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Jewish Education Winners Honored in May

WESTERN MASS. – This year, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts education committee gave out two Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education through the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

The award winners were Rebecca Lederman, a teacher at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, who also received the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award for Jewish schools; and Debra Cohen, the director of the JCC’s Early Learning Center.

They were honored at a May 11 banquet celebrating Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award Winners.

Deb Cohen, longtime director of the Springfield JCC early childhood center, plays with a baby in the infant room of the Springfield JCC early childhood center.

Lederman has worked at LGA since 2002. She currently teaches 6th-grade language arts and math, as well as 5th- and 6th-grade science. She received a BS in biology, as well as her M.Ed in secondary science education from UMass Amherst.

Cohen has worked at the Springfield JCC Early Learning Center for the past 30 years.

She received her education degree from Westfield University in 1977. She taught at both Sinai Temple and the former Congregation B’nai Jacob Synagogue Supplemental Hebrew school programs, later working at the Springfield JCC’s toddler program.

Realizing that early childhood education was what she loved, she returned to school to study for her master’s degree in early childhood education and administration. She also completed a distant learning certificate from Hebrew College in Judaic Studies. “It has been my honor to work at the JCC for over 30 years,” Cohen said. “My heart sings with the joy and laughter of all of the children who have touched my life.”

CAP: From left to right, Harold Grinspoon; award recipient Rebecca Lederman; Deborah Bromberg-Seltzer, LGA principal; Ellen Frank, LGA head of school; and Davis Foundation CEO Mary Walachy.

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