TABC Welcomes New Faculty
TABC is proud to welcome Rabbi Michael Bitton as its new director of teaching and learning. Rabbi Bitton joins TABC from Magen David Yeshiva High School in Brooklyn where he served as the director of educational technology. He is a recipient of the Young Pioneers Award from the Jewish Education Project and the Pomegranate Prize from the Covenant Foundation. He runs workshops and presents at conferences on innovation and Project-Based Learning (PBL) throughout the country and his expertise is set to have an enormous impact on TABC’s curriculum and learning methodologies. Rabbi Bitton will work with teachers in both general and Judaic studies to integrate innovative pedagogies into the classroom. His hiring was met with the unanimous endorsement of TABC’s educational and administrative team, led by Head of School Rabbi Asher Yablok, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yosef Adler, Principal Arthur Poleyeff and Judaic Studies Principal Rabbi Ezra Wiener.
TABC’s newly designed STEM program will be led by Aryeh Tiefenbrunn. Tiefenbrunn is a well-rounded YU graduate (he double majored in biology and music), with an extensive background in physics, robotics and engineering. He has taught various sciences for the past two years, during which he also guided teams of students to two consecutive victories in the CIJE (Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education) Innovation Day competitions, as well as at a robotics competition hosted at NYU. Tiefenbrunn taught and helped build a cutting-edge curriculum for engineering and technology at Ma’ayanot and he is the perfect up-and-comer to infuse TABC’s program with creativity and to thoughtfully design our makerspace and innovation lab.
The already impressive cadre of TABC rebbeim welcomes Rabbi Jake Berman from Westchester Hebrew High School where he served as a rebbe, athletic director and Israel guidance counselor, and Rabbi Zev Reichman, rabbi at East Hill Synagogue in Englewood and director of the Mechina program at YU. The entire school will be learning masechet Sanhedrin in the new zman, and as always, TABC will host many evenings of late night learning, parent-son learning and dynamic bonus shiurim.
Finally, TABC welcomes Rabbi Yitzchak Rabovsky, or “Reb Yitz” as he is affectionately known, who will assume the role of director of athletics and student activities. He joins TABC from HANC and brings an impressive background in programming and athletics. He believes, as TABC does, that creating a positive and enjoyable atmosphere are key elements to a student’s high school experience. Reb Yitz’s dynamic energy and spirit will infuse TABC’s program with a fresh and unified look.
TABC is looking forward to a great year!
Yeshivat Noam Welcomes New Elementary Principal
Yeshivat Noam is looking forward to launching the school year with a fantastic staff of new and veteran teachers.
Rabbi Mordechai Schwersenski joins the Noam family as our new elementary school principal, Rabbi Schwersenski has been a member of the faculty of Torah Academy of Philadelphia for the past eight years where he served as a rebbe, director of student programming and for the past
four years, as the assistant principal of Judaic studies. Rabbi Schwersenski received his master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University and his semicha is from Ner Yisrael. He has continued his professional growth with his participation in the YU Lead Program, the Principal Training Institute through the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools, and the Principal Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Rabbi Schwersenski will oversee the entire elementary school,direct its day to day functioning and be responsible for all student growth: social, behavioral and academic. He will work closely with Rabbi Kurtz, Mrs. Nat, Dr. Benovitz and Mrs. Pavel in supervising the Judaic, general and support faculty in the elementary school, overseeing the hiring of teachers, as well as their professional growth and annual evaluations. Rabbi Schwersenski will ensure that Yeshivat Noam is meeting the needs of diverse learners and communicating to parents their children’s strengths and areas for growth.
Rabbi Schwersenski has a proven track record of instituting social/midot programs that lead to improved student behavior and he has created a process for clear and ongoing teacher growth and evaluation that has resulted in enhanced teaching and learning. During the interview process, Rabbi Schwersenski met with the elementary school faculty and impressed them with his knowledge of education, his research based approach to teacher support and evaluation and most importantly, his warmth and sincerity. Above all, Rabbi Schwersenski possesses the “Noam way” in his approach to children.
Rabbi Schwersenski began in May with a series of transition visits. He met with teachers to hear their vision for the future, met with students to get to know each other, and met with administrators to begin planning for the 2018-19 school year. In June he returned during the professional development week and led a workshop on exploring the why, how and what of school wide behavioral improvement.
We welcome Rabbi Schwersenski and his family to the Yeshivat Noam family.
