Q&A: Getting to Know Rabbi Dani Ritholtz, Talmud/Tanakh


We are excited to welcome Rabbi Ritholtz to Ramaz! Rabbi Ritholtz is the newest member of the Judaic studies department!

Danielle Nakash + Hallie Kopel: Where did you attend high school, and what was that experience like?

Rabbi Dani Ritholtz: I went to TABC, an all-boys yeshiva. High school was one of my favorite times. I loved it. I wasn’t the strongest student, but I worked at it, and had teachers and friends who helped me become a better student.

DN+HK: What made you want to become a teacher?

RR: I chose to become a teacher because I went through a difficult period in my life during my senior year of high school. My interactions with teachers, mentors, and rabbis really helped me. I want to make the same contributions to those who also might need guidance.

DN+HK: At what point did you know you wanted to become a Rabbi, and what made you do so?

RR: After high school, I went to Yeshivat Ha-Kotel, and began giving shiurim/classes. I really enjoyed teaching there, and felt successful after receiving positive feedback. At that point, I realized that I was not only passionate about teaching, but I excelled at it. 

DN+HK: Was there a specific person who inspired you to become a Rabbi/teacher?

RR: My mentor Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter inspired me to become a teacher. He is a Rabbi at Yeshiva University who has a Ph.D. from Harvard. Rabbi Schacter embodies the idea of “Torah Mada” (the idea that Torah and secular studies go hand in hand, but Torah is still superior). He is an engaging teacher who values kindness. Rabbi Schacter is extremely caring, and was very generous to me and my family during a difficult period. When we shared meals, he displayed such humility by cleaning his own dishes for us. Rabbi Schacter helped my family through our most vulnerable times and demonstrated to me what it means to be a thoughtful Jew. 

DN+HK: Why did you decide to teach at Ramaz, and do you like it so far?

RR: I really like Ramaz! I joined the Ramaz community because I have some friends who are Ramaz alumni who are really impressive. Apart from being smart, they are empathetic, considerate, and well-rounded people. They especially have an authenticity with Judaism. When I received an opportunity to come to Ramaz, I did not hesitate and was eager to contribute to the making of a Ramaz student! I think it is excellent how the students and faculty really strive to connect both Judaic and Secular studies. Lastly, I really love Ramaz’s values. I especially appreciate that boys and girls are treated equally in Torah because that is not the case at many other schools. Ramaz also has great academics. Although there is supremacy to Torah, I love learning about secularism and modern topics of the world.

DN+HK: What do you love most about Talmud, and what gives you joy from it?

RR: My favorite part about teaching Talmud is seeing an idea click with a student. It is a huge excitement for me to see an idea register with a student because it shows me that I am being clear. I have felt this excitement as a student and teacher, and that exhilaration is a huge high for me! 

DN+HK: Lastly, what is your favorite Masechet?

RR: Masechet Yonah is my favorite because my grandfather passed away on Yom Kippur, which led me to learn it every summer for several years.