Meet Our Hineini Teachers

Meet Our Hineini Teachers

Jump to: Kindergarten | 1st Grade | 2nd Grade | 3rd Grade | 4th Grade | 5th Grade | 6th Grade | STEM | Songleaders | Hebrew


Heidi Estrada (she/her)

My name is Heidi and I’m very excited to be teaching again at TST. I taught Kindergarten at a Boston area Jewish day school for many years and after taking some time off,  I’ve loved being back in the beautiful world of teaching and sharing Judaism with young children.  I believe that learning should be joyful and authentic. I look forward to building a community of learners and fostering a love of Judaism with your children. 

I live in Weston and enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, baking, art, musical theater, and figure skating. 

Ayla Wrubel (she/her)

I am so excited to be teaching at Hineni this year! I am a First-Year student at Brandeis University, and I plan to study History and Sociology. I am originally from Tenafly, New Jersey and attended jewish day school for seven years. I became passionate about Jewish education by recognizing the impact my teachers had on me and I look forward to sharing that joy with my students.

I have been a camp counselor at the JCC on the Palisades for two summers and  enjoyed being a part of the growth and development of my campers in a Jewish setting. I am certain that we will have an amazing year together.

First Grade

Ella Osen (she/her)

Jen Weiner (she/her)

I am so excited to be a part of this dynamic team of Hineini educators! First graders are so much fun to be around, to share with, and to learn from. I aim to build a warm classroom of friends where all our opinions, ideas, and feelings are valued and respected. My hope is that my students come away with a love of Judaism and a sense of their own Jewish identity. 

My own Jewish journey began at my reform temple in Hollywood, FL (where my mom taught) and at Blue Star Camp in NC. A Shir Tikva family for 12 years, we have found a community of compassionate, thoughtful people. My husband Michael and I live in Natick and have two college-aged boys Avi and Eytan, who both became bar mitzvah at TST. Our younger two, Isaac and Rebecca have attended the ELC and are now Hineini students as well. I have had the honor of being a Trustee for Childhood Education and Engagement for four+ years and value being able to contribute to this sacred community. 

While my professional background is in diagnostic medicine, I have taught nursery school, preK Sunday school, 6/7th grade confirmation classes and have substituted at the K-4 level religious school. I love to cook, hike, read, and to spend time with family and friends.

Second Grade

Debbie Percher (she/her)

I grew up in Israel , but have been living in the United States for many years. Over the years I have taught Hebrew and Jewish studies to elementary school students in various settings in New Jersey and in Massachusetts. What I love most is to share with the students how the Torah and different Jewish resources guide us in the importance of maintain good values and being “a mensch” (a good, responsible and compassionate human being) to their family and friends as well as to their individual community and the Jewish community at large. I hope that by spending time at TST my students will develop personal connection to Judaism, become proud Jews that enjoy being part of the Jewish community. 

Julie Skipper (she/her)

Third Grade

Sam Berkooz (he/him)

Hi everyone! I’m Sam Berkooz and I look forward to my first year with the TST community. I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI and I am a sophomore at Brandeis University. My involvement in the Jewish community goes back as far as I can remember, and for the past two summers I’ve been a counselor at my childhood camp. In my free time I enjoy playing tennis, spending time in nature, and listening to music. Please reach out for anything at (734) 355-9484 or .

Joni Gunner (she/her)

“A child is a gift from God.” My goal is to see your child’s potential, and help them have a positive experience that they will carry with them, beyond this year.

I’m so excited to start my fourth year with you all. In addition to teaching, my skill set includes a SPED, Graphic Design, and an Office Management background. I have a creative approach to working with children, patience and compassion. I’m from Massachusetts, lived in Florida, and have one child, Katie. I’m the youngest of four and had a sister with special needs. Having had a sibling with special needs, allowed me to develop a sensitive soul. My loves are my grandchildren, Tyler and Molly. Spending any time with them, does my heart good! My daughter, Katie, also worked in Special Education. My interests include anything artistic/creative, cooking, exercising, and an appreciation for nature. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and concerns. I will keep you informed on your child’s progress. We are a team, thank you for the privilege of working with your child. Call me at 508-868-1047 or email me at .

