Yachad Faculty

Yachad’s faculty includes a variety of unique professionals in the Twin Cities including college professors, local clergy, and Jewish and secular educational professionals.

Take a look at our amazing Yachad faculty!

Faculty (edited) 8-31-16



Etta Bernstein (HaZamir Choir) has degrees in Hebrew, Jewish Studies, Music and Education (K-12). She has worked for Talmud Torah for eight years. Prior to coming to Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, Etta taught in both public and Jewish day school settings. For the past two years, Etta has also worked as HaZamir Coordinator, a position that includes teaching and non-teaching responsibilities, including musical and non-musical tasks. Etta currently sings in Jewish choirs, synagogue and community, as well as in an auditioned secular chorale, Singers in Accord. She stays current on the expectations of National HaZamir through yearly attendance at the North American Jewish Choral Festival.

Julie BurtonJulie Burton (Creative Writing) is an experienced writer, author, and speaker. Her recently published book The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Julie earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, is the former editor of Momtalk magazine, and writes for many local and national websites, blogs and publications. Julie is the co-founder of the Twin Cities Writing Studio, and teaches writing and wellness workshops. Julie lives in Minnetonka with her husband and four children.

jodi danovsky smallJodi Danovsky (Support Services) joins Yachad as the Manager of Support Services for our teens. She has a degree in K-12 special education and inclusion services from the University of Minnesota and ran the inclusion program at Mount Zion Temple.  During the day, Jodi is a kindergarten general studies teacher at the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School. She previously taught at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul in multi-age classrooms. While Jodi enjoys working with kindergarten students during the day, she has a passion for working with teens, as well. Jodi brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Yachad in this new role.  She will assist teens of all levels and abilities with social, academic and interpersonal skills.

20160902_113046Ruth Hornstein, Psy.D. (Witness Theater) is thrilled to join the Yachad faculty this year as Program Director for Witness Theater. Ruth brings her personal history as a Child of Holocaust Survivors listening to her parents share their stories and her experience as a Mental Health professional helping people to express their feelings and live more healthy lives. She can think of no better way to combine her passions, experience and skills working with young people and survivors together. Ruth looks forward to meeting program participants and getting started! When she is not working as a Clinical Psychologist, she enjoys spending time with her family… her husband  and  two boys… a sophomore in college and the other who is about to begin a Gap year in Jerusalem. Ruth loves escaping to her cabin in the Boundary Waters and playing with her dog Bandit.

20160902_113530Tamy Kaiyalethe (Hebrew for College Credit) holds a degree in Education & Religious Studies from the University of Minnesota. She was the Librarian in charge of the Hebrew collection of the Middle East Library at the University of Minnesota from 1969 to 1987. She developed curriculum and taught Hebrew and Judaic studies at Temple Israel for 13 years. In the past 15 years she has been teaching at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, Hebrew, Bible, Prayers and Jewish History. She has been teaching College in the school for the past 9 years.

Liz Kaplan

Chef Liz Kaplan went to culinary school in Vancouver, Canada, then shortly after went to cook in Italy for three years. Before coming to Heilicher, she was the Executive Sous Chef at Lucia’s in Uptown Minneapolis for four years. She lives in South Minneapolis with her husband who is also a Chef and their one year old daughter. She spends her free time in the backyard with her family tending to the vegetable garden and raising chickens.

20160902_114043Missy (Tamar) Lavintman (Hebrew for College Credit) has been a teacher at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis since 1975 and is looking forward to returning to Yachad this year. She has a Master’s degree in Education, a Bachelor’s degree in Hebrew Education with a minor in Creative Drama and holds a Minnesota teacher’s license. Hebrew is her passion; she has taught it at various schools and colleges. She continues as an instructor in the College in the School (CIS) Hebrew Program which she has done for many years. She received the Vivian Mann Educator of the Year Award and the Grinspoon-Steinhardt National Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She also works for Weight Watchers as a Leader and a Coach. Baubie Missy and Grandpa Joel enjoy playing with their adorable grandson.

20160902_114831Yaakov Levi (Hebrew for College Credit) is Professor of Hebrew and Biblical Studies. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Haifa and his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg (magna cum laude). For many years he served as the director of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Haifa and taught at the University of Haifa, the University of Heidelberg, Carleton College, and the University of Minnesota, and currently also teaching at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

Gail RosenblumGail Rosenblum (Journalism) is THRILLED to be returning to Yachad to teach opinion writing to a new crop of deep-thinkers! Gail is lifestyle columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and author of “A Hundred Lives Since Then: Essays on Motherhood, Mortality, Marriage and More,” Before coming to the Star Tribune, Gail worked for 20-plus years as a reporter, editor and essayist for many newspapers and national magazines, focusing on family issues and women’s health. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. Gail is the mother of three children and the bonus mom of three others.

Heidi Schneider (Israel Leadership Fellows – ILF) has been teaching about Israel for nearly a decade as a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council Speakers Bureau, sharing her love for the Jewish state with adult and high school students throughout Minnesota. Heidi has a Master’s Degree in Education from Columbia University and is also an adjunct instructor in legal writing and advocacy at the University of Minnesota Law School. This is Heidi’s second year teaching in the Israel Leadership Fellows program, and she has also served as a mentor in the program.

RASL Head ShotRabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein (Views of the News) is a father, rabbi, teacher, marathoner, Grateful Dead fan, Sci Fi aficionado and founding director of By The Rivers: A Multi-Faith Life Cycle and Learning Center.  He was born in South Africa and raised in Minneapolis.  He is Rabbi in Residence at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and a staff member at Hineni: A Center for Adult Jewish Learning and Contemplative Practices, and a member of the Interfaith Family Network. He also works as a Genius at the Apple Store, repairing relationships and devices.  He is very excited to join Yachad and looks forward to asking challenging questions and having demanding conversations.

Zohari Zahava Stein (Hebrew for College Credit) is a Hebrew Language and Literature teacher. Zahava grew up and was educated in Israel. After her army service in Israel’s Armored Corps and college, she taught 11th and 12th grade World Literature and Hebrew Composition in Israeli schools, preparing them for the Bagrut external examinations. She was the coordinator of the Literature and Composition program at the Galili High School in Kfar Saba. She has taught adult Olim in Ulpan Gordon in Tel-Aviv and has also taught Hebrew to US high school students in the Prozdor program at Hebrew College near Boston. Since 2000, Zahava has lived in Minnesota, teaching CIS, IB and regular Hebrew classes in both Talmud Torah and the St. Louis Park High School. She is also a remote examiner of Hebrew for an international education organization, and a Hebrew curriculum developer. In her free time Zahava enjoys yoga, reading and walking in parks.


Additional Staff include (photos and bios coming soon…):

  • Cantor Audrey Abrams (HaZamir Choir)
  • Todd Bruse  (Witness Theater)
  • Rabbi Jill Crimmings (Bet Shalom Confirmation)
  • Wendy Goldberg (The Artists’ Studio, Seeds of Justice, J-Serve)
  • Allie Greenstein (So you want to be a camp counselor?)
  • Rabbi Jennifer Hartman (Temple Israel Confirmation)
  • Risa Kessler (Cook It!)
  • Abby Kirshbaum (Temple Israel Confirmation)
  • Elena Levitt (Jewish Law / Moot Beit Din)
  • Rabbi David Locketz (Bet Shalom Confirmation)
  • Rabbi Avi Olitzky (Beth El Confirmation)
  • Rabbi Aaron Weininger (Adath Jeshurun Confirmation)


2015-08-23 22.35.26