Often teachers welcome guest speakers into their classrooms to share their expertise with students. Of course this school year is a bit different. This past semester those guest speakers were welcomed virtually via Zoom. Though different, the method still allowed the same sharing of knowledge and interaction with students that may have happened in person.
Last week, Rav. Tiferet Berenbaum spoke with students in Dr. Ingbritsen and Mrs. Marx’s World Religions classes. Rav. Berenbaum is one of five African American women rabbis in the United States.
She shared her faith journey as well as the basic tenets of Judaism. She also answered questions from students regarding Jewish culture and traditions. In her multifaceted career, she has a front seat at the intersection of race, racism and religion, giving her valuable insights into how different groups of people see the world and refining her powers of empathy.
Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, Rav. Berenbaum studied at Tufts University in Medford MA, majoring in Judaic studies and clinical psychology. She received Rabbinic Ordination and a Master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew college and spent her summers in the Berkshires living, growing, teaching and serving at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. She has taught at numerous synagogues in the Boston Area and day schools, as well as directing summer camp and establishing an independent youth education program. Rav. Berenbaum served as rabbi to congregations in Milwaukee, WI and Mt. Holly, NJ. She is presently the director of congregational learning and programming at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Mrs. Houghton’s Economics class also had the benefit of a guest speaker. Mrs. Houghton arranged for a guest speaker as part of the SIMFA sponsored, Meet A Financial Professional Program. This program allowed for her class to connect with Ms. Jeannine Bruin, who has worked in the field of economics for 20 years. Ms. Bruin shared her knowledge about careers in the financial service industry.
She could especially relate to our Notre Dame students since she attended 12 years of Catholic school. She received a B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a MBA and Doctorate in Business Administration from Drexel.
Mrs. Bruin worked for Merrill Lynch in Pennington for 10 years as a project manager for large technology projects, and for the past 10 years running a communications function (social media, public relations, employee communications, web design) for BNY Mellon. She also holds a communications leadership role for the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
Notre Dame is fortunate to have faculty who continue to provide quality instruction during these difficult times. When it can't be done in person, they find new ways to integrate speakers of this caliber into their curriculum to both inform and challenge our students.
Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.