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     April 23rd, 2014 | 23rd of Nisan, 5774      
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Rabbi Jason Fruithandler
Rabbi David Wolpe

Parashat Kedoshim

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Sinai Temple - 10400 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90024 Phone (310) 474-1518 Fax (310) 474-6801

10400 Wilshire Blvd.   Los Angeles, CA. 90024   Phone (310) 481-3271   Fax (310) 943-5414




Meet Our Staff      
bullet Danielle Kassin bullet Rabbi Fruithandler bullet Julia Levine bullet Sara Capland
bullet Anat Gerber bullet Cantor Feldman bullet Cantor Miller bullet Aryell Cohen
bullet Dale Schatz bullet Elaine Seltzer bullet Galya Ferd bullet Diana Pakdaman
bullet Elham Kashanirokh bullet Samantha Loveman bullet Debbie Younesi bullet Lida Dayan
bullet Frida Eytan bullet Dina Dvir bullet Marcelle Kasheri bullet Sam Rotenberg
bullet Sarit Fried bullet Ziv Biton bullet Ruthi Kahn bullet Rebecca Schatz
bullet Mary Frank bullet Tirza Volkmer bullet Michelle Willner bullet Samantha Witman
bullet Lindsay Roller bullet David Helfand bullet Penina Alexander bullet Josh Yunis

Who is my Teacher in 17 Syllables?!
(17 syllables is what it takes to make the well-known Japanese poem called a Haiku! A Haiku has three lines. The first and last lines have 5 syllables, and the middle line has 7 syllables. How did we borrow a Japanese tradition and make it Jewish? Read on!...)

What is a haiku?
A way to express in short
What is important!

Even God thought so…
So we declare Oneness with
A famous haiku:

Shema Yisrael
Adonay Eloheinu,
Adonay Echad!

We asked our teachers
What was important to them?
Here is what they shared…

(s families and community members: After you read our Haikus, challenge yourself and/or your family to write your own fun, Jewish Haiku! Email it to us at stars@sinaitemple.org, and we will feature your Haiku in the starss weekly newsletter!)
Danielle Kassin Danielle Kassin - School Director

Jewish tradition!
Love Sinai community
Love to teach children

I feel blessed to have grown up in a family rich with Jewish tradition. My parents are both educators at heart and growing up, Judaism was always celebrated in our home. My parents passionately showed us their support of Israel. I have three siblings who all share a love of education.

My older sister has taught English in many countries and next year will be in Israel, teaching in Tel Aviv for two years. My brother is a Rabbi and lives in Israel. My youngest sister also made Aliyah and loves to teach Torah. I am the only one who stayed close to my second 'home', Sinai. All of my siblings went to school at Sinai but I have also taught in both the Religious School and the Day school. My husband and I met in the 4th grade at Sinai and now our kids go to school at Sinai!

It is a very special place to me and I feel blessed to be able to give back to a community that has given so much to my family and I.
I am looking forward to teaching and spending time with you and your children in an amazing 2013-2014 school year!


Rabbi Fruithandler

Sacred Liv'd Education

The twin gifts that I believe STRS gives our community are aspiration and inspiration. Aspiration is the specific Judaic content goals. I hope that families who go through our program leave having learned concrete, recallable, and impactful Jewish information, stories, and values. I also hope they leave with inspiration, which is the indefinable passion to learn more. Inspiration is the self-motivation to make Judaism a part of each individual's life in an individual way.

STRS treats each and every moment as a sacred opportunity to make meaningful connections. The Judaism we teach, preach, and experience is a Judaism that is translatable to everyday life. It is a Judaism that can be lived. Finally, we strive for the environment to be infused with education. Every interaction, every picture on the wall, every stair case is a teaching moment.

I am proud to be a part of a school that gives each family the tools to meet our aspirations, the passion to ignite their inspiration, and a holy place to practice this sacred lived education.


Julia Levine - Experiential Educator

Life is our classroom
Within Sinai and outside
Learning through doing

As Sinai Temple Religious School's Experiential Educator, I am constantly looking for ways to help our students connect with Judaism in their everyday lives.  One of my favorite moments last year was when one of my students told me that his football team has a play that he calls "the zayin" because it looks like the Hebrew letter.  This is such a great example of looking at the secular world through a Jewish lens, which is one of our goals as we encourage our students to become lifelong Jewish learners.

