Educator Search Committee

Our New Educator




Dear friends,

We are pleased to announce that Rabbi Kevin Bernstein will be joining Beth David’s professional team on June 1 as our next Director of Education. Our Educator Search Committee and so many of you who gave us feedback after meeting him were all impressed by his warmth, his passion for Jewish education, and his natural connection with teens and children. As the head of the Religious School, Rabbi Bernstein will work closely with Rabbi Kalisch and Cantor Levy to make sure Beth David continues to be a vibrant and nurturing learning community for children, teens, and parents.

Rabbi Bernstein was ordained in 2007 from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he most recently worked as the Assistant Director of Development. His rich experience as a Jewish professional includes serving as the Director of Education at Germantown Jewish Centre; a special needs Hebrew teacher, science teacher, and rabbi of the middle school at Perelman Jewish Day School; an educational consultant for organizations including Moving Traditions and the Jewish Community Center Association; a coordinator for the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mitzvah Corps program for teens; a cantorial soloist; and a moyel helping parents to welcome new babies through circumcision and naming ceremonies.

All of this experience working in the Jewish community - in fact, working with humans - is Rabbi Bernstein's second career. Previously, he worked for 15 years as a veterinarian in the United States, Holland, and Israel, including work in a small animal clinic, in vaccine research, and on a kibbutz. He and his wife, Rebecca Meyer, live in Elkins Park, but also raised their three daughters in Israel; all are dual citizens. Currently, he and his wife are enjoying an emptying nest, with daughters living in Tel Aviv and Madison, Wisconsin. Rabbi Bernstein is a sports fan and has been an avid recreational softball player for the past forty years, including a stint on the Israel National Fast Pitch Team.

Please watch your e-mail for announcements regarding opportunities to meet Rabbi Bernstein during the spring, summer and fall. Or feel free to stop by Beth David and introduce yourself after he officially joins us on June 1.

We want to extend our gratitude to the members of the Educator Search Committee for their hard work, persistence, and diligence. Rachel Mauceri, Alex Helpin, Ben Helpin, Donna Kramer, Lisa Schreiber, Steve Sokoll, Sue Sukonik, and Larry Ward have all devoted many hours over the entire 18-month search, and Elaine Savoy, Marjorie Volpp, and Gary Zimmer also served on the committee during the first year of the search.

And, finally, we want to offer our deepest thanks to Susan Levey, who is leaving us a lasting educational legacy after 25 years of service. There is no replacing Susan, but we know our congregation’s future is brighter because of the foundation of caring and connection that she built.


Susan Cohen-Dickler and Jason Newman, Co-chairs, Educator Search Committee
Rabbi Beth Kalisch
Ray Reed, President


Update March 7, 2016

Thanks to all of you who met and interacted with the two Rabbi/Educator candidates who have visited so far, Rabbi Daniel Reiser (our most recent candidate) and Rabbi Daniel Utley (our first candidate). Your hard work and dedication to Beth David is truly appreciated.

As the co-chairs of the search committee, Rachel Mauceri and Jason Newman would love to hear any feedback about the candidates. Please forward any feedback to Rachel or Jason ( or by Sunday, March 13 at 4 pm. It will be compiled and reviewed by the entire search committee.

Our third and possibly final Rabbi/Educator candidate, Rabbi Toba Schaller, will be visiting this weekend, March 13. We invite all adults in the community to meet Rabbi Schaller on Sunday morning, for a meet and greet over coffee and bagels from 9:30 - 10:00 am, followed by adult learning from 10:00 - 10:30 am. Some of our Religious School students and madrichim will also have the opportunity to meet her during the school day on Sunday.

Again, we truly appreciate your input, and look forward to hearing from you.

Rachel Mauceri and Jason Newman
Co-Chairs, Rabbi/Educator Search Committee

Update - February 26

Things are heating up in our Rabbi/ Educator search! We have already interviewed one candidate, Daniel Utley, and are about to interview two or three more over the next several weeks.

It was wonderful to see so many of you come out to meet with Rabbi Utley. We hope to see even more for the next applicants. Please mark your calendars and plan to meet our candidates on the following dates:

Tuesday, March 1st- Rabbi Daniel Reiser will be interviewing. There will be an opportunity to meet him during 2 separate events
5:45PM- Casual open house for all congregants- no schedule- just stop in for a meet and greet and have some wine and snacks
6:30PM- A brief “adult inspiration” led by Rabbi Reiser, followed by time for discussion

Tuesday March 8- Possible candidate meet and greet in the evening (similar to March 1st)

Sunday, March 13– Rabbi Toba Schaller will be visiting. There will be an opportunity to meet her on this day. Details to follow.

Anyone who has children in the religious school may also hear that a visitor came to their classroom. We hope you’ll solicit and share your child’s impressions!

A formal email will go out soliciting feedback from all congregants who have met with the applicants. However, feel free to email Jason Newman or Rachel Mauceri any time with questions or comments about the Rabbi/Educator search.

We truly appreciate your willingness to be involved in this important process. We hope you are as excited as we are about the future of edu-cation at Beth David!

Rachel Mauceri and Jason Newman
Co-Chairs, Rabbi/Educator Search Committee

Update - February 12

Dear congregants,

The Rabbi/Educator Search Committee Co-Chairs along with Rabbi Kalisch spent several days last week meeting with soon-to-be graduates of the Hebrew Union College (HUC) who are interested in our Rabbi/Educator position. We saw many impressive students with excellent qualifications and over the next six weeks three of them will be visiting Beth David.

