Meet the Team
Cathy Gordon, L.C.S.W.
Head of Religious School
It was at Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Camp Hess Kramer in the late 1970s that Cathy began her long career in Jewish education. After receiving her B.A. from UCLA, Cathy lived in Jerusalem, where she taught school and worked with children and senior citizens in an underserved community.
After returning to the states, Cathy earned her MSW at UCLA and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She served as the Director of the Cult Clinic for Jewish Family Services in Los Angeles for several years and then started her family. Since that time, she has remained in the field of Jewish education and social work, working as a camp director, cantorial soloist, and licensed clinical social worker. She joined the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Religious School team in 2012.
Rachel Waltuch, M.Ed.
Rachel Waltuch has been involved in Jewish education ever since she completed her undergraduate degree at Brandeis University. She immediately began teaching at Valley Beth Shalom Day School and continued there until her first child was born. The autumn after her son arrived, she began to teach religious school part-time and helped write and develop curricula.
In 2003, she was recognized with the Lainer Distinguished Educator Award by the B.J.E. While still at the religious school, she was asked to participate in a program dedicated to training and mentoring teachers new to Jewish education called Creating Teaching Excellence in Congregational Education. She, and other committed instructors in synagogues throughout Los Angeles, worked to develop the skills of future congregational educators.
When her daughter began school, Rachel returned to teach at Valley Beth Shalom, earned her master’s degree in Education Administration, and took on increasing responsibilities in the school. She led the faculty through their accreditation process and earned the school a six-year clearance, the highest possible, with commendations for professionalism and presentation.
She developed the school’s first formalized writing program, successfully chaired the school’s online curriculum mapping process, and began the first peer mentoring program for the teaching staff. In 2014, she was distinguished by the Temple and Day School by being presented with the Morah Award for community contribution at Valley Beth Shalom.
Demonstrating how the rich, ancient beliefs and customs of the Jewish people are still inherently not only relevant, but also integral to 21st Century life is one of the passions that continues to inspire her, and she is excited that it has now brought her to Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
Lisa Alpern, M.J.Ed
Lisa joined the WBT staff in 2016 as the Director of B’nei Mitzvah Programs. She is passionate about building relationships with students and families and helping them find the beauty and wisdom that Judaism has to offer.
Before coming to Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Lisa worked in various positions within the Jewish community. She served as the Education Director of IKAR from 2006-2010, and in development at the Jewish Federation, both in Chicago and in Boston. Her two children are proud graduates of our Early Childhood Center and current Brawerman Elementary School students.
Lisa received her B.A. in Jewish Studies from the University of Michigan and her Master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston.
Amanda Pleau, M.F.A.
Amanda joined the Religious School team as Operations Manager in the fall of 2016. Having relocated from the Berkshires, Amanda brings a refreshing, close-knit small community sensibility to all of her work with our families and students.
Her most recent professional experience is in restaurant management and customer service. She earned a BA in Media/Communications and an MFA in Creative Writing.
In her spare time, Amanda teaches writing at the college level and enjoys exploring cultural landmarks of LA. She lives in Culver City with her husband and 18-year old cat.