Rabbi Koval studied for the rabbinate in Jerusalem following his Jewish studies from Telshe Rabbinical College. As a mohel, Rabbi Koval loves and understands kids and their parents. After serving as a pulpit Rabbi for two years in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, he returned to his hometown of Cleveland in 2000, where he founded and serves as Program Director of JFX. Rabbi Koval and his wife, Ruchi, are the proud and busy parents of seven wonderful children.
Ruchi Koval is the co-founder and Associate Director of JFX. She is a graduate of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland and the Beth Jacob Jerusalem Institute. She runs women's character-development workshops, and is a certified parenting coach, motivational speaker and blogger at outoftheorthobox.com. She is the author of Conversations with G-d: prayers for Jewish women, as well as a columnistfor the Cleveland Jewish News. Ruchi and her husband, Rabbi Sruly Koval, are the proud and busy parents of seven wonderful children.
Born and bred in Hunting Valley, Kim Farkas graduated from Orange High School. She continued her education at the University of Arizona and received her master's in education from John Carroll University. Since 1998 she has been a popular teacher at the Agnon School and has run the summer Parsha Camp for kids. Kim was the 2000 recipient of the Libby Braverman Award, which recognized her significant contributions to Jewish education in Cleveland. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Steiger Family Education Grant award through the JECC. Kim and her husband, Bryan, are the proud parents of two daughters and a son.
Kim's pivotal mini mussar program for kids ages 8-16 introduces kids to the traditional ideas of "mussar": that we are here to improve ourselves and improve our world.
Sunday School Director
Miriam Paperman, a native Clevelander, was educated at the pioneer Mosdos day school through graduation. She attended full-time seminary in Israel at Shoshanim School. With a rich and diverse background in special education, web design, and education, Miriam also has much experience in leadership at the Agudath Israel youth groups and in directorship at Camp Agudah Midwest in Michigan.
Miriam brings excitement, professionalism, warmth and leadership skills to all that she does, and we are delighted to have her on staff as our Sunday School director.
Bat Mitzvah and Teen Director
Zelda Nakdimen was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated Mosdos high school and spent a year in Israel at Afikei Torah Seminary. Zelda has been working with JFX for almost 7 years, and launched a unique Bat Mitzvah program for girls ages 11-13. The program includes Sunday school, weekly evening classes, and one-on-one learning. As an experienced mentor in the Hebrew Academy's mentorship program, Zelda also runs JFX's program with get-togethers and Shabbatons throughout the year in her home. Zelda is much-beloved member of our staff, forging relationships for life with our tween and teen girls.
Rabbi T (aka Menachem Tenenbaum), originally from Baltimore, MD, has deep ties in the Cleveland community. He graduated from Telshe High School in Wickliffe and married a native Clevelander. After receiving rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem he moved to Denver, CO where he was Director of Youth Engagement for Aish Denver. He is the co-Director of NCSY, the premier Jewish youth group in Cleveland.
As our Teen Director, he will work with our teenagers, post Bar and Bat Mitzvah as a teen advisor, Mini Mussar teacher and JFX-NCSY liaison.
Bar Mitzvah Trainer
Josh Grodko was born and raised in NY and attended rabbinical school in Yeshiva Toras Chaim (Chofetz Chaim) in North Miami Beach. He graduated as a business major from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. Josh lived in Israel and returned to Cleveland in 2015 with his wife Sara Rina and their son Avi. Josh works with our teens and assist in running our Shabbat services. His ready smile, depth and wisdom add so much to our community.
Title for Elana
Originally from Toronto, Elana moved to Cleveland three years ago with her husband Steven and now has a beautiful daughter named Shira. Elana has a BA from McGill University in Montreal and a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston which she received while learning at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. During the week, she works at the Mandel Jewish Day School as the Middle School Tanach teacher. She has worked as a Shabbat morning program instructor since high school. She created and led a kids' program at her synagogue in Toronto, and last year she led the kids' program at Green Road Synagogue. She looks forward to getting to know the JFX community better and working and learning with your children.
Deena Henfield hails from upstate NY. She spent four years in Israel after graduation and received her degree in Business Management from Touro College. Deena lives with her Cleveland-born husband and their son in Shaker Heights.
We will soon list the names of our Board