KYLS Faculty & Staff
Kindergarten – 1st Grade
Morah Chana Mayer
Hailing from Chevron, Israel, Morah Chana has more than 10 years of early childhood and elementary school experience. Morah Chana has a degree in education from The David Yellin Academic College of Education, and a certificate in rhythm and movement instruction from the Orde Wingate Institute for Physical Education. She uses her background in Rhythm and Movement in her teaching. Morah Chana taught Kindergarten in Kiryat Arba, Israel and is one of KYLS’s teachers, teaching Ivrit in the K/1 class since 2015. Morah Chana believes that the use of music and movement enhances children’s ability to understand and speak a new language.
Morah Audrey Perlman
After graduating West Chester University with dual degrees in Early Grades and Special Education, Morah Audrey became a permanent substitute teacher at Overbrook School for the Blind. While there she taught in the Early Childhood program. Morah Audrey also worked in Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El’s Religious School as the Coordinator for Student Success, a position she helped create, working with students and teachers to help ensure a successful learning environment. She spent several summers working at Beth Hillel’s Summer Camp in Bright Horizons, a program for special needs preschool children. Morah Audrey is passionate about working with children and creating a safe and child centered environment.
Morah Hannah Rothschild
After graduating from Towson University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education, Morah Hannah taught elementary school in the public and private school systems in Baltimore and Philadelphia. She was the lead teacher in the Bright Horizons Jewish preschool, and she has completed her master’s degree in Special Education at West Chester University. Morah Hannah has been the Inclusion Specialist in the K/1 classroom at KYLS since 2016. Rooted in a commitment to inclusion education, and a passion for Judaism, Morah Hannah individualizes curriculum infused with Jewish values in order to promote the success and wellbeing of all students. Morah Hannah is thrilled to be a part of a team that fosters imagination, curiosity, creativity and independence as the core of, not only academic excellence, but an engaged life.
Morah Rachael Simon
General Studies Specialist
A Pennsylvania native, Morah Rachael has several years of experience teaching various elementary grades in Virginia, and Rabat, Morocco. In Rabat, she also taught English as a foreign language. Morah Rachael’s experience in a Reggio Emilia classroom heightened her understanding of children’s innate love of learning. By guiding their natural curiosities, she creates an environment that fosters research, collaboration, and critical thinking. Morah Rachael has been the K/1 General Studies Specialist in the K/1 since 2015 and is one of KYLS’s founding teachers. Morah Rachael believes that these skills are particularly important for inspiring Jewish children to become lifelong learners. Whether it’s sharing her love of the outdoors or ensuring that every child feels touched by the weekly parasha, her passion for discovery and learning infuses her students with excitement for their own educational journey. Morah Rachael has a degree from Georgetown University in International Politics and Development, and is pursuing a master’s degree in Education from Gratz College.
Rabbi Jeffrey Weiss, Rav Yaakov
Judaic Studies Specialist
Rav Yaakov, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, has teaching experience in public and Jewish day schools. He has Semikha from RIETS, a Master of Arts in Jewish Education and Administration from Azrieli, as well as a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Creighton University. Before joining KYLS in 2016, Rav Yaakov served as an Educator, Pastoral Services Coordinator and Mashgiach Ruchani in Omaha, Nebraska. In those positions, he developed and promoted educational and social programs for youth and adults, implemented curricula for supplemental Jewish learning, and oversaw a wide range of services in the Jewish community from kashrut to conversions to pastoral care. Known for his sincere and compassionate nature, Rav Yaakov is passionate about Jewish education and experiences. Rav Yaakov believes that it is vital for children to enjoy their learning, and make connections to the material, their peers and teachers.
Morah Rookie Badouch
Judaic Studies Specialist
Morah Rookie hails from Toronto, Canada, and has nine years of teaching experience in both General and Special Education. Before moving to Pennsylvania she taught Judaic Studies, Ivrit and General Studies at Ohr Haiim in New York, and most recently she taught Limudei Kodesh and Ivrit at Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia. Working with special needs students inspired Morah Rookie to
implement differentiated instruction and multisensory learning to allow all students in her classrooms to shine. With equal emphasis on the social/emotional and academic learning, her students are able to thrive both individually and as community members. Morah Rookie is thrilled to explore project-based learning as a means to ensure that lessons derived from Judaic Studies are brought into the real world.
Morah Aria Rochkind
General Studies Specialist
A Philadelphia native, and graduate of Akiba Hebrew Academy, Morah Aria brings many years of teaching experience to our 2nd grade. She is a master teacher who taught 3rd grade General Studies at Kellman Brown Academy for the past 10 years. Morah Aria has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Temple University, a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies, and a Certificate in Jewish Education from Gratz College. She looks forward to integrating General and Judaic Studies during project block and other learning experiences. Morah Aria believes in giving her students many opportunities to shine, grow, and succeed. Morah Aria is thrilled to be part of a team that will help students grow in their curiosity, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Morah Shiran Sendak-Levi
Hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel, Morah Shiran brings many years of teaching experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in School Counseling. Most recently, Morah Shiran taught at the Yehuda Maccabi School in Tel Aviv where she taught 3rd grade using project based learning, a method that invites systematic work on learning and and thinking skills, and personal and interpersonal habits required for learning and growth. Morah Shiran enjoys helping students reach their full potential and giving them opportunities to succeed in and out of the classroom.
