Faculty and Staff:

Rabbi David Rebibo

Rabbi David Rebibo – Founder & Dean of Students

Rabbi Rebibo is the Orthodox Jewish congregational rabbi, founder and dean of Phoenix Hebrew Academy, an Age 2-8th Grade Jewish day school, and head of the kosher certifying agency VA’AD in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also president of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of Greater Phoenix. He is a driving force behind the development of the Orthodox Jewish community of Phoenix and has been since 1965.

 Rabbi Yisroel Weiner – Principal

Rabbi Weiner is a veteran teacher of many years, first in Baltimore, Maryland, and then for a number of years as a member of the Phoenix Hebrew Academy staff.  Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, he received his Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt, OB”M, and his Masters Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago.  Additionally, he is a graduate of the Jewish Education Leadership Institute.  Rabbi Weiner’s passion for education and attention to detail are well known throughout the community.
Rabbi Harris Cooperman

Rabbi Harris Cooperman – Director of Development

Rabbi Cooperman, originally from Brooklyn, New York, has been a fixture in Phoenix, Arizona since 1984. He served as principal of the Phoenix Hebrew Academy for more than 20 years. A master educator, Rabbi Cooperman has decades of experience teaching classes and shiurim to Jews of various backgrounds.


 Mrs. Sheila Shaffer– Director of General Studies and Seventh and Eighth Grade Social Studies

Mrs. Shaffer is a veteran Social Studies teacher from the Washington School District. She comes to PHA with over two decades of experience as a teacher and administrator. Mrs. Shaffer brings a passion for literature and writing to the classroom. She holds her Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Arizona State University.

Ms. Gabby Jiminez– Two-Year-Old Class

We are pleased to announce the hire of Ms. Jimenez as teacher of our new Two-Year-Old Class.  Ms. Jimenez comes to us from the Greenfrog Child Development Center with years of experience as a toddler caregiver and holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Phoenix College.

Mrs. Heather Tucker– Three-Year-Old Class

We are pleased to announce the hire of Mrs. Tucker as teacher of our Three-Year-Old Class. Mrs. Tucker studied Early Education at Paradise Valley Community College, and has previously worked as a Preschool Teacher at Creative Beginnings Preschool.

Mrs. Nelly Gadaev– Three-Year-Old Class Aide

Mrs. Gadaev finished high school in Russia and came to America many years ago. She has an Associate’s Degree in computer science.  Above all however, she loves working with children!

Ms. Kylie Mony– Pre-Kindergarten

Ms. Mony, a native of Arizona and a beloved member of the PHA staff, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Early Childhood education. This will be her third year teaching the Four-Year-Old Class at our school.

Mrs. Robin Samuel– Pre-Kindergarten Aide

Mrs. Samuel is a long time member of the PHA family, having sent all three of her children to our school.  She holds a degree from California State University Northridge, and has 18 years of experience teaching in Early Childhood at a number of Jewish Day Schools.

Mrs. Aliza Goldenberg– Preschool and Second Grade Judaic Studies

Before joining the PHA family, Mrs. Goldenberg worked as a preschool Morah in both New York and Israel.  While in New York, she also worked for the NYC Department of Education, gaining experience in both Special and General Education.  She graduated from Touro College in New York with her Bachelors in Education as well as her Masters in Special and General Education.

Mrs. Alyssa Zupnick– Kindergarten General Studies

Mrs. Zupnick is a beloved teacher and veteran of both PHA and the Tucson Hebrew Academy.  Additionally, she spent a year teaching underprivileged children in Israel.  She graduated from the University of Arizona with her Bachelors in Elementary Education as well as her Arizona Teaching Certification.

Mrs. Chanie Honig– Kindergarten and First Grade Judaic Studies

Mrs. Honig has over 20 years of experience in Jewish Education.  Before joining PHA, she was both a Morah and School Director in San Jose and Los Angeles, California.  She is a graduate of the Rivka Breuer Teachers’ Seminary in New York.

