Our Staff

Dr. Louis R. Marion

Hebrew School Principal
Dr. Louis Marion began the Hebrew school at Kesher Israel 11 years ago when his two older daughters needed a place to learn Hebrew, Jewish history, and Torah. He is a father of four who lives and works in the city as a prosthodontist, a dentist who specializes in rehabilitating smiles. Dr. Marion grew up in Abington where he became a Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Beth Shalom. He furthered his Hebrew education afterwards receiving a teaching certificate from Gratz College. He was a madrich on Gratz College’s Ulpan Tour of Israel for two years before studying Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania where he also received a Masters in Physical Anthropology and a doctorate in dentistry. He has another masters in oral biology and a specialty certificate in prosthodontics from the University of North Carolina. Dr. Marion helps the students become B’nai Mitzvah by teaching Torah and Haftorah trope. He has a special love for Kesher because his children grew up there going to the Schwartz Preschool. His oldest son was one of Kesher’s first upsherin (ritual haircutting ceremony) ten years ago.

Lauren Chalmers Marion

Youth Activity Coordinator

Lauren Chalmers Marion has held many positions in the Kesher Israel community. She began as a preschool teacher and eventually became one of the preschool’s directors before taking on the role of youth activity coordinator. In this role, she has planned the activities with other synagogues in center city with activities that included movie nights, socials, bowling parties as well as field trips to the National Museum of American Jewish History, Ellis Island and the Lower East Side. In 2012 she organized a gaga league and tournament which had the Kesher team bring home the title trophy. Her main focus has been organizing activities for the post-Bar and Bat mitzvah students. Lauren is a mother of four and received her bachelors in communications from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School. She also has a masters in journalism from Temple University.

Dawn Klemash

Director & Lead Teacher – Kangaroo Classroom
Dawn comes to Schwartz Preschool with over fourteen years experience in the field of early childhood education. She earned her B.S. degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education at West Chester University in 2004. She also holds an Associate’s Degree in Child Development. A resident of Philadelphia for the past 12 years, she has worked across several learning environments from Nursery School, Pre-School to Reggio Emilia settings and has taught diverse group of students. She encourages students to learn by incorporating creative learning ideas and various hands-on activities to stimulate students’ social, emotional, physical, and academic growth. Dawn enjoys working with fellow teachers to develop new activities and refines teaching techniques to provide the best environment for the healthy development of children.

Jodi Kefer

Tot Shabbat Leader
Jodi Kefer is a pediatrician at South Philadelphia Pediatrics. She has been a member of Congreation Kesher Israel since 2003. She lives with her husband and two children in Queen Village.

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