Meet the WBT Religious School 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.

Associate Director, Irmas Campus 

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.


Rabbi Ashley Berns-Chafetz, MJEd

Associate Director, Glazer and Resnick Campuses

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Rabbi Ashley was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2016. In addition to pursuing her rabbinic ordination, she also completed her Masters in Jewish Education and received a Masters Concentration in Israel Education through the iCenter for Israel Education. After ordination, she served as the rabbi for the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community as well as for students at USC Hillel. Married to Eric Chafetz, a Jewish educator, they have two beautiful young daughters, Zoe and Mia.
Rabbi Ashley is passionate about creating opportunities for people to engage with the beauty and the richness of our tradition in a way that is welcoming, comforting, authentic and challenging. She believes strongly in the importance of fostering a genuine and meaningful love of Judaism in our children, which will, in turn, lead to a life-long relationship with the Jewish community. 


Kadi House

Principal, Resnick Campus 

Kadi's passion for Jewish education began back at URJ Camp Kalsman, where she served in various staff roles (counselor, songleader, unit head and CIT Director) for seven years. After graduating from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in Psychology in 2012, she spent a year teaching English in Rishon L'tziyon with MASA Israel Teaching Fellows. Kadi then made the leap to chilly Chicago where she found a home at Am Shalom in Glencoe as the Director of Youth Engagement for nearly a decade. During her time at Am Shalom, she ran all of the youth group programs, songled, tutored B'nai Mitzvah students, and designed and ran a camp-style religious school program. 

Kadi has many hobbies that bring her joy! While living in Chicago, she ran the Chicago Marathon, started a tie-dye/Jewish camp inspired Etsy shop (CraftedbyKadi), founded an a capella group (Lakeshore Dynamics) and sang/toured with another (Listen Up Jewish Vocal Band). She is settling into her life in Hermosa Beach with her boyfriend and their two kitties, but is looking forward to finding creative and active outlets in her new chapter here.

Kadi believes strongly in creating a warm, nurturing environment in which students, staff and parents feel valued and supported. 


Emily Greenfeld 

Youth Engagement Coordinator

A graduate of the University of Arizona Honors College, Emily received her B.A in Political Science with a minor in Judaic Studies. Throughout her college career, Emily discovered a passion for Jewish education, youth engagement and programming. All of this was nurtured during her time as a Camp Hess Kramer counselor and staff member. Some of Emily's hobbies include tennis, travel, and reading. Now living in Los Angeles, Emily is so excited to be part of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Religious School Team as the Youth  Engagement Coordinator. 


Sara Zacky

Youth Engagement Coordinator 

Sara is a recent graduate from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where she received her B.A. in Art History, B.S. in Anthropology, and most recently, her M.A. in Anthropology. While studying, Sara worked at a congregation in New Orleans where she discovered her passion for working in Jewish education, specifically with teens. This passion came as no surprise since she has always loved her work at the Wilshire Blvd. Temple Camps, where she was a life-long camper turned counselor and senior staff member. 


Ilana Blitzstein

Executive Administrative Assistant

Ilana began working at University Synagogue in 2019 and moved to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple team in 2021 with the merger. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up immersed in the Jewish community and has always found meaning in her career by working in congregational settings- both as an early childhood educator and in administrative work. An avid baker, Ilana looks forward to cooking for Shabbat each week as an opportunity to relax and connect with family and friends. In her free time, Ilana enjoys exercising, needlepoint, and reading.