Baltimore is blessed with a multitude of excellent teachers in all our local schools. Annually, CJE recognizes one distinguished educator for the Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator Award. This award was established by the family of Sam Kahan in order to honor Sam for his many years of community leadership. This award perpetuates Sam’s legacy of personal commitment to Jewish education and to strengthening Baltimore’s Jewish educational institutions. The recipient is a master Jewish educator who serves as an inspiration to both students and peers.

Additionally, every other year, CJE hosts a community-wide nomination process, followed by an awards ceremony in May, where educators can be nominated by their peers and community members.

Please click on the links below to find out which educators have been recognized by The Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education for excellence in Jewish education.

Award Descriptions

Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator for Excellence in Jewish Education

Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator for Excellence in Jewish Education was established by the family of Sam Kahan in order to honor Sam for his many years of community leadership. This award perpetuates Sam’s legacy of personal commitment to Jewish education and to strengthening Baltimore’s Jewish educational institutions. The recipient is a master Jewish educator who serves as an inspiration to both students and peers.

The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award

The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award honors a Jewish educator for extraordinary dedication to the Jewish people in general and distinguished service to Jewish education in particular.
Criteria:

  • Taught for 20 years or more
  • Provided significant service to Jewish education (e.g. through curriculum development, mentorship, visionary leadership, educational impact beyond one individual school etc.)
  • Provided significant service to the Jewish people (e.g. through volunteerism, community projects, outreach efforts etc.)

The Rabbi Joseph Braver Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

The Rabbi Joseph Braver Award for Excellence in Jewish Education honors a Jewish educator who has exhibited outstanding performance and leadership in a Baltimore area Jewish school.
Criteria:

  • Taught for a minimum of 15 years; in the same school for a minimum of 7 years
  • Commands respect of colleagues and administration
  • Serves beyond the classroom on special school projects or as division head
  • Provides informal and formal mentorship to other educators in the school

The Novice Teacher Award

The Novice Teacher Award honors an educator with exceptional promise, who demonstrates dedication to children and a combination of mastery over content knowledge and their classroom.
Criteria:

  • Has been teaching 5 years or less
  • Participates in professional development
  • Demonstrates mastery of Judaic contend knowledge
  • Exhibits positive relationships/ interactions with individual students and whole class.

The Samuel Glasner Creative Teaching Award

The Samuel Glasner Creative Teaching Award honors a teacher who epitomizes creative, quality Jewish teaching.
Criteria:

  • Employs creative techniques in the classroom
  • Attends professional development regularly
  • Receives consistently good evaluations
  • Inspires colleagues to use more creative techniques in their classrooms

The Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award

The Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award honors an early childhood teacher for creative teaching and nurturing of young Jewish children with an integrated curriculum and environment, employing developmentally appropriate methods.
Criteria:

  • Knowledgeable about Jewish education and general pedagogy
  • Integrates Jewish content into classroom
  • Ensures that the classroom reflects an optimum learning environment for young children
  • Serves as a resource to parents and other educators in school

The Special Education Award

The Special Education Award honors an educator who displays sincere dedication to and advocacy for their students as well as creative and effective methodologies for reaching all learners.
Criteria:

  • Accesses professional development regarding children with learning differences
  • Uses classroom techniques that address learning modalities of all children
  • Provides special education information and support to colleagues

Congregational Educator Award

Congregational Educator Award honors an educator in a congregational school who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to educating students in part-time Jewish schools.
Criteria:

  • Teaches in a congregational school
  • Creates an engaging experience that encourages students to extend Jewish living at home
  • Represents a commitment to Jewish families and the Jewish Community and the congregational school model.
  • Provides quality instruction, rich in Jewish values

The General Studies Educator Award

The General Studies Educator Award honors an educator who demonstrates exceptional commitment to teaching in a Jewish day school environment, inspires children toward greater academic success and creatively works with the curriculum to maximize learning.
Criteria:

  • Taught general studies for at least 6 years in a Jewish day school/Yeshiva
  • Works creatively to deliver quality general studies education in a dual curriculum environment
  • Collaborates with other teachers
  • Respected and appreciated by parents and students

The Nathan and Ruth Lipsetts Award

The Nathan and Ruth Lipsetts Award honors an educator who not only has exhibited unusually creative skills in the classroom but has played a perceptible role in the life and affairs of the Baltimore Jewish community.
Criteria:

  • Taught a minimum of 10 years in Baltimore area schools
  • Employs creative methods to reach students
  • Develops projects and programs that reach the greater Jewish community
  • Shares creativity and creative ideas with other educators

Ahavat Tzion Award

Ahavat Tzion Award honors an educator who demonstrates dedication to instilling a love and knowledge of Israel in students of any age.
Criteria:

  • Candidates include classroom educators, youth educators, and professionals who impart
    substantive Israel content and experiences
  • Encourages Jewish Identity through Israel connectedness
  • Respected as a role model and exemplar of a Jewishly engaged adult
  • Passionate about Israel and inspire others to have a positive outlook about Israel
  • The Inspiring Educator Award recognizes an educator who inspires students, colleagues and families
    with commitment to community.

