The only constant in Rabbi Gidon Shoshan’s career is change. And his instrument for innovation is developing hands-on connections with students, young adults and fellow educators.
Rabbi Aharon Friedler will do most anything to reach and teach his students at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. Just recently, Friedler, who teaches Judaic Studies and AP Computer Science to high school students, had been looking for a way to engage a young man who seemed shy and seldom spoke up in class. He discovered the boy was a hockey goalie. “Well, in high school I was a hockey captain,” Friedler says proudly. “So, I challenged him to a shootout, took the whole class with us and I didn’t score a single point. That smile I got after was priceless to me.”
It was at Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies (GSJS) that Benny Berlin honed his mind and found his voice. Now considered one of the modern Orthodox world’s most educated and dynamic young spiritual leaders, Rabbi Berlin credits GSJS with honoring his calling and refining his oratory gifts. “Without the loving guidance and the level of brilliance of the professors,” Berlin says, “I wouldn’t have the skills or the open heart to be where I am today.”
We talked with Graduate School of Jewish Studies alum Rabbi Eliezer Rubin, Head of School, Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School (RKYHS). Read how he uses his role as principal to create outcomes that go beyond our current circumstances.
Rabbi Gershom Tave had always expected more of the education system. When he couldn’t find schools that fit his vision, Tave, a student at Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies (GSJS), decided to get involved in a new one. Da’ehu expects to open in Passaic as a Montessori preschool in Fall of 2021.
Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies now offers its master’s degree in Jewish Studies with concentrations in Jewish History and Jewish Education both in-person and online. All online classes will be taught by the distinguished scholars and experts who teach at Touro’s New York City campus. Students will become part of the Graduate School of Jewish Studies community whether they are participating from locations in the United States or around the world.
Dr. Stuart Klammer, professor of Jewish Education at Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies and dean of Touro College Israel, is a leading expert in education. A former teacher and principal, Dr. Klammer has developed recommendations for achieving excellence in virtual teaching to help educators adapt to the realities of the COVID pandemic. “There are three key elements of excellent teaching that every educator needs to include, whether in person or online. They are: checking for understanding, goal setting, and skillful use of multimedia,” he said. Dr. Klammer offers advice for incorporating these elements into virtual classrooms.
Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies (GSJS) M.A. student Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth is a leading scholar as well as a student. His book, The Narrow Halakhic Bridge: A Vision of Jewish Law in the Post-Modern Age, was published in May to great acclaim. The book presents a comprehensive exploration of the components of the Halakhic system.
Studying the Holocaust is Dr. Aleksiun’s calling. “On the one hand,” she explains, “It’s a horrific tragedy. To the extent to which it can be used for learning, however, it is imperative to examine what enabled it to happen.” As a professor of Modern Jewish History and the Holocaust at Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies for the last 14 years, Dr. Aleksiun specializes in the social, political and cultural history of modern East European Jewry. She has written extensively on the subject. Her book, Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust, will be published as part of the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization series in 2020.
Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies welcomed its first Ph.D. program candidates in September 2018. In doing so, Touro furthers its commitment to academic excellence in Jewish Studies and ensures that there will be scholars and teachers available to fill future vacancies for Jewish academics in high schools, colleges and graduate schools. The new doctoral program will build upon Touro’s highly-regarded master’s program in Jewish Studies, and augment Touro’s already considerable contributions, through published writings and scholarship, to the collective knowledge of the intellectual, social and political history of the Jewish people in the past millennium.