Jewish lifecycles are a time of growth when we express ourselves through ritual. Cantor Barbra is available to serve your needs whether it is a Bar/ Bat Mitzvah for your child, your own wedding, or the naming of your child. On other occasions, Cantor Barbra conducts funerals and unveilings.


Cantor Barbra tutors Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidates weekly in the convenience of their homes in Bergen County, NJ as well as Rockland County, NY. Lessons are usually 45 minutes to 1 hour per child. The majority of the lesson time is spent learning how to read in Hebrew and the prayers that the student(s) need(s) to know for his/her special day. The remainder of the time includes Torah, Jewish holidays and what it means to be Jewish.

At the initial meeting with the parents and student(s), she will discuss the books that will be used, the prayers that will be taught, a chesed project that relates to the student’s Torah portion, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony itself along with a tutoring agreement. In addition, Cantor Barbra will take the time to get to know the student(s) and learn his/her interests. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony can be conducted at the facility of your choosing.

Cantor Barbra, who is compassionate and patient, will tailor the ceremony according to each child’s needs. If extra lessons are required per week, and her time schedule is limited, then Cantor Barbra will provide a tutor for the student.

Our Tutors:

Cammy Bourcier Cammy Bourcier was born in Israel and came to the U.S. at age 5. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York and received her BA in Anthropology from Queens College. Following graduation, she spent a year at a Hebrew ulpan in Jerusalem. She returned to New York, where she completed her MA in Journalism and spent more than 25 years in Broadcast News and PR. In 2006, while she was studying to become a B’nai Mitzvah, Cammy began teaching 6th grade Hebrew at Temple Beth Or, where she continues to teach and tutor. She is also on the task force of the Jewish Federation’s education committee, which arranges twinning programs for religious and Hebrew School teachers in Bergen County and Nahariya.

Debora Propper Lesnoy Debora Propper Lesnoy grew up in Fair Lawn. She has a BA degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Debora (Morah Debbie) ran an Israel information Center there and serving as regional coordinator for American Zionist Youth Foundation. She attended the Technion in Haifa, Israel, as a graduate student. While living in Israel, Debora worked for the Jewish Agency, translating and representing Israel on incoming cruise ships. After returning to the United States, she lived in New Hampshire, teaching Hebrew School there. Debora helped initiate a Jewish Day School in Sharon, MA, teaching Kindergarten and Religious School in Attleboro, MA. Debora moved to Fair Lawn 15 years ago, and became Director of the Leah Sokoloff Nursery School, located at Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn, a position she currently holds. In addition, Debora teaches Religious School at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center. She has taught 2 nd, 4 th and 7 th (Bar Mitzvah) grades there for 15 years. Debora has five children; 2 boys and 3 girls, and has been working as a Jewish Educator for over 25 years

Barbara Lesser  Schwartz

Barbara Lesser Schwartz grew up in North Adams, MA and received a B.S. degree in Music Education at the University of Bridgeport, CT. She taught in CT for a few years before changing her career direction to music publishing. She worked at Radmus Music Publishing and Warner Bros. Music Publishing in New York City for several years. Concurrently, she taught religious school at a local reform synagogue, Mahwah, NJ. For the past three summers, Barbara has been spiritual leader and tutor at Round Lake Camp, a Jewish special needs camp in the Poconos, PA. In addition to working at a local Reform synagogue, she taught at Barnert Temple, Franklin Lakes. Barbara is known for her gentle manner in teaching all children including special needs. She lives in Fair Lawn with her husband Michael and her two children, Jeremy and Shaina.

Diana Yacobi Diana Yacobi After working in public school education, Diana turned to Jewish education, her first love. Upon completing her Masters in Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, she served as the Educational Director of Conservative synagogue schools in New York and New Jersey. The Sarah and David Hebrew reading curriculum evolved from Diana’s work in congregational schools and was created together with her daughter Lily Yacobi. The goal was to provide teachers with a reading program that works well and that students enjoy in spite of the limited hours per week spent on Hebrew reading. It is used in schools, resource rooms, home school parents and adult learners around the country. Diana has published articles on Jewish education, presents at schools and educator conferences and trains teachers in reading acquisition. She continues to develop the Sarah and David program and enjoys teaching Hebrew reading to students of all ages. Website:

Galia Baruch Galia Baruch was born, grew up, and spent most of her life in Israel. After graduating from high school she served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). Galia studied Psychology and Sociology at Haifa University. She also studied at IDEA (Institute for the Development of Executive Assistants) in Tel Aviv. In 1996, Galia moved to the United States with her husband Dov and her two children, Ofir and Adi. She enjoys teaching and loves learning new things. Currently, Galia teaches at The Gerrard Berman Day School (Solomon Schechter of Northern NJ), in a religious school in Bergen County, sings with the Temple Beth Rishon choir, and attends the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning.

