Sara is an opera singer with a love of Jewish music and Jewish learning. She grew up in Los Angeles where she attended college at UCLA, and then moved to New York to get a Masters in Music from Mannes College, the New School for Music. Sara loves the Hebrew language and studied it for most of her upbringing in her Reform temple in LA. She is thrilled to be in New York where all of her passions can be blended together!
Grades 4/5 Monday
Gloria Aris is a native New Yorker and holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has been teaching at Temple Israel Religious School for more than fifteen years. Gloria is also the Pre-K Head Teacher at Kinneret Day School in Riverdale. She is married with four adult children. In her spare time Gloria enjoys travelling and exploring the arts.
Morah Mira has been part of the Temple Israel Religious School staff for many years. She started as an assistant teacher in Kindergarten and then was fortunate to become a lead teacher in first grade. She is thrilled to back in the classroom with our youngest learners again this year. Mira recently completed a Master’s program at Adelphi University, earning a degree in Early Child hood and Special Education. She is committed to teaching at Temple Israel and sharing her love of Judaism, Hebrew and the Jewish holidays with the students in her class.
Grade 2 Monday
Isabel Dickstein grew up in NYC and graduated from Hunter College in 2014. After being a member of Temple Israel for many years she joined the teaching staff in 2013. After several years as an assistant teacher, Isabel is very excited to take on this new role. She enjoys learning new things and spending time with her family and friends.
Grade 3 Monday & Grade 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Ally Glassman was born and raised in Bronxville, NY. She graduated from Connecticut College in 2007 with a B.A. in Human Development. After graduating, Ally worked as a preschool teacher in Scarsdale, NY, and she currently teaches in Kinneret Day School in Riverdale. This is her third year teaching in the Religious School, and she loves being a part of the Temple Israel community. Ally loves to knit, read, and spend time with her family.
Kindergarten Monday Assitant Teacher
Drew Little received his BFA from The Boston Conservatory in 2004. Shortly after graduating, he toured with the National Tour of CATS. While on tour he was able to teach dance to many children throughout the U.S. He has always loved teaching in any capacity, whether it's teaching children music and dance or any other curriculum. After living in NYC for 10 years, he was able to work in Administration at a dance school located in TriBeCa. Drew joined the team in our ECLC las year and started substitute teaching in the Religious School last spring. He is super excited to be a part of regular teaching staff this year.
Artist in Residence
Sheldon Low is one of the brightest young stars in Jewish rock music today performing rock concerts, 'Light Up Shabbat' services, seminars, and leading Artist-in-Residency weekends in Jewish communities throughout North America. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Sheldon is a third generation songleader who from an early age developed a strong Jewish identity attending Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Solomon Schechter Day School, Camp Ben Frankel, and USY. In high school, Sheldon was fortunate to meet and be mentored by national touring Jewish musician, Rick Recht. In 2005, Low graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and spent nine months working as an engineer before being signed to Jewish Rock Records in 2006. Since then, Sheldon has released four albums. His recordings have been featured in numerous compilations including NFTY Ruach 5775, and his two children's albums and recordings have been distributed by PJ Library to over 100,000 families around the world.
In 2012, Sheldon became the Artist in Residence at Temple Israel of the City of New York. In 2013, Sheldon started Hallelu Records, an independent Jewish record label based in New York City where he resides with his beautiful partner, Hadar Orshalimy.
Elana is a first time teacher at Temple Israel. She is teaching TiLearn 6th grade. She has recently moved to NYC and is very excited to be joining the Temple Israel community. When she is not engaged in Jewish studies, she is a licensed social worker and works at a high school in East Harlem. She received her MSW from Yeshiva University – Wurzweiler School of Social Work with a Jewish Communal Service certification. She enjoys working with families and engaging everyone in Jewish learning experiences. She has been involved in tutoring, teaching, and youth engagement for the past six years at various synagogues in Queens and Long Island. Her ultimate goal in Jewish education is for the children to develop a great love for Judaism that will continue to grow throughout the years.
