Susan came to VBS as a co-founder of the B’Yachad (Together) social group back in1984 and since then has worked with our youth directors and heads of ECLC. Shortly after, she was hired as the coordinator of the Shaare Tikva (Gates of Hope) and Moreshet (Heritage) classes, plus the JFS Chaverim program when it was housed at VBS. During those 20+ years, Susan created Parent Chats, a B’nei Mitzvah prep program, a post B’nei Mitzvah class, and the Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning adult arts program. Susan was the Israeli Dance/Creative Movement Teacher in VBSDS for 18 years, where she created and ran the first Resource Room for the school. Susan also created a Dance Artist in Residence Program for synagogues and school communities, which was piloted and ran at Valley Beth Shalom for two years prior to the Schulweis Arts Institute was created.
In 2007 she became the co-founder and part time director of the OurSpace Collaboration between Valley Beth Shalom and Temple Aliyah. This allowed the existing programs to expand and based on the ever-changing needs of people in the community, for new programs to be offered. Susan has served and continues to serve on numerous task forces, advisory boards, and as a consultant for the Jewish Federation, BJELA, Camp Ramah’s Tikva program, and various synagogues in LA and Orange County. She has taught sessions for the AJU Service Learning classes, Delet and Master’s of Education students at HUC and for teacher in-service training at various locations. Susan’s vision and goal has always been to create spaces and programs where opportunities to participate in living a full Jewish life are experienced by everyone in our community. Susan is a true pioneer in the field, and an inspiration for all.
Susan and her husband Rami are long time members of the VBS community, and their children, Talia and Aviv, are VBS, AJ Heschel and NCJHS alumni. Following in the footsteps of their Ema Susan, they both attended Camp Ramah (as toddlers, campers and on staff) and are on the alumni board of Ramah. Susan (born and raised in NY), and Rami (born and raised in Israel) have been members since 1993, they both took the Para- Rabbinic class with Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis (z”l), are active shul goers, and that includes Rami attending the N’Shama Minyan of which Susan is one of it’s co-founders and committee members.