Staff

Rebecca Hornstein

Rebecca Zimmerman Hornstein

(She/Hers)
Executive Director
Rebecca is an experienced grassroots organizer and political educator with a passion for building movements for justice grounded in Jewish community and history. She has a B.A from Macalester College and rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rebecca's previous professional roles include working as the organizer for the North Shore Labor Council (AFL-CIO) where she fostered solidarity among union members to build power for all working class people, and working as T'ruah's rabbinic peer educator. She has been a leader in work to organize the North American Jewish community for immigrant justice, for Palestinian equal rights and against the rising threat of white nationalism. She is an alumnus of the JOIN for Justice Organizing Fellowship and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She currently lives in Lynn, Massachusetts with her partner, Jonathon, and puppy, Mishka. Reach Rebecca at rebecca@circleboston.org.
Bethany Basile

Bethany Basile

(She/Hers)
Deputy Director
Based in Jamaica Plain, Bethany has led fundraising teams at leading cultural institutions for 10 years. As the Director of Foundation Relations at NY's Roundabout Theatre Company, she supported the launch of the art sector's first technical theater workforce initiative. Prior to Roundabout, she worked on landmark community-based initiatives at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Most recently, returning home to Boston and taking a break from arts and culture, Bethany led institutional giving for Northeastern University's School of Law during which time, she was fortunate to study methods of social movements, earning her M.S. in the inaugural class of the Media Advocacy program. Guided by a personal mission to support those bringing justice and equity to Boston, Bethany holds close her family and the Jewish community's part in the city's history. Reach Bethany at 857-203-0888 or by email at bethany@circleboston.org
Sandy (1)

Sandy Martin

(She/Hers)
Director of Operations
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 granddaughter. Reach Sandy at 617-566-6281 or by email at sandy@circleboston.org
Meira Soloff

Meira Soloff

(She/Hers)
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
Zohar

Zohar Berman

(They/Them)
Social Justice and Cultural Organizer
Zohar is a Yiddishist and Diasporist who is passionate about building strong and healthy Diaspora Jewish communities. Born and raised in an interfaith household in New Hampshire, they were part of economic justice organizing efforts from a young age. They received a BA in both Politics and Middle Eastern Studies from Mount Holyoke College, where they focused on social movement studies and examined the linguistics of collective organizing. In college they trained and worked as a peer-to-peer social justice educator and facilitator, and served Mount Holyoke's Jewish Student Union as chair. From 2018-2019, Zohar learned and worked at the Yiddish Book Center, first as a student in the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, where they helped to transcribe editions of ILGWU's Yiddish newspaper Gerechtigkeit, and later as an indexer for the Wexler Oral History Project. They served previously as fellow for Repair the World Baltimore, assisting food justice activists to improve food distribution and working alongside Baltimore's Black farmers to ensure that Black communities in Baltimore continued to have access to fresh produce. Zohar most recently worked as assistant project manager for the Princeton Geniza Lab, whose team is dedicated to researching documentary materials primarily in Judeo-Arabic from the Cairo Geniza. Reach Zohar by email at zohar@circleboston.org
Mira Whiting

Mira Whiting

(She/Hers)
Communications Manager
Mira has been a member of BWC since she started shule in kindergarten, and helped TASC get up and running when she was in high school. Mira has run her own photography business for the past 8 years, where she honed marketing and communications skills she is excited to use to help BWC grow and work toward a shenere, besere velt. Reach Mira by email at miraw@circleboston.org
DD-BWC

Derek David

(He/Him)
Director, A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus
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

Rosa

Rosa Blumenfeld

(She/Hers)
Shule Teacher, Circle Playtime (pre-shule)
Rosa has had many roles in the BWC community from a young adult leader to President Emeritus and now returning as a Shule teacher for the 2nd time. She is the founder of Reclaiming Indigeneity, an educational platform for Natives Raised in Other identities like her to learn how to come home to their Indigenous roots. She is currently writing a book about decolonization work with her dog Penelope from her couch in Dorchester, MA. When her brain needs a break, she goes for walks by the ocean, to West African dance classes, and eats croissants with friends.
Hinde Ena Burstin_headshot

Hinde Ena Burstin

(She/Hers)
Yiddish Teacher
Hinde Ena Burstin (aka Lererin Hinde) is a native Yiddish speaker and a Yiddish teacher, writer, researcher and literary translator. She has taught Yiddish and Yiddish literature courses at countless institutions in Naarm/Melbourne, Warrane/Sydney and New York including, for over ten years, at Monash University, where she was awarded a Faculty Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Hinde is a widely published Yiddish literature scholar who has presented guest lectures on Yiddish literature in New York, Boston, LA, Montreal, Paris, Brussels and Cape Town, as well as in Naarm/Melbourne and Warrane/Sydney.

