We are thrilled to introduce the newest Matan Institute Cohort! These talented educators are participating in a year-long professional development experience with Matan, helping to ensure that their communities will be inclusive of all learners.
Read more about this impressive group below.
Elizabeth Fagin has been a Jewish Educator in the Seattle area for over 30 years. She has served as Director of Education at three synagogues, and is currently Director of Children’s Education at Kol HaNeshamah, a Reform synagogue in West Seattle.
She has taught Jewish Studies and Hebrew to classes from Pre-school through adult. She lives in Redmond, WA with her husband Michael.
Elana Klinger-Rogers joined the Park Avenue Synagogue Congregational School as the Assistant Director for Grades 6-7 in July, 2019 after acting as a teacher and tutor in the previous year. She holds a BA in Hebrew Language & Literature and a BA in Sociology from Brandeis University and offers many years of experience in the Jewish educational and camping world, primarily working as a teacher and youth coordinator at several Hebrew schools in the Boston area. Elana additionally holds an MS in Social Work from Columbia University, which merged her passion for social justice with direct youth work. Before returning to the field of education, she worked as a licensed clinical social worker in several settings, including Bronx Family Court, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Beyond professional life, Elana enjoys traveling, hiking, exploring NYC by bike, and cooking without recipes. Elana is so excited to join the dynamic learning community at Matan and be a part of the magic!
Alex Lyon is the Youth Education Program Director for students in PreK through 5th grade at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California. An Ohio native, Alex received her bachelor’s degrees in the History of Art and Architecture and French from Miami University in 2010 and her master’s degree in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. Prior to Beth Am, she was the ProStart Coordinator for the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Alex also teaches Art History part time at City College of San Francisco. In her past two years at Beth Am, she has been active not only in elementary-aged educational programming, but teacher professional development, event planning, and fusing her interests in modern art, history, and popular culture with Jewish education.
Rabbi Matt Nover joined Beth El Synagogue in East Windsor, NJ in July 2019 as the Assistant Rabbi and Education Director. A recent graduate of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he studied Hebrew Bible, Jewish Education, and more, he is excited to be a part of the Beth El Community. Originally from Texas, Rabbi Nover came to New Jersey for his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University, where he majored in Physics and Jewish Studies. He has been involved with supplementary schools as a student, a teacher, and an administrator for most of his life, and cares deeply about making them succeed. He is passionate about Jewish Education, and focuses on making Judaism relevant to his students. He lives by the saying “there are seventy interpretations to every verse in the Torah,” and loves to bring unconventional ideas to the discussion. Whether that’s looking at the physics of David’s sling, or looking at Zombies and Judaism, Rabbi Nover tries to find a way to make Judaism matter to his students. He met his wife Heather in the Sukkah of his Hillel Rabbi. Their toddler, Jane, loves to “be rabbi with Rabbi Daddy.”
Director of the Rimon Religious School since July 2018, and Programming Director since 2019, Dale Rosenberg is a career changer, coming to the field of Jewish Education after a successful career in information technology in New York City. Upon deciding to reinvent herself as a Jewish professional, Dale enrolled in the graduate school at Hebrew College in Newton MA in September 2014 and completed two master’s degrees there: one in Jewish Studies and the other in Jewish Education. Dale lives with her wife, Rabbi Amy Loewenthal, in Worcester, having moved here in July 2020 from Keene, NH where Amy served as the rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Achim. Dale is very excited to no longer have the long commute to Beth Israel from Keene! A lifelong learner with a passion for teaching about Judaism to all ages, Dale brings to Rimon a love of Jewish learning and an interactive, experiential approach suited to a multi-age group. Dale also helps plan and coordinate adult and family programming and teaches a variety of subjects at Beth Israel and elsewhere. She spends Monday and Wednesday at Beth Israel, and will also spend Shabbat onsite once the pandemic is over.