Estelle Haberman Estelle Haberman is a native New Yorker from the Bronx N.Y who lives with her husband Roger and her two daughters Jenette and Molly in Fair Lawn NJ. She is a second career teacher who has a Masters in the Art of Teaching Graduate degree and an undergraduate Communications Degree. Her first career was as a Purchasing and Office Manager. During her childhood years she attended The Hebrew Arts School for Music and Dance in N.Y. Estelle sings and plays piano.

Presently Estelle is working as an assistant teacher in Pre K through 6th grade in a Bergen County Public school. She has taught in numerous Yeshiva Day Schools in grades 2-5. She has been a Special Education Teacher at The Sinai School. She taught grades 4 and 5 for 6 years at Temple Beth Or, Washington Township, and is presently teaching at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation Beth Israel for 7 years. During this time she has taught all grades. Her experience as a teacher has given her the knowledge to work with students with different learning abilities. Estelle also teaches special holiday programs at the center. Estelle loves being with her students and their families helping them to prepare for their memorable occasions of their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, whether in the US or in Israel.

Rivka Shacham is a Sabra, who grew up in Israel. She served as an officer in the IDF and studied in Seminar for Teachers in Haifa,Israel. Rivka moved to U.S. where she studied at the Midrasha for Jewish Education and started teaching in Hebrew schools. Her mission is to create the connection between our students and our homeland,Israel. Rivka compares her teaching skills to good and creative art. “Like a good artist,I,too appreciate my creativity.”

She is married and a mother of 3 activists women

Smadar Shemmesh is a native of Israel. She holds a BA in Elementary Education from St. Peter’s University and studied Applied Linguistics & Political Science at Tel Aviv University. She is a NJ certified K-5 teacher, has a certificate from the Florence Melton Adult School and is a GIA Certified Gemologist. Smadar held several educational positions in private and congregational schools. She was an assistant teacher in an inclusion class at Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford, a Bnei-Mitzvah educator at Congregation Gesher Shalom/JCC of Fort Lee, and Assistant to the Dean of the School of Nursing at St. Peter’s University. While in Israel, Smadar was the Hebrew Language Curriculum Coordinator and an English Language Educator for middle school students. She currently works as a Third Grade Judaic Studies teacher at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus and teaches the Bnei/Bnot Mitzvah class at The Nitzanim School in Fair Lawn. Besides education, Smadar holds a Master Gardener certificate through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Certification Program, volunteers as the Garden Manager for the Center for Food Action panty garden and is a docent at the Glen Rock Arboretum.


Cantor David Wallach Cantor David Wallach Born in a small Wisconsin Jewish community, Cantor David Wallach has always held a strong connection with his Jewish identity and practice. After singing for 15 years as a professional opera singer in New York, he started to recognize the need to foster a greater religious and community connection and did this with his pursuit of the Cantorate. He received his Masters in Sacred Music becoming an invested Cantor from the HL Miller Cantorial School. Cantor Wallach also received his Master’s in Jewish Education from the Davidson School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. With the rebirth of religious learning, he has never found himself more fulfilled. David recognizes that if Judaism is to flourish, proper education may be the clergy and educator’s greatest responsibility and joy. And to him, the true meaning of Tikkun Olam.

Cantor David has most recently served as assistant Cantor to Hazzan Mark Biddleman at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. At the Orangetown Jewish Center Cantor Wallach was an educational intern, performing a number of different duties including conducting and providing music for the religious school as well as teaching and tutoring. He has also served as Jewish educator at various synagogues in the New York/New Jersey area.

Hazzan Carey CohenHazzan Carey Cohen was born and raised in Toronto, Canada where he began singing in his synagogue choir at the age of 10. The choir performed in concert in Canada and in Carnegie Hall, recorded an album of synagogue prayers, along with participating in services on a regular basis under the direction of the world renowned Hazzan, Zvee Aroni z'l.

