Ofra Fisher – Nachshonim Teacher
My love for teaching young children began in 2004 with summer employment at a toddler center in Santa Cruz. I was born in Israel and grew up in the states. I have a degree in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz. Since then I have taken several early childhood education classes through Merrit College in Oakland. I am involved in the management of an art gallery and art studios in Oakland called FM, where I spend many hours after teaching. Aside from working with children and art, other things that delight me are music, food, gardening and trees. I have been working at Netivot Shalom Preschool since we opened in 2007.
Anna Haimoff – Nachshonim Teacher
I was born and raised in Israel, and moved with my husband to the Bay Area in 2010. I studied Behavioral Science in Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and continued on to study Animal Assisted Therapy at David Yellin Collage in Jerusalem. I have worked with children all my life, in various roles- as a nanny, a caretaker, a therapist and a teacher. I believe in relating to the uniqueness of every child and working through, and with, his or her strengths and abilities. Other than working with children, I love reading and animals. I'm also a new and proud mom to my daughter, Liah. I am delighted to be part of the "Netivot Shalom" staff and hope we will have a satisfying and fruitful year.
Ruth Levitch – Nevonim Teacher
I began teaching at Netivot Shalom Preschool in 2009. I was born in Israel, but grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. I studied Anthropology at Harvard University, then received my master’s degree in Museum Education at San Francisco State University. I worked many years as the Educator at Bay Area museums including the Magnes Museum and the Jewish Museum San Francisco. I have also worked at several preschools including Temple Sinai, Beth El, and Radcliffe Childcare
Center. I have a background in art and drama and love children's books. I have two children: Ariella, a senior in high school and Ezra, a eighth grader. My husband, Maurice, is an architect/contractor in Berkeley. We have a cat and a dog. In 2011 I completed a two-year Gratz Early Childhood Jewish Educator Certification Program. We are members of Temple Sinai.
Vered Cohen – Nachshonim Teacher
Vered is the third of five children. In good Mediterranean style she grew up in the care of and caring for her siblings, cousins and neighbors in her home town of Tel Aviv. Her affection for children and developmental education blossomed at a young age and through her teens Vered worked in the nursery at a kibbutz.
After her military service, Vered had a wonderful and colorful career which included starting and running her own restaurants, advertising agency and an upcycled clothing line. She took her first Child Development class when pregnant with her first child and her interest in early childhood education has grown along with her own children. Vered has worked as parent co-oper and Assistant Teacher at Skytown Parent Cooperative Preschool for the last 3 years. Her goal during these years has been to guide all children to become autonomous human beings.
Vered has a beautiful family which includes Rob, her partner and father of her two lovely boys, Nico and Seba. Whenever she has a moment to spare she loves to cook, travel, read, sew and draw.
Simone Kertesz – Morning Floater and Afternoon Teacher
Simone Kertesz is no stranger to the Congregation Netivot Shalom community. After returning from Isreal where she spent her preschool years, Simone attended Tehiyah Day School and grew up as an active Netivot kid.
Simone’s interest in children started early on as she babysat for a number of families during her high school college years. She has worked in her area of interest, THEATER, as an assistant director and youth mentor with the Youth Musical Theater Company in Berkeley and as a camp counselor and dance instructor with Pop Singing for Girls Camp in Oakland. Her most recent experience with children has been with the Boys and Girls Club in Paradise, CA where she took of the multi-faceted role of recreational councilor and youth development professional.
Simone attended CSU Chico where she obtained her B.A Theatre Arts. She has returned to the Berkeley hoping to combine her loves of Jewish life, young children and theater, into a career as a professional early childhood educator while working at Netivot Shalom Preschool.
Judy Massarano – Nevonim Teacher
After working in K-12 Special Education with the visually impaired community in Los Angeles, Judy came back to her roots in Jewish Education She has taught Judaic Studies in the Bay Area for 21 years, for institutions like Oakland Hebrew Day School, Kevah, and Ketzev. She also works with bar and bat mitzvah students and adults, teaching synagogue skills. Judy received a teaching certificate from Michlalah/Jerusalem College for Women, and earned her B.A. from Stern College in Judaic Studies and Literature, and received an M.A. from California State University Los Angeles.
She enjoys adventures of all kinds, music, literature, cooking, gardening, and travel. She makes her home in Berkeley with Glenn. They have two sons, Sa’adia and Betzalel.
Lauren Kindorf - Preschool Director
Lauren began working with children at a very young age. Babysitting, organizing child care during religious services and teaching swimming were some of her first career choices. When the college years came along, there was no doubt a path in education was the way to go.
After receiving her BA in conjunction with California state teaching credentials in Multiple Subject and as an Early Childhood Education Specialist, Lauren taught in elementary school specializing in English as a second language. Once she had her own children, Ian and Shannon, Lauren worked as a Teacher/Director of a parent cooperative preschool and within a homeschooling community with students of all ages. While attending graduate school in 2007 Lauren came to Congregation Netivot Shalom to join the community in building a special place for our young children to learn and grow … and here she stays.
When not busy with her work with children, staff and families at school, Lauren enjoys hiking on Mt. Diablo, attending live music and theatre events with friends, and those special moments with her children and extended family.