Our People

Our Board

President: Tahlia Gordon

Vice-President: Athol Chiert

Treasurer:Tom Levi

Secretary: Ben Neumann

Board Member: David Balkin AM

Board Observers: Joanne Hurwitz, Leanne Moss

Our Staff


Lianne Cohen CA, H Dip Tax

Our People 1

Lianne is a chartered accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in senior financial and operations management roles with strong strategic capability and proven success managing, driving and adapting to change.

Lianne is committed to BJE’s mandate of ensuring that all Jewish children have the opportunity to connect with their Jewish heritage. Coming from a professional environment, Lianne expects high standards of quality and excellence in BJE dealings with all stakeholders, both internally and externally.

As Director of Operations, Lianne manages the day-to-day operations of BJE to ensure BJE organisational effectiveness and efficiency. She works closely with the executive team in developing new initiatives, business planning and operational efficiency and with the Board on BJE’s strategic direction.

Her role includes leading and directing the BJE’s overall commercial, financial and operations functions, financial and operational performance reporting, managing BJE’s compliance obligations, developing and maintaining BJE’s policies and managing contracts with third parties.


Jo Gluckman BA BEd (Hons), Dip Ed, MA (Counselling Psychology), MA (Ed Lead), MA (LAWS ADR)

Our People 2

Jo is passionate about taking a hands-on approach to synergising formal learning with experiential learning to provide the best outcomes for students. Her role also includes building a professional culture of best practice, and enhancing our SRE, Extension and Hebrew curricula and programs.

Jo has extensive previous experience in the education sector as a teacher, school psychologist, and administrator.


Heidi Turner

Our People 3

Heidi has worked in admin for over 25 years, in areas such as marketing, advertising, finance and in the medical field. She has also worked in education for the past 14 years. 

Heidi holds a degree in Business Administration and a diploma in Business Administration (Legal). On top of her busy schedule, she also is a mother of two young adults.


Hanit Gershberg

Our People 4

Hanit Gershberg works as the Enrolments and Database Officer at BJE. She has a dual focus, firstly ensuring that the enrolment process is seamless for parents from start to finish and secondly, she works across the large database of students and BJE alumni. Hanit is also a key point of contact for BJE’s KNA donation drive.

Hanit has worked previously as a Cake Decorator running her own business and joined BJE in June 2019 as she is passionate about engaging with and giving back to the Jewish Community.

Hanit grew up in Israel and has lived in Sydney for 17 years.


Tali Barel

Our People 5

Tali is BJE’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, directing and managing the team of Youth Engagement Officers.  She oversees the development, planning and running of activities within the Youth Engagement Team. In addition to this role, Tali also runs BJE’s Website. She also provides technical office support to other staff members on a daily basis.

Tali is currently studying a Bachelor of Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Commerce. She has extensive experience working in Jewish organisations, including Betar NSW, Sephardi Synagogue, JEMs, and was previously a Youth Ambassador for Y2i. Tali is passionate about giving back to the Jewish Community across Australia, and has contributed to the communities in both Sydney and Brisbane. Tali is also a graduate of the 2016 BJE Israel Program and is dedicated to fostering a love for Judaism, Israel and community within BJE students.


Aaron Klimt

Our People 6

Aaron is one of BJE’s Youth Engagement Officers, helping develop and run activities and programs to engage primary school students, build their connections with other Jewish students and the community, and help them explore what being Jewish means for them.

Aaron has 6 years experience working as a madrich at Hineni as well as holding the role of state president and federal treasurer. Aaron took part on the IBC Israel program in 2020. He is excited to inspire BJE students to develop their connections to Israel, judaism and the community.

Shoshana Gottlieb (and Curriculum Writer)

Our People 7

Shoshana wears a few hats at BJE, including Youth Engagement Officer, Curriculum Writer, and Teacher. Before starting at BJE, Shoshana received a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Education from the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and an honours degree in Screenwriting and Political Science from UTS. With over ten years of experience in both informal and formal Jewish Education, Shoshana is passionate about developing and strengthening Jewish literacy and education in Australia. She has held titles of Rosh Machane, Rosh Tochnit and Rosh Chinuch for Bnei Akiva Sydney, as well as both Marketing and Programming Chair for LimmudOz. She is currently completing her Masters of Teaching at the University of New England.

When she’s not pouring over a Tanach or making worksheets on Canva, you can find Shoshana watching and writing romantic comedies or being chased by her dog, Chicken Snoopy.

Jenna Gilbert-Kaplan

Mia Lee-Warden


Danit Ilsar Dip Ed (Special Education), Professional Development Certificate (Communicative Language Teaching), MEd

Our People 8

Danit grew up in Israel where she qualified as a music therapist and teacher in special education. After arriving in Australia in 1988, she taught at Hillel/Moriah Kindergarten, including teaching Hebrew, Jewish Studies and music appreciation. Since 2010 Danit has been a curriculum writer at BJE, focusing on the primary school SRE curriculum and the Years  K-2 Extension curriculum.

Danit and her husband have 3 adult children and a number of grandchildren. Danit enjoys spending time with her family and friends, tending her plants, reading, and playing piano.

Sidney Melamdowitz

Our People 9

Sidney is one of BJE’s curriculum writers. Sidney is a current student at the University of Sydney studying a Bachelor of Secondary Education/Arts with a major in Ancient History and minor in Judaic Studies. She is passionate about teaching the rich and important history of the Jewish people.

Sidney is also a volunteer with Youth HEAR (Holocaust, Education and Remembrance) and is the chair of the Holocaust Commemoration committee. Here her passion lays in educating the Sydney community about the Holocaust and in turn, working together in mitigating hate from our society.

Sidney enjoys travelling, going to the beach and most importantly, spending time with her three poodles.  


Michelle Falk

Our People 10

Michelle is the Marketing Manager at BJE and comes with a wealth of knowledge in the digital and marketing sector with over 16 years of experience.

Michelle has had a vast amount of marketing experience specialising in the Non Profit Jewish Sector. Her clients have included JCA, The Choice Foundation, UIA, Shabbat Project Sydney, Youth 2 Israel, Together Never Apart, and Gen17 Survey, as well as providing Marketing, Social Media, Video Production & Event experience working for Believe Advertising, CanTeen, 1st Street Financial, Australian Banking Association, Wolper Hospital to mention a few. 

Having had BJE through her high school years, Michelle is extremely passionate about providing students and families with a Jewish Education as well as a sense of community and belonging. 


Julia Kuris

Our People 11

Julia takes care of our design and social media

She brings 20 years of experience, specialising in brand strategy and design for clients from vast backgrounds such as beauty, finance, real estate, coaching, food, fashion, fitness and healthcare. 

Julia is very connected to her Jewish community and feels grateful to be part of BJE’s vision in helping the next generation create a strong Jewish identity and opportunities where Jewish families come together, connect, and belong.