Religious School Staff
CJ Burka (Kitah Vav and Kitah Dalet/Hey) spent all of high school working as a madricha at Etz Hayim before leaving the area to go to New York. She studied Geography, Political Science and Global Studies. Four years, a BA and an ever-growing distaste for New York traffic brought her back home, where she brings creative ideas and fun activities to our 6th Grade students on Sundays and our 4th & 5th Grade students on Wednesdays.
Samuel Blake (Kitah Zayin) is a junior at The George Washington University majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in the Middle East and minoring in Hebrew and Geography. At his congregation in his hometown in Colorado Springs, Colorado Sam taught Hebrew and religious school for six years. Aside from being active in Jewish life at GW, Sam loves to cook and bake for his friends and family, go to orchestra and choir rehearsals, reading, hiking, and attending concerts.
Fred Cooper (Kitah Vav) grew up in Arlington where his religious education comprised “Hebrew School” and Bar Mitzvah at the Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Center (now Congregation Etz Hayim). After college, Fred was a broadcast journalist for 36 years. He served in news bureaus in New York City, Boston, DC, and Hong Kong. In that way he was afforded the opportunity to be active in different congregations, holding positions including education chair and shul president (twice!) and leading davening. Since retirement he has tutored more than 50 youngsters for B’nei Mitzvah at 3 congregations, including here at CEH.
Lila Gaber (Kitah Gimmel) is a senior at George Washington University majoring in interior architecture with a minor in psychology. At her congregation near Orlando, Florida, Lila was a madricha and tutor for 7 years. At GW, she is active in the Jewish community and is currently a Shabbat director for Hillel. In her free time, she loves going on runs on the mall, reading, sketching, and hanging out with friends!
Nick May (Songleader) is currently a teacher at Gesher Jewish Day School and student in Gratz College’s Master of Education program. Originally from New Orleans, Nick fell in love with Jewish music at a young age through his experiences at Jewish summer camp. Over the past decade, Nick has served as songleader for camps and youth groups across North America, written and recorded original Jewish music, and has been featured as an Emerging Artist on Jewish Rock Radio. When he is not songleading or playing music, Nick loves to cook, watch sports (especially his New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers), and play with his cat, Lola.
Shaina Morrel (Kitah Dalet/Hey) is a senior at George Washington University majoring in International Affairs with a focus on culture and human rights. Originally from Massachusetts and deeply involved in the Jewish community there, she now engages with local Jewish social justice nonprofits and serves on the GW Hillel board. Shaina is passionate about sustainability and enjoys being in nature, doing yoga, playing with her kittens Lev and Libi, and spending time with family and friends. Looking forward to a great year together!
Laura Naide is the Director of Religious Education at Congregation Etz Hayim in Arlington, Virginia, where she is responsible for the Religious School, the B’nei Mitzvah and Adult Education programs. Laura has taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies for over 30 years to students ranging in age from pre-K to adult. She also has written curriculum for and taught online Jewish Studies courses. Laura especially enjoys family programming and celebrating the Jewish holidays.
Maddy Naide (Kitah Aleph/Bet) has been a religious school teacher for over 8 years. She started her career at CEH as a substitute teacher. After finishing the 2019-20 school year with Kitah Bet, she will begin her first year as a full-time teacher at CEH. In her free time she enjoys home renovation shows, cat rescue, cooking, and podcasts.
Robyn Norrbom (Kitah Gan & Kitah Gimmel) has taught in our Religious School for 4 years. She teaches Kitah Gan (Kindergarten) on Sundays and Kitot Gimmel (3rd Grade) and Dalet (4th Grade) on Wednesdays. Robyn also teaches in our congregation’s preschool. Her favorite Jewish holiday is Tu B’Shevat because “trees are awesome!” Her favorite Hebrew letter is “yud.”
Amanda Sky (Kitah Zayin) is originally from Herndon, VA and moved to New Bedford, MA in 2013. She graduated from American University in 2020 and has been involved in either teaching or being a madricha (classroom aide) in a Hebrew School for 7 years.