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Meet the Team

Meet the Team!

Carla Friend, Founder & Executive Director

Carla Friend holds a Masters Degree in Music Education from NYU, a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, is New York State Certified to teach music through 12th grade, and has extensive experience on both the teaching and administrative ends of the field. She has taught and researched music and dance across a variety of cultures including locations such as Uganda, Japan, and the Middle East. Carla’s passion lies in community music education and connecting with culture through music and dance.

Carla lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. On the rare occasion that she isn’t teaching or working on other Tkiya-related business, Carla can be found on stage! Recent Roles include Nancy in Oliver!, Hope in Urinetown: The Musical, Elle Woods inLegally Blonde The Musical, and Mimi in RENT.

“I discovered my Jewish identity through music. Now, my mission is to use music to help others connect and to strengthen the bonds of our diverse Jewish community.”

Coinciding with the Pope’s recent visit to the United States, Univision Noticias put out a series of 30 second videos, each featuring religious leaders and believers of all faiths.  Here, Carla speaks about connecting to Judaism through music and why she founded Tkiya!




Katherine Sackman, Lead Facilitator

Katherine Sackman is a teacher, pianist, singer/songwriter, and one of Tkiya’s most versatile facilitators.  She is pursuing her degree in music education at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.  Katherine began as Tkiya’s first intern in 2014, went on to teach Tkiya Tots and Tkiya Kids at Sid Jacobson JCC, has lead Tkiya’s music program at Camp Jacobson for two years, and is now Tkiya’s music specialist for Kings Bay Y in Williamsburg and Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.  She also helped to launch Tkiya For Life, a program for the aging. Katherine loves to help students understand music’s connection to dance, movement and our bodies through games, dance and sign language.

“The creativity of my students fills me with hope and inspiration. It is the greatest privilege to listen to their ideas, create music with them and help each student shine in their own way.”

Zack Steinberg,  Facilitator

Zack Steinberg is a music educator, performer, composer, and Tkiya’s newest team member! Joining the family for Fall 2017, Zack will be leading Tkiya experiences in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Growing up in Buffalo, NY, Zack has developed and taught music programs while songleading at Jewish Summer Camps and Hebrew Schools.  He graduated from the University at Buffalo with Bachelor’s degrees in both Music Performance and Business Administration.  Zack has a diverse musical background playing guitar, bass, and keyboards in orchestras and rock, jazz, folk and bluegrass bands.  He enjoys teaching students of all ages on a variety of instruments.  He is excited to bring his musical skills to the New York Jewish Community through his work with Tkiya and beyond!


Courtney Berghahn, Special Needs Music

Courtney Berghahn is a graduate of New York University’s Music Education program and is working on her MA in Music Therapy! She is Tkiya’s Special Needs Specialist, teaching one-one-one sessions as well as leading group sessions at SJCC and Y of Washington Heights on weekends.  Courtney is ‘s certified to teach music in New York State, and currently teaches pre-k through 5th grade at P.S. 111 in Hell’s Kitchen. Courtney works with a highly diverse population of students including students with special needs, English language learners, and students designated as Gifted & Talented.  She also serves on the audition panel for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and trains student teachers from New York University.

Courtney believes that music education has a strong impact on academic success, but she also sees music as a pathway to healing. In order to better harness the healing nature of music, Courtney plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Music Therapy.

“I want my students to walk away having gained insights into their emotions. They can use music as a tool for processing difficulties that arise in their daily lives.”

Emma Miller, Dramatic Specialist

Emma Miller is a theater director/educator and Jewish educator originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Emma spent nine summers on staff at the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland’s Playmakers Performing Arts Camp, including two years as a supervisor and two as Assistant Director. She directed and wrote youth theater productions and programs in the Mandel JCC’s Playmakers Youth Theatre for several years. Emma has worked at the Mandel JCC, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Solon Jewish Preschool, Laurel School, Havurah at JCC Manhattan, B’nai Jeshurun, and more. She also coordinates the Teen Leadership Program at HaZamir, where she works with teens from across the country and Israel. Outside of the classroom, Emma is a theater director and is co-artistic director of a feminist theater company, The Hearth.  She is very excited to join Tkiya’s team as a teacher for the Seekers Hebrew school at Romemu, and beyond!