Rabbi Adam Zeff has served the Germantown Jewish Centre community since 2002, as Student Rabbi, Assistant Rabbi, and now as Rabbi. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007. In addition to his other responsibilities, Rabbi Zeff enjoys bringing music and storytelling into his rabbinic work at GJC, where he also serves as the hazzan and choir director. He has trained as a singer and musician for many years, studying western classical music, South Indian classical music, and diverse Jewish musical traditions. Rabbi Zeff holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Cheryl, a physician, live in Mt. Airy with their three sons, Zeke, Avi, and Mati.
Religious School, Teen Tuesdays & Confirmation Class, B’nei Mitzvah, Children’s Services & Holidays, Youth Activities, Library
Ben Rotenberg was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Energized by his experiences in Jewish day school, Camp Ramah of New England, and at the Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute, Ben committed himself to making Jewish learning exciting, meaningful and open to everyone. Ben taught Jewish studies in Grades 2 and 3 at the Perelman Jewish Day School in 2015 and 2016, and was the Director of Jewish Life & Learning at Camp Pembroke for five summers. Most recently, he was the Senior Educator and Middle School Coordinator at Har Zion Temple. He received B.A. from Hebrew College, and M.A. in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also received a Masters Fellowship in Israel Education from the iCenter in Chicago, IL. Ben is married to Juliet, and they live in Germantown.
Melanie (aka Morah Malka) is beginning her sixth year as a teacher in the GJC Religious School, following a long and varied career as a Jewish educator. This year, in addition to teaching the Bet/Gimel (2nd and 3rd grade) combination class, she is also teaching many of her former 3rd graders in the Teen Tuesday program.
Having traveled from place to place for many years, she came back to Philadelphia a few years ago, and returned to the congregation that was her second home for all of her childhood and adolescence. She is a proud graduate of the GJC Religious School and a special intensive program at Gratz College, and served as a Torah reader, B’nai Mitzvah tutor, madricha, and leader of Junior Congregation services – way back in the 1960’s! She holds a BA in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College and an MA in Education from American University. She has served as a teacher, Education Director, Head of Jewish Studies, and Head of School at a variety of congregational schools and Jewish Day Schools throughout the United States. She served as Conference Chair and member of the Board of Directors of CAJE ( Coalitions for Alternatives/Advancement of Jewish Education), and was the author of Jewish educational materials for Torah Aura Productions. She is eager to share her expertise and her love of Jewish learning with a new generation of students and their families.
Lee is a life-long Mt. Airy resident. He grew up and became bar mitzvah at GJC, and he and his family have now returned as members. In his day job he is an attorney for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, where he is a trial attorney and supervises the Southeast Regional Office for the Office of Chief Counsel.
Lee began teaching over 40 years ago (this is his tenth year teaching at GJC!). This year he will be teaching the 5th and 6th Grades and will also be part of the Teen Tuesdays (7-9th grade) program.
Ariel Silverman is very excited to return this fall for her fifth year as the Gan (kindergarten) teacher at the Germantown Jewish Centre Religious School. Before coming to GJC, she taught first grade at another congregation for five years, and worked in the classroom as a teen aide for six years. When she’s not in the classroom, she is a student working towards an education degree.
Noah Rubin-Blose is a first-year student at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He hails from Hillsborough, North Carolina, where he worked for years as a vegetarian chef and an interfaith community organizer for racial justice. For him, interfaith dialogue and organizing have been a way to affirm and deepen his own Jewish identity and practice — he is excited to bring this experience, along with his passion for experiential education, to the 10th grade Confirmation class.
Shalom it is a pleasure to be entering my 45th year as a Jewish Educator. How wonderful it is to be teaching the Dalet students at GJC. I have spent most of my professional career as a social worker/ and Hospice Rabbi as well as an informal educator, Youth Director. I hold 3 masters degrees, a Ph.D am a Rabbinic Pastor(Chaplain) as well as a Rabbi. I with the help from the children love to make classrooms sizzle with excitement, creativity and high energy. I have 2( grown children whom are married with 4( four) grandchildren. We have a family dog named Mugsy Jack, a beagle/pug. I am also married for 45 years. May we all grow in learning this year and enjoy the many accomplishments of our children. Best Regards, Rabbi Dr. Renae
Daniella Forstater is a music educator and Jewish songleader/prayer leader in the Greater Philadelphia area. In her experience, music has the ability to teach, heal, and inspire, and can be a powerful vehicle for connecting to our Jewishness…and humanness. She is thrilled to begin her fourth year as a member of the teaching team at Germantown Jewish Center and is eager to collaborate with students, families, and classroom teachers to make joyful noise!