Lev Cotlar: Rabbi / Executive Director

Rabbi Lev Cotlar is a native of Houston, Texas, who has pursued advanced Rabbinical studies in London, Israel, and Italy. Upon completing his Rabbinic Ordination in Venice, Italy, he served as Rabbi in the Shul in the Park in Glasgow, Scotland, and subsequently taught both children and adults in Johannesburg, South Africa, Toronto, and Brooklyn. He also served a three year tenure as the Director of Education for the Chabad Student Center of Columbia University. Since moving to Raleigh with his wife Dassy (and now 4 children) in 2010, he has taken the role of Director of Education at Congregation Sha'arei Israel, directing the Chabad Hebrew School, Camp Gan Israel and the local chapter of the Jewish Learning Institute. Lev also taught the "Ethics of Jewish Living" course at the Melton School of Jewish Learning and serves as the contract Rabbi at the federal prison in Butner, NC. In 2019, he transitioned from the role of Director of Education to Executive Director of the shul. In addition to studying and teaching, Lev enjoys sports, traveling, and spending time with his family, community and friends.


Dassy Cotlar: Education/ Executive Co-Director

Dassy Cotlar was born and raised in southern California before moving to Raleigh with her husband Rabbi Lev in 2010 to bolster Jewish education in Raleigh. Prior to her arrival in North Carolina, Dassy received her degree from the BCM Teacher's Seminary in Montreal, Canada. With her passion for childrens' education, Dassy has had extensive experience teaching, directing summer camps and heading youth programs in Milwaukee, Anchorage, Birmingham, and Sarasota. She has also been very active in working with children and adults with special needs and disabilities. In her capacity leading the Bat Mitzvah Club, Judaic director for the Hillel Preschool, teacher at the Chabad Hebrew School, and co-director of the Jewish Women's Circle, Dassy's warm, enthusiastic teaching style has instilled in her students the joy of a Jewish lifestyle that incorporates a strong Jewish identity and Jewish values. Dassy enjoys spending quality time with her family as well as reading, hiking and boating.


Mendy Wilschanski: Youth Co-Director / Rabbi

Rabbi Mendy was born and raised in Morristown, NJ. He studied in various Yeshivot in the US as well as Argentina, he concluded his Rabbinic Studies at the Rabbinical College of America, graduating with a BA in religious studies. Mendy throughout his years of studies has traveled 6 of the 7 continents, spreading the light of Judaism, making children's and holiday programs in many countries including Ukraine, Poland, Nigeria, the Caribbean islands and Cambodia to name a few. after graduating in 2014, Mendy went on to teach Judaic studies at the Oholei Torah day school in Brooklyn and taught extra curricular programs in an online school. Since moving to Raleigh Mendy has taken over the Directorship of the Cteen program, and together with his wife Brocha, teaches in, and directs the Chabad Hebrew School and Camp Gan Israel. Mendy enjoys adventures, sports and spending time with his family and friends. 


Brocha Wilschanski: Youth Co-Director 

Brocha was born and raised in Melbourne Australia, she continued her advanced studies in seminary in Israel. Over the past decade, Brocha has taught a variety of ages, including teaching and directing programs in the Beth Rivka Lady's College, Merkos Women's institute and Chabad Hebrew School in Melbourne. Bnos Menachem day school in Brooklyn, and the Chabad Hebrew School of Brookville Long Island. In addition to teaching, Brocha has directed Jewish day camps and has arranged women's programs in the following cities; Brisbane Australia, Gaithersburg MA, Milwaukee WI. Brocha in her time here in Raleigh has taken on the role Teacher and Co-director of the Chabad Hebrew School, and Camp Gan Israel, Brocha together with Dassy Cotlar run a vibrant Jewish Women's Circle Club, with Torah and Tea's and exciting programs and events. Brocha enjoys quality time with her family her hobbies include; Reading, painting and Bowling.


Rabbi Pinchas Herman: Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Pinchas Herman was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He attended the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ and the Rabbinical College of New England in New Haven, CT. During that time he served as a chaplain in prisons, hospitals and nursing homes. Simultaneously involves in Jewish out-reach work in Hebrew schools, synagogues, Jewish community centers and at Yale University. Upon completing his Bachelor's Degree in Religious Studies, Rabbi Herman received his ordination at Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim in Brooklyn.
After getting married, Rabbi Herman continued his Talmudic studies in an advanced Kollel program. In 1989, he became spiritual leader of Sha'arei Israel and director of Lubavitch activities in Eastern North Carolina. In addition to his classes for children, he teaches a variety of adult classes including Talmud and Jewish philosophy. In the spring of 1996, Rabbi Herman earned his Master's Degree in Counseling at North Carolina State University. Rabbi and Mrs. Herman are proud parents of Leiba, Malka, Levi, and Menucha Herman.


Mrs. Helana Herman: Rebbetzin Emeritus

Helana Herman is a Rebbetzin, wife, mother, teacher, kallah instructor, and Professional Life Coach. For the past 23 years, she and her husband, Rabbi Pinchas Herman, have served as co-directors of Chabad of Raleigh, NC. Helana also founded a highly successful day camp that provides some local children with their only connection to Judaism.  Helana graduated from Coach University and specializes in working with women to improve their lives and relationships.
Her warmth, sincerity, and passion, coupled with a touch of humor, captivate audiences to create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere. Helana leads presentations and workshops on a variety of topics.  In addition, she and her husband conduct popular couples' seminars that focus on enhancing closeness and communication in marriage.

Helana and Pinchas are certified Imago educators. Imago is a relationship theory which trains couples to see conflict as an opportunity, and to turn conflict into connection. Compassionate communication skills are the foundation of the practice.