Faculty

Pre K & Kindergarten

ByersJeni Byers

Jeni Byers is the new PreK/K teacher at The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. She works in the Toddler program at Central Synagogue in Manhattan and before that worked in the Toddler and the Stay-n-Play programs at the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

During the summer Jeni works as the Health Center Coordinator at Camps Blue Ridge and Equinunk in Pennsylvania giving support to the nurses and lots of TLC to the children.

Jeni and her family have been members at The Reform Temple for over 7 years. She is active in the Temple Tots Shabbat Program and volunteer in many other programs here. Both of her daughters had their Bat Mitzvah here and are still involved in the ToFHY programs.

She loves to work with children and looks forward to painting, collaging and doing many hands-on and creative projects to help introduce Jewish Learning to your child.

 E-mail: jbyers@rtfh.org

First Grade

GilmanDanielle Gilman

Danielle Gilman is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During High School she was involved with NFTY and her local youth group. She spent every Sunday morning during High School volunteering here at The Reform Temple of Forest Hills as a Madricha in the Pre-k/K classroom. She is excited to be taking the lead position in the classroom and working with the First graders this year.

 E-mail: dgilman@rtfh.org

 

Second Grade

BlaifederRachel Blaifeder

Rachel Blaifeder graduated from Binghamton University with a BA in History in May 2017 and will be teaching Second grade at the Reform Temple of Forest Hills this year. Rachel loves to read, spend time with friends, run, and travel. Her most recent trip was to Israel, and she is looking forward to incorporating everything she learned there in her classroom!

E-mail: rblaifeder@rtfh.org

Third Grade

DryuanBoaz Druyan

Boaz was born in New York and moved to Israel soon thereafter. He began his formal Jewish education in Jerusalem. Some of his earliest work in the field of Jewish education was with the Long Island Center for Jewish Studies. Boaz has taught Hebrew reading and Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons. He has had various part time work as both religious school teacher and private tutor. He is now honored to be joining The Reform Temple of Forest Hills Religious School on his journey and looks forward to the rewards it will surely bring.

E-mail: bdruyan@rtfh.org

 

Fourth Grade

GabayOron Gabay

Oron Gabay was born and raised in Rishon Le-Zion, Israel. He recently received his B.Ed. (in Education) from Seminar Ha-Kibbutzim in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with his wife. He loves discussions about politics, history, and religion. Oron is looking forward to being a part of The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. He is excited about sharing with students his passion about Judaism and Hebrew language.

E-mail: ogabay@rtfh.org

Fifth Grade

 michelle bomser Michelle Bomser

I am thrilled to be returning to The Reform Temple of Forest Hills for my 17th year. For my “day” job, I am an elementary school teacher at PS86 in Jamaica. I enjoy working with the older students. I find that I learn as much from them as they do about Judaic Studies. Learning is one of the important Jewish Values and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the students.

E-mail: mbomser@rtfh.org

 

 

RosenbluthRick Rosenbluth

Rick Rosenbluth was born in a small city in Florida near Tampa. He first went to Israel when he was 18 and was struck by the beauty of the country. That following summer he volunteered at a youth village in Pardes Hana. It was that experience that solidified his love and devotion to the State of Israel. While majoring in Jewish Studies and Social Work at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), Rick was extremely active in Jewish/Israel student organizations. Rick was the vice president of the JSU, a two-time Israel Month Director, and for two years he was a WZO Student Outreach Fellow. His greatest accomplishment at UF was directing the Florida Loves Israel Conference. In 2013, after his graduation, Rick made Aliyah and drafted into the IDF's Armored Corps. While in the IDF he was awarded best soldier in the company multiple times and was active in Operation Protective Edge. In addition to teaching Fifth grade Hebrew with us Rick also works as the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows Recruitment Coordinator and Director of Northeast Garin Tzabar.

E-mail: rrosenbluth@rtfh.org

 

MarxDavid Marx

David Marx grew up in Scarsdale and after graduating from high school lived in Israel for 5 years, studying Hebrew, working on a kibbutz, learning more about Judaism and serving in the Israeli army. He completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Yeshiva University and his master’s degree at Hunter College School of Education in elementary general and special education with a focus on learning disabilities. When not teaching, David is studying for the LSAT, hiking, biking, or scuba diving.
He is personally very interested in using special education methodology in Jewish education environments and creating more inclusive spaces.

E-mail: dmarx@rtfh.org

Sixth Grade

LoberAaron Lober

Aaron Lober is the Sixth grade Judaic Studies teacher for The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. He is a middle school STEM teacher for Halsey Middle School JHS157. Alongside these 2 amazing teaching positions, he tutors student-athletes to help them pursue scholarship opportunities. Lastly, when not teaching, he is learning. Aaron currently attends Queens College in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Special Education 7-12.

