Robin Garbose (Artistic Director, Director, Acting Teacher), a graduate of Brown University with a B.A. in Theater Arts and English Literature, began her directing career in the theater. In New York and Los Angeles, Robin directed some 40 plays at theaters including: Ensemble Studio Theater, Jewish Repertory Theater, Manhattan Punch Line, the Juilliard Theater Center and the Odyssey Theatre.
Her television credits include Head of the Class and America’s Most Wanted, where she directed numerous film re-enactments, helping to apprehend fugitives. Robin co-wrote the screenplay, The Spark, about a Jewish girl’s search for faith, which was selected to participate in the Sundance Institute Writers Lab. Research for this project led to Robin’s own journey of faith, more than 22 years ago, when she became a Baal Teshuva.
Her groundbreaking feature films, A Light for Greytowers, The Heart That Sings and Operation Candlelight, intended for audiences of women and girls, have garnered international press acclaim and been official selections at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, and Ashkelon Jewish Eye Film Festival. Robin has served as Artistic Director for Kol Neshama Performing Arts Conservatory, which she founded, since its inception in 2000.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Levi Yitzhaq, and their two children.
Levi Yitzhaq Garbose (Producer, Composer, Lyricist) is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and attended Hadar HaTorah Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn. He studied banjo and bass at the Faunt School of Music. His original songs, composed for the feature films A Light for Greytowers and The Heart that Sings, have been enjoyed by women and girls worldwide. Levi has been running Kol Neshama with his wife since 2001. His responsibilities include overseeing kitchen and custodial, as well as transportation needs.
Hadas (Gross) Forgy (Program Coordinator) was “bitten by the bug” when she saw (and memorized!) her first Broadway musical at age 3. She practiced her directing skills for years on her younger sisters before attending Kol Neshama’s very first summer program in 2000. Hadas grew up with Kol Neshama, continuing every summer as a camper (including playing Clothilde in both the stage and film versions of A Light for Greytowers), and eventually worked as a madricha, choreographer and production assistant. When Hadas got married and moved away from Los Angeles, she continued to use her love for dance, theater and film to choreograph, write and direct productions for numerous schools and programs in the tri-state area and midwest, including Hannah Sacks Bais Yaakov, Reenas Bais Yaakov in Edison, Oros Bais Yaakov in Lakewood, and Comedance!. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
Batsheva Frankel (Acting Teacher) worked in the film industry for over 8 years and was the Artistic Director of the Third Rail Theatre Company. She then began a career in Jewish Education, teaching in Jewish day schools throughout Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey. In addition to teaching Tanach, Jewish history, English and creative writing, Batsheva was the drama director at Valley Torah High School where she directed The Wizard of Oz and A Little Princess. This is her 7th summer teaching at Kol Neshama. Previously, Batsheva directed A Little Light, The Wise Men of Chelm, and The Grogger for Kol Neshama. Currently, Batsheva is working on LaunchBox, her winning idea in the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles’ The Next Big Jewish Idea contest. She is also a writer (her work can be found on www.aish.com among other places), and a performer with the Jewish Women’s Repertory Company, where she played Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls and Chief Sitting Bull in Annie Get Your Gun.
Pamela Cohen (Acting Teacher) a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, also studied at The Groudlings. She performed weekly with an Improv company for several years in Los Angeles. With an eye for talent, Pamela is currently teaching the next generation of young actors at the esteemed Playhouse. She played Reb Yosef in Robin Garbose’s production of The Hasty Chuppah, the story of the Shpoler Zeide, performed at last year’s Ten Yad event. Pamela’s own Chuppah will, BE”H, be this August!
Karen Sarto (Dance Teacher, Choreographer) was classically trained in ballet with the Royal Academy of London method through the advanced levels. She also completed the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance examinations for jazz, tap, folk, and ballroom dance. She performed and competed in the Los Angeles area and has taught aerobics, ballet, and Israeli dance in Israel, Palm Springs, and fitness classes for the Hyatt Grand Champions in Indian Wells, CA. Karen is a sought-after choreographer and dance teacher for stage and film productions, workshops, and retreats.
She is looking forward to her third summer as choreographer/dance instructor for Kol Neshama. She currently teaches dance and fitness classes including classical ballet, lyrical jazz, tap, and her signature DanceFit! program.
Sara Tanz (Dance Teacher) grew up in New York City and has been dancing for as long as she can remember. She has performed at Town Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall. Her formal training in jazz, tap, ballet and gymnastics created an everlasting love of movement and the desire to have it always in the forefront of her life.
After high school, Sara continued to study ballet at the University of Rochester while receiving a B.A. in English Literature and Theater Studies in 1995. In 2000, Sara received her Masters in teaching English at Columbia University, where she focused on movement and creative writing. This lead Sara into the classroom to teach high school English as well as movement programs at Ramaz, a prestigious New York City high school. In 2004, Sara moved to Los Angeles, married producer Larry Tanz, (whose last name means “dance” in German).
Sara now teaches movement classes for parents and children, girls, and women throughout the greater Los Angeles Area. Sara’s mission is to share the feeling of joy, freedom, and elation that dance has always brought her!
