Educator Reports

Below are reports from teachers who attended a wonderful Educators Conference on November 4, 2018. Twenty educators were in attendance. The event was hosted at Ben Porat Yosef Yeshiva Day School in Paramus, New Jersey. Coordinated and led by our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, the conference featured presentations by Rabbi Ilan Acoca, Rav Beit Sefer at Ben Porat Yosef; Rabbi Ariel Cohen, Mashgiach Ruchani and Director of Sephardic Education, Manhattan Day School; Rabbi Saul Zucker, Head of School at Ben Porat Yosef, and Rabbi Hayyim Angel. The discussion was lively and informative, and teachers have implemented ideas and materials that were made available during the conference. Many of the teachers have submitted reports on their ideas and implementation. We hope you will find them beneficial in inspiring further ideas and programs.

Shoshana Kaplan, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva

I had never been to a conference or class on Sephardic heritage before, and how to implement such material into the classroom environment and curriculum. I was intrigued because I previously worked in a school that had a large contingency of families with various Sephardic backgrounds, and didn’t know much to teach them. I had a challenging time in the beginning, as some students in that particular school associated Limudei Kodesh teachers with “being Sephardi,” and found it funny when I said I was Ashkenaz.

Nitza Adler, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva

When I teach Chumash or Navi in my eighth grade classes, I teach mefarshim to explain the pesukim. When I teach the classic machloket between Rashi and Ramban at the beginning of Parashat Kedoshim, I have the students do research on the life of Rashi and Ramban. I ask them to research where they came from, when they lived and what contributions they made. The same holds true each time I introduce another one of the commentaries. As a result of our conference, I make a concerted effort to stress that the different mefarshim that we analyze regularly, come from varied backgrounds.

Dalia Golbari, Yavneh Academy

I have done a lot of Sephardic traditions at Yavneh to name a few:

Rosh Hashana seder

I cooked and prepared everything in the kitchen for the entire grade. We ate every food representing the simanim of the new year. We relied the brachot and learned why we eat each food item.

Pesach seder.

I ran simultaneously an Ashkenazic and Sephardic seder. The children made kiddish in Sephardic tune and learned how the Persians hit each other with scallions in Dayenu (that was the hit of our seder).

Susan Ammer and Miriam Lewitinn, Yavneh Academy

Combining my Sephardic theme loosely to TuB'shvat, I am using the opportunity to explore our "family" trees and customs. 

I am also hoping that in the course of completing this form the parents & even extended family will have stories to share.

My plan is to have the children on a rotational basis present their families to all of us. If possible, and of course with parental consent, I am encouraging them to bring in pictures and artifacts as well that come from their countries of origin and/or are used in our various religious observances.

Yosef Sharbat, Kushner

I was excited to join the Sephardic educators conference led by Rabbi Hayyim Angel, theNational Scholar of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. It was an opportunity for me to learn from other educators great tools and resources to help bring Sephardic culture, customs and laws to the classroom. The wide range of presentations touched upon different subjects and provided the space for great conversations. I was able to use some of what I learned to teach the students a Chanukah lesson that infused Sephardic and Ashkenazic customs.

Rachel Levy, Ben Porat Yosef

It was a pleasure learning how to integrate Sephardic education into my daily teaching. After attending the seminar, I was enlightened and enthralled to share what I learned and of course to include the information in my interactions with students and colleagues. I was excited to imbue my teaching with the nuances of Sephardic halacha, hashkafa, and history. A few days after I was enlightened with the new and exciting information about Sephardic Judaism, a friend and former colleague, Jessica Feiwus, Elementary School teacher at Solomon Shechter of Manhattan, telephoned me.