Before making aliyah from Teaneck five years ago, Rabbi Dovi Shenkman was involved in formal and informal Jewish education through his positions as an instructor at the SINAI Program at Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) and through serving as youth director at Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange and on staff at Camps Moshava and HASC.
Currently residing in Ramat Beit Shemesh with wife Danielle and five children, Shenkman is a rebbe at Ashreinu, an American gap year yeshiva headed by Rabbi Gotch Yuddin in Ramat Beit Shemesh. As a rebbe of first year students, Shenkman is currently “zooming” three shiurim to his students daily.
In discussions with fellow educators who also recently made aliyah, Shenkman realized that due to COVID-19 there may well be a need for additional instruction for American day school students in grades 1-12 who are isolating in their homes. Recognizing the many creative programs being offered by the American day schools, Shenkman and his friends believed that there still remained several areas where they could be of assistance: special education, providing assistance with “after-school” homework assignments, and by providing classes and tutorials on Sundays.
Comprising Shenkman’s team are educators with degrees in social work and regular and special education. Netanel Goldstein, Shenkman’s partner in “My Israel Tutor” (MIT), worked at SINAI TABC for four years before making aliyah last summer. Other Bergen County expats include Eliana Polayeff from Teaneck, who taught at Ma’ayanot and served as a division head at camp at Mesorah. Mark Polayeff of Englewood was also on staff at Camp Mesorah and currently serves as director of operations at NCSY Kollel. Sarah Goldstein, a Teaneck native, taught at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey before making aliyah this past summer. Team member Rebecca Klein is also an educator from Teaneck.
The team, as well as other American educators now living in Israel, have the educational background to tutor Judaic as well as secular studies. In addition, they can offer accelerated Gemara shiurim to gap and post-gap year students. Depending on how the upcoming summer situation evolves, they will be available during July and August as well.
By Pearl Markovitz