Cyndi Rand

Cyndi Rand is the founder and lead-educator of Bubbie’s Kitchen, a long-standing program at the Washington Heights Y. We are thrilled to bring it to your student here at Jewish Journeys. She works with all age groups from the youngest to the seniors teaching Jewish culture and leading Shabbat and holiday celebrations. Bubbie’s Kitchen is designed as an experiential global culinary curriculum that celebrated inclusiveness through Jewish cooking and eating traditions. Cyndi enjoys drama, art, public speaking, cooking, and making Jewish culture fun and exciting for all!

Deb Pollack

Deb Pollack is a Jewish educator and an aspiring social worker. She received her BA from Barnard College and an MA in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at JTS. In the Fall, Deb will be entering The Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. She has worked for Columbia/Barnard Hillel and Camp Ramah in the Berkshires and started teaching for Jewish Journeys last year. She is very excited to be teaching again this year! Deb enjoys cooking and loves all things pomegranate.

Dena Levie

Dena Levie has been a papercutting artist for over 25 years. Educated at the School for Visual Arts and Stern College, Dena has created almost 2,000 works of art. Her artwork has been featured at shows, galleries, museums, and in homes all over the world. Although Dena has taught workshops for years, this year she started teaching Zoom workshops and is loving it. Join her as she explores the art of papercutting and shows you how to make your own work of art! To see some of her artwork please visit

Ellen Alt

Ellen Alt has exhibited her mixed media artwork in the U.S., Israel, Germany, the former Soviet Union, China, and England. One of her pieces was presented to Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem on the occasion of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. Ellen received a BFA in art education from the Massachusetts College of Art and an M.A. in studio art from New York University. She is an instructor in the graduate education program at Brandeis University. In New York City, she is the artist-in-residence at the Park Avenue Synagogue and teaches mixed media art courses to adults at the 92nd Street Y. In addition, Ellen organizes community sculpture and mural projects in the Middle East, India, England, and throughout the United States. (

Gabriella Kula

Gabriella Kula is a freelance museum educator with a B.A. in Art History from The University of Michigan and MS.Ed in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education. She currently serves as an educator for school, family, adult, and access groups at The Noguchi Museum, The Jewish Museum, and Poster House. Prior to Covid19, Gabriella was the Director of Havurah, and so she’s especially excited to maintain her connection to our community as she teaches JJP students this fall.

Gil Levitan

Gil Levitan is a senior at the joint program with Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary studying political science and modern Jewish Studies. He is an avid Minecraft player and is excited to use the game as an educational tool. He is also the president of the Columbia chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society and sings Jewish a capella.

Jeremiah Kaplan

Jeremiah Kaplan is a research & training specialist at Arizona State University. He has over 20 years’ in business development, management, and education, and has been an educator in social services and mental health fields for five years. Active in the local Jewish community as an individual and family man, he is heavily involved at Temple Chai as a teacher for Temple Chai’s Religious School since 2012. He enjoys music, stories, and spending time with his family. Jeremiah’s primary hobby is collaborative storytelling or role-playing games, having over 20 years’ experience in facilitating these games with groups of all ages. At Jewish Journeys, he combines his passion for games and how they can positively affect change.

Max Beede

Max Beede is excited to be returning to the Jewish Journeys this year, teaching the course. Previously, he worked with JJP students in the B-Mitzvah program, taught JJP courses including exploring Jewish heroes, and created Jewish board games with his students. Max loves connecting learners to Judaism in creative ways. He also works with the  JCC’s Center for Special Needs throughout the year and teaches in the Park Avenue Synagogue Congregational School, and is a seasoned camp counselor at Camp Ramah in New England. Max enjoys reading, biking, playing board games, watching movies, and making new friends. He’s eager to share his enthusiasm with his students this year and looks forward to meeting them!

Sara Stave Beckerman

Sara Stave Beckerman is the coordinator of the Hebrew Home Page course for the Jewish Journeys. She is a teacher of TaNaKh and rabbinics and the rosh hinukh/ director of education at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. A curriculum expert and consultant, Sara is also the creative force behind the interactive full-color Jewish prayer curriculum Siddur Sababa. Sara holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies with a concentration in informal education from the Davidson School of Jewish Education at JTS. Sara loves teaching access skills to Hebrew and Jewish cultural literacy.

Talia Kaufman-Sand

Talia is a New York-based writer, teacher, and copywriter. She received her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School. This is her second year teaching at Jewish Journeys.

Yitzy Kasowitz

Yitzy Kasowitz has always loved playing with LEGOS since he was about two years old. Fast forward 40+ years, Yitzy has founded JBrick ( which creates and ships Jewish-themed LEGO building kits around the world. Yitzy has had the distinct privilege of working as a professional designer directly under a genuine Master LEGO Builder for five years. He currently inspires and educates others about our Jewish heritage using LEGO brick as his medium.