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Grades 8-9 (Confirmation) – Jill Mitcham
“Shalom! I am a graduate of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and have been involved in Jewish Education for thirty years, serving for four years as the director of Congregation Beth Chaverim’s Religious School. I feel it’s very important we show our students that being Jewish is a way of life, but also a dynamic faith of many perspectives! I moved to Virginia Beach in 1974, raising my daughter as a single parent, and am blessed with two wonderful granddaughters.”
Grades 6-7 (Bar and Bat Mitzvah) – Rabbi Marc Kraus
Marc was raised in the suburbs of London as part of a close-knit family and studied for several years in Israel. He graduated summa cum laude from Oxford University with a degree in Hebrew Literature and was ordained a rabbi by the Ziegler School in Los Angeles. Marc has been teaching religious school and Camp Ramah for six years. He is passionate about making bar/bat mitzvah a fulfilling and meaningful experience.
“Growing up at Temple Emanuel, I learned to read Hebrew and lead Shabbat services from Rabbi Phillip Pincus. I was Bat Mitzvahed and married at Temple Emanuel. My husband Gary and I joined Temple Emanuel four years ago and have enjoyed becoming active members of this special community.I have a degree in music education from Indiana University and taught beginning and middle school orchestra in the Norfolk Public Schools for many years. I have taught religious school at Beth El in Norfolk for the last nine years and tutored bnei mitzvah students at Temple Emanuel for the last two years. Currently, I teach strings at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. I was selected as the Tidewater Jewish Educator of the Year in 2011 by the Jewish Education Council of the UJFT. I am an empty nester with three adult children, but have an adorable, ball crazy yellow lab named Rosie that keeps me busy. You might see us walking on the beach at the north end.”
Paula has taught religious school for twenty-seven years, including ten years as the principal of the Temple Emanuel Religious School. She has been recognized four times for her excellence and dedication as a teacher by the Jewish Education Council of the UJFT. She holds a masters’ degree in social work, her occupation for three decades, and runs the Temple Emanuel food pantry. Paula grew up in Norfolk where she also met her husband Ronnie. They have two grown-up children living in New York and Denver, and one grand-daughter.
Yafa works for the Virginia Beach public school system and has taught Jewish supplementary education for twenty-seven years. She’s renown as a veteran expert when it comes to teaching the Hebrew to young children. In her spare time she enjoys reading, knitting, and playing with her grandchildren.
Early Years – Elyssa Brinn
Elyssa is well-recognized face around the community. She has taught the Gan Gimel class (4 year olds) at the Strelitz Early Childhood Center for eight years and has now been teaching Kindergarten there for the past three years. Elyssa is renown for her skills in experiential education, bringing fun and meaning to her classroom as her young students take their first steps in learning about Judaism.