The High School Educator Award

The High School Educator Award honors a teacher who is exceptional at connecting with students, provides high level content that prepares students for higher education, and includes inspirational life lessons as part of their instructional practice.

Lawrence M. Ziffer Jewish Educational Leadership Award

Lawrence M. Ziffer Jewish Educational Leadership Award honors an educator for dedication to professional growth, commitment to effective school structure and inspirational leadership on behalf of the Jewish community.

Adult Educator Award

Adult Educator Award honors an educator who employs best practice in reaching adult learners and inspires adults to invest in their own personal learning and growth.
Criteria:

  • Candidates include professors, Melton teachers and informal educators in synagogues
  • Content must be rooted in Jewish education and text
  • Respected as a role model and exemplar of a Jewishly engaged adult

Award Recipients

2019 Educator Awards

Sam Kahan/Grinspoon Award Recipient 2019:
Sally Grobani, Krieger Schechter Day School

“Many teachers have a variety of talents in multiple areas, but Sally scored high  in every category possible when you envision the qualities of a ‘dream teacher’. Daily, she demonstrates warmth, tolerance, compassion, wisdom, understanding, flexibility and skill; she embodies every single one of these traits and is always impressing colleagues, administrators and parents with her passion, dedication and talents.”      Wendy Gelber, Principal, Krieger Schechter Day School

“I believe that it is my sacred duty to find ways for my students to connect to and find personal relevance in our Jewish traditions and texts. By utilizing an array of learning strategies, I have given students the ability to see their own interests reflected in their studies. My students know that questioning is valued, and this has led to deeply spiritual discussions in which students expressed their beliefs regarding, G-d, the veracity of the Torah, miracles, the afterlife and more.”  – Sally Grobani

2018 Educator Awards

Anne Norris, Ohr Chadash Academy
Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award

Cara Parsons, Krieger Schechter Day School
General Studies Award

Rabbi Yakov Frand, Talmudical Academy
High School Educator Award

Amy Goldberg, Beth El Berman Lipavsky Religious School
Congregational School Educator Award

Adriane Brooks, E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center
Novice Teacher Award

Shuli Raffel, Krieger Schechter Day School
Ahavat Tzion Award

Alexandria Banton, Stoler Early Childhood Center at Rosenbloom JCC
Inspiring Educator Award

Malki Lehrfield, JEWELS Inclusive Preschool
Special Educator Award

Matthew Adelberg, Jewish Discovery Lab of Beth Am
The Samuel Glasner Award

Rabbi Samson Wach, Beth El Berman Lipavsky Religious School
The Joseph Braver Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

Carol Sommer, Talmudical Academy
The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award

Brad Cohen, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation
The Lawrence M. Ziffer Award for Excellence in Administration

Marcy Snow, Beth Israel Preschool
The Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator/ Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

2017 Educator Awards

Sam Kahan/Grinspoon Award Recipient 2017:
Toby Kaplowitz, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School

 

“I try to create powerful experiences throughout the day for my students – balancing the skills and knowledge they should have as educated Jews along with the actions and experiences to hopefully last a lifetime. I want to show how young children can do, learn and understand deeply and in a meaningful way. I don’t ever want to limit them in any way. I believe that young students can be challenged with big ideas. Over the course of my teaching career, I have taught all ages and stages- from first graders to middle school, high school, college, and adults. I can’t help but feel my face brighten and a huge smile come across my face when I describe how much I love teaching kitah aleph. There is an extraordinary, almost magical experience in my classroom that is hard to put into words. This small window of time in a child’s life, when they are open to anything, ready with a contagious enthusiasm to learn everything while having little to no inhibition or self-doubt is absolutely thrilling as an educator! My students’ curiosity is beyond compare and it drives me as a teacher to expose them to as much as I can every day.”
-Toby Kaplowitz

“Mrs. Kaplowitz is a big thinker who often collaborates with specialists and other teachers to create innovative projects. She follows the latest trends in technology and education and is thoughtful about sharing with others and trying things out with her students. Mrs. Kaplowitz came to us as a Judaic studies teacher. She now teaches all day, educating her students in both general and Judaic studies. She is very skilled at community building and naturally engages her students and their parents in activities that bring them closer to Judaism, the general studies curriculum and the BT community. Mrs. Kaplowitz integrates both curricula seamlessly, helping her students make connections and deepen their understanding of the world around them. Using Jewish text and experiences, as well as technology and aspects of project based learning, she enhances the engagement of her children. Creating a warm, caring, developmentally appropriate and stimulating milieu, Mrs. Kaplowitz’s classroom is a delight to see.”
– Nina Wand, Lower School Principal