Fourth Grade

Maddie Bagdade (she/her)

Hi! My name is Maddie and I am so excited to be a part of the TST community for the second year! I am a Sophomore at Brandeis University double majoring in Political Science and International and Global Studies and I am originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. Judaism is a very large part of my identity; I love the community and shared traditions. In Minnesota, I was a Madricha for five years and a Gesher Mentor (meaning I taught the class with a group of other teens) for one year, and I was also very involved with NFTY, the Union for Reform Judaism’s teen youth group. When I’m not at TST you can find me at Manginah rehearsal (the Brandeis Premier Jewish A Capella group) or catching up on a good TV show! Parents and families can reach me at or at the phone number +16514107705.

Sam Brower (any)

Hi all! My name is Sam Brower and I am a sophomore at Brandeis studying Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia before moving to Providence, Rhode Island for high school. Although I was raised in a non-religious household, I was always entrenched in Jewish values and curious about creating Jewish community wherever and whenever I could. I am thrilled to join the Shir Tikva community, connect with my 4th grade class, and learn alongside the kids, as I think that young and fresh perspectives are some of the most valuable!

Fifth Grade

Daniel Block (he/him)

Howdy y’all! I am ecstatic to join the TST Kehillah Kedosha, or holy community. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas (by way of San Antonio, Texas) I am now a sophomore at Brandeis studying Environmental Science and American Studies! I have been involved in Jewish Community for as long as I can remember: I attended URJ Greene Family Camp in Texas, did close to every single NFTY program available, served my temple as a madrich during high school, worked on a regenerative Jewish research farm this past summer, and now sit on the board of Brandeis’ Reform Chavurah! I can’t wait to join 5th grade in this year’s journey of Jewish learning and community building.

Gabriella Fine (she/her)

Gabriella Fine is a second-year at Brandeis and is thrilled to join the Temple Shir Tikva community! Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she was able to experience and witness a deep love of all different types of Judaism. After her family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, she was then able to experience a different type of Jewish community. These experiences, as well as community involvement, inform her Jewish identity. Gabriella is passionate about gender equity and the ability to use Jewish principles as guiding values when involving ourselves in social justice. She is thrilled to work with your children and instill a love of Judaism using songs, art, meaningful discussion, and connection. 

Sixth Grade

Maia Lefferman (she/her)

Hi! My name is Maia Lefferman and I am so excited to become a part of and meet the TST community! I was born in Philadelphia, then moved to Phoenix, then on to Los Angeles where I have spent most of my life. Growing up I have been a member of so many various Jewish communities; I belong to 3 shuls where I can explore a multitude of Jewish practices. I have gone to Camp Ramah every summer possible and have worked as a counselor there for 2 years where I developed connections with kids and planned meaningful and fun programs surrounding Jewish values. Some things I am passionate about (and also majoring in) are politics, social justice, and art, and I love finding creative ways to intertwine my interests with Judaism. I am looking forward to learning with and getting to know 6th grade!

Yair Berzofsky (he/him)

Hi! I’m Yair Berzofsky and I’m so excited to join the TST community! Originally from Philadelphia, PA, I’m now a junior at Brandeis University studying film and journalism (watching movies is my homework, feel free to be jealous). Having gone to a pluralistic Hebrew elementary and middle school, I love how we can all come together under our Jewish identity and I’m excited to share that at Hineini. When I’m not at TST, you can find me doing my homework on Netflix. 


Jacob Paikoff (he/him)

Jacob is an engineer and entrepreneur who loves everything STEM and is passionate about creating learning environments that foster exploration and discovery and making things explode (in a safe, controlled way, of course). He previously was a counselor and the Robotics Instructor at the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy for four summers, and now teaches STEM programs throughout the Boston area. Jacob has also volunteered or many years with FIRST Robotics in Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and now here in Boston. He received his Bachelors’ in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and his Masters’ in Technical Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida.


Noah Simon (he/him)

Noah is a sophomore at Brandeis, and thrilled to be coming back as a T’filah Specialist for Hineini! When he’s not songleading for Hineini, he’s doing it for his fellow Brandeis students through the Brandeis Reform Chavurah (BaRuCh) or singing in the acapella group, Manginah, with Maddie Bagdade.

