Get to Know Our Team
Dedicated Teachers & Staff
We are fortunate to have administrators, educators, and advisors who are leaders and visionaries in fostering an educational, caring, and warm environment. Key members of our program include:
Rabbi Avrohom Yachnes
Rabbi Yachnes received semicha from Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Queens, New York. He resides in North Miami Beach, Florida, where he has taught talmidim of all ages for over thirty years. His main focus in chinuch is the study of Mussar and character development. He is the author of Orchos Tzaddikim: A Treasure for Life, published by Feldheim.
Mrs. Samantha Hirsch,
Mrs. Hirsch was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida. After attending local day schools, Mrs. Hirsch went on to graduate from Stern College with a degree in Education. After teaching in New York and then in Los Angeles, Mrs. Hirsch returned to Florida where she continued teaching middle-school girls. After the birth of her children, Mrs. Hirsch utilized her extensive teaching experience to homeschool her 5 children and focus on the use of multi-age groupings & student-centered learning. Her vast experience both in and out of the classroom environment allowed the vision of Mizrahi Torah Academy to blossom. Mrs. Hirsch envisioned a school environment that brought the best of both worlds – the traditional school system and the homeschool model – to the forefront of the educational system. Through combining her vision with talented, like-minded educators, MTA was born. Mrs. Hirsch now spends her days working with an amazing team of staff and teachers. She lives in Hollywood with her husband and 5 children.
Rabbi Yisroel Hecht
Director of Operations
Rabbi Hecht was born and raised in New York and learned in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, NY for many years. He holds a degree in Business Management and Marketing from Touro College in New York. He worked in Jewish outreach for many years, helping Jewish families from all backgrounds and upbringings discover the beauty of Torah and leading a Jewish lifestyle. Rabbi Hecht brings fourteen years of experience working with children, teenagers and adults in a variety of roles. His positive, upbeat and energetic personality helps in fostering healthy child development and creates a fun learning environment with enriched Chinuch practices. He is also a singer, musician and DJ performing at events of all types across South Florida. He lives in East Boca Raton with his wife and 3 children.
Mrs. Sophia Licht
Mrs. Licht was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida. After attending local day schools, Mrs. Licht went on to attend Midreshet Amit in Jerusalem. She then went on to study at George Washington University, where she received a Bachelors in Accountancy. During her time in GWU, Mrs. Licht took time off to further her growth in Judaism at the Mayanot Institute for Jewish Learning in Jerusalem. After moving back to Florida, Mrs. Licht began working at Merrill Lynch as an Executive Assistant and took leave after having her first child. As chinuch is an important aspect of her life, she chose to make a career shift into helping Jewish institutions like MTA grow and flourish. Mrs. Licht now lives in Hallandale, Florida with her husband, Ariel and their two children, Moussia and Rivka.
Ms. Jessica Robbins
Jessica Robbins, fondly known as Ms. Jessie, was raised in beautiful Broward County. Her love for Mizrahi Torah Academy prompted her to join MTA’s full-time staff, working alongside our teachers and the administrative team in the front office as our Program Coordinator. She uses her organizational skills to coordinate all of the exciting programs and extra-curricular activities that take place at our school along with a myriad of other responsibilities.
Board of Directors
Mrs. Jennifer Chemtov,
Mrs. Chemtov serves as Chief Financial Officer for HealthTrust Workforce Solutions, a leading provider of healthcare staffing and workforce solutions. She has 25 years of financial management and leadership experience in the staffing and consulting industries. Before joining HealthTrust, Mrs. Chemtov served as Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for Randstad Technology and Randstad Professionals, leading providers in professional services recruiting and staffing. She spent 15 years at Randstad in senior management roles in finance, pricing and accounting. Mrs. Chemtov began her career at Arthur Andersen LLP, with expanding leadership roles over 6 years in Audit and Business Advisory Services.
Rabbi Yaacov Laredo
Rabbi Yaacov Laredo is a community leader in Florida and has inspired countless Jews through his engaging, warm and charismatic personality and teaching skills. Originally from Montreal Canada, Rabbi Laredo attended Yeshivat Mikdash Melech in Jerusalem Israel and is a rabbinical graduate of the Jerusalem Kollel, led by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovitz. He is also a certified and experienced Mohel and Shochet, and is diligently conducting and assisting in Jewish lifecycle events such as baby naming’s, circumcisions, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, weddings and end of life experiences. Rabbi Laredo founded the Miami Torah Center, which provides engaging learning opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to expand themselves through the study of Torah. The Miami Torah Center organizes local consistent classes, special guest speakers and special events. Rabbi Laredo lectures internationally at schools, seminars, synagogues and various religious and social events, always leaving the attendees with feelings of inspiration and empowerment. His most interesting topics include; believing in yourself, marital harmony, parenting skills, living an ethical and moral life, Talmudic concepts and Halacha applications. Rabbi Laredo lives in Hollywood, Florida with his wife Sarah and three children.
