Meet Our Faculty & Staff


Rabbi Don Pacht

Head of School

Rabbi Don Pacht is now in his 17th year of leadership of the Vancouver Hebrew Academy. He has worked to build a school of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies. Rabbi Pacht’s guiding philosophy in education is to create a school/home partnership where everyone works together to create happy, emotionally healthy children. Working with his dedicated staff, he is committed to providing each and every child with the guidance and support they need to be successful learners.

Rabbi Pacht and his wife Meira have four children. While the older three have since graduated from VHA, Shimie (Grade 4), still carpools with his father to school each morning.

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Rabbi Tzvi Goldman

Principal of Judaic Studies, Grade 6/7 Boys

Rabbi Tzvi Goldman will be starting his 17th year at the Vancouver Hebrew Academy. He came to Vancouver from Israel where he had been living together with his wife Etti for the previous four years. During those years he completed his Smicha (Rabbinic Ordination), and received his Teacher Certification.

Rabbi Goldman has five children, and his youngest two, Shira and Teheela will be students at our school this year. His older three children Bayla, Nechama and Bentzy, are proud VHA alumni. Rabbi Goldman very much enjoys playing sports and being out in nature. This year he is excited to take on the role of Judaic Principal, as well as teaching the Grade 6/7 Boys. He is looking forward to a fantastic year.

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Mrs. Shannon Brodie

Principal of General Studies

Mrs. Brodie is a mother of two amazing children who loves to travel. She had the opportunity to live and teach in Tokyo, London, Halifax, The Greater Toronto Area, and now Vancouver. Mrs. Brodie enjoys cooking, reading, theatre, and hiking. She is very much looking forward to exploring the trails of her new city and province. Mrs. Brodie is absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity to become a member of the VHA community and she is looking forward to meeting, working, and learning with this amazing team!

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General Studies

Mrs. Dikla Mizrachi


Israeli born, Dikla Mizrachi served in the IDF as a teacher, and continued to peruse her passion in education at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba. After immigrating to Canada 15 years ago, she has worked as a Hebrew and pre-school teacher at VHA, at the JCC’s Bagel club, and a social program for adults with special needs that focuses on Jewish heritage and education.

Dikla enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and four kids. Dikla is looking forward to coming back and joining the pre-school team.

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Mrs. Vida Shahghabi


With the experience of working with children and families as an Early Childhood Educator for over 18 years, Vida is very excited to be a part of the VHA team. She has taught ECE courses and facilitated practicum students as an ECE college instructor for over 10 years. She has a strong philosophy regarding the importance of a child’s healthy development in their early years and its impact on their life. At the present, Vida is also teaching ECE courses part-time in Vancouver Community College.

Vida has two grown up children, and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, listening to music, and writing poetry in Farsi.

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Mrs. Carmela Ben Saadon


Morah Carmel was born and raised in Panama city. Carmela has a degree and working experience in Business Administration. She moved to Vancouver from Israel with her husband and two kids in 2016. She really enjoys working with children and looks forward to getting to know each of the children in a loving, caring, fun and learning environment.

Carmela loves spending time with family and friends, baking, cooking and taking care of her two children.

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Mrs. Liron Silberg

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Mrs. Silberg started working at VHA as student services aide in 2010 and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. Mrs. Silberg returned to VHA to teach Hebrew, as well as grade 3. She feels very fortunate to work in a warm and loving environment. She especially likes the small size of the school because it allows her to know all of the children.

Mrs. Silberg was born in Victoria and grew up in Vancouver. She also spent some time living in Israel as a child and an adult. Mrs. Silberg loves spending time with her family, going to sporting events, and being outdoors.

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Ms. Darlene Wilson

Grade 2 and 3

Ms. Wilson is delighted to be a part of the VHA family for her sixth year as the Grade 2 and 3 teacher. After obtaining her Bachelor of Education degree from Brandon University in Manitoba, Ms. Wilson began her teaching career and has done so with great enjoyment for the past twenty years. She taught for 9 years in the public school system in Manitoba, then upon moving to B.C. in 2009, she taught at Richmond Jewish Day School for 3 years before joining VHA. Throughout her teaching career she has been on numerous committees at the school, district and provincial level. Ms. Wilson had always wanted to teach ever since she was a young child. Once her own children started school, she took the opportunity to go to university and pursue her desire to become a teacher.

Ms. Wilson resides in Richmond and enjoys reading, walking, biking, crocheting, spending time with family and friends, and almost anything that involves being outdoors.

It is Darlene’s 8th year at VHA and her 22nd year of teaching.

