BZBI, where you learn

Meet Our Team

Stacey Lasky, Religious School Coordinator

When I’m not the Lead Teacher in the Peach Room at BZBI’s Laurie Wagman Playschool, I am now also the Neziner Hebrew School Coordinator. In the past, I was the Hebrew Specialist, Tot Shabbat Leader, Third Grade Teacher, and the Enrichment Class Teacher in the Neziner Hebrew School. 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. Ultimately, I earned 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 Jewish educational journey!


Merissa Eve Richmond, Bonim (Pre-K) & Gan (Kindergarten) 

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.


Leslee Schwartz, 1st-3rd Grade

As many of you may know, I am the Bookkeeper here at BZBI.  What many of you may not know is that my first passion and career was teaching.  I cannot begin to explain how thrilled I am to be going back into the classroom and working with our wonderful 1st-3rd graders!



Norman Koven, 4th/5th Grade Wednesday Teacher 

I am a retired physician with a lifelong love of all things Jewish, including study, prayer, culture, Israel and food! I learned to daven, read Torah and speak Hebrew in elementary school, and I attended Camp Ramah in New England for many years. I have traveled to Israel 3 times and I’m always thinking of my 4th. Most importantly, I love teaching and helping my students cultivate their own connection to all things Jewish. 


Jared Shotel, 4th/5th Grade Shabbat Teacher 

My name is Jared Shotel and I am currently a DPT student at Thomas Jefferson University. I am 23 years old and from Horsham, Pennsylvania. I love all the Philly sports teams and I love having Shabbat dinner with my family. I am looking forward to a great year! 



Cantor Rebecca Carl, 6th/7th Grade Shabbat Teacher

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!


Sarah Fleischman, Tot Shabbat Leader

Sarah is no stranger to BZBI, having spent her entire life in the synagogue. From Tot Shabbat and Preschool teacher to Kadima and USY Advisor, she has made an impact in the lives of all ages at BZBI. Sarah has been leading Tot Shabbat since she was in high school. Her favorite part about Tot Shabbat is getting to play a small role in a child’s Jewish identity development and starting them on a path towards a meaningful prayer experience.


Ellana Cohen, Hebrew School Art Specialist and Program Support

I was born and raised in Florida, and came to Philadelphia for art school. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, I joined BZBI as a teacher in the preschool and the Hebrew School. I love working with my kids and their families! As the arts specialist, I work with teachers to incorporate more art in their teaching, and lead art projects for kids in 1st – 7th grade


Larry Kaplan,
Teen Programs Coordinator, Hebrew High Teacher and 6th/7th Grade Wednesday Teacher 

I am thrilled to join BZBI as the Teen Programs Coordinator! I look forward to working with my colleagues, with parents, and with our teen leaders to engage our kids, supervise our Kadima and USY youth groups, and help our kids and teens develop leadership skills and connect with opportunities to have fun and build community. I have many years of experience leading synagogue youth groups in the great Philadelphia area, as well as coaching high school athletes and leading educational travel experiences.