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Rabbi Erin Polansky

Rabbi Erin Polansky grew up in Thornhill, so when presented with the opportunity to start a new congregation, contributing to the strength of Reform Judaism in our area, she jumped at the opportunity. Before starting Neshamah, Rabbi Polansky served Temple Sinai in Toronto for seven years, where she had been a member as a child and young adult. Prior to serving Temple Sinai, Rabbi Polansky served as Assisstant Rabbi and Rabbi Educator at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnesota. Rabbi Polansky is passionate about helping others to connect to Judaism in meaningful ways. She enjoys thinking creatively to plan new and innovative avenues into Jewish life.



Natalie Walden
Lead Teacher

Natalie Walden will serve as the Lead Teacher for Neshamah. Natalie is a graduate from Ryerson University with a degree in marketing and has been working in the field for many years. She has also completed a Midrasha L'Morim (Jewish Teacher's Seminary) certificate with an additional qualification in special education. Natalie has been working as a Hebrew teacher for the past ten years in several supplementary schools and has developed a successful Hebrew reading program for learners. Natalie is currently employed by the UJA Federation Centre for Jewish Education as the Supplementary School Coordinator. Natalie is married to Yaniv Kalderon and is the mother of Noiya. We are grateful to have Natalie as our Morah Derech- our teacher/leader!!


Chari Schwartz

Chari has signed on to Neshamah as a consultant helping the community shape its
educational vision. Chari has served as an education director at Temples Har Zion and Kol Ami for 29 years. She served UJA Federation Centre for Jewish Education as its Associate Director. Chari is currently expanding her work in educational consultation. Chari is the mother of three by birth and about 10,000 by design. We are pleased to have Chari share her wisdom and experience with us.




Cally Rootenberg

Cally has been a teacher at Neshamah since its start five years ago. She has a Bachelors of Arts, majoring in Jewish studies and a Bachelors of Education from York University. This fall she began her Masters of Education at Western University with a specialization in early childhood education. During the week She is a teacher at Associated Hebrew Schools in their Mini Mensch and Beyond program and a curriculum developer for PJ Plus, an early literacy program for Jewish families.




Mark Rootenberg

Mark is completing his  Master's degree in clinical psychology at York University and conducting research in positive psychology. He loves science, reading, cycling and playing tennis. He really likes to make learning Hebrew fun and he thinks there is no better place to be doing that than Neshamah where he’s been teaching for the past three years.





Ally Saks

Ally comes to Neshamah with six years of experience working in the reform education community as a classroom teacher. Ally brings her passion for Jewish learning executed with her unique creativity and finesse to ensure a positive and thrilling religious school experience. Ally has managed a dental practice for the past twenty one years, she is married to Brian and together they have two lovely teenagers.  Ally's classroom moto: Always strive to be a mensch and keep your neshamah shining!




Ryan Sharpe
 Teaching Assisstant

Ryan is a graduate of Humber College with a degree in Marketing.  He attended Associated and CHAT-RH to enhance his Hebrew and Jewish studies. For the past 8 years, on and off, Ryan has been a Hebrew and Jewish studies teacher at a variety of supplementary education locations.  He is easy to approach, fun to be around and occasionally wacky. Ryan joined Neshamah in 2012.




 Rena Silver

Rena comes to Neshamah with 5 years of experience in the reform education community. She strives to invigorate the classroom experience with creativity and co-operation. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts at York University, while trying to fit in as many Jewish Studies electives as possible!



Wed, June 20 2018 7 Tammuz 5778