Hebrew School Teachers 2018 - 2019

Mechina - Me'ira Pitkapaasi 

Me’ira Pitkapaasi holds a Master’s in Education and PA teacher's certification. She has completed additional college and graduate degrees in Mathematics, Hebrew Liturgy, and Special Education.  Me’ira has 35 years teaching experience. She has served as a Mommy and Me music and art teacher; K-6th grade Hebrew and Jewish studies teacher; preK-12th math and special education teacher; children’s choir director to name but a few. Me’ira has been an active member of the BI community for close to 20 years. Recently she has worked with our Tot Shabbat team.


Alef Bet - Orah Cohen

Orah is from Atlanta, GA, where she attended Torah Day School and Atlanta Jewish Academy. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English and Education at Swarthmore College.

Orah has previously worked in Jewish Kids Groups, an Atlanta Hebrew School, as a rotating teacher. She has also worked at In The City Camp (a non-denominational Jewish camp) for two summers as a head counselor. Since moving to Swarthmore, PA, she has continued working with children by tutoring and working as a Home Health Aide for Open Hearts Home Care.

Orah is passionate about creating a welcoming, inclusive environment where students will build lifelong Jewish connections.

Gimmel Dalet Hay - Gabrielle Rubinstein 

Gabrielle Rubinstein is a 20 years old and junior at Swarthmore College. Her major is in sociology and minor is in cognitive science. She is very interested in social justice, politics, and how people interact with themselves and with others. Over the summer she was an assistant to a professor researching political involvement among low-income Pennsylvanians, and she plan to continue that work going forward. Outside of class she does improv comedy and stand-up comedy.

Gabrielle is originally from New Jersey and grew up going to Congregation Kehilat Shalom, her local reconstructionist synagogue. She super passionate about Jewish life and education. As a high school student she was a teaching assistant in her former Hebrew School, and in the summer of 2017 she was a camp counselor at Camp Havaya (formerly JRF, affiliated with the reconstructionist movement). Currently, she enjoys helping the Jewish group on Swarthmore’s campus, Kehilah, with events around the holidays and really excited to be getting involved with Beth Israel’s Hebrew School.

Vav- Zayn - Michael Thorner 

Mike is excited for his first year teaching in Beth Israel’s Hebrew School.  Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs he was active in his congregation’s youth group and Hebrew school he’s also a Camp Harlam alum.  During Mike’s summer trip with Harlam to Israel Mike fell in love with the country, and after graduating high school he made Ali’ah.  Over his 10 years in Israel he lived on a couple Kibbutzim, served in the IDF, studied a degree in business administration, and traveled as much as he could.  Since returning to the Philly area Mike has been teaching and substitute teaching for several local congregations.   

Education Director - Adva Chattler

Adva was born and raised in Beer-Sheva, in the southern region of Israel.  After high school,  she spent the next 2 years serving in the Israeli Air Force in Intelligence, as a commander for much of my service. After my army service she studied Public Administration and Management and then continued for a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and Management at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, in which she graduated with honors. 

During her Masters, Adva choose to write a thesis about educator’s approaches to Peace Education in Israel which was published in Hebrew. Currently, she is working on having the work of her colleague, about Arab teachers, and her work about Jewish teachers published in English, hopefully worldwide. 

Since moving to the states with her husband and their dog, she had volunteered in the Wynnwood JCC and has been working there as an assistant teacher in the toddler class.  As a substitute teacher here at Beth Israel, she fell in love with the synagogue, school and the beautiful community that it holds!