Mrs. Heather Ellis
Based on more than 10 years of experience with diverse communities of learners, Morah Heather’s philosophy of education combines meeting the child where he/she is, with finding effective ways to satisfy the different needs of her students in the classroom. She is passionate about teacher collaboration, student inclusion, and integrating technology with teaching. Most recently, Morah Heather taught at Friends Select School in Philadelphia. Previously she taught general and special education in the Arlington Public Schools in Virginia, and Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts. Morah Heather has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Connecticut College, a master’s degree in Teaching Special Education, and dual certification in elementary education and special education in Pennsylvania.
Rabbi Joshua Friedman
Judaic Studies Specialist
Rabbi Josh Friedman comes to KYMS from KYHS, where he served as Gemara Teacher, Beit Midrash Fellow, and Director of Athletics. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Yeshiva University, and received both the Fleishaker Award for Excellence in Talmud and the YU Scholarship Wolf Campus Award. In 2014, Rabbi Friedman also earned a master’s degree in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. He is in the process of receiving semikha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Yerushalayim. Rabbi Friedman studied at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University for five years, where he served as shiur assistant in the YU Beit Midrash.
Mrs. Bobbi Portnoy
Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Mrs. Portnoy spent a brief time studying educational psychology in a graduate program, before deciding to pursue a Master of Education in Elementary Education at Beaver College (currently Arcadia University). Utilizing both her elementary and mid-level math teaching certificates, she held a variety of positions in public and private schools for two decades. For the majority of her career, Mrs. Portnoy taught in a suburban Philadelphia school district at the fifth grade and middle school levels, first focusing on gifted education, and then on middle school math. She believes that all students deserve to learn something new everyday. Mrs. Portnoy creates an environment where students learn to love math and science, as well as learning to become creative, caring, confident and contributing citizens in our community and in our world.
Dr. Yechiel Schur
Dr. Schur is an educator with extensive teaching experience in high schools and other academic institutions. Before joining Kohelet Yeshiva he served as head of the Hebrew program at Kosloff Torah Academy. Dr. Schur has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Jewish History from New York University. Over the past 15 years he taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies at New York University, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schur shares his love for Ivrit with his students, while making the study of the language challenging, inspiring, and enjoyable.
Miss Elizabeth Wortman
A Pennsylvania native, Miss Wortman graduated from Juniata College with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Secondary Education. Most recently, she taught 8th grade geography at the Grier School in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. Miss Wortman is currently pursuing a postgraduate certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language at Drexel University. She is committed to the success and well being of all students. Miss Wortman is excited to be part of the new middle school team.
Mrs. Tova Warburg Sinensky
KYLS and KYMS Reflection Coach
Tova has mentored teachers for nearly a decade across grade levels and disciplines. She believes that reflective mentorship is one of the greatest gifts that a school can provide, as its individualized nature allows each teacher to grow in the areas that he or she chooses. Tova has chaired the Gemara and Halacha departments at Ma’ayanot and KYHS, served as Director of Professional Development at Ma’ayanot, and worked for JNTP as the Greater Philadelphia Community Mentor. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Stern College Honors Program, holds a M.A in Education from the Azrieli Graduate School, and is a graduate of both Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program for Advanced Talmudic Studies as well as Nishmat’s first U.S. Yoatzot Halacha program. Tova also serves as a Yoetzet Halacha, in addition to mentoring teachers and teaching a course at KYHS.
Prior to his appointment at Kohelet Yeshiva School, Keith Bradburd served as Director of Athletics at Friends’ Central School for 34 years. In addition to his duties as Director of Athletics, he coached a variety of athletic teams, in particular, coaching both the varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer teams for over 28 years. Mr. Bradburd earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Lock Haven State University, where he was a member of their National Championship Soccer team, and his Master of Education Degree from West Chester University.
Daniel Ostrov holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and History from Tulane University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Glass from Tyler School of Art. Prior to coming to Kohelet he taught in the Tyler School of Art continuing education program, and worked as an arts coordinator in numerous schools. In his own work, Mr. Ostrov uses glass, wood, metal, ceramics and found objects to shape sculptures that embody the subconscious creation of memory and experience. Mr. Ostrov works for the artist Donald Lipski to create public art installation pieces that are displayed throughout the country.
Patty is a multi -media artist with a focus on fiber arts. She works with Main Line Art Center’s outreach programs, and is camp director for the summer camp program. Patty is a rostered Pennsylvania Council residency artist for the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership, fostering curricular connections between visual and language arts. She taught children’s programs for the Woodmere Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Violette de Mazia Foundation. Patty provides hands-on art experiences that are age and developmentally appropriate. Each class introduces young artists to a variety of materials, techniques, and artistic concepts.
