Meet Our Staff
Rabbi Josh Knobel – Director of Center for Youth Engagement
Born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Rabbi Josh Knobel received a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a commission as a second lieutenant from the United States Military Academy in 2001. He served for seven years as a telecommunications officer on active duty, including deployments to Kuwait and Afghanistan, where he learned firsthand the profound impact that Judaism can have upon our identities and the ways in which we meet the opportunities and challenges that await us in all walks of life.
After completing his Active Duty service in 2008, Joshua began his studies at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles. It was at HUC-JIR that he met and married his beloved wife, Lisa, who currently serves as a rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple.
After becoming a rabbi in 2014, he joined the Stephen Wise Temple community and Wise School as a rabbi and Dean of Student and Family Life. In 2019, Rabbi Knobel took on the role as the Director of the Center for Youth Engagement.
Tatiana Soofer – Director of Camp Wise and Youth
Tatiana is a Los Angeles native who grew up at Stephen Wise Elementary School, and is currently studying Child and Adolescent Development at California State University Northridge. Tatiana is the Director of Camp Wise, runs the Camp Wise Youth Events, oversees the after school DK/Kindergarten Extended Program and Homework Club, supervises Madrichim in Religious School, and is the Youth Advisor and 7th grade Rosh Hodesh counselor for Wise Temple Youth. Tatiana has been working in the CYE since 2009 and is eager to continue getting to know all our campers, students and families at Wise.
Stephanie Schwartz, MAJE – Director of Wise Religious School and Temple Youth
Stephanie Schwartz is our newest addition to our Center for Youth Engagement team as the Director of Religious School and Temple Youth. Stephanie has worked in the field of supplementary Jewish education for 18 years, serving as a Religious Educator and as a Religious School Director in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She has developed a religious school from the ground up and has created innovative, immersive educational experiences that make meaning for students and families in every community she has encountered. Her experience, her professionalism, and her creativity will help us as we continue to enrich the Jewish experiences we provide to our children, teens, and families.
Melanie Fisher – Center for Youth Engagement Administrator
Melanie joined the Temple family in 2005 and has touched the lives of Wise members through her roles as a clergy assistant, Program and Communications coordinator, and even shofar blower. Melanie now calls the CYE home while supporting Religious School, Summer Camp, WTY, and Camp Wise Youth. Melanie is married to Lyle and together they have 2 children: Joshua, in 7th grade at Milken , and Rianna, in 5th grade at Wise School, both of whom can be seen throughout the year singing with Cantors Lam and Lutz. In her free time, Melanie likes to listen to music, cook, go to concerts, attend musicals, and explore our National Parks.
Dana Fridman – Hebrew Coordinator
Dana was born and raised in Jerusalem. She graduated with honors from David Yellin Teachers College in Jerusalem where she received her B.A. in education and she earned her Master Degree in Education at the American Jewish University.
She previously taught English to third through sixth graders in Israeli public schools. Dana learned French and Spanish, served in the Israeli army and received an award of excellence from the IDF for her service. Dana pioneered a new pilot program with Rabbi Melissa Buyer, utilizing an experimental Distance Learning teaching model and was presented a BJE Lainer Award in 2011. She currently teaches Hebrew at Stephen S. wise elementary school and is the Hebrew coordinator and the I-LEARN teacher at the Religious school. Dana also works for Los Angeles Hebrew High school.
Dana believes that each student is an individual and has a unique gift to offer the world. She believes in teaching her students according to their path and it is important for her that her students are happy and learn to think outside of the box, become positive, empathetic, appreciative, creative and self-reflecting. It is also important for Dana to pass on her love and devotion to Judaism, Israel, and Hebrew to her students.
Dana loves music and is a proud mother of Ariel and Daniel
Our offices are below the arbors across from Room 43.
In case of emergency during youth events, please callor 818.934.0824.