As I work on the curriculum and get to know the students through the year, everything I do Jewishly and otherwise becomes an opportunity to develop an educational experience.  I am always asking myself: How could I help our students participate in this custom?  What is an active way to help students understand that value?  What are students excited about that could authentically teach a Jewish lesson?

I look forward to continuing to ask (and come up with answers for) these questions with the 5th-7th Grades in the Na'aseh program as we have an exciting 2013-2014 school year ahead!

Sara Capland

Sara Capland - Office Manager

Life in the moment
Helping our starsS families
I love what I do!

As a working mom with three young children I love being busy.  I believe in living life in the moment and making every minute count. I think that we can change the world with little acts of love and kindness. 

As the point person in the Religious School office I get to meet and greet our families and  help our kids when they need something. The STARS office is always busy and everyday is interesting.  Join me on Sundays and Wednesdays for a quick schmooze, some reassurance, a chocolate from Danielle’s stash, an icepack for a bruised knee.  I’ll be here!   


Anat Gerber - Religious School/SiHi Coordinator

Art is life and love
Art is what makes us unite
Now and forever!

When I think of Art, I think of life and love. Art is a language. Art is what brings us all together. Growing up in Israel and living in the states for the past 13 years, I think of the world as a better place when creativity is all spread around be it with music, theatre, film, dancing or singing…

As the Religious School and SiHi Coordinator, teaching, mentoring and guiding children through the use of creativity is my mission, my life. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meeting you and getting to know you so I can share my creative passions with you!!!


Cantor Marcus Feldman

Chanting of Torah
Musical phrase and motifs
Art and tradition 

As a Cantor and educator, one of the things I always endeavor to impress upon my students is the sacredness that is inherent in learning the art of chanting from the Torah. When one is called to the Torah, it is not only to read the text, but to sing and chant using the musical phrases, motifs, and symbols of cantillation that are known as trope. Learning this art of cantillation is also a vehicle for the students to follow the commandments and continue a rich oral tradition that has been passed down to us through the generations. It is a sincere hope of mine that the students whom I work with will come away from our sessions together not only with knowledge, but with a deep and abiding love and appreciation of our rich tradition of sacred music. 

Galya Ferd

Cantor Miller - Trope Specialist

Torah Trope is Fun.
Sacred Symbols Imbue Life,
Meaning. Holy Words.

This will be my second year teaching prayer skills and Torah & Haftarah cantillation to students at our Sinai Temple Religious School. I value my role as a teacher, of course, but also see myself as a resource for the students as they begin thinking more concretely about preparing for their Bar & Bat Mitzvahs. There are many misconceptions that students can have about the process, and it may even seem quite mysterious and challenging. We'll work diligently together as a community of learners to develop the skills that will help prepare us for this important Jewish milestone in the life of the students and their families. I look forward to meeting the students and studying with them throughout the school year. 

Ari Cohen

Aryell Cohen- Trope Specialist

Children singing trope
Little voices rising up
Music to my ears!

While I love teaching our B'nai Mitzvah students during their individual lessons, I look forward to each Wednesday when I have the opportunity to go in to the classroom or Kohn Chapel and meet with one or more classes of our Religious School students.  Not that I could ever be like him, but it reminds me of the years when I was in Sinai Religious School, and Cantor Urstein used to come in to our classes and teach us some of the same melodies! I continue to teach the same trope and chanting that he taught me.  This is a true example of ‘from generation to generation,’ and gives me so much pleasure.

Dale Schatz

Dale Schatz - Music Specialist

What I want to learn
Is everything people
Know who are with God

I want as a teacher, to use music and song, to open hearts and minds to the possibilities of a relationship with God.

Elaine Seltzer

Elaine Seltzer - Specialist

I am an artist
To share, discover, and learn
Through Judaism.

 I have been a teacher and artist for about 40 years and have been fortunate to teach the subjects dearest to my heart: art and Judaism. Every phase in our life is a challenge, something to analyze and put in perspective. As a teacher I hope to guide my students to learn about their Jewish heritage and their future. I hope to both help them ask creative questions, and to challenge them to make sense of the world around them.

I am proud to wear many hats at Sinai. As a child of Holocaust survivors, I teach students about the Holocaust. With my art background, I teach an art elective. And with my love of leadership and Judaism, I facilitate the Student Council. I am looking forward to a great year of creativity and learning!