Introducing Bailey Braun, New Dean of Students at Ma’ayanot
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School welcomes Bailey Braun as our new dean of students. As a social worker, Braun created a guidance program for Netivot HaTorah, a 600-student yeshiva day school in Toronto. Her program included a weekly advisory curriculum for middle school students focusing on self-esteem, body image, modesty and resilience. Braun lectures in the United States, Canada and Israel on topics including women in Jewish history, Chumash, mysticism, meditation and poetry. She discussed her vision, educational philosophy and goals for her first year at Ma’ayanot.
Welcome! What inspired you to come to Ma’ayanot?
Seeing the educators who work at Ma’ayanot and play so many different roles, who are so educated, passionate, and devoted to the school and to the girls really inspired me. Ma’ayanot has a reputation that precedes it. It’s known for being both super strong in academics and having “ruchniyus” (spirituality), which is both compelling and a challenge in many schools today.
Describe your experience working with teens.
I worked as a social worker in an alternative public high school for at-risk teenagers in Toronto. These were kids who had been bullied or struggled with drug addiction and needed a lot of TLC. I had to think on the spot and find creative ways to get the students to talk to a social worker when they didn’t want to.
What is your educational philosophy?
I’ve been a teacher, social worker and full-time rebbetzin. I see how these three aspects of my life can mesh with teaching young women how to learn, how to think critically, be passionate about Torah and also be attentive to their mental health. To me, all of these are one and the same and they can blend well with each other.
What are some of your plans for your new role at Ma’ayanot?
There are so many great guidance counselors and faculty members here who are available to the students. But often it’s hard for girls to open up one-on-one. I’d like to bring in more programs on topics such as dealing with anxiety or test stress. I also want teachers to know they are supported and I want to help them come up with creative solutions for addressing students’ challenges.
How do you plan to get to know the students?
During the last school year, we had meet and greets during lunch where I met many of the students. I also want to create a schedule in which each student meets with me individually. I’d like the students to get into a routine of knowing that I’m available to schedule meetings throughout the year. This way they will learn to self-advocate, but also learn to differentiate between what is an emergency and what’s not. Students benefit from boundaries and consistency.
MTA Celebrates New Faculty Members
MTA is thrilled to welcome new faculty members for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, including:
Dr. Ari Klein (‘01) as the new Learning Center coordinator. MTA recently redesigned and expanded its Learning Center to maximize the support provided to talmidim. Dr. Klein will assist talmidim on a full-time basis and will also oversee the entire Learning Center structure as well as all learning and testing accommodations. In addition, Dr. Klein will partner with MTA faculty and parents to ensure that all accommodations are implemented. Dr. Klein previously served as a school psychologist and doctoral intern at Shepard Preparatory High School, a therapeutic high school in New Jersey. He is a certified school psychologist, earned a master’s degree in school psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is completing his PsyD at the Rutgers Graduate School for Applied and Professional Psychology. MTA is excited for Dr. Klein to bring his knowledge of special education assessment and intervention and passion for teaching and consultation to the Learning Center. Dr. Klein lives in Teaneck, with his wife, Arly, and their three children.
Rabbi Yechiel Bresler as a guidance counselor and Chumash rebbe. Rabbi Bresler is currently completing semicha through the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, while simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from the Ferkauf School of Psychology. Rabbi Bresler’s reputation as a warm and caring rebbe and guidance counselor developed in the time he spent as the OU-JLIC fellow at Rutgers University, where he led shiurim and chaburos for students, as well as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. Rabbi Bresler attended Yeshivat Sha’alvim for two years, followed by Yeshiva University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Rabbi Bresler lives in Bergenfield, with his wife, Davina, and son, Tani.
Rabbi Yoni Stone as a halacha and bekius rebbe. Rabbi Stone is completing his last year of semicha at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he serves as shiur assistant to YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger. He is also pursuing his master’s degree in Jewish education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. Rabbi Stone has been part of the MTA family for the past several years, coaching the varsity hockey team and JV softball team. Rabbi Stone lives in Teaneck, with his wife, Cayley, and their son, Azriel, where he co-owns the local youth hockey league.
Tenafly Chabad Academy Adds Staff to Elementary Division
Tenafly Chabad Academy is pleased to welcome Mindy Niederman as its new Learning Center teacher for general studies. Niederman earned her bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and then began her career as a classroom teacher. She earned her master of science degree in special education from CW Post in Greenvale, New York. Niederman comes to us after many years serving as the director of student services at the Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School in Oakland, New Jersey. She has also worked with students at the Hochberg Preparatory School, the lower school of the David Posnack Jewish Day School in Ojus, Florida, where she served as the learning resource teacher. Niederman is passionate about helping students find and foster their strengths to succeed academically. She is excited to be joining the TCA family and is looking forward to meeting and working with the students and staff.
