Welcome to Visiting Educators Rabbis Ilana Garber and Mickey Safra: Magshimim and Hakarat HaTov; and Meet Roz Koch

Pictured above is Roz Koch, part of our Hinuch tzevet (education staff), who teaches all edot and also tutors any chanich (camper) preparing for Bar and Bat Mitzva so they maintain and enhance their skills over the summer.  Her cheerful, friendly, outgoing countenance is always a blessing.

Also, we are blessed with two new Visiting Educators this week.  They are pictured here teaching Magshimim chanichim all about specific ways of expressing Hakarat HaTov (gratitude), our 2017 Palmer theme.

Rabbi Ilana Garber is the Rabbinic Director of Lifelong Learning & Community Engagement at Beth El Temple, West Hartford, CT.  She has one son here this summer as a chanich.


She has served the community of Beth El Temple since August 2005. She graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, with a bachelor’s degree in Talmud (2000), a master’s degree in Jewish education (2003), and rabbinic ordination (2005). She also received a bachelor’s degree in religion from Barnard College (2000), writing a thesis entitled, “Can One be an Observant Jew and a Practicing Buddhist?” (You’ll have to chat with her to find the answer!)

Rabbi Garber is co-chair of the Women’s Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Connected and Vital Rabbinate. She is a past participant in the STAR: Synagogue Transformation And Renewal PEER: Professional Education for Excellence in Rabbis program, in a rabbinic cohort of Advancing Women Professionals, and in the Clal Rabbis Without Borders fellowship. She serves on the board of Mikveh Bess Israel, and has served on the convention and nominating committees of the Rabbinical Assembly. She is currently a participant in the Matan Institute for Educators, learning how to foster a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities in our Religious School and synagogue.

Rabbi Garber is married to Dr. Adam Berkowitz, a musician and web developer, and they have two sons. She writes about Jewish parenting, raising a child with special needs, and being a cancer survivor – all at the same time – often on Kveller.  The photos below show the chanichim creating original, colorful Hakarat HaTov greeting cards to give to others.

Rabbi Mickey Safra joined B’nai Israel, Rockville, MD after his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2002.  While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Safra served as rabbinic intern at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ.  He received his BA in history and Judaic studies from the University of Michigan, and holds a Master’s Degree in Bible from the Graduate School at JTS.

At B’nai Israel, Rabbi Safra is primarily interested in strengthening congregational life through education at all levels.  He continues to work to broaden the variety of learning opportunities available to all members of the community, and to engage people in various aspects of this dynamic community.  Committed to the Jewish community as a whole, Rabbi Safra is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly Washington/Baltimore region. He serves on the boards of the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA), Camp Ramah in New England, and the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds. He frequently teaches for various programs and groups in the Washington area.

Rabbi Safra and his wife Sharon are the parents of three beautiful children, Rebecca, Ethan, and Gila who are all chanichim here this summer.

Pictured here with Ilanot:


Categories: Hinuch, Magshimim