Program Staff

Rabbi Charles Savenor

Director of Congregational Education
212-369-2600
Rabbi Charles E. Savenor joined the PAS staff as Director of Congregational Education in July, 2014.

Rabbi Savenor came to PAS from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), where he served as the Director of Kehilla (Congregational) Development (2011 to present) and as Executive Director of its Metropolitan New York District (2008-2011). He was an international resource for 620 affiliated Conservative synagogues in the areas of leadership, organizational development, strategic planning, communications, volunteer engagement, curriculum, youth programming, and enrichment. In addition to organizing conferences, workshops and webinars throughout North America, he served as the lead program developer for United Synagogue’s Centennial Celebration and he directed “Family Israel Experience” journeys to Israel.

Prior to USCJ, Rabbi Savenor was the Associate Dean and Director of Admissions at the Jewish Theological Seminary (2001-2008) and Associate Rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago (1996-2001).

Rabbi Savenor graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A., summa cum laude, in History/Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (1991), having spent his junior year studying at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was ordained at JTS in 1996 with a concentration in Education. He earned a Masters of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College in 2008.

Rabbi Savenor currently serves on the National Rabbinic Cabinet of United Jewish Communities and Brandeis University’s Alumni Admissions Council. In the past, he has served on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinic Counsel of Israel Bonds, the National Board of Advisors of American Jewish World Service, and the Rabbinic Advisory Committee of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago. He was Education Chair of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and served on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education in Chicago. He was International President of United Synagogue Youth (1987), and received USY’s International Alumnus of the Year Award (2012).

Rabbi Savenor’s articles on parenting and fatherhood can be found at FamilyInOrbit.com, a blog on topics that impact modern families. He and his wife, Julie Walpert, are the parents of two young boys, Joseph and Benjamin.

Mara Bernstein

Director of Synagogue Programming and Adult Education
212.369.2600, x146

Mara joined the Park Avenue Synagogue team in June 2018 as Director of Synagogue Programming and Adult Education. She has a background in event planning and program management, having worked at several New York City nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, including the American Jewish Historical Society, the Museum at Eldridge Street, and The Jewish Theological Seminary. Before coming to PAS, Mara was the Retreats and Programs Manager at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, where she helped create and facilitate learning and leadership opportunities for Jewish clergy and community leaders of all kinds.

A native of Southern California, Mara moved to New York to attend New York University, where she earned a BA in history. Mara loves the vibrant diversity of her adopted home, but misses wearing sandals year ‘round! When not at PAS, Mara is a volunteer docent at the Museum at Eldridge Street and also leads historic walking tours in lower Manhattan. Mara lives on the Upper West Side and enjoys exploring the many cafes and bookstores in her neighborhood.

Niki Fleishman

Director of Youth Programming and Engagement
212.369.2600, x147

Niki joined the Park Avenue Synagogue educational team in July 2018 as Director of Youth Programming and Engagement. Previously, Niki worked at UJA-Federation of New York in the Center for Youth Philanthropy, running the middle school and high school programs. Niki graduated from New York University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a double minor in social work and child & adolescent mental health studies.

Niki is passionate about the next generation of the Jewish people, dedicating her professional and personal time to connecting young adults and teens with Judaism and Israel. She attended both Jewish summer camp (Camp Modin) and Jewish day school (Solomon Schechter School of Westchester), and remains actively involved with the school. Niki lived in Israel during both high school and college, and is a committed Zionist. She is also a Birthright Fellow and has led four Birthright trips to Israel. During her free time, Niki loves to play soccer, run with her dogs, travel the world, and spend time with her family.

Jennifer Stern Granowitz

Director of the Congregational School
212.369.2600, x132
Jennifer joined Park Avenue Synagogue in 2011 after receiving her Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the William Davidson School of Jewish Education at JTS. Earlier, she earned a B.A. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Jennifer served as a unit head at Camp Ramah in New England and continues to be connected to Jewish camping as a board member of her childhood camp. Jennifer grew up on Long Island and attended the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County and the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island. A fun fact about Jennifer is that she is the oldest of five sisters! Jennifer’s door is always open to discuss your child and your family’s Jewish journey.

Pamela B. Schwartz

Early Childhood Center Director
212-369-2600, x152
Pamela B. Schwartz joined PAS as Director of the Early Childhood Center in July, 2014.

Previously Pamela was the early learning specialist at The Abraham Joshua Heschel School for seven years; before that she taught first grade at Heschel for seven years. Pamela began her teaching career at The Town School. Pamela holds a B.A. at Columbia College of Columbia University, with a concentration in psychology, and a Masters Degree from Columbia Teachers College, where she focused on learning differences. 

Pamela believes that every child has infinite potential to embrace the learning process. She is excited to be part of the excellent educational community at PAS.

Jamie Diamond

Director of Young Family Education/Director of Camp Keshet
212-369-2600, x140

Jamie returned to PAS as the Director of Young Family Education and the Director of Camp Keshet in July 2016. In 2011–14 she was an Assistant Director of the Congregational School, focusing on the learners in grades K–2 and helping to develop the school's experiential education program. During her time away from New York in 2014–16, she served as the Director of Jewish and Israel Education for Herzl Camp in Webster, WI and the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, MN.

Jamie earned an MA in Jewish Education from The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS, a BS in Psychology from Columbia University, and a BA in the Hebrew Bible from JTS. She studied for a year at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has worked in Jewish day schools, synagogues, and Jewish summer camps.

Jamie is thrilled to be back at Park Avenue Synagogue and to work with our congregation’s youngest members and their families.

Marga Hirsch

Director, Edmond de Rothschild Library, Publications Editor and Gallery Curator
212-369-2600, x127
Marga joined the staff of Park Avenue Synagogue as Librarian in August 2008 and became editor of the Park Avenue Synagogue Bulletin a year later. She also edits the annual collections of Rabbi Cosgrove's sermons as well as other synagogue publications, including the PAS website. Marga is curator of the PAS gallery. She also substitute teaches in the Florence Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning at PAS and occasionally leads minyan.

Beyond her training as a librarian and her love of books, Marga is an experienced family and adult educator. Previously, Marga was librarian of the Perelman Jewish Day School in Philadelphia. She also served as program director of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA, and as administrator of the Goodblatt Academy of the Philadelphia Region Rabbinical Assembly, which offers education in Hebrew and Judaism to individuals considering conversion. In addition, Marga was a popular teacher in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and in the Melton Parent Education Program. Marga is the editor of Ets Hayyim Hi, A Tree of Life: A Handbook for Jewish Family Education published in memory of Barbara Eidelman Wachs, z”l, by the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education in Philadelphia in 2000.

Marga has been active in the National Havurah Committee for over 30 years. She has taught at the annual NHC Summer Institute, most recently in August 2013, and co-chaired the 2002 Summer Institute with her son. She is also active in the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Marga holds an M.L.S. from Drexel University, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and an B.A. from Harvard University. She studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a Fellow in the Melton Senior Educators Program.

Marga has four adult children and five grandchildren.