Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women is excited to welcome its first cohort of Anita Zucker Jewish Early Childhood Educators to campus this Fall 2023. The Anita Zucker Scholarship for Jewish Early Childhood Education is the brainchild of noted early childhood philanthropist and advocate, Anita Zucker. Zucker, a former classroom teacher herself and CEO of The InterTech Group Inc., a North Charleston-based global manufacturing conglomerate, recently gifted $5 million to YU to establish the Anita Zucker Program for Jewish Early Childhood Education. Her dedication to the field of education has resulted in initiatives across the country to professionalize and incentivize the field of early childhood education. This scholarship makes it possible for undergraduate students who are interested in early childhood education to become professionals without financial hardship, and it will lead the way in transforming the status of Jewish early childhood education.
The first group of five Jewish early childhood educators have embarked on a rigorous course of study at Stern College for Women this Fall. Supported by scholarships of $20,000 per year, the Zucker scholars are poised to have a great impact on the field of Jewish early childhood education, which is vital to increasing Jewish identity, practice and communal involvement. Read below to learn more about the Zucker scholars’ background and commitment to Jewish early childhood education.
Aviv Amar graduated as Co-Salutatorian of Yeshiva University High School for Girls and then continued her studies at Beit Midrash for Women – Migdal Oz in Israel. Aviv spent three years tutoring underserved youth, volunteering her time to teach general education to early childhood aged children. She has also worked in early childcare for over six years at a nursery summer camp and Sunday groups at a local shul. Aviv hopes to use this opportunity as a member of the first cohort of Anita Zucker Scholars to gain the tools to teach, inspire, and motivate the next generation of Yeshiva students in their Yiddishkeit early on, and to guide young children in the process of creating a meaningful, long lasting, and unwavering connection with Hashem that will carry them through as they grow and develop.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, as the youngest of seven children, Eshrat Botach grew up in a religious Jewish household, attending an Orthodox school. She moved to Las Vegas with her family at the age of thirteen, integrating into a more secular Jewish day school. Having always been interested in early childhood education, Eshrat realized the importance of instilling Jewish values at a young age. Working at the Friendship Circle of Las Vegas only furthered her passion. Eshrat is excited to study Early Childhood Jewish Education at Yeshiva University, Stern College for Women in Manhattan, with the intention of pursuing a career in teaching. She looks forward to the next three years of study and beginning her journey into furthering her own passion for educating the next generation.
Anina Jasper-Brody grew up in Riverdale, New York. She attended SAR Academy and SAR High School and was the leader and founder of the Chai Lifeline club. Following high school, Anina attended Midreshet Harova, in the Old City of Jerusalem, where she learned Torah and fostered close relationships with her teachers and Rabbis. From a young age, Anina admired her teachers and the personal care and devotion that each of them showed her. She took this appreciation and began to channel it into the desire to provide similar service and become a teacher herself. During summers, Anina works as a counselor at Camp Moshava Indian Orchard. In her free time, Anina loves learning Torah, specifically, and reading Mussar sefarim. Anina lives in Riverdale NY with her mother and twin brother.
Rebecca (Becca) Max grew up in Teaneck, NJ, and graduated from SAR High School in 2022. Following high school, she attended seminary at Tiferet. Becca has worked with children at Camp HASC, SAR Academy’s early learning center and The Manhattan Children’s Center. She really appreciated the mentoring she received from the cooperating teachers who took the time to explain their pedagogical techniques and insights. An accomplished gymnast and gymnastics coach, Becca was able to recognize that not every child masters skills in the same way, and it is this subtlety that characterizes effective teaching and learning across all fields. She aspires to a career in Early Childhood Education, particularly to pursue ways to enable children with different needs to benefit from a more inclusive Jewish education.
Carly Sorscher is from Chicago, Illinois. She attended Ida Crown Jewish Academy for high school and studied in Israel at Tiferet. Throughout high school, she led the youth groups at her shul and spent the summers working at a local Jewish day camp. She served as the president of Yachad for Yachad Chicago during her senior year of high school. Carly was also highly involved in planning ICJA Takes The Stage and Ida Crown Girls Club, both of which were started by the school to encourage women’s self-growth and leadership skills. All of these experiences helped pave the way for her decision to major in Jewish Early Childhood Education and she is excited to begin her journey at Stern.