The first of these visits will take place on Tuesday February 16th! We apologize for the late notice but HUC has strict visitation guidelines and as always it's difficult to coordinate everyone's schedules. We will do our best to provide more advance notice of future visits.

The candidate visiting us next week is Rabbi Daniel Utley. Rabbi Utley has earned a Masters in Jewish Educational Leadership along with his rabbinic degree and comes to us highly recommended.

The opportunities to meet Rabbi Utley will be on Tuesday evening:

• There will be an informal Open House question and answer session from 6:00-6:45pm. If you're picking up or dropping off your child please stop by.
•From 6:45-7:30 Rabbi Utley will lead an Adult Education class. Please RSVP to Ned Kripke in the Beth David office if you plan to attend the adult ed so we can have the appropriate space set up.

We hope that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to meet Rabbi Utley and share your feedback with the Rabbi/Educator Search Committee.

During his visit Rabbi Utley will also meet our synagogue president, professional staff, clergy, and students in the Religious School. In addition, the Search Committee will conduct thorough diligence on each candidate.
We hope to see some of you on Tuesday evening.

Update - February 2016

Although the Educator Search committee was only appointed last month, we have already been hard at work. We know how important our committee’s mission is for the congregation, and we have putting a lot of energy into considering what kind of educator or rabbi-educator would best be able to help us build a vision for the future of Jewish education at Beth David, inspire our children, and engage our families deeply into Jewish life. Our committee, as you can see below, includes both new and longtime members of the congregation; parents, faculty, and students in the Religious School; parents of young children and parents of teenagers.

To date, we have received more than 15 applications. Since many rabbis are passionate about education, our applicant pool includes some educators who are also ordained as rabbis, and who would serve as a second rabbi to the congregation in addition to their role as educator. We have already been interviewing some candidates by Skype, and the committee chairs and Rabbi Kalisch will be traveling to New York City in early February to interview graduating rabbinical students who have applied for the position at HUC-JIR’s on-campus interviews. We hope to invite finalist candidates to Beth David for two-day visits in February and early March. We will notify the congregation when we schedule those visits, and we hope that many of you will come to meet the candidates and give us feedback.

Please feel free to be in touch with the committee chairs, Jason and Rachel ( and, or other committee members, with any questions, comments, or concerns, or if you would like to contribute to the process in any way. Thank you!

Committee Chairs:

Jason Newman:

Jason Newman is a recent addition to the Beth David family. He and his wife
Angela have three sons, all currently in religious school. Jason is a surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania, and in his free time likes playing tennis, going
to the beach, and spending time with his family.




Rachel Mauceri:

Rachel Mauceri and her family are in their third year of membership at Beth David, where she also sits on the Board. Rachel and her husband, Pat, live in Merion Station, and have two young boys, the older of whom is a student in Beth David's religious school. She and her family are so pleased about the community they've found at Beth David, and are grateful for the opportunity to help guide Beth David's already terrific religious school into the future. Rachel is an attorney and practices with a firm in Center City.




Alex Helpin

Alex Helpin is 16 years old and a junior at Friends' Central School. He is a madrich (student assisatant) at Beth David and is also a member of the search committee to find a new Educator. He enjoys wrestling, working out/lifting, and watching movies.




Ben Helpin

Ben Helpin is 16 years old, and has been attending Beth David for 8 years, as well
as working as a madrich, (student assistant) for 4 years. He is excited to help find a new Educator, especially to engage the young children at Beth David, and even more so to have new and fun programs to further the education of our teens.


Elaine Savoy

Elaine is a Special Education teacher and Reading specialist. She, along with her family has been a member of Beth David her entire life, attending the religious school as a student. Her daughter Sophie is in 5th grade and looks forward to her time when she becomes a Bat Mitzvah. Elaine teaches Kindergarten at Beth David on Sundays. She loves to share Children's Jewish Literature with her class!



Lisa Schreiber

‪Lisa is a second year member at Beth David. She and her husband Michael, live in Wayne, PA and have three young children all who attend religious school at Beth David. They are excited to be a part of the Beth David family and look forward to interacting with the new educator as they will be spending a great deal of time at the school in the future!‬‬



Sue Sukonik

Sue has 2 young adult daughters who were students at Beth David’s religious school through Confirmation and beyond. It is through her service as Chair of the Home and School Association, Religious School Committee, B’nai Mitzvah Committee and Vice President, overseeing the Religious School that she has become deeply invested in the well-being of the religious school. She values most the sense of community and relationships her family and she has built during her 17 years at Beth David.



Steve Sokoll:

Steven Sokoll has been a member for ten years at Beth David and has two older teenagers, both of whom have participated and been madrichim (student assistants) in the religious school. Steve was a member of the Rabbi Search Committee and is a medical educator and psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


Marjorie Volpp:

Marjorie is a social worker by training and mother of 3 girls all of whom attend religious school. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and and serves on the Teen Engagement Committee. Marjorie is also the former chair person of the Membership Committee and served on the Rabbi Search Committee.



Larry Ward:

Larry is a general internist at Thomas Jefferson University and has lived in and around Philadelphia for 20 years. His wife is also a physician and became a Jew By Choice when she
was pregnant with her 2nd child. The Ward family have been members of Beth David
for 11 years and have two daughters in the religious school - age 13 and 10.



Gary Zimmer:

The Zimmers have been members of the Beth David community for about eight years and were thrilled to celebrate their son Tyler's Bar Mitzvah this past October. The Beth David religious school has been an important part of the children's lives since joining, and Gary is excited to be able to participate in the selection committee for our next Director of Education. As one half of a two-career family, Gary understands the importance of the need to balance religious, spiritual, and community education for the next generation.