Meet Our Teachers
Rabbi Hyim Shafner is the Rabbi of Kesher Israel in Georgetown. Prior to coming to Kesher Israel, he served as Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri; Campus Rabbi at the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University; and Rabbi of India under the auspices of the American Jewish Join Distribution Committee. Rabbi Shafner has rabbinic ordination, a Masters degree in Social Work, and an MA in Jewish Philosophy from Yeshiva University.
Shira Hecht-Koller is the Director of Education for 929 English and the Director of Communal Engagement at Drisha in New York City. She also teaches Bible and Talmud to a wide variety of audiences, and writes and speaks on education, creative living, and family life. Shira received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is a graduate of the Bruriah Scholars Program in Advanced Talmud Studies at Midreshet Lindenbaum.
Rabbi Adam Mintz is the Director of 929 English and the rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox community he founded on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Rabbi Mintz is a member of the Talmud faculty at Yeshivat Maharat and has taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at City College, New York for the past six years. He received his rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University and obtained his PhD in Jewish History at New York University.
Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor at George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on spirituality, the Hebrew Bible, and leadership; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University, and Baltimore Hebrew University. She has previously worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and the Jewish Center of New York.
Sarit Lisogorsky is from Gedera, Israel. She was trained as a Hebrew teacher by the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also has a BA in International Relations and Latin American Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She speaks Hebrew, English, Spanish, and Arabic.
Gila Efrati currently teaches Hebrew at the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital and coordinates special support for the Hebrew program at Adas Israel. She has a Masters from Tel Aviv University in Theater and taught theater at a high school in Israel for 9 years. She has also worked at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School on integrating technology in to the classroom.
JoHanna Potts (spring and summer sessions) is the former director of The Department of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Her teaching passion is to bring enjoyment to Jewish learning with a view towards empowering individuals to create lives of meaning through Judaism. Previously, she served as Director of Education at Temples Solel and Shalom, Director of The Primary School at Washington Hebrew Congregation, and Director of the Middle School at Gesher Jewish Day School. In 2006, she served as co-chair of the Conference for Alternatives in Jewish Education at Duke University. She has been involved with the DCJCC Jewish Women’s Project and helped coordinate and lead the group’s text study activities. JoHanna currently teaches the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, the Heritage series, a Women’s Torah Study Group, and conducts teacher training workshops.
Miriam Weiner Szubin (fall and winter sessions) has been teaching Introduction to Judaism at the EDCJCC since 2007, and has introduced over 375 students to Judaism in that time. She has a B.A from Yale and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She spent several years teaching high school history and Jewish history at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and has also worked as an Educator at the National Portrait Gallery. She is currently the Director of the EDCJCC Parenting Center, where she creates and coordinates programming for infants, toddlers, parents, and parents-to-be. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and three sons.
Marion Usher created “Love and Religion: An Interfaith Workshop for Jews and Their Partners” nearly two decades ago, and has since worked with over 600 interfaith couples. In the workshop, she helps facilitate conversations where Jewish interfaith couples have the opportunity to: address questions they have about establishing a religious life, discuss the central challenges they face, and learn skills to enhance their relationship. In the context of this safe environment, couples feel comfortable sharing their concerns and meeting other couples dealing with similar issues. Marion also serves as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington School of Medicine and Behavioral Sciences and works with individuals and couples in clinical practice.