He has served congregations for over thirty years in the USA. He, then, went on to direct an adult special needs program at the local JCC and served as the Camp Administrator for the JCC’s overnight, Camp Interlaken, and its Judaic advisor for over eleven years. Hazzan Carey enjoys working with Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and enjoys their celebration every step of the way with them.

Hazzan Carey is a graduate of the Manhattan School for Cantors which was directed by Hazzan Zvee Aroni z'l. Upon his graduation, he was appointed the administrator of the cantorial school from 1975-1979.

Hazzan Carey has served on the executive council of the Cantors Assembly(Conservative Movement), where he previously served from 1994-1997. He served as the co-chair of their international convention held in Milwaukee in 1994, as Management co-chairperson for their annual International Conventions for fifteen years and has served in many positions on local cantorial and musician boards.

Hazzan Carey has also served as a member of the community’s Jewish Chaplaincy Service.

He received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015 from the Cantor Assembly.

Cantor Kathy J. BarrCantor Kathy J. Barr was ordained by The Academy for Jewish Religion, a seminary dedicated to Jewish pluralism near New York City. This program, which favors an inclusive approach to training its prospective members of the clergy, welcomes the differences between people while also emphasizing their shared values. Her worship style is one of inclusion, blending the contemplative with joyful participation, believing that music is the language of the soul, and through music, the soul can truly receive and transmit blessing.

A performer since the age of seven, Cantor Barr was active in regional opera and oratorio as well as in liturgical music and performed as soloist both at home and abroad, including concert tours of the Caribbean, Italy and two tours of Greece. Orchestral engagements have included the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony working with such noted conductors as Zubin Mehta, Lukas Foss, Robert DeCormier, Abraham Kaplan, Matthew Lazar, Robert Shaw, and Gerard Schwarz. She has recorded for Vox Turnabout, Centaur, Sine Qua Non, Not Nice Music, Book of the Month Records, and for the Western Wind, on The Birthday of the World, a set of 2 CD's of High Holy Day music.

She has served Temple Beth Shalom,West End Synagogue and The Village Temple in Manhattan, North Shore Synagogue on Long Island, Temple Shalom in New Jersey, and is currently the Cantor of Temple Beth Sholom in Queens.

Cantor Barr is a member of the URJ, AGMA, the GTM, ARC, the ACC, the WCN and serves on the Social Action committee of the ACC.

Rabbi ClaireRabbi Claire Ginsburg-Goldstein was raised in Chicago where she attended Akiba Jewish Day School, a modern Orthodox Day School. She realized at a young age that she was more of a non-denominational Jew, but always passionate about Israel. After her traditional Conservative Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13, Rabbi Claire began to tutor others for B’nai Mitzvah, Hebrew decoding and reading; as she was passionate about teaching her love for the Jewish religion to these young children. Her first trip to Israel happened when she was a freshman at Northwestern University. Rabbi Claire has been tutoring and traveling to Israel ever since. In addition to her bachelors degree from Northwestern in Sociology and a teaching certificate for Middle school, she studied at Spertus College of Judaica, where her mother was a professor. She received a Bachelors of Hebrew Letters from there as well. Rabbi Claire continued her studies at Jewish Theological Seminary earning a Masters in Jewish education and a Masters in Interdisciplinary studies. She published articles on Jewish education and "re-Jew-ne-vational" approaches to Jewish education. Along with those two masters, she also earned a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. In 1982, when women did not have opportunities to become ordained rabbis, Rabbi Claire began to work in the JCC world as a social worker and camp director. After getting married and having 4 children, Rabbi Claire followed her dream where she attended The Academy for Jewish Religion, followed by Rabbinic Seminary International. She completed her studies in June of 2012 and became an ordained Rabbi. During this time, she was hired as a "mitzvah manager" while revamping the curriculum for middle schoolers at Beth Israel congregational school in Bergenfield. In 2002, her son Sam gave her the impetus to start “ Bears from Bergenfield.” They collect stuffed animals for children in Israel suffering from terror. To date, they have collected and redistributed over 183,500 stuffed toys to Israel, Bergen County, and the South Bronx. Rabbi Claire has trained over 600+ students for B’nai Mitzvah, mostly trained at Surprise Lake Camp, where she served 18 years as their in house Rabbi.