Adina Barber
Volunteer Coordinator The Friendship Circle

Adina graduated high school from Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and then continued her education at Beit Chana Teachers Seminary in Israel. She moved back to Pittsburgh in August of 2013, to become Program Associate at The Friendship Circle and has become an invaluable part of the team ever since. Four years later, Adina is as enthusiastic about Friendship Circle as ever and feels fortunate to be part of such a special organization.

Alex Speck
Program Director Tree of Life/ Or L'Simcha

Alex has a rich history of growing and working in the Pittsburgh Jewish community. In addition to working with youth at several synagogues, he spent six years as the Athletic Director of the JCC and Program Director at EKC. Alex is pursuing a M.A. in Jewish Professional Studies. He is passionate about building strong Jewish community identity.

Andrea Schwalberg
Youth Director- Temple Ohav Shalom

Andrea Schwalberg is the OY Advisor and Youth Director at Temple Ohav Shalom. Andrea completed her Bachelor of Music Degree at Ohio University then completed her Master of Music at Duquesne. use a hyperlink. Andrea has traveled to Israel via NFTY Israel and Birthright. At Ohav Shalom, Andrea works as the Cantorial Soloist, Music Director, and Youth Director for four youth groups, the Yeladim, Chaverim, JOY, and OY.

Andrew Exler
BBYO Regional Director

Andrew was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he grew up in Fox Chapel and graduated Fox Chapel Area High School in 2009. Andrew was a regular at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh in many aspects including: basketball leagues, spending over 15 summers at Emma Kaufmann Camp or his time as a teen in KMR BBYO. Andrew graduated from Ohio University where he then went on to work for the Columbus Blue Jackets for a year before getting hired by BBYO as the Associate Regional Director for Cotton States Region in Nashville, Tennessee. After a year in Nashville, Andrew was named the Regional Director here in Pittsburgh and has loved every moment thus far!

Cantor Michal
Cantor Congregation B'nai Abraham

Cantor Michal’s passion and love for Judaism is obvious to all who meet her. Her love of Torah and its teachings is the cornerstone of both her personal and professional life. She received her Cantors’ Certification from the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College, in 2009. She is a proud member of the American Conference of Cantors. Prior to that, she was a Cantorial Soloist at Rodef Shalom and Tree of Life Congregations in Pittsburgh. She also served as the Music Teacher and Music Specialist at Rodef Shalom, and Hebrew School Teacher at Temple Ohav Shalom. For three years, Cantor Michal served as the High Holy Day cantor for U. S. soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Home of the Flying Eagles. She has trained as a chaplain , and completed a residency as staff chaplain at the Pittsburgh VA. Der vocoder macht dann daraus das, was man als sprechendes keyboard oder auch roboterstimme bezeichnen würde. Her husband, attorney Eric A. Schaffer, and her children Abigail, Ethan and Gregory Schaffer, are the greatest blessings in her life.  

Carolyn Gerecht
Director of Teen Learning and Experiences JCC PGH

Carolyn Gerecht is the Director of Teen Learning and Experiences at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, where she oversees J Line, HaZamir Pittsburgh, J-Serve and the Teen Leadership Council. Carolyn received her B.A. in Religious Studies with a Certificate in Jewish Studies and a minor in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed both the Pardes Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education and Yeshiva University Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education programs.. In addition to her work, Carolyn is passionate about yoga, running and books by Michael Chabon.

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Chaim Steinberg
Young Judea Pittsburgh City Coordinator

Chaim Steinberg is Pittsburgh’s Young Judaea City Coordinator. He constantly seeks to blend formal and informal education in an effort to create an environment where young people can ask questions, grow, and feel confident in their experience. In his free time, Chaim likes to read, roller skate, listen to podcasts, talk about the Constitution, and have Nerf gun battles with his two sons, Tobias (8) and Milo (6).

Chris Herman
Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator- JCC

Chris Herman has been the Coordinator for Pittsburgh Diller Teen Fellows at the JCC for three years. Chris studied Journalism at The Ohio State University and received his Master’s in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute. Lastly, he completed Yeshiva University’s Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education. Chris lives in the South Hills with his wife, Erin, and their two children, Riley and Asher.

