Two JTS Graduates Win Prestigious Fellowship

Rina Goldberg and Jennifer Vegh Will Join First Cohort of Enriching LIFE Fellows Sara Shapiro-Plevan, a JTS Doctoral Student, Will Act as a Mentor

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089

August 31, 2011, New York, NY

New York, NY, August 31, 2011—Rina Goldberg and Jennifer Vegh, graduates of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), have been awarded the new Enriching LIFE (Lainer Interns for Education) Fellowship of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA). In order to provide the engaging, high-quality Jewish education required to ensure a thriving Jewish community now and in the future, the North American Jewish community needs an influx of well-qualified, inspired, enthusiastic young educators to join veteran colleagues practicing at the highest levels of excellence. In response to this need, and with generous support from the Covenant Foundation, JESNA has launched the Enriching LIFE Fellowships, an intensive, one-year educator development and networking experience for a select group of alumni of the Lainer-Masa Fellowship program, who have embarked on careers in Jewish education. Rina Goldberg and Jennifer Vegh will join the first cohort of the Enriching LIFE Fellows, comprising only six members.

Ms. Goldberg is a kindergarten teacher at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City. She has taught in a wide variety of Jewish educational settings for the past eight years. She received her MA in Jewish Education from The Davidson School and both her BA in Psychology and BEd from York University in Toronto.

Ms. Vegh is the religious school and youth activities director at Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, New York. She works with the staff, lay leadership, parents, and kids to find singular and innovative ways to ignite passion for Jewish life and learning. Ms. Vegh received a master’s degree in Jewish Education, focusing on Synagogue Education, from The Davidson School, and she participated in the Joint Program between JTS and Columbia for her undergraduate studies, earning BAs in Jewish Music and Sociology. She has worked with such organizations as, the Jewish Education Project (formerly BJENY-SAJES), and JESNA.

Throughout the year, the Enriching LIFE Fellows will simultaneously enhance their craft and look toward the future of Jewish education. Each fellow will be mentored by a seasoned Jewish educator who is also an alumnus of the Lainer-Masa Fellowship. In addition, fellows will participate in a community of practice designed to challenge them as educators, support them as colleagues, and help them envision a vibrant future. The community of practice was launched with a two-day seminar in New York City on July 25 and 26, which explored Jewish educational innovation through seminars and workshops with mentors and other top Jewish educators in the New York area.

Sara Shapiro-Plevan, a doctoral student in The Davidson School, will act as a mentor for two of the Enriching LIFE Fellows. She is the founder and lead consultant for Rimonim Consulting, which supports congregations, schools, and organizations as they work together creatively to meet challenges both big and small, design meaningful and powerful learning for all ages, and create structures that enable communities to thrive and engage in self-reflection. At The Davidson School, Ms. Shapiro-Plevan’s research focuses on the impact of social and professional networks in the career trajectory of congregational educators, and communities of practice in support of professional learning and growth. In addition, as an adjunct faculty member in The Davidson School, she prepares graduate students in the field of congregational education to take leadership roles in the field. She most recently served as a consultant for the Board of Jewish Education NY-SAJES (now The Jewish Education Project), working directly with congregational educators in the greater New York area to build strong collegial networks, improve practice, and cultivate leadership.


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