Our People

Our Board

President: Tahlia Gordon

Vice-President: Athol Chiert

Treasurer:Tom Levi

Secretary: Ben Neumann

Board Members: David Balkin AM

Board Observer: 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.


Hazel Freed Dip Ed, Post Grad Dip Ed

Our People 4

Hazel manages the Year 10 Israel Program, which is the focal point in the High School Jewish Journey. This Program gives students attending public or non-Jewish schools across Australia the opportunity to participate in a life-changing 5 week Israel experience. As well, Hazel oversees BJE’s Studies of Religion program which sees her assisting non-Jewish schools with students learning about Judaism. She is also a BJE teacher.

Hazel is passionate about supporting BJE families so they are able to connect with each other and feel part of the broader Jewish community, and believes that it is essential that our students get similar opportunities to those attending Jewish Day Schools.


Hanit Gershberg

Our People 5

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 6

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.


Alissa Foster

Our People 7

Alissa is one of BJE’s Youth Engagement Officers, helping plan high school SRE (‘Scripture’) classes and lunch club activities to engage high school students.  

Alissa has previous experience working in Jewish youth organisations including AUJS, Youth HEAR, and Bnei Akiva, and took part in a year program in Israel in 2018. She is extremely passionate about playing an active part in the Sydney Jewish community and is keen to help BJE students discover their own connections to Judaism, Israel, and the Sydney Jewish community.

Aaron Klimt

Our People 8

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.


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

Our People 9

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 10

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 11

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. 


Sarah Volpe

Our People 12

Sarah takes care of our social media and day-to-day marketing needs. Her previous experience includes working for Greenpeace’s marketing team as both a volunteer and a freelancer, and interning at Ogilvy and Vice magazine.

Sarah is passionate about the NGO sector and has just completed her Bachelors degree in 3D design and animation.