Moussia Hazan Kaplan, Wurzweiler School of Social Work
Students of all ages and backgrounds come to Yeshiva University to pursue a range of professional and personal dreams, from scientific research and medicine to law, Jewish education and the creative arts. Our students seek to harness their unique talents and YU education to make a lasting impact on the world around them. This spring, when they graduate, these new alumni will hit the ground running.
Meet the Class of 2016.
Wurzweiler School of Social Work MSW graduate Moussia Hazan Kaplan had always been interested in people’s behavior and their way of dealing with situations. “That’s what probably brought me into social work,” recounted Kaplan. “I loved helping people! When I was older and faced with people’s bigger challenges, I felt that I didn’t always know how to help them.”
Growing up in Milan, Italy, Kaplan was also inspired by the example of her parents, who serve as Lubavitch shluchim [emissaries]: “My parents dedicate so much time to others; they do anything possible in order to help someone else with love and respect.”
Kaplan, who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, first moved to New York in tenth grade, for high school. After attending seminary in Israel and teaching first graders in Italy for a year, she completed her bachelor’s degree in social work at Bar-Ilan University.
While at Wurzweiler, Kaplan conducted her fieldwork with Orthodox high schoolers in Brooklyn through MASK, a Jewish Orthodox referral agency that assists parents and their at-risk children. She worked under the supervision of Dr. Michael Katch, which she called “outstanding.”
“I am so grateful for the opportunity I had here, to be exposed to such a wide range of struggles people are faced with, and to meet up with such dedicated people who love what they are doing and go beyond what’s expected of them in order to reach out and help out one more person in need,” said Kaplan.
In Brooklyn, Kaplan’s religious background has been an asset, providing built-in cultural sensitivity that her clients find reassuring. “They see a person who looks like them, and they don’t think of me as a social worker, but as an understanding person who they can talk to” she said.
Kaplan was recently awarded a Health Resources and Services Administration grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is designated to provide clinical services to high-risk teenagers and requires a commitment of two years’ service. She will also contribute to an upcoming trauma study with Wurzweiler Interim Dean Nancy Beckerman, who described Kaplan as “one of the most poised, insightful, mature students” she has worked with. Dr. Ronnie Glassman, director of field instruction, remarked on Kaplan’s exceptional “depth of understanding of different cultural groups.”
Kaplan expressed appreciation for the outstanding instruction of Beckerman, Glassman, Professors Rozetta Wilmore-Schaeffer, Gavriel Fagin, Richard Caputo and other Wurzweiler faculty, who she said taught riveting courses with clarity and fostered an open, respectful learning atmosphere. “Everyone does their job with so much passion,” she said. “From the first second I came into this school, I knew Wurzweiler was the right place to pursue my education. It was so warm. It was not only a university, but a place where people really care about you and want the best for you and give you the best education possible.”
Eventually, Kaplan hopes to work in a professional setting alongside a wide variety of mental health practitioners and social workers. “When you deal with people, you are not dealing with machines; there are no games—it’s real life,” she said, noting that she would at some point like to work with at-risk children. “If I want to be a social worker and take upon myself the privilege and responsibility of working with people, I must never stop learning.”