Kim Rosenthal has been working with youth in various capacities for a decade including AmeriCorps and Israel Teaching Fellows. She is entering her sixth year in the Jewish educational field at Temple Beth El in Madison, WI, where she first started as the Youth Engagement Coordinator and as a Religious and Hebrew School teacher. In her new role she is the Lifelong Learning Coordinator and Inclusion Specialist. Along with the above roles and joining the Matan Cohort 11 she started her Master’s in Experiential Jewish Education through Jewish Theological Seminary. Kim and her partner live in downtown Madison, WI with their dog and cat where they enjoy hiking, gathering virtually with their Well Circle, spending time with Kim’s family who lives close by, which includes a nephew on the way, and diving into a good book…all of these activities might or might not include the dog and cat, especially via Zoom! Kim is most looking forward to having a network of Jewish professionals working together towards inclusive spaces in the Jewish world.
Samara Rossi is currently the Director of Education at Temple Beth El of Huntington. This school year Samara launched the new enrichment wing to Temple Beth El that includes a technology and research room, Green room for recording news broadcasts and other ways to creatively express student learning, an art room, children’s library, and additionally offers classes such as yoga, theatre and music. Samara believes strongly in experiential education which focuses on the student’s interest to guide their experiences in Jewish learning. She has enjoyed working with children from nursery school aged through high school for the past 15 years.
Samara has a degree in Early Childhood and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Adelphi University with a dual degree in Child Psychology and Social Sciences with an Alpha Sigma Lambda Honors award for excellence. Currently, she is in the process of completing a dual honors program with Fordham University for childhood-aged students in General and Special Education. Samara is excited to be starting a new chapter with Matan so she can merge her love of Judaic learning with her passion for developing an inclusive program that nurtures all learners.
Samara Rossi was born in Brooklyn, NY but grew up in the five towns and Long Beach. Being diagnosed with ADHD during her high school years led to Samara’s interest and gift for working with children that have special needs. Her teaching journey began at her childhood synagogue, Temple Emanuel of Long Beach. Samara and her husband Joe live with their two children Bella (age 12) and Sam (age 8), in Huntington.
Rachel joined Park Avenue Synagogue in 2020 after serving as the New York Field Manager at OneTable, where she brought more than 30,000 young adults to Shabbat dinner tables. At the same time, she also worked as a teen educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom (NYC) and taught courses on Judaism in pop culture and Jewish cooking and led service-learning trips to New Orleans.
Prior to this, Rachel received an MA in Jewish educational leadership from the William Davidson School of Jewish Education at JTS and a BA in Jewish Studies and Ethnomusicology/Folklore. Upon completing her BA in 2015, she interned at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.
Rachel maintains a passion for Israel, museum, and art education today. She grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where her parents served as local restaurateurs and dedicated lay leaders for 18 years at Congregation B’nai Israel.
Samantha (she/her) brings a decade of experience in academia, arts, and education to her new role as Director of Education, Ritual & Music at Temple Beth El in Fairfield, CT. With a background in Arts outreach and Education, Sam has designed programs in Theatre Arts and Religious School for children ages 2-18. Prior to her time at Beth El, she earned degrees in Voice Performance from SUNY Purchase and the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She taught on faculty at SUNY Potsdam, St. Lawrence University, Northern Kentucky University, and Edge Hill University in the UK, and served in a variety of cantorial and educational positions at Isaac M. Wise Temple and Temple Shalom in Cincinnati and Temple Beth El in Potsdam N.Y. Performing Arts and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. Sam’s time spent in academia and education has heightened her awareness of LSL, racial, and differentiated learning inequities in education. Her passion as an educator lies in creating socioeconomic, racial and neurodiverse equity in a variety of learning spaces. Sam believes in fostering creativity and curiosity in each student by providing a nurturing, kind religious school environment, and gratefully looks forward to broadening her knowledge and abilities with this year’s Matan cohort. Sam draws inspiration as an educator from her three children, Amalia, Abigail, and Ariana.