top of page

The Team

Who We Are


Einav Symons


Einav has a M.Ed and a B.A in Religious studies. She is a certified NYS and Day school teacher. She is the recipient of the Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and Buffalo's Business First Who's Who in Education. Currently, Einav is the Director of the Community Religious School and the President and chief consultant of Advanced Jewish Studies Services LLC.

Einav is a gifted educator, community builder and an avid supporter of Israel and Israel education and partnerships. Since coming to Buffalo from Toronto in 2000, she was the Head of Kadimah Academy and the Director of Education at TBT, the Gesher School and CSS-Gesher. Her consulting company provided programs and training to students and teachers in the Williamsville, Amherst and the Niagara Falls school districts.

She is married to Dr. Andrew Symons and is very proud of their children Gilad (20) and Shira (19).

Mrs. Symons sees her roles in Jewish education as a calling. She is excited to implement new initiatives at CRS. Einav is an animal lover and enjoys taking care of the ‘Symons’ Zoo’ which includes cats, dogs, bird, fishpond and duck.


Ben Avetissian

Teaching Staff

My name is Ben Avetissian. I am 19 years old and I live in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. I grew up enriched in Jewish life. I went to Jewish private school and I’ve been speaking Hebrew and teaching Hebrew for upwards of seven years. I had the pleasure of working with Einav for two years and that is where I really learned a lot about teaching 😊 I enjoy chanting Torah and and I grasp various melodies with ease. I’ve always loved teaching and am so excited to be a remote Hebrew tutor.


Joey Ball

Teaching Staff

This is Joey’s second year at CRS after being a third grade teaching assistant last year. He used to work as a Music TA at the Village Temple in New York City and is now a Hebrew 1:1 tutor for CRS while living in Brooklyn, NY. Joey is very excited for Hebrew tutoring!


Linda Bergman

Teaching Staff

Shalom, I am Linda Bergman and have been teaching Religious School for 20 years mostly in kindergarten. I also teach Hebrew/Judaic studies at the JCC Early Childhood center as well as being an assistant teacher there for 18 plus years. I have two beautiful, intelligent daughters Pauline and Sarah and a lovable rescue dog named Honey. In my free time I do canine agility training and trials with Honey. I also love to sing with the Shir Shalom choir and am active in the sisterhood group. I’m excited to teach kindergarten this year!

Talia Berkowitz

Teaching Staff

Shalom! My name is Talia Berkowitz and this is my second year teaching 1st grade and being a Hebrew tutor at CRS. I have been involved with formal and informal Jewish education for over 30 years. After working in Teaneck and Baltimore, I returned to Buffalo to teach at my alma mater, Kadimah. In addition to CRS, I currently teach General Studies at Ohr Temimim. I look forward to using my love of music, books, crafts, movement, and of course, food, during our AMAZING year of learning!


Fern Bernstein

Teaching Staff

Shalom Horim v’ Talmidim ( Hello Parents and Students). I am looking forward to working with your child (children) as a private tutor in Hebrew. I am a retired Spanish and French teacher as well a former religious school teacher from Gesher Religious School. I am passionate about seeing the richness of our Jewish heritage, customs and language passed down to the next generation. I wish all of you a very sweet and healthy New Year.


Aaron Blum

Teaching Staff

Hi, my name is Mr. Aaron and I’ve taught Hebrew school for many years. I started my teaching as a TA at Gesher Religious School and then became a teacher there. I look forward to being the 3rd grade teacher at the Community Religious School. Besides teaching Hebrew school I am a teacher in the Early Childhood department at the JCC with the 2 year- old as well as a counselor in the after school program at the JCC. In my free time I like to spend time with my friends!


Julien Fischer

Teaching Staff

Julien Fischer is a native Hebrew speaker with more than ten years of instructional experience. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Program in Literature at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. When he is not teaching, researching, or writing, Julien enjoys hiking with his dog and swimming in the ocean.


Zahava Fried

Teaching Staff

Zahava Fried is thrilled to continue to be a part of the CRS family as a Hebrew Tutor. She is the Cantorial Intern and a youth educator at Temple Beth Tzedek. She is currently a student at the Academy for Jewish Religion where she is in the process of earning cantorial ordination as well as a M.A. in Judaic Studies. She holds a B.A. in Education from SUNY Empire State College, and studied Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University. Zahava served as the Director of the former PALS-Kadimah preschool at Temple Beth Zion where she was also a Lead Teacher. She can often be found drinking multiple cups of coffee in her home in Williamsville, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a small zoo of animals.


Keren Green

Teaching Staff

Keren Green loves teaching and Jewish education. She and her husband Alex have been working with the Buffalo Jewish Community since they moved here over 9 years ago from Toronto. She is a full time mom with three crazy wonderful red headed children. She also works part time with Buffalo Spree Publishing and the Jewish Journal. Mrs. Green is excited to join the CRS community this year!


Renee Herman

Teaching Staff

Renee Herman earned her degrees in Education at Buffalo State College and Boston University and has been teaching in Buffalo religious schools since 1991, as well as teaching in a variety of other academic settings. Renee is an experienced Hebrew and Judaics teacher at many grade levels. Judaism has always been a central part of Renee's life, having been actively involved in youth group, program coordinator of Yad b'Yad, and a Kadimah student, parent, volunteer, board member, and teacher. Renee is currently the USY advisor at Temple Beth Tzedek. She met her very supportive husband at Hillel and has 3 fantastic children whom she loves very much!