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Mrs. Lisa Altow

Grade 4/5 and PE

Mrs. Altow is thrilled to be the Grade 4/5 general studies and Physical Education teacher. She loves having classes form kindergarten up to grade 7. This is Mrs. Altow’s 9th year at V.H.A. She also taught at York House and West Point Grey Academy, as well as public school in Kirkland, Washington.

Growing up in Bellevue, Washington, she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in Kindergarten. She received a BA in Psychology and her teaching certificate at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She now resides in Richmond with her husband and four children. She enjoys reading, playing with her children, spending time with friends, watching movies, and baking.

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Mrs. Andrea Rubensohn

Grade 6/7 Girls

Mrs. Rubensohn (formally Miss Scharfstein/Miss S) has been part of the VHA team since 2014 when she began her teaching career as a TOC. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Mrs. Rubensohn moved to Vancouver after completing her Bachelor of Education degree specializing in elementary and middle school years. With the bulk of her teaching experience taking place at VHA, she has taught preschool, kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 4. She worked in student services with all grades, and this year is teaching general studies to the wonderful grade 6/7 girls.

She has just obtained her Masters of Special Education program specializing in supporting inclusive classrooms. Mrs. Rubensohn loves the VHA community and is looking forward to another great year at the school!

Mrs. Rubensohn is currently on maternity leave.

Mr. Daniel Wong

Grade 6/7 Girls and Grade 7/8 Boys

Daniel Wong has recently joined VHA and is looking forward to supporting students in making personal connections with education and discovering opportunities to demonstrate their ability.

He has had the opportunity to experience many different grade levels; (G3&4) Douglas Road Elementary and (G10-12) Lowell High School, and various offshore schools in China (G10-12) and South Korea (G1-6), which helped inform his philosophy of education: learning is not a one-size-fits-all model, and he strives to give students a sense of agency, and show them that they have a real effect on their education and, conversely, their education has a real effect on them.

When he is not teaching, he likes to keep up with advancements in computer technology; mostly by reading, watching videos, or trying online tutorials. He finds it especially important to be sensitive of information management and safety concepts in order to become acute “netizens,” who are aware of digital rights, digital privacy and who will also understand modern digital businesses, products and practices.

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Morah Kira Smordin

Grade 6 Boys and Student Services

Kira is very excited to be working at VHA. She has worked as a teacher’s assistant at VHA over the years. She also has experience teaching in Ontario and Israel.
Kira was born in New York and grew up in Vancouver. After attending VHA as a child, she eventually went on to study Education at Queen’s University. Kira also served in the Education Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. She loves that teaching allows her to show each child their individual potential and appreciates VHA’s small class sizes that allow students to thrive.

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Judaic Studies

Mrs. Adela Heffes


Mrs. Heffes is thrilled to be teaching the Kindergarten class at VHA this year. Mrs. Heffes taught for over 9 years in Mexico City, at an elementary school as well at a highschool. She moved with her family from Mexico to Canada ten years ago. Mrs. Heffes graduated with a Masters of Education from the Hebrew University of Mexico and she also has a specialty in New Techniques and Methodology to teach the Tanach in elementary and high school from the University of Jerusalem. She worked for three years in our school as a Teacher’s Aid and was the Kindergarten teacher for the last two year. She loves working with children as a group as well as one-on-one.

In her free time, she loves to read, cook and exercise. She is looking forward to an amazing year.

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Mrs. Rivka Lichtman

Grade 1

Mrs. Lichtman has been a tremendous asset to the VHA staff since moving to Vancouver in 2012. She brings over 14 years of experience to the classroom. Mrs.Lichtman holds degrees in education, special education and literacy from Touro College and Adelphi University. She has experience with a wide range of levels including Preschool through Grade 8, in both Regular Education and Special Education. She has taught in both public and private schools. Her passion for teaching is clearly evident. She loves working with students in their foundational years as they develop into young readers and learners. Mrs. Lichtman has a tangible love for every student and helps them strive to reach their personal potential. Social emotional learning is a priority in her classroom. She takes advantage of the many teachable moments to guide the students to develop their character and middot.

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Rabbi Daniel Borsuk

Grade 3 and 6/7/8 Boys

Rabbi Borsuk moved to Vancouver last year and was a Rebbe at the Pacific Torah Institute. He grew up in Milwaukee and spent ten years in New York attending the Rabbinical Seminary of America, Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim. The importance of transmitting a true Torah education to the next generation was one of the many lessons impressed upon him there. He received his Semicha (Rabbinic Ordination) there, along with completing several educational instructional courses.