Kari recently moved to NYC from Hollywood, Florida, and although she will definitely miss the beautiful weather, she is very excited to join the Temple Israel team. Kari has a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Florida and is currently enrolled in Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. Judaism has played a huge role in Kari’s life, and through her teaching at Temple Israel she is looking forward to further strengthening the Jewish community.
Shahar Peled was born and raised in Maccabim, Israel. He served three years as a combat soldier in the Israeli paratroopers brigade. Before his army service, Shahar was a semi-professional basketball player and quit in order to join the IDF. Prior to working at Temple Israel, he was a unit head at the URJ Crane Lake Camp, worked for Maccabi World Union, and the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games. He volunteered in the Europeans for Peace organization and led a special project between Birthright Israel and the Paratroopers Brigade. Shahar is passionate about representing Israel and believes in the strong bond between the Jewish people all over the world and the country of Israel. In his free time he loves to play basketball, go to the beach, and spend time with friends.
Grade 4 Wednesday/Sunday
Alissa Platcow is thrilled to be an official member of the Temple Israel team. Originally from Brookline, Mass., Alissa has always been incredibly active in the greater Jewish community. Working with Jewish non-profits on both local and national levels, she has directed national student retreats and engaged students from all different backgrounds in Jewish spirituality. Alissa also holds a degree in music and currently directs musical Shabbatot around the New York area. Her favorite color is purple and she loves to practice guitar, voice, and piano. When she is not teaching, Alissa also works at Temple Israel full-time as the Administrative Assistant for Membership & Administration.
Grade 2 Monday Assistant Teacher
Sarah is currently studying Theatre Directing and Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side. She spends her summer as the Program Director at Camp Young Judaea Midwest, and has been a member of the camp community for a decade. She loves theatre, Israel, and watching football. She loves educating Jewish children in unconventional, interactive, and creative ways. She is excited to spend another year at Temple Israel.
Laura is the Youth Director here at Temple Israel. A recent transplant from San Francisco, Laura was the Camp Director for a theatre arts camp for the past 2 years, and taught after school programs around the Bay Area. While growing up, she was the President of her Youth Group, and participated in many NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) functions, including studying abroad for a semester in Israel!
Religious School Assistant Director
Barry Shainker is thrilled to be part of the Temple Israel team as Religious School Assistant Director. A native of Westchester County, Barry grew up at Temple Israel of New Rochelle. After graduating from the University of Delaware, he was a youth advisor at congregations in both Long Island and Westchester before completed the Masters of Arts in Religious Education program at HUC-JIR, the Reform movement’s seminary. Most recently, Barry served as Religious School Principal at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River, NY.
Barry is also a newlywed, marrying Matthew Silverstein. Matthew is the Director of Public Affairs at America Works of New York, a company offering job placement services for underserved and at-risk communities. The couple honeymooned in Italy and the Greek Isles, a trip which Barry is always happy to speak about!
Rabbi Jim Stoloff
Grade 3 Tuesday & Grade 6 Monday/Wednesday
Rabbi Jim Stoloff graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Memphis in 2008 and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2013. Since ordination, he has served as Assistant Rabbi of Temple Israel of the City of New York. When he's not on the bimah, performing life cycle events, or leading Tot Shabbat with Sheldon Low (occasionally in a "Sammy Spider" costume), he can be found performing a wide and diverse array of professional responsibilities. In addition to leading Torah Study and teaching in our adult education programs, he also teaches in the Religious School, High School Academy, Early Childhood Learning Center, and spends two weeks every summer at the URJ's Eisner Camp on their rabbinical faculty.Deeply committed to the Israel-Diaspora relationship, Rabbi Stoloff helps coordinate our vibrant and diverse Israel connection opportunities. He is also involved with NYConnect, our group for 20s and 30s, and was a staff leader on their Birthright trip through Kesher. He is especially passionate about the concept of Tikun Olam as social action, heavily involved in Temple Israel's many initiatives and programming such as Mitzvah Day, Stop Hunger Now, and Project Ezra. He loves working at Temple Israel, and is honored to have started his rabbinical career as part of the TI family.An avid reader in his spare time, Jim also enjoys hiking, anything pertaining to his past life as a musician, and exploring his adopted hometown of New York City with friends.