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Welcoming Avi Blitz

October 22, 2021
By Adam Tilove

Dear HBHA Family,
It is my great pleasure to announce that on November 1, we will be welcoming a new faculty member joining our Middle and Upper School Jewish Studies faculty. Dr. Avi Blitz is a passionate, experienced and incredibly knowledgeable teacher, and Jewish Educator. We believe Avi’s deep knowledge of Judaism, literature, and languages will make him an exceptional addition to our team. He will be able to add a fresh perspective to our Jewish Studies faculty and be able to work closely with faculty members from across the curriculum. Most of all, Avi is a real mensch and a lovely guy.
 
Avi is moving here from Panama, where he most recently served at the Director of Language and Instruction at the Instituto Albert Einstein in Panama. Please feel free to reach out to him to say hello. His email address is [email protected]

Below is a letter of introduction from Avi so we can all get to know him a little better.

Shabbat Shalom,
Adam Tilove

___________________________

Dear Members of the HBHA Community,

In a little more than a week’s time, I shall make the long journey from Panama to Kansas where I will become part of the teaching faculty at your school. I want to introduce myself before I arrive, and give you some idea of what exciting topics I hope to bring to HBHA. 

I was born in the UK (and I still have the accent to prove it). I studied at Oxford University and at Indiana University, and I have a PhD in Comparative Literature. I really love languages, and I hope to make you love them too! Besides my native English, I speak French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, as well as one really unusual and special language—Yiddish.

I’ve taught Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Yiddish at high school, college, and graduate levels in Europe, Israel, Latin America, and the USA, and I’m really looking forward to embarking on a new learning journey in Kansas with the students at HBHA.

Coming from a background in Comparative Literature, my primary goal is to teach not just a love for the written word, but patience with regards to meaning, and genuine curiosity about the experiences of others as represented in writing. I am interested in using literature as a platform to discuss issues around Jewish history, Jewish identity, Jewish politics, and the future of the Jewish people.

I teach because I enjoy connecting with people and having an impact on the lives of my students. I also teach because I enjoy the impact my students have on me. I have the great privilege of teaching a humanities topic, Jewish Studies, a subject area whose goal doesn’t involve training workers or imparting technical skills, a subject area whose only interest is what it means to be a human being. In the words of educational theorist Jane Tomkins, “Teaching and learning are not preparation for anything but are the thing itself... The classroom is a microcosm of the world; it is the chance to practice whatever ideals we cherish.” Helping students find Jewish ideals to cherish is central to my work as an educator.

I am delighted to be joining your community. I am looking forward to meeting you all, and I am very grateful to the Head of School, Adam Tilove, and his team, for making it possible for me to come and work at HBHA!

Yours sincerely, 

Avi Blitz