Meet the Team

Meet the PaJeS Team

The PaJeS team is made up of a diverse group of people specialising in areas ranging from public affairs, teaching and governors to education (both primary and secondary), leadership and wellbeing.
Rabbi David Meyer OBE

CEO

Rabbi David Meyer OBE has been the CEO of PaJeS since 2015, a post which utilises over three decades of experience in education.

During his time at PaJeS he has revolutionised the way that Jewish schools interact with and support each other. Under his leadership the organisation has committed itself to excellence, innovation and collaboration in Jewish schools. In particular he focuses on areas of strategic development, teaching and learning, and school services to achieve these aims.

Rabbi Meyer has previously held leadership positions including Executive Headteacher of Hasmonean High School and Executive Director of the Jewish Association for Business Ethics. Under his leadership Hasmonean achieved Outstanding in every category in both Ofsted and Pikuach.

Rabbi Meyer is also a highly acclaimed public speaker and has been invited to present at conferences across the UK as well as in Israel, USA, Europe and Australia.

Rabbi Meyer was honoured with an OBE for Services to Education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2020 which recognised his hard work over the past 30 years.

In 2022 Rabbi Meyer was appointed to the board of Ofsted.

To contact Rabbi David Meyer please contact his PA Harriet Miller harriet@pajes.org.uk

Sharon Radley

Assistant Director (Education)

Sharon was appointed Assistant Director in 2023. She joined PaJeS to develop the PaJeS JTracks curriculum in 2019 and then became Director of Education. This role includes managing the education team and working with them to deliver CPD and conferences, support for Jewish Studies and Ivrit heads of department and the delivery of special projects such as Israel 75.

Sharon has over 30 years of experience in education and has held leadership posts in the UK and Israel, across both the formal and informal sectors. She has spearheaded programmes for gifted and talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds and for those with refugee status. Sharon’s career has included teacher training and the creation of resources that are used worldwide.

To contact Sharon Radley please email her on: sharon@pajes.org.uk

Raisel Freedman

Assistant Director (Public Affairs)

Raisel Freedman is Assistant Director at PaJeS, having held a number of roles since joining in 2015. She is an education policy expert and represents Jewish schools at a governmental level advocating for them across a wide range of issues. Engaging with key stakeholders such as Ofsted, interfaith partners and relevant education bodies is integral to her work.

She has led the PaJeS response to numerous consultations and inquiries over the years including Dame Louise Casey’s social integration inquiry and by writing guidance for schools around the implementation of RSHE. Raisel supports school leaders in navigating DfE guidance and Ofsted requirements and communicating key concerns back to both. She also manages projects specifically impacting the Jewish community such as schools’ gift aid issues and leading research into the provision of school places across the community and then bringing schools together to reflect on the findings.

Raisel holds a BA in Law and Politics and a Masters in European Jewish History. As a graduate of the Chief Rabbi’s Ma’ayan programme, she runs a hotline for her local synagogue giving women the opportunity to ask sensitive questions regarding family purity laws to a woman instead of their local Rabbi.

Outside of the office Raisel is an avid reader, podcast enthusiast and keen runner and finds it surprising how often these interests overlap.

To contact Raisel Freedman please email her on: raisel@pajes.org.uk

Samantha Benson

Director of Leadership Programmes

Samantha took up the position of PaJeS Director of Leadership Programmes in January 2022, but has been with PaJeS [formerly JCP] since 2009, initially as Modern Hebrew lead, and then Director of Education.

As Director of Leadership Programmes, Samantha has established a unique delivery partnership with the Ambition Institute and is excited that 65 teachers and school leaders from Jewish schools are undertaking National Professional Qualifications as part of PaJeS cohorts. With a strong additional focus on leading through a Jewish lens, this initiative aims to develop and nurture a pipeline of future Jewish school leaders.

Originally from Glasgow, Samantha holds a BA Honours degree in French and Spanish. She spent 10 years in Israel, where she worked as a Hebrew to English translator and gained a post-graduate senior teaching qualification in English as a second language. Before moving to PaJeS, Samantha taught at Wolfson Hillel Primary school for 10 years and held positions as a French teacher, SEN teacher, and MFL coordinator.

To contact Samantha Benson please email her on: samantha@pajes.org.uk

Ian Stewart

Head of Finance and Operations

Ian Stewart joined PaJeS as Head of Finance and Operations in September 2023. He is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant with over 25 years’ experience in accounting and finance. He is an expert in managing the finances of charities, having managed the finances of several charities over the last eight years. He also has a strong experience in education has led a finance team at a Multi Academy Trust and is currently the Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of Finance at a single form entry Primary School in the local Borough of Barnet.

