Jewish Education Night celebrates teachers and Jewish learning in Tidewater

by | Jun 8, 2015 | Other News

The emphasis placed on Jewish learning in Tidewater was evident both in the number of people honored and the representation of many facets of the community at Jewish Education Night on May 19.

Professional, volunteer and youth educators were honored at the annual event, presented by the Simon Family Jewish Community Center, sponsored by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, and underwritten by the Lee A. and Helen G. Gifford Jewish Education Council Fund of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation.

Annabel Sacks, chair of the Jewish Education Council, began the program, noting in her welcoming address, “We are clearly a community dedicated to the importance of Jewish education and are indebted to all our educators.”

Awards were given to teachers, administrators, assistants and staff of day schools, synagogue religious schools and synagogue Sunday schools.

Highlights of the evening included special awards presented to two Jewish educators for the length of their service to the community. One was to Galina Lifshitz for 17 years as an aide in the kindergarten at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the other to Rychel Margolin for her 35 years of teaching at Hebrew Academy.

Approximately 60 young people were awarded Youth Awards in recognition of their work as aides, tutors and teachers in various classrooms in the community. Approximately 80 principals and teachers received Continuing Education certificates in recognition of their continued dedication to personal Jewish learning beyond what they do in their classrooms.

Joan London presented a special gift to each school: a copy of a curriculum written by Kitty Wolf based on the video Joan London created, Across Oceans and Generations—A Jewish History of Tidewater. Wolf also created a video montage of pictures from each area school in the community, highlighting the children in their learning environments.

“The most anticipated moment of the event is the announcement of the Jewish Educator of the Year, which is intended as a surprise,” says Miriam Brunn Ruberg, director of Jewish Life and Learning at the JCC.

The 2015 Educator of the Year honoree is Jill Mitcham who has been a teacher, a principal and even served as president of Congregation Beth Chaverim. It was clear that Mitcham was surprised and expressed her appreciation for the award.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the gift of a beautiful tzedakah box and illustrated Prayer for a Teacher presented to Miriam Brunn Ruberg in honor of her upcoming retirement. This gift was coordinated by Becky Winstead- Roberts on behalf of all the local schools and synagogues.

Other participants in the program included Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin, Rabbi Arthur Ruberg, Miles Leon, president UJFT, Marty Einhorn, president of the Simon Family JCC, Sharon Wasserberg, Zohar Ben Moshe and Rabbi Marc Kraus.