B’nei Mitzvah Policies, Budget, Personnel, Board Development, Fundraising, Planned Giving, Archives, Facilities & Grounds
Nina Peskin has served GJC’s community as Executive Director and Cantorial Soloist since November, 2010. She is grateful to be able to engage in so many aspects of our rich community life, from the administrative and leadership roles she plays, to the spiritual work of service leading. Nina co-leads our monthly Kol Zimrah service and participates in High Holiday service leading with Rabbi Zeff, as well as S’lichot services and other special performances and a recording with the GJC band, G’vanim. In addition to learning from the wonderful community members who make up our congregation, she derives deep fulfillment from collaborating with GJC’s talented and dedicated staff team. Nina lives in Mount Airy with her husband, Josh, their daughter Maya and their golden retriever, Manny.
Finance, HR, Budget, Collections, Membership billing
Gloria Geissler joined the staff of GJC as Finance Director in November 2004. She came with over 15 years of experience working with both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia area. She has worked with the law firms, a housing counseling agency, women’s rights organizations and for several related organizations based at Reading Terminal Market. She lives part time in Harleysville, but spends most of her time in Wellsboro, Pa where she pursues her hobbies of gardening and botanical art.
Registrations & Billings Questions, Book of Remembrance, Collections
Rebecca is delighted to join the office staff in the role of Development & Finance Assistant! She brings with her a can-do spirit and creative thinking skills. Rebecca earned her B.F.A. in Writing for Film & Television from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In the United Kingdom, she earned her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. She has previously worked for a financial planning firm and was a customer service liaison for a major retail chain. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys writing, reading, and running. Rebecca will be happy to help you with general GJC information, Memorial Book information and registrations and payments for GJC, ECP, High Holidays and adult education classes.
Scheduling with Rabbi Zeff (in-person meetings & phone calls), Shabbat & Holidays Service Leaders, Charry Service & High Holiday Honors, including aliyot & reading Torah, Questions about services, Membership Administration, Dues & Outreach
Natalie Lyalin moved to Philadelphia in 2007, after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Since arriving in Philadelphia, Natalie has taught freshman writing courses at Temple University, University of the Arts, and Philadelphia University. In 2013 she worked as a research consultant for Moving Traditions, an organization that promotes egalitarian values and challenges traditional gender roles in the teen Jewish community. Most recently, she worked in the Admission Office at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy. Natalie is the author of several books of poetry and the editor of a poetry press. She lives in Mt. Airy with her husband, Rabbi Joshua Bolton, their two sons, and three cats.
Membership Resignation, Member Database, Plaques & Building Signs, B’nei Mitzvah/Wedding Coordination, Ritual Item Loans, Room Rentals & Catering, Directory, Yahrzeit Notices, Tech Support & Fob Administration
Teena was born and raised in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. After receiving her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University in 2010, she took on the role of Addiction Specialist at a youth rehabilitation facility and later became a Program Director for The Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia. When Teena is not running after her 3 children Dai, Tori, and Tommi she enjoys reading, nature walks, and dancing. She is absolutely thrilled to join the Germantown Jewish Centre team, and always looks forward to meeting and helping as many members of the community as possible!
Synagogue Calendar, Programming & Publicity, Centre Call, GJC Weekly & Listserv, Adult Education Programming, Kiddush Sponsorship, Kashrut Policy, Room/Bldg Space requests (non-rental), Website & Social Media, Shabbat & Holidays Childcare
Kate is thrilled to have a home in the GJC mishpoche! With a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall in Theatre and Russian Literature, Kate appreciates being able to use her creativity to bring GJC’s inspiring programs to life and has discovered a love for graphic design throughout her time here. She started working for GJC in 2010 in the administrative department, and grew into her role of Program Director in 2015. She values positive energy and building relationships with the members in this amazing community, and strives to bring a high level of professionalism and warmth to every task. In her downtime, Kate can be found watching the dusk come in from her porch, reading, taking long walks with the music turned up, and laughing with her two boys, Cedar and Wyatt.
Early Childhood Program Director
Michelle Bernstein joined GJC as the Early Childhood Program Director in August 2018. Michelle has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Master of Education Degree in Children’s Literature from Arcadia University. She has been working in the field of Early Childhood since 1993, most currently serving as the Early Childhood Director for 11 years at Congregation Adath Jeshurun Preschool and Infant Center in Elkins Park. In addition to her full time work, Michelle teaches and prepares early childhood professionals for the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). Michelle has a strong music background, having played violin since the age of five and attending elementary, middle and high schools for the performing arts. Michelle enjoys running, cooking, and listening to music – especially The Beatles! Michelle resides in Elkins Park with her husband David, their children Seth and Gwendolyn, and their dog, Ringo.
Grounds & Facilities
Eric Word has been working at GJC since 1988 and values the relationships he has formed within the community since he first came to the Centre at age 5 and started working here at age 14. Needless to say, he knows the building inside and out. Eric was born in Germantown and has lived in Philadelphia his whole life. He enjoys sports, movies and learning new things. In his free time, Eric likes to relax and spend time with his son.
Ari Witkin is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where he is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Arireceived a BA with honors in both Religious and Peace Studies from Goucher College and also completed a Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Baltimore and worked with the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition to engage faith communities in addressing the city’s social justice issues. Ari has a passion for travel which was ignited when he spent six months living with the Abayudya Jewish community in Uganda, and developed a love for Jewish learning and environmental stewardship during the years he spent on the educational staff of the Pearlstone Center. At GJC Ari loves to teach Torah, daven in the morning minyan, and help our congregation think about how we build on more than 80 years of history as we continue to construct meaningful and vibrant Jewish life for our diverse community. He and his wife Liz Traison, who is perusing her master’s in nutrition and dietetics, live just around the corner from the Centre.
Jose Toro was born in Puerto Rico and has worked at GJC for the past 13 years. He is kind, dedicated, possesses an excellent work ethic, enjoys helping others, and deeply understands how important services and programming are to serving this community. Jose appreciates the camaraderie of the staff and the warmth of our community. Above all, Jose values his beautiful family, and prioritizes spending time with them, especially with his daughter, Kayla, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016.