Sheila Katz '05
Sheila Katz '05 writes about her first year teaching in New York City: "School is
over at the end of June. I've been teaching 6th grade at an elementary school in East New York,
Brooklyn. Since my students are the oldest in the school, we are currently getting ready for
graduation. The year has gone well. We go on field trips every month and I try to incorporate real life
situations into the classroom. It's rough where I teach. East New York is the most 'dangerous' section
in all of NYC. It has a very high murder rate. My students all either live in a shelter or in the
projects and aren't privileged enough to have resources that most children have. On top of that, not
all of them have a steady family life which certainly affects how they act in school. My year has had
its ups and downs, but as the year is winding down I am working hard to make sure they are ready for
"Jewish Studies certainly plays a role in my job as a teacher. I am the first Jewish person my
students have ever interacted with. This year I brought in Hamentashen for my students and they keep
asking if I would bring in more of those 'Jewish Cookies'. I try to open their eyes to different
cultures. I had the class read 'Number the Stars' and we did a case study on Anne Frank. We even
watched the documentary 'Paper Clips' to show what students can do to learn about genocide.
"I also somehow found time to complete my first year of graduate school at Pace University. One more
year to go and I will have my Masters in Elementary Education. The day after school ends, I am heading
back up to the Union of Reform Judaism's Crane Lake Camp to be a Unit Head. I am very excited to return
there and get reconnected with Jewish youth. I hope that in a few years I can make a career being
involved with Jewish students."
Jessica Kamber '06
Jessica Kamber '06 writes that after a summer-long job search she recently started
work: "I am working for a non-profit called The Program for Women and Families in Allentown, PA. It is
an organization that works to help at-risk women become more self sufficient. In addition the program
also runs the Women's Work Release in Allentown. My official title is Housing Counselor/ Transitional
Residence Case Manager. I work with the women helping them sort out their housing needs when they are
paroled from the Work Release Center. I am also a case manager for women who live in our transitional
residence building. I love my job and was really trained on the job."
Rachel Fleishman '04
Rachel Fleishman '04, our first graduating Jewish Studies minor, is in Israel as an
“olah hadashah” (new immigrant), living in a central Tel Aviv apartment not far
from the beach. Barbara delighted to have lunch with her in May at a sidewalk café near her
neighborhood (see photo on right). In August Rachel will begin graduate study at Tel Aviv University,
working toward an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. In the meantime she’s enjoying her
job at an English Language School called the Wall Street Institute, where she works with students in
the computer room, helping them (in English) with vocabulary, grammar, or technical questions, and
teaching the orientation lesson to new students (in Hebrew).
After commencement, Rachel took off for a short-term teaching job in China: "Teaching 14 and 15-year
olds was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, and traveling around China was one of the
coolest things...I went to Chabad for Shabbat services and dinner when I was in Beijing. There were
Jews from all over the world there, and it certainly didn't feel like I was in the middle of China."
After returning from China, she worked as the administrative assistant for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Zev Forman '03
Zev Forman '03 was one of the former students I [Rebecca Lesses] wanted to make sure
I got together with during my summer visit to Israel (June/July 2006). During his years studying at IC
Zev was very enthusiastic about Israel (see this article Zev
wrote in the Ithacan in January 2003 about a recent visit to Israel). Zev has moved to Israel
and is currently living in Jerusalem, where he is studying at a two-year program to become an Israeli
tour guide. He has just finished working, for the time being, at the Jerusalem restaurant, Tmol Shilshom.
Zev and I got together at Cafe Hillel, on Emek Refaim St. in Jerusalem, one of Jerusalem's trendier
locations, and talked about his life in Jerusalem and hopes for the future. Even though he's still in
the tour guide course, he's already started to guide visitors around the country, including in
Jerusalem and hikes in the countryside; this summer he has been guiding the Ramah Seminar. We talked about the current political
situation (this was before fighting broke out with Hizbollah in mid-July).
He writes in a recent e-mail to Barbara Johnson: "I just hope that for the people of Northern Israel
and the innocent civilians of Lebanon, that all of this comes to an end quickly."
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