This blog is the first in a series designed to introduce you to the amazing teachers at our school and share some of their stories with you.
As many of you know, Shira Rosenblatt teaches Hebrew, Tefillah, and Trope at Ezra. She is also part of our Academic Support Team and one of the most patient and kind-hearted people I know. When I talked with her this week, we talked about what had inspired her to become a teacher.
Shira immediately attributed her love of teaching (and learning!) to her own father, who she describes as an open-minded, non-judgemental educator and Orthodox rabbi. She also described him as a rebel of sorts, and the “black sheep of the family”.
As we talked, Shira reflected on her close relationship with her father and its continued effect on her as an adult. She explained how her father had strong convictions from a very young age. Ignoring his parents’ demands that he continue the family’s strict Orthodox rabbinical lineage, Shira’s father enrolled in a Ph.D. program in mathematics at Columbia University, fell in love, and married the love of his life-- a ballet dancer with the Metropolitan Opera! They soon moved to Texas, then on to California where they settled and raised Shira and her siblings in the Modern Orthodox Synagogue that he established and led.
Shira didn’t start teaching until after a successful career as a nurse. She and her husband moved to New Haven, started a family of their own and joined Temple Beth Sholom where they are still members today. After the loss of her father and later, her mother, Shira revisited her own commitment to Judaism. Encouraged by Rabbi Scolnic, she read from the Torah in a bat mitzvah of her own-- something she had not had the opportunity to do as a child. Shira also started teaching at Beth Sholom, helped her daughters learn trope for their bat mitzvahs, and began tutoring other children as well-- something she had never dreamed of doing. This sparked a deep love (and talent!) for teaching children the Hebrew language, trope and the stories of the Torah.
Continuing in her father’s footsteps, Shira followed her heart and has truly found her home at Ezra where she says her favorite part of our diverse and vibrant community is the warmth and appreciation she feels from her students, colleagues and the families of the children she teaches. We are so lucky to have her here at Ezra!