Our Teachers and Staff

Morah Aronowitz

Morah Aronowitz has spent over a decade teaching Jewish studies, Hebrew language, and general studies to students ranging from pre-school through post-high school before arriving in Richmond. She has taught in schools in South Africa, San Diego, Brooklyn, and Columbus, Ohio in addition to being a mentor and counselor for girls of all ages.  For the past two years before coming to RTA she taught kindergarten at the Columbus Torah Academy in Columbus.

Morah Aronowitz received her Bachelors from Thomas Edison State College and two teaching certificates from seminaries in Israel. Originally from Johannesburg, she is a bilingual, computer savvy, mother of five.  She joined the RTA faculty in 2013.

Rabbi Bart

Rabbi Bart graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Yeshiva
University’s Sy Syms School of Business in New York. He completed his Masters in Secondary Jewish
Education from the David J. Azrieli Graduate Institute of Jewish Education, and received his Rabbinic
Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He also completed Ohr Sameach’s 2-
year Ohr Lagolah training program for Jewish Education, the Rabbinate, and Outreach.
After several years of study in Israel, Rabbi Bart joined the staff of Congregation B’nai Brith Jacob in
Savannah, GA where he worked as educator, youth director, and assistant to the Rabbi. He then joined
the RTA staff in 1998 as teacher and program director. He simultaneously served for three years as the
Rabbi of the Young Israel of Richmond. He then relocated to Texas and the Robert M. Beren Academy
in Houston, where he taught grades 1,3,5, and high school. In 2003 he returned to Richmond as
Assistant Principal of RTA and Rebbe in the Yeshiva of Virginia. He has been Principal of RTA since 2013.

Morah Joan

Mrs. Cantor received her Bachelors degree in Music from Oberlin College and Conservatory with a major in Violin Performance. Additionally, she attended Brovender’s Women’s Seminary in Israel. She has been a member of the Rosewood Trio and the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

Mrs. Cantor has been trained as a Hebrew reading specialist using the Orton-Gillingham method. She has taught at the Beth Tfiloh Day School, and at Chizuk Amuno, and Oheb Shalom, all in Baltimore. In Richmond, Mrs. Cantor has taught at Keneseth Beth Israel and Congretation Or Atid, and has been teaching at RTA since 1986 with intermittent years off to raise her children.

Mrs. Cantor

Mrs. Cantor is a proud RTA alumna and graduate of the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in Yeshiva University’s S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program and her Master of Arts in Teaching of English from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Since receiving her Masters in 2012, she taught middle school English in New York and high school English in Midlothian High School, including courses in AP English Literature and Honors English.

She joined the RTA staff in 2018 as a Middle School English teacher. 

Mrs. Hardy

Mrs. Hardy earned her Associates Degree in liberal arts from Averett College. She then worked in Henrico County Public Schools as a nurse and substitute teacher for three years, followed by 14 years as a business administrator and office manager. Mrs. Hardy joined the RTA staff in 1999 as the school’s administrative assistant.

Mrs. Klosenberg

Mrs. Klosenberg received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami with a major in Finance and Economics. She received a Master of Science degree from Nova University with a major in Mathematical Education.

Before moving to Richmond, Virginia in 1990, Mrs Klosenberg taught at the Hebrew Academy in Miami, Florida and for Dade County Public Schools, where she was given the award of Master Teacher for the State of Florida. She has 44 years of teaching experience in math, science and computers, and has coached winning math competition teams on the local, state and national levels in pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, and Geometry.

In 1996 she represented the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools at the Blue Ribbon conference in Washington sponsored by the Department of Education. She was an adjunct faculty in the math department at Virginia Commonwealth University for eleven years. Mrs. Klosenberg has been a member of the RTA faculty since September 1991 and also teaches in Shaarei Torah (since 2002) and the Yeshiva of Virginia (since 2005.)


Mrs. Lessin

A native of Richmond, Mrs. Lessin is an alumna of Douglas Freeman High School and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing.  She was a member of the RTA staff from 1993-1996, and then taught at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy (Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington) from 1997-2009.

In MJBHA she taught 4, 5, & 6 grade resource and 5th grade general studies.  Mrs. Lessin returned to Richmond in 2009, and for the next five years worked in management of a non-profit founded by herself and her husband.  Mrs. Lessin rejoined the RTA faculty in 2014.  She teaches 4, 5, and 6 grade general studies.

Morah Jane

Morah Jane is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston with a major in Illustration, and worked at an advertising agency in New York for three years. She became the art teacher at the Great Neck Synagogue Hebrew School and the art club teacher at the North Shore Hebrew Academy, both in New York. In Israel, she founded and ran a leather talis bag business while living on a moshav in the West Bank. These bags were exported to the U.S.

