Family Connectors

The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life's wonderful Jewish resource for families with young children in Greater MetroWest: FAMILY CONNECTORS!

Available to families across Greater MetroWest NJ, Family Connectors are parents who can chat with you about how to navigate Judaism in these communities (including information about camps, synagogues, schools and other services), find Jewish family friends and create meaningful Jewish home rituals.

You don't have to be new to your community to contact one of these parents! It's never too late to ask about how to create a Shabbat experience that is just right for your family or find a new and quick way to celebrate an upcoming holiday!

Your Greater MetroWest Family Connector team:

Top L to R: Leemor Ellman, Director, Empowerment of Families with Young Children, Loren Levy (West Orange, South Orange), Debbie Marcus (Basking Ridge), Lisa Melville (Scotch Plains), Ester Budek (Morris County Area)

Bottom L to R: Whitney Blom, JConnection Montclair, Amy Dorsch Director, Empowerment of Families with School Age Children, and Jamie Silver (South Orange/Maplewood)


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Bluma Acocella
White Meadow Lake/Rockaway  

Whitney Blom
Montclair and the surrounding area

Loren Levy
Millburn/Short Hills, West Orange and Livingston

Bluma Acocella was the Director of early childhood education at White Meadow Temple in Rockaway and the founding Director of the Early Childhood Center at Temple Emanu-El in Livingston.

Most recently Bluma taught 1st grade and kindergarten at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy. Bluma enjoys bringing her love of nature, Judaism and spirituality to children and educators through hands on experiences. Bluma has been named the 2014 Greater MetroWest New Jersey recipient of the Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.

Whitney Blom is excited to be the Family Concierge for J Connection Montclair.  

Whitney has substantial professional experience in the Jewish community including work at Jewish Theological Seminary as the director of student life and the community service resource department, and at Jewish Coalition for Service as director of programs where she lead marketing initiatives to enhance partnerships within the Jewish service community.  Whitney has taken the last few years off to raise her two young boys (ages 3 and 6) and is excited to shift gears to focus on empowering families in Montclair and beyond to chart their Jewish journeys.

Loren Levy is currently a stay at home mom to her 3.5 year old daughter, Liana and 15 month old son, Simon. Before being a full-time parent, Loren worked as an administrations and human resources professional in the creative industry as well as 3 fortune 50 blue chip companies. Loren has lived the majority of her life in South Florida and New York City, but now resides in West Orange, NJ.

Loren is dedicated to finding creative ways to bring Judaism into her home in an accessible way for her family and looks forward to doing the same with you!

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Debbie Marcus
Basking Ridge and the surrounding area

Lisa Melville
Scotch Plains and the surrounding area

Jamie Silver
Maplewood/South Orange

Debbie Marcus and her husband, Alex, moved to Basking Ridge in 2005, part of Alex’s “rebellion” to move all of twenty minutes west of his childhood home. Debbie grew up in Southern California but has lived on the East Coast since college. They have three children, aged 14, 12 and 8, who all wish they could be at camp year round.

Currently a stay-at-home mom, the only field she works on is a soccer field -- playing in an adult women’s team twice a week.  She is involved with the PTOs of multiple schools and on various committees at Synagogue. Debbie is the daughter of a rabbi and a Federation (JFS) social worker, so she jokes that she was genetically required to be involved in Jewish life.

Lisa Melville is an educator and social worker, empowering individuals of all ages. Lisa has belonged to both conservative and orthodox communities, and her Jewish journey continues to evolve into an increasingly individual relationship with G-d and her Jewish community. She lives in Scotch Plains with her husband Philip and their children and is an active member of their local JCC and synagogue.

Lisa is excited to help other families and individuals develop a sense of belonging within the Jewish religion and/or community as well as help them along their own personal Jewish journeys with understanding, support and community resources.

Jamie Silver is currently a stay at home mom to her 22 month-old daughter Dylan.  Prior to being a full-time parent, she worked as an early childhood educator at several synagogues in New York City.  While living in the city, she spent three years as a 4th grade religious school teacher.  Jamie and her family moved back to her childhood hometown of South Orange, in September 2014 and is very happy to be back in the suburbs.  She has been actively involved in the Jewish community since high school, when she served on her temple youth group board, and attended many NFTY events.  Jamie loves to meet new people, and jokes that being a ‘Jewish Family Connector’ is in her blood.


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