Tenafly Chabad Academy welcomes Kori Benaroya to their teaching team. Benaroya will be teaching fourth grade general studies and middle school math. Benaroya has over a decade of teaching experience and has worked in yeshivot in Englewood and Passaic, as well as other private and public schools. She has a masters of teaching degree (MAT) from Fairleigh Dickinson University, School of Education in Teaneck, and a bachelor’s degree in theater. She is a long time Bergen County resident, and has a son who is a senior at TABC in Teaneck. Her interests are science and arts, and she is excited to become a part of the TCA family.
Rochel Hassan is joining Tenafly Chabad Academy as their new first grade general studies teacher. Hassan received her teaching degree from Brooklyn College and taught at YESS (Yeshiva Education for Special Students) in Queens for 10 years. Originally from Lawrence, Hassan currently resides in Bergenfield and is the proud mother of two cuties who attend Lubavitch on the Palisades preschool. In addition to her family, Hassan loves boats, dogs and teaching and can not wait to meet her new first grade students. She looks forward to a fabulous year full of learning, exploring and fun.
Tenafly Chabad Academy also welcomes Ahava Palgon who will be the assistant teacher for grades four and five. Originally from Michigan, Palagon received her undergraduate degree in speech pathology and audiology, with a minor in education. She is excited to join the TCA family and looks forward to a rewarding year.
The Idea School Opens With Fresh Educational Team
The Idea School welcomes an outstanding team of educators to its inaugural faculty. Joining Head of School Tikvah Wiener are Rabbi Tavi Koslowe, Nancy Edelman, Rochie Sommer, and Tzach Yoked. With their unique backgrounds and varied experiences, this team shares an unmatched drive for infusing inquiry, discovery and passion into their classrooms; one that embodies the DNA of the Idea School’s mission and values.
Rabbi Tavi Koslowe, Judaic studies principal, brings to The Idea School 15 years of teaching experience and expertise in experiential Judaic studies, educational technology and student programming. He joins The Idea School from The Ramaz School in New York, where he was head of the lower school for the past four years. Rabbi Koslowe earned his B.A. degree in psychology from Yeshiva University, where he also received his rabbinic ordination, M.A. in secondary Jewish education and a specialist’s certificate in educational administration.
Nancy Edelman, head of humanities and head of teacher mentoring, has shared her passion for the humanities with yeshiva high school students since 1992. For the last 19 years, she has been a faculty member at TABC, where she has taught all levels of English, art appreciation, and A.P. art history. Edelman earned a B.A. in English, cum laude, from UCLA, and an M.A. in the teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she also studied interdisciplinary curriculum design. Edelman has been an early adopter of Project-Based Learning in Jewish education and is particularly excited about breaking down barriers between disciplines.
Rochie Sommer, head of math, science and STEM, has more than 20 years of classroom experience, most recently nine years at YBH of Passaic. She earned her BS at Columbia University’s Engineering School at the Henry Krum School of Mines, where she studied mineral resource engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering. She also studied at Stern College, where she earned Judaic studies and pre-engineering degrees, and was granted the Constance Schwartappel Memorial Award for excellence in applied mathematics. Sommer looks forward to integrating math, science, and STEM with Torah learning and the humanities.
Tzach Yoked will lead The Idea School’s Hebrew language program, which emphasizes spoken language fluency in addition to reading and writing skills. Yoked’s language teaching experience includes posts at Princeton University, Vassar College and Middlebury College’s world-renowned intensive language program, in addition to teaching at Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC). A journalist as well, Yoked served for over seven years as the U.S. Correspondent to the “Ma’ariv” newspaper, one of the largest news publications in Israel, for which he interviewed U.S. presidents, cabinet members and other world leaders. Yokèd holds a dual B.A degree in Middle Eastern studies and international relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He served as an officer in the IDF and mediator between Israeli and Palestinian forces. In addition to Hebrew, Yokèd is fluent in English and Arabic.
Yeshivat He’Atid Welcomes New Shlichim
As Yeshivat He’Atid continues to grow, so does the school’s commitment to ahavat Medinat Yisrael. This year, to strengthen this commitment, Yeshivat He’Atid has added eight new staff members. Four of these faculty members are shlichim through the World Zionist Organization, two are shlichot through Bnei Akiva, and two more are bnot sherut, serving their second years of Sherut Leumi. Yeshivat He’Atid welcomes these new staff members and is excited to see their impact on the avirah of the school.