Galya Ferd

Galya Ferd - Specialist

I am a teacher
To read in Hebrew is great
I love my students

The most amazing part if my work is to watch the students learn to read a new language, Hebrew, and this is the language of the Torah and the people of Israel. I look forward to teaching our children this year so they will be able to share this knowledge with their children and future generations.

Diana Pakdaman

Diana Pakdaman - Kindergarten Teacher

The minds of children
Growing Jewishly each day
Teaching form the heart

I grew up in an Orthodox family and Jewish values were the core of my education and upbringing. I continue to practice these beautiful values to this day, however in a Conservative way, as it is true to my heart. I believe that when you teach from your heart- it will stay in the children’s hearts!

Elham Kashanirokh

Elham Kashanirokh - Kitah Alef Teacher (1st grade)

Learning with children 
Fun laughter fills the classroom 
That makes me Elham

My name is Elham. My passion in life (besides my family) is to teach and learn with the children at Sinai Temple Preschool and Religious School. I believe learning happens where children feel safe. Creating a safe space where students can grow holistically, while having fun experimenting, and learning about the Jewish culture are the core of my teaching. I look forward every year to starting this journey with my students.

Samantha Loveman

Samantha Loveman - Kitah Alef Teacher (1st grade)

Enjoy the present.
Three things I value the most:
Life, love, happiness. 

If there is one thing that I have learned by being a preschool and religious school teacher at Sinai Temple, it's the importance of being present in the moment. The classroom is a place where I feel free of distractions, in my element, and truly able to connect with students in meaningful ways. Children come to school ready to learn, play, and express themselves and I have immense pride in providing a safe, comfortable place for learning and self-expression to occur. My values have developed through my personal experiences, challenges, and successes as a Jewish person, and I hope to be a part of each student's journey in discovering their own set of values to live by. 

Debbi Yonesi

Debbi Younesi – Kitah Beit Teacher (2nd grade)

Celebrating Life
It’s fun with Morah Debbie
The Firecracker

I love to be with kids. I love to see the love for Judaism being instilled in their souls. My passion for Judaism is the fire cracker that sparkles and shines from within me and hopefully enlightens my students as well!

Lida Dayan

Lida Dayan - Kitah Gimel Teacher (3rd grade)

Teach Jewish values
Fills me with pure joy
It gives me courage

I was born and raised in Israel. I grew up in a cultural atmosphere where I celebrated all the Jewish holidays. I continue to celebrate Judaism in the States in order to feel connected to the Holy Land of Israel. I love the Hebrew language, and I am delighted to share my passion of Judaism with my students, so that they can feel the same deep connection to Judaism and Israel as I do.  

Frida Eytan

Frida Eytan - Kitah Gimel Teacher (3rd grade)

I am a teacher
I am a friendly person
I really love school

“Teachers who love teaching… teach children to love learning”
My goal as a teacher is to encourage children to love learning Torah, Judaism and Hebrew. Through experiences that are challenging, fun, loving and positive, the children learn and interact through a variety of activities, and find the joy in meaningful learning. I look forward to a year of tremendous growth & learning.

Dina Dvir

Dina Dvir - Kitah Dalet Teacher (4th grade)

My name is Dina
Israel is my Medina
Teaching with passion

Wherever I go my steps will follow my roots. The poet Shaul Tshernihovski wrote:
“האדם אינו אלא תבנית נוף מולדתו". In English that translates to, “The man is only a mold of his homeland and childhood”. I guess we all are. Let’s continue to explore the mold of our lively Jewish culture together.

Marcelle Kasheri

Marcelle Kasheri - Kitah Dalet Teacher (4th grade)

Torah is life long
I am proud to be a Jew
Am Yisrael Chai

The children are the ones who make me proud to be a Jew. There is a Midrash that explains that only when the Jewish people offered their children as guarantors, promising that the children would study Torah and safeguard it for generations, God agreed to give Israel the Torah. When a child is taught Torah from an early age, he/she acquires a taste for it, a love of study that accompanies him/her throughout his/her life. He/she will study Torah in adulthood, and in turn pass it on to his own children.

It is said that the Torah is a ‘tree of life to those who take hold of it’. Born in Iran, growing up in Israel, I have been teaching at Sinai Akiba Academy and Sinai Temple for many years while raising my family of 3 children. This is the same love that I bring to my classroom: The love of Torah, Am Yisrael and future generations. Thank you for trusting me with your children’s education. Together we will explore the spiritual wisdom and knowledge given to us by God, learn our past and build a future based on our traditions and Mitzvot.


