Executive Director, FTA
How does one juggle working in two worlds simultaneously where one world is a religious and sacred space, and the other world requires operating that sacred space as a business? That is at the core of what I do for Beth David . . . maintaining that balance and prioritizing between the two each and every day.
Prior to coming to Beth David in 2007 as its Executive Director, Jill has had 25 years of Jewish communal experience, including being a teacher, youth group advisor, program director, and board member, while also working in the for profit business world as owner/operator of a direct marketing firm.
During her time at Beth David Jill is proud to have earned her FTA, Fellow of Temple Administration, served as President and Treasurer of DVASA, Delaware Valley Association of Synagogue Administration, sat on the Kehillah of Lower Merion Council, and proudly is a member of the Board of the Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery.
Jill is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Science degree and in her spare time dotes on her dog, Ziva. Jill is a supporter and activist for animal welfare charities. Her son Marc, and daughter-in-law Isabelle, live in New York.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
If Judaism, and all that this means to us, is something that we want to pass to the next generation, then raising our children to become informed, engaged and enthusiastic Jewish adults, is our task. I strive to help families with this task, in every way I can.
Rabbi Bernstein became a rabbi in 2007 following study at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. During his years of study, he worked in various institutions and positions in the Philadelphia region, including the Perelman Jewish Day School, the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, and the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mitzvah Corps Program. Since becoming a rabbi, he has served as an educational consultant to Moving Traditions and the Jewish Community Center Association, as Director of Education at Germantown Jewish Centre, and most recently as Assistant Director of Development for Reconstructing Judaism. In addition, Rabbi Bernstein has helped parents welcome their Jewish sons into the community, and newcomer adults into the community as a mohel.
Rabbi Bernstein’s primary professional passion is helping Jewish families further engage in Judaism that is meaningful to them. It is this passion that led him to become a Jewish professional as his second career – he is also a veterinarian. Dr. Bernstein worked as a clinician in small animal practice, and continued his veterinary career as a board certified expert in poultry medicine, working as a vaccine research veterinarian in the Netherlands, in Milsboro, Delaware and in Israel.
Rabbi Bernstein and his wife, Rebecca Meyer, live in Elkins Park. They raised their three daughters in the Netherlands, in Lewes, Delaware, in Kfar Saba, Israel (the family are all are dual citizens) and in Elkins Park. Their “nest” is currently empty, with one daughter living in West Philly, one in Israel, and one in Canada. Rabbi Bernstein loves music (especially Israeli and American folk music), is a committed softball enthusiast, an informed and mildly addicted sports fan, and loves most of all, learning from others and their life experiences.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND RABBINIC INTERN
As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel affirmed, ‘the teacher is the text students never forget.’ As the Assistant Education Director, I will strive to bring my passion, enthusiasm, and love of Judaism into every relationship I build with our students and families. There is an abundance of wisdom concealed under centuries of Jewish history and I’m excited to partner with Beth David as we explore deeper!
Claire Brunhild is a fifth year student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Claire holds a BA in Criminology and an MA in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of South Florida in her hometown of Tampa, Florida.
During her rabbinical training, Claire was honored to work as a rabbinic intern at Mishkan Shalom in Philly, the University of Delaware Hillel, and at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Plandome NY. She also served as a youth and teen director at Temple Brith Achim in King of Prussia and as a teen educator at Or Hadash in Fort Washington. Claire is passionate about Jewish music and has led services at many of the local Philadelphia congregations.
Before beginning her rabbinical training, Claire was an active Jewish communal professional. She worked as a youth director, Hebrew teacher, and tutored B’nei Mitzvah students. Claire is strongly committed to Jewish pluralism and has served as a Jewish educator in Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and in unaffiliated congregations.
Claire has been particularly active around Israel education; she staffed several Birthright trips in recent years and spent considerable time living and traveling around Israel. In 2014, Claire participated in the Birthright/Taglit Fellows training and then in 2018, she joined the very first cohort of graduate students at the iCenter in cooperation with George Washington University for a Master’s Certificate in Israel Education. Her favorite place in Israel is Tzefat because of the majesty and mystery surrounding the city.
Claire spends her free time caring for her sizeable indoor garden of “plant friends”, practicing her Hebrew, and playing with her two retriever dogs (Mara and Winter). She enjoys inline skating whenever she can and loves making jewelry, crafting, and reading Historical Fiction novels.
TEMPLE EDUCATOR, EMERITA
Susan joined the Beth David team in 1992 and served as Educator for twenty-five dedicated years serving our students and our adults. She brought tremendous dedication and professionalism to her role. Prior to Beth David, Susan worked as the Assistant Director at Congregation Rodeph Shalom working both the Center City and the Elkins Park Campuses.
Before moving to Philadelphia. Susan taught in religious schools in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri and was voted Teacher of the Year several times. She has also written many curriculum strands and faculty guides, including the innovative “Educator in Residence” and “PALS — Parents as Learners System” programs. Her overall core values view Jewish education as the vital and crucial link to connecting families and congregation.
Susan is a member of Association of Reform Jewish Educators, Association for Curriculum Development, and served as an Interfaith Chaplain for many years at Abington Hospital.
In her retirement Susan plans to travel and write a book. In her spare time she enjoys yoga and photography, her two grown daughters, Tania and Rebeccah, and her six granddaughters.
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 and in Paris and London.
Ned moved to the Philadelphia area in 1980 and met his wife, Karen, in 1981. They have two sons, Joe and Ben, and one grandson, Jordan. While Ned and his wife have become “empty-nesters,” they will continue to have the company of Chase, their wonderful bichon frisé, and their two cats, Oliver and Charlie.
During the summer Ned plays softball in the synagogue league on the other side of the Schuylkill River and an occasional game of tennis.
ASSISTANT TO THE CLERGY
Dena wears many hats, as assistant to Rabbi Kalisch and Cantor Goodlev and for the past 25 years as a Childbirth Educator. Dena teaches in both private practice and several area hospitals. Dena also co-founded and 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 Assistant to the Clergy and as Managing Director of several spiritual communities as well as a Health and Wellness collective in Ardmore.
She has been married to Bill Marchiony since 1987 and has two wonderful daughters – Lila, a Pastry Chef and CEO of Flakely specializing in Gluten Free French pastry and Victoria, who is Executive Producer, Lead Writer, and Interviewer on Emmy award winning arts and culture show “Articulate – with Jim Cotter airing on PBS locally and nationally.
For 34 years, Betty worked tirelessly as the bookkeeper for the Lower Merion School District. When she retired in 2006 Beth David was lucky enough to grab her up as our part time Bookkeeper extraordinaire. While Betty is tasked as our Accounts Payable department, she is much more than that and is amenable to helping everyone in the office from filling, to data entry, to envelope stuffing. She’s also been known to go on a lunch run or two. She is married to Tom, a retired Narberth Police Officer. They have three children and two grandchildren. Betty and Tom are avid Phillies fans and season ticket holders.
Tony comes to Beth David with 20 years of facilities, janitorial and cleaning services experience. Being in the facilities maintenance business for himself for 16 years blends perfectly with the Beth David family. Being around people with families and children, along-side his wife Suzette Artis, has been a “great” employment perk.
Tony has 3 children and has been a resident of Philadelphia for 42 years. He enjoys music, singing, songwriting, sports, movies and playing his Playstation 4. The best of all is family time. Tony has risen through the ranks of Beth David and he doesn’t plan on going anywhere!