Rachmiel Klein (he/him)

Shalom horim v’talmidim (Hello parents and students)! My name is Rachmiel Klein, and I am so excited to facilitate the Hebrew learning process and songlead at TST. I am a PhD student studying mathematics at Brandeis University. I did my undergraduate at UCLA where I took two years of Hebrew, learning the rules of grammar, and the Israeli accent, alongside vocabulary. Hebrew is so rich with history, spirituality, and the grammar rules are nothing short of elegant. On the songleading side of things, I was NFTY head songleader for a year, lead services weekly throughout UCLA, have worked at Eden Village Camp as music director, and attended a music highschool where I studied chorus and classical guitar. In songleading settings, I happily go by “Rockstarr Rocky” (always two r’s).

Outside of TST you can find me going on endless adventures, playing music, and doing endless mathematics (what happens in infinite dimensional space?). My passion is living! As great Israeli poet Naomi Shemer said, “There is so much to build and so much to be, and my love is just beginning!” 


Rhonda Magier-Cohen (she/her)

I’m looking forward to teaching Grades 6 and 7 again this year. I have been a B’nai Mitzvah tutor at TST with Cantor Hollis since 2001. Although I taught Grades 3, 4 and 5 earlier in my 25-year career teaching religious school, I’m truly inspired by our 12 and 13 year olds. I live in Framingham with my wonderful husband David Cohen and our dog Bella. Our son is in medical school in Illinois and our daughter is in a PhD program in Ohio. My kids have not had an easy road on their journey to adulthood which has only made me more compassionate and aware of different learning styles and different family dynamics. 

Kim Lustig (she/her)

Hello!  I am so excited to join the TST Community this year! I have a Master’s Degree in Teaching, with an additional Certification in ELL and Jewish Studies programs!  I have worked in the public school as a Reading Specialist and ELL Teacher, and have taught Religious School and Hebrew for many years too! I am originally from Connecticut, and did my Bachelor’s Degree right here in Boston at Emerson College. Job opportunities and marriage brought me to Illinois and Washington State afterwards. But, when my husband Brian got an offer here in Massachusetts a little over a year ago, we were very excited to be able to come back east!  We live in Sudbury with our 10 year old daughter Leah, our dog Ocean, three guinea pigs, and four fish…  all of whom came with us on the plane from Seattle in a real “Noah’s Ark” adventure!  Teaching Hebrew is such a joy for me, and I am looking forward to building relationships with the students and the community at TST!

Tikva Eigen (she/her)

I am originally from Israel and have been teaching students about Judaism, Israel, Hebrew conversation and Hebrew reading for the past 40 years. I love learning and sharing what I know with students. I love teaching about Israel, and I hope that learning with me inspires students to want to see it for themselves. I also love teaching about Hebrew reading, and helping students to access the prayers they hear when attending services. 

What I love about sharing Jewish learning… is teaching students about inspiring sentences from the Torah and the wisdom of Jewish learning. The Talmud has a lot of wisdom to share with us, and I love passing that on to my students.  My goals in sharing Judaism with children… is for students to love being Jewish and feel a deep sense of community here.  When I am not at Shir Tikva I love to read, take walks in nature, and I teach students all over the metro Boston area! I have 4 beautiful grandchildren and I love playing and spending time with them. 

Carrie Fuchs (she/her)

Hi, My name is Carrie Fuchs. I initially worked for the Sudbury Valley Jewish Special Education Initiative at Shir Tikva and am now part of the Shir Tikva teaching staff. I currently work with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders teaching Hebrew. I have an MBA and a Masters of Special Education, working for Jewish organizations and day schools over the last 20 years. I am currently in private practice as a tutor and executive function coach to students K-college.  I find that students like breaking down words into their constituent parts (letters and vowels) and putting them together. It’s like working on a puzzle.  Once they have some facility with this, they feel proud when they can read multiple words, sentences, prayers and are abundantly curious as to the meaning of them. Additionally, It’s very cool for them to read from right to left. Reading and Hearing Hebrew connects them to the ancient language of their people, connects them to the liturgy and prepares them for the milestone of B’nei Mitzvah.