GET TO KNOW ME
Hey there! My name is Jennifer and I started my Jewish education when I was two months old in synagogue Mommy and Me. I became a Bat Mitzvah, was confirmed in 10th grade, and also served as a Madricha (teacher’s assistant) in religious school during all four of my high school years. I attended UCLA where Judaism continued to be a big part of my life. I was a Jewish Studies minor, worked as the rabbi’s assistant at Hillel, participated on the Jewish Leadership Council, baked weekly for the national Challah for Hunger program, and won the sweetheart title of the AEPi fraternity.
After college, I moved to Spain for a year to teach English in Madrid. As my expat experience was coming to an end, I knew I would need a job once I got back to the States. While I was working at a summer camp in a remote village in the north of Spain, I sent an email to the religious school principal at my synagogue inquiring about the possibility of teaching. After camp, I made it back to a town large enough to have wifi only to discover that the inquiry had manifested into an actual teaching position. I was scheduled to teach 2nd and 5th grade starting in a few weeks. That first class of 5th graders are starting college this year. This absolutely blows my mind.
I have been teaching Hebrew and Judaica to B’nei Mitzvah students for eight years now and I could not love teaching more. Judaism is my culture and my ethnicity and as such, it is important to me to educate subsequent generations about the holidays, the foods, the customs, and the prayers. Teaching the prayers are especially important because prayers and the words of the Torah transcend locale. I could travel to Russia or Ethiopia and I might not be able to communicate with fellow Jews in Russian or one of the 83 different languages spoken in Ethiopia, but we can connect through the V’ahavta prayer. These words are the same globally and these words will continue to be the same for eternity. My personal responsibility as a Jew is to keep the words of the prayers alive just like our ancestors did through Inquisitions, Temple destructions, and the Holocaust.
What’s my teaching style? I loosely follow what games are popular on Twitch, have 360 followers on TikTok, and have watched the first season of Outer Banks. None of those “skills” will teach your kids Hebrew, but I am relatable enough to make our lessons somewhat entertaining. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that kids who are completely disinterested in prepping for their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs find lessons with me tolerable. And, kids who have an interest in Hebrew and Judaica will actually be enthusiastic for our meetings. My goal is to prepare my students fully for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah while making it enjoyable enough for them so that when they do go off to college or start a family, they will remember their Bar/Bat Mitzvah fondly and want to further explore and connect to Judaism.