2016 Educator Awards

Sam Kahan/Grinspoon Award
Brochie Kosman, Bais Yaakov Elementary

Early Childhoood Educator
Paige Schwartz, Goldsmith Early Childhood

Special Education Educator
Leah Golfeyz, Ohr Chadash Academy
Sherri Bell, Har Sinai Congregational School

Congregational School Educator
Tamar Schulman, Beth El Congregational School

Novice Teacher Award
Ingrid Strand, Beth Tfiloh Community Day School

General Studies Educator Award
Ida Lenet, Talmudical Academy

Glasner Creative Teaching Award
Rabbi Doniel Moskowitz, Talmudical Academy

Birnbaum Award
Michal Reichman, Krieger Schechter Day School
Shelly Rosen, Bais Yaakov

Braver Award
Anne Norris, Ohr Chadash Academy & Baltimore Hebrew Congregational School

Lifetime Acheivement Award
Evelyn Brager, Talumdical Academy
Caela Kaplowitz, Bnos Yisroel

2015 Educator Awards

Rabbi Joseph Braver Award for Excellence in Jewish Education
Ann Berman
Krieger Schechter Day School

Special Education Award
Yael Cohen
JEWELS School

Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award
Chani Druk
Cheder Chabad

Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator Award
Jill Eisen
Beth El Berman-Lipavsky Religious School

The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award
Faigie Friedman
Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School

Lifetime Achievement Award
Rachel Glaser
Beth Israel Joseph and Corinne Schwartz Religious School

The Nathan and Ruth Lipsetts Award
Gitti Horowitz
Bais Yaakov School for Girls

The Novice Teacher Award
Teri Jedeikin
Beth Israel Joseph and Corinne Schwartz Religious School

The Samuel Glasner Creative Teaching Award
Debbie Rosenbaum
Beth Israel Joseph and Corinne Schwartz Religious School

The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award
Jo-Ellen Unger
Har Sinai Religious School

The Ahavat Tzion Award
Ayala Weinberg
Beth El Berman-Lipavsky Religious School

2014 Educator Awards

The Joseph Braver Award for Excellence in Jewish Education
Noa Goldman, Ner Tamid Montessori

The Rabbi Herbert Birnbaum Award
Shifra Rabenstein, Bais Yaakov School for Girls

The Nathan and Ruth Lipsetts Award
Melissa E. Berman, JCC and CJE

The Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award
Alicia Broth, Beth Tfiloh Preschool

The Samuel Glasner Award
Amanda Levine, Krieger Schechter Day School

The Teen Educator Award
Jason Greenberg, Har Sinai Congregation Religious School

The Congregational School Educator Award
Robyn Melzer, Beth Israel Congregation, Schwartz Religious School

The General Studies Award
Dr. Chaya Bina Samuels, Bnos Yisroel

The Special Education Award
Natanya Szendro, Gesher LaTorah

The Novice Teacher Award
Aliza Mann, Ohr Chadash Academy

The Innovation and Technology Award
Rabbi Elchonon Ciment, Talmudical Academy

The Outstanding Teacher Assistant Award
Jennifer Morris, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Hirsh ECC

 

Special commendations to:
Dee Curtin, Beth El Preschool, for Impact on the Community
Rabbi Doniel Moskowitz, Talmudical Academy, for Dedication to Students
Shira Nelkin, Bnos Yisroel, for Commitment to Professional Development,

2013 Educator Awards

The Sam Kahan Distinguished Educator Award & National Grinspoon Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education
Rebecca Friedman | Ohr Chadash Academy

The Samuel Glasner Creative Teaching Award
Shana Alter |Temple Oheb Shalom Religious School

Congregational Educator Award
Lisa Gerber | Berman-Lipavsky Religious School at Beth El Congregation

The Early Childhood Teaching Excellence Award
Roni Bar-Shir | Meyerhoff Early Childhood Center at the Park Heights JCC

The Special Education Award
Rabbi Uri Meyers |Gesher LaTorah

The General Studies Educator Award
Marcy Hoffman | The Day School at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation

Novice Teacher Award
Matt Adelberg |Jewish Discovery Lab at Beth Am

Novice Teacher Award
Cindy Stein | Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School

Ahavat Tzion Award
Ellen Friedman | Krieger Schechter Day School

The CJE Teen Educator Award
Johanna Busch | Baltimore Hebrew Congregation

The CJE Teen Educator Award
Joshua Danoff | Beth Israel Religious School

The CJE Teen Educator Award
Shoshana Davidoff-Gore | Jewish Discovery Lab at Beth Am