Aug 1, 2005 — Four Montrealers are participating in an innovative program at Yeshiva University (YU) this summer. Edith Baumberg and Hana Cohen, teachers at Solomon Schechter Academy of Montreal; Rabbi Yamin Benarroch, dean of students, student advisor, and teacher at Hebrew Academy in Cote St. Luc; and Shalom Spira are part of a program spearheaded by the Canadian Jewish community to train local Jewish educators and education professionals.
Canadian Friends of Yeshiva University, in partnership with YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, initiated the program to address the critical shortage of qualified Jewish educators throughout Canada that may provide a model for other communities who share the same need.
By enlisting community support, Canadian Friends offers educators and professionals an opportunity to enhance their skills through a master’s program at Azrieli. The program meets during three consecutive summers at YU’s Wilf Campus in New York City, allowing students to continue teaching or working during the intervening months.
All students in the program receive full-tuition scholarships and a $5,000 stipend per semester for up to four semesters. In exchange, upon completion of the program, students return to Canada to be educators for at least three years in schools that represent the various streams of Jewish life there.
“The Canadian Jewish community has long suffered because many of its most talented educators have sought opportunities elsewhere,” said Dr. David Schnall, Azrieli dean. “This program encourages those who have a deep familiarity with local needs and traditions to upgrade their skills and make an important contribution to their home communities. It represents a forward-looking investment in Jewish education that can be easily replicated in communities all over.”
This summer is the second session since the program began. As part of the curriculum, participants teach at their home institutions under the supervision of an Azrieli faculty member who also runs workshops for faculty and administration at each of those schools.
“The single most important function of the Jewish community is to support a lifelong commitment to Jewish education. Every shred of data that has been generated suggests that the future of Jewish life and tradition will be decided in the classroom,” Dr. Schnall said.