Who's Who
K-12 Learning Staff

Director of K-12 Learning

Rachel Happel

Rachel joined the Temple Beth Shalom team as the Director of Elementary Learning in September 2013, after having served as one of the key educational consultants in the development of the Mayim program for the three preceding years. Through this experience, Rachel brings a deep understanding of TBS's change efforts, our vision, and our goals for our children and our families.

Rachel has twenty years of experience working in a variety of Jewish, artistic, and educational settings. Throughout Rachel's many years in the field of education, she has worked with children of all ages and their families to create rich, engaging, and dynamic learning experiences. Prior to joining TBS, Rachel worked for six years at Brandeis University as the Director of BIMA and Genesis, two immersive summer programs for Jewish high school students. From 2002-2007, Rachel worked at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she developed and directed their mixed-age, elective-based program for grades 6-12.

Rachel received both a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service and an MBA from Brandeis University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College. Rachel lives in Natick with her husband, Jason, and their daughters, Eva and Josie.

Director of K-12 Inclusion/Associate Director of K-12 Learning

Sara Berk

As the Director of K-12 Inclusion and the Assistant Director of Mayim, Sara collaborates with Jewish Learning Guides (JLGs) and families to ensure that all children can successfully access the curriculum. She also works closely with the JLGs to tailor the curriculum for each group of learners. Sara provides training for the K-12 faculty in order to support all of the children and teens in the Mayim and Etzim learning programs.

Sara also serves as the staff liaison to the Inclusion Task Force. Through this role, she provides training to TBS staff and lay leaders regarding inclusive practices for all congregants.

In addition, Sara represents TBS outside of the temple as a consultant and mentor for other synagogues who are learning to be more inclusive. She provides tools and resources for other temples to implement programs that meet the needs of all children.

Prior to joining the team at TBS in 2013, Sara worked as a special educator in MA and NYC. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and has a Masters Degree in Special Education.

Director of B'Mitzvah Journey Program

Sarah Damelin

Sarah has worked as an educator in the Jewish community for over 18 years.  Before moving to the Boston area in 2017, Sarah taught at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester in White Plains, NY, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford, NJ, and The Heschel School in NY, NY.  In those settings, Sarah strove to integrate Judaic and general subjects, firmly believing that when children approach learning as a whole person, their engagement and investment is more authentic and complete.  As a middle and high school teacher of art, Assistant Director of Experiential Education, and Judaic and Social Studies Teacher, Sarah connects naturally with students of all ages and thrives on collaboration with educators in various fields.  She consistently seeks to integrate creativity and artistic expression into learning – wanting to make Jewish learning accessible and meaningful.

Sarah is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where she received a dual major degree in Fine Arts and English Literature.  She received her Master of Science in Middle Childhood Museum Education from Bank Street College in New York City, and is certified in elementary education.


Sarah, her husband Marc, and their three children, Naomi, Leah, and Max, live in Needham and love being a part of the TBS community. In addition to sharing precious time with family, Sarah also enjoys challah making, “challah sculpture and baking art” (she has already taught a few workshops on this at TBS!), quilting and fabric collage, and gardening.

Assistant Director of 8-12 and Special Programming

Julia Zinn

Julia first started working at TBS in 2016 as a Jewish Learning Guide in the Mayim program. She is excited to make the transition to being the Assistant Director of 8th-12th Grade and Special Programming. Julia is thrilled to be able to continue to share her passion for Jewish learning with this community through her new role. She grew up with a family of Jewish professionals in Worcester, MA and has a degree in Psychology and minors in Judaic Studies and Theater from the University of Delaware. Julia has spent the past seven years working in synagogues and Jewish camps, focusing on Jewish life, education and general programming. Julia currently lives in Brighton with her puppy Madeline.

K-12 Administrator and Logistics Coordinator

Jodi Fletcher

Jodi is very excited to be a part of the TBS Learning Program team! For several years, she has been on the other side of things - she is a TBS member and a parent of 2 current Mayim students. Jodi is so grateful to be connected to such an amazing, inclusive learning community, and she continues to be impressed by the experiences that the TBS Learning Programs have provided our family. Jodi grew up in Newton, and is fortunate to have my extended family in the area... she's been able to gather for so many important milestones in my children's lives - including Consecration and name celebrations at TBS! Jodi currently lives in Needham with her husband (Jason) and their children (Lilly and Aaron). The whole family feels so lucky to be a part of the Needham and TBS communities!

Temple Beth Shalom

670 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02494