PD learningWhat is the JETS Global EdTech Team?


New instructional technologies and related methodologies are being introduced into the classroom at the fastest pace in the history of education.  Yet, the use of educational technology in Jewish studies instruction lags far behind its use in general studies. The future vitality of Jewish education depends upon the ability of schools and other educational organizations to provide proper training in the relatively new field of education technology for their teachers. While professional training programs on the integration of educational technology in classroom instruction exist, there are very few programs that focus on the fields of Jewish studies and Hebrew language instruction.

Providing professional development for teachers in EdTech for Jewish studies teachers is challenging because:

  • Unfamiliar/resistant:


Many Jewish Studies teachers are unfamiliar with technology and the methodologies that EdTech support, which leads to resistance;

  • Generic and unproductive PD is common:


Tech training to a varied group of teachers is generally generic in nature, and relies on the teacher to apply the technology to his/her specific curriculum and classroom reality;

  • Rapidly changing field. How to keep up?


The field of educational technology is rapidly changing and developing, rendering some innovations obsolete within a relatively short time. Thus, professional training in EdTech cannot be an event, but must be an ongoing process;

  • Inefficient support system:


The proper use of technology tools requires a support system that not all schools provide. Thus, even when a teacher is prepared to incorporate technology meaningfully in his/her instruction, technical challenges thwart effective implementation.

There is thus a critical need for programs that relate up-to-date innovative online technologies and methodologies to Jewish studies, and that provide Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers with the ongoing support needed to apply these technologies to their specific curricular needs.

Proposed Solution

jets pd session

Jewish Interactive and JETS are in a unique position to face this challenge, with your help. The proposed program would spearhead the following:

  • A Global EdTech Team:


Create the industry’s leading team of education technology consultants, with a global reach. These professionals would be trained in current technologies and methodologies, would be coached on best practices in the delivery of professional development training with a particular focus on the needs of Jewish studies and Hebrew language instructors, would be trained to automate professional training sessions for asynchronous use, and would become a professional learning community to update each other on continually emerging technologies and to provide the critical element of peer review. 

  • Customized Support Programs:


Provide a mechanism through which Jewish educational institutions and Jewish educators could access high quality professional development programming related to educational technology, including individualized consulting and mentoring, both online and face-to face, as well as automated asynchronous professional development opportunities.

  • An Online EdTech Support Center:


Create an online EdTech Support Center to provide Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers with ongoing support, including information on new technologies, tutorials, asynchronous professional development opportunities, relevant blogs, and a professional chat group of practitioners in the field.

Jewish Interactive plans to partner with JETS, Jerusalem EdTech Solutions, a noted leader in the field of Jewish EdTech, in the implementation and marketing of the program. The training of the Global EdTech team will be coordinated by Smadar Goldstein, founder and director of JETS, who has become recognized as a leading provider of EdTech training for Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers.

The professional development model promoted by the program will focus on user-friendly, Hebrew-friendly, and budget-friendly tools, and will correspond to effective in-service training practices revealed in a meta-analysis of research entitled “What Works in Professional Development” (Phi Delta Kappan, March 2009). The authors of that study concluded that the most effective in-service professional development programs exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Provide active learning experiences for participants, and provide teachers with opportunities to adapt the practices to their unique classroom situations.  
  • Focus on ideas gained through the involvement of outside experts, as opposed to school based programs that focus solely on teachers teaching teachers.
  • Involve significant time commitments with considerable amounts of structured and sustained follow-up after the main professional development activity.

The first cohort of the Global EdTech team consists of 8 highly successful innovators in the field from Israel, Western Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, with each providing a specific area or specific areas of expertise. They will be trained in presentation techniques, provided resources to automate up to 80% of their specific knowledge base, and tasked with allocating a set number of weekly or monthly hours to training of educators and administrators within the Jewish educational world beyond those sessions. Most importantly, as new technology is introduced, it will also be incorporated into this network, with resources allocated to provide new training.

This ambitious project is one that will change the face of EdTech training PD for teachers within the Jewish educational world.

Getting Started

Team members will begin intensive training sessions during the summer of 2017 and will be ready to lead online PD training sessions and Face-to-Face PD Days in Jewsh educational institutions world-wide

Each team member brings his/her own expertise to the team. During the training sessions the team members will each share their own experiences in their area of expertise These include

  • EdTech for special needs edcation
  • using 3D tools to teach Jewish subjects
  • Gemara through EdTech
  • EdTech for Holidays in Religious School instruction
  • teaching Hebrew language and Jewish texts via Ed Tech

JETS Global EdTech Team

Rabbi Aytan Kadden

Originally from West Hartford, CT, Rabbi Aytan Kaddan made Aliya in 1996 after completing BA and MA (Jewish History) degrees in the States. Upon arriving in Israel, he learned in Yeshivat Har Etzion towards S’micha. Upon completing S’micha in 2001, his young family  (wife Chanie, daughter, Shifra and son, Aharon) moved to Jerusalem where they have lived ever since. Since 2001, Rabbi Kaden has been teaching and administrating at various levels in mixed dati-hiloni schools. He worked for 13 years in Kfar Adumim, a mixed community that created the first mixed school in Israel. For the last 5 years, he has been in the Keshet school in Jerusalem. Rabbi Kaddan says that his relationship with teaching borders on addiction and to feed this (and hook others) he also looks for opportunities to encourage and guide starting teachers. Rabbi Kaddan has begun adding EdTech to his repertoire and is excited to expand this horizon by learning and sharing with all.

