Meet Our Team
|Dr. Bill Robinson
Dean, The Davidson School
Dr. Bill Robinson draws on a distinguished and dynamic career in Jewish education. His experience in cutting-edge leadership in Jewish education includes past roles as chief strategy officer at the Jewish Education Project; director of education and research at the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life in New York City; director of Jewish education at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, New Jersey; managing director of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; planning associate at the Atlanta Jewish Federation in Atlanta, Georgia; and staff researcher at the Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education in Atlanta. He is known for his innovations in Jewish education, as evidenced by his work in the design of a new model for central agencies of Jewish education at the Jewish Education Project, and the development of a set of interdenominational Jewish tenets to engage young adults and the creation of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative at the Steinhardt Foundation. Dr. Robinson received an interdisciplinary PhD in Social Theory from Rutgers University.
|Dr. Zachary Lasker
Director of Education Projects, Melton Research Center for Jewish Education and The Davidson School
Dr. Zachary Lasker served for 10 years as director of Camp Ramah in California, a position that was preceded by many summers as a counselor, head of singing, and unit head. He mentored graduate students as an instructor at the Fingerhut School of Education at American Jewish University, and taught students in both day school and supplementary school settings. Prior to his pursuits as an educator, Dr. Lasker worked in nonprofit marketing at Gary Wexler + Associates: Passion Marketing.
Dr. Lasker earned his doctorate in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds an MA in Education from American Jewish University, and a BA in Sociology and Judaic Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Lasker is also a certified yoga instructor. He has published articles in eJewish Philanthropy, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and San Diego Jewish Journal, and in the book Ramah at 60. In 2005, he and his family were honored by Adat Ari El in Valley Village, California, for their synagogue leadership.
|Dr. Deborah Miller
Associate Director, Melton Research Center for Jewish Education
Dr. Deborah Miller administers the grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation that provides funding for many elements of The Davidson School, while also working on the teams for the Etgar and MaToK curricula. Dr. Miller has taught every grade and age from nursery school through adult education, and headed the Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley in East Brunswick, New Jersey, for 14 years. She also headed congregational schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Clark and Cranford, New Jersey. She earned her BA at Barnard College and her MA and EdD in Jewish Education at The Davidson School.
|Dr. Janette Silverman
Outreach Director, The Davidson School
Dr. Janette (pronounced "Janet") Silverman is a veteran Jewish educator in both administration and teaching. She earned her master's degree and doctorate in Jewish Studies from the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and her master's degree in Public Administration from Florida State University. Dr. Silverman is a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly and the National Association of Temple Educators. Professionally, she has worked in congregational school education, Jewish Federation, and Hillel settings. She is also involved in the international Jewish genealogy community. In 2009, before coming to JTS, Dr. Silverman worked closely with educator and consultant Jane Shapiro, lead educator for Chancellor Arnold Eisen's Mitzvah Initiative, to bring the initiative to her congregation, and has utilized the Etgar curriculum.
|Yehudit (Edie) Freudenberger
Education Technologist, The Davidson School
Yehudit (Edie) Freudenberger has more than 20 years of experience in design, writing, editing, case management, counseling, and curriculum development for children, adults, and special populations. Her professional background includes a focus on instructional design, social networking, and educational technologies. Ms. Freudenberger earned an MEd in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Cincinnati, and is an EdD student there in the same field. She has done work in education technology at the University of Cincinnati in programs such as the Family Science Academy—with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)—and at the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. She also consulted in the field while running her own marketing and design company, Edward Willis Group, Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Director, Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Project
Charlotte Abramson has been the director of Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Project since its inception in 2003. Her passionate involvement in Tanakh education began with her career as a teacher at Hillel Day School of Farmington Hills, Michigan. As a teacher of text, Ms. Abramson was puzzled by the fact that the children in her classrooms, often fine students of Hebrew, were challenged when reading biblical texts in that language. Her research into this phenomenon resulted in her master's thesis in Jewish Education for The Graduate School of JTS on "Teaching Students to Become Independent Readers of the Biblical Text in Hebrew."
Ms. Abramson served as dean of studies at New Jersey's Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, Upper School, for 12 years, and as principal of its middle school. The Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks project allows her to combine her passion for the teaching of Judaic studies with supporting day schools in their quest for educational excellence. She is currently in the Executive Doctoral Program at The Davidson School, investigating how instructional leadership improves teaching and learning in the day school. In 2013, she received the Benjamin Shevach Award for distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership at the commencement exercises of Boston Hebrew College.
