Congratulations to the Helen Diller awardees for Excellence in Jewish Education


Congregation/Community School: Elena Zusmanovich, Congregation Beth Am

Elena ZusmanovichFor the past nine years, Elena Zusmanovich has been an invaluable resource to Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, where she teaches both in Russian and English. As a teacher in the ‘Russian Shabbaton’ program, Zusmanovich has built bridges with the Russian émigré community, engaging families otherwise estranged from Jewish life in America. Zusmanovich brings creativity – silk painting and embroidery are among her many talents – and a wide breadth of Jewish knowledge to her teaching. A graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute, Zusmanovich also worked on the Bureau of Jewish Education’s report on Jewish education for the Russian-speaking community. .



Day School: M. Evan Wolkenstein, Jewish Community High School of the Bay

Evan WolkensteinAs an educator at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, Evan Wolkenstein brings his passion for Jewish text to the classroom. Whether utilizing innovative teaching methods in his role as a Jewish Studies teacher, or drumming with student musicians in his role as Director of Experiential Education, Wolkenstein helps his students discover their own voices. Known for his ability to listen, as well as respond honestly and without judgment, Wolkenstein sets an example for his students’ interactions with one another. The son of a kindergarten teacher and professor of family medicine, Wolkenstein studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and earned his Master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. .


Early Childhood Education: Raizel Weinbaum, Chai Preschool

Raizel WeinbaumBorn to a family of teachers, Raizel Weinbaum has long understood the importance of education. Now a devoted preschool teacher at Chai Preschool in San Mateo, Weinbaum inspires in her young students the same love of Jewish learning that she developed as a day school student in Huntington Beach, Calif., and later as a student at Beth Chana in Safed, Israel. An active member of her Jewish community, Weinbaum regularly hosts families for Shabbat dinner, and offers Challah-baking classes for children. She also volunteers for Shabbat and holiday events at Chabad of the North Peninsula, where her husband serves as program director. .



Informal Education: Eric Schoen, Temple Sinai

Eric SchoenFor more than 25 years, Eric Schoen has been educating and inspiring Jewish children through music. As Music Specialist at Temple Sinai in Oakland, Schoen reaches kids of all ages, engaging them in call and response, and weaving bits of Jewish learning into many a song. A passionate, dynamic and committed music specialist, Schoen has also served as song leader at some of the Bay Area’s largest congregations, including Temple Beth El in Berkeley, and Temple Emanuel in San Francisco. Schoen first developed a love of Jewish music as a camper at Camp Swig in Saratoga, CA, where he was influenced by such Jewish music luminaries as Debbie Friedman.



Read about the 2010 Annual Meeting Award honorees

Categories: Awards, Endowment, Videos


May 21, 2010


The Federation