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Liessa Alperin

Liessa Demba Alperin is excited to be our new Director of Innovative Learning and Engagement at Congregation B’nai Amoona.(Say that 3 times fast!) She was previously at Congregation Shaare Emeth in St. Louis for the past 13 years. Her many positions in the Jewish community have allowed her to do what she loves and love what she does! 

She is blessed to be welcomed into this wonderful community and learn from the families and her colleagues about this vibrant and dedicated Congregation. She enjoys creating positive Jewish memories for our youth and families and hopes to build a sense of community, kehillah, and inclusiveness, in all that she does. 

She lives within 3 miles of 4 generations of her family. Her husband, Mark, agreed to this years ago as she carefully incorporated it into their ketubah without him noticing. Their children Ellye and Micah are her favorite people in the world!

Pam Appelman

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.

Idena Freedman

Idena moved from New York with her husband Shmuel (a St.Louis native) and could not be happier to call St.Louis her Home. Idena initially joined the Bnai Amoona family in 2014 as an assistant teacher in the Linda Rostkoff Early Childhood Center. After spending time in the classroom she was asked to take on an administrative role in the Meyer Kranzberg Learning Center. This position combines her love for children, Religious education and Judaism. 

While outside of work, Idena enjoys spending family time with Shmuel, Ari and Aviva, frequenting the Zoo, Magic House and Science Center. Taking in a Cardinals or Blues game is an all time family favorite.

Anita Kraus

Is a 20 year veteran of early childhood education in the St. Louis Jewish community and is thrilled to be the Director of Early Childhood Education at B’nai Amoona. She taught at Epstein Hebrew Academy as well as Temple Israel's Deutsch Early Childhood Center and Hebrew school. She also served as co-director of the Rabbi Mark and Carol Shook Camps of Temple Israel during the summers.

She 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. She has 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, she creates programming, education opportunities, family services, and she gets to hang out at camp as the Camp Director of B’nai Ami. Her 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.  She truly feels very lucky to be a part of the B’nai Amoona educational family.

Rachel Bray Spezia

Rachel Bray Spezia is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL where she served as treasurer of Hillel and participated in several other community service student organizations on campus. In 2015, Rachel joined B'nai Amoona professionally as the administrative assistant in the Youth and Camp departments and in 2019, she took on the role of Communications Coordinator and Graphic Designer. In this new position, Rachel has her hand in the digital and printed communications our community receives including Congregational emails, social media posts, our B'nai Amoona bulletin and she has designed a number of the graphics, flyers, and invitations that you may have seen. Rachel also teaches art to the Meyer Kranzberg Learning Center (MKLC) students.

Rachel enjoys attending various cultural and community events around St. Louis. She has been a featured artist or art instructor at various art-fests and museums around the St. Louis metro area including The Laumeier Sculpture Park, The Foundry Art Centre, and the Maryland Heights Governmental Centre. 

Rachel, her husband James, and their son Wolfgang love being members of B'nai Amoona. Wolfgang is a student in the Linda Rotskoff Early Childhood Center, and Rachel enjoys volunteering in the Shemesh (ECC parent group) Community Building, Caring and Mitzvah Committees. 

Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781