Meet Our Faculty

Bebi Bacchus

5th Grade Math
K-8 Math Coordinator

“I love watching that moment where ‘everything clicks’ or the ‘a-ha’ moments of understanding. I love listening to what struggles students may experience with learning, but watching them persevere through those struggles.”

Ms. Bacchus has her B.A. in liberal studies with a childhood studies focus and is currently working on her masters in education. She is also a certified nursing assistant. Before coming to OHDS in 2016, she taught at the Oakland School for the Arts, teaching middle school math and life sciences. Ms. Bacchus also taught for four years at Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland in kindergarten, fourth, seventh and eighth grade classrooms. In her free time, Ms. Bacchus likes to take her dog to Point Isabel, watch movies, and take part in any activity that offers an adrenaline rush.

Lisa Blumenband

Second Grade General Studies
K-2 Literacy Coordinator

“I believe that the purpose of education is to facilitate intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual growth in every child. I teach to give them the tools they need to live a successful, fulfilling life. I love building relationships with students and seeing them take pride in their accomplishments.”

HaMorah Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Brandeis University, and her master’s in Jewish education with a day school focus from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lisa taught in Miami before joining OHDS several years ago. She likes to read, travel, and play soccer in her spare time.

Tamara Beliak

Middle School Judaic Studies
Beit Midrash Coordinator

“I want to teach children to be proud of their Judaism, and to see their practice and knowledge of Judaism as a way to be a color in the rainbow of diversity in the world. I love helping kids master new skills. My greatest pleasure is teaching my students how to teach material to adults and to their peers.”

Dr. Beliak’s educational background includes a B.A. from Brandeis University, a Drisha Educator’s Fellowship, and a master of arts and doctorate of education from Yeshiva University. Dr. Beliak and her husband make their home in Berkeley with their four children, three of whom are OHDS students. In her spare time, Dr. Beliak loves to hike, collect children’s Hebrew books, and to pack for a family trip and plan it as they travel.

Joey Daniels

Sixth and Seventh Grade Humanities

“I love connecting with young people and knowing I’ve made a positive impact on their life.”

Ms. Daniels has her B.A. in sociology and African languages and literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Previously, she served as a community health volunteer for the United States Peace Corps in Uganda, and also initiated a youth development program through softball in her village of Kitgum. Ms. Daniels worked as a social worker for five years and a coach for more than eight. Beginning as an assistant softball coach for high school, she has both managed and coached multiple softball organizations. Most recently, Ms. Daniels established a mentoring program for her high school softball players to volunteer both on and off the softball field with aspiring youth in the community. In her free time, Ms. Daniels enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and coaching softball.

Joanne Davi

Fifth and Eighth Grade Humanities
Dean of Student Life

“In order to effectively teach students, we must first connect with them as individuals. I am passionate about teaching, especially at the middle school level, because the experience of helping children realize their potential is incomparable.”

Ms. Davi taught special education and humanities for five years at the Lighthouse Community Charter School before joining OHDS in 2014. She holds a B.A. in history from San Francisco State University, and a multiple subject teaching credential and master’s in teaching from the Reach Institute for School Leadership. When she’s not working, she spends as much time as she can with her husband and young son, walks the Lafayette reservoir, and plans trips to Disneyland.

Sandy Gilford

Kindergarten General Studies

“I like helping children acquire the habits of a good student — rising to a challenge, learning from mistakes, accepting direction, taking initiative, looking up to see what is being asked of them, and inward to discover what they themselves think, want, and are capable of doing. I try to teach children to make thoughtful distinctions, stand up for what they think is right, and to habituate themselves to self-control and care for others.”

Mrs. Gilford has taught at OHDS for 17 years. Before that, she taught preschool and kindergarten at Congregation Beth Jacob in Oakland for six years and served as Hebrew school director there for two years. Mrs. Gilford has her B.A. in psychology, and a master of social work degree with a concentration in children and families from the University of California, Berkeley. Mrs. Gilford likes to read, draw, take walks in the city or the country, go to art museums and gardens, visit with good friends, and spend time with with her children and grandchildren. At times, she has volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, camp nature teacher, and a nature guide for Wildcare in Marin County.

Daryl Grace

BK-8 Physical Education

“I enjoy watching children grow and have successes that they didn’t expect. My goal if for them to get better each and every day. This can happen only through great effort and perseverance. If a child is good at everything they’re doing, how much are they really trying?”

Coach Grace has been teaching at OHDS for more than a decade, and coaches the school’s fantastic middle school basketball teams every winter. He also teaches middle school math, usually Pre-Algebra. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and attended Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and San Diego State University. He is a top DJ in the Bay Area (with top reviews on the Bar Mitzvah circuit), a recreational softball player, and the proud father of four children.

Daniel Hoffman

Fifth Grade Judaic Studies
Mashpia Ruchani

“There are two components to a Jewish education: instilling a love of Torah and Yiddishkeit, and developing the skills and literacy to lead an informed Jewish life. I strive to accomplish as much as possible of the latter, but never at the expense of the former.”

Rabbi Hoffman taught at the Akiva School in Nashville before joining our staff in 2017. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in 2017, and his B.A. from Yale University in psychology and Judaic studies in 2008. He has been a volunteer EMT with Hatzalah, is a trained mohel, and loves to spend his free time learning Torah.

Esther Hilsenrad

BK-8 Art Specialist

“I find that when I convey my own enthusiasm for a subject, it is contagious enough that students become engaged in learning. I love seeing the boundless creativity and individuality that emerges when students feel safe to reflect on their own lives. It is my belief that a teacher serves best as a facilitator between a student and the material to be learned.”

Ms. Esther teaches art to all grades at Oakland Hebrew Day School. She has her B.A. in philosophy from Eugene Lang College and a masters of science in teaching from the New School University. Ms. Esther taught for 13 years before coming to OHDS, first in New York City high schools teaching art, English and history, then teaching art to preschoolers, and English to university students in South Korea for four years. For the last two years she’s been teaching art in elementary schools in the East Bay. She loves to visit art galleries and museums, make art and explore the Bay Area by bicycle.

David Jackson

Middle School Science
OHDS Technology Adviser

“If a student is not excited about the sheer awesomeness of science, then it’s being taught wrong. I love the moment of excitement when a scientific concept finally clicks!”

Mr. Jackson taught for six years in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles before coming to OHDS. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his master’s of education from Mills College. He also serves as the school’s technology advisor and runs a very popular after-school program called “Mr. Jackson’s Hackers.” In his spare time he likes to make things and tinker, travel, and bicycle and hike with his wife and dog.

Lior Jacober

First Grade General Studies

“I love it when my student’s eyes light up — when they delve into a skill, lesson, subject or project with even more effort and focus — because have just realized something new. Perseverance is often the key to doing something well.”

HaMorah Lior has been working (and volunteering) at OHDS for 20 years, and her son was in one of our first graduating classes. She taught at three Bay Area Hebrew schools for seven years before that. She has her bachelor’s of philosophy from Cleveland State University, and her teaching credential from Patten University. Lior likes to hike surrounded by nature’s beauty, cook for friends and family, and sew; she is also an author and occasional motivational speaker.

Sara Levine

Fourth Grade General Studies
Sixth Grade Core Math

“I really believe that you can’t teach your students until you love them. I like building relationships with my students, seeing them for who they are, and watching them grow.”

Ms. Levine came to OHDS in 2011 as our fourth grade general studies teacher; she began teaching sixth grade math in 2014. She has her masters in education — focusing on how high achieving math students respond to challenge — and credential from Mills College, and her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In her free time, she likes to dance (swing, salsa and blues), sing and place music with friends, especially around campfires in the redwoods, and go to comedy shows.

Chani Naiman

Third Grade Judaic Studies
OHDS School Counselor

“I love kids’ curiosity, and honest, raw, inquisitive approach to the world.”

HaMorah Chani returns to the East Bay and OHDS after a few years in Israel. She has her master’s in counseling from California State University, East Bay, and her B.A. in social sciences from Bar Ilan University. HaMorah Chani taught at several seminaries in Israel, at Midrasha in Berkeley and for a few years as a co-teacher at OHDS. She enjoys going to science museums and parks with her children and cooking. Two of her children will be OHDS students this year, and her husband, Rabbi Akiva Naiman, returns as the director of the Northern California chapter of NCSY.

Elisheva Neckritz

Kindergarten Judaic Studies

“ I feel passionate about teaching Judaic studies because I have the opportunity to have a lasting effect on children by teaching the next generation Torah, sharing our history, our traditions, our language and a love of Israel and our people.”

HaMorah Elisheva taught at other Jewish schools for 20 years before coming to OHDS. She has her B.A. in education and human development and her teaching credential from Hayward State University; she also enjoys taking summer classes at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and Yakar Center for Tradition and Creativity in Israel. HaMorah Elisheva loves developing a curriculum that is creative and stimulates a child’s natural passion for learning. Elisheva enjoys music, art and traveling.

Dorielle Parker

Third and Fourth Grade General Studies

“Every student brings something special to the classroom. As educators, we must recognize this special part of them and cultivate a space where they are able to share it with themselves, each other and, ultimately, the rest of the world!”

HaMorah Dori came to OHDS in 2015 as our fourth grade Judaic studies teacher. She has her masters of Jewish education from the Pardes Day School Educator’s program at Hebrew College, and her bachelor’s in international studies and Judaic studies from the University of Colorado, Denver. Before coming to OHDS, she worked at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, coordinating a pilot program for social-emotional learning for Denver schools. Dori loves to hike, sing in the woods, make meaningful Torah-based art, practice yoga, and spend times with the ones she loves.

Melissa (Nessa) Rogoway

Bridge Kindergarten Judaic Studies

“I love to guide students to a new understanding; when I can see the ‘light bulb’ go on I know I have succeeded! My goal is to create engaging learning experiences, to explore topics that matter, and to have fun along the way.”

Morah Nessa has more than 30 years of experience as a religious educator, with children ranging in ages from preschool through high school. She also has worked as a Jewish summer camp director in San Francisco, and as a song leader and art specialist. Morah Nessa has her master’s in education, a bachelor’s of literature in Hebrew letters from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and her bachelor’s in liberal studies from San Francisco State University. For fun, she likes to play with her dog, Truman, make hand-sewn quilts, and grow vegetables and flowers in her garden.

Kalla Sauls

Kindergarten Aide

“I am inspired by children’s curiosity, energy and desire for knowledge. I really enjoy being a positive role model in their lives.”

Kalla Sauls is working on her B.A. in psychology. Previously, Kalla was a special education paraprofessional, as a one-on-one aide to children with mental and physical impairments, in the Alameda public schools for four years. She also worked as a classroom aide in kindergarten through third grades. For many years, Kalla danced a performing arts studio, and now teaches Pilates and group fitness classes.

Efrat Simhi-Aloni

Hebrew Studies Coordinator

“I want to impart to children a strong connection to the rich culture and heritage of Israel through language and to convey to students the fact that Modern Hebrew is accessible to all who try: ‘Lo bashamayim hi … v’lo me’ever layam hi. It is not in the Heavens, nor beyond the ocean.’”

G’veret Aloni has taught at OHDS since 2002. Before that, she spent 10 years teaching high school and adult education. She also served as an army youth instructor in Israel, preparing students for their mandatory army service. G’veret Aloni has her M.A. in educational administrative policy from Ben Gurion University, and her B.A. in Hebrew language and literature. She loves to dance, paint, and hike with her family in her off hours.

Juliet Stamperdahl

Learning Specialist

“Children learn best when they feel supported, know their strengths, and have techniques and strategies to help them where they struggle. I love their creativity, and the unique and fresh ways they look at the world.”

Dr. Stamperdahl has her Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley, and a postdoc in clinical psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. She has taught undergraduates and conducted instructional planning in psychology, and also worked with the developmentally disabled and conducted parent-child psychotherapy. Dr. Stamperdahl likes to hike with her dog, Sasha, embroider, and attempt to make healthy creations like root beer kombucha.

Ziva Trau

First and Second Grade Judaic Studies

“I believe in teaching children in a way that meets each child’s needs. I love to see my students’ accomplishments and successes.”

HaMorah Ziva has been teaching for 17 years at OHDS, and in a Jewish school in Santa Rosa before that. She has her bachelor’s in education and history from Seminar Hakibutzim in Tel Aviv. She hikes, reads and gardens for fun.

Hannah Wilde

Kindergarten and Third Grade General Studies

“I find great joy in the connections I cultivate with my students and am delighted by their wisdom, creativity, and natural curiosity.”

Ms. Wolfe has worked with children of all ages as a classroom teacher, music teacher, and after-school director. Originally from Ithaca, New York, Ms. Wolfe holds a B.A. from Cornell University, where she studied music, anthropology, and education. After a semester in Mexico learning from grassroots community organizers and educators, Ms. Wolfe went on to complete her teacher training at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She taught at Waldorf schools and public schools in the Bay Area and in New York. She is an accomplished pianist, singer, conductor, and organist. She enjoys playing music, dancing, cooking, being in nature, and spending time with her son, Nadav.

Ms. Wilde brings more than 15 years of teaching experience, with students in preschool through high school, to OHDS. She is moving to the East Bay from the Yosemite area. She has her bachelor’s of science in child and family studies from Syracuse University, her multiple subject teaching credential, and she is currently completing her high school English single subject credential. In her spare time, Ms. Wilde loves nature, gardening, yoga, knitting, reading, writing, and spending time with her 18-year-old daughter, Eliza.

Evangeline Wolfe

Bridge Kindergarten General Studies
OHDS Librarian

“I love teaching because it is such a delight to live in the imaginative, playful, creative world of children. As a teacher, I treasure the opportunity to witness each child growing into who they are, and through teaching, I am continually transformed myself.”

Ms. Wolfe has worked with children of all ages as a classroom teacher, music teacher, and after-school director. Originally from Ithaca, New York, Ms. Wolfe holds a B.A. from Cornell University, where she studied music, anthropology, and education. After a semester in Mexico learning from grassroots community organizers and educators, Ms. Wolfe went on to complete her teacher training at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She taught at Waldorf schools and public schools in the Bay Area and in New York. She is an accomplished pianist, singer, conductor, and organist. She enjoys playing music, dancing, cooking, being in nature, and spending time with her son, Nadav.