The CBI Community Hebrew School is a collaborative effort. Here you can 'Meet the Team'.
Photo by Lew Becker
David marching with his family along with 400.000 others to bring attention to our changing climate. NYC. Sept 2014.
David Arfa, Maggid (Storyteller), is the Education Director for CBI. He has over 20 years experience teaching, performing stories and leading workshops.
David loves teaching kids and has taught in classrooms, nature centers, science museums. fields and forests. He has produced two storytelling CD’s, "The Birth of Love: Tales for the Days of Awe", and the Parents Choice Award winning collection of light-hearted stories, "The Life and Times of Herschel of Ostropol: The Greatest Prankster Ever To Live". His full-length storytelling performance, "The Jar of Tears: A Memorial for the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto" won the Charles Hildebrandt Holocaust Studies Award in honor of its artistic excellence, depth of vision and technical mastery.
David holds a MS degree in Environmental Education from Lesley College. His environmental workshops for adults provide a Jewish lens to view sustainability, share the contemporary relevance of Jewish mythology and mysticism, and explore the relationships between wonder, grief, hope and activism. David is also a part-time student in Clinical Pastoral Education.
A little known fact about David is that he’s a “Shretelech guide” (Yiddish for the magical little people). Kids spot the kindly Shretelech easily, however adults usually have less luck. At the very least, everyone enjoys the quiet pleasures of field and forest, a taste of Judaism’s ancient environmental wisdom, and a few good stories. David lives in the Berkshire foothills of Shelburne Falls, MA. His work can be found at www.maggiddavid.net
Jane Shiyah w/ Inkele
Jane Shiyah is our lead teacher for our Alef Tav Class and serves as master storyteller and activity leader in our Hand in Hand programs. Jane holds a Master’s Degree in psychology from Antioch New England. Jane has 45 years of experience working with children and their families.
Her love of teaching and learning is filled with storytelling, games and movement. Her love of Judaism and "doing God's work" inspires her to pass these values on to her students. Jane loves to turn stories into dramatic productions and share them with the whole school and our local nursing home.
Inquisitive Bernard assists Jane in the Aleph Tav class and goes by the nickname, Inky or for the CBI Community Hebrew School, Inkele. Inkele is a licensed therapy dog and has received extensive training. Inkele is re-certified every 2 years. He is exceptionally well behaved and has been working with children in schools for 8 years.
In addition, Inkele is also a certified READ dog, and underwent special training to support children learning to read. Inkele is already well beloved with the Alef Tav children, helping them learn their letters, providing cuddles during circle time and
calming children who might otherwise have to leave the group. His greatest satisfaction is
that he has brought happiness to many, many children through this work.
Heather Levy is our Ne'arim teacher and brings enthusiasm for integrating the arts in classroom learning. She is a long time volunteer with the CBI Community Hebrew School and has taught in many capacities including leading family education and assisting the Rabbi in past years.
R. Rachel Barenblat
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat will exclusively teach our Bnai Mitzvah class this year. Rabbi Rachel or Reb Rachel was ordained by ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal in January of 2011. She has been involved with Aleph, an international, trans-denominational movement to revitalize Judaism and Jewish practice, since 2002. She is currently the Co-President of Aleph.
She is a published poet and writer of the award-winning blog Velveteen Rabbi. She graduated from Williams College and holds an MFA from Bennington College. Most importantly, Reb Rachel is CBI's very own Rabbi! She has been involved with our community for many years and lives in Williamstown with her son (and Alef Tav Student) Drew.