Comings and Goings at Behrman House

Written by Behrman House Staff, 16 of January, 2012

2012 brings us several staff changes here at Behrman House.

Aviva Werner

We’re thrilled to announce that Aviva Werner has joined our editorial staff as Editor. For the past 18 months Aviva has been the part-time Web Editor of, our award-winning digital resource library for middle school students and teachers, with extensive collections of articles, games, PDFs, and other materials about Israel, Jewish Holidays, and values.  Aviva has already made a major contribution to the material you can access at she managed development of a comprehensive PowerPoint library of Jewish values, integrated more than 400 MediaMidrash themed videos and lesson plans into babaganewz when Behrman House acquired MediaMidsrash last year, and also produces the weekly Technology Tuesdays e-newsletter.

Aviva is no stranger to book development. She wrote our 5th-grade Israel textbook Experience Modern Israel, which explores the vibrant world of everyday Israeli life.  Executive Editor Rabbi Mark Levine welcomed Aviva into her new role, saying, “I’m thrilled that Jewish educators will continue to benefit from Aviva’s creativity and her well-spring of Jewish knowledge. Her presence on our editorial staff will allow us to continue providing high quality, user-friendly, and educationally sound content for the complementary school system.”

Aviva lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband and four children, and is a living embodiment of our commitment to technology. She telecommutes to meetings at our offices in Springfield, NJ, and you can often see her, larger than life, on the flat screen in our conference room.  She graduated from Brown University with a degree in linguistics, and studied for a year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Aviva can be contacted via email using

Rebecca Friedman

We are also delighted that Rebecca Friedman (Becca),  who has been working part time since last year helping with graphics, website, and marketing projects, has joined our team full time in a double-duty role as Customer Support Representative and Marketing Assistant.

Rebecca already plays a key role in keeping the content on our website up-do-date, and has created a variety of postcards, ads, flyers, brochures, and event signs that help us explain and promote our materials. The results of her photo research are in several of our newest books, and she helped develop the content links and graphics that allow students to ‘fly’ to Israel in Modern Israel Online, the digital companion to Experience Modern Israel that you can find here. In her new role, in addition to answering curriculum and technical support questions, and helping educators with book selection, Rebecca will be coordinating our email and social media communications, and our eNewsletter.

A graduate of Moravian College with a degree in Graphic Design, Rebecca landed her job at Behrman House in part with a portfolio that included gift wrap she designed featuring a stylized Hanukkah menorah she created entirely from punctuation marks. “Rebecca’s creativity is already improving our marketing materials, said Vicki Weber, Director of Sales and Marketing.  “Her technical knowledge will be a big help to educators, especially as we move forward with our Online Learning Center. She is already working on a series of helpful how-to videos that will be a key resource for teachers.”

Reach her by emailing

Jessica Gurtman

Our hellos are balanced by a goodbye. Last week we bid a fond farewell to Jessica Gurtman, who was with Behrman House over eight years in a variety of roles, including Customer Support Representative, Social Media Manager, and Production Lead. She will be joining secular book publisher John Wiley & Sons.

“It’s always hard to say goodbye to one of our staff, and especially to someone with Jess’s enthusiasm, energy, and heartfelt commitment to serving our customers,” said David Behrman. “This represents a great opportunity for her and we wish her the very best.”

From a newbie in customer support in her first job after college, Jessica became one of the faces and voices of Behrman House, trusted by educators to help them figure out just the right book for a particular class or student, and sought out at conferences for her fun-loving approach and enthusiasm for Jewish education. Her finger on the pulse of social media outlets helped ensure Behrman House a growing participation in these new areas as they have developed. In her production role, Jessica made sure over 700 Behrman House titles remained in print and available in our warehouse in time for school orders.

“I’m sad to go,” said Jessica. “But I feel like this isn’t the end of my relationship with Behrman House. Over the years, my colleagues have become my family. I have grown both personally and professionally from everyone here. I’ve watched families grow, been to bar mitzvahs and weddings of my coworkers and even have some of the Behrman family’s furniture in my apartment. They have watched me mature and encouraged me through quitting smoking and losing weight. Each one of my colleagues has helped shape who I am.”

Jessica is eager to keep in touch via