Avital Ostfield comes to St. Louis from Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she was first a teacher and then for the past two years served as director of Congregational Services.
In her new position at B’nai Amoona, she will collaborate with Andy Schwebel, Director of Experiential Education, and Anita Kraus, Director of Early Childhood Education, “to enhance the quality and depth of learning for all of the synagogue’s students."
Ostfield was born in Israel and raised in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon in 2010 and a master of social work degree with certification in Jewish Communal Leadership from the University of Michigan. Prior to her graduate studies, Ostfield participated in Teach for America, working for two years as a teacher in Detroit public schools.
Andy was born and raised in Miami Florida. He has been involved in Jewish Education his entire life. Andy has served in various capacities and has found that he truly enjoys working with Youth Programming. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Andy's passion is social action programming and truly making a difference in the world.
He feels B'nai Amoona is a great place to make all of the magic happen!
I am a 20 year veteran of early childhood education in the St. Louis Jewish community and I am thrilled to be the Director of Early Childhood Education at B’nai Amoona. I have taught at Epstein Hebrew Academy as well as Temple Israel's Deutsch Early Childhood Center and Hebrew school. I also served as co-director of the Rabbi Mark and Carol Shook Camps of Temple Israel during the summers. In my most recent position, I was the Director of Education at Kol Rinah.
I graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Kansas and have been married to Kenny for the same number of years. I have two sons, Danny at Wash U law school and Ben at Drake University, We love spending time together and traveling.
As Director of Early Childhood, I create programming, education opportunities, family services, and I get to hang out at camp as the Camp Director of B’nai Ami. My goal is for families with young children to connect with each other and to mentor happy and self-confident children that grow and discover something new every day. I am truly very lucky to be a part of the B’nai Amoona educational family.
Jenny grew up in the halls of B’nai Amoona where she became very involved with the Conservative Movement. She was a camper at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for two summers, spent a semester in high school in Israel with Ramah Israel, and also served as BAUSY chapter president. In addition, Jenny spent years in high school and college working at Machene Ramot Amoona.
Jenny earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Judaic Studies, Religious Studies, and History from Indiana University in 2005. After graduating from IU, she embarked on a journey to live in Israel for almost 5 years. She spent time volunteering, studying Jewish texts at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and working for a 10 month post – college fellowship.
Most recently, Jenny has been teaching preschool around St Louis and Hebrew at the Meyer Kranzberg Learning Center. In her spare time, you can find her Jenny in her ceramic studio, swimming, or at Creve Coeur Park.
Pam Appelman was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. She has been a member of B'nai Amoona from the time she and her husband, Howard, were married. Pam and Howard have three daughters, all of whom went through the Early Childhood Center, B'nai Amoona Religious School, and BAUSY. They are also alumni of Solomon Schechter Day School.
She fell in love with the ECC when her own children attended, and has been working as the Administrative Assistant since the fall of 2005. She assists the Director, Anita Kraus, in the operation and administration of the ECC. Her position includes a variety of duties for the ECC families and teachers, as well as special Early Childhood programs.
Pam enjoys working with ECC parents, the children, and the wonderful teachers and staff.
After graduation, Rachel spent a summer interning at a nonprofit art studio where she introduced the love of art to less fortunate children in the St. Louis area. Periodically, Rachel also teaches art classes at Laumeier Sculpture Park and The Foundry Art Center. She was drawn to work for B'nai Amoona's Youth and Camp department because it combines her love of children with her love of Judaism.
When Rachel isn't at her desk, she may be found with her fiance' James and their dog, Rex, and two cats, Archie and Romeo.