E-mail: alober@rtfh.org

 

 

 

HeifetzLaurie Heifetz

Laurie Heifetz, an experienced religious school educator, is a Wednesday Judaic Studies teacher at The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. She can carry on a conversation in Hebrew and has led Kabbalat Shabbat services on four different cruise lines. While not teaching, she works as a freelance journalist. She is excited to join the staff and to work with the Sixth graders.

E-mail: lheifetz@rtfh.org

 

 

 

 

Tikvah Benison

 E-mail: tbenison@rtfh.org

Seventh Grade

robin gosset

Robin Gosset

Shalom!  I am excited to begin another wonderful experience with you this fall.  I am a teacher at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens teaching Physical Education, Dance and Drama.  During the summer, I am the Director of Eisner Day Camp in Great Barrington, MA. I  look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with you as I encourage you to challenge yourself - change the way people live today and create a better, healthier world for tomorrow.

E-mail: rgosset@rtfh.org

 

FrankelLeah Frankel

Leah Frankel is the 7th Grade Judaics teacher at The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, with an emphasis on Middot and Mitzvot. She comes to RTFH with Hebrew School teaching experience, as well as experience as a United Synagogue Youth Leader. Leah attended both Religious School and Hebrew High School as a young adult, and is now extremely active in her own synagogue as the chair of its monthly Mitzvah Project Program. In this capacity, she has led initiatives to support local shelters, collect eyeglasses for the needy, and collect cell phones that were donated to local police precincts for distribution. In addition, her committee collected school supplies and sent them to various military installations around the United States.

Leah currently works as a Sales Operations executive in the Beauty Care industry, and is excited to be part of the professional staff at RTFH. She is looking forward to using her volunteer experience in Middot and Mizvot to provide positive examples for the students.

E-mail: lfrankel@rtfh.org

 

KirschbaumElana Kirschbaum

Elana Kirschbaum is very excited to be a new member of the Reform Temple of Forest Hills Hebrew School teaching staff. She is a Special Education teacher with the NYC Department of Education for 11 years with a background in teaching English as a Second Language. Her goal is to teach your children not only the love for Judaism but also for prayer/Tefilah.

E-mail: ekirschbaum@rtfh.org

Music

sfruchterShana Fruchter is the music teacher at The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. She values the warm and welcoming RTFH community and loves to teach her students the Jewish values, traditions, and the Hebrew language through songs. She earned her Masters of Science in music therapy at SUNY New Paltz and has experienced working with a myriad of different populations. Currently, she works as a music therapist with children who have special needs. She looks forward to another great year at RTFH!

E-mail: sfruchter@rtfh.org

Tutor

Efrat DanielyEfrat Daniely

As an educator of 36 years, I had the privilege of working with kids of varying ages and abilities. For the past 19 years at Kesher LD (Miami, FL), I cultivated students’ minds and developed a program. During that time, as a teacher and later department chair, I worked and established Elementary, Middle, and High School curriculum for the Hebrew Department, and was responsible for all respective teacher trainings.

Aside from teaching Hebrew as a second language, a core value I hold dear through the years is ensuring the children grow with strong Jewish values. My mission is to instill the love of Israel, teach the Hebrew language, and strengthen the Jewish roots of our students.
Prior to my years at Kesher LD, I worked with Kindergarten age children for 17 years both in Tel Aviv and Miami.
As with any successful venture, I was fortunate to work with colleagues which through collaboration, helped ensure my vision came to life. To that end, with my move to NY, opening a new chapter near my family, I look forward to a strong collaborative partnership working in The Reform Temple of Forest Hills.

E-mail: edaniely@rtfh.org

Youth Advisor

julieJulie Smelansky joins the Forest Hills family from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Julie has a passion for Jewish teen engagement, creative programming and leadership development. Her involvement in the Jewish community started in middle school where she began as a youth group member, eventually being elected to regional board in high school. Julie has spent many summers attending and working at Jewish summer camps where she was not only a counselor but also held positions as an art specialist, play director, Jewish programming specialist and worked with staff on professional development and programming. While in college, Julie continued working in Jewish informal education as she assumed the role of Youth Director and Hebrew high school teacher in her home town of Minneapolis. Julie has since fulfilled her dream of moving to New York City and is very much looking forward to working with the ToFHY teens and bringing her experience and enthusiasm for Jewish learning to The Reform Temple of Forest Hills. In her free time, Julie loves to travel, go to the beach and study art. Julie says, "I have a passion for Jewish teen engagement, creative programming and leadership development, and cannot wait to get to know you and your families!"

 E-mail: jsmelansky@rtfh.org