Leann Shamash, Education Director: Leann was born in Medford. She participated in the Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel after graduating from high school which helped form and nurture a lifelong commitment to Judaism and Israel. After returning from Israel, Leann returned to Massachusetts and studied at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she received a BS in Plant and Soil Science with a minor in Judaic Studies.
Leann taught kindergarten at the Merrimack Valley Hebrew Academy in Lowell for thirteen years, where she also taught music. Leann returned to school for her Master’s degree to Brandeis University, where she attended the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service, with a concentration in Jewish education. She was the Director of Education at Temple Sinai in Brookline for six years before becoming the Education Director in Acton. During summer vacations Leann has worked for ten years at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire where she happily directs the CIT play each summer. Leann is married to Hooshang and they have four children, Zohar, Eytan, Aviv and Orry.
Lila Kagedan, Founder and Founding Director of Sulam: Lila is a passionate educator and curriculum writer. She has lectured extensively and taught students of all ages in formal and non-formal settings. Lila holds degrees from the University of Toronto and Harvard University, as well as Yeshivat Maharat, and she has studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Shay Bar Nissim, Teacher: Shay recently arrived in Boston from Jerusalem with his wife and two children. Shay holds a B.A. in Business Management from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Originally working in the business sector, Shay has switched his focus to elementary school teaching. He has taught K-1 Hebrew at the Israeli Complimentary Schools in Brookline and Lexington, as well grade 4 at Torah Academy. Along with being a teacher at Sulam, Shay currently is a Grade 5 Hebrew teacher at Solomon Schechter and a Hebrew teacher at Temple Shir Tikvah in Wayland. He is a big supporter of children learning Jewish values, culture, and history in a fun and engaging way. His teaching philosophy integrates varied skills such as storytelling, singing, drama, and dance to explore Jewish life and Jewish experience. Furthermore, he believes in the importance of nurturing individual creativity among children, and his teaching methods are aimed to achieve that goal.
Adina Maayani, Teacher: Adina arrived in Brookline from Haifa with her husband and two children. Her first degree is in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technion. She has recently received both a second B.A. in Mathematics Education and a Teaching Certificate from the “Mabatim” program for Technion graduates. Adina’s teaching experience includes student teaching at the middle school and high school levels, and two years as a Hebrew-as-a-second language teacher for new immigrants (grades 1-6) for her military service. Adina believes that interpersonal interaction and enjoyment are an integral part of the learning process, and she enriches her lessons with age-appropriate interactive activities such as discussions, games, riddles, original short stories, and logic problems.
Mariana Toma, Sulam Chaperone.
Lindsey Blackman, Sulam Chaperone.
Marianna Drootin is a Director at the American Geriatrics Society. Growing up in New York City, she attended a Jewish day school and a non-religious, independent high school. Marianna greatly values Jewish education and hopes to instill a strong sense of Jewish identity and pride in her daughters.
Michael Goldstein is the Senior Director of Growth Initiatives at Year Up Boston, which takes urban young adults from poverty to a professional career in a year. He is an entrepreneur with a passion for education. He founded Providence Summerbridge, Youth Tech Entrepreneurs, and the Summerbridge/Breakthrough Alumni Network, and he served as executive director of City Year Rhode Island and development director of MetroWest Jewish Day School. As an inaugural CJP/PresenTense Fellow, he launched Hebrew Play, which inspires families to play in Hebrew with their young children. Michael was recognized in 2002 by the Boston Business Journal and in 2007 by the Providence Business News in their respective “40 Under 40” awards.
Alon Landa is a serial technologist having worked on different technologies from GPS satellites and the Hubble Space Telescope to medical devices that measure blood sugar without drawing blood. He spent his elementary years in Solomon Schechter Day School, continuing to public high school, an engineering degree and eventually an MBA. He’s equally happy working on cutting-edge technologies or spending Shabbat with his family disconnected from this fast-paced world. Having married someone of Muslim faith who converted to Judaism, Alon is keenly aware of how Judaism is perceived from the outside, and works hard to build a form of Judaism that is inclusive and understanding of other world views. Most recently, Alon completed a half marathon and has absolutely no intention to run a full marathon.
Hadassah Margolis is a clinical social worker and supervisor with expertise in facilitating groups, conducting individual therapy, and teaching MSW students and graduates. Over the past 14 years, Hadassah has worked on a wide range of issues, including spirituality and mental health, parenting education, and postpartum mental health concerns. Prior to joining Sulam’s board, she was on the board of Parents Helping Parents.
Nika Voskoboynik is a pediatric health care provider in Boston. Having grown up in the former USSR, she had a very limited exposure to Judaism and Hebrew. It was in college when she first began to study Hebrew and delve into Jewish tradition and culture. Now, as a mother of two kids, it is very important for her to raise well-rounded children who understand their Jewish heritage and engage with the world in a creative, constructive way with an emphasis on social justice. She views learning Hebrew as not only an important tool for Jewish learning, but also as a means to connect culturally with people of a shared heritage.
Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro is a professor of Political Science. As a child, Rebecca attended a Jewish day school and a public school. Raising an engaged Jewish family is an important part of her life. She and her husband and twins lived in New York, Providence, and Madrid before settling in Brookline. Now that they live in New England, they enjoy all types of winter sports and camping whenever the weather permits.
Emeritus Board Members:
Veronique Corrdin works professionally as a grants manager in Harvard Square. She previously worked in the Jewish community, planning informal Jewish educational programs. When not wrangling her almost 8-year-old, she enjoys entertaining, cooking, baking, and serving on the Sulam board. Her non-profit compliance and finance skills are helping Sulam attain 501c3 status. (She also enjoys the role of the parent that knows the least Hebrew!) She and her family especially look forward to the time they spend camping and going to the beach.
Will Corrdin is a seasoned Jewish communal professional currently employed at JF&CS. His previous roles included working for CJP, the Nesiya Institute, Temple Israel of Natick, and Camp Yavneh. He has served on the boards of Keshet and Prism (the New Center for Arts and Culture). In addition to serving on the board of Sulam, he is also a member of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts’ board of directors. Will cares deeply about the role Hebrew language can play in connecting Jews to the collective story of Jewish history. He helps Veronique with the wrangling of their son and serves as her professional taster. He enjoys hiking with their dog and the Boston sports scene.
Tamar Winter is a Pediatric Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She currently works as a healthcare provider in Boston. Tamar grew up going to orthodox Hebrew day schools and believes that knowing Hebrew builds a solid foundation for Jewish learning and connection. Sulam has allowed her child to enjoy the best of both educational worlds. Her child attends a neighborhood public school, and then enjoys Hebrew immersion at Sulam after school. It provides an ongoing connection to Judaism while being a part of the neighborhood. To balance life, Tamar enjoys exercising, cooking, and organizing.