Religious School Teachers

Livya Howard-Yashar – 4th/5th and 6th/7th Hebrew/T’fillah

Livya began her teaching career leading Shabbat youth services at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, which was also her elementary school growing up. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied dance, music, and language. Since then she has channeled her passion for the performing arts and language into education, teaching dance in the public school system and working as a private tutor. Livya has also worked as a madricha on birthright trips to Israel, so she truly values the importance of creating unique Jewish learning experiences that are relatable to Jewish minds of different age groups.

YAFIT JOSEPHSON, 4th-7th Hebrew Teacher

Yafit Josephson was born in Los Angeles and raised in Israel since she was 2 years old. She relocated to Los Angeles in 2003, following her 2 years of IDF service, and graduated from USC School of Theatre in 2008. Throughout her school years, she discovered a passion for teaching and working with children of different age groups. She has been teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies through the use of Theatre and improvisation games at several Jewish schools in Los Angeles for the past 14 years, such as Sinai Akiba Academy, Wilshire Blvd Temple, Hillel Hebrew Academy and Adat Shalom. She is a big advocate of Experiential Learning and loves to incorporate hands-on activities, group projects & performances, and lots of Theatre games in her classes in order to create a meaningful, creative and fun Jewish experience for her students. She is very excited to join the Kehillat Ma’arav community for her 4th year and infuse her love of Judaism to her students and their families. In addition to being a teacher and an actress, Yafit is also a proud mother to Harel (2.5 years old) and Maor (5 months old), and have been married to her husband, Oran, for 5 years.

Alex Julian, 2nd/3rd and 6th/7th Judaica Teacher

Alex Julian was born in Portland, OR and raised in Fresno, CA from the time he was 2 years old. He attended weekly religious school beginning when he was 3 years old at Temple Beth Israel in Fresno, CA, and helped teach there throughout high school. He was an active member of his temple youth group, eventually becoming president during his senior year of high school. He also spent 8 summers at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, 2 of which he spent as a counselor and a song-leader for children grades 2 through 9. Through teaching, leading a youth group, and working as a song-leader and camp counselor, Alex found a passion for educating children and young adults about Jewish values and traditions in a creative and interactive manner. This is Alex’s first year teaching at Kehillat Ma’arav and he is very excited to be a part of the community. In addition to teaching, Alex also works as a Research Assistant in a Brain Metastasis lab at USC, hoping to one day become a doctor.

Neomi Nemanim – 2nd/3rd Hebrew and 6th/7th Hebrew/T’fillah

Neomi Nemanim was born and raised in Israel. She served in the Israeli army and graduated from Bar Elan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. She studied criminology and special education and then worked as a teacher in Israel for 10 years. She is a very passionate teacher who loves passing down the traditions from our beautiful culture. Neomi has been a part of the KM team for the past 15 years. She lives in Los Angeles with her wonderful family, including two children and the two best grandchildren. She visits Israel at least twice a year.

Hila Robas, 2nd/3rd and 6th/7th Judaica

Hila was born in Israel and loves teaching Hebrew and Jewish studies. She graduated the Open University of Israel with a B.A in Psychology and completed 16 Early Childhood Education units at Santa Monica College. Hila focuses on all aspects of development including social, emotional, physical, cognitive, language and literacy. In addition to her work as a Preschool Teacher for several years, Hila provides experiential custom-made Hebrew, Cooking and Judaic workshops for all ages. Worked as a Summer Camp Instructor for 4-12 years old and led tours, trips, created craft projects, games and outdoor activities. Hila is very excited to be teaching at KM and bringing her love and joy of learning to our community.

Feival Rubinstein, 4th/5th and 6th/7th – Judaica

Feivel Rubinstein, a native to Santa Monica, grew up at congregation Adat Shalom. He studied at the University of Colorado in Boulder where, in addition to receiving his degree in vocal performance, he discovered his passion for teaching Jewish youth. He began his teaching career at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder in 2006. Since then, Feivel has worked with numerous synagogues, religious schools, youth groups, and camps, including Camp Ramah in California where he works every summer as the Rosh T’fillah (“Head of Prayers”). Feivel is currently in his 5th year at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, hoping to be ordained as a Rabbi within the next two years. In addition to teaching at Kehillat Maarav, he is also the Rabbinic intern for Camp Ramah in California throughout the academic year. He is very excited to be working to inspire a love of Judaism in all of our youth at Kehillat Maarav.

Gidon Shikler, Music Specialist

Gidon Shikler is entering his second year as the Tefillah music teacher and Hebrew assistant. Gidon was born in The Netherlands and has roots and citizenship in Israel. He grew up in Southern California and spent his High school and University years in Europe. A reggae/soul musician and songwriter by trade, you can find him playing his music on stages throughout California and the world. He also plays at various synagogues as part of religious services and functions around southern California. Teaching comes naturally to him and he enjoys learning from the children he teaches as well as passing on guidance and knowledge.