JEA Officers 2018-2019


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Steve Kerbel is Director of Education for Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland. Before this, he served as the inaugural Retreat Director of Capital Camps & Retreat Center. Prior to working at Capital Camps, Steve was Director of Education of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase for seven years. Steve has also been a full-time faculty member at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville and an educational consultant to the Seaboard Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. In what seems like a different lifetime, Steve earned a law degree and was in the private practice of law for eight years. Steve is an alum of University of Maryland, College Park, where he met his wife, Judy, and they have two daughters, Abby (a JEA member) and Michelle. Among Steve's curricula, he facilitates wine tastings featuring Israeli wines and teaches about the geography of diversity of Israel through its wines and wine makers. Steve co-chaired JEA's 2010 and 2012 Annual conferences and chairs the Development Committee.






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Peter EksteinPeter Eckstein, began his career as a Jewish educator began in 1982 when he lived on Kibbutz Ketura, serving as the kibbutz Education Coordinator. Upon his return to the United States in 1992 he served as Director of Education at Temple Israel in West Palm Beach. He currently serves as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth David (Conservative) in Palm Beach Gardens and in his "spare time" he is the Technology Integration Educator for the West Palm Beach Commission for Jewish Education. He has presented professional development workshops for educators
nationally on a variety topics and has served as the instructor for the Palm Beach County conversion class.
Having earned his Masters in Elementary Education from Nova Southeastern University and in Jewish Education from Hebrew College, Peter also has a Certificate in Education Technology Integration, from Yeshiva University's Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. He is currently enrolled in YU's Online/Blended Learning Design Certificate program. He has earned the title "Conservative Jewish Educator" (CJE).
Peter is married to Carol and is father to two adult daughters: Ma'ayan and Keren.
He tweets as @redmenace56 and blogs as The Fifth Child at


vice president - BARRY GRUBER

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Barry has been a Jewish educator for almost twenty years, first serving as Education Director at Temple Beth El in Rochester NY, then as Principal of Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, and currently as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Sholom in Greenwich CT.   In all three positions, he was hired as a change agent to dramatically reimagine what religious school should look like.  Over these years, Barry has played a variety of national leadership roles, including being appointed as one of only 14 educators in a national fellowship regarding technology in Jewish education, chairing the Jewish Educators Assembly national conference, and currently serving his fourth term on that organization’s board. His driving philosophy is that Jewish education should be serious, but it also needs to be joyful and engaging.
Barry lives in Stamford with his dog, Auggie.  He has three children and two grandchildren.

vice president - rabbi robin foonberg

Congregation B'nai Israel

Tustin, CA

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Rabbi Robin Foonberg has been the Director of Education at Congregation B’nai Israel since 2011 after beginning her career as a Jewish Educator in 1995.  She holds a master’s degree in Jewish Education from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago and was ordained as a Rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion/CA in 2013. She has worked at several synagogues as a teacher, Assistant Director, and Family Educator, and for seven years was the Judaic Studies Director at Morasha Jewish Day School.  In 2006, Robin earned the title “Conservative Jewish Educator” from the JEA.  Robin lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband Alan, and is very proud of her daughter Marisa, a rabbinic student at HUC.






Secretary - Jason Cathcart



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Treasurer - Charles Sherman

Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation

Northfield, IL

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Charlie Sherman joined the Am Yisrael community in Northfield, Illinois in 2010 as the School Director.  He introduced technology into the classroom via Smartboards, iPads, Google tablets, laptops and video chatting to Israel and other places worldwide. He launched Shabbat Family Programming (SFP), which meets once-a-month and supplements the congregational school’s educational curriculum. Charlie is striving to make SJS a more “camp like” experience for the children by adding electives (chugim): Art, Band, Israeli Culture, Jewish Family Feud, Jeopardy, Kadima Board, Musical Drama and Multi Media Production. Charlie is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary's joint program with Columbia University for his undergraduate studies.  He went on to receive his Master’s degree in Jewish Education from JTS’ Davidson School. He began his career as a teacher and director of Jewish programming for ten years at the Rodeph Sholom School in New York City. Mr. Sherman served as Educational Director at Congregation Or Zarua in New York. Prior to his role at Am Yisrael, he was Jewish Studies Principal at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, a Kindergarten through 8th Grade Jewish Community Day School. Charlie is a 2005 recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education as a teacher, mentor and leader. In addition to his role as an officer on national JEA, Charlie is the immediate past president of the Jewish Educators Assembly Midwest Region.  Charlie and his wife Laura are the proud parents three children: Michael 12, Gabe, 10 and Amelia 18 months.


Officer-at-large - beth copelovitch

Beth Israel Center Talmud Torah

Madison, WI

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Louis Nagel head shot
Louis has been a member of the JEA since 1991 and has served on the conference committee, edited the JEA journal V'Eleh HaHadashot, served four terms on the Board of Directors, three terms as Vice President with the Professional Development portfolio and is presently serving as President.  He has a BS in Early Childhood Education (University of Maryland), an MA in Jewish Studies (Baltimore Hebrew College), and a PhD in Education Policy and Administration (University of Maryland). He is the Education Director at Beth Shalom Congregation in Columbia, MD. Louis has two wonderful daughters, Margo and Jamie. His favorite holiday is Hanukkah and most appreciated Torah verse is, "Justice, justice you shall pursue"(Devarim 16:20).