Our leadership team offers years of experience in education combined with a passion for inspiring students to reach their greatest potential.
Mrs. Rochie Berkowitz, Principal
Mrs. Rochie Berkowitz is the founding principal of Chaviva High School. She has been a girls’ high school teacher and mechaneches in Cleveland for almost 20 years. She received her BA from Maimonides College and her teachers’ training and certification through Yavne Teachers Seminary and Ateres Bnos Yerushalayim. In addition to her time in the classroom, Mrs. Berkowitz has had opportunities to connect with her students in her roles as Student Council Coordinator and Director of Annual School Productions. Over the years, she has managed countless extra-curricular programs, developed fundraising campaigns, and coordinated various learning programs for students in grades 9-12. Mrs. Berkowitz is the 2015 recipient of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland’s Ratner Goldberg Teacher of the Year Award. She founded Bnos Aliyah, an independent program for high school and post-high school girls looking to take ownership of their Torah learning outside a formal classroom setting. Her passion for chinuch habanos is driven by her love and admiration for her students, their struggles, and their successes. As Principal of Chaviva High School, Mrs. Berkowitz’s vision is to create an atmosphere of motivation and positivity in which students are encouraged to reach beyond their comfort zone to discover their greatness within.Mrs. Berkowitz will also be teaching Chumash to the 9th grade this year and is the 9th-grade mechaneches.
Mrs. Huvie Schabes, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Mrs. Huvie Schabes has been involved in almost every area of Jewish education for over 30 years. She has held numerous positions at the elementary and high school levels, for both girls and boys, in Limudei Kodesh, as well as general studies. Mrs. Schabes trained in Project-Based Learning methodology, coaching, & leadership at PBL OHIO in Columbus through the Buck Institute for Education (now PBL Works). She applied these principles both as a teacher and as a PBL Coach and is currently in the process of creating a PBL curriculum for the AMATZ Initiative to facilitate the teaching of the Six Constant Mitzvos to high school girls.
In her role as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Mrs. Schabes oversees the curriculum of all classes and will assist staff in achieving and maintaining the appropriate levels of academic rigor with authentic student engagement and relevance. She also serves as a mentor and coach to our teachers to facilitate their continued growth and professional development.
Mrs. Schabes’ passion for education stems from her own desire to be a lifelong learner, which she hopes translates into sparking enthusiasm for all kinds of learning in all kinds of learners, watching them take ownership of and pride in their work, and ultimately seeing them apply that newfound confidence to all areas of their lives.
Mrs. Schabes will also be teaching 9th Navi this year.
The Educational Team at Chaviva High School is comprised of highly qualified professionals who seek to inspire and guide the next generation of leaders in our community. By working as a collaborative unit, Chaviva's staff is able to create a culture and environment of collaboration, innovation, and excellence.
Rabbi Dovid Aaron Gross
Rabbi Dovid Aaron Gross is the Rav of Kehillas Beis Doniel in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He studied in the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, Mir Yerushalayim, Beth Medrash Govoha, where he received semichah, and Kollel Ateres Chaim Boruch in Cleveland Heights. In addition, he is Administrator of Yavne Teachers’ Seminary and Director of Bais Havaad Halacha Center’s Midwest Division. He has published Sefer Toras Chesed, a collection of essays from Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth, The Five Minute Sermon on Chumash, The Five Minute Sermon Around the Year, 30 Days to Bar Mitzvah – An Illuminating Guide to the Mitzvah of Tefillin, 30 Days to the Pesach Seder and 30 Days to Simchas Torah.
Rabbi Gross is the official posek for Chaviva High School and teaches our weekly shiur on Parshas HaShavuah, which can be heard here.
Rabbi Simcha Zev Baum
Rabbi Baum is the Rosh Kollel of Young Israel's Kolle. He previously served as Director of of Alumni at Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and as Rosh Chaburah of the night seder under Rabbi Doniel Neustadt in Detroit. He also taught at Bais Yaakov in Detroit. Previously, the Baum family lived in Ottawa, Canada, where Rabbi Baum earned smicha and served as Rabbi of the Young Israel. Rabbi Baum learned at Yeshiva of Long Beach and at Brisk.
