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SHMA Director

Michael Wikes

When reciting the Shema in the morning, my eye is always drawn to "V’ahavta, (You shall love …)” Over the years, I have asked many students, “How can you command someone to LOVE?”  One answer we are taught is to focus the mind on things we love, so I’d like to share with you some of the things I love about my job as Education Director at Rumson Jewish Center at Congregation B'nai Israel.

The Conservative Movement

I love being a Director in a Conservative Religious School.  The Conservative Movement is both progressive and traditional, so we can put our critical thinking into the practice and not rely on blind faith, but we preserve the traditions that bind us to God and to one another.   This is what and how we teach our children.

​I love the fact that our daughters are equal to men in every facet of our practice, that girls enjoy a full Bat Mitzvah, reciting Haftarah, at Shabbat morning Services.

​I love seeing my daughter and my wife have an aliyah and read from the Torah.

Rumson Jewish Center at Congregation B'nai Israel

I love learning about the history of Rumson Jewish Center at Congregation B'nai Israel. I’m speaking with parents who are sending the 4th generation of the family to this Religious School!

​I love the commitment of the lay leadership, who have welcomed and guided me in my work, not to mention Rabbi Sagal who provides inspiration, Executive Director Tara Siers who provides tachlis (brass tacks)and the entire staff who keep the place running.

​Jewish Education

I love seeing children develop their own connections to Judaism and I want to continue the tradition of providing a well rounded, contemporary education that contributes to the Jewish identity of the students and their entire family.

​I love this innovative SHMA program.  Soul, Heart, Mind: these are the entry portals through which Jewish learning can become a life long journey.

​More than anything else, I love hearing from parents that their children look forward to coming Hebrew School to learn and see their friends.

SHMA Staff


  • Rebecca Barabas,  Judaics
  • Bonnie Cooper, Judaics 
  • Jennifer Eagle Baker, Pre-K
  • Lauren Grodman, Judaics
  • Sue Klein, Hebrew
  • Kristina Lally, Kindergarten
  • Alan Ross, Judaics
  • Suzanne Ruda, Tutor
  • Rabbi Doug Sagal, Aleinu Hebrew High
  • Margo Tikijian, Aleinu Hebrew High
  • Dorith Werthaim, Hebrew
  • Michael Wikes, Aleinu Hebrew High
  • Abigail Wycoff, Kindergarten
Tue, May 28 2024 20 Iyyar 5784