School Social Work

Supporting our community schools.

Our experienced social workers are based at Jewish day schools throughout metro Detroit and work with students one-on-one or in groups, depending on the individual’s social and emotional needs. They engage parents and families as needed and make referrals for outside counseling and other services. Social workers also work with school administrators and teachers to build school-wide curriculum and classroom lesson plans to build a healthy school environment.

Currently, our social workers are based at:

Beis Chaya Mushka High School
Farber Hebrew Day School
Frankel Jewish Academy

Lubavitch Cheder
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah
Yeshivas Darchei Torah

Meet our school social work staff.

Levi Hiller, LMSW

Levi is a fully licensed clinical social worker currently placed in Yeshiva Bais Yehudah as a school social worker. He is also a clinical therapist in our behavioral health department. Levi works with children and teens impacted by behavioral and/or social skills challenges, as well as students struggling with anxiety, ADHD, depression and trauma. Levi uses DBT skills, CBT, social skills training, and a Solutions-Focused approach in empowering students. Levi also works hard to close the circle of communication between students, teachers, parents and principals in meeting students’ needs in school. Aside from Levi’s passion of supporting clients, he delves deep into anything associated with music. Whether it’s listening, singing, playing guitar or teaching others how to play.

Avi Kohn, LLMSW

A graduate of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, Avi Kohn specializes in children with low self-esteem, poor social skills, ADHD and emotional dysregulation, and performs preliminary diagnostics. His objective is to create an environment at home and in school for children to thrive. He accomplishes this by advising, working with and advocating for students, parents and faculty. His friendly and fun demeanor makes his office a popular place, and there he uses a client-centered, strengths-focused approach of humanistic existential therapy, Psychodynamic Play Therapy, Psychoeducation and Attachment-Based Family Therapy. Out of school, he conducts group work for fathers. When he’s not in session, Avi can be found spending time with his family, studying Torah and playing hockey.

Elana Miodownik, MSW

Upon receiving her master’s degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, Elana began working with children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness in a clinical setting. In addition to working in case management and in a private setting as a clinical therapist, Elana has also facilitated groups for children and teens on a number of topics such as bullying, emotional and behavioral disorders (including conduct disorders), and social skills. While working at JFS of Clifton-Passaic, Elana was trained by the Project S.A.R.A.H. team to facilitate the Aleinu Program (Safety Kid), geared towards educating children, teachers and parents on preventing child abuse. When she’s not at work, Elana enjoys chasing down the ice cream truck.

Debora Rothbart, PsyD

Debora holds an MS in Special Education and a Doctorate in Psychology from Yeshiva University, as well as an MS and Specialist Certificate in School Psychology from Brooklyn College. She has worked at the Michigan chapter of PTACH, Children’s Center of Wayne County, and Mercy Hospital. Debora spent 18 years working as a school psychologist for the public schools before joining JFS. She now works at Yeshivas Darchei Torah in addition to maintaining her private practice and teaching counseling at the College of Mount St. Vincent through the Sara Schenirer Institute. When she is not working, Debora is reading, cooking and baking, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Elissa Sternberg, MSW

Elissa received her master’s degree in social work and school certificate from Wayne State University.  She has over fifteen years of experience as a school social worker in the day school setting.  Elissa has facilitated skill groups, counseled students, taught character development lessons and led parent workshops.  She is passionate about working with students to help them achieve their goals and be successful in their endeavors.  In her spare time, Elissa enjoys going camping with her family.

Ilene Tinman, LMSW

As Director of Youth and School-Based Services since June 2020, Ilene supervises a staff of 13 social workers who work with youth in schools and BBYO. She received her master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University and has 20+ years of clinical experience. Ilene’s skills include working collaboratively with children, parents, and schools so that each child can be met with success. Her experience also includes working with children who have ADHD, anxiety, autism, and various developmental disabilities. Ilene relies on several modes of therapy including CBT and play therapy. When she’s not working, you can find her walking her dog on a warm summer day.

Sara Weinfeld, LLMSW

Sara received her Master of Social Work and Jewish Communal Leadership Program certificate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor after graduating with an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. She has spent her career working with adolescents experiencing a variety of mental health concerns and is currently the school social worker at Frankel Jewish Academy. She is passionate about ensuring that every student is supported and able to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. In the summer, Sara is a social worker at Tamarack Camps. When not at work, she enjoys hiking and spending time with friends and family.

Esti Weiss, LLPC

Esti received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Blitstein Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her master’s in clinical counseling from Bellevue University in 2021. She has spent most of her career working with teens and youth at risk, adolescents, and middle-aged adults in a variety of capacities including counseling and case management, as well as leading a variety of therapy groups. Currently, she works as a school social worker in Chaya Mushka High School, as part of the trauma and crisis intervention team, as well as seeing clients individually through behavioral health. Esti has received trainings in multiple modalities with a focus on acute trauma and crisis intervention, suicide prevention, intervention and complex trauma. Esti likes to take a holistic approach and is a strong believer that treatment involves taking care of and maximizing all of one’s parts for a more effective long-lasting outcome. When out of the office, Esti can be found having dance parties with her kids or sipping her much needed third cup of coffee.