Mrs. Tamar Cohen
11th Navi and Tefillah
Dr. Moshe Ornstein
Dr. Moshe Ornstein learned in the Yeshiva of Philadelphia and the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. He then studied business and biology at Lander College for Men / Beis Medrash L’Talmud. He received his M.A. in biotechnology from Columbia University and his M.D. from Stony Brook University. He subsequently completed his medical training at the Cleveland Clinic. He currently serves as an oncologist, mentor, and medical school faculty member at the Cleveland Clinic, where he has received multiple teaching awards. In addition, he also teaches a night seder halacha chaburah at Yeshiva High School of Cleveland. Dr. Ornstein is very successful at developing and teaching a stimulating, interactive, and student-centered halacha curriculum that is both academically rigorous and fun!
Mrs. Tamar Cohen has been teaching kodesh and general studies classes for over 10 years in elementary and high schools in Brooklyn and now Cleveland. She enjoys watching her students grow into their strengths and cultivating meaningful relationships both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. Mrs. Cohen strives to give over passionate excitement for learning and a genuine love for Yiddishkeit that will stay with her students for a lifetime.
Rabbi Menachem Tenenbaum
Rabbi Menachem Tenenbaum, originally of Baltimore, Maryland, received Semicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg while learning in Yeshivas Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. For over a decade he has been an engaging teen influencer. He is passionate about the Jewish people and everyone’s growth in their relationship with Hashem. He currently works as associate regional director of Central East NCSY, where he manages the programming in the five cities within the region. If you Google him and Ted Talk you will see he was scheduled to give a talk which got canceled due to COVID-19. He is also the author of 'Three Steps Forward,' a book on Prayer.
Mrs. Leah Ferder
Academic Advisor, Limudei Kodesh
11th Chumash and 12th Kesuvim
Mrs. Leah Ferder has been teaching junior high and high school students for close to 10 years and holds a bachelor's in Behavioral Science from Mercy College and a master’s in Education from Walden University. She hopes to impart her passion for learning and love of Torah to her students.
Mrs. Sarah Chava Greenblatt, Mechaneches
Special Program Director
10th Chumash, Performing Arts
Mrs. Greenblatt has worked with teens in and out of the classroom for over 10 years, including after-school enrichment programs and one-on-one mentoring. She graduated Seminar Yerushalayim with an Honors Teaching Certificate and obtained a bachelor's in Liberal Arts through TTI.
Mrs. Greenblatt also plays piano and has directed many school productions and smaller events.
She has a passion for growth in Torah learning and enjoys connecting with the girls and encouraging them to excel in their learning and spiritual growth.
Mrs. Greenblatt also plays piano and has directed many school productions and smaller events.
She has a passion for growth in Torah learning and enjoys connecting with the girls and encouraging them to excel in their learning and spiritual growth
Mrs. Chani Gross
Educated at Bais Kaila in Lakewood and Bais Yaakov in Boro Park, Mrs. Chani Gross holds a bachelor's in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College. She has taught both secular studies and limudei kodesh to many grades in area schools and served as Extracurricular and Middos Curriculum Director
Mrs. Zeldy Mandel
Mrs. Zeldy Mandel is a 20-year teaching veteran who has also run the teen program at Camp Malka for more than a decade. She holds an MA in Education from Walden College and has lived in Cleveland for the last 10 years. Mrs, Mandel is passionate about showing girls how to gain deep Torah ideas from the sefarim of our mesorah.
Mrs. Fayga Nathan
12th Chumash and 9th Mishlei
Mrs. Fayga Nathan has been teaching middle and high school girls Judaic Studies for close to 15 years. She has taught Halacha, Jewish History, Parsha, and Orchos Tzaddikim. Mrs. Nathan has also conducted summer learning programs for high school girls. Mrs. Nathan was a Judaic studies coordinator at Segula for seven years. She is an alumna of Bnos Chava Seminary in Jerusalem and received an Associate of Arts degree from Lakeland Community College. Mrs. Nathan is passionate about facilitating a positive and profound connection between her students and the Torah.
