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Sholem's Leadership and Staff 2014 - 2015

Board of Directors

Laurence Braude – President
Jeffrey Kaye - Vice-President
Anne Kaufman - Secretary
Lori Furth – Treasurer/Chair
Dario Ringach – Vice-Chair
Hugo Furth

Jan Goodman
Mathius Mack Gertz
Marilyn McLaughlin
Sheila McCoy
Hillary Rollins



Ross Helford - Principal
Hershl Hartman – Education Director/vegvayzer

Lerer (teachers)

Rebekka Helford -- Assistant Principal, Alef class,
Bagels 'n Blox
Claire Bergen - Beys class
Alina Lieber - Giml class
Keren Ness- Daled class
Tanya Hadlock-Piltz- Hey class
Ross Helford -- Vov class
Linda Fisher - Music coordinator
Ruthy Seid -- Music

Ross Helford

Ross Helford, Principal, Vov lerer

Ross Helford is a writer and teacher with over a decade working in the entertainment industry as a screenwriter. He holds an MFA in creative writing, as well as a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. As an educator, in any given week, Ross works with students of all ages, from four to adult. In addition to having taught Sholem’s Vov class (9th & 10th grades) since 2006, Ross teaches and tutors across multiple subject areas including karate, music, Spanish, creative and essay writing, literature, and film studies.


Hershl Hartman, Education Director/vegvayzer

Hershl has been Sholem's education director since 1967. Between 1967 and 1985, he was also the school's principal.  He is a certified Secular Jewish vegvayzer who often officiates at weddings and other life-cycle events. Hershl holds degrees in Secular Jewish education and in Yiddish journalism, which he practiced as the first native-born Yiddish newspaper reporter. 

A professional Yiddish/English translator and interpreter, he also serves on the Executive Board of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (Sholem is an affiliate) and the District Committee of the SoCal Arbeter Ring/Workmen's Circle, with which Sholem actively collaborates. In addition, Hershl directs the Secular Yeshiva, intensive classes in higher Jewish learning for those willing to make the commitment, as well as for those interested in certification as vegvayzer/madrikhot(im)/leaders.

Rebekka Helford, Asst. Principal, Bagels 'n Blox and Alef lerer

When Rebekka isn't busy running Sholem's parent/toddler program, Bagels 'n Blox, co-leading the Sholem School Klezmer Ensemble, or performing her duties as co-lead teacher at Sholem, she is conducting psychotherapy at the Maple Counseling Center or in her private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She loves making music with children and has taught Music Together classes for three years. She also teaches for Pepperdine University and Gerry Grossman Seminars, is a longtime practitioner of Kundalini yoga, and attends Sholem's secular yeshiva.

A 10-year member of the Sholem faculty, Rebekka was drawn to Sholem because of her love for Yiddishkayt and passion for preserving Jewish cultural heritage in a personally meaningful and relevant way.  She loves welcoming newcomers to the Sholem family, and enjoys introducing people to this unique community.

  Claire Bergen, Beys lerer, Curriculum Specialist

Along with teaching eyns class at Sholem, Claire teaches music and movement using the Orff method at the Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) at the Heart of Los Angeles youth center (HOLA), a collaboration between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and HOLA in the Rampart district. Previously she taught music full-time in the Lawndale public schools after receiving her M.A in teaching and her California Multiple Subject Teaching credential. She also has 10 years of experience teaching private and group violin and viola lessons to all ages.

Outside of teaching, Claire is a third-generation klezmer musician and violinist in the eclectic klezmer band "The Shpil." She has traveled to New York, Montreal and Poland to study klezmer music and Yiddish culture. She spent a summer as a Student Scholar at the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oswiecim, Poland, and worked at Yiddishkayt Los Angeles organizing Yiddish conversation groups and cultural events.

Having grown up in Culver City attending Hebrew school at Conservative synagogues, Claire is overjoyed to have finally become part of the Sholem community after many years of curiosity about secular Jewishness and having a feeling that there was a great treasure to be found here.

Alina Lieber 

Alina Lieber, Giml lerer

Alina Lieber has worked in a variety of tutoring and assistant positions, both academic and in dance, over the last 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Occidental college, while continuing to work with middle and high school students. She currently works as a manager for SocioCultural Research Consultants, LLC (a.k.a. Dedoose) and spends time at the dance studio and in her contemporary dance company rehearsals. Alina is also a Sholem graduate, bas mitzve, and former belfer. As Giml lerer she hopes to help students expand their knowledge and experience with their Jewish heritage and history, and get excited about their own role in the community.

Keren Ness


Keren Ness, Daled lerer

Keren first came to the Sholem Community as her daughter’s Bagels 'n Blox chaperone, and was thrilled to join its progressive secular teaching staff soon after. Keren earned an MA in Education through UCLA’s social justice oriented Center X. She brings with her more than a decade of experience in teaching and curriculum development. She’s taught in a variety of settings including the Museum of Tolerance, public elementary school and adult ed programs and Crossroads academic elementary summer camp. As the Daled lerer, she is excited about helping each student connect to his or her Jewish cultural heritage in deep and meaningful ways.


Tanya Hadlock-Pitz

Tanya Hadlock Piltz - Hey lerer

Tanya has worked in education and in service to children and families for more than 10 years. She has been a substitute teacher (K-12) and has taught full-time as a middle school science teacher at Wildwood School in Los Angeles. In addition, she has volunteered with AmeriCorps, working with teens in Seattle's Parks and Recreation programs, and she has volunteered with Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Children as a domestic violence counselor in their children's program.

Tanya was born and raised in Los Angeles within a Conservative Jewish community. She enjoys learning about a variety of secular and religious practices and adheres to the philosophy "S/he who knows one [religion], knows none." She received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Antioch University, Los Angeles in 2006. The philosophy of the school, with its emphasis on social justice, has been a guiding influence in her life. She received her Master of Social Welfare (MSW) degree from UCLA in 2013.

Her hobbies include reading, writing and hiking. She once co-led a middle school hiking trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! At Sholem, Tanya brings a sense of fun and adventure to her class as well as high expectations for increasing student self-knowledge and skills for achieving personal goals.



Linda Fisher - Music Coordinator
Linda Fisher's involvement with Sholem goes back a long way.  In addition to being Sholem's music coordinator for the last 12+ years, she is the mother of two Sholem graduates, and, as a child, was a graduate of Sholem Sunday School herself.  Linda is a classically-trained singer who performs in a variety of genres, including musical theater, folk, and light opera, for a wide range of age groups.  She has worked as a music educator in children's music for more than 25 years.  For 12 of those years Linda created and ran an interactive musical children's story-time program for a local independent bookstore, as well as provided classes and specialized workshops there, combining children's literature and music.  In addition, she has led music-in-the-classroom training workshops for pre-school teachers, and performed at literacy programs in schools around the Los Angeles area.  She is a former music director and teacher, as well as board member, for WILPF Peace Camp, a project of Women's International League of Peace and Freedom.  She has performed in a number of plays and musicals locally, and, in addition, has performed in several readings of new original musicals.  Her CD, called "Since You've Asked", is available. Just ask her.


Ruthy Seid, Music lerer
Ruthy Seid is a third generation Jewish secularist as well as a Valley Kindershul and Mitlshul graduate. She has taught music at Sholem for 14 years. Her day job is as a librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library.