Over the course of the Fellowship, Fellows will:

  • Gain knowledge in and explore Jewish texts to discover Jewish values, approaches, and practices that they can put into action in Jewish early childhood programs.
  • Reflect on their own development, their relationship to Jewishness, and their leadership narratives as they develop their leadership skills and philosophies of Jewish early childhood education.
  • Bring ideas back for immediate and long-term implementation, contributing strongly to the evolution of their programs.
  • Create a community of practice, including Jewish learning, that utilizes their strengths and generates ongoing learning and development in their programs and in the community.

During the 18-month Fellowship, Fellows attend four seminars and a three-night retreat. Participants are paired with a mentor and work with them and in small groups to accomplish an “action project.”

For more detailed information about the JECELI program and curriculum, visit the national JECELI website.


Adrianne Pasternak

ECC Director at Temple Ramat Zion

I am fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to work with the Federation several times in the past and each experience has bene career changing — providing me with so much growth professionally and personally. I am always looking for ways to develop and improve as a Jewish educator!

Alisha Sela

ECC Director at Kadima Day School

I have been in the classroom for about 15 years and look forward to my transition to a new position as a Director. I am excited to be surrounded by others who are in similar positions as I am. Creating a support group who will be learning along side of me, and will also continue to be a future connection will be a wonderful opportunity.

Alison Hendeles

Nursery Teacher at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy

I think that continued education is important for all aspects of life. When it comes to teaching each year brings a new classroom dynamic, some new challenges you have not seen before, a new set of parents and a clean slate for all the students and teachers in your room. I love working with and learning from other educators about their experiences and what has worked and not worked, inside and outside the classroom.

Andrea Jaffe

ECC Assistant Director at Adat Ari El

When I heard about the JECELI-LA Fellowship Program, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it. Continuing education is very important to me. The connection between Jewish values and leadership training will help guide me on this journey and I am very excited to see where it goes.

Bri Naiman

Director of Early Childhood Education at Leo Baeck Temple

I aspire to deepen my understanding of the Jewish community, in partnership with other Jewish leaders, in order to establish engaging programs for families with young children.

Doris Rihani


I want to participate in JECELI-LA to get help and support.

Jennifer Cavalieri

ECC Assistant Director at Sinai Akiba Academy

I feel this opportunity will allow me to not only grow as a leader in my current role as the Early Childhood Center Assistant Director, but will also allow me to help other early childhood educators, children, and families in my school find a deeper love for Jewish Education. Often times, I feel that Judaism and General Education are looked at as two separate entities and I hope to find ways to combine the two, while sparking joy and passion in both educators and students alike.

Jen Shankman

Director of Early Childhood at The Wise School

The support of being in JECELI-LA will allow me to push our vision for our school closer to reality. I am looking to connect more deeply with other directors and educators through a deeper learning cohort. I feel that this kind of support is critical.

Kathy Sharp

ECC Assistant Director at Temple Etz Chaim

I would like to be part of JECELI-LA because I feel it is an experience that I will take with me throughout my journeys as a child advocate, child educator and a child professional. I understand that this opportunity is going to help me achieve my professional goals to become an early childhood director.

Lily Garcia

ECC Director at Temple B’Nai Hayim Children’s Center

We want to make an impact in our center, in our children, and their parents’ lives by delivering a better and stronger program. Thanks to the opportunity of JECELI-LA, I feel we can make it happen.

Mona Raoufpour

Head Teacher at Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am

Having worked with young children, the beauty of their minds and their curiosity have truly inspired me to be a life-long learner. I am eager to learn how to lead in a Jewish way, utilizing core Jewish values to make a difference.

Renee Kalmanson

ECC Assistant Director at Valley Beth Shalom

Being a JECELI-LA Fellow will give me the opportunity to collaborate with other leaders in Jewish education, with the joint mission to engage the Jewish community through quality programming within the framework of Jewish values. I hope to gain valuable insight and learn from others who have more experience with leadership in the field. I look forward to making lasting connections with both Mentors and other Fellows and am excited about the potential for future partnerships.

Robin Masnicoff

ECC Director at Beth Shir Shalom

JECELI-LA will help me further my abilities as a new director and help me with my journey. I am hopeful that the program will give me the added support I need to expand my abilities as a leader within my current community and give me the foundation to reach beyond to help the greater community.

Robin Wayne

ECC Co-Director at Temple Aliyah

JECELI-LA seems like it was developed for me! I want to learn and grow as a director and a leader and develop skills that will allow me to do this to the best of my ability. I want to be involved with a group of people with similar goals for camaraderie, brainstorming, effective learning, and fun.

Sigalit Harel

Teacher at The Wise School

The fellowship will help me acquire the skills, resources, and mentorship I need to build a support system. I believe that collaborating with a mentor and other educators produce positive outcomes and is the best way to become an effective leader.


Beth Weisman


I wanted to be a JECELI mentor to try to pay forward all the wisdom and encouragement I’ve received from mentors before me as well as to keep learning from other professionals in this incredible field.

Karen Dudley


My Jewish culture is very important to me and is a central part of my sense of self. Early childhood Jewish education is an invaluable time for instilling a positive identification with being Jewish in children, and also for enhancing each parents ability to parent with heart and mind, guided by sustaining Jewish values and experiences. I love supporting and sharing with other early childhood professionals in their growth in the Jewish community, and also see this as an opportunity for increased growth and development on my own experience in the Jewish early childhood community. Together we can contribute to our Jewish community growing and flourishing.

Kim Heyman


I want to be a JECELI-LA mentor so I can use my experience, knowledge and resources in a positive, motivating way. I enjoy watching people learn about their inherent gifts and I want help them use these gifts to benefit the children, teachers and families in their community.

Richard Cohen


I’ve been deeply involved in mentoring and reflective practice over the last decade. JECELI gives me a wonderful opportunity to bring those experiences to the Jewish early childhood world.

Lisa Ellison

JECELI-LA Project Manager

I am thrilled to be part of an innovative program that supports early childhood professionals in areas that will transform their work with children, families and colleagues. I look forward to see how JECELI-LA Fellows positively impact the Jewish community.

Lyndall Miller

JECELI-LA Director

Early in my career, I moved from special education into Jewish education as I realized the potential for Judaism to optimize cultural and spiritual community leadership development. We see this development—the guiding sharing of deep connections—through the everyday interactions of children, educators, directors, and parents. I am honored to participate in the Los Angeles Jewish early childhood community through JECELI.