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Rabbis and Staff


Rabbi Binyomin Friedman

Rabbi Binyomin Friedman is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As a child Rabbi Friedman attended day school in Minneapolis and Hebrew Theological High School in Skokie, Il.  Two years into the University of Minnesota, Rabbi Friedman decided to go to Israel to get some answers.  He ended up studying in Yeshiva in Israel for four years.  Rabbi Friedman continued his Yeshiva career for eight more years at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore where he received his Rabbinic Ordination.  In Baltimore he also met his wife Dena.

In 1987 the Friedmans joined a group of young couples who founded the Atlanta Scholars Kollel.  In 1993 classes being taught by Rabbi Friedman in Dunwoody morphed into Congregation Ariel.  One year later Rabbi Friedman became Rabbi of Congregation Ariel in Dunwoody a position he holds to this day.

The Friedmans are blessed with five children and thank G-d many grandchildren.


Rabbi Mordy Birnbuam
Youth Director

Rabbi Mordechai Birnbaum hails from Chicago, where he earned his Masters of Education from Loyola University.  After high school, Rabbi Mordy learned in various Yeshivos in Israel, eventually earning Smicha from R’ Moshe Shternbuch.  Rabbi Mordy is married to Nechoma (Hiller) Birnbaum from Atlanta.  After their marriage, they lived in Israel for 7 years where Rabbi Mordy learned and taught post-high school boys.  In 2011, they moved to Dunwoody, GA where Rabbi Mordy is the Youth Director of Congregation Ariel.  Rabbi Mordy’s engaging personality and original programming draws in youth, teens, and adults of all ages.  Mrs. Nechoma Birnbaum is a talented and creative role-model for pre-teen and high school girls and runs programs  throughout the year, such as Motzei Shabbos girls clubs, Yomtov craft workshops, youth holiday meals and teen girls supper clubs.  Nechoma also recently launched the Ariel Youth library which is packed with a great selection of Jewish children's books.  The Birnbaum’s warmth and open home has had a positive effect on all who come through their doors.

Debbie Kalwerisky
Executive Director

Debbie joined Ariel in the spring of 2014.  In this position she manages many aspects of the Ariel community, including finance and administration, events, membership, facility and more.  Debbie loves getting to know the Ariel community and making the shul feel like a second home to our members and guests.   Special “nachas” comes from interacting with our dedicated volunteers who are involved in every aspect of community life.   At Ariel we really do “Connect, Share, Grow” and Debbie is excited to be part of that.  In her spare time, Debbie loves to read, entertain, walk for exercise and spend time with her extended family scattered all across the USA.

Robyn Gaillard
Bookkeeper

In the summer of 2014, Robyn became a part of the Ariel community as the Bookkeeper for the congregation.  She enjoys working with the office staff and community, and keeping all member accounts and financial records in order.  Robyn, a native of Atlanta, is a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in Finance.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Basya Heinselman
Administrative Assistant

Basya is a proud member of Congregation Ariel’s business office since 2016.  Prior to joining Congregation Ariel she served in the US Air Force and worked as a government contractor until becoming a stay at home mom when her first child was born.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, volunteering at Shul and reading.  Working in the office, Basya sees a lot of names, and hopes to meet all the Ariel members in the near future!

Flavio Ramon
Facility Maintenance

Flavio has been at Ariel since 2013 and is the smiling face behind-the-scenes at the synagogue.  Flavio ensures we always have a building to be proud of, and can clean a room, set up a kiddush and repair a broken lock – usually simultaneously!  Flavio is the “right-hand man” to our many volunteers, making sure our events run smoothly, and making it all look so easy!

Mon, November 12 2018 4 Kislev 5779