Mrs. Susan Grossman Robin Board Member
Originally from Bluefield, West Virginia, Mrs. Robin has been a resident of Hollywood, Florida for the past 29 years. Mrs. Robin holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Vocational Industrial Education. For the past 18 years, Mrs. Robin has been the librarian and computer teacher at Toras Emes Academy in North Miami Beach, Florida. Previously, she was a member of the Board of Trustees for Brauser Maimonides Academy in Hollywood, Florida. Mrs. Robin previously worked in the corporate sector in the areas of training and development and was the owner and operator of SRM Consultants in Richmond, Virginia, servicing the food and beverage industry.
Rabbi Netanel Chait
Judaic Studies Curriculum Coordinator/Teacher
Rabbi Netanel Chait teaches Judaic studies to our middle school and elementary boys and girls. He comes to MTA with many years of experience teaching in Boca Raton. Over the years, Rabbi Chait has developed a warm rapport with hundreds of students and instilled them with the skills and passion for learning Torah. He also spearheads the MTA Boys choir, which has performed at multiple community functions and events.
Rabbi Chait received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbinical Seminary of America, Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Queens. He earned his teaching certificate from the Mercaz Teachers Training by Rabbi Yoel Kramer. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education from the Azrieli School of Education at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Chait lives in Boca Raton with his wife and four children.
Mrs. Rochel Pink
Judaic Studies Teacher
Mrs. Rochel Pink graduated Bet Chana High School and three years of teaching seminary in Tzefat, Israel. She then spent a year in Vilna, Lithuania, strengthening the Jewish community through teaching and outreach work, after which she taught preschool for a year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mrs. Pink taught 4th grade in Crown Heights Yeshiva before moving to Florida. She taught 6th grade at Hebrew Academy Community School, and then co-directed Chabad of Plantation Hebrew School for 15 years. Along with her husband, Mrs. Pink co-directs the Chabad of East Plantation.
Mrs. Cheli Rosenbaum
Judaic Studies Teacher
Mrs. Rosenbaum was born in South Florida and raised in Israel through middle school. After attending Tomer Devorah Seminary and Stern College, she graduated Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Before joining MTA, Mrs. Rosenbaum was the Hebrew director for the middle and high school at Ben Gamla of Hollywood Charter School. She also enjoys her Kiruv work with NCSY, bringing Jewish youth back to Yiddishkeit through a love of Torah. Mrs. Rosenbaum also volunteered with Yachad South Florida for over six years, and is currently a volunteer over the summer, leading Kiruv programs in Israel. Mrs. Rosenbaum has been working in the Judaics department at Mizrahi Torah Academy since it’s opening, and is beloved by each and every one of her students. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Educational Psychology.
Ms. Dania Marcial
General Studies Teacher
Ms. Dania Marcial obtained her B.S. in Elementary Education from Florida International University in Miami and taught elementary grades in both Miami and Atlanta. She comes to us with an extensive background in Early Childhood Education and years of experience with special needs children and families. She served as a Parent Educator for at risk families in the Broward area and received her training and certification from The Parents as Teachers National Center in St. Louis, MO. Ms. Marcial is also a certified Music Together Instructor. While working for Brainchild Institute as the office manager, Ms. Marcial completed certification in MNRI®️Dynamic and Postural Reflex Integration and NeuroTactile Integration. Reaching out to families and providing support in any way possible has been her life’s passion. She currently resides in the Hollywood area and with over 30 years professional experience, we are happy to have her as part of our team.
Mrs. Judy Markell
General Studies Teacher
Mrs. Markell, known as “Morah Judy,” is a long-time educator in the South Florida Jewish community. She holds the nationally-recognized CDA (Child Development Associate) credential for VPK teaching and is certified in GOLD Teaching Strategies for development and learning. She has also acted as a mentor to other teacher’s, helping them develop their teaching strategies. Her goal has always been to listen carefully to each child (and their families), get to know who they are, and then help them develop their character within, allowing them to reach and discover their greatest potential through Torah and Yiras Shamayim. Recently, she has used the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) method to teach children, bringing everyone’s talents together. She believes that teaching is a gift from Hashem and it is a privilege to teach each student. Among some of her favorite hobbies are puppetry, writing children’s books, woodworking, recycle art, animals, and nature exploration.
