Sara Losch - Director of Lifelong Learning
Sara Losch has the been the heart and soul of our wonderful preschool for almost 25 years. Sara was born in Flushing, Queens, and possesses a B.S.Ed. in Special Education with a minor in Theater, and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.
Sara came to Barnert Temple in 1989 when she was hired to design and launch the Temple’s preschool program. According to Sara, “I was asked to design the preschool of my dreams where my own son would be one of the first kids to walk our halls. What could be better than that! Our goal then and now was to do more than simply raise smart kids. We wanted to raise mensches!” More than anything, Sara envisioned a preschool that served as a second home for families and their children; a place where parents, grandparents and family members were part of the preschool community. Her commitment to this goal is evident in our school’s name: Barnert Temple Preschool & Family Center. According to Sara, “We are more than just a school. We are a place where children develop a lifelong love of learning; a place where parents create lifelong friendships; a place where parents and family share a sense of what the world should be through their children’s eyes and experiences.”
After twenty years at Barnert Temple, her passion, commitment and enthusiasm for working with children and families are evident in all that she does. “Barnert Temple Preschool is a happy place! My staff is excited to come to work. My kids are happy to be at school. I love what I do!”
In 1996, Sara’s role at Barnert Temple expanded as she also became the Religious School Director. She wanted to expand her role in shaping and guiding the learning experience for Jewish children and families. According to Sara, “I wanted our Religious School program to create a sense of excitement about Judaism, a sense of pride in being Jewish, and a feeling of community for our Jewish families and children. I didn’t want a program that simply focused on memorizing facts and figures. As I often say, ‘This is not your parents' Hebrew school!’.”
Shortly thereafter, Sara’s role changed once again. It became clear that learning at all levels needed to be coordinated at Barnert. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) started a branch called Lifelong Learning, and Sara assumed the role as Director of Lifelong Learning at Barnert Temple. According to Sara, “As the Director of Lifelong Learning, I get to work with children from their earliest years into their adult years. Our first preschool class is now graduating from college! What an amazing honor to work with and watch children and their families grow and learn together.”
Barnert is proud of Sara’s 24 years of dedicated and passionate service.
Helen Fleischmann - B'nai Mitzvah Coordinator
Helen grew up in New York City, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She received a B.A. in English from CCNY (City College of NY) and a M.A. from Herbert H. Lehman College. Helen taught in the NYC school system right after graduating college. Her husband’s job took her family to Greensboro, North Carolina where they lived for 5 ½ years. Both of their children were born there. Helen's family has been living in Northern NJ for almost thirty years. It was when Helen returned to this area that her association with the Barnert Temple began.
Helen began teaching Religious School at Barnert in Paterson almost thirty years ago when her son was just an infant. She has seen it change and grow into the vibrant congregation it is today.
While her position is mainly administrative, she likes to be involved directly with teaching as well. To that end, she is involved with Barnert's 4th, 5th and 6th grade students in our school’s Mitkadem Program. (Mitkadem is a URJ Hebrew Reading program). Helen is also the Coordinator of Barnert’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program working closely with Rabbi Frishman, Rabbi Steiner and our team of tutors (coaches).
According to Helen, "Barnert Temple's Religious School is very different from the ones many of us remember as children. We believe strongly in derech eretz (behaving the right way) and caring for others in our world (gemilut chasadim-acts of loving kindness). We also believe in having fun. On Sunday mornings, when the Religious School classes are in session, you may even see the prophet Ezekiel (who bears a striking resemblance to me) or Moses (who looks a lot like Howard Nadler, Assistant Director of Curriculum) walking into one of our classrooms. As Judah Ha-Nasi said: 'Only learning that is enjoyed will be learned well.' It is our goal to teach, to learn from each other and to love being Jewish."
Howard Nadler - Religious School Assistant Director of Curriculum Development and Supervision
Howard was born in the Bronx amidst a community of holocaust survivors in the year before the formation of the state of Israel. According to Howard, "In retrospect, those years and experiences did more to solidify my sense of community and J
ewish identity than anything has since."
Howard is a graduate of the High School of Music and Art (he used to be an “accomplished” violinist) and received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the City College of New York. He holds New York State certifications as a building supervisor and a school district administrator. His secular professional life was focused on science education both as a teacher and administrator.
Howard came to Barnert Temple Religious School fourteen years ago and rediscoved that strong sense of community and Jewish identity. Besides his administrative responsibilities, Howard teaches in our Hebrew language program, Mitkadem. On Sundays you can often find him in character as Moses, Nachshon, Naftali Imber or the prophet Samuel. According to Howard, "Jewish education should be active not passive. Here at Barnert we want our students not just to learn about Judaism but to live Jewishly and be an integral part of our holy community. In the words of Hillel, 'If not now, when?' "
Alice Berdy - School Administrator
Alice grew up in Dumont, NJ. She earned a B.A. in Literature from Ramapo College, and in a past life, she was the Vice President of Marketing for a large software company. She now lives in Wyckoff, NJ with her husband. Alice's daughter, who is currently attending college, has worked as a camp counselor and substitute teacher at our preschool, and is a well-known figure with our staff and kids.
Alice became interested in Judaism when she met her husband. She was drawn to the ideas of Tikkun Olam (Reparing the World) and Judaism's emphasis on living an ethical life. She studied with Rabbi Glustrom at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center and converted to Judaism at the age of 26. Her path to Reform Judaism gives her a unique and valuable perspective on the challenges faced by our interfaith families.
Alice came to Barnert Temple 19 years ago when her daughter was 2 and they became part of Barnert's Mommy & Me program. She has been here ever since. After meeting Sara Losch and learning about the preschool, she developed a strong appreciation and respect for both Sara and the preschool's unique nuturing environment.
When Alice decided to return to work, she reached out to Sara Losch and began working as a substitute teacher. She then returned to school to begin working on her Master's in Early Childhood Education. Since joining the staff of Barnert Temple Preschool, Alice has worked in numerous classrooms, serving as an assistant, a head teacher in the Rising Stars for two years, a head teacher in the Big Shots for four years, and a religious school teacher for the third and fifth grades.
In 2007, Alice left her teaching position at our preschool and joined the administrative team as the Assistant Director under Sara Losch. According to Alice, "My personal goal is to help grow and support what I believe is the best preschool around. I love coming to work every day and being surrounded by happy children who are being taught to love learning." We are lucky to have Alice's unique blend of teaching, marketing and management experience to help move our wonderful preschool into it's 20th year of service to families and children.