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Staff

Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison, Ph.D.
Executive Director
jeremy@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 120

Jeremy Morrison was born and raised in Boston. He recently earned a doctorate in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.  His dissertation focused on the use of metaphors in the Bible and in other ancient Near Eastern texts.  Following his ordination in 2001 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, Jeremy served as Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel of Boston for 15 years. Among other leadership roles at Temple Israel, Jeremy served as the founding director of the Riverway Project, a nationally recognized outreach and engagement initiative for adults in their 20s and 30s, and as the synagogue’s Director of Education.  Jeremy lives in North Berkeley with his wife, Molly, and their two children, Ezekiel and Poppy.

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Jehon Grist, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Officer/Senior Educator
jehon@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 114

Jehon Grist has been with the school as a faculty member and administrator since 1985. He received his doctorate in Near East Studies and a California State Teaching Credential from the University of California, Berkeley with Doctoral research time at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A veteran of excavations and field research in both Israel and Egypt, Jehon has published articles and presented papers on a variety of topics, from research identifying an obscure Egyptian queen, to the conflict between Egypt, Israel and the Philistines at the beginning of Biblical history. For Lehrhaus and many other institutions, he teaches a wide range of courses in Biblical Hebrew, ancient and modern Israel and the Near East, Introduction to Judaism, and other topics. He also leads tours to a variety of destinations, including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Spain.

Over the last several years, he has spearheaded the development of the Digital Classroom format: live courses enriched with vivid presentations incorporating texts, images, and audio/video clips, all custom-designed to enhance the learning experience. More recently, he has developed Lehrhaus Online which allows students to attend courses live in the classroom, live online or any time via full video recording. Digital innovation also plays a role in the Lehrhaus Traveling Classroom study tour program. Jehon creates live pre-tour courses for many of these tours, including flash drive classes that thoroughly introduce students to the history, culture and sites of the countries they visit.

But the heart of Jehon’s life is his wife Jennifer, his four children and three grandchildren, his less-than-perfect garden, and his totally perfect 2001 Mazda Miata.

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Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan
Chief Program Officer/Senior Educator
peretz@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 118

Peretz Wolf-Prusan, who served for 20 years as rabbi and senior educator at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, assumed his duties as Rabbi and Senior Educator for Lehrhaus Judaica in October 2010. The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation sponsors this senior executive position. He currently serves as Chief Program Officer/Senior Educator.

Rabbi Wolf-Prusan will teach classical texts in such Lehrhaus programs as Bible by the Bay, Learning and Leadership (for Federation lay leaders meeting in private homes), and other venues. He will also work in the areas of museum partnership, émigré education, and parallel learning for day school parents, weekend retreats, and family tours to Israel. In addition, the national Covenant Award winner will assist the institution with fundraising and strategic planning.

After volunteering in Israel 1973-1974, Peretz came to the Bay Area to teach art at UAHC Camp Swig and study at the San Francisco Art Institute. He taught Jewish folklore and Hebrew calligraphy when Lehrhaus began 37 years ago!

After a decade of creating Ketubot, printmaking, working in informal education, he, along with Becki and one-year-old Leora, traveled back to Israel in 1985 to learn at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and became a rabbi in 1990 (best of all, along the way, added Avital and Noah to the family). He is the only graduate of HUC-JIR with an undergraduate degree in experimental art.

At Emanu-El, he was commissioned to spearhead the revitalization of the Congregation’s education program. He developed a nationally recognized family education program currently serving over 600 students and their families and directed the Tauber Jewish Studies Program, a program of the Madeleine Haas Russell Institute of Jewish Learning.

Peretz has continued his learning at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and with the Consortium for Jewish Family Education.

Peretz and Becki live in San Francisco where she is an Academic Counselor at City College of San Francisco, serving CalWORKs students.

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Fred Rosenbaum
Founding Director Emeritus
fr747@aol.com

Fred Rosenbaum, the Founding Director Emeritus of Lehrhaus Judaica, led the school for 44 years until 2017. He has written eight books on modern Jewish history including Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the Bay Area (University of California Press, 2009). According to Kevin Starr, “no single community has contributed comparably to the rise and development of this region—and no book tells this story better than Fred Rosenbaum’s.”

