Can you feel the Yavneh community energy? The Welcome Back Bash on Sunday was the perfect start for our school year – reconnecting with families across grades, welcoming new families, and being all together felt just right. Things only got better when we welcomed our students into the building through a balloon arch, gathered together for an opening assembly, and saw smiling faces all day long.
At the opening assembly, we introduced Rabbi Levenberg to the students. We are thrilled that she is joining our educational team as our Interim School Rabbi. She will be on campus a few days a week focusing on co-leading T’fillah, teaching Beit Midrash in Middle School, supporting faculty, and coordinating holiday programming. As a rabbi and Jewish educator, she is passionate about building an inclusive, celebratory Jewish community, rooted in values and social justice. She sees Jewish text and tradition as a path to meaning and connection. Rabbi Levenberg received her Masters in Jewish Education from the HUC-JIR School of Education in 2000 and was ordained as a rabbi in 2002.
In addition to Rabbi Levenberg, we introduced all of the faculty to the students. Returning to Yavneh as our Alef/First grade team are Morah Aviva Greenberg and Ms. Cindy Dao – it’s wonderful to have them back on campus! Ms. Kari Wolff remains a vital part of our faculty and will be supporting our Gan, Alef and Bet students this year in addition to bolstering our Project Based Learning.
Vered Zimmerman and Erin Ostilly have decided to spend this year focusing on their families. Morah Vered shared her love of Hebrew with her students here for the last six years – we will miss her warm smile and dedication. Erin Ostilly played many roles at Yavneh. She first joined the Yavneh community as a parent and then we learned that she was a seasoned educator. After a few attempts, we recruited her to be Dean of Learning and Instruction, K-5, and then our Director of Learning Support. Erin always kept the students at the center of her work making sure that their academic, social, and emotional needs were met. As part of our Educational Admin team, Erin added valuable insights, formed partnerships with parents and outside agencies to support students, and navigated ever changing schedules. We are grateful that she and her family will remain part of the Yavneh community.
Today, our Gan, Alef and Bet students met Margaux Millman, who will be working with Lior and teaching their music classes. Margaux is a music educator, conductor, and music curriculum specialist originally from the Washington, D.C. area. While living on the east coast, Margaux spent 7 years as a choral and general music teacher, private voice and piano teacher, and curriculum writer for the Fairfax County Public Schools. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. Margaux will be on campus each Thursday.
While change can sometimes feel overwhelming, it also provides opportunities for new ideas, fresh perspectives, and different relationships. I know that you will join me in welcoming Morah Aviva, Ms. Dao and Margaux as well as thanking Morah Vered and Erin.