Religious School Educators

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Rebecca Seidenspinner

K’tan Tan

Rebecca comes to CBT with 20 years of preschool experience. She currently teaches Pre-K at Pleasant Hill Rec and Park Preschool and served as a loving teacher in Gan B’nai Shalom Preschool for ten years. While she was attending classes at Diablo Valley College in Early Childhood Education, she worked concurrently in a preschool that her son attended for seven years.

What Rebecca loves most about working with children is watching them learn and grow. The most amazing thing for her is to see the excitement in their eyes while they are learning and exploring. She loves to help families as they strive to give their young children a Jewish experience.

Rebecca is married and has three children. She enjoys working in the garden and taking care of her small backyard farm where she raises chickens. She also loves to ride her red bicycle to the farmer’s market.

Molly Lin-Utzig

Molly Lin-Utzig grew up attending B’nai Tikvah as a student, Bat Mitzvah, and now teacher. She is excited to be teaching kindergarten because she enjoys watching students grow and learn.

Jordan Smith

First Grade

Jordan has grown up in the Bay Area and has been a member of B’nai Tikvah since she was 13 years old. She recently graduated from Clayton Valley Charter High School and is attending UC Berkeley, studying Bioengineering. She has been a member of the madrichim program for the past five years and was Head Madricha last year. She has also run the STEAM camp at B’nai Tikvah in previous years and has helped with Mesibaba. Jordan loves teaching and is very excited to incorporate her love of STEM into religious school!

Zach Zagon

Second Grade

Zach was raised in the Bay Area and has been a part of the CBT community since childhood. He both attended Hebrew School and had his Bar Mitzvah at CBT. During the week he works as a Special Education Assistant at Valley View Middle School and is currently a student majoring in psychology with the goal to become a special education teacher. In his free time, he enjoys powerlifting, playing with his dog Moose, and spending time with his family and friends. He is excited to be teaching second grade at CBT on Sundays and strives to create a fun environment where his students can learn more about their Jewish heritage.

Rina Kirsch

Third Grade

Originally from Massachusetts, Rina moved to the Bay Area with her family 7 years ago and has been living here full time for the past 3 years. She graduated from Juniata College, located in Pennsylvania, in 2019 with a degree in Biology and Theatre Performance. She was an active member of United Synagogue Youth, Hillel, and attended Camp Ramah New England. She has several years of experience as a TA and a substitute teacher, most recently working at CCJDS. She is very excited to teach the 3rd-grade class!

Ellen Fasman

Fourth Grade
Ellen was born in the Bay Area and has roots in Chicago. She has three children and two cats.  She graduated from UC Davis with degrees in Biology and Physical Anthropology. Ellen also teaches high school biology and physiology. Ellen has been teaching at CBT with love and passion for many years.  Her work with children fills her life with meaning and pleasure.

Julie Trost

Fifth Grade

Julie is a Bay Area native and had her Bat Mitzvah in Tiburon, CA. She attended college and earned her Teaching Credential at UC Davis, completed graduate degrees in Reading and Language Arts at Cal State East Bay, and taught third grade in both Newark and Walnut Creek. She loves teaching reading and writing among other things, and is excited to guide her fifth graders in writing their own interpretative Siddurim at CBT.

Julie lives in Walnut Creek with her husband, her two sons (a fourth grader and a sophomore Tutor in the Madrichim program), and six bunnies. The Trosts joined CBT in 2012.

Rebecca Abraham

Sixth Grade

Rebecca Abraham grew up in Tempe, Arizona. She moved to the Bay Area after completing her Masters in Speech Language Pathology at Arizona State University. While in college, Rebecca was an active member of Jewish life on campus, taking classes in modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, and holding leadership positions in the Hebrew language club ‘Medabrim’ for two years.

Throughout her time in Tempe, Rebecca was an active member of her home synagogue. She was a camper and then a counselor at a Jewish overnight camp. She worked with a wide range of ages first as a madricha, and then as a teacher. During this time, she also tutored B’nei Mitzvah students and Modern Hebrew classmates.

Outside of the classroom, Rebecca works as a speech language pathologist at 2 nursing homes in the East Bay. When not at work, she loves choral singing and crocheting. Rebecca lives in Concord with her partner. Rebecca is a founding member and current chair of Keshet at CBT, a social group for people of all genders, orientations, and ages at the synagogue.

Vanessa Redmond

Seventh Grade

Born and raised in San Francisco, Vanessa now lives in Concord and is proud to be a newer CBT member, having joined the community in July of 2021. Vanessa has cultivated a lifelong love of Judaism, beginning with her attendance at Congregation B’nai Emunah’s preschool in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco 33 years ago. A convert to Judaism, Vanessa brings a passion and enthusiasm for all aspects of Jewish life, and the power of the Jewish community to be a positive force in the world. As a big fan of food and cooking, she attended City College of San Francisco’s Culinary Arts program, before earning her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at San Francisco State University. By day, Vanessa works full-time at a financial technology company, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Jasper.