Yael GoldfischerWhen describing her current life situation Yael Goldfisher exclaims: “I love to both learn and teach!  Being able to pursue my passion as a career is extremely rewarding.”  Yael, who lives with her husband, David (see accompanying Revel student profile), and their four children in Teaneck, New Jersey, has been teaching Chumash at The Frisch School since 2004. In 2008 she became Director of Israel Guidance for Girls, and in 2010 she was appointed Chair of Frisch’s Chumash department.  Recently, Yael returned to Revel to study toward a Master’s degree in Bible. But this is actually her second time around, since Yael already earned an MA in medieval Jewish history at Revel in 2005.

Indeed, passion for learning has long characterized Yael. As a junior in high school, she avidly memorized biographies of the rishonim (the great medieval Jewish sages). As an undergraduate in the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Yeshiva University’s Stern College, Yael double-majored in philosophy and Jewish studies, and sought out the most challenging teachers—including Professors David Shatz and Haym Soloveitchik, whose classes forced her to think deeply and expand her intellectual horizons. After graduating as Valedictorian of her class, it seemed natural for Yael to take her scholarship to a higher level by pursuing a Master’s degree in Jewish history at Revel.

Though fully engaged as a high school teacher and administrator, Yael has never given up on her passion for leDavid and Yael Goldfischerarning—which has brought her back to Revel for another Master’s degree, this time in Bible. Yael finds that she most enjoys learning about the various commentators within their respective cultural contexts, a study that combines her interests in Bible interpretation and in Jewish history. Moreover, it allows her to trace themes across disciplines and form a fuller understanding of the trajectory of Jewish tradition. These themes permeate Yael’s Frisch classrooms, ensuring that her curriculum continues to develop and the standards of her teaching continue to rise as she expands her own scholarship.

Yael’s ultimate goal is to inspire her students to themselves become part of the chain of the tradition of Jewish learning. “When I was a high school student,” Yael recalls, “my Chumash teacher, Mrs. Teitz, shed a tear when we reached Moshe Rabbinu’s death.  She had followed him through his ups and downs as we studied….  She related to the Torah not only intellectually but in a deeply emotional way.  It is this connection to [learning]… that I hope my students attain.” In her own way, Yael is successful at achieving this goal. “The students at Frisch appreciate my continuing education,” she explained.  By returning to graduate-level study herself, Yael provides her students with a living model of the importance of in-depth Jewish scholarship as a life-long pursuit.

This article was written by Rivka Skaist (Revel MA student, Jewish Philosophy)




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