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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.
Ali

Ali Rice

(She/Hers)
Deputy Director
Ali Rice is a fundraiser and community organizer working to build interdependent and just community spaces. Over the past eight years, Ali's professional roles included working in grant writing, major gifts, communications, and event planning. She has most recently been at JOIN for Justice, a Jewish community organizing training institute and at Rian Immigrant Center and RefugePoint, both immigration and refugee-focused nonprofits. Ali received her BA in International Relations with a concentration in Human Rights from Connecticut College. She loves matchmaking, braiding Havdalah candles, group singing, hiking slowly, and spending time with friends and family. Reach Ali at ali@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

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
Derek (1)

Derek David

(He/Him)
Music Director, A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus
Since 2018, Dr. Derek David has been music director of ‘A Besere Velt’. An accomplished composer, conductor, and music educator based in Boston, Derek’s music has been performed in Europe and throughout the United States. Prior to his work with A Besere Velt, he was choir conductor for the men’s and women’s choirs at Walden School (2015-2017). With degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory, he is currently Lecturer in Music at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

TEACHERS

Sasha

Sasha Berenstein

(She/They)
Yiddish Teacher
Sasha Berenstein (she/they) is a current participant of the Yiddish Book Center's Yiddish Pedagogy Practicum, a Klezmer musician, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity activist on unceded Duwamish territory in so-called Seattle. She began her work in transgender/queer inclusivity in the Yiddish language with compiling a glossary of Yiddish transgender/nonbinary/gender-neutral terms that can be found on the League for Yiddish's “Words of the Week” page and on Medium, which later became the primary vocabulary source drawn from by the authors of Undzer Mishpokhe: A Queer Yiddish Curriculum Supplement. Since then, Sasha has led related workshops and trainings for inclusivity in Yiddish pedagogy, while continuing Yiddish language instruction centering accessibility and identity for queer, trans, and disabled folks. Sasha is also especially passionate about creating inclusive educational environments for immunocompromised folks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting Yiddish curricula to online formats to meet the needs of the growing demographic of people who can't safely or reliably attend class in person.
Candle

Nathan Bernstein

(He/Him)
Shule Teacher, Daled (4th Grade)
Nathan Bernstein studies linguistics as a senior at Brandeis University, where he also serves as the Undergraduate Department Representative for Yiddish and works in the university's library. He is passionate about building and preserving intergenerational community through Yiddishkayt. In his free time, you can find him drawing, reading, practicing bass, or finding new spaces to explore in the area.
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 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.
Abby 2023 (1)

Abby Howell

(She/Hers)
Yiddish Teacher
Abby has taught Yiddish classes at the Boston Workers Circle for over a decade. Abby first learned to speak Yiddish as a teenager at the University of Texas. She has a B.A. in linguistics and M.Ed. in education of the Deaf. Her infectious enthusiasm and pedagogical expertise combine to create an exciting, inclusive classroom environment for Yiddish learners of all kinds.
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).
Elias

Elias Newman

(He/Him)
TASC Coordinator
Elias is an educator and organizer who’s spent the past decade working in progressive movements and politics. After taking time off to heal from long Covid, he is thrilled to begin supporting BWC youth to become leaders and change agents in their communities. Elias also enjoys learning klezmer music on the accordion and attending stand-up comedy open mics.
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.
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.
Ava

Ava Shaevel

(She/Hers and They/Them)
Shule Teacher, Pre-K/Kindergarten
Ava's first BWC event was a young adult Shabes, which they really enjoyed! Ava is an aspiring puppeteer/storyteller as well as Rabbi, and is so excited to be the Kindergarten/Pre-K Shule teacher this year. Ava is looking forward to using artistic mediums with the Pre-K/Kindergarten class to tell and listen to stories about our Jewish culture. Ava currently works at the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester as a Music Assistant! When Ava is not at the Boys and Girls Club or at Shule, Ava loves to be in nature, eat yummy foods, dancing, and being silly!
Jonah2

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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