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Staff Biographies

Staff Biographies

erica_leventhal

Erica Leventhal began her newest role at Beth El on January 1, 2011 as the synagogue’s executive director. From 2008 to 2010, Erica held the position of program director. She helped to facilitate, plan, and execute congregational-wide programs and community-building events. Through this job, Erica worked with all of Beth El’s committees and affiliate groups, revamped Beth El’s calendaring system, and helped to streamline synagogue communication.

Since 2002, Erica was the director of youth activities. Erica led and expanded Beth El’s Youth Community by providing extra-curricular, social, and youth programming with a Jewish flare for children in grades K –12. She introduced a tag line for the Youth Community that could not be truer, “There is ALWAYS something happening!” Erica has taught in our Religious School and Community Hebrew High School, and was the assistant director of Beth El Day Camp for the last five years. Involved in so many different facets of Beth El, Erica already has a strong foundation from which to build and is enthusiastic for the work and challenges that lie ahead.

A United Synagogue Youth (USY) alumna, Erica has worked for the METNY Region in the capacity of Kadima coordinator and still returns to divisional and regional USY programs as a volunteer. Always looking for new and innovative ways to learn from and contribute to the Jewish Community, Erica has enjoyed participating in many professional development programs through the Jewish Education Project and UJA, including most recently being part of the Westchester Experiential Jewish Educators Seminar. In May 2010, Erica was recognized by The Jewish Education Project for her commitment to Jewish education and the Jewish future.

Erica graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy, and law. Erica has made her home in New Rochelle with her husband Josh and their sons. Josh is a registered nurse at Columbia Presbyterian’s Pediatric Emergency Room.

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Jen Vegh joined the Beth El team as the Religious School and Youth Activities Director in June 2011. In 2015, she became Director of Youth & Family Engagement, encompassing her previous roles, as well as her work with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Institute and family experiences. Jen is committed to working with staff, lay leadership, parents, and children to find unique and innovative ways to ignite passion for Jewish life and learning. Jen also serves as a guide community members through wonderful and challenging times in their lives.

Jen is a graduate of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where she received a master’s degree in Jewish Education, focusing on Synagogue Education. She also went to JTS for her undergraduate studies, as a student in List College, the joint program between JTS and Columbia University. Jen holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in Jewish music and one in sociology.

Jen has been active in United Synagogue Youth for many years. She is a proud alumnus of the Southwest Region of United Synagogue Youth (SWUSY), where, as a teen, she was on the Regional and International General Board. She served as a staff member and group leader for USY on Wheels and USY Eastern Europe Seminar and Israel Pilgrimage. Jen has taught in religious schools in Dallas and New York City and has worked professionally with such organizations as MyJewishLearning.com, the Jewish Education Project (formerly BJENY-SAJES), and the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA). She has connected Beth El with these organizations, as well as those with whom she has recently participated in Professional Development and Fellowship initiatives: Matan Kids, Facing History and Ourselves, the Jewish Education Project, and more.

ronnie_becher

Ronnie Goldberg Becher, has been Director of the Beth El Nursery School since September 2000. She also co-coordinates JLiFE, Jewish Living and Family Engagement, a monthly program designed to bring families with nursery school-age children together. Having served as the Education Director of Gananu Early Learning Center in New York from 1996 to 2000, Ronnie came to Beth El with a wealth of knowledge in teaching, administration, supervision, and program development.

Ronnie received her Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University, where she was awarded a fellowship for a reading and writing project. She was also the recipient of the prestigious Wexner Heritage Foundation Fellowship and has a long list of achievements and professional affiliations. She has served as the executive vice-president of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale since 1989 and is currently the President of JECA, the Jewish Early Childhood Association, a professional organization for Jewish early childhood directors in the larger metropolitan area.

julie_rockowitz

Julie Rockowitz has served as the Director of Beth El Day Camp since 1994. A dedicated member of the community with a passion for creating programs that command audience engagement for ages 2 to 102, Julie Rockowitz currently serves as the Director of Beth El Day Camp and Senior Programming Coordinator.

During Julie’s tenure, the camp was accredited by the American Camp Association. While maintaining outstanding swim, sports and arts programs, Julie also emphasizes programming designed to increase children’s self-esteem, and knowledge of Judaism and Israel. In addition to her day camp work, Julie also co-coordinates SMART, Senior Mature Adult Retired Together, a program designed to bring together the 55+ community for a myriad of cultural, educational, and social events.

Julie graduated from Brandeis University, which included a year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She further received a Bachelor’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Brookline, Massachusetts. Thereafter, she received a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University, and subsequently completed a Certificate in Jewish Family Education from the New York Board of Jewish Education and Fordham University.

In 1996, Julie was recognized with the prestigious United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Ernest L. Rothschild Leadership Award. She is a consultant to the American Camp Association for innovative early childhood programming and an advisor for Jewish Camp.

Sun, 23 April 2017 27 Nisan 5777