Mission Statement

The Blum Jewish Education Project brings Western New York students to the Cofeld Judaic Museum and Temple Beth Zion to learn about local history, architecture and culture, and to gain a deeper appreciation for Jewish heritage.

Project Executive Team


Jill Abromowitz Gutmann


Jill Gutmann has a wide array of experiences in Jewish ethics, Jewish education, Jewish culinary history and preparation, halakha, medical ethics, and public health.

She holds an AB summa cum laude from Smith College, Fulbright Grantee to South Korea, a Masters of Public Health from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and a Masters of Arts in Jewish law and ethics from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

Jill has run children's education programs in Auckland, New Zealand, Metro Detroit and in Buffalo. She is an avid believer in hands-on, project based, child led education. She currently serves on the boards of Kadimah at Park and on the board of Jewish Community Relations Counsel. In her free time, she enjoys cooking with her daughters and building community wherever she goes!

Contact Jill at:


Susan R Adelman

Grant Manager

Susan has an MS in Education, and taught in the Kenmore/Town of Tonawanda Schools prior to becoming President of SurveySevice, Inc./Adelman Research Group. Her commitment to education and working with youth continued with her company’s adoption of Riverside High School that was part of an award-winning consortium that received the Commitment to Education Award for the creation of Project Jump Start-a Bridge to Opportunity, a program that provided the students of Riverside High School with mentors, internships, field trips to the United Nations and The Holocaust Resource Center and Congress in Washington, DC.

Susan has served on the Board of the Buffalo Alliance for Education, the Mayor’s Community School Council, and co-chaired Teacher and Principal for a Day that brought corporate leadership into all Buffalo Public Schools to learn about the needs of students and schools to foster ongoing business and school partnerships. She received a Pathfinders Award that honors those Blazing a Trail Between Education and Business and is a member of the 1996 Class of Leadership Buffalo.

Susan is a lifelong member of Temple Beth Zion, served on the Board of Trustees for many years, and was President in 1989-1990. Most recently, she co-chaired the Re-imagined Cofeld Judaic Museum Task Force that opened in 2023.


Carri Milch

Education Development Director

Carri Milch is the Education Development Director for the Blum Jewish Education Project. As an educator, she has extensive experience teaching young children, mentoring college students and providing mentoring and workshops for teachers. Carri has also been involved in program development at the state and national levels. Carri co-authored Make-Believe Play and Story-Based Drama in Early Childhood: Let’s Pretend.

Carri is a longtime member of Temple Beth Zion. She has served on many committees and chaired the religious school committee. She served as Vice President of the Temple Board of Directors. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Jewish Family Services of Western New York.

Carri is an avid reader, knitter, and pianist. She is thrilled to be part of this incredible project!


Chana Kotzin


Chana Revell Kotzin, Ph.D. is a public historian and adjunct professor at William Jewell College who works at the nexus of museum curation and history. She has published numerous articles in academic journals, as well as exhibition essays, commissioned histories and regular newspaper columns. She is the author of Jewish Community of Greater Buffalo (Arcadia). Her interests cross several fields including museology, digital history, refugee studies, ethnic and urban history in US and British history.

Born and educated in Britain, Dr. Kotzin, initially followed a career in the field of geological sciences. She retrained at The Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies of the University of Oxford, Europe’s Leading Jewish Studies Research Centre. This was followed by a Ph.D. in History from the University of Southampton in the UK. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the ways in which European Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi anti-Semitism were received in Britain during the 1930s.

In the United States, she has led the revitalization of museums, including the Cofeld Judaic Museum, grown local university repositories in community partnerships and created resources for scholarship, exhibitions, publications, digital websites and community-based historical collections. She is the recipient of many awards including the Debra E. Bernhardt Award for Excellence in Documenting New York's History.

Photography by Linda Gale Gellman of Click, used with permission.

Blum Jewish Education Project Partners


Temple Beth Zion

Temple Beth Zion has a long, rich history as one of the oldest and largest Reform Jewish congregations in the United States. Originally an Orthodox congregation founded in 1850, it transitioned to Reform Judaism in 1863, reincorporating as a Reform synagogue in 1864. More than 160 years later, after times of growth and challenge, and several buildings including an impressive 1890 Byzantine sanctuary, the congregation continues to evolve.

After a 1961 fire, a new landmark 1,000 seat sanctuary opened in 1967. Designed by Max Abramovitz, it houses the Cofeld Judaic Museum, The Sisterhood Chapel and The Dr. Joseph Fink Auditorium. The congregation established a suburban campus for younger families in Amherst in the 1950s, but has retained its city home on Delaware Ave. Its storied history is recognized in films for the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Sanctuary is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Temple Beth Zion is a vibrant spiritual and cultural center.


The Cofeld Judaic Museum

The Benjamin and Dr. Edgar R. Cofeld Judaic Museum opened in 1978 and underwent a significant expansion in 1981. Further additions were made in 1996 and 2005. In 2023, after two years of planning, the museum was re-envisioned and moved from its former location on the north wing of the synagogue into the central thoroughfare. It showcases Judaica from around the world and the history of Temple Beth Zion. It is the largest Judaica museum in Western New York.

The Cofeld Judaic Museum collections draw from artifacts donated and bequeathed by congregants with additional focused collecting. The collections also include materials provided by members and others about the history, architecture and culture of Temple Beth Zion. The synagogue can trace its history back to 1850, and its current Sanctuary was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.

Contact us:

(716) 886-7150


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