This fall, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Education, in partnership with the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, launched the inaugural year-long Teaching Impact Fellowship. The program, led by Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, MAJE ‘08, Recruitment and Leadership Development Associate, is comprised of a cohort of 21 impressive and talented college-age fellows who serve as religious school teachers across North America.
Investing in Jewish supplementary school teachers is important and necessary work for the future of Jewish education. Throughout the Teaching Impact Fellowship, teachers develop and deepen their teaching knowledge and skills, grow as educators and leaders, and build and strengthen their professional network. Teaching Impact Fellows have access to professional learning and leadership development with our world-class faculty, mentorship and coaching with leading Jewish educators in the field, and a supportive cohort of peers.
The director and creator of the fellowship, Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, explains how the fellowship came to be: “We created this fellowship because we saw a gap in our field. So many of our college students and young adults are choosing to teach in religious schools. When teachers are equipped with professional learning, the right resources, and supportive mentorship, they are more likely to have a positive and transformative experience as educators, and all the more likely to assume a professional or lay leadership role in the Jewish community. The Teaching Impact Fellowship was a chance to offer value to our teachers, their learners, our congregational educators, and the field of Jewish education as a whole.”
These fellows were nominated by their supervisors and selected for their excellence in teaching, commitment to their work, and leadership potential. Throughout the year, they attend six live online learning sessions with the entire cohort, all of which are taught by the School of Education faculty, and eight monthly group-mentoring sessions. They also continue their learning between sessions through resources created by our faculty. Fellows who complete the program receive a stipend and a certificate of completion.
Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, Ed.D. ‘94, ‘95, Director of the Master of Educational Leadership Program, shared, “This fellowship is responding to a real need in congregations and Jewish educational settings. It is an opportunity to provide fundamental learning and mentorship to young adult novice teachers who are curious about teaching and learning and seeking opportunities to grow. It also opens doors into the field of Jewish education and Jewish educational leadership. It is our hope that the fellows will walk through those doors as they consider the next steps on their professional journeys.”
As students begin their second semester, Teaching Impact Fellow Danielle Wolff, a teacher at Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, IL, reflects on her experience so far: “The fellowship has truly been a highlight of my semester. It is energizing to learn with other dedicated and innovative young educators who are just as passionate about Jewish learning as I am. The fellowship has given me a space to explore and learn about how to be the best educator for my current and future students. I am so glad I am able to kickstart my journey into the field of Jewish education with the Teaching Impact Fellowship!”
Teaching Impact Fellow Emily Wise, a teacher at Beth Israel Congregation in Toronto, ON, shared, “This fellowship has proved to be an even greater experience than I could have expected. My favorite part is the close relationship built with my mentor. I have already learned so much about teaching, learning, and myself these past few months, and I am excited to see what the new year brings!”
Teaching is a challenging endeavor, yet it can be a deeply rewarding experience with the right support in place. The School of Education and the entire HUC community are thrilled to support a program that provides these talented teachers with invaluable knowledge and skills, fosters their personal and professional growth, and helps launch the beginning of their Jewish leadership journey. The HUC Teaching Impact Fellows are the future of the Jewish community and we are honored to accompany and support them on this path.
Introducing the 2021-2022 HUC-JIR Teaching Impact Fellows:
Alex Kraft, Temple Israel of Omaha, Omaha, NE
Amy Anjolie Kaplan, Temple Beth Am, Miami, FL
Arielle Klein, Adat Chaverim, Plano, TX
Barbie Goldstein, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, D.C.
Courtney Shapiro, Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, NJ
Dalia Bernstein, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, D.C.
Danielle Pattiz, Temple Emanu-El, San Jose, CA
Danielle Wolff, Congregation Or Shalom, Vernon Hills, IL
Emily Wise, Shaarei Shomayim, Toronto, Ontario
Gabby Tropp, Beth Israel Congregation and Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Jackson, MS
Gabriela Cohen, Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase, MD
Jacob Lewis, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, D.C.
Karen Bender, Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, Rye, NY
Kendall Gnat, Beth Israel Congregation, Kingston, Ontario
Lisa Friedman, Temple Beth Hillel, Valley Village, CA
Noah Horowitz, Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, NJ
Rayn Dubin, East End Temple, New York, NY
Sarah Meadows, Temple Beth Am, Seattle, WA
Sean Arison, Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades, CA
Sidney Hacker, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Shalom, Westmount, Quebec
Sophie Kieffer, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA