Meet Our Faculty

Bebi Bacchus

Math Specialist

“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

“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

Fifth Grade and Middle School Judaic Studies

“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.

Molly Daniels

Third Grade General Studies
Lower School Student Life Coordinator

“There is a genuine way of communicating with children that feels so buoyant. There is no greater feeling than watching a student who faces an academic or social challenge overcome their blocks either by perseverance or asking for help: that’s when you know you’ve really helped to shape their character.”

HaMorah Molly has taught in various settings since graduating Rutgers University in 2004 with a B.A. in English literature. She’s taught at Head-Royce School, at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley (Judaic Studies and Jewish Values) and in Seoul, South Korea. A native of New Jersey, HaMorah Molly holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from Mills College in Oakland. Molly is a performer in local music and theater, and an ambassador for Young Adult Cancer Survivor outdoor adventure organizations.

Joanne Davi

Fifth Grade and Middle School Humanities
Middle School Student Life Coordinator

“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.

Mimi Farb

Fifth Grade Judaic Studies

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

HaMorah Mimi graduated cum laude with her B.A. from Mt. Holyoke College, then attended Yeshiva University and Hebrew University. HaMorah Mimi helped create and pilot teach the “Girls in Trouble” curriculum, a series of art-based study guides about women in midrash. She was a seventh grade teacher at a supplementary Jewish school in Massachusetts, a Torah educator at Camp Stone in Ohio, and is a Kevah teaching fellow. Mimi likes to dance freely, hike in the sun and do yoga.

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.

Eliav Goldberg

Third Grade Judaic Studies

“I love the light in a child’s eyes when they understand something new and are engaged in our learning.”

HaMorah Eliav is part of our shliach team from Israel, having grown up in Efrat. Eliav attended Yishavat Hesder Neve Dekalim and later joined the IDF and served in the armored corps (shiryon) and trained new recruits. After the army, HaMorah Eliav completed a degree in history from Herzog College and went on to teach in middle and high school at Yeshiva Tichonit Kfar Maimo. He recently completed a master’s degree in Jewish history from Bar Ilan University. Eliav loves to travel and see beautiful places, listen to different kinds of podcasts and lectures online, and read every book he can put his hands on. He lives with his wife, Ofra, and three children (one of who is an OHDS student) in Berkeley.

Ofra Goldberg

Bridge Kindergarten and Middle School Judaic Studies

“I believe that there is no alternative to the presence of a teacher in class. I believe that even in this generation, with all the information and the technology, there is an important role for the teacher to play, socially, emotionally, and educationally.”

HaMorah Ofra is the other half of our shliach team from Israel. HaMorah Ofra served in the national service in Israel as a guide at Herzl Museum at Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem. After her service, she received her undergraduate degree in Israel studies and history at Herzog College at Gush Etzion. She taught Israel studies to high school students at Mevo’ot Ha’negev. She recently completed a master’s degree in Israel studies at Bar Ilan University. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, Eliav, and their three children, including one OHDS student. She loves to create art, travel, and spend time with her family.

Daryl Grace

Physical Education and Pre-Algebra

“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.

Esther Hilsenrad

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 and Technology

“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 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.

Elisheva Neckritz

Bridge Kindergarten and 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

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.

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.

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.