Chana Libedinsky, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration
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 from YU, these new alumni will hit the ground running.
This Commencement season, YU News will feature one remarkable graduate from each school, reflecting on their time here, their passions and their dreams for the future.
Meet the Class of 2016.
After a decade in Jewish education and communal leadership as a teacher and rebbetzin in Santiago, Chile, Chana Libedinsky knew that she wanted to refine her skills and incorporate cutting-edge techniques into her classroom and lectures. But finding the right program to help her get there was a struggle. “I always felt the need to continue growing in the area of chinuch [education], but in Chile, the option to study for a master’s degree in Jewish education just doesn’t exist,” she said.
So when Libedinsky discovered that the principal of the school where she taught had enrolled in an online program at Yeshiva University, she began to explore YU’s other online options and was thrilled to learn that the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration offered an online master’s in Jewish education. The program was a perfect fit for her.
“One of the unique advantages of the online master’s is that I can learn as if I was there,” said Libedinsky. The ability to work at her own pace was also important. “I could study and improve with amazing teachers in a professional program while still managing all the things I needed to do as an educator, mother of five children and the wife of a rabbi with communal responsibilities. I also received scholarship assistance to make sure it was possible for me to attend.”
Even though she was thousands of miles away and studying in another language—“Since I’m Chilean, my mother tongue is Spanish, and even though I’m fluent in Hebrew and English, it can still be challenging”—Libedinsky felt a personal connection with the faculty in her program. “Dr. Ilana Turetsky opened up a world of educational strategies and techniques for me and was always there to answer questions and give positive feedback, and Dr. Jeffrey Glanz’s Understanding Diverse Learners and Curriculum and Assessment courses made me push myself to higher levels of professionalism,” she said. “Dr. Aviva Wasser made me rethink my ideas about teaching and the impact we have on students. Whenever I felt I could put into practice something I learned—a new technique or strategy or being able to solve a difficult situation with the tools I learned at Azrieli—I felt a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment.”
But for Libedinsky, her most exciting achievement was graduating from the master’s program she attended while working in the field and raising her family. She can’t wait to start integrating what she’s learned in her classroom: “I want to focus on applying each of the educational principles I learned in Azrieli with my students and to keep refining my skills in the areas of administration and curriculum development. I take much pride in my newly-acquired skills as a teacher, I have a broader vision about the importance of the job I’m doing and I feel empowered to continue growing and becoming better.”