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Meet Our 2021–2022 Youth Education Staff

Rabbi Galit Cohen-Kedem, Visiting Rabbi Educator

Head of Religious School

Galit is a congregational Rabbi in Holon, Israel. She founded the congregation alongside a unique educational track of over 200 students aged 3–13. Rabbi Galit appreciates humor and creativity as spiritual tools to grow and change the world. 

Vicki Weiner, Pre K/K class

Vicki enjoyed doing K'tonton with her personal kids so much- that she signed up to teach so she could keep coming to Religious School.  She is looking forward to another year of exploring Judaism with our young Pre-K/K students.

Lexi Nicodemus, 1st grade

Lexi graduated in May from Sacramento State with a degree in political science and is currently attending UC Davis School of Law. Lexi has been a member of B'nai Israel since  5 years old.  She went to the religious school , did the madrichim program and this is my 5th year of teaching. 

Emma Simpson, 2nd grade

Emma’s greatest joy is empowering youth through musical education. Her teaching style combines student and process centered curriculum that encourages students to be exactly who they are.


Zevi Horwitz, 3rd grade and Hebrew School

When Zevi’s not teaching at CBI, he teaches  preschool and loves playing outside.  Zevi is really looking forward to a spectacular school year with all the students and families!

Sophia Oberst, 4th grade and Hebrew School

Sophia has been teaching at CBI as a Madricha for three years and is so exited to be a teacher!  Sophia is a senior at KCIA and the BISY Board President.  When she has free time, Sophia  enjoys spending time with her dog, skateboarding, and listening to new music.

Ari Steinberg, 5th grade 

Ari has been a member of our congregation for his entire life. He is one year out from finishing law school and excited to see what comes next.


Wendy Fischer, 6th grade co-teacher

Wendy has been teaching at Congregation B'nai Israel for 16 years and really enjoys it. She is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) for over 27 years.


Adar Cohen, 6th grade co-teacher

Adar is a Phd in Education from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is a visiting teacher from Israel and very passionate about politics & Jewish culture. 

Debbye Zanerhaft, 7th grade

Debbye began teaching at CBI in 2018 after her move to Sacramento from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Debbye has been involved in Jewish Education for more than 30 years and received Rabbinical Ordination in 2015.  She especially loves working with B’nai Mitzvah students and is very excited to be with the 7th graders this year!

Eco Kempner, Hebrew

Eco is a public school History and English teacher and has been with B’nai for the past five years as a Hebrew teacher. He loves baseball, learning, laughing, and all things made with sugar and is excited for this new year! 

Leslie Levitas Martin, Jewish Mindfulness specialist

Leslie has been teaching at CBI since 2018. Outside of Religious school she enjoys nature, art, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Jo Kasler (they/them), Librarian

Jo was the library Hadricha staff when they were in high school and they are honored to serve as the librarian now. In total, they have spent approximately 7 years working in the Sosnick Library. They spend their spare time volunteering, primarily with the Lavender Library, reading a wide variety of books, and spending time with their bearded dragon, Flash. 

Mon, October 18 2021 12 Cheshvan 5782