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Professional Staff

Rabbi Sarit Horwitz

Rabbi Sarit Horwitz is thrilled to be in Memphis as a part of the Beth Sholom community. She moved to Memphis from New York City, where she served as the Senior Rabbinic Fellow at B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue with strong emphases on music, prayer, and justice work. Rabbi Sarit began there as an intern while she was still in Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and she continued on full-time for two years following her ordination. In addition to standard rabbinic functions, in her time at BJ, Rabbi Sarit managed the conversion program and taught an Introduction to Judaism course, developed and engaged the community in extensive holiday programming, taught text classes, and grew the young professionals population. She learned a tremendous amount from this huge, 1700-family community, and is excited to be in the much smaller, more homey community of Beth Sholom.

Rabbi Sarit completed her undergraduate studies in the joint program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary with degrees in Psychology and Midrash. Concurrent with her rabbinic studies, Rabbi Sarit  was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and received a Master’s degree in Jewish Women and Gender Studies. She also served as the Rabbinic Intern at Yale University’s Hillel and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Bellevue Hospital.

Having grown up in Kansas City, Rabbi Sarit attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and is a Jewish summer camp enthusiast. In her free time, she loves biking, cooking (and browsing the New York Times cooking app), and reading. She lives in Memphis with her son and husband, Rabbi Abe Schacter-Gampel, who is the Director of Spiritual Care at the Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab.

Rabbi Sarit is excited to be in touch with you, and hopes that you will reach out to connect over a cup of coffee or a good book.

 

Executive Director - Geo Poor

Geo Poor joined the Beth Sholom community in 2015 as Executive Director. He is a longtime youth educator in the Conservative movement, having worked for USY, Ramah, and Schechter for much of his adult life. He has a Certificate of Jewish Studies from the Pardes Experiential Educators Program and both an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and an MBA in Non-Profit Management from the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership.  Geo is currently working on a PhD in Jewish Mysticism through the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning & Leadership.

In addition to running the business of the synagogue, Geo teaches classes on Kabbalah, spirituality, meditation, and other Jewish topics.  Geo is a guitarist, bassist, and percussionist, a vegetarian foodie, an off-and-on practitioner of yoga, and a rabbit enthusiast. He enjoys Jewish texts, particularly those relating to spirituality, theology, and Kabbalah. After 14 years in Massachusetts, he is thoroughly enjoying the winters in Memphis.  During the COVID pandemic, he adopted two adorable pet rabbits and took up baking ridiculous flavors of challah.

Geo invites anyone to stop by his office for a chat about the synagogue, Judaism, life, music, or anything else. Feel free to contact Geo by email.

Youth Educator - Miriam Roochvarg

Miriam Roochvarg moved to Memphis in the summer of 2018, as part of Teach For America Memphis. She was both a teacher and a student when it came to engaging her kindergartners and first graders in the classroom. After teaching for two years Miriam transitioned into a part-time Engagement Associate role at Memphis Jewish Federation. As the Engagement Associate, she enjoys curating meaningful PJ Library programs that empower young parents and families to learn about and create meaningful Jewish experiences they can bring into their homes. She also oversees the Federation’s newcomer initiative, which as a former newcomer herself, allows her the chance to help make Memphis feel like home, just like other community members did for her when she first arrived.

A cum laude graduate from North Carolina State University with a degree in Communication with a public relations concentration, Miriam is passionate about exploring and utilizing different principles and applications when it comes to effective communication, and being a better advocate for yourself and others.

As a former camper at Camp Judaea and Ramah Darom, youth group kid, alumna of the American Hebrew Academy, student Hillel board member, and now staff member at two Jewish institutions, Miriam is excited to continue to give back to the Jewish world that has supported her over the years. 

In her free time, she likes to explore local coffee shops, spend time with friends, and grow in her Judaism and spirituality through books, attending classes, and meditation.

Early Childhood Specialist - Ariel Figueroa

Ariel Figueroa has been working with children since she was 8 years old. While growing up she aspired to be an actress, a writer, and a child psychologist and feels like she has achieved that by being a kindergarten teacher! After years spent babysitting, tutoring, and as a summer day camp counselor, Ariel eventually went to college to study child development and education. A cum laude graduate from University of Memphis with a degree in early childhood education and a minor in Sociology, Ariel has been teaching in the Memphis Jewish community since 2014. While working at the Barbara K. Lipman Early learning center, Ariel worked with children ages 18 months – 6 years old. Ariel has fond memories of Friday morning Shabbat with her 2-year-olds in the Gimmel class. Each child was given a yarmulke and then sat in a circle to enjoy traditional Shabbat songs, stories, and blessings with a toy Shabbat set and stuffed Torahs. Ariel definitely enjoyed the ritual just as much as the children!

Ariel has been teaching kindergarten at Bornblum Jewish Community School since 2018, where she loves teaching a play-based curriculum and integrating all subjects with a deep focus on Social-Emotional Learning. She incorporates Jewish values and holidays into all of her lessons. Ariel loves science experiments especially creating apple volcanoes and honey bubbles around Rosh Hashanah. She often integrates yoga, mindful breathing, and guided meditations into each learning experience. In the past year, Ariel taught Sunday School virtually and was often integrating science, art, mindfulness, and snacking into her classes with the children.

Ariel has been living in Memphis with her husband since 2008 but will always be a New Yorker at heart. She loves learning just as much as she loves teaching and can often be found at adult classes provided by the shul. Ariel loves yoga, dogs, reading, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Beatles. She is also a writer and has published 3 children’s books.

Office Administrative Assistant - Cheryl Strong

Cheryl has been part of the Beth Sholom family since 2003. Her smiling face and warm disposition greet each member or guest who walks in Beth Sholom's front door. She is also often the first voice you hear when you call the synagogue office. When Cheryl is not answering phones, making copies or preparing mailings, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. You should feel free to contact Cheryl Strong.

Mon, October 25 2021 19 Cheshvan 5782