Morim shlichim Rachel and Yosef Fisch have four daughters, three of whom will be joining Yeshivat He’Atid in shorashim, kindergarten and third grade. Rachel has worked as both a special education and general education teacher for elementary and middle school. Yosef has a diverse background teaching middle school and being a rav in the IDF. Most recently, he was a rav in the Mechina program for those who spend a year learning before joining the army. He also coaches and trains long distance runners.
Raz and Boaz Ben Horin both grew up in the Golan and began raising their family there. They have a daughter and two sons. Two of the children will be joining Yeshivat He’Atid in shorashim and kindergarten. Raz has a degree in psychology and special education. Boaz has a degree in general education. Raz taught at an elementary school in the Golan. For the past several years, Boaz has taught middle school special education.
Shlichot Tz’eirot Bnei Akiva: Hadas Bentzioni studied music appreciation. She spent her first year of Sherut Leumi in an elementary school in Chashmonaim. She was also the kummunant (program director) of the Bnei Akiva snif. In her second year of Sherut Leumi, Hadas worked in a special needs school.
Shira Edelshtein comes from Petach Tikva. She worked in a Midreshet Bnei Akiva high school and created Bnei Akiva programs across the country, traveling to help the programs be implemented.
B’not Sheirut: Adi Greenwald (left) is from Petach Tikva. She was previously working in Shaare Tzedek hospital in the pediatric dialysis ward. She provided social and emotional support to the children. She is also a Bnei Akiva madricha.
Esther Haber (right) grew up in Karnei Shomron. She was previously working in an early childhood special education class in Petach Tikva where she provided assistance with OT, PT and speech. She has also volunteered at Ezer Mitzion, a non-profit organization for children with cancer.
JEC High School Hires Two Dynamic Rebbeim
JEC High School has added to its already amazing cadre of Rebbeim.
Rabbi Jordan Ginsberg grew up in West Hempstead After attending DRS High School, he learned under Rabbi Mendel Blachman in Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh for two years before being accepted into Yeshiva University’s Masmidim program. Serving as a madrich on the NCSY Summer Kollel program in Israel, Rabbi Ginsberg honed his talents as a dynamic educator and a dedicated mentor.
Upon graduating YU, Rabbi Ginsberg was accepted into the Wexner Semicha Honors program at RIETS, where he delivered many shiurim in machshava to YU undergraduates. Most recently, he taught the highest level bekius shiur at Heichal Hatorah in Teaneck.
Rabbi Ginsberg’s summers as chinuch staff at Camp Kaylie and as program director at Camp Slapshots, together with his experience serving as teen director at the Young Israel of West Hempstead, have helped cultivate his teaching acumen and creativity in developing programming that is fun, enriching and impactful.
Rabbi Etan Epstein learned at Yeshivat Sha’alvim and subsequently went on to Yeshiva University, graduating with a degree in history.
For the next three years, he furthered his learning in Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. Rabbi Epstein was then accepted into the Brisker Kollel (Kollel Tiferes Tzvi) in Yerushalayim for seven years.
In 2016, he and his family returned to the USA and settled in Monsey. Ambitious to both further his own knowledge and share it with others, Rabbi Epstein learned in Kollel Meshech Chochmah during the day, and simultaneously opened the New Rochelle Kollel, hosted in the Young Israel of New Rochelle. The kollel has attracted many members of the community, high schoolers and adults, and Rabbi Epstein gives chaburos and shiurim to all.
His excitement, positive energy and personal attention enables many to connect with and develop a passion for growth and learning.
SAR HS Expands Staff
SAR High School is excited to welcome Rabbi Jeff Ney and Joseph DaCorta to its faculty for the 2018-19 school year.
Rabbi Jeff Ney joins the Judaic studies faculty where he will teach Gemara and halacha as well as serve as the director of Torah guidance. In his role as director of Torah guidance, Rabbi Ney will coordinate and oversee the myriad of Torah learning and experiential opportunities SAR has to offer outside of the classroom, both during and after school hours. Such programs include the twice weekly after school learning program, ITIM, and the monthly mishmar program, which regularly attracts over 200 students, as well as field trips to communities and events around the tristate area. Rabbi Ney comes to SAR from RASG Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach, where he served as director of student programming as well as director of Israel and religious guidance.
Joseph DaCorta joins
SAR High School as the new athletic director and boys physical education teacher, expanding upon his role at the school where he has served as the beloved coach of the varsity baseball team for the past five years. Playing sports was always Coach DaCorta’s hobby and played a major role in his career choice. DaCorta graduated from Queens College with a BS in physical education and is completing his masters degree at Lehman College in health education.
