Rabbi Les Bronstein has served as rabbi of Bet Am Shalom since 1989. He co-officiates with his wife, Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller. They have three adult children (all b’nai mitzvah at Bet Am Shalom) and three grandchildren. In his many years in White Plains, Rabbi B has served as president of the Westchester Board of Rabbis; national chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Rabbinic Cabinet; president of the New York Board of Rabbis; and board member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Plaza Jewish Funeral Chapel, UJA-Federation of New York, and the White Plains Religious Leaders Association. He currently chairs the board of T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Rabbi B has taught over a thousand children at Bet Am Shalom (and conducted many of their weddings and baby namings). He hopes and prays that they all carry on the great Jewish tradition in their own unique ways, and that they continue to dedicate themselves to tikkun olam, repairing our world.
Rebecca Chiet (she/her) is a student in Columbia University’s joint program with the Jewish Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing two BA’s in Jewish Bible and Psychology. Raised in a multi-ethnic household as an adopted, Chinese Jew, Rebecca is passionate about embracing diversity, promoting tolerance, and creating equitable, accessible religious and educational experiences. Outside of Bet Am Shalom and her academic life, Rebecca is involved in Jews of Color organizations, is the programming director of a female-identifying Chinese adoptee organization, is active in Jewish life on Columbia University’s campus, and teaches at Hebrew schools in New York City. She teaches K-1.
Lori Cohen (she/her) expands young minds and generates a love of Jewish life and learning for students through hands-on experiential learning that is immediately relevant to their lives. In addition to teaching 4th and 10th grades at Torah La’am and serving as our Youth Coordinator, Lori also runs knitting groups and directed a local chapter of Workers’ Circle for many years. Lori has over twenty years of experience working with children as a teacher, early childhood center director, youth director, music teacher, and artist. Her degrees in both special education and social work help Lori draw out each learner’s strengths so they feel valued and important in the learning environment. This emphasis, as well as the feeling of mishpacha (family) in the classroom, increases each student’s desire to learn and helps them feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.
As an educator, administrator, mental health counselor, and musician, Lisa Jacobs (she/her) is passionate about creating spaces in which children and families can connect deeply to their Judaism in meaningful and relevant ways, with a focus on Jewish values and the arts. Lisa holds an undergraduate degree in child development and comparative religion, as well as graduate degrees in music performance, expressive therapies/mental health counseling, and Israel Education, and has worked in various Jewish settings with infants through adults. She believes that lasting and impactful Jewish education addresses the whole child – body, mind, and spirit. She brings her love of music with her to Bet Am and believes it is one of the essential keys to unlocking tefillah (prayer) for children. She ends every Sunday and Wednesday by bringing together the entire Torah La’am community for tefillah and shirah (music). It’s one of Lisa’s favorite times of the week.
Liz Marlowe has been a Jewish Educator for over twenty-six years. She has been a classroom teacher, Religious School Director, Hebrew Coordinator, Teen Coordinator and has worn many additional hats. She specializes in experiential education and differentiated learning. Her goal, when working with learners, is to make Judaism come alive and to help encourage lifelong Jewish learning and strengthen the foundations of Jewish identity. Liz has been with Bet Am Shalom for the past year and looks forward to a long and rewarding relationship with the temple for all of her learners and colleagues. Liz teaches 8th-9th grade.
Caleb Robinson teaches our Kitah Bet v’Gimmel (2nd and 3rd grade class) at Torah La’am and loves ‘gamifying’ his lessons, to the delight of his students. An aspiring rabbi, he currently works in forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor prevention at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs in Washington, DC. He comes to Bet Am Shalom after teaching for Temple Emeth, a Reform congregation in California, and Beth Tikvah Bnai Jeshurun, a Conservative congregation in Pennsylvania. An avid reader, distance runner, and LEGO builder – Caleb lives in Riverdale with his husband, Gedalia, and their dog, Booker.
Harry Waksberg grew up at Bet Am Shalom. As a former student in our religious school, Harry is thrilled to return as a Kitah Hey (5th grade) teacher to the very same classrooms. After pursuing a degree in Women and Gender Studies, Harry spent a decade in Southern California where he began working in Jewish education, becoming the principal at a religious school in Riverside, CA. Since returning home to Westchester, he has taught Hebrew school in Dobbs Ferry, Scarsdale, and currently in White Plains. Harry and his partner, Sarah, a math professor, live in Hartsdale and are devoted parents to two amazing children.