I had many influential teachers, but mostly and most deeply I would mention Ms. Sennett and Ms. Goldstein.
I remember Ms. Sennett’s unflagging love of history and her students. Entering her class in ninth grade, I was astounded by the ridiculous white board – ridiculous then in my eyes. Why did she write so much on the board?! Within several weeks the prevailing question was – what would I do without the notes on the board?!
Then, in senior year Euro class–how I really just loved that class. The subject matter was interesting, but most important was Ms. Sennett’s enthusiasm, willingness and her active desire to talk about issues. She sought to discuss in order to deepen both her own and our understanding of the material.
I still love history, although I don’t always have opportunities to study it. When I do, it fills me with interest and enthusiasm. Ms. Sennett was very much a part of creating in me a thirst for knowledge.
I had Ms. Goldstein as a teacher for AP English Literature in senior year. I have to say that I very much still find myself learning from Ms. Goldstein daily, thanks to her endless search for knowledge. But above all, her deep appreciation for the complexities of the human situation struck me. I find myself going back to her class, going to literature and to poetry, to understand more deeply those different from me. I feel like she is the one who birthed that desire in me – the desire to reach out beyond myself to understand how others live and feel. That desire only grows and encompasses more people and more stages of life as I get older, and I truly must thank her for that. For me, that is very much a major part of who I am.
We still keep in touch from time to time, and Ms. Goldstein’s enthusiasm for poetry always encourages me to write more and to send my writing to her for her opinion.
Obviously, I can’t forget Rabbi Robinson, Dr. Kahan, Mrs. Kahan, Mrs. Arons, Rabbi Broner and others who influenced me deeply as well.
If students read this, I would encourage them to take advantage of the amazing people they have around them.
Zach is currently finishing Hesder at Ma’ale Adumim and is a madrich for the overseas program. He is also studying for the rabbanut tests and hopes to start those next year. He says, “Aliyah was one of if not the best decision of my life.”