Rabbi Yossi Bennettt, originally of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, NY, graduated YU’s High School for Boys before learning at various yeshivot in Israel, during which time he earned his BA in Talmudic Law and certification from Torah Educators Institute, a division of Torah Umesorah. After returning tothe United States, he learned at Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv for a little over six years, where he earned his rabbinical ordination and his Master’s in Talmudic Law.
“I decided to attend Azrieli for my Master’s because I saw it as a tremendous opportunity to learn and glean from some of the most talented personalities in the field of Jewish education,” said Bennett. “I was excited to develop a more solid understanding of concrete methodologies and pedagogy in the field to which I have decided to devote my life.”
In particular, Bennett praised Dr. Rona Novick, Director, Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Division of Doctoral Studies, and Dr. Pelcovitz, to opening his eyes to the enormous amount of psychology necessary to serve as a proper educator. He also spoke highly of Dr. Moshe Krakowski’s course, Learning and Cognition and Dr. Glanz, who introduced to him the concepts of curriculum and assessment and their roles in education.
“I think the two courses that affected my teaching the most, though, were Dr. Laya Salomon’s course on Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Rabbi Dr. Chaim Feuerman’s course on Models of Teaching,” said Bennett. “Both courses, although very different, had a tremendous amount of practical, implementable techniques which I have since incorporated into my teaching.” [Dr. Salomon is the Director of the Mendheim Student Teaching and Internship Project and Rabbi Dr. Feuerman is the Project’s Chair and the Golda Koschitzky Chair in Jewish Education.]
He continued, “Dr. Salomon removed a lot of the fear of DI that I had felt prior to her course. She instructed, critiqued and suggested how to utilize DI to the fullest in my particular situation and completely understood when something didn’t “fit” with me or my students. Rabbi Dr. Feuerman’s course, although it seemed very elementary, changed a lot of how I teach and forced me to be more aware of what I am doing in the classroom from CFU’s to chavrusa learning to positive, intrinsic reinforcement.”
He currently serves as the assistant principal of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov (MAY) on Long Island, in addition to directing both the athletic program and college guidance department. “I have been making changes and suggestions to preexisting curricula, styles of teaching and methods of assessment, among other things, based on what I learned at Azrieli. I hope that one day, I will be able to develop my philosophy of education to influence an even larger audience and on a broader scale,” he said. Bennett lives on the Lawrence/Far Rockaway border with his wife, Malkie, and their four children, Akiva, Shira, Moshe and Atara.