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Dr. Alissa C Zuchman, Director Alissa@bjechicago.org, 847-291-7788

About Us

Welcome to JTeach.org

JTeach.org is an online educational source to support educators from all backgrounds. We help educators from all walks of life lead their students to live vibrant and meaningful lives through creative and interactive activities for both in and out of the classroom.

Our activities provide in-depth Jewish background along with the pedagogic blueprint to make Jewish wisdom personal for each individual. We provide experienced educators who are new to Jewish education with the background they need to transmit Jewish wisdom. We provide new educators with the plan to make Jewish wisdom meaningful. And, for the experienced Jewish educator, JTeach.org provides engaging and interactive activities.

Of course, our activities cover many traditional topics like Shabbat and holidays.

But are also able to make connections between Jewish wisdom and everyday living in categories like Challenge and Response and Daily Life and Sacred Moments.

Family engagement empowers those looking for high quality materials and the best activities that support the learner. Family engagement supports academics, social-emotional learning, and the means to a positive Jewish experience.

Our success is based on using research and best practices to support schools, community centers, and the home.

Our Mission

JTeach.org encourages and enhances vibrant contemporary Jewish living through original and innovative pedagogic connections to thousands of years of Jewish Wisdom.

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Alissa C. Zuchman, Ph.D.

Director

Alissa Zuchman grew up in Chicago’s Conservative movement of West Rogers Park and is a proud graduate of the Solomon Schechter High School. She always knew she wanted to be a Jewish educator. Upon graduating from Solomon Schechter, Alissa headed to Los Angeles to study Bible and Rabbinic Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary/the University of Judaism.

Alissa began her full-time career as Director of Special Projects and an educational consultant at the Board of Jewish Education (BJE) back in Chicago. Alissa has been a Director of Life Long Learning for 25 years, and her proudest time was during her tenure at Congregation Sukkat Shalom, where she ran one of the only “Family Schools” in the country. During this time, she earned an M.A in Education at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Theology, Psychology, and Education with a specialty in Art Therapy.

The Board of Jewish Education has always been a place that has allowed creativity to be free-flowing and has encouraged the spark within each educator, parent, and student to flourish.

Alissa is excited to rejoin the Board of Jewish Education as its Director.

She follows in a long line of talented educators and is grateful for their vision and experience. She looks forward to collaborating with the educators and families to continue the work of the BJE well into the 21 st century.

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Rabbi Eric Zaff

Curriculum Director

Is a veteran educator with over a decade of experience in both formal and informal environments. As a teacher, he strives to bring joy and seriousness of purpose to his students, who have ranged in age from Kindergarten to retired. In his role as a curriculum specialist in the Marshall Jewish Learning Center, he continues the work he has done writing and implementing curricula in a variety of settings. A well-traveled learner, he attended the University of Chicago, where he received a BA in English Language and Literature; Machon Pardes and the Pardes Educators Program in Jerusalem, through which he earned an MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University; and, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York, where he received rabbinic ordination. He is teaching his children to love Torah and the Red Sox.

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Dr. Alicia Gejman

Curriculum Specialist

Dr. Gejman is an educator with over 25 years of experience in many areas of Jewish and secular education. She is fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, and English. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education Counseling and Psychology from BarIlan University, Ramat-Gan, (1982), a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1990), an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University (1992), and a doctoral degree in “Science in Jewish Studies” at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership (2016). Her areas of expertise include educational consultation, curriculum development, teacher training, mentoring, evaluation, and teaching foreign languages. Dr. Gejman worked as a bilingual school psychologist in DC Public Schools(1992-1997) and the Montgomery County Public Schools in MD (1994-1998). Dr. Gejman was the head of three Jewish schools: Temple B’nai Shalom, Fairfax Station (1997-8), VA, West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest, IL (1998-2011) and, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL (2011-2021). From 2006 to 2011, she directed the Special Needs Center, Makor Or, at BJE.Dr. Gejman has been a member of the Educator Advisory Council at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center since 2017. She was Co-President of the Jewish Education Assembly (2008-2011) and Co-Chair of Midwest Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (2007). Dr. Gejman is currently a mentor at the Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies Program at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, MA, and has two children and one grandchild.

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Renee Kaplan

Program Coordinator

Renee Kaplan has been on staff at the BJE in a variety of capacities since September 2014. She recently added the Marshall Center for Innovation in Jewish Education to her portfolio as the Program Coordinator lending her skillset to the various programs and offerings the MCIJE provides. Her career began in education working for several schools as a Financial Aid advisor. She is most proud of her work as the Director of Financial Aid for the Zarem/Golde ORT School in Chicago. Making it possible for new immigrants to learn English, receive skill training and then see them placed in jobs was extremely gratifying. A passion for helping others is fundamental to her character. Renee grew up in Skokie and holds a BA in telecommunications from Indiana University.

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Bruce Duhan

Creative Director

“Good design is attention to small things, but good design is no small thing.” Bruce Duhan is Creative Director and Designer at JTeach.org, as well as our technology wizard. It is his responsibility to bring our educational ideas to creative life. Bruce joined the team in March of 2018 after a successful career that included and still includes being President/Creative Director of DuhanCreative, his own creative consultancy. He was formerly EVP, Creative Director at Ogilvy Advertising. Prior to this Bruce was EVP, General Manager of the concepting think-tank of BEN Marketing Group, acquired by Ogilvy in 2002. As one of the founding partners of BEN, and Chief Creative Officer, Bruce led a creative team that produced award-winning design for some of the best known clients in the world, Coca-Cola, HBO, Holiday Inn, IBM, DuPont, and others. Bruce is a graduate of Pratt Institute and began his design career with Creative Playthings, designing toys and toy packaging.

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Linda Sonin

Founding Director

A seasoned educator, Linda has dedicated her career to inspiring teachers to widen their educational approaches so that their students find joy and meaning in Jewish learning. She is a sought-after workshop leader, and has served as an education director, art educator and curriculum specialist in a variety of Jewish settings. She earned an MA in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, and a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Illinois. Linda Sonin is the author of Celebrating Israel through the Arts and Walk the Talk: Jewish Values in Action. Both books are available through the JTeach.org website.