Teachers Tell All: Voices from the Field
Teachers gathered from across the country for a virtual show-and-tell of best practices. Several educators from JWA's education community (bios and topics below) gave short presentations about the ways they have used JWA's materials in various settings. Hosted by Etta King, JWA's Education Program Manager.
Presentations from May 7, 2013
Highlighting Local Activists and the Civil Rights Movement
Deborah Freedberg was born in Boston and now lives in Portland, Oregon. She currently works as a b’nai mitzvah tutor and religious school teacher. After attending Johns Hopkins University, Deborah worked for several years in publishing before moving to New York and studying Jewish education at Hebrew Union College. She has been involved in Jewish education for 25 years, as a teacher as well as a principal.
What’s Jewish About Social Justice?
Marilyn Heiss is a native New Yorker and a 26-year San Franciscan. An Emmy-award winning editor, she has been working in the TV/Video/Film industry for over 30 years. Marilyn found her way back to Jewish practice through yoga, and is a proud Torah-chanting, minyan-going, tefillin-wearing woman. A participant in the initial meditation practice periods at Makor Or, the meditation center founded by Rabbi Alan Lew, z"l & Zoketsu Norman Fischer, she served as its program director from 2003–2005. In addition to her editing work, she trains b’nai mitzvah students, and teaches Torah and Jewish studies to 7th & 8th graders at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, California.
Jewish Women in Day School Education
Rabbi Reuven Travis spent 15 years as an advertising and marketing executive prior to starting his career as an educator. Since then, Rabbi Travis has worked in education, and is currently teaching in Atlanta’s only Modern Orthodox high school. Reuven earned his BA from Dartmouth College and holds an MA in Teaching from Mercer University. Reuven also earned an MA in Judaic Studies from Spertus College and received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Michael J. Broyde, Dean of Atlanta Torah MiTzion Kollel in the summer of 2006. In the spring of 2013, Rabbi Travis was chosen as the Distinguished Educator of the Year, High School Division, by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, for his lessons on the American Civil Rights Movement.
Civil Rights, Leadership Training, and School-Wide Programs
Sara Salitan-Thiell is a social worker by training and is currently employed in a high school in Troy, NY. She enjoys being the principal of the Troy Jewish Community Religious School at Congregation Berith Sholom where she has taught for the past 13 years. Sara is also the proprietor of her own clinical private practice, specializing in the needs of adolescents. She and her husband are the parents of two children.
Presentations from May 8, 2013
Great American Jewish Women
Jessica Kirzane is a PhD candidate in Yiddish studies at Columbia University, whose work centers on American Yiddish prose literature and questions of race and peoplehood. At Columbia University, Jessica teaches Yiddish language. Jessica also teaches modern Jewish history and literature at the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor Hebrew High School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Jessica holds an MA in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University and a BA in English Language and Literature and Jewish Studies from the University of Virginia.
Living the Legacy in Southern Jewish Communities
Erin Kahal is a second-year Education Fellow at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life based in Jackson, MS. As an Education Fellow, she travels to seven different Southern congregations three times a year in order to help implement the ISJL religious school curriculum and lead programs for religious school students, teachers, and the larger community. She grew up in Augusta, GA, and is very fond of the Jewish community in her hometown. She received bachelor’s degrees in both history and social studies education from the University of Georgia in May 2011, and she grew both professionally and personally through her student teaching and thesis research on Southern Jewish Women and the Civil Rights Movement.
Social Justice and Teen Programs in Small Jewish Communities
Samantha (Sam) Wood has studied literature, creative writing, and teaching. She works as the night managing editor of a daily newspaper in western Massachusetts. Sam is an active member of the local synagogue, Temple Israel of Greenfield, Mass., where she recently celebrated an adult bat mitzvah with four other women. She serves as the youth coordinator in the local Hadassah chapter. Sam is also a teacher and e-mentor for SOLA—the School of Leadership, Afghanistan.