By Marley Kronenburg ‘21
This year Hebrew teacher Adi Rapeika is celebrating her tenth year at Heschel, after a long career in education before that.
Rapeika’s interest in teaching started when she was in high school and became a counselor for the Israeli Scouts and worked with youth. Shortly after, her job in the army was as an instructor in the youth troops force. Rapeika’s first teaching experiences in Israel made her want to pursue a career in education.
At 27, she moved from Israel to the United States with her husband and began studying developmental psychology at Burlington University, and she taught at an after-school Hebrew program at a synagogue in Great Neck. That experience sparked her interest in teaching Hebrew.
When she first came to America she stayed for five years, then returned back to Israel. Soon after, she came back to America and has been here for 34 years.
After working at Solomon Schechter, Rapeika was given the opportunity to come work at Heschel. “I felt that this was the the right place for me because it is a pluralistic school that strives to promote human relationships and democratic citizenship,” she explained.
Throughout her ten years, Rapeika has taught Hebrew classes for all levels in the high school. Her goals for her classes are for students to “understand Israeli culture through poetry, literature, and movies; learn the everyday language; understand the lives and messages of Israelis; and tie connections to the Israeli society.” Rapeika also mentioned that she was drawn to Heschel because it shows dedication to the study of culture, history and lives of the people in history.
Working at Heschel “has been a fulfilling journey, and to see people like Ilana Sidorsky that I used to teach come back to Heschel and teach here, and students coming back with appreciation for their Heschel lives is very special,” said Rapeika. She noted that one of her favorite Heschel moments was when Heschel students in Israel at the same time as she was contacted her and met up with her. That experience highlighted the strong connection that Rapeika has formed and will continue to form with her students at Heschel. She has had a rewarding and happy ten years at Heschel and looks forward to the years to come.