5th & 6th Grade
Our talented fifth and sixth grade team fosters increasing independence and accountability among students. Highlights include experiential learning on retreats, hot debates in round table discussions, and rigorous academic coursework.
BatSheva Berman, Hebrew Coordinator, Grade 5 Judaic Studies, and Grades 4, 6, 7, 8 Hebrew Teacher, was born and raised in Israel and served in an education unit of the Israeli Army. BatSheva teaches both Hebrew Language and Limudei Kodesh in Hebrew and has pioneered a Torah study track conducted entirely in Hebrew, for which she wrote the curriculum for grades 5-7. Before coming to Heilicher she taught Hebrew Language at Torah Academy in Minneapolis for 20 years and wrote all of the holiday programs for the school. She was also in charge of the summer Hebrew program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for 20 years. BatSheva continues her education by taking summer classes in teaching a second language at the Karla Institute at the University of Minnesota, and taking Torah study classes in at the Pardes and Herzog Institutes in Israel.
Sara Wolk Bernstein, M.A.Ed., Hebrew Resource, Grades 4 and 5 Judaic Studies, and Grade 5 Hebrew, is a native of Minneapolis and has been on faculty at Heilicher since 1992. She earned a B.A. in Theater with a Minor in Hebrew from the University of Minnesota. She attended the University of Judaism in Los Angeles for graduate school (now called the American Jewish University) where she earned her Master's in Education and Administration, with additional credits equal to a second bachelor's degree in Jewish Studies. Before returning to the Twin Cities, Sara held positions with the Jewish Community Centers Association of Greater Los Angeles, LA Unified Public Schools, and worked at the LA Bureau of Jewish Education. She has traveled to Israel many times, including as a chaperone/leader for High School educational touring programs. During her years at Heilicher, she has continued her own learning in areas of Special Education, Multiple Intelligences, Curriculum Design, Instructional Differentiation, and held numerous positions including Assistant Principal, Director of Judaic Studies, Hebrew Resource Coordinator, and classroom teacher.
Britton Cook M.S., Grade 5 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.A. in English from the University of Florida and her M.S. in Education from Neumann University. Britton has taught at the upper elementary level in both public and private schools in Florida, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania before moving to Minnesota and joining the Heilicher faculty in July of 2015. Britton lives in Edina with her husband, Tom, and daughter, Candy. Her sons currently live in Pennsylvania and Washington State. When she is not at school, Britton can be found reading, doing anything outdoors, or traveling.
Mollie Divine, Grades 6 and 7 Math Teacher, earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with a Minor in Health Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to teaching, she has taken graduate level courses at Hamline University with a focus on math education in both elementary and middle school. Prior to joining the Heilicher faculty in 2007, Mollie taught a fourth and fifth grade resource class at Shabonee Elementary School in Northbrook, Illinois. Mollie currently resides in St. Louis Park with her husband Jason and her son Rudy. When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, attending yoga classes, cooking, and being at the lakes as often as the Minneapolis weather will permit.
Michelle Etzion, Grades 3 - 8 Hebrew Teacher, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2006. She earned her B.S. at the University of West Los Angeles. Having grown up as a child in Israel, Michelle has a solid knowledge of the Hebrew Language as well as Judaic Studies. Her teaching experience includes working in the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as teaching Hebrew at many supplemental Jewish schools in Connecticut. Michelle has also taught, and was the Director of Admissions, at Maimonides Academy of Western Connecticut. Michelle has completed the courses for the Tal Am Hebrew/Judaics Program for the second, third, and fourth grades. Michelle has also participated in the Minneapolis Federation Education Bridge program in Israel in the past. She has extensive knowledge teaching first through eighth grades. Michelle has two children who are both alumni of Heilicher. Michelle has traveled all over the country as well as around the world. During her spare time, she enjoys exercising, dancing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Jessica (Jessie) Gitles Fine, Grades 5, 7 and 8 Math Teacher, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2014. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics Education with a Minor in Technology from the University of Indiana. Over the last ten years, Jessie has primarily taught high school Mathematics. Jessica most recently taught at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, Ramah Jerusalem High School (TRY) in Israel, and Solomon Schechter of Westchester in New York before moving to Minnesota. Jessica lives in St. Paul with her husband Jeremy, and daughters Annie and Trudy. She loves the White Sox, travel, and spending time with her family and friends.
