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Classrooms Without Borders


Dr. Zipora (Tsipy) Gur

Executive Director

Dr. Zipora (Tsipy) Gur, is Executive Director and Founder of Classrooms Without Borders (CWB) a non-profit educational organization in association with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. CWB connects teachers and learners through experiential, extended term professional growth programs that result in positive changes in the way teachers instruct students.

Gur has worked in the field of Jewish education for more than 35 years, creating cutting edge programs in professional development and teacher training, supervising and mentoring teachers, teaching high school students, and developing new programs to stimulate students in the classroom. Dr. Gur developed several two-year professional development courses for teachers who lack knowledge in pedagogy and/or Judaic studies. She created a number of international study seminars to Spain, Poland, and Israel, utilizing countries as the textbook for Jewish learning. She developed partnerships with local universities to enable Jewish educators to pursue advanced degrees to enhance their professional development.

Gur was a Leadership Pittsburgh Participant and received Leadership Certification from the Council of International Jewish Federations: Philosophy of Education Center at Harvard University.  She holds Teaching Certificates in Auditory-Visual Language Teaching “Habet Ushema”, “Tal Sela”, “Madregot”as well as a teaching certificate from Israeli Department of Education and Culture Ministry of Education: Jerusalem, Israel.

Gur believes in community and civic leadership and is an active member of Hadassah, Zionist Organization of America, B’nai Zion, Friends of the Technion, Friends of Rambam Hospital and Congregation Beth Shalom

Among the honors and awards received by Gur are these: 2002 Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award; United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh; 2001 Israel Bonds Honoree and in 1993 the “Shazar Award for Excellence in Jewish Education” on behalf of the Jewish Education Institute presented by the President of Israel, Chaim Herzog.

Gur holds a Bachelor of Education Degree from Haifa University, Israel with a major in Hebrew Language and Literature and Sociology;  Master of Education Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Secondary Education and was awarded a Doctoral Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Division of Teacher Development, Curriculum and Supervision. She achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces during her military service in 1969-1971. She is married to Dr. David Gur. They have two adult children, Saar and Ilan.

Avi Ben-Hur

Director of Education, Scholar in Residence

A Brooklyn native, Avi Ben-Hur moved to Israel in 1983. From 2003-2008 Avi was Director of the Archaeological Seminars School for Israeli Tour Guides. In 2008 Avi participated in re-writing the curriculum of the National Guiding courses for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. As a "Scholar in Residence, Avi has lectured, taught and facilitated workshops in the US, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin and Greece. From 1996-2000, Avi taught in Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies. As a guide, Avi has specialized working with organizations focusing on political issues (such as AIPAC & CIJA), inter-faith programs and Holocaust studies. At Present, Avi is an examiner for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism Licensing Boards and is the ongoing scholar in residence of Classrooms Without Borders.

Barb Lewine

Program Director, CWB Wheeling

Barb Lewine is a passionate advocate for Holocaust education. Having her Master's Degree in Social Work, Barb connects Holocaust resources to teachers in Wheeling, WV and the surrounding area. She has engaged students by bringing Holocaust survivors, partisans and liberators to speak at local schools. Citing the value of Holocaust history, lessons learned and the need to teach tolerance, she is an advocate for Holocaust curriculum in schools throughout the Wheeling area. In 2010 Barb was asked to join the West Virginia Commission on Holocaust Education, and was appointed by Governor Joe Manchin to Chair the WVCHE. She worked with the State Board of Education, and educators to create and implement Holocaust curriculum. Barb traveled with Dr. Tsipy Gur and Classrooms Without Borders to Israel in July 2011. There, she participate in the intensive seminar for Jewish educators at The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. In 2013 CWB-Wheeling was formed based on growing interest among Wheeling area educators and students for experiential Holocaust education. Barb became Program Director for CWB-Wheeling, serving on the Advisory Board. Barb is an avid believer in the mission of CWB, and works to bring learning to life and life to learning.

Andi Stein

Executive Assistant

Andi Stein has over 10 years of marketing experience across a variety of industries and is committed to the future growth and success of Classrooms Without Borders.  In addition to Classrooms Without Borders, Mrs. Stein Is the Marketing Director for ActiveWin.com, a 13-year old online publication that focuses on Microsoft products. There, Mrs. Stein coordinated marketing efforts and social media strategy for new site development. Prior to ActiveWin.com, Mrs. Stein was the Marketing Coordinator for three years for Emess Design Group, LLC. in Wexford, PA which manufactured Baldwin, Cresswell, ALSY and JAlexander lighting. At Emess, Mrs. Stein executed their strategic marketing plan; creating product catalogs, managing the corporate website, managed industry trade showrooms in HighPoint, NC and Las Vegas, NV, along with supervising four to five accompanying staff, developed trends for merchandising and more. Prior to Emess, Mrs. Stein worked to Atlantic Luggage Company in Ellwood City, PA for five years as Marketing Coordinator. At Atlantic, Mrs. Stein developed all product materials, managed 3rd party marketing vendors, and facilitated brand exposure via product placement in industry publications and media outlets.

Melissa Haviv

Assistant Director

Melissa brings to CWB 20+ years of experience as an educator. While pursuing a degree in Special Education at Tel-Aviv University Melissa began her career teaching ESL in after-school programs for underprivileged children. After returning to Pittsburgh, Melissa served for 10 years as head teacher in Beth Shalom's Early Childhood Department and taught K-7 Hebrew and Judaica in multiple religious school settings. In 2003, Melissa accepted the position of Principal in a local religious school. Prior to joining CWB, Melissa taught K-12 as a long and short term substitute teacher for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Melissa also holds a BA in Applied Computer Science and Psychology from Chatham University, and an earlier associates' degree from The Business School of Israel in Advertising and Public Relations.
Melissa and her family are avid travelers. She truly believes the best kind of learning happens outside of the classroom; on the stages of history and immersed in culture.

Isabel Ranner

Programs & Communications Associate

Isabel manages CWB's community programming, communications and email marketing, graphic design, development and database administration. Isabel earned her Baccalaureate in Philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy and her MA in Philosophy at Duquesne University. She earned her MA in Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014, where she worked as a teaching and research assistant in International Relations and her MA thesis won the university-wide Tamara Horowitz Graduate Student Paper Prize. Isabel enjoys traveling, learning about Israel and Jewish history, and continues to be passionate about Israel advocacy.

Robin Monroe

Programming and Disability Coordinator

Robin joined CWB in October 2016. She assists with Program Coordination and office administration, as well as Disability Coordination. Robin has worked in Learning and Development at Carnegie Mellon University and in Real Estate Finance at PNC. Robin is a busy mom of 3 boys. In her free time, Robin enjoys painting, writing, hiking, and camping.