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The Team

Justin Sakofs

Founder, CEO, Chief Play Expert

Justin created MagneticShul to meet the growing need to engage children during services. It is his over sixteen years in leading Jewish education, both formal and informal that prompted him to address how children participate in synagogue life. Justin strives for a child-centered approach to education and believes that children must experience the world in ways which are developmentally appropriate and consistently recognizing the need for children to find experiences meaningful and personal. Growing up in a shul centered family, where everyone finds their own way to express their commitment to community, Justin felt it important to give children a tangible way to experience t’fila when for adults it about reading and finding a deep relationship with our heritage and Deity.

In working on this project, Justin discovered the immense opportunities that are extensions of the idea to “engage children in shul life.” Justin is ready for the risk and success of developing something new and has a supportive team ready to make his dream and vision a reality.

Rachel Sakofs

Language Development Expert

Professionally, Rachel is a speech language pathologist who takes her mission seriously to help give children the tools necessary to express themselves and interact successfully with their social environment. Rachel has worked in various schools and privately, in both the Jewish Day School Network and public sector, in addition to working in synagogue schools. She also has extensive experience in the use multi-sensory methods for children with developmental disabilities. Rachel is excited to provide her expertise in guiding the development and hands-on-use of MagneticShul for Jewish children with a variety of learning styles.

Amit Sakofs

Chief Product Tester (to be)

Amit has yet to grow into this role, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his delight for the various images being created. Amit keeps Justin young, thinking big, and focused on how a child experiences the world. It is amazing to see Amit explore the world and share his genuine interest for learning through exploration. Justin recently wrote an article chronically Amit’s experience at local synagogue on Shabbat morning which was published on Kveller.com. The article can be found here.

Jacob Aspler

Graphic Stylist

Jacob is MagneticShul’s graphic layout expert. Jacob is a freelance graphic artist and culinary student in Montreal. Jacob always has an eye towards detail ensuring that the product is visually simple and the experience unique. Jacob does this by backwards engineering the user’s experience from a style perspective with meshes well with Justin’s educational framework. Jacob enjoys a good challenge, regularly pushing himself to new creative heights and exploring new systems. MagneticShul is one project that he has been able to enjoy and discover new ways to design the package and raise the bar for children’s toys.

Jason Peltz

Chief Illustrator

Jason is MagneticShul’s chief illustrator and principal of Peltz Productions. Jason brings his years of expertise as an illustrator and animator part of the Disney, Marvel Comics and Jim Henson Production teams. Jason understands what it takes to design engaging material for children. After illustrating characters for over seven Disney films, and Disney closing their Orlando animation studio, Jason continues to expand his artistic skill and freelance for various clients. In addition to MagneticShul, Jason has illustrated coloring books, storybooks and other reading material for children, including this very own work-Hanukah Heshie. Jason is excited to see MagneticShul come to life and be another resource for children.

Jeffery Levine

Digital Strategist

Jeffrey Levine has worked broadly in the field of education as a Hebrew School teacher, tennis instructor, bike tour leader and, most recently, as the communications and events manager for an independent private school. In addition to his work at arts and education-based non-profits, Jeffrey has had many opportunities to express himself as a freelance writer, graphic designer and symphonic musician. Originally from Buffalo, Jeffrey has been in Chicago for the past seven years where he enjoys biking through different neighborhoods, playing hockey and serving on the associate board of 826CHI, an after school writing program. He is also a member of Mishkan Chicago, a Jewish community centered around social justice and inspired, down-to-earth Judaism.

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