Hinde is passionately committed to reinstating the silenced voices of Yiddish women poets of Ukraine, through researching, teaching, translating and publishing on these too-little known writers.
Emilia

Emilia Diamant

(She/Hers)
TASC Coordinator
Emilia Diamant is a teen educator, social worker, reluctant organizer, Beyhive member, and dog mom. She has taught for 15 years across the country (and the world) on power and justice, whiteness, pop culture, feminism, and the arts. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Informal Urban Education and has a Master’s in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Abby

Abby Howell

(She/Hers)
Yiddish Teacher
Abby learned to speak Yiddish while she was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and continued her study at the National Yiddish Book Center's summer internship program, at YIVO's intensive Weinreich Summer Program in New York, and at Boston Workers Circle. Abby has a M.Ed. in Education of the Deaf from Boston University, and is currently a software engineer. She has been teaching Yiddish at the Boston Workers Circle for over ten years.
Pauli

Pauli Katz

(She/Hers)
Shule Teacher, Giml (3rd Grade)
Pauli is feeling renewed and excited to return to giml after a while away. A Shule graduate herself, Pauli can be found in many parts of the Workers Circle from the Yiddish Community Chorus, to the Ritual Committee. A native of Somerville MA, she has just started a new job as a social studies teacher at Next Wave/Full Circle in Somerville Public Schools. She is very excited to be teaching in both the learning communities that she grew up in.
Matt

Matt Kaufman

(He/Him)
Shule Teacher, Beyz (2nd Grade)
Matt is currently a graduate student at Brandeis University, where he researches Public Policy and Jewish Professional Leadership. He looks forward to promoting, preserving, and pursuing Yiddishkeit through the Boston Workers Circle, and to learning from the larger BWC community. When Matt isn’t teaching at Shule, he can be found reading books, listening to records, and playing with his newly adopted cat (Babka).
Sarah

Sarah O’Connor

(She/Hers)
Shule Teacher, Zayen (7th Grade)
Sarah is Boston-based organizer who first got involved in the Workers Circle as the Alef class teacher and she is stoked to be back after a handful of years to teach this year's Zayen class. She is looking forward to exploring questions about individual and communal identity as secular Jews today and as members of an organization committed to the fight against sickness, premature death and capitalism. Sarah loves the Boston Red Sox, doing the crossword puzzle, and riding her bike around the city.
Zissel

Elya (Zissel / זיסל) Piazza

(They/Them)
Yiddish Teacher
Zissel is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley and a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. They are currently working on their doctoral dissertation which explores how queer readings of the Talmud reveal subversive impulses and discursive strategies that came to influence many later generations of Jewish thought including the Yiddish language as a site of resistance to oppression. They have been a teaching fellow at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, and both a Yiddish language pedagogy fellow and a translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center. Their translation of Di Agune, by Maria Lerner, the earliest known Yiddish play by any woman playwright is forthcoming in a volume of 3 Yiddish plays from Bloomsbury.
Mona

Mona Pollack

(She/Hers)
Shule Teacher, Alef (1st Grade)
Mona has been involved in BWC since 2017, when she was first introduced to the community through the A Besere Velt Yiddish chorus. She co-chairs the Israel/Palestine Committee and is passionate about global justice and BWC’s values of fighting sickness, premature death, and capitalism! BWC has provided a home for her to emerge from disability and reconnect with her Jewishness through Yiddishkayt, diasporic Doykayt (“here”-ness), and radical Jewish history, and she’s excited to share what she’s learned from this community with the kinder.
Mateo

Mateo Rojas

(He/Him)
Shule Teacher, Hey (5th Grade)
Mateo is an Indigenous immigrant from Paraguay. This is his second year teaching at BWC Shule! He has also loved working with children in various settings; such as being a staff at summer camps, childcare centers, and was the assistant teacher to a children’s choir. When he is not at Shule, you will often spot him around Massachusetts leading and participating in protests for all types of justice and organizing projects to build a better world. When he is not teaching or organizing, you will find him either at his Jewish synagogue participating in activities or playing with his sweet service dog, Tilly!
Tess

Tess Scheflan

(She/They)
Shule Teacher, Vov (6th Grade)
Tess is a mother, photographer, educator and activist, living in the United States since 2010. They grew up between Israel and South Africa and studied Photography, Middle Eastern History and Arabic. Tess enjoys teaching in ways that center art, justice and action. Besides behind a lens, you will mostly find her getting into good trouble with their child Max, photographing social movements, climbing trees, playing with her friends and swimming.
Elianna

Elianna Scheide

(She/Hers)
Shule Teacher, Daled (4th Grade)
Elianna was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA where she has worked for many summers as staff and the Arts and Crafts Specialist at a Jewish sleepaway camp. She graduated from Vassar College in 2020 with a degree in Psychological Science. This year, Elianna is currently completing her Masters of Arts in Secondary Science Education at UMass Boston. She is a student teaching at the Mildred K-8 School in Mattapan. When not at Shule or teaching, Elianna loves to cook all sorts of food, sew and knit, and play with her roommates' cats.
Char

Char Skidmore

(They/Them)
Shule Teacher, Kindergarten
Char has been involved with the Boston Worker’s Circle for over 10 years. In addition to being a Shule teacher, Char is also the co-chair of the Shule committee. They work as a 2nd grade teacher at the Brooke Charter School and have been in the teaching field for 16 years. Char lives in Jamaica Plain with their two awesome kids, Ari and Thea.
Jonah

Jonah Sidman

(He/They)
Shule Teacher, Music

Yiddish Teacher
A native of Brooklyn and graduate from Oberlin College, Jonah has been participating in the Boston Workers Circle community for years, coordinating events, making music and studying Yiddish. A science educator, he is also the music teacher at Boston Workers Circle's children's Shule. He can often be found fiddling for American or Irish folk dances all over the East Coast, and speaking/singing in Yiddish locally. Having begun his Yiddish studies at Boston Workers Circle, he's pleased to now be sharing his knowledge with students as a teacher.

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