From the day that his children (Mordechai, grade 1 and Sarah, preschool) began attending VHA he could tell it is a truly incredible school and he is proud to join the staff

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Rabbi Avi Lichtman

Grade 2 and 4/5

Rabbi Lichtman joined Vancouver Hebrew Academy six years ago. He has become known for his ability to help students become confident and independent learners, while meeting each student at his/her own level. Rabbi Lichtman’s lessons are hands-on and skills-based. In his classroom, students engage in experiential learning and practice new skills with fun games and activities. Rabbi Lichtman is well respected for his ability to connect with students, his creativity, and his humour.

Rabbi Lichtman studied at the Rabbinical Seminary of America for ten years where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Talmudic Law, as well as Smicha (Rabbinic Ordination). Rabbi Lichtman participated in various teacher training programs including Classroom Management and Curriculum Development, Lehavin U’lehaskil Chumash Program, and Lashon HaTorah Hebrew language program. Rabbi Lichtman is passionate about learning and teaching Torah. His passion is apparent in his lessons and his daily interactions with his students.

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Mrs. Chanie Yeshayahu

Grade 6/7 Girls

Mrs. Yeshayahu has been teaching at VHA for over 8 years and is an Alumna of VHA. She currently teaches the 6/7 Girls Judaic studies and, this year, she will be teaching part of the 6/7 Boys curriculum as well.

She has an enormous passion for education. Passing by her classroom, you will notice that every single one of her students are engaged and fully attentive. Mrs. Yeshayahu loves going for hikes, exploring Vancouver and taking care of her 5 children.

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Mrs. Mahla Finkelman

Hebrew Language
Mrs. Finkleman (previously Morah Mahla) has been part of the VHA team since 2014, and worked in a variety of capacities in both general and Judaics studies. Most recently from a year in Israel with her husband and three children, she is excited to work both in student services and as the Ivrit teacher. With a year of religious and Hebrew study at Midreshet Harova in the Old City of Jerusalem, followed by a BFA at Emily Carr, and BEd from UBC, Mrs. Finkleman was excited this past year to take her family on a year long adventure in Israel, and help her children become bilingual as well! Finishing the last two levels of Ulpan L’Inyan this past year helped Mrs. Finkleman take her conversational Hebrew to the next level. With a love of teaching, learning, students and Hebrew, Mrs. Finkleman is thrilled to be sharing her passion and enthusiasm of Ivrit with all students in grades 2-8. When not at school, Mrs. Finkleman loves being active outdoors and baking for her family and friends.
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Support Staff

Mrs. Jolene Marston

Administrative Secretary

Mrs. Jolene is thrilled to be part of the VHA family again! She has a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Psychology from Vancouver Island University and a certificate from BCIT’s intensive six-month Technical Web Designer program.

Mrs. Jolene lives with her husband, Kayle, and their three pets: their well-fed cats, Gomi and Isis, and their Shiba Inu dog, Kyoko. In her free time she loves reading, playing board games, camping and hiking with Kayle and Kyoko.

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Mrs. Gayle Taylor

Financial Secretary

Mrs. Taylor absolutely loves her job doing the finances at VHA. The kids, admin, staff, parents, and Board make her position in the office wonderful.

Mrs. Gayle and her husband, Jack, spent 18 years with their three children in Kenya. They loved that experience as their children grew up. The Taylors have been settled in Vancouver since the summer of 1999 and Mrs. Gayle has been working at VHA ever since. Her interests include scrapbooking, singing, hospitality, friends and family, and especially her nine grandchildren.

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Mrs. Teagan Horowitz

Project Coordinator

Mrs. Teagan grew up in Montreal and moved to Vancouver five years ago to pursue her degree in Graphic Design at Emily Carr University. Prior to that, she obtained her certificate for professional photography at Dawson College in Montreal. Mrs. Teagan is so excited to be a part of the VHA team as the Project Coordinator and to be able to get to know each student as well as the Jewish Community a lot more!

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Ms. Preet Brar

Student Services

Ms. Brar grew up in Penticton, BC and later moved to the lower mainland to pursue post secandary education. She graduated with her Bsc and a minor in education at Simon Fraser University. She later went on to pursue ABA training, focusing on children on the Austism Spectrum as a Behavioral Interventionist.

Ms. Brar loves doing arts and crafts, playing all kinds of sports, and working with the children at VHA.

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Mrs. Joyce Lee

Student Services

Mrs. Lee has a passion for supporting children with special needs. After obtaining her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in special education, she worked with children as a special education teacher in Korea. Since moving to Canada with her family in 2008, she completed her Montessori and ECE training in Vancouver. Mrs. Lee has been working with children and families at school and home environment as a Behaviour Interventionist. She loves scrapbooking, gardening, and spending time with her children and kitten.

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