Shailee Herter

Teaching Staff

Born and raised in the state of Israel. Moved to Buffalo ny in 2008 with my parents. I am a full time mom to two cute boys. My day job is a lead teacher at Chai Early childhood center. I have been a religious school / Hebrew teacher for 7 years.


Harvey Horowitz

Teaching Staff

Harvey Horowitz was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from The Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore Hebrew College and Teachers Training School there. He subsequently earned a masters degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His engineering profession brought him to Buffalo to work in the bustling steel, paper, chemical, and cable-manufacturing industries!

His first opportunity to help train a bar mitzvah boy occurred in summer camp, while a teenager. Over the past quarter century he has helped prepare children for bar and bat mitzvah in many of the local synagogues, including Temple Beth El, Temple Beth Zion, Temple Sinai, Temple Shaarey Zedek, Temple Beth Tzedek, Temple Beth Abraham, Temple Beth Am, and Congregation Shir Shalom. He has taught in our own Religious School for over twenty years.

When he is not tutoring or writing lesson plans, you can find him walking Eastern Hills Mall preparing for the upcoming Jewish Heritage tour of cities along the Danube River or entertaining his 4 grandchildren and two granddogs.


Ariel Marcus

Teaching Staff

My name is Ariel Marcus. I have been working in Jewish education for the past 10 years. I love giving the gift of Torah and Judaism to students of all ages and their families. I have taught at Shir Shalom and now CRS for 4 years with grades 4-7. Outside of Hebrew school, I am a speech language pathologist working with the Early Intervention and Preschool population. We are going to have a great year at CRS and I look forward to getting to know everyone. 


Jordana Mazer

Teaching Staff

Shalom! My name is Jordana Mazer and I will be teaching fourth grade again this year! I am a current senior engineering student at UB and I’m hoping to enroll in a PhD program after graduation this upcoming May. I’ve always loved teaching, and before I came to Buffalo, I was a madricha at my local synagogue in Rockland County. I’m looking forward to a great year!


Cindi Mikulik

Teaching Staff

For the better part of my life, I have been working in formal and informal Jewish education. Over the years, I have worked with  every age group from pre-school to adult.  I have worked at Kadimah, Camp Ramah, in Tel Aviv at a summer Israel Program, Hillel, and several synagogues. After bringing my daughter home from China, I embarked on a new (additional) career-- International Adoption.  It was twofold.  I founded a support group for Asian Adoptive families and through that met over 250 Western New York families with children adopted from Asia.  We ran social, educational, and cultural programs, ran a Mandarin Language school and Chinese cultural camp. In addition, I prepared international adoption dossiers for countries all around the world and eventually became an in-house adoption consultant. I loved working with adoptive familes-- beginning the process with lots of forms and hopes, and ending with beautiful babies. Most recently, I have been tutoring Korean students in English. I have a BA in Judaic Studies with a minor in Hebrew Language and Literature, a Masters in Jewish Communal Service, and a Masters in  Public Administration. 

But, most of what I know, I have learned from my students, and my adoptive families. 

I am honored and excited to be working with our amazing faculty and look forward to 

an outstanding year. 



Shaina Potash

Teaching Staff

Hi my name is Shaina Potash and I have been involved in the Jewish community all my life. I am going into senior year in high school and will be one of the two students graduating from the Kadimah program. I love music and art. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall!


Michael Raab

Teaching Staff

Shalom! My name is Michael Raab. I was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. After serving in the Israeli military intelligence and completing formal education in Meteorology, Hydrology and environmental science, I was appointed to the position of the Director of the Erie County Environmental Compliance services. I was also the president of Hillel and the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Education Institute. For more than forty years I enjoyed teaching Hebrew, Jewish history and Jewish traditions to two generations of the Buffalo Jewish community. This year I will be a teacher on the grade 6 and 7 team, as well as a Hebrew tutor.


Jillian Ribakove

Teaching Staff

Shalom! My name is Jillian Ribakove and I look forward to teaching 5th grade at CRS! I grew up attending and volunteering at Gesher Religious School, developing a passion for education in the Mishpacha classroom, and now teach in districts throughout Western New York. In addition to teaching Hebrew school, I'm a lead counselor at Kids Place after school program at the JCC. When not teaching, I enjoy spending time reading, playing with my dog, Rainbow, and traveling. I look forward to being part of the amazing kehillah (community) at CRS and getting to work with all the amazing students and teachers!


Michal Shmuel-Lewis

Teaching Staff

Michal Shmuel-Lewis, a native of Israel, was the Hebrew Language teacher at Kadimah Academy from 2001-2019 and a school counselor since 2016. She teaches Hebrew Language to grades K through 12 at Park School. Besides teaching Hebrew language, Michal has run health, wellness, leadership and other character-education programs under her counselor role. In 2010, she received the national Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She and her husband, Shai Lewis, live in Amherst and have two daughters.


Shira Symons

Teaching Staff

Hi! my name is Shira and I am a Kadimah School graduate who is now studying Health and Human Services/Education at UB. This past year I have taken a gap year to spend time in Israel and was also a teacher assistant at Park School. My favorite things to do are to hike and to make jewelry/craft. I am very excited to be working with everyone!! 


Evan Ruttenberg


Evan is a former Kadimah school student and graduate who is currently pursuing a combined BS/MS in Computer Engineering at RIT.

bottom of page