Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Our Teachers

Meet Our Teachers!

Meet our wonderful roster for 2019-20:

Erin Bueno de Mesquita


Erin Bueno de Mesquita is delighted to be part of the JCEP teaching team, with the newer Hebrew learners and Jewish Studies. She was brought up in the Reform tradition. Her son Nate attended JCEP and her daughter Clara is in her final year.  During the work week Erin teaches English to second language learners at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School. Before becoming an ESOL teacher, she lived in Mexico playing the French horn for 14 years.


Andrea Cate

Andrea brings warmth and a wealth of Jewish pride, practices and passion to her services with the youngest members of the community. She is a graduate of Songleader Bootcamp and brought “Rhythm ‘N Ruach” training to the Northern Virginia region this summer, becoming a certified instructor. In addition to these volunteer roles, Andrea has served her synagogue as President and volunteered as an art educator at her local elementary and an officer for Vocal Music Boosters at her local secondary school. By day, Andrea is a legal assistant. She and her husband David live in the Springfield region with their youngest of three children.

Elizabeth Greene

Liz Greene is happy to be assisting in the beginning Hebrew class with her husband Jason. She brings a background in education and human development to the class.



Shana Harbour

Shana Harbour is excited to join the JCEP teachers and looking forward to teaching Jewish studies this year.  Shana grew up in a conservative/traditional Jewish home in
Denver, Colorado,  She lives in Arlington with her husband Mark and son Rhys who attends JCEP.  She has been a member of Kol Ami for the past four years and really enjoys the community spirit.   Shana is looking forward to exploring Jewish holidays, traditions, mitzvot and sharing stories with her class.  Shana has over 25 years of working in environmental policy and protection and currently works for the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Steve Pershing

Steve Pershing

The son of a sabra and the grandson of kibbutzniks, Steve grew up in New York City, where he pursued Jewish learning (or it pursued him) as far as a flop of a semester in the Jewish Theological Seminary high school program. He played the violin (still does), became a public radio producer and then a civil rights lawyer and law teacher, and has lived in Virginia and D.C. since the early 1980s. He’s been a ba’al koreh (the fancy term for a Torah reader) at Agudas Achim in Alexandria, and at Adas Israel, the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and the Hill Havurah in D.C. He and his cellist spouse Emily Toll came to Kol Ami with their son Noah in 2013, drawn to JCEP in particular. Steve taught Hebrew to a small JCEP class of “older beginners” beginning in 2013-14, and this year will teach the Bnai Mitzvah class, helping them understand and practice the prayers for Shabbat morning services.

Dr. Richard Ruth

Dr. Richard Ruth, a member of Kol Ami, is a clinical psychologist in private practice; he is also an associate professor at the George Washington University Center for Professional Psychology and on the steering committee of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry. He is trilingual (Spanish and Yiddish) and lived and worked in South America, Europe and the Caribbean before settling in Arlington. When not watching Law and Order reruns or lost in a book, he can often be found at Kol Ami services, singing heartily if not always in tune.

Jason Weiss

Jason Weiss is excited to be teaching beginning Hebrew this year.  He grew up in Baltimore attending an unaffiliated Synagogue which was somewhere between the Conservative and Reconstructionist traditions.  He is an attorney and his daughter Sarah (8) attends JCEP.

Contact Kol Ami

P.O. Box 1801, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 571-271-8387
Rabbi's Study: 202-364-3006

Where We Meet

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) & George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
View Map & Directions

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