Rebecca Elkus-Ferst, MA, RJE Director of Education: Youth & Families Email
Rebecca Elkus-Ferst, MA, RJE
For Rebecca, Jewish education is a lifelong journey that should be meaningful, challenging, dynamic, and inspiring. She works to weave these ideas throughout our educational programming for our youth. Whether it is with our youngest children in the Kehillah School, or our teens in Chavaya, Rebecca brings her enthusiasm and desire to help our youth connect to Judaism.
Originally from Michigan, Rebecca’s identity and early Jewish experiences were strongly influenced by her family, participation in youth groups, and summers spent at camp. Rebecca earned a B.A. in Journalism and a Specialization in Jewish Studies from Michigan State University, and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from JTS, she served as the Assistant Director of Education at Congregation Habonim in NYC from 2009-2012.
Rebecca is a past fellow of the Leadership Institute: Shaping Congregational Leaders and Learners and Matan Institute for Education Directors, working on a communal approach to helping children with special needs. She is a past participant in the Qushiyot Fellowship: a program dedicated to working with educators and congregations to bring contemporary, meaningful, and relevant Israel curriculum to their programs. Rebecca is currently part of the inaugural Pardes Senior Educator Leadership Fellowship. Rebecca also holds an RJE (Reform Jewish Educator) title from the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.
Jesse believes camp should be a safe and fun environment that nourishes a child and inspires our youth to grow (not so different from our mission). Previously, he was the assistant director of a day camp in Minnesota, and has been a youth professional in Colorado, Florida, Israel, Washington D.C., Virginia, and New York. Jesse has also served as faculty at URJ’s 6 Points Sports Academy and Camp Harlam for 8 summers. Prior to joining Camp Pinebrook, Jesse was a congregational rabbi for 9 years. He has an ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and bachelor degree from the University of Denver. He is currently studying for an MBA at SUNY Oswego. Jesse enjoys cooking, sports, travel, and spending time his twin sons, Parker and Holden.
Jennifer Pennucci, M.Ed. Director, Kehillah School for Early Learning Email
Jennifer Pennucci, M.Ed.
Jennifer has been an Early Childhood educator for over 20 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University in 2000 and her Masters in Early Childhood Education/Administration and Leadership from Champlain College in 2017. After earning her BA, Jennifer began teaching preschool. This sparked a passion for all things Early Childhood. She has been a program director for 15 years and brings a wealth of knowledge related to child development, quality curriculum planning and program management.
Jennifer believes that it is her role to provide teachers with the tools to be successful, show them how to use those tools, and guide them through the entire process as their cheerleader. She focuses her energy on building strong positive relationships with teachers and families striving to foster a close feeling of community within the program.