Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project Newsletter


Dear Hevre,

As the High Holiday season rapidly approaches, we want to wish you all a shanah tovah u’metukah. Many of you are in transition, and while all new beginnings are hard, they bring with them the possibility of wonderful new accomplishments. B’hatzlahah rabbah.

For those of you continuing in your current jobs, this is an opportunity to step back, reflect, and then move forward refreshed and with renewed purpose. Reflecting and building on previous accomplishments is also our hope and plan for the alumni support program as we begin a new year. Feel free to contact us with any programmatic suggestions or personal requests as to how we can continue to support you in your work in Jewish education.

For your information, Susan will be stationed in the U.S. through January (when she will return to Israel), Ilana will be returning back to work after maternity leave on September 1, and Ben is happily staying put in our New York office.

Kol tuv,

Susan, Ilana and Ben

AUGUST 2013 / ELUL 5773


PEASP is supported by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.


D'var Torah

Becca (Farber) Bubis

Becca (Cohort 10) is starting her third year of teaching in the upper school at Tarbut v'Torah, in Orange County, CA. She lives with her husband, Jonathan Bubis.

Twelve years ago I shuddered at the thought of standing on the bimah and delivering an address on Parashat Ki Tavo to two hundred and fifty people about a topic with which they were likely already familiar. Who was I, a pint-sized child, to impart my Torah to a wise and weathered population?

Little did I know that Ki Tavo, this week’s parashah, contained within it the answer to my concerns. In Deuteronomy 26:12, the Israelite farmers are instructed to offer the tithes of their produce in the third year. These offerings are to be distributed to the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. This tithe is known as ma’aser ani, the tithe for the poor.


Education Corner

The I Who Teaches


Marc Baker

Marc (Cohort 1) is starting his seventh year as Head of School at Gann Academy in Waltham, MA. Marc previously taught and served as Judaic studies director at The Weber School in Atlanta. He lives with his wife Jill (Cohort 1) and their four children in Brookline, MA.

At the Gann Academy August faculty in-service, new teachers arrive early for a special orientation. As Head of School I have the privilege of spending one of their first hours with them, learning about who they are and why they teach and sharing with them Gann’s and my vision of Jewish high school education.

The first time I prepared to facilitate this session as a new Head of School, I thought carefully about what I wanted to share with our new teachers, the people who would soon be responsible for shaping the hearts and minds of my precious students.


From the Field

Elisha Stein

Elisha (Cohort 4) is starting his ninth year of teaching at Barrack Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA. Elisha has served as a mentor for PEP students during student teaching. He has also been on staff at Summer Curriculum Workshop, was involved in the Havruta project, and is an active participant on our listserve. He lives with his wife and two children in Merion, PA.

Mishnayot can be integrated into a curriculum in a variety of ways: as an introduction to the rabbinic treatment of a topic that will be traced historically; to explore various modes of traditional interpretation; and prefatory to learning a particular Gemara (to name just a few). In addition to these approaches, I teach a skills-based unit on reading Mishnah as part of our 9th-grade Beit Midrash program, a text-centered curricular track that focuses on Toshba.

Summer Curriculum Workshop

What nachas!

This year’s Summer Curriculum Workshop, which took place for the first time in North America, was a “PEP family” affair. Five of our talented PEP alumni served as curriculum mentors: Hayley DeLugach (Cohort 5, Jewish Community High School of the Bay); Reuven Margrett (Cohort 6, Frankel Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit); Matt Conti (Cohort 7, Gann Academy); Sarah Zollman (Cohort 7, Carmel Academy); and Aron Wolgel (Cohort 8, Frankel Jewish Academy). Besides the novice teacher participants, this year’s workshop included a new leadership track for those having completed at least four years of teaching. These teachers were given an introduction to mentoring, took on leadership roles at the workshop itself and attended sessions offered by senior SCW staff on the nature of teacher leadership and next steps in that direction.

The eight-day Workshop was intensive and productive for all involved. In addition to twenty of our alumni, we had twelve other novice teachers from schools spanning the continent, many from schools where our own alumni teach. They added tremendously to the program.

For information on next year’s SCW, please contact Aviva Golbert. And for now, good luck with the terrific units that were planned at this year’s workshop!

Save the Dates

We are excited to announce this coming year’s conference plans for our day school teachers. Save the dates now in your calendars for one of the following:

A Conference for Novice Day School Teachers

This conference, to be held at Capital Camps in Pennsylvania, Sunday afternoon through Tuesday lunchtime, March 23-25, 2014, is sponsored by the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE). The program will be open to PEP alumni in their first four years of teaching (primarily cohorts 9-12), as well as novice teachers from other graduate programs and from your own schools. If you have eligible colleagues, please let us know so that we can invite them.

As in previous years, the program will include sharing sessions, workshops, critical incidents and informal networking, but for the first time, we are offering intensive tracks that will allow participants to choose one key area of focus. These intensives will include theory and ample time for application, so that participants will return to school with what to immediately include in their practice.

The RAVSAK-PaRDeS Day School Conference

We have been invited to join the RAVSAK-PaRDeS day school conference to be held in Los Angeles, Sunday-Tuesday, January 19–21, 2014. While the actual theme has not yet been finalized, much of the conference will center on Pluralism and Diversity. PCJE has been asked to take a lead role in some of the programming, which will allow us to both delve into and showcase what is of particular interest to our alumni. Participation in this program will be open to alumni teaching in day schools who are at least in year four in the field.

