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Jewish learning Meet Our New Director of Adult Learning

By Joshua Polanski

Hebrew College is proud and excited to introduce our new Director of Adult Learning, Kim Bodemer. She is currently the senior Director of Congregational Learning and Engagement at Temple Shalom of Newton and has also served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Chayai Shalom in South Easton and the Director of Education at Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro.

A woman smiling in front of a plain background.How did you first become part of Hebrew College’s orbit?

I’ve been involved with Hebrew College for more than a dozen years. I began working with Marion Gribetz as part of the consulting team for Hebrew College’s MaTaRoT’s Project Based Learning. As part of this team, I’ve had the privilege to work with educators not only in the Boston area but across the United States and even Amsterdam. It’s been exciting work. I love getting to know different communities and the values that drive their programs. Lifting up the gifts, talents, and interests of their teaching staff and students and collaborating to design meaningful projects that leverage these elements is rewarding.

How important has continual education been to you, personally?

As someone who comes from a family of educators, learning is something that has been a core value in my life. My home congregation’s mission statement is, “every member a learner, every learner a teacher.” This statement resonates with me, understanding that at times, whether formally or informally, we all play these roles.

What about Hebrew College and its mission excites you the most?

The personal statement on my resume declares that I am a serial innovator. I’m someone who welcomes change and enjoys dreaming big. I am excited to work for an institution that celebrates innovation and is not afraid to think outside the box.

What do you hope to bring to the new role and how do you envision the future for our Adult Learning programs?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been learning about the depth and breadth of Adult Learning offerings at Hebrew College. It’s quite remarkable. As I begin this new position, I am setting aside time to meet with each member of the Adult Learning team to build relationships and listen to their needs. I’m planning on extending these conversations to the wider Hebrew College community, including other staff and stakeholders, to gather ideas on how we can build on an already successful program to meet the unique needs of today’s learners.

How has your career and educational experience prepared you for this new role?

My professional career began as a classroom teacher in a public school. When I made the move to teaching in the Jewish world, I held a variety of roles focusing on educating and engaging children and teens. During the last eight years, I’ve added adult learning to my portfolio. It’s been so wonderful to pay attention to and create meaningful opportunities for adults who are interested in joining the chain of tradition of exploring Jewish wisdom. I am excited to oversee this department and consider additional ways to reach out to and inspire adult learners.

What’s one “fun fact” about yourself?

I had my 15-minutes of fame quite early in my life as I had the chance to be on the television show “Romper Room.”

Is there anything else you’d like our community to know about you?

I love to meet new people and hear their stories. Please reach out if you’d like to set up a time to meet.

Find out more about our Adult Learning programs and offerings on our website. Our new course catalog with summer classes can be found here. Register now!

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