She received certification for course completion of early childhood studies from J.Sargent Reynolds Community College. She taught art at the Jewish Community Centers’ “Kids Place” and “Arts in the Summer” programs in Richmond. She became a teachers aide for three years at the Alepf-Bet Preschool while infusing the program with art for preschoolers.

She regularly attends teacher workshops at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and gives private art lessons at her home. Jane is also the art teacher of Heartwood Grove Elementary, a French immersion school in Richmond. She has been a teachers aide at RTA since 1997 and has taught art at RTA and Shaarei Torah High School since 1999.

Mrs. Odom

Mrs Odom received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

She became a CPA in 1988.   Robin retired from Altria Client Services, Inc in 2012 after 31 years of service and joined the RTA staff
in 2013 as the Business Manager.

Mrs. Olszowy

Mrs. Olszowy comes to RTA with extensive teaching experience which including elementary & middle school as well as pre-school.  She also currently works for the Weinstein JCC as lifeguard and aquatics instructor.

Mrs. Olszowy earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary and early Secondary Social Studies from SUNY Buffalo.

In addition to her other fine qualities, Mrs. Olszowy takes tremendous pride and pleasure in that most important of ‘jobs’ – being a Mom to her daughter Mackenzie, a 6th grader.

Mrs. Plotnick

A native of Richmond, Virginia and an alumna of RTA and Shaarei Torah, Mrs. Plotnick was thrilled to return to her hometown with her husband (also a native Richmonder and RTA alumnus) and their children. Mrs. Plotnick rejoined Richmond with fifteen years of experience as an elementary school educator and guidance counselor. She taught Early Childhood in the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Third Grade in the Torah Academy for Girls, and worked as Guidance Counselor in Prospect Park Yeshiva Elementary Division. In her capacity as Guidance Counselor, she has counseled students individually, advised and trained teachers, and worked closely with school principals in handling student behavioral and academic issues. She graduated with honors from Queens College with degrees in Psychology and Education. In addition, she holds a New York State Teacher’s Certification. Mrs. Plotnick joined the RTA faculty in 2013 as Teacher and Guidance Counselor.

Rabbi Plotnick

A Richmond native, Rabbi Plotnick’s ties to RTA are most unusual – he now joins the ranks of the very few individuals who have been: An RTA alumnus, parent, board member, and now staff member.Prior to moving back to Richmond with his family, Rabbi Plotnick lived in New York where he worked for over 15 years in non-profit management and as a Shul Youth Director.  He learned for many years in Yeshiva Bnei Torah and received his semicha – Rabbinic ordination – from HaRav Chaim Ozer Chait.   

Since his return to Richmond in 2013, Rabbi Plotnick spent seven years working in Operations at AJ Tickets.  During that time he has been one of RTA’s most dedicated volunteers, displaying an energy and enthusiasm that has inspired so many in our community.  He was just recently hired to serve as the new Executive Manager at Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue, and joined the RTA staff in 2020.

Morah Julia

Morah Julia is a teacher’s assistant in the first grade and permanent substitute at RTA . She has a Bachelors of Arts degree from UNC-Greensboro in English. Morah Julia also has a certificate as a birth doula from DONA ( she has assisted in over 100 births ). Before RTA she taught Hebrew school in the Chicago suburbs for 20 years. Morah Julia’s  four grown children live out of state . She loves visiting them, gardening, and visiting historical places in Virginia . 

Mrs. Schaefer

Mrs. Schaefer graduated Cum Laude from the University of Richmond with dual degrees in Art and Biology. She spent the next eight years gaining extensive laboratory experience, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducting plan and insect research, and then with the Medical College of Virginia managing the molecular genetics lab. She also completed a Masters degree in Marine Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies.  Mrs. Schaefer taught at the New Community School for five years prior to joining Shaarei Torah of Richmond in 1994 and Yeshiva of Virginia in 2002, and RTA in 2005.

Mrs. Sherman

Mrs. Sherman received her Bachelors Degree in biology from Yeshiva University-Stern College and her Masters in Education from the David J. Azrieli Institute of Education and Administration. Prior to this she spent two years in Israel programs, Midreshet Tehillah and Shalhevet. She has taught in three all-girl high schools; Shearim of Phoenix (2010-2012), Torah High School of San Diego, (2012-2013) and Shaarei Torah of Richmond (2014-2015). She joined the RTA faculty in 2016.

Mrs. Sherman currently is the City Director of Richmond’s NCSY/Jewish Student Union, has received acclaim for directing highly successful Shaarei Torah drama productions, and also coordinates adult learning opportunities in Richmond.  She and her husband, Rabbi Menachem Sherman, are also the very proud parents of Abe, Bea & Chaviva.  