2nd Grade and KYMS Music
A composer and pianist, Sheridan Seyfried teaches music theory at Kohelet, and coaches the school’s instrumental ensemble. Concurrently, he serves on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music. Mr. Seyfried, a Philadelphia native, has a Master of Arts from the Manhattan School of Music, and an additional undergraduate degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, from which he received the Alfredo Casella Award in Composition. His works, including orchestral, chamber, solo, and film music, have been performed by leading artists such as OPUS ONE, Ani Kavafian, and David Shifrin, and commissioned by organizations including Chamber Music Northwest. Mr. Seyfried served as an artist-in-residence for a consortium of New Jersey high schools, and is currently the Minister of Music at Grace Lutheran Church in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
BrendaRose Simkin is a singer, a guitarist, and a certified teacher, with a degree in Music Education from Temple. In addition to teaching music at Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School, BrendaRose also teaches music at Gan Chabad of the Mainline, Middletown Montessori School, and Sally’s Music Circle. In the past, she has taught at Perelman Jewish Day School and Lansdowne Friends School. BrendaRose has sung with several professional choirs including Mendelssohn Club, Philadelphia Singers Chorale, and Vox Amadeus Ensemble.
KYLS & KYMS Coding/ Robotics
Christopher Tini comes to Kohelet Yeshiva via OmniComp, our technical support team, with experience in technology and technology education. Much of this experience was acquired during his time at Apple Inc. Christopher has applied this experience in the development of training curriculum in coding and robotics for Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School, project development and research for the STEM Club at Kohelet Yeshiva High School, and faculty training curriculum at Politz Day School of Cherry Hill. Christopher received his BFA in Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. That experience with technology is what drives his passion to share and educate students of all ages.
Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl
Head of School
As Head of School, Rabbi Perl provides the vision and sees to its implementation for the Kohelet Yeshiva Lab, Middle, and High Schools. In his capacity as Chief Academic Officer of the Kohelet Foundation he led the design team that conceived of the Lab School’s unique educational approach, and brought it to life. Before coming to the Philadelphia area, Rabbi Perl served as the Head of School of the Margolin Hebrew Academy, a PreK-12 Orthodox Day School in Memphis, TN. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, and rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University. Follow Rabbi Perl on his blog gilperl.com and on Twitter at @gperl.
Mrs. Becky Troodler
Mrs. Troodler is an educator whose teaching and administrative background spans the full range of early childhood, elementary and middle school grades. Before joining Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School as its founding Principal, she was the General Studies Middle School Assistant Principal at Yeshivat Noam, in Paramus, NJ. Mrs. Troodler has a Master of Arts in Math Education. In addition to her teaching and administrative experience at Yeshivat Noam, she also taught at RYNJ in River Edge, NJ, and at JEC in Elizabeth, NJ. Follow Mrs. Troodler on Twitter at @BeckyTroodler.
Morah Rachel Obstfeld
Judaic Studies Team Leader (JSTL)/Middle School Judaic Studies Specialist
Morah Rachel has a wealth of experience teaching at various grade levels at Yeshiva University High School for Girls, SAR Elementary School, Torah Academy of Philadelphia and KYLS. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies and Psychology from Stern College, and a master’s degree in Bible from Bernard Revel Graduate School. As JSTL, Morah Rachel combines intensive classroom teaching with curriculum development, and also facilitates a collaborative and team-like approach to planning and implementing our Judaic studies program across the grades. Morah Rachel is passionate about creating a warm, student centered environment where every child is poised to succeed.
Mrs. Michal Twersky
Mrs. Twersky is Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School’s Administrative Coordinator. Prior to joining KYLS, she served as the Government Relations Coordinator at SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY, where she oversaw the NYC Loan Certificate Program, and NYS Mandated Services, and was the liaison between SAR and the New York City Committee on Special Education. Most recently, Mrs. Twersky was OU Advocacy’s Associate Pennsylvania Regional Director, working with Jewish day schools across Pennsylvania to maximize government funding. Mrs. Twersky graduated from Sy Syms School of Business with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing.
Stuart Gasner joined Kohelet Yeshiva in July of 2016 bringing extensive work experience from Jewish nonprofits and day schools. Prior to working at KY, he was the Director of Development, Marketing and Communications at Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia. Before his move to the Philadelphia area, Stuart resided in Harrisburg, PA, and served as the Director of Development for the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and The Silver Academy, a K-8 Jewish Day School. He has also held administrative and teaching positions at Westchester Day School, Yeshiva University High School for Boys, and the New York City Teaching Fellows program. Stuart received his Bachelor of Science from Sy Syms School of Business (Yeshiva University) with a concentration in Business Management, a Master of Science from The Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration (Yeshiva University), and a Master in Public Administration from Penn State University with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Human Resources.