Leadership and Staff

MWCS is a parent-led cooperative school, founded in 1990 by a group of parents looking for an alternative to synagogue-based Hebrew schools. Our school is guided by a volunteer executive board, and parents are involved in planning events and shaping all aspects of the school’s growth.

Our professional staff (listed below in alphabetic order) bring an array of talents, passions and experiences.  They function as inspirations, models, and mentors for our students over the course of their years at shule (Yiddish word for school).

Emma Alabaster

Emma Alabaster is a native New Yorker and shule alumna. As a young person, Emma attended both Workmen's Circle shule and Camp Kinderland. She studied music at LaGuardia High School and continued her studies in the jazz program at Bard College.

Emma is an experienced bassist, vocalist and composer who performs regularly in NYC and has toured nationally. In addition to working with various musicians, she has worked for five years as a teaching artist in public, charter and private schools through organizations such as Brooklyn Arts Council and Willie Mae Rock-n-Roll Camp for Girls. She is excited to join the staff at shule teaching music and arts.

Nikolai (Kolya) Borodulin

Nikolai (Kolya) Borodulin is a master Yiddish teacher. He runs Yiddish language and culture programs for children and adults at The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, Klezkanada Festival and other national and international venues.

He is the author of "Yiddish Year Round – a Curriculum for Young Beginners" and a set of Yiddish games, "Alefbeys Tsimes."

Kolya has been teaching Yiddish and directing the B'nei Mitsve program at the Midtown Workmen's Circle School since 1993. He also teaches Yiddish language and culture at WC/AR I. L. Peretz Jewish school in East Meadow.

Judith Bro Pinhasik

Judith Bro Pinhasik has taught Yiddish, core Jewish ethics, and history at the Midtown Workmen's Circle Shule since 2007 and has spoken Yiddish for 16 years. Her son Joey graduated from the shule's 2012-2013 B'nei Mitsve class.

Professionally, Judith was an actor for fifteen years, and is currently development director for Yugntruf-Youth for Yiddish and co-director of the kinder program at Yiddish-vokh, a total-immersion Yiddish-language summer camp.

Judith was also development director for Living Traditions, and raised money for their KlezKamp and Yiddish cultural programming.

For fifteen years, Judith has been a member of the Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus, which performs works entirely in Yiddish. She has a BA in Political Science and an MA in Film History and Criticism.

Deborah Strauss

Deborah Strauss has been a vibrant part of the Midtown Shule for more than 10 years.

Deborah has a deep knowledge of Jewish culture that stems from her upbringing in a traditional Jewish home, and from an extensive formal education in Jewish studies, including Hebrew and Yiddish language.

Deborah is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist and educator who has been active in the klezmer and Yiddish music scene for more than 25 years. She is a member of the Strauss/Warschauer Duo and was a long-time member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival. She has appeared on numerous recordings and was featured in the Emmy Award-winning film, Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler's House.

A beloved educator, she is on the faculty of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Yiddish Summer Weimar, KlezKamp, KlezKanada, and the Jewish Music Institute/SOAS at the University of London.

For her work at both the Midtown and Long Island Shules, Deborah received a Workmen's Circle award for excellence in teaching.

Hannah Temple

Hannah Temple is a performer and educator whose engagement with Jewish radical culture includes performing with the Sukkes Mob and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). She is a member of the Afselokhis Spectacle Committee, the collective genius behind the annual JFREJ Purimshpil.

Hannah is an accomplished accordionist who performs and tours with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, an 80-person musical and political organizing group

Hannah is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies. She has been teaching social justice and core at the Midtown shule since 2011

Beth Zasloff

Beth Zasloff has directed the Midtown Workmen's Circle School since 2012. Beth is a writer and educator with a strong background in Jewish communal service and study. She is the author of Hold Fast to Dreams: A College Counselor, His Students, and the Vision of a Life Outside Poverty (The New Press, 2014), a collaboration with her husband, Josh Steckel. She is the co-author, with philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman, of Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance (St. Martin's Press, 2008).

Beth has worked with students of many ages: as an adjunct professor at NYU and Johns Hopkins, as a first and third grade teacher at Saint Ann's School, and as a teaching artist in New York City public schools, where she also led professional development workshops. She has a BA from Yale University and an MA from Johns Hopkins University.

Beth has served on the Workmen's Circle board as well as the shule board. Her daughters Gigi and Naomi (ages six and nine) are current students at the shule, and her son Leo (age three) will attend in two years.