Cheder Religious School Staff

Rabbi Chavah Carp, Director of Family Education

Chavah Carp Headshot Bio.jpeg

Rabbi Carp is an ordained Jewish Renewal Rabbi, and in addition holds a Jewish/Hebrew Teacher  Certification from Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion. She founded and led B'nai Shalom Chavurah in Taos before moving to Albuquerque to be the Rabbi and lead Jewish educator for Solomon Schechter Day School. Rabbi Carp has been teaching and providing learning, conversions, bar & bat mitzvah study and ceremonies, and other life cycle events for hundreds of children and families through MAKOR, a Beit Midrash (House of Study). Rabbi Carp lived in Israel for two years and continues to be passionate about living a Jewish life. Chavah discovered her art medium with fiber. Her modern art quilts utilize the natural beauty of the equilateral triangle, which creates wonderful ‘Magen David’  designs. She has ventured into an exploration of Women of the Bible through fiber arts.

“Who is wise? One who learns from every man… Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations… Who is rich? One who is satisfied with his lot… Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows.” – Ben Zoma, Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1

Chuck Buxbaum

Chuck Buxbaum grew up in Brooklyn and attended Bialik School (a Solomon Schechter Program) through grade 8; and then attended the high school Prozdor program at Jewish Theological Seminary.  While in high school, Chuck taught Hebrew at Temple Beth El in Brooklyn.  He also grew in Habonim-Dror, a socialist Zionist youth movement, where he learned the connections between Judaism and social justice, and worked as a counselor at their summer camps and eventually became the Mazkir (head) of Habonim-Dror North America.  Chuck spent two years in Israel, one living and working on Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and another studying at Hebrew University.  Chuck began as a Cheder teacher in 2002 and, with a six year break in the middle, has been teaching Nahalat Shalom kids for 11 years.

Chuck has a PhD in biology and teaches 7th grade life science and 11th and 12th grade Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science electives.

Chuck likes short walks on the beach and lots of time in the water, Marvel movies, and recently adopted 8 turtles who now roam his backyard.

Noach Bloom

"I'm Noach, and I love Jew stuff.  I want to help other people understand it better and love it too.  We come from a tradition that values individual differences while seeking to maintain community, that operates in the real world and connects the past to the present and future.  It's so much fun to help students become more Jewishly knowledgeable and engage with the tradition in their own unique ways."

Erwin Mellis

Pre-Kindergarten Cheder (ages 3 to about 6) meets once a month and we learn songs, we learn about the Jewish holidays and our calendar, and learn about some of the foods we celebrate those holidays with.  We play games, and we make art appropriate for our holidays.
I have been teaching this Cheder class for five years and my goals for this Cheder class is for families to meet, kids to learn about our calendar throughout the year, and our kids to get enjoyment from celebrating their Jewish heritage.  I am a convert to Judaism, I married my wife, Hydie over a decade ago, and we enjoy two delightful children, a son and a daughter. Both help me on occasion in class – and have been to this class since they were little.  I am a licensed consulting geologist in Albuquerque.

Dena Palley

Dena Palley is an artist, educator and administrator who has been working in the Jewish and non-profit world for 30 years. Please visit to see her traditional Jewish papercutting artwork. She loves teaching and learning from her students about Jewish art, culture, Hebrew, and sign language. In addition to her work as administrator of Nahalat Shalom, teaching in the Cheder, and her own artwork, she spends time with her triplet grandchildren.