Mr. Michael Bast
Bast is a US Chess Federation rated expert who has played competitively in national and local events including the World Open, the US Open, the National Chess League (by telephone, pre-internet) and the Metropolitan Chess League. He taught chess at his alma mater, the University of Florida, and in Mexico and Arizona during Passover week for Presidential Kosher Vacations and Kosherica Tours/Norwegian Cruise Lines. His games can be found on Chess.com under the pseudonym MrPotatohead. Michael Bast is in his fourth year as the BHJA chess teacher.
When not teaching chess at BHJA, Bast is a medical malpractice attorney with offices on Court Street in Brooklyn.
Ms. Emily Hollander
Second Grade General Studies Teacher
Emily Hollander is a certified teacher from North Carolina and studied Literature with a Concentration in Creative Writing as well as K-6 Education at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Emily has lived for the past 2 years in Israel where she has been giving private English lessons and teaching English in local pre-schools. Emily believes that clear communication and empathy are the keys to a successful classroom community, and focuses on classroom management in order to lay the foundation for learning. Emily is thrilled to be teaching 2nd grade this year at BHJA.
Ms. Levannah Lebaz
Kindergarten & First Grade Music Teacher
Growing up in France, Levannah Lebaz started music and theater at the age of 6 years old at the conservatory of music of Nice. She pursued her music and theater path to New York at the New York film academy where she graduated last year.
In France, she worked along her musical studies in an ONG called ”Afev”. This ONG aim to help children and young people with academic or social difficulties. Levannah was giving drama and music classes to prevent young high school student from dropping out from school. She enjoyed her job in this ONG so much that she started giving singing lessons and took the decision to pursue her carrier in education.
She is looking forward to meet her new students and to be part of the “Brooklyn Heights Jewish Academy” family!
Mrs. Rivky Lehrer
First Grade Judaic Studies Teacher
Growing up in California, Rivky Lehrer has had an interest in education since she was young. Both her parents are founding members of a thriving and progressive Jewish day school in California. Her keen ability to give each child individual attention is a hallmark of her success in education. Rivky is at ease with technology which she uses successfully in her teaching. Her main experience is in elementary school, teaching virtually all grade levels. She is looking forward to teaching her class in the coming school year!
Rabbi Yaakov Raskin
Third Grade Judaic Studies Teacher
Growing up with passionate parents who are educators and inspiring spiritual leaders, created a natural background for our Third Grade Judaic Studies Teacher to pursue a career in Jewish education.
Rabbi Raskin has earned his Rabbinical ordination at the Rabbinical college of America after earning a BA in Talmudic law degree Which was followed with a Masters in Talmudic law degree, awarded by the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva. Rabbi Raskin was awarded an advanced Rabbinical degree from the Machon Lrabbanus headed by the Rabbi Y. Ulman Sh’lita.
In addition to his responsibility as BHJA’s camp director, last year he was appointed an assistant educational director with responsibilities for BHJA’s day to day operations as well as for our long term planning.
Mrs. Robyn Rubenstein
Robyn Rubenstein holds a BA in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, College of Creative Studies (1994). She exhibited as a fine artist and performed in the dance department while there. Robyn worked on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Aide for Senator Ron Wyden while performing in modern, African and Butoh dance groups before moving to NYC to develop a career in dance and visual art. She speaks Japanese and French, and resides in East Williamsburg. Robyn looks forward to meeting the children of the BHJA family, and can’t wait to get started on a creative voyage with them.
Ms. Leah Sacks
Rotating Assistant Teacher
Leah Sacks grew up in Lomita, California. She attended Ohel Chana High School in Los Angeles where she took courses in Early Childhood Education. This past year Leah was on Shlichus in Buckhurst Hill, England (Running Children and Youth programs, teaching a weekly Hebrew School Class, and helping with the Shluchim’s children in the afternoons). The previous year Leah was on Shlichus in Birmingham, Alabama (teaching in their Pre-School and helping the Shluchim with programs). Over the last few years she has also worked in multiple day camps across the USA, Canada and England.
Mrs. Maya Salman
Second Grade Judiac Studies Teacher
Mrs. Maya Salman was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. Her love and passion for Israel and to the Hebrew language, pave her path to become a passionate Judaic studies teacher.
Mrs. Salman graduated Yeshivah of Flatbsuh High School and got her BA in Education from Touro College. She started her teaching career working in Yeshivah Derech Hatorah in Brooklyn and has become Morah Maya who sees each student as her own and treats him/her as an individual. She strongly believes that teachers and parents must act as partners and it is their mutual responsibility to help develop and nurture the successes of all students.
Very much looking forward to join the BHJA family and for a successful and a fruitful year, Morah Maya.
Ms. Feigy Stern
First and Third Grade General Studies Teacher
Faigy has been teaching for over three years and has worked with children of all ages. She has given her heart and soul to the children and their families. Faigy attended Touro college, and is continuing her studies focusing in education and psychology.
She worked at Chai Tots in a Pre-K classroom in Irvine, California, where she was inspired to teach and work with children. Upon moving back to New York, she worked in a UPK classroom in Brooklyn, followed by a year of teaching in a Reggio-inspired preschool Of The Arts, located in Chelsea, New York. Faigy has devoted the last five years to pursue her passion working with children of all ages. She previously managed youth programs in Australia, Israel & the states.
We welcome her creativity, kindness, and warmth in the first and third grades. He goal is to help each student reach their full potential academically, emotionally, and socially.
Mr. Shevach Tamir
Gym and Music Instructor
Shevach Tamir grew up in Florida, and at age 21, received his Rabbinical Ordination in the Miami Beach Smicha Program. His passion for music began about fifteen years ago where he would practice for about seven hours a day, learning intricate guitar solos, and creating musical compositions. He then went on to teach several students how to play the guitar, while starting his own Chasidic inspired band, touring the country for over five years.
During that time, he also developed a passion for psychology and therapy, and began studies in an undergraduate program while teaching sports to elementary-aged children.
In 2017, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work and Counseling from Yeshiva University, and has almost a decade of experience in running sports programs. He currently runs several such programs in various Brooklyn schools, such as Lubavitcher Yeshiva Crown Street, Oholei Torah, and United Lubavitcher Yeshiva of Ocean Parkway.
His sports programs have caught the interest of parents, teachers, and children alike, as he has developed a one of a kind, unique program, utilizing therapeutic techniques for mainstream children. The success of his program is well-spread. Parents see that their children are advancing socially at a rapid rate, teachers recognize that their students have an enhanced level of focus, and the kids’ confidence and positive peer to peer interaction is on a whole new level due to the infectious, positive, and growth-oriented environment, during sports.