Rabbi David Azerad
General Studies Curriculum Coordinator/Teacher
Rabbi David Azerad recently made the move from New York where he was an Assistant Principal at Yeshiva Shaarei Zion in Queens. He brings his unique style and energy to MTA where we always put the emotional needs of our students above all.
Rabbi Azerad received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yechiel Malik. He earned his teaching certificate from the Mercaz Teachers Training by Rabbi Yoel Kramer. He is also certified as a School Mashgiach by Torah Umesorah through the Nefesh Chaya program. Rabbi Azerad is a graduate of the COJDS PTI cohort of 2019, as well as Harvard Business School’s “Leading Schools” and “Leading People” initiatives. He is also a professional Hazzan and his services are in demand throughout the United States. Rabbi Azerad lives in East Boca Raton with his wife and two daughters.
Ms. Brochy Danzinger
Judaic Studies Teacher
Ms. Brochy Danzinger was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has been teaching in various schools between New York and Florida for over 10 years. She has a passion for instilling a sense of self love and excitement for learning Torah in every child. In her free time, she enjoys being in nature and cooking delicious meals for her family. Ms. Danzinger now resides in Hallandale Beach with her two precious children who are also proud to be MTA students.
Mrs. Elana Ellman
General Studies Teacher
Mrs. Elana Ellman or as her students refer to her, Morah Elana is a graduate from Stern College and the University of Montevallo with a BA degree in Education/Special Education and a degree in Speech Pathology. She continued with her education at Georgia State University graduating with a Masters in Elementary Education. She has been teaching in Jewish Day schools for the past 35 years. For 38 years Elana lived in Atlanta, Georgia along with her husband and two sons. She now resides in Boca Raton and has continued to teach in local day schools. Morah Elana is presently the first and second grade secular studies teacher and as an observant Jew, with a full degree in Judaics, she incorporates Jewish values and middos into her everyday teaching.
Ms. Philisha Mesidor
General Studies Teacher
Ms. Mesidor earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from the University of Miami and completed her Master of Science in Global Health at the University of Notre Dame. Ms. Mesidor has worked with various ages and specializes in enrichment activities and differential learning. She incorporates technology and research into her classes, as well as socio-emotional learning. Ms. Mesidor emphasizes the growth mindset in her classroom: any skill can be developed through dedication, hard work and practice.
Ms. Chani Itzkowitz
Ms. Chani Itzkowitz was born in New York and moved to Florida at the age of 8. She attended local yeshivas and began working in local schools shortly after graduating. She has a passion for art and fashion and strives to instill creativity into each of her students.
Mrs. Levana Amanou
Judaic Studies Teacher
Mrs. Levana Amanou was born in Casablanca, Morocco and moved to France at a young age. Mrs. Amanou studied at Aix les Bains France Tomer Deborah’s high school and then continued her education in Manchester, England. She has a BA in English from the University of Nantes and a teacher diploma from Manchester BBS Seminary. After teaching in many schools throughout the world, Mrs. Amanou relocated to Boca Raton, Florida where she currently resides with her husband and her five children. She is passionate about teaching Torah ideals and Ivrit to young Jewish children and strives to make every lesson fun and exciting. Her goal is to help every child feel the warmth and beauty of our Jewish heritage, while developing their minds and middos with derech eretz.
Mr. Edwin Medina
Mr. Medina, commonly known at MTA as “Coach Ed” was born in New Jersey and moved to South Florida when he was 10 years old. After incurring injuries in a terrible accident, Coach Ed was inspired to become a nurse. His love of sports and working with children brought him to MTA where he runs the Physical Education Program to the delight of all the children, while simultaneously studying for his nursing degree through Broward College. Coach Ed lives in Inverrary with a myriad of reptiles, arachnids, and a bunny named Tuffy.
Ms. Karen Benezra
General Studies Teacher
Ms. Karen Benezra was born in Argentina, raised in Israel and later settled in the United States. She speaks fluent English, Spanish and Hebrew, which allows her to form a connection with people from all different backgrounds. Ms. Benezra acquired her bachelors degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis University and has been a teacher for over 14 years. Ms. Benezra loves working with children and seeing their eyes light up when they discover something new. Ms. Benezra now resides in Hallandale, Florida after her recent move from Chicago and is a proud parent to Liat (California), Shani (Washington, D.C.) and her beloved cat Buba.