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Seth Young, Executive Director

Seth Young brings a wealth of strategic, financial and operational experience from tenures at multiple Jewish organizations in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT. Seth’s most recent position was as Associate Head of School at Carmel Academy (Carmel), a Jewish day school, in Greenwich, CT, overseeing Communications, Admissions and Development services. Seth also supported volunteer engagement while at Carmel, working closely with the Director of Facilities Management, supporting the Security Committee, engaging heavily with the Board of Trustees and as a strategic partner with the Head of School.

Prior to Carmel, Seth spent three years as a Development Executive at UJA-Federation of New York, cultivating relationships and supporting many campaigns and initiatives. Seth also spent time at Westchester Jewish Center (WJC), holding several roles in formal and informal education for multiple cohorts as an educator and administrator. Seth was the Assistant Principal of the Hebrew High School at Westchester Jewish Center (WJC) for 10 years, continuing in his role while working at UJA-Federation and at Carmel. Seth is also an active volunteer in his Jewish community in Stamford, CT.  Seth grew up in Syracuse, NY, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Bible Studies through a joint program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.


Mindy Citera, Nursery School Director

Mindy (Bailin) Citera has been the director of Bet Torah Nursery School since 2001 and has been a teacher in the religious school since 1995. She holds a Master's degree in elementary education from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from SUNY Albany.  She has taught at the college, high school, middle school and elementary school levels, as well as pre-school and parenting classes.  Mindy is the author of Around New York City with Kids, a Fodor’s Guide published by Random House. She has also written for numerous parenting magazines and newspapers over the last 30 years on parenting, education and children’s health. Mindy began teaching at her childhood synagogue in Bellmore, New York in 1970 and has worked in youth groups, religious schools, day schools, camps, and preschools in Long Island, Albany, Buffalo, Boston, Virginia, and Chappaqua before coming to Bet Torah.  Mindy and her husband Jerry are the proud parents of Michael, Jennifer and Rachel and grandchildren Ava Leila and Sophie Harper.


Gina Fass, Director of Education

With over 20 years of experience in Jewish education, Gina Fass joined the staff of Bet Torah as the Director of Education for the Kulanu Learing Program (Religious School) in July 2016.  She holds dual Master's degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion and is a graduate of the prestigious Wexner Graduate Fellowship.  Prior to joining Bet Torah, Gina served as a director of education at synagogues and Jewish camps in Minnesota, California and Connecticut.  She has also taught high school and middle school Jewish Studies at Day Schools in Houston and Stamford.  She has directed youth programs, a community Hebrew High, and inclusion programs for Jewish teens with special needs.  A world traveler, Gina has lived in cities across the United States, in France, and in Israel. She and her husband Jonathan, are the proud parents of Michal and Erez and live in Stamford.


Nili Ionascu, Director of The B'nai Mitzvah Program and The Schleifer Learning Center

Nili Ionascu was born and raised in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. She concentrated on Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in high school and utilized that knowledge in her service with the I.D.F.’s intelligence division before and during the Six-Day War. After completing her army service, Nili continued her focus on Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she also ran track.

Nili obtained a graduate degree in education from Hebrew University, and taught Hebrew and Arabic at schools in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem before leaving to work as a film editor in Israeli television. After moving to the United States, she began working at Bet Torah in 1981, teaching Hebrew and tefillot to students with special needs. Since then, Nili has been directing Bet Torah Religious School's special needs program and preparing students for their b’nai mitzvot. She is a recipient of the Westchester Association of Hebrew Schools Teacher of the Year Award and the Ernest Rothschild Award for excellence in education.


Lauren Poretsky, Assistant Director of Youth and Education

Growing up in METNY USY, Lauren Poretsky joins us as the Assistant Director of Education and Youth (K-12). She recently served on the educational team at Temple Beth El of Huntington, NY, helping to launch new toddler, youth and family education programs, and plan engaging holiday events and community-wide celebrations. She taught at The Jewish Learning Center at North Shore Jewish Center in her hometown, Port Jefferson Station, NY. Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Binghamton University and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lauren brings a devotion to Jewish pride, culture, and identity, and is excited to learn from our teens. Her passions for art, learning, and Judaism continue to guide her mentally and spiritually as a creative Jewish educator. Her artwork practice includes performances and installations dedicated to human rights activism and awareness. Lauren’s mission to social action and imaginative spirit will bring new and inclusive ideas, play, and fun to Bet Torah. She also enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with animals.

Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyyar 5784