Professor Deena Rabinovich is the director of the Legacy Heritage Foundation program at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, where she has also taught Tanakh since 2004. Deena taught Chumash at Yeshiva University High School for Girls from 2004 through 2009. Prior to that, she taught Tanakh, Torah She-be-al Peh, and English literature at the North Shore Hebrew Academy Middle School in Great Neck, where she also served as assistant principal. A doctoral candidate at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, she is a winner of the Gruss Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. During the 1997-1998 academic year, she participated in the Lead Educators Education program at the Melton Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her interests include Tanakh and the Hebrew language.


1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were in school?

I had no idea. I tried psychology, then psychobiology, but was still taking classes that I enjoyed. It was only in the middle of my junior year, when I had to declare a major, that I realized at I had almost completed a major in English lit.  In the end I had a double major- in English Lit and Judaic Studies. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my majors after I graduated. How I got into the field of education is a whole other story.


2. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

In both my Tanakh classes and my Jewish Ed classes, I enjoy working with my students- challenging them to see things in a new perspective. I enjoy hearing their contributions to class discussions that show they are internalizing what they have learned. I particularly enjoy hearing from students after they have graduated.


3. How have your past experiences prepared you for your current position?

I have been teaching for over thirty years in various classrooms, in various educational environments, for students of various ages. One important thing I have learned, to paraphrase John Donne, is that no teacher is an island unto himself. No teacher should feel that the entire weight of a child’s education rests on his or her shoulders. Education is a partnership and is best accomplished by the various constituents working together to achieve a common goal. Within the school, it is a partnership between the administration and the teachers, between the child’s teacher one year and the child’s teacher the following year. Outside the school, it is a partnership between the parents and the school, and between the school and the community. When all the partners are aligned and the message is clear, the child thrives.


4. What are some of your goals as Director of the LEGACY HERITAGE FUND JEWISH EDUCATORS PROJECT?

My main goal for the Legacy Heritage Jewish Educators Project is to prepare young women to enter the field of Jewish Education. They enter the program with a love of working with children and a love of Torah. My job is to harvest their passion and to channel it in a productive way to help them achieve their goals. I want my graduates to enter the work force with a deep understanding of the content they wish to teach and a knowledge of the best practices to transmit that content to their students. I want my graduates to be reflective practitioners who seek to constantly learn and grow. I want my graduates to bring a professionalism to the discipline of teaching, and for schools and communities to respect them in return as professionals.


5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

That I can’t carry a tune [luckily, my grandchildren don’t seem to mind.]




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