Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education
Melissa has been working in Early Childhood Education for over 15 years, including ten years at Temple Emanu-El Preschool. Melissa studied child psychology with a minor in Special Education. She believes that a focus of preschool should be to ensure that children have a great first learning experience so that they develop a love for learning.
JONATHAN (YONI) JAFFE
Rabbi, Educational Programming
Rabbi Jonathan (Yoni) Jaffe has served Congregation Emanu-El since 2006. In 2010, Rabbi Jaffe took on the oversight of the synagogue's educational programming. He currently serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Federation's Peoplehood Commission, the San Francisco Interfaith Coalition and the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. Yoni is a member of the 2010-2013 cohort of the Hartman Institute's Rabbinic Leadership Initiative in Jerusalem. He is a regular faculty member at Camp Newman and a representative of HaMoetzah—newly ordained rabbis serving as consultants to Hebrew Union College.
Before ordination from Hebrew Union College in 2007, Jonathan served as the Education Director for URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, redesigning the curriculum for the 1,500 camper program. He has also served as Education Director for Temple Beth Torah of Fremont and has taught at the San Francisco Bureau of Jewish Education and Congregation Sherith Israel and interned at Congregation Aitz Chaim of Great Falls, Montana, and Congregation Ner Tamid of Las Vegas.
Yoni was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received his B.A. in philosophy from Duke University and studied at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His rabbinic thesis was on Jewish liturgy and ritual as mythological narrative. He lives with his wife, Yael, and their two daughters.