His book Taking Risks (with Joseph Pell) was praised by Michael Krasny as “especially compelling,” and his Out on a Ledge (with Eva Libitzky), an Amazon bestseller, was deemed “honest and piercing, unsentimental and yet deeply moving,” by Michael Berenbaum, Founding Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rosenbaum’s work has been translated into a dozen foreign languages.

Among many honors, he won the Anne and Robert Cowan Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding writing on Jewish themes by a Bay Area author and was the first educator from Northern California to receive the Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators from the Covenant Foundation in New York. He has taught at several Bay Area universities including the Graduate Theological Union, lectured widely in the United States and abroad, and has been the traveling scholar on numerous Lehrhaus study tours — to Eastern and Western Europe, Israel and the Middle East, South America and Cuba, the American South, and his native New York.

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Syd Staiti

Associate Director/Program Director
syd@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 117

Syd Staiti received a BA in English from Binghamton University and an MFA in creative writing at Mills College. Their first book, The Undying Present, was published in 2015. They have been working at Lehrhaus since 2007.
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Debbie Rosenfeld-Caparaz
Director of Communications
debbie@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 112

Debbie Rosenfeld-Caparaz, who assumed her role in July 2009, has 23 years of public relations and marketing experience, including in Jewish education, sports, and technology. Debbie received her bachelor’s of science degree in radio/TV/film from Northwestern. She was born in Skokie, Ill., and resides in Albany, Calif., with her husband and two daughters.

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Vernita Lyons
Director of Business and Student Services
vernita@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 110

Vernita Lyons was born in Oakland, and raised in Alameda. Vernita received her AA degree from Vista Community College, and her BA degree in business management from Holy Names College. She is also the owner of a small home business, specializing in personalized gifts, novelty items, and custom screen printing. She is also a huge sports fan, who enjoys all sports. She resides in Richmond with her family.

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Julie Bernstein Klein
Development Manager
julie@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 115

Julie Bernstein Klein joined the Lehrhaus Judaica staff in September 2015. She previously served as the Associate Managing Director of the Israel Action Network, an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and as the Director of Campus and Community Programs for the SF-based Jewish Community Relations Council. She has also held positions in Education Management at GoNoodle and Kaplan. Julie received her BA from the University of Southern California. A native San Franciscan, she spent her childhood at Brandeis Hillel Day School, Camp Tawonga and Congregation Beth Sholom. She was also a member of the inaugural cohort of Diller Teen Fellows. Julie currently lives in Davis with her husband, daughter and stepson.

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Dawn Kepler
Founding Director, Building Jewish Bridges
dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org
510-845-6420, ext. 111

Dawn Kepler is the founding director of Building Jewish Bridges, a program of Lehrhaus Judaica. She has worked in interfaith outreach since 1990. She has run workshops and classes in synagogues, JCCs, Federations and Jewish agencies.

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Abra Greenspan
Talmud Circle/Philosophy Circle Project Coordinator

abra@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 116

Abra Greenspan joined Lehrhaus Judaica in August 2012. She is also the Director of Learning at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto. Abra has worked in Jewish education for over 30 years, including 12 years as the Director of Youth Education at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. She holds a BA in religious studies, an MA in Japanese language and literature from Stanford University, and an MS in Jewish education from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. She received her Reform Jewish Educator Credential in July 2011. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons (when they are not off at school or traveling the world) and enjoys long walks, good food, books and movies.

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Mia Glosson-Ferguson
Administrative Assistant

mia@lehrhaus.org
510-845-6420, ext. 119

Mia Glosson-Ferguson joined the Lehrhaus staff in October 2016. Mia, who was born in San Francisco and raised in Richmond, obtained a liberal arts: math and science AA from Contra Costa Community College alongside her high school diploma. Mia is currently in her third year of undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley as a sociology major and public health minor.