Mrs. Debbie Hagan– First and Third Grade General Studies

We are pleased to announce the hire of Mrs. Hagan as our First and Third Grade General Studies teacher. Mrs. Hagan comes to us from the Scottsdale Unified School District with years of classroom experience and holds an MA in Special/Gifted Education.

Mrs. Leslie Knoll– Second Grade General Studies

Mrs. Knoll received her Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado. She has ten years of teaching experience at the primary level in grades K-3, and has also worked as an educational consultant for several educational publishing companies. This included marketing and selling educational materials as well as creating nonfiction book sets and writing teacher resources. She enjoys working with younger children because of their energy and excitement for learning.

Rabbi Nachman Goldenberg– Third and Fifth Grade Judaic Studies

Rabbi Goldenberg, now in his second year at PHA, earned his Bachelors degree from Thomas Edison State College as well Rabbinic Ordination from the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Queens, New York.  Aside from his passion for teaching and connecting with his students, he is known for his pleasant demeanor, patience and sense of humor.

Dr. Wayne Benenson– Fourth and Fifth Grade General Studies

We are pleased to announce the hire of Dr. Benenson as our Fourth and Fifth Grade General Studies teacher. Dr. Benenson comes to us with years of experience in both teaching and school administration, and holds a PhD from the University of Idaho and an MA from the University of Kentucky.

Rabbi Ari Bleeman– Fourth Grade and Sixth Grade Boys Judaic Studies

Rabbi Bleeman, a veteran master teacher, is a graduate of the Ner L’Elef Teachers Program in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as the Machon Aluph Bina Teacher Training Program.  Prior to joining the PHA staff, he served in several different capacities in the field of education, including Student Activity Coordinator at the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva in Moscow, Russia.

Rabbi Sholom Twerski– Fourth Grade Girls Navi

During his many years living in Israel, Rabbi Twerski received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovitz at the Jerusalem Kollel.  In addition to being on the PHA staff, he serves as Rabbinic Administrator of the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth and Associate Rabbi of Beth Joseph Congregation.

Rabbi Yisroel Isaacs– Fifth Grade Boys Mishna

Rabbi Isaacs, a fixture in the PHA family, serves as Rabbi of Beth Joseph Congregation, and is Co-Director of the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth and the Jewish Enrichment Center, an educational and outreach organization.  He also serves as Rabbinic Coordinator of the Phoenix Community Eruv.  Some of his hobbies include Hebrew bibliography, keeping abreast of contemporary halachic issues and meeting new people.

Mrs. Lauren Tillman– Sixth Grade Social Studies and Language Arts and Seventh and Eighth Grade Language Arts

Mrs. Tillman, a native of Ohio, graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in Elementary Education.  Prior to joining PHA, she worked in several education related capacities including as a Certified Eye Vision Therapy Teacher, and spent 12 years in the Scottsdale Unified School District with her focus on teaching Language Arts.  She is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in Education.

Mr. Joel Michalski– Sixth Grade Math and Science and Seventh and Eighth Grade Science

Mr. Michalski received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. After working in the Lake Havasu School District for several years, he joined the staff of PHA. Now going into his third year at PHA, he is a familiar face on campus. His classes are known for the wide range of exciting educational activities which they often include. He’s thoroughly excited to add even more dynamic activities to his classes this year.

Mrs. Sara Twerski– Sixth Grade Girls Judaic Studies

Mrs. Twerski is a widely respected veteran teacher who holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Before joining PHA, she taught Middle School classes for several years in the New York area.

Mr. Richard Edwards– Seventh and Eighth Grade Math

Mr. Edwards, who has been involved in various teaching endeavors for many years, graduated from California State University of Sacramento with a degree in philosophy. Prior to coming to Phoenix, he taught High School students at Sinai Academy in Brooklyn, New York.  He plans to earn a Master’s Degree in Education and Multiple Subject credential at Arizona State University.

Rabbi Chaim Milrad– Seventh and Eighth Grade Boys Gemara

Rabbi Milrad received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Dovid Ostroff during his time living in Israel. He has been involved in a number of different areas within the field of education for many years,  and prior to joining PHA, had most recently been working one on one with struggling students.



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