Project Manager, Project Etgar
Debbie Kerschner has a BA in Economics from Brandeis University and an MBA in Marketing from New York University. Prior to her work at Project Etgar, Ms. Kerschner was director of marketing at C. F. Hathaway Company, and a marketing manager at AlliedSignal. She also taught Project Etgar to sixth grade students at Bet Torah in Mount Kisco, New York.
|Dr. Ray Levi
Director, Day School Leadership Training InstituteDr. Ray Levi is the head of school emeritus at the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Previously, he was head of school at the Agnon School, the Jewish community day school in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Levi was a mentor for DSLTI Cohorts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
A past chair of the Heads Council of the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools, Dr. Levi was president of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education in Portland, Oregon, and served on the executive committee of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network. He was a consultant for the Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership Benchmarking and Financial Reengineering project, working with schools on recruitment, retention, marketing, and planning. He is also a past member of the board of governors of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, and the editorial board of the National Council of Teachers of English. In addition to many years of classroom teaching in the primary grades and as a middle school advisor, he has been an adjunct professor of Education at John Carroll University; a director of special curriculum projects at University School; and a staff development consultant for the Institute for Educational Renewal, all in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.
Director, MaToK: Bible Curriculum for Day Schools
Galya Greenberg is currently a doctoral student in Jewish Educational Leadership in a joint program between Northeastern University and Hebrew College. Her particular area of interest is the professional development of Jewish day school teachers. She has an extensive background in the field as both a teacher and administrator, and has supervised MaToK teachers at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford. Ms. Greenberg graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and earned an MA in Jewish Education from The Davidson School.
|Rabbi Jason Gitlin
Project Manager, ReFrame: Experiential Education in Congregational Schools
Rabbi Jason Gitlin brings a variety of valuable assets to his work with ReFrame, particularly his skills in engagement, project management, communication, and teaching. He received his ordination at The Rabbinical School of JTS, and has also completed degrees in Journalism and Mass Communications and in Near Eastern Studies. Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Gitlin worked as a journalist and then at UJA-Federation of New York, where he managed a portfolio that included work with interfaith communities and interactive marketing services. As a student, he took on a variety of jobs with agencies such as the Educational Alliance and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, taught at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, and completed his pastoral work at a local hospital. Rabbi Gitlin has also led services and taught in synagogue settings. Most recently, he served as congregational engagement associate at the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York.
Director, Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute
Lyndall Miller has been the director of Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute since its inception. She has also directed the Legacy Heritage Institute for Jewish Early Childhood Educators, a site-based transformation initiative, and the Jewish early childhood education department at Gratz College. Ms. Miller has been a consultant to Jewish early childhood education, including the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative, and the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education in the greater Philadelphia area (now Jewish Learning Venture). She previously worked as a specialist and classroom teacher in Jewish early childhood programs, public schools, and self-contained settings for young children with special needs. Ms. Miller has been in the field of early childhood education for almost 40 years, and is working on her EdD in Jewish Education.
|Mark S. Young
Program Coordinator, Experiential Learning Initiative
Mark S. Young was at the forefront of the design and implementation of The Davidson School's master's degree concentration in Jewish Experiential Education, now an integral component of the MA program and part of the course work for all MA students. He is the program coordinator of the Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute, a professional development and career-growth training for mid-level professionals at Jewish Community Centers across North America. Prior to joining JTS, Mr. Young served in human resources for Episcopal Social Services of New York, a child welfare, education, and adult services nonprofit, and at New York City's 92nd Street Y. He spent 14 summers at the Mandel Jewish Community Center's Camp Wise Resident Camp in Cleveland, Ohio, serving for several years as song leader, Judaic director, and staff-in-training director. Mr. Young earned a BS in Psychology and Economics from McGill University in Montreal, and an MPA in Nonprofit Management and MA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University.
Miriam Meir has been intellectually engaged with Hebrew ever since she made Aliyah with her family as a child. She studied philosophy and biology, as well as Hebrew language instruction, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and holds an M.A. in Jewish Literature from JTS.
|Rabbi Noah Bickart
Principal, Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School
Rabbi Noah Bickart (RS '08) is the new principal of the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School of JTS. He is also a PhD candidate and adjunct instructor in Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS.
Rabbi Bickart comes to his new position familiar with Ivry Prozdor from his work as a teacher at the school. Rabbi Bickart has additional education experience as a teaching assistant both at JTS and at Harvard University, where he received an MA in Theological Studies in Hebrew Bible from its Divinity School. He currently serves as director of the Matt Eisenfeld and Sara Duker Beit Midrash of JTS, and co–rosh yeshiva of the Nishma: A Summer of Torah Study in the JTS Beit Midrash program.
After a lengthy Solomon Schechter Day School education, Michal Pinto earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Development Sociology and a master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Prior to working with JTS and the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI), she was assistant to the mayor of Great Neck, New York, which allowed her to work with a diverse Jewish community and organize programs that highlighted the involvement of children in improving neighborhoods. In her role as JECELI program associate and assistant to the director of education projects for the Melton Research Center and The Davidson School, Ms. Pinto is happy to be part of the exciting and colorful world of early childhood education, and to learn from leaders in the field about community building.
Mitchell GerstenMitchell Gersten currently serves as administrative assistant for The Davidson School's DSLTI and Standards and Benchmarks programs. His professional background includes program and office administration, education, organizational communications, and multimedia production. Mr. Gersten received his bachelor's degree in Communications from New York University, and his master's degree in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.