BZBI, where you learn

Meet Our Team

Merissa Eve Richmond 
Bonim (Pre-K)

My name is Merissa Eve Richmond, and I have been a teacher for over 20 years. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Special Education, and I hold PA State Certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education. I have been working at BZBI since 2014 as the Lead Teacher of the Pre-K program, and since 2015 as the Lead Teacher of the Hebrew School Bonim class. My passion for art and nature is manifested in my teaching and classroom environment. I provide children with opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning. It is my goal to provide the support and encouragement needed for my students to be confident, to be themselves and always do their best. I truly love being part of the BZBI community, and I am looking forward to another great year.


Cantor Rebecca Carl
Gan (Kindergarten)

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, I received my B.A. from Tulane University, and my M.S.M in Sacred Music and Investiture as a Hazzan from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City! My background includes extensive congregational, teaching and pastoral care experience, and work with children, teens and families. I am a Board Certified Chaplain, and spend my days working full-time as a staff chaplain at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Additionally, I serve as the Cantor for the High Holy Days at Congregation Agudat Achim in Leominster, MA. I’m excited to be back for another year tutoring B’nai Mitzvah Students and teaching Gan at BZBI, and looking forward to an amazing year!


Lauren Gross
1st Grade

Hello! My name is Lauren Gross and I am so excited to be joining the BZBI family! I have a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Drexel University with minors in Sociology, Business Communications and Special Education. I am currently working on my masters in Special Education with a focus in Autism from Penn State. For the last five years I have been working in the education department at the National Museum of American Jewish History, creating its accessibility programming, writing and leading tours, and training volunteer tour guides. In my free time I enjoy reading, interacting with any and all animals, watching movies with my Fiancé, and theater! I am so excited to work with your families!


Mallory Kovit
2nd Grade

Mallory works full time as a Jewish nonprofit professional, and is very excited for her second year working in the Hebrew school at BZBI! She currently serves as the Program Director for the Jewish Graduate Student Network of Greater Philly Hillel Network, and has been working in the Hillel movement since 2015. She is new-ish to Philly, having moved here from New York almost two years ago. She is finishing up her masters in nonprofit management with a concentration in Jewish Education Administration at Gratz College this winter. Mallory lives in Center City with her little dog, Lip, and loves doing yoga and taking Lip to the Schuylkill River dog park.


Stacey Lasky
3rd Grade

I am the toddler Lead Teacher in the preschool and the Gimmel teacher for Neziner at BZBI.

Since graduating from the University of Florida with a Jewish Studies degree, and living in Israel, I have always been a Jewish Educator In some capacity. I am currently in my last semester earning a Masters in Education with a concentration in Jewish Instructional Education from Gratz College. I’m truly excited to be a part of your children’s educational journey and look forward to seeing where this school year takes us!


Sarit Tubul
4th Grade

Sarit recently earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Temple University. Born in Haifa and raised in North NJ, she has returned to Center City and is thrilled to be back in the city of sisterly and brotherly love. Sarit has taught at multiple Hebrew schools, including Rodeph Shalom and Adath Israel. She is passionate about bringing kids, teens and young adults together to create community and thus, during her senior year at Temple, Sarit was also a Resident Assistant for 60+ freshmen. In addition to her position at BZBI, Sarit is a Judaic Studies teacher at Perelman Jewish Day School where she will be teaching Hebrew in an immersion classroom.


Addey Dominquez
5th Grade

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended the Contra Costa Jewish Day School and the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. In those settings I developed my love for learning Torah and Jewish history. I attended the University of New Mexico and earned a BA in both Archaeology and History. Today I enjoy continuing my learning in subjects like archaeology of the Mediterranean, medieval Jewish history and Latin American history. In New Mexico I fell in love with the desert and found myself deeply involved with the small and unique Jewish community there. I found myself working in synagogues, day camps, in Hillel, at the JCC and for the Jewish Federation. I love being a part of the community and am excited to meet everyone at BZBI! This past year I taught Judaic Studies for 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Wornick Jewish Day School in the SF Bay Area and enjoyed it so much.  Outside of work I love spending time with my rescue pug Winston, reading history books and classic literature, cooking and sharing new foods with friends. My favorite thing is taking road trips with my doggo and exploring new places!


Meirav Steinlauf 
6th Grade

Larry Ashery
7th Grade

I have been teaching religious school for about 20 years with middle school and high school students, am proficient in Hebrew and very experienced with synagogue skills. I can sight-read from the Torah and Haftorah, and I have extensive experience leading services. In addition to my local affiliations, I have led services in China, Japan, Israel, and even northern Alaska. When I’m not teaching at BZBI, I’m an intellectual property attorney with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I extensively rely on my legal background when I am working in the classroom, in order to encourage my students to not only learn the material, but to THINK and understand issues from multiple angles.


Max Buchdahl
8th Grade Hebrew High

Max Buchdahl is entering his first year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to starting rabbinical school, he spent a year studying in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. He graduated in 2018 from Temple University, where he studied Journalism and Political Science and was involved with Hillel.


Rachel Beck
Teen Programs Coordinator, Hebrew High Teacher

I am excited to join the Neziner Hebrew School staff this year with the 8th grade and USY! I grew up attending a Solomon Schechter day school in Pittsburgh, and was very active as a camper and staff member at Camp Ramah in Canada and in USY. After 6 years teaching art at a public elementary school in West Philadelphia, I am excited to be back working with Jewish youth.

I hold a BA in Economics from Oberlin College after a year in art school. I have been active in progressive grassroots organizing efforts locally and nationally. As a part of this I have been engaged in developing resources and tools for better understanding anti-Semitism and racism in today’s political climate, for Jews and non-Jews alike. Outside of teaching, I am a ceramic artist and starting a small business of handmade wearable and utilitarian crafts.


Rabbi Max Nissen
Director of Youth and Family Education

I received rabbinic ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. I graduated from Colgate University with my BA in International Relations, and studied abroad at the University of Haifa. I grew up in the Washington, DC area, and now live outside Philadelphia with my wife Joy and our daughter Ariella.

I come to BZBI from Congregation Beth El (Bethesda, MD), where I served as the Assistant Education Director and head of the Upper School. Immediately before beginning my tenure at Beth El, I completed my student teaching in the high school Jewish History and Jewish Text departments at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (Rockville, MD). I also served as the rabbinic intern at the Park Slope Jewish Center (Brooklyn, New York) and as the rabbinic leader of Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation (Fitzgerald, GA). Whether working in synagogues, Jewish schools, at camp and in other settings, I approach every experience as an opportunity for connection and growth. I believe in empowering my students and their families, partnering with them to create meaningful Jewish experiences that create community, foster personal growth and contribute to a better world.


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