Mrs. Malky Wolman
10th Tehillim and 12th Navi
Mrs. Malky Wolman has taught many kodesh subjects for over 15 years in New York, Toronto, and Cleveland. She enjoys high school girls and loves teaching, directing plays, running extracurricular programs, and learning from her students. Mrs. Wolman's goal for her students is to expand each girl's passion for Torah life and learning and feels privileged to have joined the Chaviva team.
Mrs. Ahuva Belsky
Special Program Director
STEM and Biology
Ahuva Miriam Belsky holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from Touro College, and a master’s degree in Science Education from Rutgers University. She has taught Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Engineering and Advanced Placement Biology at various high schools including Be’er Hagolah Institute, Reenas High School, Ilan High School and Fuchs Mizrachi School. She enjoys the intellectual rigor of the classroom as well as the opportunity to work with young women at this important stage in their lives.
Mrs. Natasha Cohen
Mrs. Natasha Cohen holds a master’s degree in education with a concentration in mathematics from John Carroll University. She has been teaching for twenty years. Mrs. Cohen's teaching style is interactive because she believes in engaging students in the learning process. In her lessons, Mrs. Cohen stresses understanding and encourages creative problem solving rather than “memorizing and following steps”. She is excited to be a part of the Chaviva family.
Mrs. Sarah Rena Grodko
SIP: Student in Progress
Mrs. Sarah Rena Grodko has experience as a teacher both in the classroom as well as in an individualized, small group setting. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts with a focus in psychology and education from Charter Oak State College. Mrs. Grodko is a licensed K-12 Intervention Specialist and completed her Master of Education Degree through Notre Dame College in December of 2018. Mrs. Grodko believes in the importance of educating each student based on her unique abilities and is eager to help meet each Chaviva student’s diverse needs through effective research-based teaching practices.
Miss Anna Downing
Social Studies, Academic Advisor
After teaching in northern Michigan for a year, Miss Anna Downing is returning to Cleveland, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts with History and Young Adult Education from John Carroll University. She is looking forward to teaching World History and Government at Chaviva as well as being the Academic Advisor as well. Miss Downing values the fact that not all students learn the same way and is excited to help students reach their full potential.
Mrs. Bracha Hendeles
Algebra II and Statistics
Mrs. Bracha Hendeles received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cleveland State University and is a graduate of the CSUteach program, which places an emphasis on student-centered and inquiry-based learning. She has experience as a math teacher in both the public and private school systems. Mrs. Hendeles is passionate about engaging students in math through activities, discussion and real-world problems. She is excited to be part of the Chaviva team and to foster a love of math in her students.
Ms. Madeleine Polcyn
A recent graduate of John Carroll University, Madeleine Polcyn earned her Bachelor's of Arts in English literature and adolescent education and recently joined the Chaviva High School staff as the English Language Arts teacher for grades 9 through 12. Miss Polcyn strives to encourage student advocacy by always looking for new ways for students to apply themselves and their breadth of knowledge when reading literature, and she looks forward to a fun and productive year.
Mrs. Yocheved Wylen
Mrs. Yocheved Wylen was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She moved to Cleveland during high school and discovered a love for running shortly after. Over the years, Mrs. Wylen has been coaching individuals for marathon races across US, Canada, and Israel, including Team Lifeline. This is Mrs. Wylen's second year training the Chaviva girls for the annual 5K. She loves sharing her passion for running and teaching them how to apply the commitment, consistency, and other skills they are learning to their everyday lives as well.
Mrs. Julie Weingarten
Mrs. Julie Weingarten graduated from Cooper Union in New York City with a degree in chemical engineering. She spent time as the rebbetzin for Young Israel in Forest Hills before moving to Cleveland this past summer of 2022. Mrs. Weingarten taught a variety of science courses in 2 middle schools while in New York. Her goals are to open up a world of appreciation for Hashem's creation and understand how unique and complicated it truly is. She hopes to bestow a love of learning upon her students and watch them engage with the world around them.
