Director of Hineni
Sara Lynn Newberger (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Jewish Education; Jerusalem Fellow; SVARA Fellow) Sara Lynn remembers receiving her first chumash (volume of Torah) in 3rd grade – and thus was born a life-long love of studying Torah. Born in Chicago, she landed in St. Paul in 1989 where she came to work at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. At TTSP Sara Lynn has had many jobs. Her favorite is what she is doing now, exploring Jewish texts, customs, values, and ideas with students. She believes passionately in the importance of Jewish learning and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Sara Lynn has recently begun to explore, both in her own learning and teaching, areas of Jewish mindfulness and spirituality, as well as Talmud. When not working, Sara Lynn enjoys cooking, visiting with friends, singing, and being outdoors. Sara Lynn is married to Barbie Levine and is Savta to Ruby.
Susie Chalom has been teaching in the Twin Cities community since 1970, when she came from Israel and taught Hebrew language and Torah at Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. Before that, she had taught English in the IDF to pilots who were preparing to be trained in the United States. She trained in Second Language Acquisition and Literature at Tel Aviv University and since then has studied many other subjects always in search of deepening and expanding her knowledge of all Jewish topics.
Susie’s passion for Torah Study was ignited at the Melton Bible Training for teachers at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires and studying online with Gratz College Masters in Jewish Studies program. Her knowledge of Torah, Talmud, Midrash and Halacha was deepened over the years at studying at Pardes Yeshiva, the Conservative Yeshiva, Ayeka, and the Shalom Hartman Institute, all in Jerusalem. Her spiritual life was impacted and enriched at the Jewish Spirituality Institute after a two year course for educators. She has since become a member of the JSI Hevraya.
After serving Adath Jeshurun for 27 years as Education Director, Susie was appointed Executive Director of the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. She served in that position for ten years until retirement in 2016. Susie is currently teaching Torah at Talmud Torah Minneapolis and Hebrew for adults through Hineni. She also teaches adult classes in different venues during the school year. Her favorite job is teaching her grandsons and their friends Hebrew and Jewish Values at “Sassa School” this summer. She loves her retirement!
Earl Schwartz is retired from the Hamline University religion department. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Jewish life and education, including The Arc of the Covenant: Jewish Educational Success on the Upper Mississippi, a study of Jewish communal education in St. Paul.
Rabbi David Thomas recently retired from his role as senior rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, MA after 17 years. Rabbi Thomas launched the award-winning MetroWest Free Medical Program and is known for his social action and racial justice initiatives as well as leading his congregation to a vote declaring a Sanctuary in Support of Immigrants in 2017. Drawn to study of the Hasidic masters, David’s teaching is engaging and participatory.
David received a BA in Biblical Hebrew from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1979. For fourteen years he pursued a career in broadcast journalism as a sound engineer, living in Israel, England and the United States. In 1993, David answered a lifelong call to be a rabbi. He earned his MA in Hebrew Literature in 1997 and was ordained a rabbi at HUC-JIR in New York in 1998. A student of rituals and how they effect life transitions, he wrote his rabbinic thesis on “Rites of Passage and the Rabbinic tradition.”
Rabbi Thomas is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and has served as a board member for the CCAR and is currently co-chair of the Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring. David recently moved to Minneapolis, MN to spend more time with his grandchildren. He remains active in rabbinic life by mentoring colleagues and teaching in the vibrant Jewish community of the Twin Cities.