewish community, moved to Baltimore and joined the CJE as the project assistant where she provides marketing and event support with a special focus on social media. She looks forward to learning more about the Baltimore community and all it has to offer! In her spare time, she likes to learn various languages (Spanish, French, Hebrew, Italian and Portuguese so far!)

Amian%20headshot-sm.jpgAmian Frost Kelemer
Chief Executive Officer
Amian is passionate about ensuring access to outstanding Jewish education for all members of the greater Baltimore community. This commitment was first shaped by her teaching experience at Gesher LaTorah over 24 years ago and she has been working at the CJE in various capacities ever since! Amian received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Education from Barnard College, Columbia University and her Master’s Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Amian is honored to work with the exceptional board and staff of the CJE to fulfill the agency’s mission. When not at the office, Amian enjoys playing violin, cooking and spending time with her husband and five children.

Leah Margolis
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.

small_amalia.jpg.jpgAmalia Phillips
Director, Israel & Overseas Education
Amalia, an Israeli native (sabra), has lived in Montreal, Canada, and Atlanta, Georgia and currently resides in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition to a Bachelor's degree in Education, and a Master's degree in Instructional and Performance Technology, she attended DSLTI in New York where she completed the Day School Leadership Training program. In Atlanta, Amalia was the principal of the Epstein Elementary School (Solomon Schechter), the largest Jewish day school in Atlanta with over 600 children. Most recently, Amalia trained as a mediator for Ann Arundel County and has been facilitating programs in conflict resolution for several years. In her spare time, she makes jewelry, upcycles kids’ clothing and practices yoga. Amalia loves her job as the Director of Israel and Overseas Education where she gets to inspire American Jews to invest in a personal relationship with Israel in the belief that Israel is essential to our identity as Jews.

small_Linkedin%20photo.jpgTerri Rosen
Executive Assistant/Office Manager
After working for 13 years as operations coordinator for a financial planner, Terri joined the CJE as Executive Assistant.  Following graduation from Boston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Terri was the marketing coordinator for an architecture firm in Boston before moving to Baltimore with her husband in 2003, where they now live with their 4 children.  In 2011, Terri was instrumental in the founding of Ohr Chadash Academy (where all her children attend) and serves on the OCA Board of Directors as the Board Chair.  Her volunteer work in the school added to her passion for education and led her to the CJE where her responsibilities include supporting the Executive Management Team, CJE board members, and the agency’s educational professionals.

Reena_edited.jpgReena Roshgadol 
Administrative Coordinator
Reena has been at the CJE since 2008, primarily administering CJE’s CFIE program.  In addition to the CFIE program, Reena utilizes her creativity in multiple ways to support all of CJE’s programs.  She is involved in most things  PJ Library related as well as working with the Shinshinim.  In her spare time she is passionate about yoga and reading and loves spending time with her family and friends.

 Zina%20headshot-cropped.jpgZina Segal
Director, Adult Learning
Zina Segal moved to the States just a few years ago from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Zina holds an Master’s of Arts in Digital Humanities from Saint Petersburg State University. She has been involved in Jewish communal life since she was a teenager, making all the way from camper to Educational Director of JAFI’s summer camp. Zina was involved in establishing teen and young adults’ programs at the first Reform synagogue in Saint Petersburg. After spending a year in the Beit Midrash of Pardes in Jerusalem, where she was studying Torah and Talmud, she came back home to become a Director of Jewish Programs and Community Development at the new JCC. During her work at the JCC she oversaw family programs (including abroad summer camps), the Center for Adult Learning and the Young Leadership Development program. Zina’s greatest passion are books that she edited for different programs at the JCC. In the time outside of the CJE, Zina is working on her masters in Leadership in Jewish Education and Communal Service at Towson and enjoying time with her husband and son.

 rachel-t-new-web.jpgRachel Delman Turniansky 
Director, Disability and Inclusion Services
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. 


Rebecca TylerRebecca Tyler
Administrative Assistant

Rebecca recently moved to the Baltimore community from Sharon, MA.  Rebecca grew up in the MA area and relocated with her family to become part of a bigger Jewish community.  Her two sons currently attend yeshiva in Baltimore.  Rebecca graduated from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY with a Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance.  She is the first person you will see when you walk through the doors of the CJE and is happy to assist you with anything you may need.  Rebecca and her family look forward to getting to know the community better.  In her free time, Rebecca loves spending time with her husband, sons and her friends.  She also loves to cook, read and learn more about Judaism.


JOAN.jpgJoan Vander Walde
Israel Engagement Associate, Shevet Achim Coordinator

With over four decades of experience as a Jewish educator, Joan coordinates the Shevet Achim school twinning program between Baltimore and Ashkelon.  Previously, she worked as a teacher, counselor, social/emotional curriculum developer, educational leader and Middle School Principal at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland.  She also conducted field research on Jewish and Israel experiential education at camps in North America for the Avi Chai Foundation.  After directing the Pardes Rodef Shalom Schools Program for four years, at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, she now serves as a consultant to the program.  In addition, Joan mentors Jewish day school teacher leaders based in the USA, Canada and Mexico for Legacy Heritage Fund through the Legacy Heritage Teachers Institute. 


Julie.jpegJulie Wohl
Family Engagement Specialist

When not teaching or painting, Julie Wohl is usually dreaming about teaching or painting!  She received her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary before working in a variety of synagogue, communal and camp settings. She is the co-author and illustrator of Siddur Mah Tov : a Family Shabbat Prayer Book (Behrman House, 2010) and the illustrator of Simply Seder: a Family Haggadah (Behrman House, 2011), as well as the author of the recently published Make, Create Celebrate! Jewish Holidays through Art (Behrman House, 2018).  She is the founder of Jewish Learning Thru Art,a traveling creative arts beit midrash and has directed synagogue schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Detroit. After recently moving to Maryland with her husband and two sons, she is very excited to be a new member of the CJE team and to get to know the Baltimore Jewish community. 

YaelYael Zelinger
Disability and Inclusion Associate, Coordinator of JADE: Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education
Yael has worked at CJE since 1999, advocating for and supporting individuals with special needs. As a member of the Disability and Inclusion team her role has included: Establishing and managing an interpreter fund for the deaf and hard of hearing community, Co-Chairing the only biennial Deafblind Shabbatonim in the country, Coordinating professional development workshops on special education topics for educators, and Conducting B’more Inclusive disAbility Awareness experiences in Jewish schools and organizations.
As the granddaughter of the founders of HASC, Hebrew Academy for Special Children, Yael spent summers and vacations in the company of people with special needs. That grew into a Master of Arts in Deaf Education/Special Education from Western Maryland College. Yael continues to work with practicality and passion to ensure that the Jewish community is welcoming and accommodating of every member.

CJE is an agency funded by THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. www.associated.org