Pre-K taught by Giselle Mordoch

Hi! I’m Giselle Mordoch. I have lived in Ann Arbor with my spouse and two children since August 2017. We joined the JCS in 2018. I was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, where I participated in Jewish youth movements. As a young adult I moved to Israel and spent ten years living there. I have my bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Holon Institute of Technology. Before coming to Ann Arbor, I lived in Columbus, Ohio, where I worked as an interior designer as well as a 5th grade Sunday School teacher. I love spending time with my family, decorating my home, reading and listening to music. I am very excited about sharing my Jewish cultural background with the preschoolers of the JCS!

K–2nd taught by Jesse Feazel

Hi! I’m Jessica (Jesse) Feazel. I’ve been a Pre-K teacher for the Early Childhood Center at the JCC for 7 years now. I’m a part-time college student earning a bachelor’s in elementary education. I love animals, playing guitar, and spending time with my 6th grader and 2nd grader, Hannah and Ben. I look forward to teaching K–2nd this year for JCS.

3rd–5th taught by Aviv Hashai 

Hi! I’m Aviv Hashai. I will be joining the JCS team for the upcoming year, teaching the 3rd–5th graders. I was born in California, but lived most of my life in Israel. Throughout high school I was in charge of summer camps and helped with an after-care program for kids. 

Recently, I moved back to the US with my dog. I love traveling and have been to 10 countries so far. Excited to meet you all. 

6th and 7th taught by Melissa Rappaport and Pete Zeman

Hi, I’m Melissa Rappaport! My 27 years of experience as a teacher and school guidance counselor have given me a skill set that allows me to build strong student-teacher connections in the classroom. A secure and trusting relationship is at the heart of a safe and healthy learning environment. Students come to my class and like to be here—they are more engaged in learning, they retain more of what they learn, and their creativity is unleashed. I bring with me three young boys of my own that will be attending JCS. I’m very excited for this opportunity and look forward to getting to know you and your child soon. I will be co-teaching with Pete Zeman.

Hi! I’m Pete Zeman. I have been teaching at JCS for the past 5 years. My wife Bev and I, along with our son Ben, who is a former JCS student, have been long time members of JCS. I will be teaching in the 6th and 7th grade this year and will be in the classroom about once a month. I look forward to another fun and engaging year with your children.

B’nai Mitzvah class taught by Jessica Gardon Rose and Julie Gales (madrikha)

Hi! I’m Jessica Gardon-Rose, M.Ed (Wayne State University), a long-term Humanist and Cultural Jew with history teaching at the Birmingham Temple’s (BT’s) Sunday School and coordinating the BT’s youth group social activities. More recently, as an Ann Arborite, I balance my time teaching at Bach Elementary School with involvement at the JCS’s Sunday School, while also enjoying involvement in the JCS Social Action programs and Chavurah dinner group activities. Last year I taught the K–3rd Sunday School class and I am looking forward to facilitating the education of our B’nai Mitzvah youth during the 2019/20 year.

Julie Gales has been the madrikha of the JCS since 1999. As a native Detroiter she grew up in the Jewish Parents Institute, one of America’s earliest secular Jewish organizations. Her desire to give back to the secular Jewish community that was so influential in her life led Julie to study at the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ). In 1993, she was ordained as a Madrikha.

Julie performs all Jewish ceremonial services for the JCS community: officiating at bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, weddings, baby-namings, and funerals; conducting First Friday Shabbat, High Holiday, and Second Night Pesach Seder observances; assisting members with pastoral counseling; and helping JCS members interpret and find meaning in Jewish foundational texts as contemporary Jews.

Julie graduated from Tufts University in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in geological sciences and earned a master of science degree in structural geology and geophysics at the University of Michigan. For twenty-one years, she worked for the Legislative Service Bureau’s Research Services Division as an assistant director and a science research analyst, advising Michigan legislators and staff on a wide range of scientific, engineering, and environmental issues. She is currently working as the administrative director of the Molecular and Behavior Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan.

Julie’s family is both intercultural and transracial and blends the many traditions from their secular Jewish, British, African American, and Muslim backgrounds. The JCS is a very welcoming home for this type of diversity.

In her free time, Julie loves to downhill and cross-country ski, hike, and bake with her husband and their two daughters.

On the occasion that an instructor is unable to make it to our Sunday school, substitute teacher Daniel Epstein will take over that day’s class.

Hey! I’m Dan Epstein and I’m excited to be teaching at JCS this year! I’m originally from Connecticut, where I attended the University of Connecticut, studying psychology and human rights. I moved to Ann Arbor in September, and I currently work at the University of Michigan doing psychiatric research. Over the years, I’ve been involved in Jewish camps, Jewish youth groups, and Hillel, and even spent a semester studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In my free time, I like watching sports (mostly my UConn Huskies), listening to podcasts, and trying to cook. Can’t wait to meet you all!

Sunday School administered by Principal Wendy Sadler