Morah Perel

Morah Perel Sherman began working with children as a high school student. She interned at Downstate Medical Center in New York, where she was introduced to child psychology and play therapy while working with long-term hospitalized children. Mrs. Sherman received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Art from Brooklyn College. She continued her Judaic studies at Shapell College for Women in Jerusalem and Ayelet Hashachar Women’s Seminary in New York.
Mrs. Sherman taught for four years, both second and fourth grade general studies at Tapeinu Elementary School in New York. She also taught preschool in Calgary, Canada; Memphis, Tennessee and Richmond, Virginia. She served for two years as the director at the Shor Yoshev Rabbinical College summer day camp. Mrs. Sherman is known as “Morah Perel”, the Jewish Studies kindergarten teacher at RTA since 1991 and has also taught third grade Judaic Studies since 2007.

Rabbi Sherman

Rabbi Sherman received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Cincinnati and his Rabbinical Ordination from Shor Yoshuv Rabbinical Institute.

 He taught mathematics for two years in New York prior to his move to Akiva Academy in Calgary, Canada, where he taught Judaics to grades 2-8 for three years. After teaching at the Memphis Hebrew Academy, Rabbi Sherman joined the RTA staff in September 1990.  He was also listed in the “Who’s Who of American Teachers” in 1999. 

Rabbi Skaist

Rabbi Skaist grew up in  Hicksville, New York, a place with a small Jewish community like Richmond, and he attended a school similar to RTA. He then moved to Brooklyn and attended  the Mirrer Yeshiva High School. After graduating as valedictorian of his class of 60 students, he went to Israel for a year to study in the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He returned to the states and continued to study mainly Talmud and Jewish Law at the Rabbinical Seminary of America, the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, New York, for an additional eleven years. He received his Rabbinic Ordination in 1985 from Rabbi A.H. Leibowitz, one of the leading Torah  sages of that time. At the same time, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Queens College and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He studied for three years in the post-graduate division of the Yeshiva and acheived a masters degree in Talmudic Law. In addition, he trained under master educators of Torah Umesorah, the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools.

In 1989, he moved to Ottawa, Canada and taught in the Ecole Maimonides Torah Day School. Over a period of eight years he taught Talmud, Mishna, Jewish Law and Bible to Grades 1-8. In addition, he also taught in the adult outreach program called Jewish Education through Torah. Following this, he moved to Harrisburg, PA and taught Grades 5,7, and 9 in the Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy as well as adult education in the JCC.

In 1999, he arrived in Richmond and began teaching 2nd Grade at RTA and Prophets and Jewish Law in Shaarei Torah of Richmond. Since he has been in Richmond, he has taught Mishna and Bible to Grades 2,3,4,and 5 and Jewish Law to Grades 7 and 8. He currently teaches Talmud, Jewish Law, and Bible in the Yeshiva of Virginia and 4th grade in RTA. He has also taught Jewish Law and Talmud to adults in the community. He also spent numerous summers teaching children entering 1st Grade and working as a counselor for children entering 2nd Grade in Bayit V’gan, a bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains in New York. Rabbi Skaist is passionate about Torah. He has completed several tractates of the Talmud. He is also passionate about teaching and he loves children.

Professor Temple

Professor Peter Temple graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Bachelors of Psychology
program in 2008, and earned his Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Medical
College of Virginia in 2011. He is currently finishing up his Doctorate in Special Education and Disability
Policy, studying online education, the application of Universal Design for Learning, and professional
training opportunities for educators. He has been teaching graduate students at VCU for over a decade,
and continues to work as an instructor for VCU’s Career Switcher program, helping adult learners
become teachers in Virginia’s schools. In the Spring of 2021, he helped establish a partnership with VCU,
bringing practicum students both virtually and into RTA classrooms to assist and teach our students.
Professor Temple believes in meeting the needs of all learners, from those who require extra assistance,
to those who need a challenge in the classroom and beyond. “Everyone deserves a chance to succeed,
to show their strength, and embrace learning!”

Mr. Snider

Mr. Snider brings to RTA a wealth of experience and knowledge.  He has over a quarter century of classroom experience in middle school and high school – in subjects ranging from English to Governnent to Foreign Language – and has taught students both in gifted and talented projects as well as students from the inner city.  In addition to his years in the classroom, he has worked in both state government and the private sector.

Mr. Snider earned his Law Degree from the University of Richmond, and his Bachelors in Social Science Education from the University of Georgia.

And he is a strong believer in students learning the life skills in social studies – and other areas – which will prepare them to enrich society and the lives of others.

Mrs. Williams

Mrs. Williams graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Education and received her Master of Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University. She has taught pre-school/kindergarten in a Montessori-based school; kindergarten, third grade, and third/fourth grade classes in small private schools in the Richmond area; tutored elementary students in reading skills; and worked with adults through the READ Center in Richmond, VA. Her educational philosophy is Montessori based, focused on the importance of giving students the opportunity to discover the joy of learning and become fully engaged in their educational experiences.  She joined the RTA faculty in 2013.

3809 Patterson Ave, Richmond, VA 23221
Phone: (804) 353-1110