Wendy Goldberg, Assistant Director of Jewish Life/Mashgiah Ruhani and Grade 5 Judaic Studies Teacher, is a veteran Jewish educator who joined Heilicher administration in 2017. Previously, she taught at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day school for seventeen years and for the past seven years served as the Director of Spiritual Engagement at Shir Tikvah Congregation. She also leads Shir Harmony, a women's acapella group dedicated to raising funds for local and Israeli women's groups, and "serenading people at meaningful moments." Educated at Brandeis University, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and at Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, Wendy brings a depth to prayer life. She has a long history of working on issues of race and class, which will intersect with Heilicher initiatives toward social justice. Wendy is also a Christensen Interfaith Fellow at Augsburg Univeristy this year. Wendy is a Minneapolis native and parent of two day school students.
Annika Graif, Grade 5 and 6 General Studies earned her B.A. in History with a Religious Studies certificate from the University of Wisconsin and will soon earn her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Hamline University. She has taught a variety of grades including fourth, fifth, and middle school social studies. No matter the grade or subject, Annika enjoys cultivating students' curiosity, creativity, and love for learning. She lives in Minnetonka with her husband and two sons. In her free time, Annika enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling and visiting museums.
Elena Levitt, M.A., M.A.Ed., Judaic Studies Coordinator, Grades 3 and 6 Judaic Studies, and Grades 6-8 History of Modern Israel Teacher, earned her B.A. in Hebrew letters and M.A.Ed. from American Jewish University. She also earned her B.A. in Political Science and Journalism and M.A. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Jewish Studies from the University of Memphis. Elena has worked in formal and informal education in both teaching and administrative capacities in Memphis, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Minneapolis. Elena joined the Heilicher faculty in 2007. She is very happy to have come home to St. Louis Park with her husband Matt to raise their two amazing daughters. She has a great passion for sharing the breadth and depth of Jewish learning with her students. In her free time Elena enjoys reading, walking, and spending time with family and friends.
Alona Manore, B.Ed, Grades 3-8 Hebrew Teacher. Alona earned her B.Ed & teaching certificate in the English Language & English Literature in Tel-Aviv Israel and was employed by the Ministry of Education as a full time English teacher in high schools for 13 years. In addition she was employed at Beit-Berl, Academic College for Teachers, in Israel, as a mentor for students who were qualified to be English teachers. During her Sabbatical year, she took various academic courses in Academic Teacher Colleges such as; Art Therapy and Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties, Psychology & Psychotherapy and Neuropsychology. Prior to coming to Heilicher, Alona lived in London, UK and gained a UK Qualified Teacher Status by the General Council of England. She taught Modern Hebrew in Jewish high schools for the past 11 years. In addition, she was the Head of the Modern Hebrew Department in the Jewish Community Secondary School in Barnet, London. Alona joined Heilicher school in 2018.
Ilena Marron, M.S., 3-5 Team Coordinator and Grade 4 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.A. in Art History from Brandeis University and her M.S. in Elementary Education from Fordham University. Ilena is currently Teacher Leadership Master's Candidate at Brandeis University. Ilena joined the Heilicher faculty in 2002 and brings to the school four prior years of teaching experience including teaching in New York City public schools. Ilena has a passion for teaching reading and writing workshop and has attended Columbia Teacher's College Writing Institute several times. Ilena is committed to creating a nurturing and caring environment to help students meet their potential. Beyond education, Ilena loves spending time with her family, watching movies, cooking, and attending cultural events.
Steve Mintz, Operational Leadership Facilitator, 6-8 Team Coordinator and Grades 6, 7 and 8 Science Teacher, earned his B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in Jewish Studies from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Heilicher faculty in 2011. Steve's educational career spans more than 30 years in both formal and informal education. He taught third through eighth grade, all subjects, during 11 years at The Tesseract School in Eagan, prior to becoming Herzl Camp’s director for six years. Steve continues his independent work as an educational consultant, writer, and workshop facilitator, helping schools around the country develop vibrant and effective learning cultures. He can often be found playing guitar with the band Stereo Kitchen. Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, making music, camping, skiing, and cooking.
Lynn Slobodien, M.Ed., Grade 6 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and her M.Ed. from UCLA. Lynn started her teaching career with toddlers in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and taught writing and literature for almost 15 years at the middle and high school levels in California. She relishes the intellectual challenge of working with students who love learning, and Heilicher students have kept her busy since she joined the Heilicher faculty in 2007. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son. She is also a teacher development coordinator at Heilicher.