He holds a BSc. in Metallurgy from Manchester University. Outside of work he enjoys following cricket, horse racing and the global financial markets, and he is a volunteer in his local community. He lives in Edgware with his wife and four children.

To contact Ian Stewart please email him on: finance@pajes.org.uk

Operational Staff

Harriet Miller

PA to Rabbi David Meyer

Harriet joined the PaJeS team in June 2021 as Rabbi Meyer’s PA. Previously, she worked as a Communications Project Coordinator at a global communications and advertising company, running the administration side of internal awards programmes, graduate recruitment advertising, and staff training courses.

She has a degree in History & Sociology from the University of Southampton, is a club hockey player and keen runner.

To contact Harriet Miller please email her on: harriet@pajes.org.uk

Alison Maurice

Office Manager and Training Co-ordinator

Alison Maurice has been Office Manager and Training Co-ordinator for PaJeS since September 2016. She works closely with all members of the PaJeS team, especially with the Primary and Secondary leads for Ivrit and Kodesh. Besides keeping all aspects of the office running smoothly, she assists with the organisation of Ivrit and Kodesh training.

Alison has worked previously within the Jewish community for 20 years as an Administrator at WIZO and Resource. She also held the position of Admissions Officer at JFS. During her spare time, she has volunteered for WIZO for 20 years and is married with two children.

To contact Alison Maurice please email her on: office@pajes.org.uk

Caroline Garfinkel

School Leadership Administrative Consultant

Caroline Garfinkel is a School Leadership Administrative Consultant. She helps organise training and conferences for Headteachers and Governors. This includes the annual Heads residential conference, governor workshop evenings each school term, as well as induction training sessions for both state and independent schools.

She also helps manage the PaJeS website including Find a Jewish School which lists Jewish nursery, primary and secondary schools in the UK, and Vacancies in Jewish Education where Jewish schools advertise their vacancies.

Caroline has worked for Jewish communal organisations in London since 1995 when she moved down from Manchester. She is married with two teenage children and a Teddy Bear dog called Bissli.

To contact Caroline Garfinkel please email her on: caroline@pajes.org.uk

Niki Ehrlich

Marketing and Communications Lead

Niki previously worked as Marketing Manager for a broadcasting company covering Central and Eastern Europe. Working on kids and entertainment brands she focused on driving ratings, increasing brand awareness and supporting Programming and Distribution.

At PaJeS she heads up the marketing and comms strategy and promotes the wonderful work that we do.

In her spare time, she writes children’s books, listens to podcasts on mindset and laughs out loud to stand-up comedy.
She lives in Cockfosters with her husband and son.

To contact Niki Ehrlich please email her on: niki@pajes.org.uk

Primary Curriculum Team

Dalia Wittenberg

UK Advisory Ivrit Teacher

Dalia Wittenberg has been the UK Advisory Ivrit Teacher at PaJeS since 2010 and the lead writer and content developer of the Ivritbeclick digital resource which is now used by over 30 UK primary schools. Her role is to give support and guidance to Ivrit (Hebrew) teachers and Heads of department in line with each primary school’s specific needs. Dalia is the presenter of primary Ivrit teachers’ initial training and actively involved in planning for continued professional development opportunities for Ivrit teachers and Heads of department. She has undergone training to ensure that her coaching approach is based on the most recent research, and is academically robust, coherent and consistent.

Dalia was the Hebrew Coordinator and Ivrit Teacher of a Primary school in Redbridge. She has an MA in Religious Education from the University of London, Institute of Education and is a graduate of the Advance Diploma in Jewish Studies from Leo Baeck’s College DJE. Dalia is the author of Leo Baeck College ‘Eizeh Keif’, Hebrew Reading program and of the student workbook ‘הספר שלי’. Dalia has over 25 years’ experience in teaching Ivrit and leading Ivrit departments.

Dalia has a great passion for teaching Ivrit and strives to instil a positive attitude and a love for the Hebrew language amongst children.

Esther Colman

Chidush Project Lead & Primary Jewish Studies Advisor for London

Esther Colman is the Primary Jewish Studies Advisor for the London area. Esther was a key player on the JCP/ PaJeS Parashah curriculum development team and has been providing ongoing training for teachers in this area. Esther has also been monitoring the JCP Chumash Curriculum over the past 10 years across various Jewish primary schools both in London and the provinces.

As Primary Jewish Studies Advisor, Esther supports Chumash teachers in the delivery of the JCP Chumash Curriculum through training and visits in school where she meets with teachers to support their planning and to carry out lesson observations. Esther liaises with Heads of Kodesh to ensure that both the needs of the schools and teachers are met. Esther works closely with the other PaJeS advisors to ensure that a seamless and effective service is offered to all schools.

