Michael has been involved in Synagogue management since 2002 and in Jewish communal life since childhood. He completed his degrees in Jewish Studies & Industrial Sociology and Labor Relations in Johannesburg, South Africa, before following his passion for Judaic Studies and Biblical Hebrew to the University of Oxford, where he read for an MSt degree. He rounded out his skill-set with a Master of Business and Technology degree at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia before settling in the United States.
Michael worked in Information Systems Management for USC before assuming leadership of Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills. After five years as Executive Director there, he moved to Boston and was appointed as Executive Director at Temple Emanuel of Newton in 2007, where he served for six years.
In 2013, Michael returned to Los Angeles with his wife, Dr. Dalia Yasharpour, and their children Gabriel and Sibia. As Michael began his tenure at Temple Isaiah, Gabriel and Sibia enrolled in the preschool and the Yasharpour-Cantor family regularly and enthusiastically participates in many aspects of Temple and school life.
Michael particularly enjoys the connective aspect of his work, getting to know congregants and their families and growing with them in our Jewish home. He looks forward to meeting you soon!
Tara is an art industry professional with over twenty years of creative management and executive experience. Her educational background is in communications with an emphasis on the arts.
Tara's professional experience is very diverse. She is the founder of two multimedia studios Leo Creations and Ki'i Boards. She's held positions as Art Director for a multimedia start-up company, Assistant Producer in the entertainment industry, Creative Director for a Jewish non-profit and Art Educator with Los Angeles Unified School District.
Tara has deep roots in the Jewish community, having served both the Jewish Federation and Temple Akiba in program development, administration and fundraising capacities. In her role as Art Specialist, she was awarded the Sara and Simha Lainer Distinguished Educator Award for outstanding service in religious school education.
When Tara is not being creative in her studio, or doing extreme sports she likes to spend time working on her novels or scripting her next themed party.
Tamar spent her teen years at Temple Isaiah as a high school student attending YULA HS, whose classes were held here. A graduate of CSLA and CSUN, Tamar holds a BA degree in Psychology and an MA in Child Development. She completed her Ph.D. in Education at USC. Tamar began her tenure as our Preschool Director in 2003. She is also on the faculty of Cal State Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Studies and UCLA. Tamar works closely with the National Association for the Education of Young Children as a validator for their accreditation program.
The most important reason a family should choose Temple Isaiah Preschool is because they want to join something bigger than themselves. To participate in and feel the joy of being part of a really wonderful community. The best feelings come from sharing: sharing meals at a Shabbat dinner, sharing your home with a friend over for a play date, sharing a lunch when your friend forgot his, sharing a smile, a tear, an important event, and sharing our lives with one another. All of this helps to create children that are true mensches.
Tamar lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Edward, and their four children, Kaila and Shaina, Shalhevet High School students, and Daniel and Joshua who attend Pressman Academy.
Avital has been part of Temple Isaiah for over twenty years beginning as a teacher and now as the Administrative Assistant Director. In this role, Avital plans and implements every detail of our amazing preschool summer and holiday camps as well as all specialists. She is also very involved in our 4th Friday program, Family Camp, Second Night Seder and other synagogue and community events.
From a young age, Avital always knew that she would be a teacher and involved in education. She loves children and mentoring staff to become better educators. Avital holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and is a California State Mentor Director. As a mentor, Avital helps and guides other directors in the field of early childhood, as well as mentoring many of our own teachers in methods to improving their practices. She is a presenter at many early childhood conferences and a guest lecturer at UCLA Extension ECE courses.
Avital moved to Los Angeles from Israel in 1988 and lives with husband Aaron and her three daughters. Avital's family are all very much a part of the Temple Isaiah Community.
When she is not at Isaiah, you can find her at the gym or a good restaurant and enjoying a glass of Malbec.
Peggy has worked in the Jewish community for over seventeen years. She started working as an Admissions Coordinator in 1997 when she was working for Jewish Community Centers.
Peggy joined the Temple Isaiah staff in 2003 continuing to work as an Admissions Coordinator for the preschool. She processes enrollment for the preschool school, camps, and other programs. She enjoys interacting with the parents and children.
Peggy was born and raised in Los Angeles, has been married for over thirty years, and has two adult children. When not working, she enjoys reading, bicycling, crocheting, hiking and walking. Since 2013 she has participated in over 20 charity walks, including the Avon39 Walk for Breast Cancer in 2015 and will be participating in the Avon39 Walk again in September, 2016.
Rivkie began working at Temple Isaiah in 2008 after moving to Los Angeles from New York. Her involvement in Jewish Education has spanned over fifteen years holding various positions such as teacher, youth program coordinator, camp counselor/director and office manager of a large community preschool.
Her work in the Jewish community has positively impacted the lives of children, teens and adults globally. In her current role as Preschool Office Manager, Rivkie handles anything related to the preschool. "I love what I do and feel fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community of parents and staff."
Rivkie is one of twelve children. She is passionate about health and loves nature. When she is not working, she's out enjoying the beach, hiking, running, traveling and cooking.
Rabbi Aimee Gerace was awarded an exclusive position in 2011 into the HUC-JIR Mandel Fellowship Program. This prestigious opportunity exemplified Aimee’s qualities, understandings, and competencies to inspire congregational communities, fostering the social reality that transcends denominational and geographical boundaries.