Chaviva High School's holistic approach to education incorporates support in multiple areas of our student's growth. We are proud to have a team of professionals focused on helping our students achieve success both academically and in their social-emotional development.
Mrs. Davida Amkraut
ELA and History Intervention
After graduating from Columbia University, Teachers College with a Master's in Education Davida Amkraut spent 29 years as a middle school English teacher. There she developed her passion (skill) for teaching the writing process and helping every student find their voice. Davida’s interest in the college admission process began at her dining room table as she coached many of her former students who sought her advice as they began their journey through the application labyrinth. She helped them craft their personal essays and supplements and find their story and voice in the narratives they constructed.
Mrs. Sandi Zimmerman-Nebel
Mrs. Sandi Zimmerman-Nebel has been teaching math to middle and high school students for almost 15 years. She graduated from Ashland University in 2008 with her Bachelor's in Middle Childhood Education. She currently specializes in small group math studies to ensure concepts are taught in multiple facets to best reach each individual student. She continues to bring her passion for mathematics to her students and ensures to include real-world applications to bring the topics to life.
Mrs. Peninnah Lipton
Special Program Director
Mrs. Peninnah Lipton has been mentoring people of all ages for many years. Mrs. Lipton has a unique way of connecting with individuals and knows how to guide them to recognize what is holding them back from greatness. This ability makes her an optimal teacher for Koheles, as Koheles is about understanding the truth in life and implementing that truth into everyday living. Impassioned about living with Hashem, Mrs. Lipton brings many life experiences into her lessons to engage her students in relevant and inspiring Torah wisdom.
Mrs. Amy Smith
Director of Operations
Born in Augsburg, Germany, to a US military family, Mrs. Smith settled in Cleveland with her husband and one baby in 2014. In the ensuing years, her family has grown to three, including two Chaviva students. A writer and editor by trade, Mrs. Smith has held a variety of management and project management roles, including at the Jewish Review of Books magazine. Mrs. Smith is the author of a middle-grade reader on the Nuremberg Race Laws, passed in Germany in 1935. She is excited about bringing her experience to Chaviva's fundraising, communications, and events, as well as streamlining and automating day-to-day operations.
Mrs. Tova Rina Schiff
Born and raised in Cleveland, Mrs. Tova Rina Schiff recently moved back from Israel where she worked in sales and office settings. After a year and a half attending Ateres Bnos Yerushalayim seminary, she graduated with a teaching certificate. Tova Rina feels fulfilled when she empowers people to recognize the greatness in themselves. She hopes to use her positivity and organizational skills give Chaviva girls the atmosphere they deserve.
Chaviva High School is fortunate to have Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum serve as our Educational Consultant.
Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum has been educating adolescents and young adults for over forty years. Born in Cleveland, he spent many years studying in Eretz Yisroel and received his smicha from HaGaon HaRav Beinush Finkel zatzal, Rosh Yeshivas Mir, Yerushalayim.
Rabbi Feigenbaum was the first Mashgiach of Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem when it was founded, and in 1978 founded Yeshivat Darche Noam/ Shapell College of Jewish Studies - a yeshiva for university-aged young men with little formal Jewish education. During that time he authored "Understanding The Talmud - A Systematic Guide to Talmudic Logic and Methodology". In 1987 he and his family moved to Toronto, where he taught in a variety of High Schools for both boys and girls, lectured for Aish HaTorah and Or Sameach, and served as the Scholar in Residence for schools and shuls across North America.
In September 2000 he became the founding Principal of Tiferes Bais Yaakov High School for girls. Besides serving as Principal, he personally taught Chumash to 9th Grade and taught his unique Hashkafa course to 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Over the past two decades, he has mentored teachers and principals, counseled young people across the world, and lectured extensively in schools, shuls, and camps in North America, England, Eretz Yisroel, and the former Soviet Union.
One of his missions is to empower all teachers with tools and hashkafos so that their students will not merely have Torah in their life, but will have life in their Torah!
To learn more about Rabbi Feigenbaum and access his shiurim online visit www.rabbiyfeigenbaum.com