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Our Team

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Jesse Bernstein, Artistic Director 

Jesse Bernstein is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Speech and has over 30 years’ experience working in film, TV and theatre. He has performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival (alongside actors such as Mandy Patinkin and Denzel Washington), the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Arden Theatre Company, Ventura Theatre Company and the Walnut Street Theatre Company. In 1999, he originated the role of Reuven in Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok’s stage adaptation of The Chosen. His TV credits include appearances on Law & Order, Veronica Mars and Days of Our Lives. Directing credits include Shipwrecked!, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play, Gifts of the Magi, and several children’s musicals for the Walnut Street Theatre; The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) (Cardinal Stage); Heathers: The Musical (Penn Players), Member of the Wedding (Rutgers-Camden) and more. Writing credits include several outreach plays and the solo shows Ethics of the Fathers (aka The Gangster and Grandpa) and The Scribe. Jesse wrote and directed the short film Allergy (official selection, Audience Awards and LA Comedy Shorts Fest) and wrote, produced, and starred in the short alongside Alison Brie and Liza Weil in the short film Us One Night (official selection: Williamstown Film Festival, NewFilmmakers LA). He has taught for theatres and organizations in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia as well as at Northwestern University College, the Cherub program, and University of the Arts. Jesse is a member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA and serves on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theatres.

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Deborah Baer Mozes,
Founding Artistic Director

 Since the inception of the company, Deborah has given life to 79 new plays, including the development of the first Jewish ten minute play festivals and museum theatre productions for the National Museum of American Jewish History. She served as Literary Manager for the Walnut Street Theatre and directed their acclaimed Independence Studio productions of Waiting for the Parade, With Albert Einstein, and T Bone ‘N Weasel. Internationally, Deborah worked in Canadian regional theatre and television; in Israel she has directed and taught in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Arad. She is co-editor with Julianne Bernstein of VOICES FROM ARIEL: Ten-minute plays exploring the Jewish experience (Dramatic Publishing). Deborah served as Director of Culture for the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region. Deborah is the Coordinator of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute and directs the drama program at Kohelet Yeshiva High School.

Alize Francheska Rozsnyai,
Communications & Business Manager

Alize is a professional Opera Singer and Actor, as well as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Alter Ego Chamber Opera, the Philadelphia-based chamber opera company founded in 2019. She is delighted to be assisting Theatre Ariel, and to support a company with such a meaningful purpose and mission. A graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music with a B.M. and M.M. in Vocal and Opera Performance, Alize has performed regionally and internationally at notable venues including Carnegie Hall and with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Opera Philadelphia, Chautauqua Opera, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, Opera Den Nye in Bergen, Norway, Opera Dordogne in  Périgueux, France, and many more. Passionate about being a voice for change in the classical music and opera industries, Alize loves to perform brand new works, and is also a librettist. She has helped to create over 20 roles in World Premieres, and has had 4 of her original operatic works performed so far. She is represented by Matthew Laifer Artist Management.

Esther M. Cohen
2023 - 2024 Artist-in-Residence

Esther M. Cohen (DIRECTOR): is a Philadelphia-based director, dramaturg, and arts educator.Recent favorite projects include directing Small Mouth Sounds at Penn, teaching script analysis at Drexel University, and directing Theatre Ariel's spring 2023 salon. She is an inaugural member of the 2019/20 Roundabout Directors Group, a member of the 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps, and an alumna of the National Theater Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. When she's not making theatre, Esther can be found on a walk with her dog Babka, cultural commentary podcast playing and iced coffee in hand no matter the weather. 

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Board Of Directors

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Judy Guzman, Marci Wilf


Beth Rothschild
Vice President of Strategic Planning

Alan Susser
Vice President of Audience Development

& Engagement

Steve Slone


Julie P. Meyers

Vice President of DEI/HR


Marissa Barnathan

Nancy Baron-Baer

Samantha Hacker
Stephen Gollomp

Nancy Bennett

Lonnie Klein
Susan Lodish 

Adena Potok   

Gloria Spitz               

Cantor Eliot Vogel

Emeritus Board

Susan Frost

Ethel Hofman

Deborah Baer Mozes, Founding Artistic Director & Israeli Liaison

Stefanie Seltzer

Barbara Spector

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