Linda Korn (Musical Director) is delighted to return for her second summer with Kol Neshama. As musical director last year, she loved coaching the girls of Kol Neshama as well as acting and singing in two episodes of the Camp Bnos Yisrael DVD series. Linda is well known as a Grammy and Audie award winning audiobook director and producer. She has directed celebrity actors such as Steve Martin, Brooke Shields, Tori Spelling and Lily Tomlin. She has also lent her own voice as narrator of several audiobooks. As a singer-songwriter, composer, piano teacher and actress, Linda has performed extensively in New York and Los Angeles. Linda starred as Joseph in the all women’s Los Angeles JWRC production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and toured with Robin Garbose’ production of The Hasty Chuppah as the Polish Prince. She studied piano since the age of 9 and has taught piano since she was in high school. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
Reyna Zack (Voice Teacher) was born into a family of jazz, classical, and musical theater, and began her formal study of voice as a teenager. She followed with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Temple University in Philadelphia and a Masters of Fine Arts in vocal performance from California Institute of the Arts. Reyna was selected to be a soprano in the New York Choral Society and was honored to perform several times at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has sung many notable opera roles as well as musical theater and teaches private voice lessons.
Mashi Benzaquen, LCSW is a clinical social worker in private practice in Los Angeles, California. Mashi received her bachelor’s degree from University of California at San Diego in Sociology. She also attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Machon Alte Women’s Seminary is Tsfat, Israel. She has her Master’s Degree at Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University.
Mashi Benzaquen has a wide range of experience with clients from many types of backgrounds, and with all ages, from infants to the elderly. She has worked as a consultant and school-based therapist for children in preschool, elementary and high school. She has also coordinated mentoring programs for teens-at-risk. She is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, couples and families one small step at a time.
She spent 5 years with Aleinu Family Resource Center, the Orthodox counseling center for Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles where she worked with youth and adults in a clinical setting and consulted for several schools. Mashi continues to remain involved in Aleinu’s world-renowned child abuse prevention program, Safety Kid.™ She travels the country training children, parents, as well as school and camp staff on “The ABC and Ds” of keeping children safe.
Mashi ‘s style is warm, empathic and compassionate as she tailors her sessions to meet the needs of the individual. Additionally she enjoys writing and has edited several publications. She is a devoted wife and mother of four children who is passionate about the health and safety of our families, schools and communities.
Leah Gottfried (Line Producer) has always been dramatic. From an early age, she was determined to act on stage and in front of the camera. As a camper at Kol Neshama, Leah appeared in Together As One, part of the Camp Bnos Yisrael series. In The Heart that Sings, she appeared as the snooty counselor, Libby Guggenheim. She also worked behind the scenes as a 2nd A.D. On the set, Leah learned a lot more about the other side of filmmaking. Incorporating this new-found knowledge, she directed a music video for the talented singer/songwriter Shaindel Antelis, as well as various short films. She has gone on to study film at Stern College and cinematography at NYU.
Chanie Weisz (Madricha) is a Special Ed teacher and received her masters degree in education after attending Bnos Sarah for seminary. She is the director of the Ratzon Music Program in Monsey, NY, an Orthodox performing arts program that offers a professional curriculum in dance, voice and dramatic arts. Aside from directing this program, she is also the dance instructor and teaches both ballet and lyrical dance. She has trained in both ballet in gymnastics with former professional dancers who are now Orthodox Jews. She has been instructing dance for the past five years.
Chaya Serraf (Madricha) grew up in a musical and artistic family in Montreal. She started and led a band at school for two years, combining her talents for guitar, piano and singing. Chaya is excited to return to Kol Neshama after being a madricha and guitar elective leader last summer. She enjoys encouraging girls to think for themselves by preparing stimulating and deep shiurim on a variety of topics.
Leah Elzas (Madricha) was born and grew up in London. She was a “drama queen” from before she could even talk, making a scene and being on the stage at every available opportunity! Leah’s love for drama led her to take drama classes privately, receiving a distinction diploma from London’s Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Leah spent this year at Bnos Chava Teaching Seminary in Yerushalayim. She is so excited and very grateful to Kol Neshama for this amazing experience.
Carmelle Danneman (Madricha) is from Atlanta, Georgia, where she recently wrote and directed an original musical. She attended Kol Neshama as a camper in 2009. This past year, Carmelle attended Michlelet Mevaserset Yerushalayim seminary. She loves learning Torah. Though her passion is drama and film, she is also a trained gymnast.
Chava Sigala (Assistant to the Head Counselor and Producer) has been involved in the performing arts since age 11 when she started with Kol Neshama. She appeared in the original stage version of A Light for Greytowers as well as two episodes of the Camp Bnos Yisrael series. Since then, she has been in several plays, including two with the JWRC and two films. She is looking forward to an amazing summer, helping other girls realize their dreams and passion for the performing arts in a Torah setting.
Atara Wolf (Production Assistant) first started making films when she was nine years old and has never stopped. She lives in Chicago, where she has co-directed, filmed and edited two feature length film projects for Bnos Rabbenu High School among other films and videos. She continues to pursue and improve her craft, and is looking forward to working with professionals in a Torah setting.
Special Shabbaton with Rabbi Reuven and Frumy Wolf
Rabbi Reuven Wolf is a world renowned educator and lecturer who has devoted his life to reaching out and rekindling the spirit of Judaism in his fellow Jews. Recognized as an inspiring and thought provoking lecturer, he has cultivated a unique talent to communicate deep and complex mystical ideas in a manner that is both compelling and applicable to the greater public, and his lessons are charged with an enthusiasm and vigor that impacts listeners both intellectually and emotionally. Rabbi Wolf was raised in the Ropshetz Chassidic dynasty, educated in the Belz and Bluzhev Yeshivos, and later, in the famous Lithuanian schools of Slabodkea and Mir. He is profoundly influenced by Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and particularly Chabad Chassidic philosophy.
Since 1995, Rabbi Wolf has been teaching students of all ages, from elementary school children to adults, and has lectured across North America. Maayon Yisroel was founded in 2006 by Rabbi Wolf and Haki Abhesera, as a center to fulfill the vision of spreading the profound mystical teachings of Chassidic Judaism.