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Nevei Kodesh Religious School Staff

Meet Our Team 

Sarah Nowak, Religious School Director

My name is Sarah Nowak (she/her) and I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into this position at Nevei Kodesh! My fiancé Aaron and I moved from Delaware to Boulder in January, motivated by Aaron’s job and our mutual love of Colorado. We joined Congregation Nevei Kodesh in the spring and had a wonderful time being involved in the Jewish Broadway fundraiser. Since moving to Boulder, I’ve been working in childcare, teaching theater through an outreach program with Local Theater Company, and developing as an artist in the figure drawing community.

Professionally, I’ve been an educator for ten years, and I am passionate about fostering community and personal growth in students. I have over fifteen years of experience directing and producing theatrical productions, many of which were with young students. I value music, creativity, and experiential learning, and I’m excited to find even more ways to incorporate these into our curriculum. I look forward to getting to know all of you as we continue to grow the Religious School at Nevei Kodesh!




Ari Sharfstein: K'tanim, Music & Prayer Leader

Ari works with all of our students on Sundays.

Hi everyone! For those of you who have not yet met me, my name is Ari and I graduated with my master's in music education at CU Boulder! I teach music at a school in Aurora, CO.

I joined the Nevei Kodesh team as the religious school music teacher a few years ago when I arrived to begin my degree program. Before making my way to Boulder, I studied music and philosophy at the University of Florida, where I led music for services at the Hillel House and worked as the music teacher at a local Hebrew school. After graduating, I moved back down to South Florida where I worked as an SAT tutor, but it was a job destined to be short lived. A few months after returning home, I got a job offer to be the musician in residence at Temple Israel in Cape Town, South Africa. I spent three wonderful months in Cape Town working as a songleader, music teacher, youth worker, and b'nei mitzvah tutor before returning to the United States, but my wanderlust wasn't satiated just yet. Luckily for me, a synagogue in Melbourne, Australia was looking for a music teacher and assistant to the cantor, and next thing I knew I was heading down undah'. I spent a full year working in Melbourne (or Melbin, as the locals say) before returning to the United States once more to continue my education here in Boulder. It's been a wild ride, and one that I'm glad has landed me here with this wonderful community.

Lael Har: Hebrew Teacher & Art Specialist

Lael works with all of our students on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Born in Israel my family and I moved to the United States when I was ten and I experienced first hand the challenges of learning a second language. At age fourteen, I was the assistant teacher at Beth Shalom, a Jewish Sunday school my mom started and directed in Iowa. Then through high-school and college, I became a teacher, then school director.

Armed with a BFA in multi media I moved to Boulder to start a career in graphic design and in 2005 I became a full time artist, showing, selling and teaching painting at Lael Gallery & Studios in North Boulder. At the same time I continued to teach Hebrew, Jewish studies, and B'nai Mitzvah, incorporating fine art projects and experiential learning for Congregation Har Hashem (2003 -2006) and Congregation Nevei Kodesh (2004 - present). I did take a break at some point to have a couple of kids (Tamar 15, Elan 12). Their Jewish education motivated me to continue participating as a teacher at our school. Tamar now 15 is following in my footsteps as teacher assistant (Madricha) teaching with her Ima like I did decades earlier. 

Midor L'Dor, we are happy to continue our family and Jewish tradition.

Nicole Longcrier: K & 1st Grade Teacher

Nicole is joining as a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher! She is a student at Metropolitan State University Denver, pursuing a bachelors degree in communications and English. Nicole is a born and raised Coloradan who loves the outdoors. In their free time Nicole loves to read novels, write, and practice archery. Nicole is married to Kat Hubbard, and together they have an elderly dog and cat that they dote on. 

Nicole is most excited to join the Nevei Kodesh team to teach Hebrew through songs and dance, and encourage a love and exploration of Judaism. 





Melissa Goldman: 2nd & 3rd Grade Lead Teacher 

2nd - 3rd Grade Class

My name is Melissa Goldman and I teach 2nd/3rd grade religious school at Nevei Kodesh. This will be my 11th year teaching religious school in general, and my 6th year teaching at Nevei!

I have a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a fine arts concentration, and I am currently working on my master's degree in school counseling.

When I'm not teaching religious school, I'm spending time with my husband and two daughters, watching tv, baking fun cakes, or Jazzercising. I love teaching this 2nd/3rd grade class, and I look forward to working with your children!



Kat Hubbard: 4th & 5th Grade Teacher & Tues. Elective Teacher

My name is Kat Hubbard (she/they), and I'm excited to be joining the team at Nevei Kodesh this year as the congregation's 4th/5th grade teacher! This is my third year as a religious school teacher and my first at Nevei Kodesh. 

I am a lifetime resident of Colorado, and I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing from Colorado State University with plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Jewish Studies. Outside of the synagogue, my interests include environmental poetics, ancient history, and the literary study of the Hebrew Bible. 





Aviva Grossberg: B'nai Mitzvah/Crossing the River Lead Teacher & Tues. Elective Teacher

6th - 7th Grade, B'nai Mitzvah (Crossing the River)

I am excited to be joining the Nevei Kodesh teaching team this year. Jewish Renewal has brought much joy and connection into my life, and I hope to bring that heartfelt love for Judaism into the classroom.  I am passionate about supporting our young ones as they find a unique expression of Judaism that lights them up, too.  We will enrich our learning with earth-based practices, rituals, and embodied wisdom that are inherent in our tradition.

I have a background in theatre and have also facilitated yoga, wilderness quests, and movement mediation in the past. I am a Hakomi trained coach, and I work with people to help them find a more whole and integrated way of being the world.

I have two young children who keep me very busy and who continue to teach me how to be a more patient, present, and loving human. Some of my favorite activities include: singing, dancing, swimming in natural bodies of water, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

I am grateful for the opportunity to come together—to learn, pray, and be renewed in community.

Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein: B'nai Mitzvah & Parent Learning

B'nai Mitzvah

I am excited to continue being a part of the Nevei Kodesh Religious School in my new role as Rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh! I began my  journey in Jewish Education many, many years ago, when my older daughter (now 23 and a recent college graduate) was young and complained that she did not know any other Jewish children (she was one of only two Jewish children in her elementary school in Germany). Since then, I have been actively working to ensure that my own children and other children have ample opportunities to engage in a joyous Jewish learning and praying environment - and my younger daughter recently celebrated her Bat-Mitzvah at NK!

I have worked as an educator in multiple congregations and hold a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College. I also received rabbinic ordination from ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. I served as the Rabbi of Chawurah Gescher (Freiburg, Germany) and Migwan (Basel, Switzerland) prior to moving to Boulder from Europe in 2018. I serve as the Rabbi at Congregation Nevei Kodesh and enjoy teaching about Prayer, Lifecycle events, Torah, God and Jewish Renewal to both children and adults. Earlier in my life, I was a cultural anthropologist – and lived extended periods of my life abroad in Sweden, Thailand, China and Germany.

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784