Esther has been involved in Jewish Education for the last 40 years. She was Head of Jewish Studies and Deputy Head at Wolfson Hillel Primary School. Since entering consultancy, she has focussed on CPD and curriculum development and the SCITT program at LSJS. Esther is the programme leader of the LK Leaders’ Forum at LSJS and helps coordinate the annual Primary Schools Jewish Studies Conference.

She is also an Educational Consultant for Educating for Impact, working with European cities such as Budapest and Dusseldorf to embed Jewish practice in the communities by developing their Jewish schools. She is a qualified Pikuach inspector and a Lookstein Fellow, having completed the Bar Ilan Lookstein Leadership Programme. Esther holds an MA in Jewish Education.

Lizzie Caplan

Primary Jewish Studies Advisor for the North

Lizzie Caplan joined PaJeS (then JCP) as Chumash consultant teacher for Northern Schools in September 2011, and in October 2013 took on the role of Primary Chumash coordinator. Now Primary Jewish Studies Advisor for the North, Lizzie works together with the London team on the ongoing development PaJeS curricula and supports schools and teachers with CPD and school visits.

Lizzie also liaises with Australian and South African schools using the curricula. Lizzie has taught Kodesh at King David Primary school, and is a part time Deputy Head for Kodesh at BJPS in Manchester. Originally from London, Lizzie holds a first class BSc (Hons) in Psychology from UCL, and a PGCE and MA in Jewish Education from LSJS. She lives in Salford with her husband and four children.

Nic Abery

Primary Schools Consultant

Nic Abery is the Primary Schools Consultant for the Jewish Schools Network and creator of Israel70: Building Artistic Connections. Having worked in a freelance capacity for PaJeS, Nic joined the team in September 2016 to develop our existing successful school clusters and establish the Early Years cluster. In June 2016, she began developing Israel70: Building Artistic Connections to enable our schools to mark this landmark event in a meaningful and sustainable manner. With over 30 Primary and Secondary schools participating, this project has become a very exciting addition to the PaJeS portfolio. With over 20 years of experience in education, Nic combines religious themes and secular education through the exploration of museum art, objects and culture. Her expertise in developing integrated curricula and delivering training for educators has taken her throughout the UK, Europe, Israel and the USA.

Nic holds a B Éd Cantab (Hons) and a diploma in Museum Education from Leicester University. She is an increasingly proficient Ivrit speaker, loves to exercise outdoors and spends any free time in museums and galleries. She lives in Finchley with her husband and two sons.

Shai Grosskopf

Secondary Schools Ivrit Consultant

Shai joined PaJeS in 2019 as a Secondary Schools Ivrit Consultant. His roles include providing support and guidance to Ivrit teachers and heads of department in line with each secondary school’s specific needs. Shai provides training in the ‘Yesh Va Yesh’ programme, which was developed jointly by PaJeS and CET for secondary schools in the UK and overseas.

Shai facilitates initial training and ongoing CPDs for teachers from KS3 to KS5. One of his main professional goals has been to create and maintain a community of teachers who collaborate to develop learning resources and provide peer support.

Shai has been teaching Ivrit alongside other subjects for over 20 years. Since 2014, he has been working as an Ivrit teacher at secondary schools in London. In addition to his work in schools, he has experience teaching all ages and levels, from children to adults and from beginners to GCSE and A-Level.

Shai holds an MA in Teaching Ivrit as a Foreign Language. He also has an MA in Public Policy and Mediation and a BA in Political Science and Sociology.

PaJeS Wellbeing Team

Julia Alberga

Wellbeing Manager and DSL

Julia is the joint Wellbeing Manager and DSL at PaJeS. She coordinates The PaJeS Wellbeing award for Jewish schools. Julia works with the leadership and staff in Jewish schools to ensure a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing incorporating curriculum for students and wellbeing events for parents and carers. Over a three-year pilot programme in seven schools, she has developed evidence based proactive and positive tools to help school staff deliver mentally healthy initiatives.

PaJeS Wellbeing is now being delivered in 17 Jewish schools across the UK.

Jessica Overlander-Kaye

Wellbeing Manager

Jessica is the joint Wellbeing Manager at PaJeS. She coordinates The PaJeS Wellbeing award for Jewish schools. Jessica works with the leadership and staff in Jewish schools to ensure a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing incorporating curriculum for students and wellbeing events for parents and carers.

Wellbeing & Me is now being delivered in 17 Jewish schools across the UK.

Jessica has nearly 20 years’ experience working in pastoral and wellbeing in both schools and informal educations settings. Prior to this role she was pastoral and Safeguarding Lead at Maccabi GB. She has also been the Wellbeing Lead at JCoSS for the last four years. She is a trained as a Trauma Informed Practitioner. She has two teenage children and enjoys walks with her dog.