We are fortunate to have some of the most wonderful educators in the Capital District working with us.
Our teachers allow students to question freely, think critically, and learn to accept differences.
Personal choice shapes the students experience at Mifgash. Each semester, they choose two courses to study.
All of our classes are discussion-based, interactive, and thought-provoking.
David Weinstein is a Judge for the New York State Court of Claims, and an Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. He has previously served as the First Assistant Counsel to the Governor, as an Assistant Attorney General, and as an attorney in private practice. David grew up in Queens, NY, and has a BA from Wesleyan University, and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Emily Brocks is a new arrival to the Albany area. She grew up in Queens, New York, completed bachelor's degrees in English Literature and Classical Civilizations at Williams College, and spent the last 20 years living in cities across the US, as well as Montreal. Along the way, she earned a Master of Education at Harvard University, and Master of Jewish Education and Jewish Studies at Hebrew College. She’s taught adults and children in settings ranging from summer camp to workforce development conferences to fourth-grade classrooms but truly fell in love with teaching in the Jewish supplementary education setting. Emily’s background in Constructivist education means that she loves working with students to delve into the work of interpretation and personal meaning-making. In Jewish education, that often means looking closely at texts, reading traditional and contemporary interpretations, finding our own sense of place with respect to text, and moving into our understanding of ourselves as interpreters of Jewish text and tradition. Emily lives in Slingerlands with her wife, Becca, and daughter, Naomi.
Sarah Toledano has been working in the nonprofit world since she graduated from college and is currently working for Siena College in The Center for Academic Community Engagement and as an adjunct in the Social Work Department. Sarah grew up in the Capital Region, she has been dedicated to Jewish Education throughout her life. She is a proud HACD graduate, she’s worked at Jewish nonprofits including MMCC in the Bronx and UJA Federation of New York, and she has worked in countless Hebrew schools. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College and a BA in Sociology from Fordham University. Sarah is dedicated to student leadership, interdisciplinary work, and educating the next generation of proud Jews.
Fred Rheingold grew up in the Albany area and attended Hebrew High School at Temple Israel. He received a Bachelor of Hebrew literature and an M.A. in Jewish history from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Columbia University.
Fred also studied for two years at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
On a professional level, Fred has taught at Jewish schools in Montreal, Albany, Nassau, and Chatham. He has conducted religious services in Nassau and Chatham. Currently, he is teaching at Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy and B’Yachad.
Arnie Adler has happily served as an instructor at Mifgash since its inception an incredible 15 years ago, enjoying the lively discussions., excitement, and, yes, the sheer fun of meeting with our Jewish high school students on a weekly basis to discuss current issues of interest. As the son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors, born in Israel and raised in the Bronx (having not shed his NYC accent after more than 30 years living in Albany), Arnie has discovered his passion for Jewish education through Mifgash, sharing his love of Jewish history and current events that continue to have a profound impact on our Jewish community. Now that the Summer of 2022 is practically over, Arnie cannot wait for the start of Mifgash and to see his cherished students in the Fall 2022.
Amy Rosenstrauch grew up in Troy, New York, and attended Skidmore College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Art. Her favorite medium is clay. She enjoys sharing her love of clay with students and watching them have a great time as their ideas take form whether they are creating a kiddush cup or modeling a sculpture. Amy began teaching art at the Hebrew Academy in 1996. As well as teaching at HACD, Amy teaches Sunday school art lessons at B;Yachad, Beth Emeth, and brings many creative activities to the residents at the Massry Assisted Living Residence.
Rivi Bahir comes to us from Kfar-Saba, Israel. She relocated to Guilderland with her husband and their three children. Rivi graduated in Art and Graphic Design & Visual Communications and worked for ten years as an assistant artistic director in the graphic arts department of Israel's Yellow Pages. In addition to managing organizational projects and working in the design and management department, Rivi has led individuals and groups in sales and marketing. Today Rivi is the Hebrew teacher, Art &Graphic Design teacher at Maimonides Hebrew Day School, Administrative Assistant at B'Yachad, and Mifgash, Creative Art & Media Director at Mifgash, and Hebrew and cooking teacher at Mifgash. For the Mifgash 10th anniversary, Rivi published a cookbook that gathers the recipes she brought from Israel and taught our Mifgash students.
Rivi is a very caring, patient, and patriotic Israeli who wants to share her love of Israel and knowledge of Hebrew with Mifgash teens.
Ben Plotkin was born and raised in Israel. He completed his military service as an education officer at the Hebrew School for New Immigrants "Mikhve Alon" in the north of the country. He holds a bachelor's degree in international relations and is an avid history buff. For the past two years, Ben has been an active member in many media groups that bring the Jewish people closer to their heritage. He finds the close connection between Israel and the Jewish diaspora around the world to be a fascinating subject. Ben will be working at Mifgash in the capacity of students support.
Ruth grew up in Albany, attended the Hebrew Academy, and moved to Israel at the age of 17 to study at Tel Aviv University. She took courses in Judaic Studies while majoring in Social Work. She went on to teach English to high school students in Givatayim, Israel. She was nominated by the Israeli Ministry of Education to teach special education high school students to prepare for and take the English Matriculation Exam. This was the first program of its kind in Israel and she was honored to be chosen.
Ruth married and raised her children in Israel for twenty years. In 2002, her family relocated to Albany. A dedicated Jewish educator, Ruth has contributed her skills to a number of Jewish schools and organizations in the Capital District. In 2002, Ruth began her tenure as an elementary teacher at the Hebrew Academy, where her responsibilities included coordinating the eighth-grade Israel trip. She also worked as the Cultural and Holiday Educational Coordinator at Congregation Beth Emeth's Religious School.
She holds the role of principal of B'yachad, the collaborative religious school of Congregation Ohav Shalom, and B'nai Sholom.
Mrs. Malka is the founding Director of Mifgash Jewish Community High School Program since its inception in 2006. She loves working with the teens, providing them with educational and social opportunities, and supporting their Jewish identities. She feels honored to work with the most talented, dynamic, and knowledgeable faculty. Ruth is noted for her creativity and ability to connect with students and colleagues, as well as her extensive knowledge and experience teaching Judaic and Hebrew studies. She is very proud of her children, her two sons who live in Israel, and two daughters who live locally.