Susan Levey brings tremendous dedication and professionalism to her role as Beth David's Temple Educator. Her title reflects her charge to offer education to Beth David's adults as well as our preschool, Lower School, and Upper School students. Susan came to Beth David in 1992 and is the Senior Educator on the Main Line. Prior to Beth David, Susan worked as the Assistant Director at Congregation Rodeph Shalom working both the Center City and the Elkins Park Campuses.
From High School through Graduate School, Susan taught in Religious Schools in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri before moving to Philadelphia. She was voted Teacher of the Year several times. Susan blended counseling and Jewish education as her joint career goals as she worked in the Philadelphia Jewish community before joining Beth David. She has also written many curriculum strands and faculty guides, including the innovative "Educator in Residence" and "ALS — Parents As Learners System" programs. Her overall core values view Jewish education as the vital and crucial link to connecting families and congregation.
In her spare time, she takes courses in education, as she is dedicated to a quest for knowledge. She enjoys yoga and photography, her two grown daughters, Tania and Rebeccah, and her six granddaughters.
Susan is a member of National Association of Temple Educators, Association for Curriculum Development, and served as an Interfaith Chaplain for many years at Abington Hospital.
Executive Director Jill Cooper, comes to us with 24 years of Jewish communal experience. She graduated from Temple University in the early 1980s with a degree in Elementary Education. After her son Marc, was born in 1986, Jill preferred the shorter, less stringent hours of a public school teacher and applied for a teaching position at the same preschool her son would be attending. It was there, at Shir Ami, Bucks County Jewish Congregation, that Jill was bitten by the Jewish professional bug.
Over the next 18 years Jill had the pleasure of serving on the Shir Ami Board of Directors as chair of the Preschool Committee and the Religious School Committee, and was employed part-time as a Religious School teacher, the Assistant Youth Advisor, and working in the main office as acting Program Director.
"Growing up I didn't have much of a formal Jewish education, so consequently I never knew what I was missing... until I saw how awesome it was to teach it! During my first year I was just a chapter ahead of my students, but then I began to embrace my Judaism. I read everything I could get my hands on, attended services, and mostly became a self taught Jew. Then in 2005, I'm proud to say I became an adult Bat Mitzvah. I invited every student I had ever taught, and on the invitation it said, 'the teacher now becomes the student.' So many of them came; it was very moving for me, my mom, and my son."
Jill also brings to Beth David her business experience. In 1999 she opened and ran her own in-home direct marketing company, Legal Marketing Enterprises. She was fond of saying, "The business pays the bills, but it's my part time work in the Jewish world that keeps me going." So, in 2007 Jill decided to pursue her love of Judaism and become employed full time as a Jewish professional. Jill proudly joined the Beth David professional staff in April of 2007. Her son Marc and wife Isabelle live in New York.
Ned Kripke, Administrative Assistant
Ned is a native Midwesterner (Wisconsin and Michigan) and a veteran of Jewish camps in Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a B.A. in both History and Jewish Studies. He received an MBA from New York University and studied overseas at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem during his junior year and in Paris and London during his second year of graduate business school. He speaks both Hebrew and French.
Ned moved to the Philadelphia area from Detroit in 1980 and met Karen in 1981. They married in 1982 and have two sons, Joe and Ben. Joe graduated from Cornell in 2010 and works in the Philadelphia area. Ben graduated from Penn in May 2013 and is working in the Washington, D.C. area. Karen is a professional grant writer and has been a synagogue religious school teacher for over 20 years. She and Ned have lived in Lafayette Hill since 1985. While they have become “empty-nesters,” they will continue to have the company of Chase, their wonderful bichon frisé, and their two cats, Oliver and Charlie.
Ned has worked in a number of positions in the Jewish community since 1988 and is enjoying working in the office at Beth David. During the summer Ned plays softball in the synagogue league on the other side of the Schuylkill River and an occasional game of tennis.
For 34 years, Betty worked tirelessly as the bookkeeper for the Lower Merion School District. In 2006 she retired, and we were lucky enough to grab her up. She is married to Tom, a retired Narberth Police Officer. She has three children and one grandchild.
Dena wears many hats, as the Rabbi's Assistant and a Childbirth Educator for the past 21 years. Dena teaches in both private practice and several area hospitals. Dena also co-founded, and for the past 12 years was Executive Director of the Philadelphia Songwriters Project, an arts and education non-profit. Her degree from Temple University is in Communications. She’s worked as a radio producer, journalist, and marketing/PR consultant. Her organizational abilities have served well as Executive Assistant and Managing Director of several spiritual communities and at a Health and Wellness collective in Ardmore. Dena was raised on the Main Line, and has been back in this area for the past 15 years.
She has been married to Bill Marchiony since 1987 and has two wonderful daughters - Lila, a Pastry Chef specializing in Gluten Free delights and Victoria, who recently graduated from Temple University and is head writer for an arts and culture television show soon to be airing on WHYY. Dena’s only son is a black standard poodle named Indigo.