Our Staff

Jacques has dedicated his life to community activism and the Jewish Community. He has served in many capacities, local national and international. The diversity of the organizations are as varied as his interests. They range from having served on the International Executive Board of Bínai Bírith, a member of the Philadelphia School Board, Outreach Vice Chair Soviet Jewry Council and the President of the friends of Fox Chase Farm.


He is the recipient of many prestigious awards such as the Label Katz International Leadership Award,† Moe & Berdie Kudler International Outstanding Volunteer Award,† the Knights of Goodness Award, Italian American Press and the Chairmanís Award of Jewish Federation of Philadelphia.


With a bachelor degree from Temple University and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Villanova, he owned and operated a computer consulting company before making his passion for the Jewish community his career. Jacques now serves as both the Educational Director as well as the Executive Director for the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, one of the largest and most active synagogues in Philadelphia.† He has made it his mission to make the religious school a fun place to be while delivering a superior religious education.


Jacques along with his wife Gwen and children Becca and Marlena is a dedicated resident of Northeast Philadelphia.

Executive Director & Religious School Principal

Jacques A. Lurie

Phone: 215-677-1600

Director, Teen Learning Community

Judi Shapiro

Mrs. Judi Shapiro is the Director of the Teen Learning Community Program at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim. Judi is a veteran Jewish secondary educator.† Prior to her current roles, Judi served for 12 years as a teacher and Director of the Congregational High School at Beth Sholom in Elkins Park. Judi has earned a B.A. in History and a Masters Degree in Education, both from Temple University.

Director, Preschool and Kindergarten

Sherri Herschfeld

I am proud to be the director of The Cardonick Preschool and Kindergarten of the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim.† I came to this school as a prospective parent with my two

While Judi is the mother of three, Josh, Adam and Rebecca and grandmother of 5 she considers all of the students in T.L.C. her children.† She has a unique ability to create a lasting bond with her teenage students.

In addition to dedicating her life to her family and students, Judi has been an advocate for Community Service spending many years with the Soviet Jewry Movement and Supporting a number of political campaigns including her own son, PA State Representative Josh Shapiro.

and one half year old son, seeking a quality academic program for my little boy.† I enrolled my son and was so very pleased with my decision.† I knew that it would be a special place for both of us!† I began volunteering in the classes, substituted for the teachers, and began teaching the following year. Three years later, I became the Director of the school and have maintained this position for 14 years spending much time researching and expanding our program.

I am a certified teacher and I also have a degree in social work with an extensive counseling background working with children, individuals and families.† I worked with two school districts helping to institute a primary prevention program in their schools.† I have served as a special needs advocate for young children helping families acquire early intervention services for their child if such services were warranted.

†††††††††††† There are decisions we make, as adults, that we know are very important and we need to be certain that the correct decision is made.† I knew that I wanted the best educational foundation for my own son many years ago.† I knew then that I made the correct decision.† I know that the families, who choose this school for their children, also will be making the correct decision.

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim



E-mail: ema4all@aol.com

Office Staff

Stacey Bilker, Special Projects

††††††††††††† Coordinator

Fran Saunders, Bookkeeper

Carrie Blasband, Office Administrator

Perla Fischer, Office Administrator

Susan Poland, Office Administrator (Sunday Religious School)