Linda Joshowitz
B'nei Akiva

Linda is a retired physical therapist and mother of five. She grew up in Bnei Akiva, attended Bnei Akiva’s Camp Stone  and met her husband there while working as a counselor. Linda has been running Bnei Akiva on a voluntary basis for the last 8 years because she so strongly believes in the mission of Bnei Akiva. She is thrilled to be a part of a religious Zionist youth group that is dedicated to growing generations of Jewish leaders who are committed to building a society devoted to Torah and  the Jewish people in the state of Israel. Linda is proud to say that two  of Bnei Akiva’s past presidents have already made Aliyah, including her own daughter!

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Marc Hochhauser
Adat Shalom Youth Director

Marc was born and raised in Squirrel Hill, attending Taylor Allderdice for high school and Ohio University for college. In this new land, education will be every citizen’s most prized possession… He graduated in 2014 with a degree in Social Studies Education and a minor in contemporary Eastern Asian History. His lifelong goal is to teach full-time in Pittsburgh, while also continuing to work outside of school with kids from all over the city through youth organizations and summer camp programs.

Marissa Tait
THERSTY Senior Youth Group Advisor

Marissa comes to us from the east coast, New Jersey to be exact, and is proud to have been a member of NFTY-GER as a teenager.  She joined us here at Rodef Shalom in 2014 as our senior youth group adviser, and has since expanded her role to a 5th grade religious school teacher at JJEP as well.  Marissa also has dedicated her life to enriching and engaging the lives of Jewish children, and when she isn’t at Rodef Shalom, she spends her time as a preschool teacher at the Jewish Community Center in the South Hills.

Rabbi Ari Goldberg
Pittsburgh NCSY Director

Rabbi Ari Goldberg is the director of Pittsburgh NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth) and runs the Jewish Student Union in local public schools.  He has more than a decade of experience in Jewish informal/formal education and brings a unique blend of classic educational models and creative innovations to Jewish education. Under his leadership the Jewish Student Union was created to offer Jewish culture clubs in Allderdice, Upper Saint Clair, The Ellis School and Mount Lebanon.  He has expanded the reach of the local NCSY chapter to include programing for students in the South Hills and other Pittsburgh suburbs.

He has a M..B.A. from Robert Morris University and rabbinical ordination from the Jerusalem Kollel where he studied for 5 years before moving to Pittsburgh in 2006.  He is married to Rachel and together they have 4 children who keep them quite busy.  In his spare time Rabbi Goldberg loves to play and follow all sports especially his beloved Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs.

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Rabbi Ron Symons
Senior Director of Jewish Life- JCC

Rabbi Ron Symons loves cooking, biking, fixing things, the Pirates and Broadway Musicals among other stuff.  As Senior Director of Jewish Life of the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, he gets to live out his passions for Jewish living with people of all ages, especially teens.  Whether your Jewish passion inspires you to connect, lead, learn or repair, Ron is eager to help you live it out.

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Roz Knapp
Youth Advisor Temple Sinai

Roz, originally from Gibsonia, graduated in 2016 from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Social Work, while minoring in sociology. In addition to serving as our Youth Advisor, Roz works as a caseworker at the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. In high school, Roz was very involved with youth programs in Pittsburgh such as NFTY, BBYO, and Diller Teen Fellows. She is still active with Diller Teen Fellows and served as one of their staff members last year. Roz is very excited to meet everyone in the Temple Sinai community and to start working with the youth groups to make this upcoming year an amazing one!

Yael Eads
Director of Informal Jewish Life-Rodef Shalom

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Yael has been working with Jewish children for the past 17 years.  While a student at Point Park University earning her elementary education degree, she began teaching religious school and has continued to teach since then.  When teaching wasn’t quite enough, Yael began doing more informal education with younger children, eventually expanding this role to Director of Informal Jewish Life at Rodef Shalom Congregation today.  When Yael isn’t working with kids at Rodef Shalom, she is busy with two children of her own as well as her dog, Rocki and her cat, Epcot.

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