Program Director

Rabbi Koval studied for the rabbinate in Jerusalem following his Jewish studies at Telshe Rabbinical College in Cleveland and Chicago. As a popular 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 JFX. He also is a teacher at Mandel Jewish Day School and is involved with many worthy community projects. Rabbi Koval is the fearless leader of Congregation JFX and leads with wisdom and care. Rabbi Koval and his wife, Ruchi, are the proud and busy parents of seven wonderful children.

Call Rabbi Koval at 216-509-1989 or Email Rabbi Koval


Ruchi Portrait Dec2018 

Associate Director

Ruchi Koval is the co-founder and Associate Director of Congregation JFX, an innovative community in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been a Jewish educator for two decades, leading self-development groups for adults and teens, and mentoring educators around the world. Ruchi is a certified parenting coach, motivational speaker, musician, author, and mother of seven. She is a Trip Leader for the JWRP, inspiring hundreds of women on their journeys in Israel. She is also a columnist for the Cleveland Jewish News, and her first book, "Conversations with G-d," was released in 2016, with a second book on the way. Find Ruchi on Facebook and Instagram; her blog at; and her podcast on iTunes or Spotify.

Call Ruchi at 216-346-9582 or Email Ruchi


Kim Farkas Portrait

Mini Mussar Director

Born and bred in Hunting Valley, Kim Farkas graduated from Orange High School and continued her education at the University of Arizona with a master's in education from John Carroll University. Since 1998 she has been a popular teacher at Mandel Jewish Day School, receiving the Libbie Braverman Award in 2000, 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's pivotal “mini mussar” program for kids ages 8-18 introduces kids to the ancient ideas of mussar: that we are here to improve ourselves and improve our world. Kim and her husband, Bryan, are the proud parents of two daughters and a son.

Call Kim at 216-496-5091or Email Kim

Miriam Koval

Sunday School Director

Miriam Friedman Koval graduated from Beth Jacob, Jacob Perlman Teachers College in Toronto, Ontario with a passion and love for teaching and educating in a fun and creative manner.  Miriam taught in the New American program at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, and spent over twenty years working as part of the administrative team at Yavne High School in Beachwood.  She spends her time enjoying and embracing the chaos of life with her wonderful husband and children.  She is also an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who educates and coaches people about nutrition, health and wellness.

Call Miriam at 216-849-0209 or Email Miriam



Hebrew Reading Specialist

Penina Rossman has over 18 years experience teaching Hebrew reading skills and language. As a young girl, Penina bought a chalkboard and promptly started giving classes for the neighborhood children. She continued by studying at Beth Jacob Teacher’s Seminary of America, Lander College of the Arts and Sciences of Touro College and is currently a student at Purdue University Global working on a degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Penina works with students in group and one-to-one settings. She is trained in the Wilson reading program’s Fundations and has incorporated this approach to Hebrew reading instruction. Penina and her husband, Nosson, are the proud (and exhausted) parents of 6 children.

Text Penina at 585-498-0083 or Email Peninal Penina


zelda photo new

Bat Mitzvah and Teen Director

Zelda Nakdimen was born and raised in Cleveland and has been working with JFX since 2010. She launched our unique Bat Mitzvah program for girls ages 11-13, which includes group classes and experiences as well as 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.

Call Zelda at 216-456-6222 or Email Zelda


 Josh Grodko

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 Sarah Rena and their two sons. Josh works with our teens to prepare for their Bar Mitzvahs. His ready smile, depth and wisdom add so much to our community.

Call Josh at 845-548-3013 or Email Josh



Youth Director

Originally from Toronto, Elana Perlin 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.

Call Elana at 216-372-5129 or Email Elana




Office Manager

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 two sons in Shaker Heights.

Call Deena at 216-591-9525 or Email Deena



Event Manager and Marketing Director

Miriam was born and raised in Cleveland followed by a gap year in Israel. She is a talented marketer with a unique perspective on the evolution of JFX. Miriam's people skills, sense of responsibility, creativity, and insights into digital engagement make her the perfect choice for our Event Manager and Marketing Director.

Call Miriam at 440-990-8440 or Email Miriam