This year, Ramaz welcomes a new member of the Hebrew Department. Mr. Adelman, who has recently moved back to America after teaching in Israel for a couple of years, is extremely excited to begin teaching at Ramaz. With insights and nuanced perspectives influenced by his experiences, Mr. Adelman hopes to leave students with meaningful life-long lessons. The Rampage interviewed Mr. Adelman to learn more about him and what he plans to bring to Ramaz.
Clemi Roth: How is it being a new teacher during the pandemic and not meeting all your students and colleagues in person?
Mr. Adelman: It’s been challenging. I think the most positive aspect has been to be a new teacher, specifically at Ramaz, which is a very supportive and welcoming school. Landing, both with my correspondences with colleagues and administration before the school year started and then once everything started, has been very smooth. I felt that everything has been very transparent and supportive and everybody is just very nice and welcoming so it’s kind of been easy. And yes, it’s definitely been difficult to get to know students. I’m either meeting mostly on Zoom or I have one class where it’s completely on Zoom. So it definitely makes that initial connection and a little bit more difficult. Like many teachers, I’m very active and I like to talk and walk around. So, for some students to mostly just experience me sitting down at a desk and talking to the screen I feel is not the best way I could be teaching. At times It’s also confusing because there are students that half of the time I see them with a mask on and then half the time without, so I’m always a little bit confused. But, I’ll get used to it.
Noam Woldenberg: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where did you last work, and where are you from?
Mr. Adelman: I’m originally American, and I grew up in Western Mass. And then, when I was in junior high, my family moved to Israel. I mostly grew up in Jerusalem, where I went to high school. Then I went to college and did my bachelor’s and my master’s degree at Hebrew University. I studied literature and musicology. I also got my teaching certificate in literature and music at a place called the Kerem Institute for Jewish and Humanistic Education. I began teaching there for a few years at a high school in the suburbs of Jerusalem. Three years ago, I moved to Jaffa, which is kind of an extension of Tel Aviv. I taught for the last three years there at a public high school there. That was really my most meaningful and important job. It was very interesting and challenging. Jaffa has a very strange place. I assume a lot of Americans know it because it’s a very big tourist attraction. There’s the old city in the sea and people are kind of used to going to those places, but it’s also a very complicated place just in regard to the people who live there. It’s a mixed town, it’s both Jewish and Arab and in the school, itself was a public school. There was a very interesting dynamic to be an Israeli public school teacher of a very diverse student body, some of whom weren’t even native Hebrew speakers! It was also interesting to see how when people are lumped together they get along without having to deal with the political aspect of it so much. It’s just a very natural progression that if you grew up with somebody usually get along with them so it was a very meaningful place to be.
CR: Was there a specific moment when you realized that you were inspired to teach, and why did you move back here to teach us?
Mr. Adelman: I had a few moments where I was inspired to teach, but I don’t think I can really pinpoint one. I’ve always liked to talk a lot about stuff that I like so it seems like a natural progression to do that professionally. I’m originally from here, and all of my family has since moved back. And so it was a decision to kind of come back to America and I was very lucky that Ramaz was hiring. I immediately felt a very good connection with people that I spoke to and heard great things about the school. Speaking to Ms. Barak, the head of the Hebrew department, made it seem like a place that would be a very comfortable and interesting place to work.
NW: What are some fun facts about you?
Mr. Adelman: I play music. Specifically I play guitar and the trombone a bit. I also used to perform a lot.
Overall music is a big part of me.
CR: If you could only teach your students one thing, what would it be, and what do you want your students to take away from your class?
Mr. Adelman: I have two things that I want students to take away. The aspect and the value of empathy is so important. It is important to be able to see yourself in somebody else’s place. I find that reading texts and learning a language, especially, is a way to discover a new culture. I also really believe in the aspect of creativity and curiosity. If students of mine would be able to develop skills to pursue their own interests independently of the classroom I think that that’s the most important thing. That’s what’s gonna lead students to all of the interesting endeavors that they’re going to have in life. Finding out what interests them, researching it, and discovering it on their own without their teachers telling them is so important.
Overall, there are many lessons to learn from Mr. Adelman. The Rampage staff is very excited that Mr. Adelman is now a teacher at Ramaz and can’t wait to learn from him in the future! We wish him success in his new role!