Sam Rotenberg - Kitah Hey Teacher (5th grade)

Teachers teach students
Students also teach teachers
It is that simple

It is true that a lot of learning happens in a classroom. This is why it is one of my favorite places to be. Every year I enjoy seeing my students grow in their Hebrew skills and Judaic knowledge, and I learn from them about how much a student can accomplish.  I grew up in South Florida, and moved out to LA this year to start Rabbinical School at the American Jewish University. Music is a passion of mine, so if you end up in my classroom, be prepared to sing! Really. It’s good for you.

Sarit Fried

Sarit Fried - Kitah Vav Teacher (6th grade)

Working at Sinai
It is my favorite place
I love my students

After seventeen years of teaching at Sinai, I can honestly say I look forward to each and every day as if it were my first day on the job. The warm, inviting and positive atmosphere our faculty and students provide inspires me over and over again to put my best foot forward and to give it my all. Knowing that I am a part of such an outstanding team of people, from the teachers to the administration, all working together to make a difference in the lives of our future generations is both uplifting and beyond rewarding. I try and bring some of my own personal life experiences into the classroom to motivate my students to have the same spark of love and connection to Judaism. I look forward to another great year of inspiring my students and at the same time to have the opportunity to be inspired. Thank you Sinai!

Ziv Biton

Ziv Biton - Na’aseh Teacher

Timeless Tradition
A four thousand year mission
Torch in Transition

 I consider my position at Sinai Temple Religious School to be an integral part in continuing our great people’s role in history. I believe that the wisdom and ethics of our people are to be celebrated and passed on as transparently as possible. Without an adequate discussion or representation of what it is to Do Jewish, as well as to Be Jewish, we cannot hope to pass our traditions L’Dor V'Dor. With this in mind I look forward to another spectacular year of transmitting learning and growth with the stellar students of Sinai Temple Religious School.

Ruthi Amber

Ruthi Kahn - Na’aseh Teacher

Inspire others
Through love and Judaism
Happy to teach here

Values and traditions are so important to me, especially those passed down from generation to generation. Since my life revokes around Judaism, I feel like a good source to share these values and traditions with the kids. I believe it is most important to live as an example!

Rebecca Schatz

Rebecca Schatz - Na’aseh Teacher

Teaching me to learn
Singing, laughing, speaking Truth
If not now, then when?

As a teacher, I come into each situation ready to learn, not ready to expound on my own knowledge. I look forward to having the students teach me and expose me to new information and ways of seeing, what to me, is old information. As a Rabbinical student, I find myself constantly teaching from text or through the lens of some text that has been taught to me with a message that I want to continue sending out to the world. I find myself living in the moment, learning for today and for the future, but not for yesterday, so I want to continue reminding myself that I should be for me and if I do not go after my dreams and live in the moment, when will I do that? I hope to continue allowing my students to be enlightened by this same line in Pirkei Avot and see their lives through the lens of their teachers and the texts that have come before them.

Mary Frank

Mary Frank- GAN TA (Kintergarden TA)

Children our future
Teaching is joyful music
We teach they prosper

One of the most important and valuable lessons that my mother taught me was that in order to be successful in life it is important to have an education. It is our job to ensure that our children are learning Jewishly and are able to reach their fullest potential and grow in this world. Just like we must water plants for them to grow, so too we must educate our children in a loving manner in order for them to prosper in life.

Tirza Volkmer


Land of Yisrael
Understanding who we are
Through Zionism

I was fortunate to be born and raised in Israel with my brothers and sisters. Israel is the heart, soul and essence of our family. Through our parents actions and ways they imparted upon us a true love of the land, and this helped us understand who we really are. My husband and I continue to instill this into our son and I hope to share this Zionism with my students as well. For generations and generations, we the Jewish people, have had a connection to the land as the land tells the story of thousands of years of our history. We continue to fight today to stand up for what is our heritage and the eternal home of the Jewish people. The responsibility of maintaining the Jewish State of Israel is the responsibility of all Jews. Not only is it our responsibility but it is our delight, as it is a land rich with landscapes of mountains, seas, snow and deserts. It is a land miraculously cultivated to farm, grow and sustain its people. I aim to bring my students this love of Israel, a love of Hashem, and a love of the Torah.

