After a lifetime as a student Jeremy Steinberg ‘16 is thrilled to have a chance to be a teacher. The religion major will develop his classroom leadership skills as part of his Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship. Created to address the achievement gap in Israel’s public education system, the fellowship invites talented, English-speaking college graduates to Israel to work as English teachers’ aides in nine different Israeli cities for 10 months. Beginning this September, Steinberg will live in the city of Beit She’an, where he will spend four days a week teaching and devote his fifth workday to a community volunteer project.
During his four years at Haverford Steinberg took every opportunity to explore his Jewish heritage. Aside from his Judaism-focused major, he held various leadership positions within the Jewish Student Union (JSU). His JSU co-head, Eliana Kohrman-Glaser ‘15, is currently in Israel on the same fellowship, and he learned about Masa Israel from her.
“I was looking for a gap-year program that would give me an opportunity to travel and explore Jewish life, and this fit the bill perfectly,” says Steinberg, who believes that the independence and maturity he developed as a Haverford student will help him tackle the challenges of living alone in a foreign country.
This will not be the first time Steinberg travels to Israel. In January of his sophomore year, he joined a 10-day educational trip through Birthright Israel. This organization sends Jewish youth on trips to Israel to provide them with the opportunity to strengthen their bond with their ancestral homeland. Steinberg then successfully returned to Israel four months later, this time on a trip led by Professor Naomi Koltun-Fromm as part of her class “Jerusalem: City, History, and Representation.”
“But a ten-day visit and a nine-month stay are very different things,” Steinberg admits. He is hoping that his knowledge of Biblical Hebrew from Swarthmore classes will help him ease into the modern version of the ancient language.
But just because he’s preparing to teach, doesn’t mean he’s finished learning. Steinberg is spending his summer studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and after he wraps up his year in Beit She’an, Steinberg hopes to return to Israel to enroll in rabbinical school.
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.