Named the Elizabeth and Fritz Krauss Outstanding Student in Jewish Studies, Rabbi Gerace received her BA in Jewish Studies and Spanish Language from Tulane University in New Orleans. She began working extensively with Jewish youth in Los Angeles as an early childhood educator and youth advisor, before going on to receive her MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College Los Angeles in 2011. Aimee first joined Temple Isaiah in 2012 as a rabbinic intern, and then officially joined the education team after ordination. This is where she successfully began to reshape the religious school and further inspire students and teachers and is now the Senior Director of Youth and Family Education.
In 2013 Rabbi Gerace was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. She now shares her vision on a daily basis in her role as Rabbi-Educator at Temple Isaiah, creating and facilitating a well-rounded and multi-vocal approach to Israel and education within Temple Isaiah’s Religious School. Her passion for learning and deep knowledge of Jewish history gracefully elevates her ability to share her vision with others. She is an American Jewish University Teaching Israel Fellow alumna, a member of the Mandel Leadership Fellowship, a mentor and tutor to Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, and a leader on domestic and international educational student trips.
A native of the San Fernando Valley, Rabbi Gerace has made Los Angeles her home along with her husband, Marco, their two cats, and their newest addition, Carson. When she’s not questioning and challenging the norms and objectives in Jewish education, she finds great pleasure in her kitchen seasoning chili with hot sauce, or going on long walks with her family.
As the director of the religious school, Carla is responsible for all aspects of our K-6 religious school program and works closely with the rest of the religious school staff on many other programs.
Carla was born and raised in Mexico City and attended Jewish day school from preschool through high school. She studied for one year at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and immigrated to the United States in 1987. Carla graduated from UCLA with a BA in history and earned her MAEd and a BA in Hebrew letters from the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) here in Los Angeles.
She began working at Temple Isaiah in 1994, and she finds it as exciting now as it was when she began. She's committed to understanding the needs of our congregants regarding the Jewish education of their families and to be able to satisfy those needs in a fun, interactive and creative way.
Carla has been happily married for twenty-eight years to Philippe. When not at work, Carla enjoys taking Zumba lessons, going to the movies with her husband and spending time with her fantastic daughters Miriam, Robin, and Erica.
Stephanie joined Temple Isaiah in 2015, quickly becoming an active and integral part of the Isaiah community and Religious School team.
As the Assistant Director of Educational Engagement, Stephanie is responsible for directing the Tiyul: Shabbat B'Yachad program, and works together with the rest of the religious school staff on several other programs.
Stephanie's work in Jewish education began when she was a junior in High School as a teaching assistant and NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) regional board member. She continued her path in Jewish education while in college, becoming a classroom teacher at the local congregation in Blacksburg and helping run youth group events for students in 4th-12th-grade.
After receiving an Interior Design degree from Virginia Tech, Stephanie worked for a design firm. Filling her free time with teaching Religious School and running youth programs all over Los Angeles. After a year in the field, she realized that her passion was working with children, not in interior design and decided to head back to school to obtain her Masters in Education. Stephanie attended The University of Judaism (currently American Jewish University) and has been working as a professional in Jewish Education ever since.
As Temple Isaiah's Assistant Director of Educational Engagement, Stephanie works closely with the TSBY families and its faculty, creating amazing experiential learning experiences for all involved.
When Stephanie is not working with Jewish youth, she enjoys doing almost anything related to creating/doing art (painting, knitting, photography, scrapbooking), being outdoors, and travel.
Lisa has been Temple Isaiah's Youth and Camp Director since 2004. Overseeing and advising our three youth groups, designing and staffing approximately a dozen retreats, and growing our amazing Jewish day camp, Camp Isaiah.
After graduating from USC with a BA in Psychology, Lisa pursued a career in financial/tax/estate planning before happily returning to the world of Jewish experiential education. Lisa holds a Certificate from Hebrew Union College in Jewish Education with a focus on Adolescents and Emerging Adults. She is a founding and current board member of RYPA, Reform Youth Professionals Association as well as the local chair of YPAC, Youth Professionals Advisory Council.
Danny song leads and teaches in the Temple Isaiah Preschool, Religious School, B'yachad program, and at Camp Isaiah. His involvement in Jewish music began as a junior in high school attending Kutz Camp and enrolling in the Song Leader track during the summer of 2005. From there, Danny went on to work at the URJ camp, Olan Sang Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin as well as teach religious school during his college years in Rochester, NY where he attended undergrad at the University of Rochester.
His passion for Jewish music followed him to Los Angeles where Temple Isaiah gave him his first job out of college in 2012. After his third year teaching music in the Religious School, Danny was asked to work full time as the Song Leader at Isaiah. Danny will continue to increase his involvement with Temple Isaiah by adding Bar/ Bat Mitzvah tutoring to his schedule in the 2016-2017 school year.
When Danny is not working at Isaiah, he spends his time playing and performing in his Jazz band around Los Angeles and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Ellen Goldberg Z"L was Temple Isaiah's Religious School Director for twenty-one years, and the assistant director for five years before that. During that time, with the wonderful help of Assistant Director, Carla, and Administrative Assistant, Michelle, she proudly watched the school grow from 165 to 530 students.
During her time as RS Director, she was quite active on the Bureau of Jewish Education's Religious School Principals' Council, and was honored to have been selected as the first recipient of the Bureau of Jewish Education's Sara and Simcha Lainer "Distinguished Jewish Educator" award.
Ellen worked with many interns from Hebrew Union College and the American Jewish University. Many of them now work all over the United States (and one in Australia) as Jewish Educators.
Ellen was involved at Temple Isaiah as a member of HaSharim (Temple choir) and several other committees. She also regularly attended Friday evening Shabbat services.