Ari Kellerman

Ari is originally from Houston, Texas. He has a Masters in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration and a certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Management from the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management. Ari Kellerman has taught Judaic Studies in the Middle and High School at Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, Texas for 8 years.  In addition to teaching, he is currently the Director of Student Engagement at Beren Academy. He lives in Houston with his wife and two children. When not immersed in education, Ari enjoys spending time with family, traveling, or watching (American) football.  

sammy edtech global team Sammy Morhaim

Sammy Morhaim grew up in London, England. He attended yeshiva for 4 years and then completed two degrees, one in Humanities and the other in Education. Sammy moved to Manchester and taught Jewish Studies for upper elementary school in King David Primary for 8 years, heading the department for the last two years. Since September, Sammy has been working with Jewish Interactive to train, create and facilitate Jewish learning through technology. He enjoys spending time with his wife and 4 kids and enjoys most sports especially football (soccer) and tennis.

Global EdTech Team Ellen FoxEllen Fox

Ellen Fox has been the Temple Solel Religious School Director in north San Diego County since 1989. She received her BA in Music and teaching credential from University of California, Riverside. She earned her Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.She has taught students from grades kindergarten through ninth grade as well as adult students. Ellen is active in the San Diego Agency for Jewish Agency Principals’ Council. Ellen belongs to the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.  Ellen resides in Encinitas with her husband, Steve. She has three grown sons, Mark, Randy and Scott. Her hobbies are sewing, cooking, reading and music.

yakov global edtechYakov Shafferman

Yakov Shafferman is originally from Basel, Switzerland. After living in Jerusalem for 18 years where he completed his Smicha, Yakov and his family returned to his hometown in Switzerland. He taught for one year and then became principal of the Jewish School of Basel — the same school where he had studied in hs childhood. He then served for two years as school rabbi of the NOAM school in Zurich. During that time Yakov met Smadar Goldstein and caught the EdTech virus. Yakov believes that EdTech really enhances Jewish learning and that the students enjoy that type of learning. Currently, he is leading educational projects for the Basel Rabbinate and teaches youth, older students and adults from the standpoint of a Modern Orthodox background. Yakov loves spending time with his wife and five kids, hiking, singing and learning.

ariel margolis 2Ariel Margolis

Ariel Margolis joined Hebrew College in 2014 as Director of Makor, Director of Online Learning and Adjunct Lecturer in special education at the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education. Ariel is also the Director of Student Support and is known in the Jewish day school teaching community for his commitment to innovative educational models and leveraging technology to help students engage with STEM and Judaic curriculum. Prior to joining Hebrew College, Ariel worked at Kehillah Schechter Academy for 15 years, where he served as a math, science and Tanakh teacher; middle-school principal; teacher coach; and instructional technology coach. He is also an EdTech consultant to several companies world-wide. A good friend of Ariel’s, Sieva Kozinsky (CEO of Studysoup), described online learning as ‘flattening the walls of the classroom.’ Ariel turned Sieva’s description into his philosophy of teaching online. Ariel believes that with the use of Schoology (Learning Management System for Hebrew College), third party apps, and a dedication to both individualized and personalized instruction, online learning has become a boundless classroom of idea sharing and collaboration and has redefined learning.

Shir Twersky staff memberShir Twersky

Shir was born in Israel and was raised in New York and Tel Aviv. She served for two years in the IDF in the education unit, as a commander in a boot camp for soldiers from abroad. After her military service, she began her studies in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she majored in Tanach and Jewish Thought. She is currently doing her Masters in Jewish philosophy and is teaching Tanach in Israeli high schools as well as online classes. Shir began her career in online education in order to share her passion for Jewish culture and her love of Israel. She currently resides in Jerusalem.

Lori Feldstein

Lori graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary and has been involved in formal/informal Jewish Education for more than 25 years.  Lori was the founding director of the Jewish Youth Connection at KJ, a Jewish learning experience for families in Manhattan.  She made Aliyah in 2004 and created a Jewish travelling summer camp for children in Gush Etzion.  Lori lives in Efrat with her husband, Jonathan and their 6 children and loves hiking, spinning, cooking and sharing her passion about Judaism and Israel with others.




Effie KleinbergEffie Kleinerg

Rabbi Ephraim Kleinberg is the Director of Educational Technology and Religious Growth at Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto. He teaches Talmud, Tanakh, and Jewish Thought alongside supporting and training teachers in the integration of technology in their classrooms. Rabbi Kleinberg and his wife serve as OU-JLIC Educators at Toronto area Universities and host events for the Jewish young professional community in South Toronto. Rabbi Kleinberg is currently completing his EdD in the area of Educational Technology in the Judaic Studies Classroom at Yeshiva University. Previously, Rabbi Kleinberg held teaching positions at the Ramaz School and at SAR High School.

Atara Snowbell

Atara Global EdTech MemberAtara (Daniel) Snowbell grew up in Jerusalem, and studied Tanakh and Talmud in Migdal Oz for four years while completing her BA in Talmud and Hebrew literature. She completed the Nishmat Yoatzot Halakhah program (and worked on the Nishmat website for 10 years), and proceeded to acquire a Master’s degree in Bible Studies from Haifa University while studying at Matan. Atara taught at Matan, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Herzog College for several years, before delving into the amazing world of educational technology as content and development coordinator at Herzog’s www.hatanakh.com. Her passion and academic research focus on the writings of SY Agnon, Israel’s only Nobel Prize laureate for literature, and the integration of Tanakh language in his works. She co-found and published a manuscript of a lost Agnon story in 2016. She paints in oils and acrylics, and loves modern art, Heavy Metal music, and high literature. She resides with her husband Jonathan and five children in Alon Shvut, Israel.

tanach and edtech

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