Professional Staff

Rabbi

Samuel H. Weintraub
rabbi@kanestreet.org | 718-875-1550 x 2003
Members Call-in Hours: Tues 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM; Wed 11 AM – 1 PM

w1rabbinewphoto_small.jpgRabbi Weintraub serves as spiritual guide to over one thousand individuals within the Kane Street community and counsels people ages five to ninety-five. The Rabbi officiates at all life cycle events and generally provides educational and spiritual preparation before such passages as Bar/Bat Mitzvah and weddings. Since 1996 when he came to Kane Street, he has spearheaded several innovations, including a weekday/Shabbat Hebrew School curriculum, a “Synaplex” Shabbat series, the two-year Me’ah course on Jewish civilization with Hebrew College and a conversational Hebrew “Ulpan”.

The Rabbi teaches at many levels of learning. He visits our preschoolers and Hebrew School students. His adult education courses and workshops have covered topics ranging from “The Jewish Prophets” to “Jewish Sexual Ethics”. Passionate about aiding people’s entry into Jewish life, he has taught and sponsored over sixty converts to Judaism during his tenure at Kane Street. Each week he delivers a D’var Torah on Shabbat mornings that connects the Torah Portion to spiritual and ethical questions.

Tikkun Olam, the ethical repair of the world, is central to Rabbi Weintraub’s vision. He has led efforts to protest the genocide in Darfur, supported victims of terror and promoted dialogues among the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and African-American communities.

Apart from his congregational service, Rabbi Weintraub has served as a Hillel Director and organized outreach projects for intermarried couples. He is a graduate of Haverford College and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

 

Executive Director

Marla Cohen
mcohen@kanestreet.org | 718-875-1550 x 2001

Executive Director, Marla Cohen, who joined the synagogue staff in August, 2012, has more than 20 years’ experience in Jewish communal services. A third generation Jewish community builder, Marla has worked in multiple agencies including residential Jewish summer camps, JCC’s, Hillel, Federation and synagogues, and cites, “My richest education came from my parents dinner table.”

A graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, Marla holds a B.A. in Jewish History. In addition to her wealth of Jewish programming and community building knowledge, Marla provides significant organizational management skills. She and her husband Salvador Mandry are proud to join the KSS community. You may contact Marla directly at mcohen@kanestreet.org, or 718-875-1550 ext 102.

 

Director of Education & Family Programming

Rabbi Valerie Lieber
vlieber@kanestreet.org | 718-875-1550 x 2005

Rabbi Valerie Lieber oversees our Hebrew School, Shabbat and Holiday children’s services, Shabbat Club and Family Education programs. Valerie was selected for the position in the spring of 2008 because of her strengths as an educator and administrator. She has developed engaging Hebrew and Judaic curricula for grades K through 12 and led innovative family programs and services.

Rabbi Lieber received ordination at Hebrew Union College in 1995 and served as Rabbi-Educator at Temple Beth Ahavath Sholom in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for seven years. Since then she served as Rabbi of Temple Israel of Jamaica in Queens for six years where she led the congregation through the Experiment in Congregational Education Re-Imagine program, a national project. Valerie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College.

 

Preschool Director

Peggy Geller
Peggy@kanestreet.org | 347-429-7644 PHOTO-PGELLER-WEBSITE-072514
Peggy Geller joined Kane Street Kids as Director in September 2010, bringing with her over thirty years’ experience in early childhood education. Before coming to Kane Street, Peggy served for twelve years as Director of the Sephardic Community Center’s Playcare Center at Brooklyn College, where she oversaw a licensed preschool program for children ages two through five. She also directed the SCC’s summer, Sunday, and vacation programs, and wrote grants for and supervised their Universal Pre-K program. Prior to her time at the SCC, Peggy served as Teacher/Director at Manhattan’s 74th Street Magic preschool, and Director of Children’s Services as the Grand Street Settlement.

Peggy plays both piano and guitar, skills she brings into the classroom to share with students. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Art Education and Masters Degrees in Art History and Education, all from Hofstra University, with core education courses taken at Bank Street. She meets all City and State requirements necessary to lead our preschool.

 

Music Director

Judith Berkson
music@kanestreet.org | 718-875-1550 ext 2007

PHOTO-Judithberkson

Judith is a Cantor, composer, and multi-instrumentalist who has been active in Jewish music and Jewish education for 15 years. She served as Cantor of Congregation Beth El in Quincy, Massachusetts (1999-2001) and from 2001-2011 was the Assistant Cantor/Cantor for the Religious School at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation in Long Island.

Judith has worked with musicians including Theodore Bikel, Frank London of the Klezmatics, the Kronos Quartet, John Zorn, and Hankus Netsky. Inspired by traditional nusach, she has composed, recorded and taught melodies and chants to promote joy and communal participation in services. In 2010, she received a Six Points Fellowship from the Foundation for Jewish Culture to compose “The Vienna Rite,” an opera about the collaboration in 1828 between Vienna’s Chief Cantor Salomon Sulzer and Viennese composer Franz Schubert. Her music has been written about in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, TimeOut, Lilith Magazine, The Jewish Week andTablet.

Judith is also the daughter of a Cantor and has been singing sacred music since she was five years old. She has strong roots in the Conservative Movement, and she attended a Solomon Schechter Day School in Chicago and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin.

 

Executive Assistant

Janet Kallo
jkallo@kanestreet.org | 718-875-1550 x 2000

Janet Kallo joined our team in January 2013. She supports Rabbi Valerie Lieber, Peggy Geller and Marla Cohen. Janet works closely with our staff and volunteers providing administrative support. Members can call her to update their records, discuss their bill and make payments.

A graduate of Moscow External University of the Amenities with a BA in Business Management, Janet has 10 years of work experience as an administrative and bookkeeper assistantA graduate of Moscow External University of the Amenities with a BA in Business Management, Janet has 10 years of work experience as an administrative assistant and a bookkeeper assistant. Most recently she worked as an administrative assistant in the Physics Laboratory at Rockefeller University. As executive assistant at Kane Street Synagogue, Janet will work closely with our executive director and staff to put systems in place and provide strong administrative support to staff and volunteers.

“Having lived in Russia for the first 21 years of my life precluded me from practicing Judaism openly,” says Janet. “Even though I knew that my great-grandfather was a rabbi in a little shtetl in Ukraine, there was little left in my parents’ household to continue a tradition, except Jewish dishes prepared for holiday meals. Being able to work and  learn the meaning and significance of Jewish rites in depth makes me that more eager to join the team. Bringing back to my family the knowledge and traditions lost over the years will be a great honor. My daughters Michele, 11, and Sarah, 14 months, and my Husband Yan Kallo will join me on this exciting journey.”
 

Pre-school and Hebrew School & Family Program’s Administrative Assistant

Nari Gottlieb
nari@kanestreet.org | 347-429-7649
 

Welcome Desk and Security

Yres Guzman
Eric Felder

Mark Cerulli

718-875-1550 ext 2006

Building Staff

Daniel Baidoo
Nestor Restrepo

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