Meet Our Staff

Beth Ann Margolis Rupp

Director
 

Beth brings expertise from early childhood education to high school through university in teaching and administration. WIth over 40 years of educational leadership Beth’s shares her focus on the interaction of classroom and community based learning for applied democracy and citizenship.

 

Beth was the founding director of Satell Fellowship and Institute for Service Learning at Gratz College. Bringing a Jewish lens to pursuing justice, equity in community life is Beth’s passion. She has 4 sons and lives in Chestnut Hill.  She is a graduate of Temple University with Bachelor's Degree in education, and  Masters in Education Administration from Wheelock College.

Leah Wright

Program Manager
 

Leah Wright, an alumni of Folkshul, is a certified teacher of 8 years. Her area of expertise ranges from early childhood education to elementary and high school. She is a graduate of Temple University with both a Bachelor's Degree and a Masters in Education. During the week, Leah teaches environmental science to grades K-8 at a charter school in Philadelphia.
 

Leah credits Folkshul with helping her develop a deep understanding of Humanistic Judaism and a love of it.  Her daughter is currently continuing the tradition as a second generation student.

Mindy Blatt

Director of Community Engagement

Mindy has been an engaged part of Jewish Children’s Folkshul for 25 years. Her sister and nephew were members for many years, which provided a prior connection.  When the Director/Principal’s position became available at Folkshul, she was lovingly ‘coerced’ into applying for the job. At the time, Mindy was a full-time 1st grade teacher in the Philadelphia School System. However, I had just recently completed my Principal’s Accreditation. BINGO!

As a single mom, a full-time teacher and then the Director of Folkshul, Mindy’s plate was very full. However, she immediately felt welcome, a strong sense of community, and found a home for her Jewish values and culture. It wasn’t just Mindy, though. Everyone was welcome!
 
Mindy’s journey as Director synced very well with my experience and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. We were able to complete the Curriculum that had been in process for many years; we upgraded our Assistant's programming; our Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs thrived; and our social action/justice component blossomed, including a Martin Luther King Day of Service, an immigration theme, Souper Sunday, breakfast with a Holocaust Survivor,  themed potlucks, and various off-site demonstrations and marches.

Fast forward, 18 years later, Mindy had retired from the School District after 36 years and was ready for a change of responsibilities at Folkshul.  Our newly created Adult Community needed a new Director and her new title became Director of Community Engagement. We have since grown our outreach, expanded our Adult Community membership (which includes parents of children in our school) and have grown our High Holiday Programs to a well attended, collaborative, meaningful, secular humanistic Jewish production. Our Adult Community hosts a yearly speaker series, Restaurant Club,  holiday programming, tours around the city, potlucks, hiking club, mah jongg game, movie nights and other engaging activities.

“Folkshul has given me significantly more than I have given it. I have learned, grown, made many new friends, felt appreciated and appreciative of the opportunity to build my adult Jewish identity in such a wonderful environment.”


 

Kate Forest

Life Cycle Officiant
 

Kate Forest grew up as a Secular Jew and has raised her children in the Secular Humanistic Jewish community. As the Life Cycle Ceremonialist for Folkshul, she has ushered families through the b’nai mitzvah process, welcomed babies through naming ceremonies, and celebrated the lives of those who have died.

She is a certified Officiant from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, and is licensed to perform weddings in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

When working with individuals and families to craft meaningful ceremonies, she draws on the participants’ personal diverse experiences. She believes that each individual’s unique qualities should be reflected in meaningful and relevant life events.

Bringing her experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over twenty years’ experience, she is also a professional writer and enjoys eliciting the creative story within each person.

She is open to working with leaders from different faiths and looks forward to incorporating diverse elements in life cycle ceremonies.