Our Staff

The people who work at Temple Israel are not just staff.
Here’s your chance to get to meet them online.

Heather Cohen Executive director

Heather Cohen has been Temple’s Executive Director for thirty years. She is often the first person from Temple that newcomers and members speak to or meet. She is able to connect people to each other and to what Temple has to offer. When someone is in need, it is usually Heather who offers up a kind word and makes a connection to someone who can help. Heather is a source of knowledge, advice and assistance, often behind the scenes and outside of the limelight. With a warm smile and kind word. And with a special interest in dogs large and small.

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Executive Director Heather Cohen and friend

Cathy Loves Administrative Officer

Cathy Loves is Temple’s Administrative Officer and your first point of contact for questions regarding Temple. She is part of the office team that handles the Temple activity and services calendar, membership and administration matters. She sends the weekly emails and publishes the Temple Bulletins. Cathy ensures that everyone knows where they are supposed to be and when they need to be there. If you have questions about Temple or any events at Temple, get in touch with Cathy.

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Rebecca Zuckerbrodt Temple Israel Religious School Principal

Temple Israel Board of Directors would like to announce the new principal of Temple Israel Religious

Rebecca will be familiar to many Temple members because she has taught at Temple Israel for many years, from grade 2 through to high school.

“While I am not a member of Temple Israel, I am very familiar with the services, as well as FROSTY,” says Rebecca. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Sheli Braun, Rabbi Garten, many teachers, and doing music with Larry Tarof. I look forward to being involved once again at TIRS.”

“Rebecca brings years of experience in education,” says Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, “and we are delighted to have her at Temple Israel Religious School.”

Rebecca has extensive experience as an administrator for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s International and Indigenous Languages Program. In that capacity, she has worked extensively with the community, parents, teachers and students, and has particularly enjoyed working with parents and community leaders in the Greek, Malayalam and Nepali communities.

She has provided instructional leadership to teachers, presented professional development in the areas of differentiation and inclusiveness, and conducted interviews and performance appraisals of staff.

She describes her vision as a desire to provide “an engaging, high quality, innovative Jewish education to all students at TIRS.”

“I am deeply committed to Jewish education,” she says, “and I believe that there must be an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, regardless of affiliations and exceptionalities.”

As a child growing up in the United States, she attended Sunday religious schools because her parents “wanted to ensure that their children would have a strong Jewish identity, an attachment to Israel, knowledge of Jewish history and holidays, learn Hebrew as well as being able to participate in services.”

She says she understands the challenges for families to have their children attend religious school on Sundays and week days. “It is critical that students be engaged, excited to learn, and feel that they are part of the Temple Israel community in an authentic way.”

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Sue Potechin, Temple Israel Religious School

Ranit Braun Youth Group Leader

Ranit Braun has been a staff member of Temple Israel Religious School (TIRS) for nearly 15 years. She teaches Hebrew, Tanakh, Jewish history, tikkun olam, tzedakah, and gemilut hasadim.

In addition to teaching, Ranit has been the Junior Youth Group adviser for Temple and creator of the JBaby programs, in which parents and their children under two years of age gather to socialize in a group setting.

Ranit is Ottawa’s 2019 recipient of the North American Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. You can learn more about Ranit’s accomplishments in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.

Ranit Braun