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Jewish learning Meet Our New MaTaRoT Master and Certificate Students

By Joshua Polanski

Building on Hebrew College’s long-standing tradition training outstanding Jewish educators, MaTaRoT: Hebrew College’s Center for Professional Learning and Leadership supports and prepares the educators to lead and teach our Jewish communities for years to come. MaTaRoT (which means “goals”) offers three tracks for professional development: professional development offerings not-for-credit, a new, revamped Master of Jewish Education that includes a spirituality focus, and new graduate level certificates for credit—which may count toward an MJED degree.

“What an incredible group of Jewish educators learning with, and from one another. It’s exciting to witness the diverse perspectives and wisdom each graduate educator brings as they continue their journey as Jewish educational leaders,” said Susan Morrel, senior advisor of the MJED Program, about the eleven graduate level students. “Whether delving into our Jewish spiritual education coursework, or a module in instructional leadership, students are engaging in deep understandings of theories and practices through a pluralistic lens which will enhance and enrich their career in the field of Jewish education.”

“We are very excited to be enrolling a group of talented students into our Certificate Program. These students are serving as educators in synagogue settings across the nation and are thereby playing such an important role in our national Jewish community,” said Hebrew College Vice President Susie Tanchel.

In this new program, our certificate program students will gain skills and understanding in a particular subject area that they can immediately apply to their work. They will also gain deep knowledge in a focused area which will further their own thinking and their educational choices in the future. “This is also a wonderful opportunity for these students to experience graduate school with a relatively short-term commitment, so they can see whether they might want to pursue a master’s degree in Jewish education,” added Tanchel.

We are very excited to introduce you to the newest members of the Hebrew College community—and we ask that you join us in welcoming these current and future Jewish educators.

The incoming MJED, Pardes Teacher Fellowship, and Certificate in Jewish Spiritual Education students include:

Julie Bir | Certificate in Jewish Spiritual Education

Julie Bir (she/her) is excited to join the Hebrew College program to bring new teaching ideas to her home community in Helena, MT. She is a board member of the Montana Jewish Project, a young nonprofit providing a Jewish cultural and community center in Montana. Julie holds a B.A. in religious studies and a Master’s in Social Work. Her day job is in public health, and she is passionate about community wellbeing and social justice. Outside of these roles, she loves spending time with her family and friends, researching queer and feminist Jewish prayers and rituals, and enjoys Star Trek and other sci fi and fantasy shows and books.

Hannah Fuller | Master of Jewish Education

Hannah Fuller joins us from her hometown of Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her partner and puppy. She’s spent her career in communications and community-building, most recently in a Jewish context. Currently, she works at a Seattle-area synagogue, where she focuses on membership, communications, and programming. She has a background in marketing and advertising, as well as a master’s degree and training in clinical psychology. As a convert herself, she is passionate about Jewish adult education, as well as the intersection of mental health and learning. She’s excited to find community and learning at Hebrew College and looking forward to the year ahead!

Ariana Hershon | Certificate in Leading and Learning

Ariana Hershon is the Director of Education at Temple Beth David. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Political Science. She spent many summers as a camper at Camp Young Judaea and seven summers on staff at Camp Ramah. Ariana is an alumna of the Diller Teen Fellows program and Birthright Israel Fellows program and spent time studying and living in Israel at the University of Haifa. In 2015, Ariana joined the staff at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Deerfield, Illinois as the Youth Director focusing on teens. She served as the Director of Education, Youth and Family Engagement, while overseeing the Religious School, community programming, Shabbat engagement, teens, and young families. In her free time, Ariana enjoys traveling, cooking, and baking, and spending time with her friends & family!

Tamara Kipper | Master of Jewish Education

Tamara Kipper is going into her fourth year as the Director of the Rafi Schwartz Religious School, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is deeply passionate about children’s education and helping them succeed. Her B.A. is in liberal studies, and she holds M.A. in Education. Tamara is excited to learn more and further her career with this new opportunity at Hebrew College. Tamara’s background has been focused on teaching in early childhood education and human resources. She grew up with a strong Jewish background and made aliyah where she lived in Israel teaching.

Kelly Klapper | Certificate in Jewish Spiritual Education

Kelly Klapper grew up in the Bible Belt heart of southwest Georgia, in a town where the Baptist megachurch ruled, and where her interfaith household was seen as incredibly “other.” As Kelly got older, she started taking her faith more seriously, and met her husband, who took her to conservative services with him. Her husband landed a job in Syracuse, New York—a place that might as well have been another planet compared to her Southern roots. There, they found a spiritual home at Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas. They’ve been there five years and have a three-year-old son. He’s the light of their lives and the reason Kelly is so committed to building up her synagogue’s youth and education programs. This year, Kelly is taking on a full-time role as Director of Youth and Education at CBS-CS.

Maayan Lev | Master of Jewish Education, Pardes Teacher Fellowship

Maayan Lev (he/him) is an emerging Jewish educator who comes to Hebrew College while concurrently enrolled as a rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion California. He has worked at various Jewish institutions, most recently serving as the student rabbi at Congregation Am HaYam in Ventura, California, and as the 4th grade Hebrew school teacher at Temple Sinai of Glendale, where he taught for the past nine years. Maayan has been a guest speaker on the intersection of Judaism and neurodiversity. He looks forward to continuing his spiritual and professional journey at Hebrew College.

Talia Rasiel | Master of Jewish Education

Talia Rasiel is originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina (but is a Duke fan, thank you very much!), went to boarding school in middle-of-nowhere western Massachusetts, did a gap year in Israel, and spent a very cold year in Middlebury, Vermont before making her way to the DC area. After graduating from American University with a B.A. in Jewish Studies, she joined the senior religious school team at Washington Hebrew Congregation. Pursuing her MJEd at Hebrew College is going to be the perfect complement to her work at the Religious School. She is particularly interested in pluralism, diversity, and accessibility in Jewish education.

Eliana Stein | Master of Jewish Education

Eliana Stein (she/her) is very excited to be starting the MJEd program at Hebrew College this fall! She is looking forward to learning more about emerging practices in Jewish education. Eliana is the Assistant Director of K-5 Learning Programs at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA. She moved to the Boston area for her undergrad program at Brandeis University and has lived here ever since. In her free time, Eliana likes to read, cook, and spend time in downtown Boston.

Learn more about MaTaRoT’s professional development offerings here.

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