Staff and Teachers

Staff

Photo of Jen and childrenJen Kiok
Executive Director

Jen Kiok is a lifelong activist with a deep commitment to justice. For the past 15 years she has worked as a community-based educator, using education as a tool for social change. Jen identifies as a secular Jew and a spiritual Jew who feels a deep sense of connection with her ancestors. She believes that we have a collective responsibility to work in solidarity with people whose identity mirrors the identity of our ancestors and envisions a Workmen's Circle community in which we work hard to take care of each other and the world. Jen loves spending time in nature with her husband, Seth, and their children, Rose and Jonah. She uses she/her/hers pronouns.

Reach Jen at 617-566-6281 or jenkiok@circleboston.org.
 



Sandy Martin

Office Manager 

Sandy has worked for, and volunteered with, youth organizations and community coalitions in the Boston area for more than 30 years. She was the coordinator of the South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers' Alliance for more than ten years- an organization which became a model for other neighborhoods across the city. 

Sandy's parents both grew up in Jewish Roxbury, and she is happy to be working with Boston's Jewish social justice community. She is also very happy spending time with her 1-year old granddaughter. Sandy uses she/her/hers pronouns.

Reach Sandy at 617-566-6281 or by email at sandy@circleboston.org



Michelle Weiser

Deputy Director

Michelle is a sephardi queer Jewish organizer. She received a B.A. in Public Relations from Boston University, where she served on the board of the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism and worked on the successful campaign to open a rape crisis center on campus. Michelle is a proud alum of the JOIN for Justice Fellowship program, where she worked side-by-side with front-line communities impacted by environmental threats. Prior to that, Michelle worked on local, state, and national communications strategies to support impact litigation at the LGBTQ law firm GLAD. Michelle lives in a cooperative home in Jamaica Plain and loves watercolor, adventures, and ice coffee. Michelle uses she/her/hers pronouns.

Reach Michelle at 617-566-6281 or by email at michelle@circleboston.org


Meira Soloff

Education Director

Meira has a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Near Eastern and Judaics studies from Brandeis University and a Masters in Teaching Early Childhood Education from The Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. She has worked as a teacher in the Boston Public schools and in a variety of out of school settings. Prior to that she worked as an advocate for equitable urban development and displacement prevention in Boston and the surrounding areas. She is also an alumnus of the JOIN class of 2010. During her free time, Meira loves singing circles, biking, and reading.

 

Reach Meira at 617-566-6281 or by email at meira@circleboston.org

 


Maddy Popkin
Cultural Worker & Member Organizer

Maddy is a queer Jewish organizer, artist and cultural worker and an aspiring clown and Yiddishist. They grew up in New Jersey and Tokyo, Japan--where they learned how nourishing a vibrant and multicultural Jewish community could be. After organizing with the queer and trans community--and studying-- at Barnard College, they moved to Boston to train with JOIN and work with The Share Union--where they learned from an incredible team of feminist labor organizers about the value of inter-generational and relational power building. Maddy started working with the BWC as a member leader of GRAGGER! and has continued to grow as a Jewish cultural worker and educator with the BWC ever since! 

Reach Maddy at 617-566-6281 or by email at maddy@circleboston.org

 

Madeleine Jackman
Communications Manager

Madeleine recieved her BA in English from UMass Amherst, where she was an assistant arts editor for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. As a student, she was awarded the Sara Lennox Scholarship Fund for activism and community service projects in Morocco, Peru, and Greece. Madeleine has been involved with immigrant support and activism for almost five years through community outreach, emergency response volunteer work on Lesvos, refugee resettlement with the International Rescue Committee in Denver, and most recently as a career coach for asylum-seekers at the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, sketching, and hiking. Madeleine uses she/her/hers pronouns. 

Reach Madeleine at 617-566-6281 or by email at mjackman@circleboston.org. 

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A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus
Derek David, Director

Derek David (b.1985) is a composer, conductor, and music educator based in Boston, Massachusetts. As a composer, his dramatic and vibrant chamber music has been performed in both Europe and the United States and has received great recognition from audiences and critics alike.  Derek's String Quartet (2011) has been met with international praise and repeated performances throughout the United States. It was described by Sabino Pena of France's classiquenews.com as "a true musical jewel of the 21st Century." The quartet was awarded both the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute Prize and the Morton Gould ASCAP Award in 2011, as well as first place in the American Prize in 2015. Additionally, he is the current recipient of the 2018 SFCM Hoefer Prize for his body of work from over the past 10 years. As a conductor, Derek was the conductor of the Full Circle Opera Project for their 2003-2004 season and conducted the finale to Puccini's Turandot in Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a choir conductor, he conducted the men's and women's choirs at the Walden School from 2015-2017.

Dr. David holds a DMA from the New England Conservatory of Music and is currently a teaching fellow at Harvard University, where he is a five-time recipient of the Harvard University Distinction in Teaching Award. Outside of composition and conducting, his musical areas of interest extend to medieval theory and musicology, the Beatles, and Jewish Music.

For more information please visit derekdavid.com

 


 

Teachers

Rachel Hess
Circle Playtime

BWC has been Rachel's Jewish and activist home in Boston since 2010. When her oldest was a baby, she worked alongside other parents to make BWC events and spaces more small-kid friendly. She is entering her second year as the Circle Playtime teacher. She is also Chair of the Equity and Inclusion committee and was recently elected to the board. 

Rachel is a Postpartum Doula deeply committed to improving the lives of children and families in the greater Boston area. She works individually with new families, leads parent support groups and is an experienced LGBQ/T trainer and facilitator within the perinatal community. Rachel holds an MS from Wheelock College and a BA from Oberlin College. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her wife Char (Shule K1 teacher) and her children, Ari (Giml class) and Thea (K2 class). Pronouns: she/her/hers


 

Char Skidmore
Kindergarten Soves

Char Skidmore is excited to be teaching the Soves class this year. Char has been involved with BWC since Char's oldest daughter came to the Passover Seder in utero in 2010. Char is also Co-chair of the Shule committee. Char has been a public school teacher in the greater Boston area for the past 12 years. Char currently teaches 2nd grade at the Brooke Charter School in Mattapan, which both Char's children attend. Char holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock and a bachelor's degree in theater from UMass Boston. Char lives in Jamaica Plain with Char's wife Rachel and children, Ari (Giml class) and Thea (K2 class). Pronouns: Char/they/she


Hannah Nahar
Kindergarten Toybn

Hannah Nahar is a writer, artist, and educator who has been connected to Boston Jewish communities and justice movements all their life. They live in a Jewish cooperative, and care deeply about building intentional Jewish communities grounded in justice. This is their seond year teaching Shule kindergarten. In each class they learn so much from the joy, imagination, and thoughtful questions the students bring. Pronouns: they/them/their.

 


Lior Gross
Alef (1)

Bio coming soon! 


 

Mia Rybeck
Beyz (2)

Mia Rybeck grew up in Cambridge, MA and has recently returned to the Boston area. Mia loves creating spaces where students imagine and live into new possibilities with each other. She is thrilled to be working with Beyz students at Shule this year. Before returning to Boston, Mia was facilitating a partnership program between college students and professors at Berea College focused on the topic of "Belonging" in higher education. Outside of Shule, Mia loves to paint, read, and cook - with herself, with family and friends, and with two joyful kids with whom she works as an after-school caretaker. Pronouns: she/her/hers

 


 

Pauline Katz
Giml (3)

Pauline Katz is a graduate of our very own Boston Workers Circle Shule, as well as an active member in A Besere Velt, BWC's Yiddish Chorus, the Yiddish Committee, and the Ritual Committee. During the week, she teaches English and history to English learners at Revere High School. When not working or volunteering, Pauli likes to dance swing and blues, knit and spin yarn, and bake. She is looking forward to getting to know this year's Giml class. Pronouns: she/her/hers

 


 

Lior Appel-Kraut
Daled Eyns (4)

Lior Appel-Kraut was born and raised in Michigan, and has lived in the Boston area for six years. Besides teaching Shule, she spends her time organizing and researching at the labor union UNITE HERE Local 26, and lives in a Jewish co-op. She is passionate about Jewish culture, community, and solidarity, and is excited for her first year teaching Shule at BWC. Pronouns: she/her/hers

 

 


 

Daniel Nahum
Daled Tsvey (4)

Having lived in five countries, Colombia, United States of America, Israel, Burundi, and Ghana, Daniel has embraced their languages, values, and cultures. Music has become his best friend, a constant companion through his journey. For close to a decade, he has been working with diverse forms of peace education, and facilitating learning spaces tailored to each context. At the heart of his professional journey as an educator lies an urge for conversation. He attended the Jewish Youth Movement called Kineret in Colombia, and this continues to inspire his work even today. Pronouns: he/him/his 


 

Mirah Sand
Hey (5)

Mirah Sand is a proud Shule teacher and young adult member of Boston Workers Circle for the past six years. Mirah is a pediatric occupational therapist when not at BWC. They also enjoy combining their passion for education for social change, facilitation, Jewish labor heroines, and play-based learning into the Hey/5th grade classroom. Pronouns: she and they

 


 

Julia Donnelly Spiegelman

Vov (6)

Julia Donnelly Spiegelman is a social justice and foreign language educator originally from New Hampshire. She is currently a PhD student in Applied Linguistics at UMass Boston, where she teaches French, and researches questions related to language, identity, and ideology. She is a self-proclaimed language nerd and, in her spare time, she loves studying Yiddish and playing Klezmer clarinet. Pronouns: she/her/hers

 


 

Sarah Robins
Zayin (7)

Sarah Robins was born and raised in the Boston area. While she grew up in a reform Jewish community, she has found her Jewish home at Boston Workers Circle over the past five years. In her "regular" life, she is a high school history teacher, and spends her summers teaching and mentoring teenagers abroad. On the rare occassion that she is not teaching, Sarah love to draw, sing, and spend time outside. She is thrilled to be working with this year's Zayin class! Pronouns: she/her/hers

 


Jonah Sidman
Music

Bio coming soon!