Michelle Green Willner

Dr. Michelle Green Willner- Sinai Youth Choir Director

A song of praises,
A song to uplift and stir
Our love of Torah

It is uplifting for me, as a choral conductor, to teach children to love G-d and Torah through music. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity. Needless to say, I can’t wait to connect with Sinai’s children through music—both of my own creation and through the great Jewish musical catalogue. So come along—the joy of singing is really infectious!


Samantha Witman- Na’aseh Teacher

Passion for teaching
Connecting with my students
Mother and teacher

My name is Samantha and I am very excited to be teaching at Sinai. This will be my eighth year as a Sinai teacher. I have a passion for teaching and love the relationship I share with my students. I feel I learn as much from them as they learn from me, and believe it is a relationship of reciprocity. I have a Masters in Middle Eastern History as well as a Masters in Jewish Education. I lived in Israel for four years as well as spending lots of time in Lebanon teaching peace and conflict resolution. I have spent the past few years being a mother to my daughter Emmanuelle, and just recently had another little girl named Juliette. I find being a mother incredibly rewarding but I still have a thirst for the classroom. I can’t wait to return and meet my new students.

Lindsay Roller

Lindsay Roller- Kitah Hey Teacher (5th grade)

Excited to teach
Considering the divine
Learning together

This will be my first year teaching at Sinai Temple Religious School and I am looking forward to meeting my students, and teaching and learning from them as we explore Judaism’s influence on our daily lives. It’s an amazing tradition, and when we incorporate it into even the small things we do, we learn to live Jewish lives.

David Helfand

David Helfand- Kitah Vav Teacher (6th grade)

Love being Jewish
I want to teach my students
Let’s get connected!

Growing up in the Midwest, Jewish education was a huge part of my life. Having gone through private Jewish day school education for 13 years and living in a warm and welcoming Jewish community, I knew that it would one day be my turn to give back. With a love for teaching and learning, every person can find their connection to Judaism. To quote my favorite passage from the Talmud, “I have learned much from my teachers, and from my colleagues more than from my teachers, but from my students more than from all.” I can’t wait to learn from you all this year.


Rabbi Penina Alexander

Rabbi Penina Alexander- Kitah Zayin Teacher (7th grade)

What is our Torah?
Life lessons, black fire on white
Loving your neighbor.

I went to rabbinical school out of a desire to learn and live Judaism deeply as well as broadly. Since ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2009, I have worked hard to show my students that we have the opportunity to live and breathe Torah through every interaction we have with another human being and that every physical act can be made a holy and spiritual one as well. I am very excited to learn with the students at Sinai and help them discover the Torah in the world around them and the Torah that lives within their hearts. I believe that it is our job as Bnai Yisrael, children of Israel, to wrestle with our tradition, asking difficult questions that lead to more and more difficult ones in order to find meaning. It is that curiosity and questioning that is at the heart of our studies this year. I look forward to a challenging and inspiring year ahead!

Josh Yunis

Josh Yunis- Kitah Zayin Teacher (7th grade)

Torah, Yisrael
Movies also. Much to learn
Sinai is the place

After living in New York for 24 years, I arrived in California to pursue a masters degree in film and television production at UCLA. I was raised in a modern Orthodox family, attended Jewish day school, and spent a year studying in yeshiva in Israel. My year in Israel illuminated me not only to the wonder of the Jewish homeland, but also to the myriad ways of living as a strongly identified Jewish individual.

As a religious school teacher, I’ve always found I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. I hope to impart a commitment to Judaism not just in the classroom or in the synagogue, but also at home, where the Jewish experience is just as important. And I hope to share this commitment with my students not only through dialogue and conversation, but also through the arts. Students can best develop a Jewish identity in many different ways--and I hope my passion for filmmaking will be another avenue for students to explore their Judaism. I can’t wait to teach--and be taught--by everyone in the Sinai community.

torah This Week's Torah Portion: Parashat Kedoshim
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Sinai Temple is a partnership between its clergy, staff, lay leaders and devoted members who are committed to supporting the tradition and vision of Sinai Temple. Your gift to Sinai Temple will enable us to continue these holy tasks for years to come. Thank you for helping us to bring our history, our beliefs and our promise to a new generation.
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