Both Rabbi Ney and DaCorta are part of a cadre of SAR High School faculty, both old and new, who dedicate themselves to helping students push themselves beyond their comfortable limits.
Kushner Adds Distinguished New Faculty
Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky joins RKYHA as its director of interdisciplinary studies and educational outreach. From 2012-2018, Rabbi Sinensky served as rosh beit midrash of Kohelet Yeshiva in Lower Merion, PA, teaching high school courses as well as an interdisciplinary course on Jewish thought, Western philosophy and the humanities, for which he was awarded the inaugural Kohelet Prize.
A popular lecturer and author, Rabbi Sinensky serves as an editor of The Lehrhaus, a dynamic website of Jewish thought, and is pursuing a PhD in modern Jewish thought at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.
Previously, Rabbi Sinensky taught Judaic studies at MTA, HAFTR and TABC. He also served as rabbi of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Synagogue in New York and as Shoel U’meishiv for Nishmat’s U.S. Yoatzot Halacha Program. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees, as well as rabbinic ordination, from Yeshiva University, where he was a Wexner Honors Semicha and Kollel Elyon Fellow, and studied Jewish history and English literature. He spent three years studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion under the tutelage of HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l.
As director of interdisciplinary studies and educational outreach, Rabbi Sinensky will teach Judaic studies classes, collaborate with faculty to deepen the culture of interdisciplinary student learning throughout the high school and develop cutting-edge educational outreach programs for the school’s families and partner communities.
Shirley Gantz joins the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy’s middle school as the director of student activities. Gantz has spent the last 12 teaching years at Yavneh Academy and SAR where she taught on the Judaic Studies faculty and was a valuable member of the programming team. Shirley is a passionate educator who strives to recognize each student’s unique qualities and strengths and help each student meet his or her learning potential through fun and meaningful learning experiences that enable them to connect with Torah and its values on a personal level.
Shirley holds a Masters in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School and spent one year as a fellow in the year long fellowship, YU Teach. This summer she and her family moved from Teaneck to Springfield.
Aviva Wasserman joins Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy’s middle school as the middle school guidance counselor. Aviva spent the last eight and a half years at a foster sare agency in New York City as the assistant director of a large program working with the most at-risk children and teens within the foster care system.
Aviva is a licensed clinical social worker who is passionate about collaborating with parents and teachers to ensure that the social and emotional needs of each student are met in order to provide them with the best opportunity for academic and social growth.
Born and raised in Newton, MA, Aviva holds a degree in developmental child psychology from George Washington University and a masters in social work from Yeshiva University. She lives in Teaneck with her husband and two children.
Bruriah Middle School: Learning for Life
“Middle school years give kids a road map from the place they occupy in their world to the world beyond,” says teacher and author, Larry Sandomir. Middle school is not a stopping point on an adolescent’s journey. It’s an important time for a child to acquire the tools she will need for her future. So much of who one will become has to do with what is experienced during these years.
Earlier this year, Bruriah announced the expansion of its middle school to include sixth grade in its building. This much-anticipated move will enhance the already excellent quality of education each student receives. Bruriah Middle School, thrives under the warm, professional and creative leadership of Zehava Greenwald and enjoys an earned reputation for innovation. “Expanding our middle school to include sixth grade has been a dream of ours for many years, and it is exciting to see this dream becoming a reality.” The rebranding gives the middle school its own identity under the Bruriah umbrella.
The second notable addition to Bruriah Middle School is Faigy Leiter, a gem in the field of education and administration. Leiter, formerly an assistant principal in the JEC Lower School, joins Bruriah as an administrator and the sixth grade English/history teacher. Leiter, a Bruriah parent, has been a central part of the Lower School, impacting students and faculty in immeasurably positive ways. “Her genuine caring for every individual and personal warmth, along with her organizational skills, clarity, and ability to work with and lead a team, are just a handful of qualities she will bring to Bruriah,” says Rabbi Joseph Oratz, principal of Bruriah. Leiter is excited about her new beginning. As she says, “We are embarking on a host of exciting new beginnings. These initiatives will build upon the students’ elementary school accomplishments and finish laying the groundwork for the next stage in their lives. The Bruriah family is transitioning to this new phase and I am thrilled to be part of it.” With a new logo that incorporates various colors to represent each grade, and the middle-school sports teams renamed the Trailblazers, the students are ready to begin the upcoming school year inspired by the new look and feel of their middle school.