Please note:

  • While we will continue to heavily subsidize the attendance of our alumni at these various programs, we will be asking your schools to contribute somewhat to your attendance. Based on our past experience, most of the schools will be happy to do so with sufficient advance notice.

  • Yeshiva University and the Solomon Schechter Day School Network will hold a separate conference on the East Coast on March 3-5. Veteran alumni working within the framework of those networks may want to be in touch with their administrators to see about attendance at either conference.

The Rodef Shalom Program

Transforming School Conflict through Rabbinic Texts

PCJE is working in collaboration with the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution (PCJCR) on the Rodef Shalom middle school program. The major program goals are (1) for students to find traditional Jewish text study meaningful and relevant to their lives, and (2) to have a positive impact on students and on general school culture through the development of conflict resolution awareness and practical skills. The program helps schools teach 21st-century learners to be skilled problem solvers in social situations, active in the prevention of bullying and committed to creating a more peaceful world. The rabbinics-based text units use an inquiry approach, follow an “Understanding by Design” curricular model and include a range of technology options. In addition, a series of activities are in development to help interested schools integrate conflict resolution into various aspects of school life, including advising, tefilah and holiday programming. This optional certification process helps mobilize school communities through learning and action.

Pictured at right are some of the participants from our first training, which was held in Baltimore on June 26-27. This year, ten schools will participate in the program, including Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (Rockville, MD), Cohen Hillel Academy (Marblehead, MA), The Epstein School (Atlanta), Golda Och Academy (West Orange, NJ), Kadima Day School (West Hills, CA), The Moriah School (Englewood, NJ), Pressman Academy (Los Angeles), Sinai Akiba Academy (Los Angeles) and Sager Solomon Schechter (Chicago). We are delighted that a number of our own alumni will be using the materials. For more information about the possibility of using these materials in your school, please contact Ilana Lipman at (as of September 1).

Alumni Focus

Hayley DeLugach

Hayley (Cohort 5) taught at the Saligman Middle School outside Philadelphia and is beginning her sixth year teaching high school at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco. She is looking forward to living in her own house in Pacifica with her ‘bashert,’Rabbi Mark Melamut (Summer Program 2001, Pardes Fellow 2004-05), and her curly-headed children Kinneret (5½) and Geffen (3½).

As I write this, I have just made the biggest purchases of my life –a new home and a new car! Living in San Francisco, one relishes not just the occasional sunshine coming out of the fog, great restaurants and liberal politics, but having a place, and ideally a place with space. We are very fortunate to have found that and are in the midst of picking paint colors and room arrangements. It’s an overwhelming experience as there are literally hundreds of possible colors.

Online Resources

PCJE News from Israel

Congratulations to Our New Graduates!

Mazal tov to this year’s graduates of PEP!

Aileen Heinberg will be teaching at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto; Stu Jacobs at the New Jewish Community High School in Los Angeles; Hannah Perlis at the Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut; and Ilan Weismark at the Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rabbi Avi Spodek will be both teaching and serving as Rosh Yahadut and Curriculum Director of Upper School Judaics at the Scheck Hillel Community School in Miami.

Congratulations as well to the graduates of the new PCJE one-year programs: to Annie Matan Gilbert and Leah Kahn, who graduated from the new Pardes Experiential Educators Program; and to Joseph Shamash, Lauren Schuchart, Hannah Grossman, Aliza Geller, and Heather Kantrowitz, who completed the  Masters in Jewish Education Plus Pardes program.

We wish them all lots of luck and great satisfaction in their work and study!

Alumni News

Professional Updates:

  • Congratulations to Morrisa Golden (Cohort 8) on co-writing a winning grant to build the Syracuse Jewish Community Garden.

  • Congratulations to Sarah Levy (Cohort 9) on publishing an article, â€œA Plea to Parents: Let Your Students Fail,” in eJewishPhilanthropy on July 25th.

Mazal tov to:

  • Yisrael (Scott) Kaplan (Cohort 7) and Batya Cohen on their recent engagement.
  • Becca Farber (Cohort 10) on her marriage to Jonathan Bubis.

  • David Fain (Cohort 10) on his marriage to Shoshana Sprague.

  • Sam Blumberg (Cohort 11) on his marriage to Amalia Etedgee.

  • Anna Falk (Cohort 4) and Kobi Spektor on the birth of a son, Natan, who joins older brothers David and Elie.

  • Jen Truboff (Year Program ‘04-’05, Cohort 6) and Zachary Truboff (Year Program ‘04-’05, Fellow ‘05-’06, Kollel ‘06-’07) on the birth of a son, Shaiya Zev, who joins older brothers Elihai and Nahum.

  • Ben Soloway (Cohort 5) and Katie Light (Year Program '05-'06) on the birth of a son, Simon Jacob.

  • Benjamin Levy (Cohort 8) and Meredith Weinberg on the birth of a daughter, Dahlia Shira, who joins older sister Zahava Yafit.

  • Nechama Malkiel (Cohort 10) and Toby Reiter on the birth of a son, Rafael Chen, who joins older sister Yonah.

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